It’s time for another product review from Maono! This time, we’re taking a look at the Maonocaster AMC2 Neo, a portable a audio mixer available for $60. Designed for broadcasters, podcasters and streamers, this small device is packed with features to provide you with a professional studio setup wherever you are.
Unboxing the Maonocaster AMC2 NEO
Maonocaster AMC2 NEO connectivity & features
Frequently asked questions
Unboxing the Maonocaster AMC2 NEO
Let’s start by looking at what you actually get for $60.
As always, we find ourselves face to face with the classic yellow and black Maono packaging. The box opens up like a treasure chest to reveal:
- The Maonocaster
- USB-C to USB-A cable
- 3.5mm 4-pole auxiliary cable
- User manual
Look and build of the Maonocaster
The product takes up little room on a desk (18.5cm x 13cm), making it the ideal solution for using on the go! Just like the Maonocaster E2, it has a glossy finish which looks great (until you get your fingerprints all over it.) Although the product is made from plastic, the light weight of it (354g) feels like an advantage for it’s portability. The knobs and central dial feel pretty solid, however the two faders do have some wiggle room.
Overall, the look is simple, and all the features are clearly labelled which makes for a friendly user-experience. The device itself is slightly slanted towards the user, this gives a nice visibility of all buttons/knobs. It also has 4 foam patches in each corner underneath to prevent from any sliding around on your studio desk.
Maonocaster AMC2 NEO connectivity and features
On the back of the device, you’ll find:
- Power button
- USB-C power in (for charging)
- USB-C to device
- Stream out
- Headphones out
- Aux in
- XLR – 1/4 inch microphone input
Setting up the product is incredibly easy thanks to its simple plug and play connectivity. This means that you don’t need any additional software to get it to work
Moving onto the front of the audio interface you’ll have access to the basic controls such as:
- Microphone gain knob: allows you to adjust how much noise your mic will pick up
- Microphone fader: allows you to adjust how loud your mic volume is
- Aux knob: handles the volume of any device you might have plugged in directly, or connected via bluetooth
- Multi-dial: the general output for the whole device
- Headphone fader: to adjust the volume that you hear in your headphones
- Battery charge: to see how much battery you have. The device actually has a 7-hour autonomy which makes it super practical if you want to record on the go.
- Bluetooth indicator: shows when you have a connected device
Advanced features and effects
The great thing about this product is the many advanced options that are available to really help you get a professional studio quality outcome. As you can see there are various pads available at the bottom of the console, so let’s zoom in and go through them together!
48V phantom power
An essential tool that is necessary for anyone planning on using a condenser mic. This 48V phantom power will provide the necessary power for this type of microphone.
This allows you to easily connect your devices (smartphone, tablet, etc…) to the Maonocaster via bluetooth which can avoid using extra cables in your setup.
There are different presets on the console that add a different type of echo to your voice. They are all color coded, so you just have to press the reverb presets button to change:
Although this won’t necessarily be useful to everyone, it’s a fun option that can be used to add effects during live broadcasts or podcasts.
The side chain is an interesting tool that can come in extremely handy for radio hosts! It automatically reduces the volume of the music you’re playing when you start talking over it. When your spoken intervention is finished, the music will automatically go back to its original level without you having to intervene
There’s also a second level to the side-chain if you press the button a second time: music-only side chain. This time, if you are broadcasting music with words, the Maonocaster will quieten the lyrics in the song so that only the instrumental is audible. Then, just as the normal side-chain, it automatically reduces the sound level while you speak. Again, this can be an incredibly useful feature for radio hosts to ensure that they can be heard by their audience without having to press multiple buttons or faders at the same time.
Direct monitor & loopback
The direct monitor is something that you’re probably familiar with. It’s what allows you to hear your mic input through your headphones.
Put simply, loopback allows audio signals to be deflected from one source to another. This means that you can send audio from any connected audio interface or app to any other connected audio interface or app.
Here again, you have various presets for your voice: male, female, baby and robot. Although these can be fun to play around with, we don’t think that they are particularly useful for radio broadcasting. If you’re looking for more subtle effects to add to your voice, then we’d recommend using one of the reverb presets.
This feature is incredibly handy if you’re broadcasting or recording in a room that has some background noise. Whether you have a fan on in the background, or cars driving past your window, activating the noise reducer will help cancel out any frequencies occurring in the background.
There are also 2 levels to this, so if you’re in a really noisy environment you can activate the extra noise cancelling by pressing the button a second time. This will make enhance the removal of any frequencies that are not picked up directly in front of the mic.
Careful: If you’re in a room that has already been soundproofed, or that has little background noise, then you may find that it cuts your voice off because it “over-cancels” out frequencies.
Lastly, you have 3 sound pads where you can record your own sounds to play at the press of a button during your broadcasts or recordings. These recordings can last up to 20 seconds, so you can put your jingles on there, or effects like clapping for example.
By adding sound effects to your live shows and podcasts, you can help create a specific mood or atmosphere for your listeners. This will help them create a picture in their minds whilst listening to you, which can help them stay tuned in for longer!
This small yet mighty device is a great ally for radio broadcasters and podcasters who are looking for a simple device packed with a bunch of options. The fact that it’s incredibly lightweight makes it perfect for on the go recording or broadcasting. The simple plug & play functionality means that you don’t need to download any additional software to get it up and running.
We really love the side chain and noise reducer, they are both great features that can really help your content sound more professional. The sound pads are also a great tool for easily inserting audio snippets without having to fiddle around on your computer, or adding them in manually post-production. The pitch and reverb presets are, in our opinion, not incredibly useful and it’s a shame that you can’t modify the intensity of these effects.
Overall, if you’re looking for a portable, intuitive audio interface for audio broadcasting or recording, the Maonocaster could very well be the solution that you’re looking for!
Frequently Asked Questions
We want to thank Maono for sending us this equipment to test. You can check out the Maonocaster C2 NEO here!