The AU-AM200-S1 is the latest all-in-one podcast solution kit from Maono, hot off the heels of their AU-AM100-K1 (which won a CES Innovation Award in CES 2021) Maono aim to bring audio producing solutions at a much more affordable price, coming in at £99.99.
**The AU-AM200-S1 was reviewed using hardware provided and sent to us by Maono, but in no way influenced the review.
The AM200-S1 is essentially both a mixer and audio interface in one, much like TC Helicon’s GO XLR, but at a much lower price point than both the GO XLR and GO XLR Mini.
The AM200-S1 looks great, and is a little larger than I expected, but feels very robust and premium. The front of the device is taken up by all the various dials, faders and buttons, and definitely looks the part.
Maono as always provide a wealth of extras in the box, and they really set you ready to go, providing you with:
XLR to 3.5mm cable
x2 3.5mm cables
x1 USB-Type C OTG cable
x1 USB-C to USB-A charge/connect cable
The faders and dials feel really good, with a good amount of weight to them, so it doesn’t feel like you’re pushing thin air – they actually feel like they’re doing something, which isn’t always the case with faders.
There are 12 buttons in the center, 8 of these are pre-loaded sound effects (applause, laughter etc) and the bottom four are available as custom sound effects.
To the right of these you’ll find your effect/action buttons:
These perform as you would expect, pitch changes the tone of your voice, from a female, to a male, to a baby, to a robot and so on, whilst effect changes the output style, and denoise removes any unwanted extra sound in the room.
And for the most part, these work really well, and are fun little additions to the setup, but switching between them can be a little cumbersome – you press the button until the desired effect loads up, which is fast, but having to press a button four times to get back to the one you want is a little finicky.
Above the center buttons you’ll see a touch sensitive panel, that allows you to play around in octaves and give yourself the auto-tune voice all the Tik-Tok kids love – it’s not for everyone, but it’s good fun.
Around the back of the device, you’ll find all the connectivity ports:
Phone Output 1
Phone Output 2
Phone Output 3
That’s certainly a good number of ports, but it’s worth noting that the AM200-S1 does not take USB or XLR inputs – something we’ll touch on shortly.
I’m not fully sure on the model of the microphone Maono bundle with the AM200-S1, but it doesn't feel as premium as the AU-PM320S we looked at previously – but still, it does the job, and it comes bundled in the box, and not many (if any) mixers/interfaces come complete with a microphone, especially for under £100.
Sound wise it performs really well - a lot better than I expected a bundled microphone to sound, and I would be more than happy to record a podcast with it.
As mentioned, there is no XLR support on the AM200-S1, and whilst you are able to connect your own using the supplied cable, bare in mind that any microphones that require phantom power to function wont get the juice from the AM200, so you’ll need to supply your own.
Moving back to the front of the device, the big eye catching dials fill out the sides of the panel, the left for your microphone, and the right for controlling music, with the four small dials in the middle taking care of highs, lows and mids, and a separate dial to control recording volume.
These are all great and feel really good to use, with a satisfying bit of heft to them, and under these are the three LED bars that allow you to monitor sound, and see any clippings going on.
A really neat feature for a portable podcast studio, is the ability to connect devices via bluetooth or 3.5mm jacks, and bring music into the mix. The large dial on the top right allows you to control the volume of the music, and it's a really cool way to keep your production high on the go.
I really genuinely love the AM200-S1 - it's a fun and easy to use addition to any podcast set-up, and if I was to add anything, it would be full XLR support (and phantom power), and the ability to control two microphone independently.
But these are fairly minor gripes for an otherwise excellent product.