MAONO WM820 Review Dual 2.4Ghz Wireless Microphone Transmitter & Receiver

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Lightweight and discreet - MAONO's WM820 A2 wireless microphone system adds great improvement to the stock onboard microphone of a camera (e.g. GoPro) or smartphone, allowing you new ways to record remote audio (e.g. bird nests, sporting events) safely and from two different locations at the same time! 

 MAONO's WM820 A2 wireless microphone system consists of one wireless receiver and two wireless microphone transmitters, which work via 2.4Ghz wireless (between 2.400GHz and 2.483GHz) with 50 meters transmission range in direct-line of site (about 25 meters with obstructions). The MAONO receiver can be used with one transmitter too so, you don't have to use both transmitters if you don't want to. Pairing is super easy and as quickly (takes literary seconds) as pairing true wireless earbuds to a phone. When turned on, the MAONO receivers pair to each other automatically. 

The  MAONO WM820 A2 transmitters and receiver weigh 28 grams each and they have the same round-edged square body shell, which measures 4.5cm log, 4.5cm wide and 2.5cm thick (including the non-detachable spring-loaded clip on the backside). The body shell is made of plastic and features status leds, as well as a chrome ring accent on the front with MAONO branding laser printed in white letters.
While the receiver and transmitters look alike, they have different functions. The transmitters transmit the wireless microphone audio signal while the receiver decodes the audio signal. The transmitters and receiver are equipped with a non-user replaceable rechargeable Li-po battery (350mAh/3.7V), which takes 2 hours to recharge and provides a battery life of up to 6 hours. There is no charging case included but the MAONO WM820 A2 wireless system charges via standard 5 watts (5V/1A max); hence you can use a powerbank to recharge the the transmitters and receiver whilst using them.. 

Besides videography purposes, the MAONO WM820 A2 wireless system has many useful applications such as vlogging, interviewing, public speaking, spying microphone and biking/skateboarding tutorials. The WM820 A2 transmitters integrate a microphone level input to plug n the included lavalier microphone. There is no line level input on the transmitters so, the MAONO transmitters do not support sound desk mixers. 

If you plug a sound desk directly into the mic level input of the MAONO transmitter, you can seriously damage it. Luckily, there is a workaround that you can use to safely connect the MAONO transmitter to a sound desk mixer. You will need to buy two separate adapters: 1) a "line to mic attenuator cable" - the same type used for connecting high outputs to a DSLR camera and 2) a female 3.5mm to 2 male RCA adapter. The line to mic attenuator cable features a 3.5mm connector at each end. The 3.5mm connector end (attenutor camera end) plugs into the lavalier input of the MAONO transmitter, while the other end (marked "line") connects to the female end of the 3.5mm to 2 male RCA adapter cable. The RCA outputs have to be connected to the "tape" outputs of the sound desk mixer.
As well as a mic level input, the MAONO WM820 A2 transmitters feature a mute button. The receiver features a 22-step mic gain control to fine tune the output volume of the audio beforehand, which saves the hassle of having to do it postproduction. The only drawback of the mic gain feature it's that it doesn't have an led to feedback the gain status. And, because there is no display screen on-board the receiver; hence there is no visual way of seeing the gain volume level you set. As well as two transmitters, the WM820 A2 wireless mic system comes with two lavalier microphones and two fur wind covers.  
Out of the two, the built-in microphone provides better quality than the lavalier because the on-board mic has a wider frequency range. This allows the WM820 A2 on-board mic to capture more depth of the sound, which means vocal recordings sound richer and fuller. The on-board microphone and lavalier microphone have the same omnidirectional pickup pattern and adaptive noise reduction, which allows the mics to capture sound clearly and accurately while minimizing background noise in the process. 

The MAONO WM820 A2 lavalier microphone weigh 14 grams, including the cable (1 meter long). The fluffy fur cover weighs 1 gram and clips over the top of the built-in microphone. The lavalier spring loaded clip is made of alloy metal and has sharp teeth to allow the clip to grab on to fabric very securely.   
There are two male to male 3.5mm cables that are included with the WM820 A2 2.4Ghz microphone system. The included cables are short (16cm long each) and weigh 7 grams each. These audio cables are designed to allow you connect the transmitters to a camera or smartphone and use a mobile recording app (e.g. sound app) to record the audio from the receiver. You can also connect the transmitters to a computer or handheld audio recorder to record audio. The WM820 A2 transmitter features a 3.5mm headphone jack so, you can plug in earphones or headphones for real time monitoring, letting you listen to the audio as it's being captured (without delay).

Another that is included is a USB-A to USB-C 1-to-3 splitter cable, which is designed to allow you to recharge the transmitters and receiver all at once. The lavalier microphone does have some advantages over the on-board microphone. 
The lavalier mic has a smaller footprint and it is tethered to a long cable, which makes it more versatile for discreet locations. A quick start guide is included to get the user started, although a more detailed/comprehensive user guide would have been better to help a newbie familiarize themselves with the MAONO wireless microphone system and gain a better understanding of how to properly use the product. 

Other accessories included are two velcro ties for cable management, three fur wind covers and a zippered pouch for storing the microphones and cables. The pouch weighs 82 grams and it is very slimline, measuring 20cm long, 12cm wide and 2cm thick. 
The pouch also integrates a non-detachable lanyard strap (12cm long) and a MAONO-branded fabric tag. Inside the pouch, there are three elastic mesh pockets and four elastic fabric straps to neatly secure the microphones and accessories, which come neatly packaged inside a premium hard cardboard box with thick protective foam. The pouch is padded on both sides and it is water resistant, although not waterproof due to the fabric zipper having no waterproofing.

Compared to a UHF (ultra-high frequency) microphone system, MAONO's 2.4Ghz wireless microphone system is more affordable and has a better battery runtime performance. UHF wireless mic systems do have some advantages too like longer wireless reach and less signal interference. UHF runs in the 470-698 MHz spectrum, which is nowhere as crowded as 2.4Ghz wireless (2.400GHz and 2.483GHz) which is the same spectrum used by most wireless gadgets, including wireless mice, wireless headphones and smartphones. Because of this, the MAONO's mic system can pick up noise in the signal so, you aren't able to produce broadcast-quality recording. 
Compared to other 2.4Ghz wireless microphone systems, the MAONO WM820 A2 mic system is one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It has low latency (~30ms) and has no on-board display, which allows the MAONO WM820 A2 mic system to have a longer runtime and higher signal-to-noise ratio (82dB) than more expensive competition. 
That said, the MAONO's WM820 A2 system does have a shorter 2.4Gz wireless range and lacks a mic gain level indicator and no backup recording function to record a secondary audio track, which is useful for anything "mission critical". You can buy the MAONO WM820 A2 2.4Ghz wireless microphone system from MAONO's website.

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