One of the biggest struggles when starting/building a channel is figuring out what exactly do you need. For some a basic USB microphone is enough, whereas others might prefer an XLR microphone and audio interface. While that is for the outlet to ultimately decide, a number of companies have tried to make audio interfaces simpler and more affordable. One such example is Maono’s recently released Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer. This entry level audio interface tries to offer a bit more than similarly priced options, but is the final product a winner, or are you better off buying E2 or A1 instead?
Maono unsurprisingly used the same packaging design with Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer. This shows the product with company logo behind it against a black background, with the other sides offering insight into the company/product. Here there is an explanation of what the company name means, highlighted featured like XLR support, noise cancelation, real-time monitoring, along with more detailed explanations on the back.
Inside is a foam insert, complete with protective top, that separates the various included items. In addition to Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer, there is a USB-A to USB-C cable, 3.5 mm cable, quick tips cards, plus a small folded manual. Those who purchase before Aug. 31 will also receive a free XLR cable, though we did not receive one and can’t speak to its quality.
Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer is considerably smaller than the other Maono audio interfaces we’ve looked at. Coming in at 7.25″x5.2″x1.5″ it’s extremely compact. To put it into perspective it’s about 70 percent the of a 60 percent keyboard. This makes it a very versatile product that will fit perfectly in a number of settings, or even in a bag for recording on the go.
Extremely Compact Design
Build quality is surprisingly good for the price. The main components look and feel exactly like E2. None of the dials seem to have set stopping points, so they smoothly transition to higher or lower amounts. Buttons are slightly smaller compared to previous units. They’re roughly the size of my index digit, so big enough to easily select one, but not so big they increase the size of the device itself. I could see these being standard on a potential third generation of Maonocaster.
The only notable change are Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer’s feet pads. Instead of using a rubber pad, they’re a much lower black foam. How much of a difference this makes depends on the surface itself. Of those I had available, glass offered the most resistance, followed by metal, mousepad (Neoprene), plastic, and then the fake leather mousepad I use. I would guess this doesn’t matter in most situations, though it’s unfortunate as E2 is difficult to glide against most of the aforementioned surfaces.
PD400X (Noise Reducer)
PD400X (Pitch Presets)
PD200X (Pitch Presets)
Incompatible Microphone Test
Functionality is surprisingly good for this product level. The calibrated capture settings work quite well with my voice. Unfortunately, it lacks easy options to tweak it, though compared to most USB microphones it will give access to better quality microphones. Maono also included a couple additional features not typically included with similar products.
Synido LiveMix Solo Sample
In addition to the three customizable sound pad buttons, there is 48V support, reverb and pitch presets, and noise reducer. Odds are 48V will go unused, as it’s meant to power condenser microphones and none of the microphones bundles Maono offers utilize it (they do sell them though). Reverb and pitch presets will depend on your actual use case. None of my set ups require reverb, so it just leaves audio captures echoey, with pitch being more of a podcast setting. They’re more like voice modulation settings that you’d typically see a news show use to disguise a witnesses voice. Noise reducer is pretty good though. With the lowest setting it completely eliminated sounds made by my keyboard.
Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer Review Verdict
Maono did a fantastic job with Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer. Even at its MSRP it’s easily one of the most featured filled and nicest looking audio interfaces out there. This makes it an easy choice for newcomers or those who don’t need an elaborate set up. Not to mention the compact design is perfect for smaller workspaces, travel, or unique set ups like my drawers. For these reasons I think it’s a solid product that will likely make a lot of content creators quite happy.[Editor’s Note: Maonocaster C2 NEO Streaming Mixer was provided to us for review purposes.]