Diving into the Maono PD400X combo USB/XLR microphone

Maono PD400X microphone
Maono PD400X microphone

Following my latest review of the Maonocaster E2 A TikMic Kit, also known as the Maonocaster E2 Single Mic Bundle, Maono was kind enough to reach out and send me one of their latest microphones, the PD400X USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone, also dubbed the Podcast Dynamic Microphone. While the E2 interface does come with a provided microphone, there is always room for improvement as you upgrade your work in today’s competitive world.

There are many out there eager to get their feet wet in the ever-growing and evolving world of streaming, launching a YouTube channel, and podcasting. And there are experienced players looking to take their game to the next level. This all-in-one microphone designed for content creators is looking to be the perfect choice for many. 

Most of us are usually budget-forced to begin our endeavor with modest equipment, while eager to quickly join the group of successful podcasters, YouTubers, streamers, and even online gamers. As we grow into this project, we come to realize the inevitable that enhancing our level of work is extremely necessary to remain competitive. 

Finding the right equipment is key and arguably the paramount device in this field of work is a microphone. As more of us are working from home or in a remote environment, more people are doing audio recordings these days, and many other activities are springing up recently that involve the audio business. Naturally, the demand for microphones and other audio equipment is on the rise. To make a long story short, the Maono PD400X USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone has been designed to meet the demands of most of us out there while providing an impressive number of tools to develop your experience. This includes singing, gaming, and streaming, along with taking advantage of the USB-C connectivity to plug into a PC or mobile device for online chats, podcasting video conferences, and other fields involving audio content creation.

In this review, I will take a look at the pros and cons of the Maono PD400X microphone and provide you with a decent picture of what you will receive with the aim of helping you choose what is right for you and your field of work.

Let’s unpack


The PD400X is a pretty down-to-earth set consisting of a professional microphone, a pop filter, base, XLR cable, and finally a USB-A to USB-C cable. The microphone has a firm, all-metal body, making it a heavy build that gives you a sense of quality, durability, and stability. I have to give it to Maono that the PD400X design is quite clean and delivers a premium feel. 

The specialized feel continues with the boom mic cover perfectly fitting over the microphone portion. You will find one single knob on top of the microphone. Maono describes this as a “smart knob” with three installed functions allowing you to switch between microphone gain, headphone volume, and monitor mix (determining how much you hear your own voice and the source).

Further above you’ll find a traditional green-red on/off touch button enabling you to mute the PD400X. You may experience that this touch button is not too responsive, but it is nice to have that option available and you’ll get the feel of it easily. The two microphone inputs are obscured on the bottom of the microphone, and you most likely will not notice them while in use. The XLR, USB-C, and AUX (3.5mm) inputs are placed next to a button found on the bottom of the PD400X. The button allows you to swap between the four available equalization options.

All in all, the custom-made premium dynamic capsule, built-in shock mount, and classic end-address design provide you with a professional and flexible feel that helps you deliver the best quality sound in your content.

Easy setup

pdx400 microphone

Getting right into recording with your new PD400X microphone is relatively easy and straightforward. The heavy base, which I found to be quite necessary, is in line with the clean and professional design delivered by Maono. Coming at 3.5 inches (9cm) wide and .4 inches (1cm) tall, the base screws easily into the mount that the microphone is attached to. For me working at a desk, this works out fine; and even more so for those who are working on the go. However, do keep in mind that the base has a bit of a wobble response to various movements, so you will need a firm foundation to place your microphone on.

However, Maono is specifically recommending using the PD400X with a boom mic arm. There is a variety from which you can choose from, depending on your need and budget. Maono offers the AU-B01 at around $25 which can provide for many users out there. Maono’s BA90 was specifically designed with the PD400X in mind and has upgraded to an improved aesthetic.

Being a combo USB/XLR microphone, you can use the built-in soundcard if you want to just connect straight into your PC or you can plug it into your favorite audio interface.

Now that you have everything installed, let’s dig in and see how this microphone performs.


maonocaster pdx400 gaming

The PD400X provides you flexibility with both XLR and USB-c connections. This enormously important option allows all types of users to consider this microphone as their ideal choice for various assignments. And what you get is straightforward connecting like any other famous USB Plug-and-Play device. Of course, using the included cable from Maono would be advised. However, don’t consider yourself limited to any such restriction. Any similar cable will do. 

Calibrating, however, is crucially important to fit the PD400X to your demands. There is a dial that illuminates briefly with colored lights indicating what function you are currently editing. The bottom lights are similar tasks being carried for the equalization option. In case of any doubts regarding the setting, you merely need to connect a pair of headphones and go through a short series of tests until the desired sound is found. 

