With the industry of podcasting and online streaming becoming the new vibe, the technology used in this regard has also been evolving rapidly. In their early days, podcasts and video streams were delivered with mere second-hand equipment. Back then a down to earth camera and external mic went a long distance. The competitive nature of our world, however, is demanding we use top-tier devices to produce near professional level content. For the topic of our discussion, this means you need a high-quality microphone for your production.
As we see more these days, during such recordings we prefer more flexibility and to have our hands free in various productions. It makes us feel more natural and viewers can relate far easier than when there is a large microphone in the picture.
In such cases you will need a wireless microphone to talk freely without any devices getting in your way, and even moving around with the cameraman following your steps throughout your on-the-field production. I know that some may have this reservation that wireless microphones may be a tad expensive. But we have come a long way and there are good options out there to choose from.
So let’s get down to business and talk about the Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System. Upgrading from the original Maono WM820 dual-mic system, this new device is designed as a modular mic system, with a single receiver and wearable transmitter(s). You can use the built-in mic or the attached lavalier mics. For those who want to move around, the 50-meter/165 feet range will be more than enough. Maono is described by many as a unique streamline solution and a “budget brand” and the dual transmitter package ranges at around $149, while the single transmitter package can be found at around $99.
To get a proper understanding of the Maono wireless mic system, let’s dive into the details and its performance. Audio quality, microphone setup, and connecting to your preferred devices will be the topics of this piece.
There are several components on the Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System, consisting of three primary ones: two transmitters and one receiver. At a first glance one may be confused as the square black housings of both the transmitter and receiver look quite similar, and both are the size of an AirPod case.
By the way, for those who may be familiar with the Røde GO Wireless Microphones, they look a bit similar to the Maonos, while the latter is a bit more sleeky. While honestly, the Maono could have borrowed the Røde idea of planting a small LCD screen to indicate the microphone level on the transmitter.
They are attached to your clothing with spring-loaded clips on their backs that are simple to use while firm in their place. Don’t worry about their weight, as they’re only one ounce a piece and will not disrupt your attire. However, the very look of a somewhat large black box on your clothes may not suit all users when they see their raw or edited version of their video productions.
One major plus for the Maono wireless mics is the fact that their simple design makes them quite easy to use without needing any other attachments or extra wires. These mics are ideal for solo podcasts or interviews, live streams, and many other recording applications that are becoming popular these days.
The two LED status indicators on the top of the case consist of:
- a blue led, telling you the transmitter/receiver are linked or paired
- a white led, informing you the device batteries are charging
To distinguish the transmitters from the receiver you will notice a built-in mic along with a 3.5mm aux port (for a lavalier mic) on the transmitters. The receiver, however, has two similar aux ports, with the right one used for a headphone and the left, while not labeled, is also an audio out port.
Both transmitters and receivers have a row of three round buttons on their left sides. The top button for both is the on/off button, while the middle button for the transmitters is for muting the mic, and pairing is done through the bottom button. Now on the receiver, you can control the volume with the middle and bottom buttons. Pressing them both simultaneously activates the pairing sequence.
Both the transmitters and receivers are charged with a USB Type-C port on the bottom of their cases. The charger is a unique three-way splitter, with one end consisting of a single USB Type-A plug, and the other end providing three Type-C pigtails, allowing you to charge all your components simultaneously. If the batteries are completely drained a solid two hours will be needed to reach full charge. A 100 percent battery will provide an approximate six hours of constant recording. One main plus is that this mic system relieves you of the pains of dealing with disposable or rechargeable batteries.
The accessories provided by Maono alongside the devices include a pair of clip-on lavalier mics, along with a set of win-proof mic covers that, while cute and fluffy, are quite effective in all but muting the wind during your outdoor recordings. You are also provided with a pair of coiled 3.5mm aux cables necessary to connect to a recording device, be it your camera or smartphone. A small faux leather zipper pouch is also quite handy when you need to carry your equipment around.
On the lavalier mics, Maono has provided a well put-together set and you will come to realize that the wind-proof mic covers are a must have when recording outdoors.
This is where things become very interesting. Audio quality has the final word when you want to choose a microphone with excellent features. At the end of the day, the Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System provides a unique excellence in audio quality, especially when it comes to recording outdoors.
