Maonocaster C2 Neo Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Audio Performance Tests

While a typical user may not always need a dedicated microphone or an audio interface, there are definite use cases for one, especially for those who still work from home. In addition, dedicated studio-grade microphones are often the audio input of choice for content creators, streamers, and gaming enthusiasts. Audio interfaces enables a wider selection of microphones that include ones for professional audio recording. In our tests today, we will be looking at the audio interface and mixer for how it is able to record audio as a demonstration of its capabilities. The audio interface was connected directly to my motherboard via USB and all of the recordings were made with this connection. The microphone I tested it with was the Neat Worker Bee II, which is connected to the interface via XLR.

Starting with the standard pickup, you can hear the Maonocaster C2 Neo was indeed capable at powering and using the microphone to capture my voice. In fact, despite its lower sample rate, I found the C2 Neo was able to produce a good sounding recording. This is in part due to the limitation of MP3 format, which limits audio to the 48kHz sample rate. One thing that was apparent however is the fact the C2 Neo added a layer of electronic noise to the recordings. While it may not be audible in the recording itself, the audio captured as shown in Audacity revealed a bit more of a buzz when I was not speaking, which is rather unfortunate.

As for the reverberation options, it pretty neat to see so many different reverb effects, even if there were a few overlaps. You can hear the differences between each for its amplitude of echo, as well as its length of how long the echo would last. As such, larger simulated spaces like a valley or a hall would have more echo in both amount and length of echo, while smaller areas like a room or a karaoke would provide more immediate but shorter echoes. All in all, I am not too sure how much reverb I would want to use daily, but its availability is a positive point.

As for the pitch presets, I found the different effects to be rather unnatural, and almost inaccurate to the supposed name. For one, all of the presets added a reverb to mask my actual voice. The female preset raised the upper midrange and diminished the tenor in my voice. The male one was the complete opposite with an emphasized bass and removable of most of the midrange. The baby one sounded somewhat similar to the female preset, but with less reverb and more squeakiness. Finally, the robot one sounded more like a deeper Darth Vader, which is to say it sounded more like a villain than a robot. Once again, these features are a bit gimmicky and are fun the first time around, but I am happy to see them here.

The final set of input effects comes in the form of noise cancellation. We have seen Maono attempt noise cancellation with their GamerWave microphone, which was not too impressive. With the Maonocaster C2 Neo, we have a similar result. I am glad we have two different levels of noise cancellation, as I found the middle one to at least be a decent balance to capture a mostly natural sound. It was capable in removing background noises like the fans in my computer while not cutting off my voice too much. However, with noise cancellation turned to high, there were unfortunate side-effects. For one, it was not quick enough to make sure my voice was captured at the same volume. The start and end of my sentences were sometimes reduced in volume. As well, there was an audibly dead silence between my words, which added to the artificial feel. As such, I would just recommend turning down the gain of the microphone first before relying on this solution.

In terms of the Maonocaster C2 Neo's output, there were a few other points to make out. For one, it was nice to have all these different knobs and sliders to make sure the audio levels were as expected, but it was not always straightforward to use. It is important to read the documentation for clarity on what knobs need to be adjusted. Secondly, I was happy to see a headphone output, but there was one primary issue. During my tests, a notable electronic noise was heard on top of any audio. This was more noticeable when listening to instrumental music or jazz, as the moments between the singer had enough white noise that distracted me from enjoying the music. It also appeared regardless of the output level volume, which makes me think there is something going on internally.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Audio Performance Tests
4. Conclusion