- Outstanding recording quality.
- Very high build quality.
- Rubber feet on the stand are welcome.
- The unboxing experience was high quality and pleasant.
- Fantastic at focusing on voice.
- Useful smart dial.
- Low noise and reverb recordings.
- High-accuracy voice with a rich base and detailed mids and treble.
- True plug-and-play.
- The recorded sound quality is fantastic straight out of the box.
- None worth mentioning.
As a content creator and website owner, I’m always recording my voice.
Whether for YouTube videos, podcasts, or courses, my voice is constantly being digitized.
But, this vast amount of recorded voice creates a huge productivity problem.
I don’t have a professional recording studio hidden under a trap door in my house. I record, this is the honest truth, in my bedroom. This is because it’s far from the main road in front of my house. And, after all, bedrooms tend to have plenty of soft furnishings to help absorb reverberation.
Talk about a recording studio on a budget!
This lack of pro recording facilities means I have to spend hours cleaning up any voice recording I make.
Having done this cleaning process for way too many years now, there had to be a better way. And there is.
The better way is the Maono PD400X.
The PD400X is Maono’s top-of-the-line professional-grade XLR microphone.
It promised to take my sound recordings to the next level and end my days wasted cleaning up poor recordings.
In the following sections, I’ll look at the Maono PD400X’s unboxing experience, the product’s build quality, and the recorded sound quality.
However, before I start, I want to make one thing clear. I am not a professional recording artist or sound engineer. I’ll give you an honest review, given that I am an amateur in voice and sound recording.
With that out of the way, let’s get started with the unboxing.
As with all the hardware I review on CareerGamers, I always like to start with the unboxing experience.
A product’s unboxing experience sets a precedent for the expected value of a product. The unboxing experience is often the first touch point a user will have with the product, especially in this digital age where we buy products off the internet from halfway around the world.
A high-quality unboxing experience immediately communicates that a company cares about its product.
Fortunately, the unboxing experience of the PD400X is, as far as microphones go, excellent.
Upon receiving the PD400X, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the box it comes in is. The graphic designers who developed the brand style for Maono need to pay raise.
They have stylishly used a beautiful blend of black and Maono yellow colors to accentuate the product. The yellow is a gorgeous “sunflowers in summer” yellow that’s deep and warming, just like the sound this microphone produces.
As I tickled the box’s lid off, the product revealed itself. The microphone and its family of accessories were hugged in foam, snuggly protected from the trial and trepidations of modern shipping.
The first thing I noted, even before I pulled any of the products out, was that there wasn’t a single piece of plastic packaging in sight. Bravo Maono. In a world where plastic packaging needs to end, it’s good to see companies as high profile as Maono making an effort to end plastic waste.
Moving back to the actual product, the first thing my eyes were drawn to is the instruction booklet. This booklet, about twice the size of a credit card, is surprisingly high quality in its construction and content. The instructions inside come in full-color print and provide an easy reference when setting up the microphone. While flicking through its pages, I was impressed by the level of detail in the instructions, with different features graphically represented and explained.
However, one disappointment regarding the manual is that it doesn’t really have a home in the box. When I slid the lid off, the manual was floating on top of all the hardware and foam. Sadly, the corners of the manual had caught some of the foam insert’s cutouts and folded back on themselves. This makes the manual look untidy and shabby. It could’ve easily been remedied by creating an extra cutout in the foam insert for the manual.
Okay, enough about foam and manuals. What about the actual hardware?
The following hardware was included in the box. The microphone, the microphone stand, a foam wind protector, an XLR cable, and a USB-C to USB-C cable.
On the first inspection, all the components were machined to the highest quality. I’ll be touching on the build quality of the components in the next section.
Overall, the PD400X offered an enjoyable unboxing experience. It created a pleasing start to the PD400X’s narrative, an opening that made me hungry for more.
When it comes to hardware, build quality is one of the greatest tells of how a piece of hardware will perform. If a company has invested a lot of money to ensure the general build quality of a product is high, you can be sure that the product’s functionality will at least match that quality.
That’s why I dedicate a section to its build quality whenever I review a product.
Fortunately, in this case, the PD400X is exemplary.
Taking the PD400X microphone into my hand, I immediately felt the quality Maono set the goal of reaching.
After 30+ years of tinkering with PCs, consoles, and other technology, my fingers have become attuned to the tell-tale details of high-quality component construction. And honestly, danced with delight as they explored the PD400X’s every nook and crevice.
The microphone is a precisely machined steel cylinder that houses all the professional-grade electronics. On picking up the microphone, I couldn’t help but notice the heft of the thing. This microphone weight boastfully communicates the sheer amount of material that went into its construction.
But what about all the dials and buttons that call the microphone their home? Well, I’m happy to report they continue the PD400X’s trend of quality.
The smart dial on the front of the microphone can raise and lower the microphone’s gain and headphone volume. The dial is handy when using the microphone because you can conveniently change basic settings with a couple of clicks and twists.
One problem I noticed with this though, however, is that whenever you click the dial to change which setting you’re affecting, that quick is audible in your recording. It’s a shame Maono couldn’t have separated the dial auditorially from the microphone’s body to eliminate this transmission of sound. But I understand this is a problem all microphones suffer from.
