By: Aaron Lai
October 6, 2023
After attending several different comic conventions and markets for my girlfriend's shop, I think I can generally predict who will show up and spend money based on some criteria. One criterion that seems to be notable is the cost of entry to the event. Free events generally attract a lot of people with varying interests, which leads to many window shoppers. This group of people have not put any direct money down to attend in the first place, so they do not feel any pressure to buy anything. This is not a bad thing, as these markets serve as a way to showcase the art of my girlfriend and open up potential customers for the future. On the other hand, if we have a convention, which usually has a cost to enter, it often means the people attending are willing to spend more money. As they have already paid to get in, they do not see an issue with paying a bit more to obtain some sort of keepsake for the future. In a similar way, the popularity of dedicated microphones is ever growing, especially in the past few years. The jump from a typical headset to a USB microphone incurs a cost. For those that have upgraded, they have clearly found a benefit, whether it is a higher quality input and output or the convenience of not always needing to use headphones. The next logical jump would be then to look at better microphones, which includes options that use an XLR connection rather than a USB one. As such, an audio interface is required to convert the analog signal into a digital one for the computer to understand. Today, we have the Maonocaster C2 Neo, a USB audio interface and mixer that provides users the ability to capture their XLR microphone and mix it with other auxiliary audio for a single output. How does the Maonocaster C2 Neo perform, and is it a worthy upgrade over our typical USB microphones? Let us read on to find out!
Today's review unit of the Maonocaster C2 Neo arrived from Eagle International E-business Corp. in Mississauga, Ontario. According to the internet, EIE is a logistics company, but I could not find out any other details online. Otherwise, the box is wrapped in a white bubble wrap envelope and sealed with packing tape. This box was shipped with Canada Post via their Expedited Parcel service and it arrived to our APH Networks offices in Calgary, Alberta in rather average condition. There is a bit of a deformity in the packaging, indicating there might be a dent on the box, but we will see after we unwrap the outer plastic. There is not much else to speak of, so let us carry on with our inspections.
Out of the shipping packaging, you can get a better look at the Maonocaster C2 Neo. You can see the box did encounter damage from the shipping process, as there are notable dents on the front and bottom. In fact, the front is pushed in so much that the top area is protruding upwards. Otherwise, we have a pretty typical black box with yellow accents. This is pretty similar in style to the Maono GamerWave's retail container. A large company logo can be found on the left side, followed by the product name underneath. Maono describes this as a "Podcasting Console", as it has more functions than a typical audio interface, but we will look through these features later on in our review. There is also a scaled down image of the unit itself on the right side. Around the box, we have more features and specifications to speak about. Just for some clarification, if you look at Maono's website for this unit, you will see that this is also called the AMC2 Neo, but for consistency in the review, we will call it by its box name.
Before we continue, I have grabbed the specifications from the manufacturer's website for your viewing pleasure:
Data Connectivity: USB-C
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Headphone Output: 20mW.3Ω (1kHZ.THD+N=1%)
Sample Rate: 48kHz /16bit
Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Battery Type: Lithium
Battery Capacity: 1500mAh
Power Input: 5V/1A Max
Charging Time: Approx. 2.5 hrs.
Battery Life: Approx.7hrs
Dimension: 185mm x130mm x 50mm (Including buttons)
Everything inside the box can be found sandwiched in between two foam brackets with two large compartments. One area holds the Maonocaster C2 Neo itself, while the other holds two cables. This includes a 1m USB Type-C to Type-A cable and a short 0.6m 3.5mm 4-pole auxiliary cable. There is some documentation included as a quick start guide for using the Maonocaster C2 Neo.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Audio Performance Tests