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Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 review - Reliable and portable podcast console for less

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In this review, we have the Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 portable podcast console. It is marketed as an All-in-One external sound card. Was it good? 
Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 review - A reliable and portable podcast console under PHP 6K
Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 review

At the time of writing, it is currently priced at PHP 3,950 which is 34 percent of its PHP 5,999 via the Maono official Lazada store. We are going to check how well it fares for the price and if it gets a recommendation as an all-in-one external sound card. 

Unboxing/Accessories

The pretty box
The pretty box

The Maonocaster Lite AM200 came in a pretty premium-feeling box. It has a yellow and black color and somewhat of a matte, smooth finish. At the bottom side, you get a pretty detailed illustration of all the ports and what they are used for. There's also a specs list here as well as features and certifications.
What's in the box?
What's in the box?

Opening the box, you are greeted by a black protective foam layer. Under it, you get the instruction manual, the Maonocaster Lite unit, and the cables. The cables included are a USB-A to USB-C power cable, 2x 3.5mm audio jacks, and a USB-C mobile adapter to prevent power draw from your mobile device when connected.

In short, the unboxing experience is straightforward yet premium. The box itself is pretty and sturdy and the packaging keeps the unit secure and protected with foam protection against bumps during shipping.

Build Quality/Design

The Maonocaster Lite AM200 has a sturdy and gorgeous build and design
The Maonocaster Lite AM200 has a sturdy and gorgeous build and design

The Maono Caster Lite AM200 looks great out of the box. It keeps the black and orange/yellow aesthetic with the knobs and body. It is made out of tough plastic for the body and knobs.
It has an extensive suite of knobs, buttons, and sliders for controls
It has an extensive suite of knobs, buttons, and sliders for controls

The top half of the device's face is made out of glasstic material which gives it a glossy look. When it comes to the buttons, it is made out of rubber/silicone buttons that are soft yet tactile when pressed. There's also a touch input for the Electron/Autotune effect.
The I/O ports and power button
The I/O ports and power button

The power button, light button, and I/O ports are found at the top of the device. For the I/O, you get 1x USB-C for connecting to PC, charging, and mobile device connection, 3X Podcast output via 3.5mm ports, 1X normal output 3.5mm port, 1X music input 3.5mm port, and 1X headset 3.5mm port, and 2X microphone input. There are LED indicators for Bluetooth, Mic Levels, Music Levels, and Battery levels as well.

Under, there are 4 rubber feet that keep it secure on any surface you put it on.

Overall, the Maonocaster Lite AM200 looks great. The knobs all feel good to turn with a good amount of resistance. The Echo and Monitor slider control also has great resistance. We hope that it won't lose that resistance quickly though.
The buttons light up when turned on
The buttons light up when turned on

The buttons look and feel great to use too. Print fading may be a concern but we believe that will take a long time. One thing to note though, the Electron touch-sensitive button is a bit of a hit or miss. The square itself is big but the responsive area is almost only in the middle.

Audio Performance/Features

We tested the Maonocaster Lite AM200 with the Maono AU-A03 condenser mic
We tested the Maonocaster Lite AM200 with the Maono AU-A03 condenser mic

Setting up is pretty easy as well. Although you can use it wirelessly via Bluetooth, we used it wired with our desktop PC. We used the included USB-A-to-USB-C to connect it and it is immediately detected as a sound device. We then set it up as our default microphone input and we are set to use it. You might need to change the audio input source on the app you are going to use for though. A big thing to remember is to adjust the Record volume and mic volume accordingly to record yourself properly.


We used the Maono AU-A03 condenser microphone and the BM-800 budget condenser mic too. In both cases, we were able to enhance the recording quality.

Without the Maonocaster Lite AM200, the recording we got is quiet. We were only able to enhance the volume via software adjustments in mic sensitivity but the quality drops down a lot.
The knobs are precise for volume adjustment
The knobs are precise for volume adjustment

Adjusting the mic and dedicated Record knobs to around 50 percent was ample enough to provide significant audio pick-up volume improvement. In both tests, with and without the Maonocaster Lite, we were around 4 to 5 inches away from our microphone.
The EQ and Recording volume controls
The EQ and Recording volume controls

The recording came out richer. Furthermore, you can customize your mic sound with the EQ it has. There are adjustments for low, mid, and highs.
Here are the different effects and features
Here are the different effects and features

In terms of effects, it has a dedicated Effect button with 4 different modes that are indicated by LED light colors. The four modes include Red for Professional mode, Pink for Original Sound Mode, Blue for Pop Mode, and Green for Yelling Mode. These effects give different flavors of sound according to what you need for recordings.