When adjusting the dial, a clock face of LED lights flickered to life around the dial. These LED lights changed color depending on what I was trying to adjust. This is just a simple, perhaps skin-deep feature. But it looks lovely in practice.
Additionally, the microphone has a capacitive mute button. This button changes color when pressed to indicate whether the microphone is muted. This button works fine. However, I would have preferred a physical button as sometimes the angles you use the microphone make it hard to press the capacitive button.
And the build quality isn’t limited to the actual microphone. For example, the microphone comes with an extremely sturdy screw-in stand. A microphone like this should use a microphone boom to limit reverberation.
However, I prefer to have the mic standing on my desk.
Fortunately for me, the microphone stand is incredibly easy to install. Also, it’s heavy, so it doesn’t get moved easily by the thick cables, and it has rubberized feet to keep it firmly in place.
Maono has also taken the time to pack in a foam wind muffler. It’s easy to install onto the microphone. You pull the wind muffler over the top of the microphone until it is snuggly fitted to the base of the mesh. This wind muffler does an admirable job of defeating pop and wind sounds. When installed on the microphone, I noticed increased clarity and quality in the recording.
Overall, I’m thrilled with the Maono PD400X’s build quality. Maono should be very proud of what they’ve achieved here.
Before talking about the sound quality, I want to address the usability of the microphone.
For starters, the PD400X is a bonafide plug-and-play peripheral. You can take the USB cable, plug one into the bottom of the mic on the other end into your MacBook, and the microphone will work instantly.
There’s no messing around with settings and no hunting for answers in the manual. Within seconds, your sound recording quality will jump from echo-filled and baseless to rich, smooth, and sophisticated.
This microphone is indeed a sound studio in a steel cylinder.
Yes, you can ditch the USB-C and hook up the microphone via XLR cable to an XLR amp, such as Manono’s E2. All very professional! But, honestly, to my admittedly untrained ears, I didn’t notice any difference between the USB-C and XLR connection. Go figure!
However, I understand that many professional-grade amps and speaker systems use an XLR connection. So the XLR connection is a welcome one.
Moving on, the PD400X also comes equipped with what Maono has branded as a smart dial. Now, don’t go expecting this thing to be doing your taxes any time soon! It’s not that kind of smart.
But the dial is useful. You can change the gain, the volume of the attached headphones, or both simultaneously with a click and twist of the dial. For an extra flourish of style, Maono has included a clock face of LEDs to communicate the volume and gain levels on the microphone. This clock face of LEDs changes color depending on which setting you adjust. It works beautifully in practice and is an elegant solution for on-mic controls.
Overall, I think the usability of the microphone was good. But, most importantly, the microphone produced high-quality recordings without having to fiddle with it.
No microphone review would be complete without discussing its sound recording quality.
Quite frankly, the PD400X delivers outstanding audio quality for its price point. I cannot stress enough how smooth, bold, and noise-free the sound recordings are. The PD400X produced studio-quality recordings that easily rival some of the best audiobook recordings I have ever heard.
The quality of the recordings easily surpassed Maono E2 microphone.
Though I recorded the sound in my office/bedroom, the microphone’s team of hardware and software did a fantastic job of isolating my voice from the environment and placing it boldly to the front and center of the recording.
Bear in mind now that my room is not soundproof. You can hear the grumble of traffic and the pitched twitter of birds as I write this. The city ambiance is usually inescapable. Yet the PD400X is the key that lets my voice break free of the clanging urban cage and replace it with soft serenity.
What a feat of both hardware and software married together in perfect harmony to create a soundscape to rival any foam-padded sound studio.
Lastly, the PD400X is a superb choice for voice dictation. I use voice dictation daily for hours to dictate my articles’ first drafts. Usually, I get a Dictation accuracy of around 90% with my MacBook. But, with the PD400X plugged in and doting on my every word, the dictation accuracy rockets to 97%. That’s three errors out of a possible 100. Or, to put it another way, that’s a 70% drop in errors compared to the built-in microphone in my MacBook Pro.
So, with the PD400X, you have a microphone that can produce studio-quality audio for your podcasts and one that can instantly increase productivity when dictating by 70%. This is the microphone that keeps giving in every content creation area.
The Maono PD400X microphone is a triumph of hardware and software engineering. The build quality of the unit would have Apple engineers nodding in approval. And the sound recording quality would have YouTubers and podcasters worldwide questioning their investments in their sound studios. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars building a studio when you can buy the PD400X for $200? Yeah, I don’t understand, either.
As far as I’m concerned, for creating content, I’ve never experienced recording quality as good as the Maono PD400X.
To give you some idea of how good this microphone is, the PD400X blows. The blue Yeti is recording quality out of the water. Yeti produces nowhere near the PD400X’s sound clarity and depth. I mean, it’s not even a competition.
The Yeti’s sound is, dare I say it, tiny and hollow in comparison. That’s saying something, considering how good the Yeti microphone is.
That’s why I have no hesitation in rewarding Maono’s PD400X a coveted 5/5 score on CareerGamers. At the $200 price point, microphones don’t get any better. The PD400X has established a permanent home on my desk.
If you think the PD400X might be the right microphone for you, take a look at its product page here.