There are different takes regarding Maono’s smart knob, and I’m still undecided about its pros and cons. However, the Maono Link is a software that I recommend for PD400X users to handle the functions plus an array of other goodies.

User-friendly and available on PC and macOS, and also available on mobile devices, the Maono Link is excellent for beginners out there and also those considering themselves intermediate by now. Standard downloading and installation is all you need before connecting to your PD400X. Afterward, you will see on your screen standard and advanced options.

The standard panel consists of the three knob functions, with simplification of the tone to deliver the quality and volume of your source sound. There are also different settings available according to your usual distance from the microphone.

The advanced panel is comprised of all the above-mentioned options, aside from the tone which is replaced by the actual equalization options. You are also provided the ability to alter the gain, limiter, and compressor.

All the alterations you make in the app are reflected directly on the PD400X. Therefore, different lights will be illuminated if you change the equalization option, the mute, volume, and so on. The main advantage of the app that caught my attention is how the process is simplified by the user-friendly setup and programming.

Any beginner can launch the app, realize everything quite quickly, figure their way around, and easily control anything and everything about the PD400X without ever actually touching the mic. Of course, there is room for more refining. For example, the app should have included an option to revert to “default” settings and provide fine-tune equalization. Hopefully future versions will resolve these shortcomings.

Quality sound

maonocaster pdx400 microphone design

Far from my expectation, capturing through the USB connection was actually quite good. It was also extremely useful to have the knob handle gain very well. Each level has a relatively extensive range that prevents a sudden leap from too low to too high. Going from zero to max would need two full twists, consisting of around six levels between each of the lights. Calibration is made far simpler through these procedures, as the user is provided a high number of options to guarantee viewers can hear what you specifically have to say and not be distracted by other noises.

For example, if you do voiceover the capture is solid and other noises, such as gameplay, do not interrupt your work. Considering your preferences, you will most likely need some minor tweaks, such as increasing the gain or etc. However, once everything is tuned in, the PD400X is very precise.

In XLR mode you will experience a more broadcast sound than a natural take, telling me that Maono most likely designed the PD400X mainly for today’s podcast users. Some other experts I’ve spoken to say some singers and voiceover artists may not be too fond of this microphone for their line of work because this it is far from sounding flat. You can still tinker around with the settings and presets yet do need to take into consideration that it appears that this microphone design could seem to be leaning toward certain professions, and less balanced than some may expect. Furthermore, with sound rejection being a highly important feature to many of us, the PD400X has done an excellent job in this field.

You will hear your own voice very well as much of the background noise will go unheard. Even if you use an air multiplier, you will be able to talk without being distracted by the capture noise. But do keep into consideration that when in use the mute button can’t be found so easily, making it difficult to remember if it was on or off.

Regarding the microphone’s take, with the gain at about three quarters, you will on average be hitting -6 dB. What is important here is to remain just a few inches away from the microphone to ensure the best quality intake with this particular model. If you go off to either the left or right side of the PD400X, the sound input into your recording device will lower significantly. This is also true when you distance away from the microphone. This is more reason to have an arm boom for your recording studio/room.

Take note that in the USB setting the microphone will not deliver the powerful sound of having an audio interface in your setup. The feel of the sound is not as dark and not similar to the podcasts you are hearing these days. However, it remains clean but not the very high accuracy that some users seek.

And regarding the monitoring of your sound during recording, the PD400X does have a monitoring jack—which also allows monitoring in USB configuration—and Maono has done a superb job in providing you excellent monitoring during your takes. The sound is very much like what you will hear in the playback, giving you the assurance and confidence, one needs during recording. 

As you will see the PD400X is a microphone that has the potential of adapting to your needs. Connecting to an audio interface is made possible through its XLR port, delivering you more power and extended control as you capture. The Maonocaster E2 is a perfect match with the PD400X. 

As mentioned earlier, like many other Maono products, plug-and-play installation makes their devices all the more user-friendly. The PD400X can directly connect to a computer, and extracting the maximum potential of this microphone is made possible through additional controls and settings. The setup takes mere seconds and the initial power leaves many without the need to resort to any additional OBS settings. The small addons, however, make the PD400X arguably one of the best all-around microphones that can provide for most of today’s users.

Some may decide to use the PD400X without any programs or audio interfaces. While this delivers excellent sound, using the program or upgrading to an audio interface enhances your experience to professional levels. Remember, pairing with the Maonocaster E2 allows you to capture audio at excellent quality through a very comprehensible process.

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