The Maono AU-PM320S is a one-person podcast solution in one handy box - providing you've got the equipment to use it.
**The MAONO AU-PM320S was reviewed using hardware provided and sent to us by Maono, but in no way influenced the review.
In the glorious world of XLR microphones, you have a plethora of options to choose from - but whilst USB mic's are easy plug-and-play devices, XLR's require more equipment to get them up and running - but the sound quality is almost always better, and absolutely worth it.
The AU-PM320S from Maono hopes to help get you on the XLR team, and also provide you with a good quality and great value mic, but does it hit the right notes?
Inside the box, you have a great deal of contents, very generously provided by Maono:
- Boom Arm & Desk Clamp
- Shock Mount
- Pop Filter
- Wind Sock
- XLR Cable
That's an impressive list of goodies for the £68.99 asking price - a lot of the more expensive XLR microphones don't even come with an XLR cable, so on value alone the PM320S gets some brownie points.
The PM320S sports an all-metal constructed design, very reminiscent of mic's like the Audio Technica AT2020 and Rode Nt1, and doesn't have any LED indicators on the body. Whilst the design isn't groundbreaking, it's still an aesthetically pleasing look, and the brushed black metal gives off a nice premium feel, with a good amount of heft to it when held.
Setting up the PM320S is straightforward, clamping the boom arm to your desk,, screwing the shock mount, then sliding in the mic (Note: the shockmount was very tight at first, but after the initial install, I was able to remove the mic in and out with no problems) then opting for either the wind sock or pop filter. I attached the XLR to the PM320S and then connected it to my Behringer U-PHORIA UMC204HD Audio Interface.
As the PM320S is an XLR microphone, you're going to need either an audio interface or mixer in order to use it, and if neither of them produce 48V of phantom power, then you're going to need to pick up a 48V Phantom Power Supply adapter (like the very capable Aokeo 1). The UMC204HD provides 48V of Phantom Power, so it was simply a matter of launching Adobe Audtion, and selecting the mic.
The PM320S has a custom-engineered low-mass 16mm diaphragm that Maono claims provides extended frequency response and superior transient response range - from the recording below, I found whilst the PM320S does have excellent range, it didn't feel quite as warm as my AT2020, but with a bit of tweaking using EACA (Equalisation, Amplify, Compression, Amplify) you'd be able to make a much richer sound in post.
The Maono PM320S has a lot of things going for it, and I would put it's direct competitors being the likes of the Neewer NW-700 and UHURU XM-900, which I feel it far outperforms - but, it's £68.99 price does put it closer to the likes of the Audio Technica AT2020 and MXL 770, which unfortunately it doesn't quite hit the same levels of richness.
That being said, if you're venturing into XLR territory for the fist time, the PM320S is an absolutely fantastic mic, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better value solution.
Check out the AU-PM320S: