An audio recorder is a centerpiece device for every video creator. Whether you’re starting a vlog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel, one of the first things you’ll need is a mic system to make you sound professional. And if you’re planning to record outside your YouTube studio, you’ll need your recording device to be portable and offer excellent audio quality while being cable-free.
In this review, we will test the dual wireless mic system WM821 by Maono, which is all those things on paper, to see if it delivers on the promise.
Maono WM821 Dual Wireless Mic System: First Impressions & Specs
A wireless mic system is a new technology trend. It comes with a transmitter that obtains the audio and then sends it to the receiver via a specific wireless frequency band (2.4HZ in the case of Maono WM821) and syncs it to the camera recording your video. The WM821 does just that, with one receiver and two transmitters — allowing you to record two people simultaneously.
When you first get your hands on the Maono WM821, you’ll notice how stylish all parts (including the charging case) look. Inside the case, you’ll find two transmitters and a receiver. Each of them feels lightweight and has a clamp on the back that you can use to attach to your clothes.
This design is complemented by the WM821, a wireless system you can use without a cable. With this in mind, moving around during recording shouldn’t be a problem, making the WM821 perfect for conducting interviews and recording outdoors.
Before we get into details, let’s look at the full list of tech specifications of the Maono WM821 dual mic system:
- Transmission type: 2.4 GHz Wireless
- Polar pattern (built-in mic): Omnidirectional
- Built-in mic frequency response: 80Hz – 16kHz
- External mic frequency response: 50Hz – 18kHz
- Maximum output level: Line output – 10dBu, headphone output – 3.2dBu
- Maximum SPL: 105dB SPL (1kHz @1m)
- Audio input: 3.5mm TRS lavalier microphone input (transmitter)
- Audio output: 3.5mm TRS (receiver)
- Range: 328ft (100m) line of sight
- Battery: 350mAh/3.7V, 2500mAh/3.7V, 20 hours of battery life
- Charging port: type-C, DC 5V
- Price: from $189 on Amazon
Straight out of the box, you’ll be surprised how Maono seemed to have thought of everything when making the WM821.
It’s a simple audio recording system with two transmitters and one receiver that one or two people can use. It has an outstanding battery life for both transmitters and receivers, plus a charging case that can prolong it. The lav mics and windscreen protectors are nice add-ons that allow you to be more flexible with your recordings.
Design and Unpacking
The build quality of the Maono wireless mic system feels premium as soon as you first open the box. Various parts of the kit are packed separately in their little boxes with clear labels. The transmitters with the receiver are easy to carry in the Maono charging case, and you can use a special carrying pouch included in the package to store and carry all of the accessories.
What’s in the Box
Here’s everything you’ll find in the box while unpacking:
- Maono WM821 receiver
- Two Maono WM821 transmitters
- Charging case
- Audio cable for a camera
- Audio cable for a smartphone
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- Two lavalier microphones
- Two fur windshields
- Maono storage bag
You’ll find two pocket-sized transmitters and a receiver inside a durable charging case. All these are super lightweight, with each wearable weighing only 35g, and you won’t notice it while wearing it on your clothes.
Each transmitter has a built-in microphone (omnidirectional), so you don’t have to attach a lav mic for recording. However, if you prefer using an external microphone, two lavalier mics are included in the Maono kit.
On the transmitter, you’ll find the power button, mute button, pairing button, low cut button that removes low frequencies and eliminates unwanted rumblings, and an indicator that shows when your transmitter is on or off.
The receiver has a power button that also works as a switch from mono to stereo mode and volume control buttons. On the side of the receiver, you’ll see a headphone jack for plugging in your headset and an output jack.
The receiver also has an LED screen with helpful visuals, such as mono/stereo mode, battery level, pairing status, and transmitter level meters.
You’ll also find two furry windshields that you can attach to the transmitters to help diffuse the audio and improve the quality of your audio. However, the twist-and-lock mechanism seems underdeveloped, and the windshields don’t always stay attached to the transmitters when you’re moving.
Audio Quality & Features
Usually, when people shop for their first audio recording setup, they go for condenser and dynamic mic models. If you’re planning to record static videos in one room, that’s a fair choice. But if you need a recorder that you can use on the go to film something dynamic, or if you often need to move your recording setup to different locations, then a wireless mic system like the WM821 is a better choice.
Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice the sound quality when switching from a standard condenser to a wireless mic. With the WM821, you won’t have to. The audio recorded with the built-in mics sounds natural and clear.
When filming indoors, you don’t have to do much in terms of setup. First, turn on the power of the transmitter and the receiver. Next, place the transmitter near you or use the clip to fix it onto your clothes. Then connect the receiver to your filming camera using a TRS or TRRS audio cable. Once the LED indicator on both units stops blinking and starts shining solid, the devices are paired and ready to start recording.
Because of the omni built-in mics, it’s best to add windscreen protectors when it’s windy where you’re filming. They’ll reduce the rustling background noises without affecting the clarity of the recording.
If you don’t like how the transmitter looks on camera (especially with the fluffy protector on), you can use the external lapel mics (or lavalier mics) when recording. The lav mics included in the kit are pretty basic, but they get the job done. They’re on the shorter side, but they should be enough to connect to a transmitter and put it in your pocket.
The WM821 model is packed with features to improve your audio quality while filming outdoors or when you need to move while recording. One of these features is the low-cut filter. It works as a digital windshield, removing unwanted background noises from your recording.
The dual transmitters are great to use in many situations. For example, when you need to record two people at once. If one person is soft-spoken and the other is louder, you can set the transmitters to two separate channels and different gains for each. Or when you only have only one chance at recording something, you can use the other transmitter to record a backup copy of the same audio.
The most impressive feature of the Maono WM821 mic system is the range. Maono promises an extended transmission range of up to 328ft (100m) under normal conditions and 400 ft in an open environment when no obstacle is blocking the transmission signal.
During testing, we were impressed to confirm the 100-meter distance coverage. The recording quality doesn’t drop, no matter how far you move away from the receiver. The only condition is that you should stay in line of sight, i.e., don’t have anything (like a wall) between you and the receiver.
The Maono WM821 is compatible with all devices with a 3.5mm port. The mic kit has two connector cables labeled Phone and Camera, so you can’t mix them up.
Using these cables, you can connect the WM821 to a video camera, a DSLR camera, or your smartphone. The only exception is the iPhone – you’ll need a lightning adapter cable to connect it to the Maono WM821, which isn’t supplied in the box.
We already mentioned the excellent battery life of the WM821 of up to 10 hours of work. According to Maono, the transmitters can last even longer – up to 12 hours on a single charge. Thanks to the charging case, you can double those numbers before using an actual charger.
A little battery-related life hack: if you’re only using one transmitter, you can swap it with another from the charging case and continue recording.
Should You Buy the Maono WM821 Dual Wireless Microphone System?
Maono WM821 is a great multi-purpose mic kit that any content creator on a budget will appreciate. This mic is great for both a vlogger filming dynamic shorts and a gamer looking to record their live streaming sessions.
If the Maono WM820 A2 was more of a beginner-oriented option, the WM821 provides more features to play with, better audio, range, and better battery life for advanced users, and more complex video & audio projects.