Dedicated microphones for mobile gamers aren’t uncommon these days, especially since good audio quality is a must whether you’re gaming or streaming something from your phone. I previously had the pleasure of testing out the Maono PD200X and absolutely loved it – now, the kind folks over at Maono has a new offering that should switch things up when it comes to form and function.
The Maono PD400X is a dual-connectivity USB/XLR mic just like its predecessor, but does it truly trump the previous model, or is it best to spend your money elsewhere?
Table of contents:
MAONO PD400X MICROPHONE DESIGN AND HARDWARE
Right out of the box, the PD400X screams elegance with every element. The experience of unboxing the package felt – for lack of a better term – lavish for me, as each component sits nice and snug in its own foamed sections. Apart from the mic itself, the box includes a stand base, a foam shield, a user manual, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and an XLR cable. It’s the complete package, and all you really have to do is screw on the base and plug it in.
For the purposes of this mobile review, I did focus more on the mic’s USB-C connectivity, which is a simple plug-and-play affair. To complement the mic’s premium feel, the all-metal build boasts an incredibly hefty weight – it’s so heavy that it made me feel like I’m going pro with my mic game now, if only because the sleekness gives off such a professional vibe. The weight also helps with its stability sitting on any countertop, whether you’re gaming on the go in a hotel room or sitting comfortably in your home office.
GAMING EXPERIENCE AND CONNECTIVITY
As for the buttons, there’s a single knob to manipulate your mic gain and headphone volume, along with ports at the bottom and an on-board equalizer. This lets you switch modes on the fly, plus, there’s a 3.5mm jack that allows you to conveniently monitor your voice. There’s also a touch-sensitive mute button that’s easily accessible right on the front, but I’ll get to a small gripe about this later on.
While the mic is ready to use thanks to its breezy USB-C connectivity, installing the Maono Link app opens up a whole range of options for you to tinker around with if you want to be more meticulous about how you sound. I love that there are no roundabout set-ups necessary apart from the optional app, which is really all you need in a mobile mic.
I didn’t encounter any issues while using the mic on my phone, and the audio quality was superb. The cardioid pattern is something to take note of, however – you’ll need to speak right in front of the mic and not from the side to suppress background noise. I did feel like the mic still somehow picked up subtle vibrations from my desk, which might be solved by clamping the mic onto a boom arm instead of laying it on top of your table.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
Portability-wise, the hefty weight makes it a not-so-ideal option when you’re lugging it around everywhere you go. I also didn’t feel like the foam shield looked at all presentable – it felt a little clunky, and I much rather preferred keeping it off just because the mic looks way better as it is. I also somehow kept accidentally touching the mute button given how it’s positioned smack-dab in the center of the mic.
Of course, I can’t help but compare it with the PD200X. The PD400X can be easily placed on top of any surface unlike its predecessor, and the Maono Link app immediately detected it as soon as I plugged it into my phone, as opposed to how the app couldn’t even detect my PD200X back then. However, the PD200X is lighter and more portable – plus, one of the biggest things I found missing from the PD400X was the funky RGB light that the PD200X had. I know it has nothing to do with the audio quality, but those lights were what really sold me on the PD200X, and it’s such a shame that this new model doesn’t have those RGB aesthetics anymore.
Still, the Maono PD400X is a heavy-hitter in my opinion, especially since I’m not a professional audiophile. It does its job and more for my casual needs, and the best part of it all is that it’s easy on the wallet at just $149.99.