Current testing methodology is v1.2
August 25, 2022
11.06 x 9.92 x 3.66 in
For you regular readers, you know that I recently reviewed the DM30 microphone from Maono. It is pitched as a gaming microphone but it was more than sufficient for videoconferencing calls, audio calls, and even a little bit of music.
The build quality is all steel, plus it has fantastic LED lights, great bass, and good accompanying software.
Given its price point, it’s definitely one of the better microphones for doing what it does.
I was especially keen to review the Maono PD400X microphone, which is a USB and XLR dynamic mic, with a cardioid pattern that’s similar to the DM30 but executed quite differently.
Maono PD400X Microphone
Solid and full sound, bringing a more affordable Podcasting microphone option to the market
I’ve had the MV7 or SM7B in my sights for a while but the Maono PD400X has provided a solid sound for podcasting, YouTube videos, voice overs, Loom tutorials and more – for a lot less money.
I only wish I had got the Maono boom arm with it as my spring loaded desktop mic isn’t as strong as I’d like.
The pop stopper may not look as attractive as others but it does the trick.
You have USB-C and XLR inputs so you can choose direct to your computer or go via a USB interface or mixing desk.
I really like this microphone with one exception, that being the placement of the mute touch-sensitive controls which I am always accidentally touching.
Listen to the sound samples below to decide yourselves.
- Connectivity Technology: USB, XLR
- Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
- Power Source: Corded Electric
- Special Feature: Software, EQ Switch,Tap-to-Mute, Headphone Jack, Mic Gain, Volume Control, Monitor Mix, Stand
- Compatible Devices: Desktop/Laptop/Computer/PS4/PS5/MAC OS/WINDOWS
What’s in the Box?
- XLR Cable
- USB-C Cable
- Premium Windscreen
- Stand Base
Stuff I like
- Solid, deep sound
- XLR and USB-C connectivity options
- Visual signal VU type metering on the front of the microphone as you talk
- Volume, Gain and mixing controls easily accessed from the multi-button on the front
- Companion software is a nice addition with additional controls
- Looks great
- Headphone monitoring
- High Pass Filter, Presence Boost options on the microphone and in the software
Stuff I like less
- Mute button placement is tricky – I find myself hitting it by accident
The Maono PD400X is a real step up. It has become a hit in the market where Shure is currently dominating with the SM7B, which is an XLR microphone that has been around for donkey’s years and is a bit of an industry-standard go-to.
The same goes for the Shure SM58 and the more recently released Shure MV7, which is a USB microphone specifically for recording, live streaming, and gaming.
The Maono PD400X comes in a lot cheaper. But the question is really whether it can compete with the Shure or does it fall short.
Upon receiving the Maono box, I was super impressed with the finish, which you’ll see in the HD photos. The packaging is well put together and as with the DM30, I was super impressed that they included such a solid desktop stand.
The build quality is impressive and it’s still an all-metal casing.
In the box, everything you need is there, which includes a USB cable, an XLR cable, a pop stopper, the microphone, and the stand.
Screwing the stand on and putting it on my desk, it does look pretty awesome out of the box. The machining and the finish are quite attractive, so my first impressions were all positive in terms of the look and the build quality.
I decided to focus on the USB input, as I expect that most people who are buying this for podcasting will probably use a USB input, although many of you do have XLR audio interfaces, which does alter the sound slightly.
How does the Maono PD400x sound?
I did a few tests on the Maono PD400x which I’ve included below. Have a listing and vote with your thoughts
Maono PD400X Microphone Test – No Pop Stopper
Maono PD400X Microphone Test – With Pop Stopper
Maono PD400X Microphone Test – Guitar Only
Maono PD400X Microphone Test – Guitar + Vocals (rather poor ones)
The PD400X has a cardioid polar pattern. As a lot of cardioid microphones are designed for, the correct positioning for the microphone is not to speak into the front of it, but to speak more into the end of the microphone.
It has both an XLR and USB input option at the bottom of the microphone. It also has a 3.5-mill headphone jack, which you can use for monitoring while doing your recordings.
On the front, there’s a knob dial control, and around the outside of that, there are small USB lights. I love that as you speak into the microphone, the USB lights light up like a VU meter, to let you know if you’re a little bit too close or far away.
It’s basically a signal strength or a reflection of the gain of the microphone. This lets you know whether you might be peaking or not getting enough signal into the microphone at all.
Above that is the mute button, which is a touch-sensitive panel built into the top of the microphone. This works well and strikes a strong red light when you’re muted. When you tap it again, it has a nice, bright green light.