There is the Pitch button that is a fun effect for in-game voice chats, live streaming, and podcasts. Pink is for the Robot effect, Blue is for a Female to Male effect, Red is for Male to Female effect, and Green is for the Child/Chipmunk effect.

One of the more notable features is the Denoise or Noise Reduction feature. For podcasts and voice chats, the noise reduction feature can be a gamechanger. It reduces ambient noise such as electric fans and keyboard noise. It does have the common effect of completely cutting out the audio when no one speaking though which can still be jarring. The Music Only button is used to cancel out vocals in your music source. It can be hit or miss though so we still highly suggest using your accompanying music for recording covers.

The Side Chain mode can be activated when you want to focus on your voice in streaming. It will automatically lower background music to focus on your voice. Pretty neat trick for podcasts and streamers. Lastly, there's the Loop Back button that allows you to record up to 4 pre-recorded effects or vocal lines that you can playback throughout your podcasts or streams. It can be assigned to one of the 4 bottom buttons in the middle set of sound effects.

Speaking of the middle buttons. There are 8 sound effects you can use as transitions or fun diversions in your streams or podcasts. These effects are a preset Opening Music, Applause, Gunshot, Laughter, Booing, Awkward, Slapping, and Cheering. These can be fun effects to use, however, we recommend using them sparingly as it can get tiresome for your listeners if used liberally.
The Echo and Monitor volume sliders
The Echo and Monitor volume sliders

On the left side, you can adjust the amount of Echo and the volume in your headphone monitors via the sliding controls. They are both responsive and have enough resistance to provide a smooth and precise adjustment control.

In the middle, there's the Electron button or more commonly known as Autotune. It is controlled via a touch-sensitive button and has indicators for the key you are currently in. These are also fun to use but we have to admit that we don't know how to use autotune properly though.

When used wirelessly via Bluetooth and with its 1,200mAh battery it is rated to last for up to 8 hours in a single charge. The battery can be charged via USB-C in around three hours.

Overall, the performance of the Maonocaster Lite AM200 is really impressive. The popular V8 sound card that comes bundled with the BM-800 budget condenser mic needs a separate Phantom Power to boost the volume. The Maonocaster Lite AM200 has enough power to drive a condenser mic. In addition, the inclusion of the EQ knobs and a total of 2x volume controls for the mic is more than enough to dial your preferred settings.

The additional effects and features further enhance the experience as it provides more creative freedom for recording, podcasts, and live streams.

Pros - Great design, extensive I/O ports, good quality knobs, and sliders, LED indicators for different effects and settings, portable size, an extensive suite of effects and features
Cons - Glossy part can be a fingerprint magnet, Electron touch control responsiveness, Denoise feature can be improved

Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 Specs

Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Headset Output Power: 35MW, 32 ohms
Battery: 1,200mAh w/ 5V/1A charging
Connectivity: USB-C for power, 3x Podcast output, 1x normal output, 1x music input, and 1x headset 3.5mm port, 2x microphone input, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions: 240 x 140 x 42 mm
Price: PHP 5,999 (PHP 3,950 Lazada sale price)

Verdict

For PHP 5,999, the Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200 portable podcast console is a great pickup if you are looking for an All-in-One external sound card and mixer. It has a great premium design/build, an easy-to-use interface, and setup, and a lot of I/O ports.

In terms of audio, the controls knobs and sliders provide a precise adjustment due to the ample resistance each has. The inclusion of dedicated EQ is also a huge plus for customizing the sound of your voice. The fun effects and useful features such as the Denoise, Loop Back, and Side-Chain features provide streamers and podcasters options to improve their sound quality and transitions.

Overall, we highly recommend the Maonocaster Lite AM200 if you are looking to add an All-in-One external sound card for your setup. It can also be bought bundled with a Maono Condenser mic for only PHP 6,980 via the Maono Lazada flagship store. It is also available via Juan Gadget as well.

Unboxing/Accessories - 4.5
Build/Design - 4.5
Features - 4.5
Sound - 4.5
Average - 4.5/5
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