Simply put, this Maono mic provides a clear and distinct quality that makes it stand out and be considered top quality in its field. Recording with Maono makes editing far easier, most specially when your sound editor seeks to filter out ambient noises and hissing. All the while, your voice is crystal clear thanks to the omnidirectional feature of these mics, meaning it can take up sound from all sides. This helps in focusing on the message you want to send while allowing you to deliver content with the preferred body language knowing the mic will pick up your audio in professional manner. The Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System allows you to speak naturally and freely, no matter how you choose to move your head around. Every word will be picked up by the microphones.
One quick thought. In comparison to more expensive and professional microphones used in studios, etc., you will be noticing a somewhat compression in the sound quality when using the WM820. As expected, more professional microphones will provide you a fuller, or maybe richer, sound experience. However, many of us lack the budget to purchase such sophisticated microphones.
You do have to keep in consideration that these mics tend to also pick up some clothing noise. While not always something you need to worry about, it may be an issue in colder environments where you would be using a wind protector for the mics and be wearing more clothing that may be considered “noisy” and tend to rub together. It is amazing how effective these little fur balls are in both filtering out noise caused by the wind and clothing noise.
While some may be concerned about how these mics will respond to different voices and frequencies, there is nothing to worry about here. The Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System delivers rich and clear sounds, no matter if you have a higher or lower frequency spectrum. The performance is quite good when it comes to recording voices. Yet do keep in consideration that this vocal mic may not perform all that well in recording various musical instruments.
With the WM820 you can work with a 22-level gain adjustment, being a serious upgrade from the previous WM820 model that had only a six-level gain adjustment. The people at Maono realized that wasn’t satisfying for all users, especially when they learned the painstakingly challenging editing process it resulted in.
That issue is resolved with the WM820 with you being able to adjust the precise gain level you will need for specific projects. And while we’re at it, you should also know that thanks to the WM820’s live monitoring function you can plug headphones into the receiver’s audio out jack to listen to your recording live.
One last technical thought is that with the Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System you will not be able to separate the audio tracks between the two transmitters. Other systems, such as the Boya, have a special feature allowing you to allocate transmitter A to the left audio track of your file while transmitter B records on the right audio track of your file. Such a feature would be good if you wish to isolate who is speaking onto the microphone. That is not available with the Maono system, yet the good sound quality compensates for this shortcoming and it can be resolved with a bit of editing creativity.
Setup and Compatibility
To set up the microphone system you will need to first turn on the receiver along with at least one of the transmitters. Connect the preferred external mic and you are set for the pairing process. Now, you just need to press and hold the pairing button on both the transmitter and receiver simultaneously. In just mere seconds the two devices will link up and recording will begin. Simply press the transmitter’s mute button to stop the recording temporarily.
Once paired, your connection will remain intact up to a distance of 50 meters, or around 165 feet. Maono’s 2.4GHz connection relieves you of maintaining line of sight between the transmitter(s) and receiver. However, know that significant obstacles, such as brick walls, will shorten the range to some extent.
Signal stability is one of the main features that gives the WM820 the edge in this market. This stability, despite having two different transmitters, is quite impressive to say the least. Achieving stability with single transmitter systems is nothing to brag about. With two transmitter connected, however, stability becomes equally reliable thanks to the WM820’s upgraded circuitry.
The receiver is connected to your referred recording device, be it a computer, laptop, tablet, a compatible smartphone, or a camera using its 3.5mm aux port. And, what I really appreciated is the fact that no new app is needed to be installed to record with the Maono wireless mics. There are two labelled cables to differentiate from various recording devices, including cameras and smartphones. To use the cable with more recent smartphones you will most likely need an Apple Lightning or Android USB-C adapter. From this point forward you only need a recording software to do the rest.
Regarding the pouch, the larger version provided for the dual wireless system was far better and allowed all the necessary accessories to fit in comparison to the smaller pouch provided for the single wireless system. And in my honest opinion, maybe Maono should think about beefing up the pouch a bit to provide more protection for the devices inside because, not myself, but there are people who usually throw such pouches into a larger backpack, for example, and it would be best to make the Maono pouches a bit stronger to withstand the demands.
The Maono WM820 Dual Wireless Microphone System is a very capable mic kit, especially in outdoor recordings. The high-quality lavalier mics and dual transmitters provide you the ability to record high-quality audio in almost any environment. Afterwards, editing will be easier than ever thanks to the 22-step gain increase.
So, to make a long story short, the WM820 is an ideal mic for recording outdoor YouTube or TikTok videos. For me, it was quite a pleasure.