If you’re just recording audio at home or making video calls then a wired microphone that sits on your desk, or even the one built into your laptop, is probably quite adequate.
If you want to take your recordings and calls out and about though, or if you want to conduct interviews with another person, then wireless mics offer a more practical solution. The Maono WM820 2-person kit provides all you need to get started with wireless microphones in one box.
In the box you’ll find three units that on first glance look identical. They are, however, subtly different. One is the receiver station that you connect to your smartphone, PC, camera or whatever, and the other two are the microphones themselves. All have a little spring clip on the back so you can attach them to clothing, this also fits on a standard camera hotshoe. In addition you get two audio cables to connect the base to different devices, a USB-A to three USB-Cs cable for charging, two external ‘Lavalier’ microphones — the use of which is optional — some little fluffy covers to kill wind noise, and a soft pouch to carry it all around in. There’s a basic one-sheet pictorial quick start guide.
Microphone on the left, receiver on the right.
After charging the devices — the instructions don’t actually mention the need to do this — you need to pair the mics to the receiver. Once this is done connect the receiver to your chosen device via the appropriate cable and you’re ready to go. It takes about an hour to charge the mics and receiver for the first time out of the box.
Buttons on the side of the receiver allow you to adjust the volume, this also affects the gain so more volume also means more sensitivity. The mics have a mute button on the side. There’s a headphone socket on the receiver to allow monitoring of the output. You can clip the mic directly to a lapel or tuck it away somewhere, like on your belt, and use the more discreet Lavalier if you prefer. As always with microphones that attach to clothing you need to beware of the dreaded rustle as you move about. The clip-on covers are good at stopping wind noise if you’re outdoors, they’re quite fiddly to fit though and they do tend to make you look as if you have a small furry creature clinging to you.
The units are compact, about 4.5cm (1.75 inches) square, and lightweight. The mics have a transmission range of up to 50 meters using a 2.4Ghz wireless connection, which should be more than enough for most uses. Battery life is up to six hours, red LED indicators show when the units are charging and when the mics are muted, blue ones show the pairing status. The blue lights are on all the time the devices are working though which could prove a tad distracting on video calls.
The two supplied audio cables are labeled ‘Phone’ and ‘Camera’ and you’ll need a USB adapter if your phone doesn’t have an audio socket. The ‘Camera’ cable works fine on a PC’s audio-in connection too. You may have realized that the 2.4Ghz frequency is the same as most Wi-Fi networks so there is a risk of interference. This might be more of an issue with a smartphone where the receiver is going to be close to the wireless device, but we had no noticeable issues using it on a PC.
Whether you’re making videos, doing podcasts or just talking on Zoom, the WM820 has a lot to commend it. It’s easy to set up, the units feel solidly made even though they’re light in weight, audio quality is fine and it comes with all the accessories you need for everyday use. At $149.99 it’s reasonably priced too. If you’re not going to be doing interviews there’s also a cheaper single mic version available.
You can find out more and buy direct from the Maono site.