When you tap the mute button to make it live, you’ll also see that the VU lights and the LED lights around the knob also light up, because they’ll start picking up a signal.
The sensitivity of the mute button isn’t perfect. It sometimes takes a couple of touches to activate it.
One small thing to note
The only cautionary tale that I have about this microphone is that sometimes when you go to adjust the positioning of the mic, your hand might naturally touch the mute button, which activates or deactivates it. So that’s something to watch out for.
That’s probably the only gripe I had with the PD400X in all of my testing.
The 3-in-1 digital knob at the front is pretty cool. If you have it on when you start up, it’s just in mic mode. The microphone will be the lit LED symbol just above the digital knob itself.
When you dial it up and down, you’re adjusting the microphone gain, which is a way of controlling whether you’re too loud or too soft.
If you click it a second time, it switches over to a dark blue headphone icon, and this is your headphone volume control.
So if you are using headphones out the bottom of the microphone to do your monitoring, this is where you can adjust the volume of the recording in your headphones.
this is so you won’t be too loud or too soft, but just right, as the three bears put it.
If you hit the button for a third time, both the microphone and the headphone LED light up, and then this is a mix monitoring.
There’s one of the LED lights in the circular area around the knob that will light up purple. If you dial to the right, it will give you more microphones in your ear. If you dial to the left, then you’ll hear more monitoring in your ear.
On the bottom of the Maono PD400X, there are also some filter options. At the bottom, there’s a button and three green LED lights.
By default, the green light will be on the flat indicator. This means that the microphone is operating at a flat frequency response, or a relatively neutral response, taking in and outputting all of what it’s hearing.
If you hit it once, you’ll get a high-pass filter, which starts to drop out a little bit of the deep lower end. This could be useful, depending on the kind of recording you’re doing.
To hear the effect of it, you can always use your headphones. You can monitor the output of the microphone.
After the high-pass filter, there’s a presence boost, which is indicated by a line with a lump in the middle of it.
Presence boost tries to pick up around the 3k to 6k frequency range, which helps boost or create some presence around those vocal frequency ranges. This helps improve the overall vocal brightness.
You can play around with these, depending on how you’re using the microphone, to get the best effect.
If you’re running straight in from USB into your computer, or monitoring or recording software, then using this button may be a good way to provide quick options for sculpting the overall response and internal balance of the microphone.
The PD400X sounds really good. At the time of publishing, it was $100 cheaper than its rival, the Shure MV7.
With the addition of the XLR or USB options, it takes a step forward, because you have more options in terms of connectivity.
The audio response, if you’re using XLR compared to USB-C, is different. If you have a mixing desk or a USB interface that offers XLR input, then you may find that you’d get a better output using the XLR cables.
The accompanying pop stopper, foam cone, wind blocker, or whatever you want to call it, is not particularly attractive. It also doesn’t have a very svelte feel to it, but it achieves what it needs to do. It also provides some protection from any popping that might occur over the front of the microphone.
With podcasting, because you tend to be right up on the microphone, you will reduce any risk of having popping sounds over the cardioid mic diaphragm.
This is where it’s important to have some monitoring headphones, anything you’ve got, even if it’s just earbuds. This is to ensure that what’s coming through the microphone is exactly how you want it to sound.
This is a recording of the microphone without the pop stopper, and I’ll talk through what I’m doing in the recording itself. Make sure you let me know what you think of the sound.
This is a recording with the pop-stopper foam cone on the top of the microphone. I’ll also discuss in the audio recording what I’m doing there.
The Maono PD400X is an excellent microphone for the price. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, I don’t see any need to upgrade to the MV7 from Shure.
The PD400X has the XLR and USB-C options and it has built-in dynamic filters that you can play with.
You have the headphone, the gain, and the monitoring mix available on the dial on the microphone itself. Plus you have an easy-to-reach mute and active button.
The stand is solid and works fantastically. If you would like to mount it on a boom arm, then that’s certainly possible, as I’ve demonstrated in the HD photos above.
I look forward to doing more recordings with this microphone, and will probably throw out some podcast recordings with it.
If you need to alter the dynamic mix, then that’s also an option if you’re going to run it through a mixing desk, USB interface, or any kind of audio interface.
If you want to tweak the mids to highs, then you can during or post-recording through a mixing desk.
Hats off to Maono for also building something that looks good and feels really good. I think the value for money on this is excellent.
Is it an MV7 killer? I don’t know if I could say that, but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this if your budget is anywhere under $200 for a podcasting microphone.
The accompanying software just tops it off nicely, and this will be a permanent fixture in my studio moving forward.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.