A $2,490 wireless podcasting kit is absurd, but at least Nomono’s sounds great | Engadget

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“A $3,000 podcasting kit, on this economic system?” That was my first thought once I discovered about Nomono’s transportable recording setup final yr. Since then, the worth has dropped barely to $2,490. But my important concern stays: Who wants this factor when you may get a small audio recorder and lavalier mics for much much less? Nonetheless, I used to be intrigued.

Nomono’s kit contains 4 wireless lav mics, in addition to an area recorder for room tone and spatial knowledge, all of which cost in a conveyable carrying case. Your recordings are routinely uploaded to Nomono’s cloud service, the place you’ll be able to optimize their audio high quality (and finally edit them in your browser). As somebody who’s been podcasting usually since 2008, the notion of an all-in-one kit that may simply deal with native recordings sounds like an absolute dream. Nomono’s kit has the potential to be one thing the podcasting trade has wanted for years, but can the corporate justify its extremely excessive worth?

Gallery: Nomono podcasting kit | 5 Images

Clearly, this is not a product aimed at everybody — it is definitely not for learners, and I would argue it’s miles past the scope of what most podcasters really want. But after testing Nomono’s kit for just a few weeks, I can see the way it could possibly be useful for recording studios and corporations that want versatile podcasting options. It would not require a lot coaching to make use of, it delivers top quality recordings, and it may be deployed nearly anyplace. For these of us, spending $2,490 on Nomono’s kit might make extra sense than having an engineer dedicate time to each single recording. Add in a cloud subscription, which may value as a lot as $29 a month, and it undoubtedly would not look like one thing for mere podcasting mortals.

You possibly can inform Nomono is striving for Apple-level design just by trying at its {hardware}. Despite the fact that every thing is made from plastic, nothing feels low cost. The egg-like charging case has a fabric deal with at the highest in addition to a USB-C port. Its two halves snap along with safe clasps — flip these open, take off the highest and also you’re introduced with 4 lavalier microphones across the area recorder. It is like an lovely podcasting chook nest.

Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The area recorder serves because the hub for your entire Nomono expertise: It is a rectangular machine that includes omnidirectional microphones for capturing room tone with spatial info (it could possibly inform the place everybody is situated throughout a dialog). There is a small display at the highest displaying the battery ranges of all of the related lavs, in addition to distinguished recording and directional buttons. On the facet, it includes a USB-C port and a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. As you are capturing audio, the area recorder takes in knowledge from the lav mics and uploads it to Nomono’s cloud as soon as your session is performed.

The lavaliers aren’t practically as distinctive: They’re small, indiscrete sq. pucks that includes 4 LED colours (useful for distinguishing every observe). They grip onto your garments with small magnets — making them straightforward to placed on, but probably simply as straightforward to slide off. The lavs by no means fell off throughout my testing, but I continuously fearful about knocking one off and dropping the tiny magnet. (Nomono contains some extra magnets in its bundled accent kit, which additionally has windscreen sleeves for the lavs and area recorder.)

Nomono podcasting kit
Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Organising Nomono’s {hardware} was comparatively simple: After charging the case, I downloaded the Nomono Companion app, created an account, and paired the kit to my telephone. The app reveals battery ranges for the lav mics and area recorder. To seize audio, you simply must take away the area recorder and at least one lav, then hit report. That course of was surprisingly quick and dependable — I used to be sometimes capable of get recordings began in underneath 30 seconds.

Wrapping up a session is largely dependent in your web connection. It took underneath 60 seconds for a 90-minute recording to get uploaded, after which I needed to wait just a few extra minutes for Nomono’s cloud to course of the add. It was far quicker for brief recording assessments, simply be ready to attend a bit in case you’re planning to push plenty of audio. Nomono’s {hardware} delivers 16-bit 48kHz WAV recordsdata for every lavalier, in addition to an ambisonic WAV file (with as much as 4 tracks) from the area recorder.

The standard of these recordings are crisp and detailed even in barely noisy outside areas. The lavs do not sound practically as wealthy or nuanced as a premium dynamic or condenser microphone, but I did not actually anticipate them to. I would take into account them on-par with different wireless lavaliers I’ve used throughout video manufacturing (our podcast editor, Ben Ellman, described the sound as being best for video shoots). A dialog with my spouse additionally sounded surprisingly clear, with not one of the crosstalk points or echoes I’ve encountered with cheaper multi-mic options.

A podcast recording featuring four people using Nomono's wireless kit.

To provide your recordings a bit extra polish, Nomono additionally presents three ranges of enhancement by means of its cloud platform: on the sunshine finish, it includes a high-pass filter, cross-talk discount, notch EQ filter, de-noising and de-essing (for eradicating harsh “S” sounds and different sibilants). Medium enhancement provides loudness normalization, a tone-shaping EQ and adaptive degree, whereas full enhancement goes even heavier on the latter two options. Whilst you can nonetheless obtain pure, unfiltered tracks, these enhancements are helpful for the much less audio savvy.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to select to spatialize your recording by means of Nomono’s on-line platform, which makes every audio observe sound like they’re coming from completely different instructions (relying on the place the area recorder was positioned throughout the session). That function wasn’t out there whereas I used to be testing the kit, and to be sincere, it is also not one thing I would ever think about using in a podcast. 

Nomono’s full audio enhancement did an honest job of chopping down freeway sounds and different avenue noise whereas I used to be recording in entrance of my native Starbucks (see above), but it additionally made my voice sound a bit tinny and compressed. Principally, do not anticipate any miracles. Whereas It is helpful to have easy methods to chop down background noise, you will nonetheless must discover a comparatively quiet recording area to seize one of the best audio. (In any other case, why even purchase such an costly podcasting kit?!)

The corporate plans to launch its on-line editor by the top of 2023, which may additionally probably embody the power to edit spatial recordings. Since this isn’t precisely a client resolution, I’d guess that most individuals shopping for Nomono’s {hardware} have already got extra refined methods to edit audio.

This is a comparability of Nomono’s lavalier versus the Rode Procaster XLR microphone: 

Whereas Nomono’s {hardware} largely impressed me, its on-line platform made it robust to take care of bigger recordsdata. It took over 5 minutes for it to arrange a 90 minute observe for obtain (together with its bundled spatial audio file). And that didn’t embody the time it took to truly seize the file, which might be dependent in your web connection. I perceive the attraction of a seamless on-line audio resolution, but it’s annoying once I know it could be quicker to simply seize a file from a tool sitting proper on my desk. 

The area recorder didn’t present up on my Mac or PC once I related to it, sadly. Nomono representatives say the corporate is planning to make offline options out there subsequent yr, but for now, it is targeted on a cloud-based workflow as a result of they consider it is the “most handy and time-efficient” resolution for customers. That additionally means livestreaming is out of the query with this kit, although it could present up in a future Nomono product, the corporate tells me.

I’d have a a lot simpler time justifying Nomono’s excessive worth if I knew I may use its {hardware} with out counting on a web site. This isn’t my first time at the gadget startup rodeo: What good is this $2,490 recording kit if the corporate goes out of enterprise in a yr or two?

Nomono podcasting kit

Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

It’s clear that Nomono has developed one thing particular, but it’s laborious to think about this recording kit being the one resolution for an audio-savvy firm. You’ll nonetheless must have a devoted podcasting area with hard-wired microphones. What Nomono presents is flexibility: What if that you must report in one other room, in another person’s workplace, or at a resort? In these conditions, a self-contained $2,490 podcasting kit may not appear so wild.

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