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Preliminary disclaimer: MAONO was awesome enough to send us a free review unit.
MAONO is a relatively new audio company, started circa 2017, that I had never heard of before they reached out to us and offered to send one of their mics for us to review. They produce a wide variety of mics, mixers, and other ancillary recording equipment.
I’m always willing to give any product and company a fair shake if they’re willing to send a free review unit with no strings attached – that’s a good sign the company truly believes in their products and that they’re probably decent quality.
The light button at the bottom center turns on the circumference LED, and it also cycles through various color schemes. If you want to turn that LED light back off just press and hold that same button for a few seconds.
The volume knob and mute button on the mic base are good features. The knob itself is nice and has a good firm feel when rotated, with discrete “clicks” for each increment. The knob itself is also a button, which if pressed switches the volume control from the output (the mic) and the input if one is plugged in. The LED light surrounding the knob/button switches between green and blue to indicate which of the two volume adjusters it’s currently set to, and that same LED also turns red when you toggle the mute button so you know it’s on.
If there’s at least one thing to take away from this review it’s how much I love the included USB-C cable. Most USB-C cables that come with wireless earbuds and such are tiny and like less than a foot long, whereas the included cable with the PD200X is nice and long at like six feet or so, and the wire jacket and plug supports are really nice and thick and sturdy. And also, how about that nifty built-in USB to C adapter? I’m seriously so glad I get to have this cable now.
Rigging up the PD200X with the boom arm was very simple and easy, and it’s similarly very easy and intuitive to use – there are vise knobs at all the various hinge points that you can tighten and loosen, to make moving everything around while also keeping things nicely firm and steady easy to do.
My only minor criticism is the bare metal and edged vise table clamp – I was afraid it might scratch my desk so I just cut some of the packing material into a circle and duct taped it on for a faux pad on the bottom side. That worked well enough, and wasn’t a huge deal really, but I think the vise table clamp could be a little better on the bottom.
The Important Question: Does the MAONO PD200X Sound Good?
I did two basic test recordings with OBS Studio (which is commonly used free and open source streaming and recording software) using basic default settings and a WAV file format. I did one recording using a cheap built-in webcam mic and the next with the PD200X microphone. Here they are:
Even with two quick off the cuff recordings that have no tweaking or optimization whatsoever, you can clearly hear that the MAONO mic sounds way better than the webcam mic – the first is obviously thin, sibilant, flat and far away, and has a little wind noise; while the latter is nicely full and forward, smooth, and natural sounding with no wind noise.
The MAONO mic sound could definitely be improved all the more with a little EQ work and such, but one thing that I always do like is when audio products sound noticeably better and solid right out of the box, which is ideal for the non-experienced users doing basic things like online meetings, streaming, gaming, or podcasts and such.
If you want to get at all serious about live streaming, podcasting, or recording in general, there will come a time when you really need to get a decent microphone that’s designed for doing that, because good spoken audio quality will definitely make a significant positive difference in your content quality and likeability. But, mics and their ancillary audio equipment can get pretty expensive, which understandably dissuades the newly initiated.
I think the MAONO PD200X is a great entry-level solution for these types of people. It’s extremely simple and easy to set up and use, and the out-of-the-box audio quality with basic recording software is still very good, and way better than you’re ever going to get with a cheap built-in mic that comes on a laptop, webcam, monitor, or whatever else.
MAONO has informed me that it is currently (at the time of this writing/update) running a promotional deal on both their website and through Amazon, so if you’re thinking about getting a high quality but still relatively inexpensive mic and boom arm, now might be a great time to do it.
Get the MAONO PD200X USB/XLR microphone on Amazon (affiliate link)
Get the MAONO AU-B01 boom arm on Amazon (affiliate link)