Maono PM500T review: pro mic, budget price

Maono PM500T review

While they are in a way more difficult to use, because they need phantom power to operate, condenser microphones are the superior option when it comes to audio quality thanks to their linearity. The Maono PM500T sits in what I would consider the mid-range for consumer products, offering some very interesting specs which translate to high audio quality while keeping the price affordable.

Disclaimer: I received this unit directly from Maono. They sell the microphone for $149.99. Additional info on the official website.

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TL;DR: recap

+ Slim, all-metal build

+ Neutral-ish sound signature

+ Clean, detailed sound

+ Lots of accessories

+ Affordable

– Relatively high self-noise

Rating: 8.5/10

Packaging & Accessories

The PM500T comes with a healthy set of accessories: there is a suspension cage to which you can screw it, a pop filter, a sturdy metal base and an XLR cable. The metal base can be adjusted in height, so you can use the microphone in the position you want or need it. The pop filter is a metal grille, so it’s not a true pop filter and serves more the purpose of blocking spit when talking (or singing) into the microphone.

Design & Build

Maono PM500T with its stand on a desk

The design of the Maono PM500 is quite classic: it has an almost-rectangular shape, with the upper half being covered by a grille behind which is the capsule. It looks sleek and minimalistic; in many ways it is timeless, in the sense that microphones like this have been on the scene for decades – and this is actually a good thing as it means this is a design that works.

The whole body is made of metal: Maono says it is a zinc alloy, which makes it rather sturdy and yet relatively lightweight, as the microphone weighs 369 g.

The cage uses various elastic bands to keep the microphone suspended and avoid that vibrations on the base (or boom arm, if you are using one) turn into sounds in the recording. As its mount is off-centre, it is very flexible in terms of positioning. There is a small knob on the bottom which turns to help you secure the microphone to the cage.

Specs & Features

The Maono PM500T uses a 34 mm gold-spluttered condenser capsule with a frequency range that goes from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It has a sensitivity of -35.3 dBu at 1 kHz, which makes it relatively sensitive, a rated output impedance of 98.7 Ω, a maximum SPL of 120 dB and a signal to noise ratio of 70 dB-A. As this is a condenser microphone, it requires 48 V phantom power from the interface in order to work.


The Maono PM500T offers a very clear, clean and crisp sound. Overall, the sound signature appears very well balanced and with a neutral tonality. Maono’s own frequency response graph shows a completely flat response up until 5 kHz, where there is a small bump follow by a slow roll-off until 20 kHz. This means that the tonality of the sound is preserved very well with virtually no emphasis or de-emphasis on any part of the sound, though the response in the treble region means this isn’t the ideal microphone to record instruments such as cymbals.

When recording my voice, I found that the best compromise between tone, volume and control of plosives is achieved when speaking at about 15 cm from the microphone: as there is very little proximity effect, unless you speak next to the capsule, you can get remarkably true-to-original vocals – and without having to pay too much attention to the plosives and while still getting plenty of volume. In fact, the linearity of the response means that the PM500T will record both male and female vocals with great accuracy, as you can hear in the first recording below.

The absence of a pop filter, however, means that you will have to pay attention to plosives, as you will hear them clearly when talking into the microphone. I failed to overload the capsule, so when speaking normally that just won’t happen, but it is something you need to remember.

The level of detail is remarkable, especially for a microphone in this price range. Smaller nuances are picked up easily. The only possible issue is that self-noise is relatively high and this is noticeable once you amplify the signal in post-production, though it is not much of an issue.

The microphone has a cardioid pattern which, however, does not entirely reject the sounds coming from behind the microphone. As a fun fact, this saved me when recording an interview: for some reason OBS Studio didn’t record the audio of the person I was interviewing, but the microphone captured the output of the speakers and that saved me as, although it was very low in volume, I could amplify it and use it. This is to say that the pattern of the microphone is not necessarily a flaw, though it is something you have to take into account according to your needs.

I tested the Maono PM500T with both a PreSonus AudioBox iOne and a Maonocaster C2 Neo. Below you can find a test recording of my own voice made with the AudioBox iOne.


Finally, the recording you can find below is that of me playing my didgeridoo (or yidaki, or one of the many other names of this instrument). It serves to prove the ability of the PM500T to manage loud instruments and transitions from silence to high SPL with ease, and therefore how you can use it beyond vocal recordings only – while bearing in mind the considerations on frequency response above. (as you can hear, I haven’t mastered circular breathing yet, so there is a pause where I breathe in. I will learn one day…)


Final Thoughts

I find the Maono PM500T to be a competent, well-priced microphone which offers great sound quality at a reasonable price. It has a neutral tonality which goes well with virtually anything you want to record: voices are recorded with great accuracy and sound realistic and full (without bloat, though), and many instruments will sound great on it as well. Although there is some self-noise, the PM500T produces sound which does not really need any post-processing and is ready for production.

This is a professional-level microphone that has a consumer-level price, which makes it a very interesting proposition. Once you factor in the slew of accessories it comes in and the great build quality, you can see how it is a great option if you want a neutral all-rounder without breaking the bank. Recommended!

About Riccardo Robecchi

Living in Glasgow, Scotland but born and raised near Milan, Italy, I got the passion for music listening as a legacy from my father and my grandfather. I have reported on technology for major Italian publications since 2011.

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