Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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


“A $3,000 podcasting package, on this economic system?” That was my first thought after I discovered about Nomono’s moveable recording setup last year. Since then, the value has dropped barely to $2,490. However my most important concern stays: Who wants this factor when you will get a small audio recorder and lavalier mics for a lot much less? Nonetheless, I used to be intrigued.

Nomono’s package consists of 4 wi-fi lav mics, in addition to an area recorder for room tone and spatial information, all of which cost in a transportable carrying case. Your recordings are routinely uploaded to Nomono’s cloud service, the place you may optimize their audio high quality (and ultimately edit them in your browser). As somebody who’s been podcasting usually since 2008, the notion of an all-in-one package that may simply deal with native recordings seems like an absolute dream. Nomono’s package has the potential to be one thing the podcasting trade has wanted for years, however can the corporate justify its extremely excessive value?

Gallery: Nomono podcasting package | 5 Photographs

Clearly, this is not a product geared toward everybody — it is definitely not for newbies, and I might argue it is past the scope of what most podcasters really need. However after testing Nomono’s package for a couple of weeks, I can see the way it might 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 prime quality recordings, and it may be deployed nearly anyplace. For these people, spending $2,490 on Nomono’s package might make extra sense than having an engineer dedicate time to each single recording. Add in a cloud subscription, which might price as a lot as $29 a month, and it undoubtedly would not appear to be one thing for mere podcasting mortals.

You’ll be able to inform Nomono is striving for Apple-level design just by its {hardware}. Despite the fact that all the things is fabricated from plastic, nothing feels low cost. The egg-like charging case has a material deal with on the prime 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 offered with 4 lavalier microphones across the area recorder. It is like an cute podcasting chicken nest.

Nomono podcasting kit

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The area recorder serves because the hub for the whole Nomono expertise: It is a rectangular machine that includes omnidirectional microphones for capturing room tone with spatial data (it could inform the place everyone seems to be positioned throughout a dialog). There is a small display on the prime displaying the battery ranges of all of the related lavs, in addition to distinguished recording and directional buttons. On the aspect, it encompasses a USB-C port and a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. As you are capturing audio, the area recorder takes in information from the lav mics and uploads it to Nomono’s cloud as soon as your session is finished.

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

Nomono podcasting kit

Picture 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 package to my telephone. The app exhibits battery ranges for the lav mics and area recorder. To seize audio, you simply have to take away the area recorder and a minimum of one lav, then hit file. That course of was surprisingly quick and dependable — I used to be sometimes in a position to get recordings began in below 30 seconds.

Wrapping up a session is usually dependent in your web connection. It took below 60 seconds for a 90-minute recording to get uploaded, after which I needed to wait a couple of extra minutes for Nomono’s cloud to course of the add. It was far sooner for brief recording checks, simply be ready to attend a bit if you happen to’re planning to push a number of audio. Nomono’s {hardware} delivers 16-bit 48kHz WAV information 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 out of doors areas. The lavs do not sound practically as wealthy or nuanced as a premium dynamic or condenser microphone, however I did not actually anticipate them to. I might take into account them on-par with different wi-fi lavaliers I’ve used throughout video manufacturing (our podcast editor, Ben Ellman, described the sound as being splendid 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 provides three ranges of enhancement by way of its cloud platform: on the sunshine finish, it encompasses 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 stage, whereas full enhancement goes even heavier on the latter two options. When you can nonetheless obtain pure, unfiltered tracks, these enhancements are helpful for the much less audio savvy.

Ultimately, you may select to spatialize your recording by way of Nomono’s on-line platform, which makes every audio monitor sound like they’re coming from completely different instructions (relying on the place the area recorder was positioned through the session). That characteristic wasn’t accessible whereas I used to be testing the package, and to be sincere, it is also not one thing I might ever think about using in a podcast. 

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

The corporate plans to launch its on-line editor by the top of 2023, which might additionally probably embody the flexibility 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 subtle methods to edit audio.

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

Whereas Nomono’s {hardware} principally impressed me, its on-line platform made it powerful to take care of bigger information. It took over 5 minutes for it to organize a 90 minute monitor 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 enchantment of a seamless on-line audio resolution, however it’s annoying after I know it could be sooner to only seize a file from a tool sitting proper on my desk. 

The area recorder didn’t present up on my Mac or PC after I related to it, sadly. Nomono representatives say the corporate is planning to make offline options accessible subsequent 12 months, however for now, it is centered on a cloud-based workflow as a result of they imagine it is the “most handy and time-efficient” resolution for customers. That additionally means livestreaming is out of the query with this package, 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 value if I knew I might use its {hardware} with out counting on an internet site. This isn’t my first time on the gadget startup rodeo: What good is that this $2,490 recording package if the corporate goes out of enterprise in a 12 months or two?

Nomono podcasting kit

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

It’s clear that Nomono has developed one thing particular, however it’s arduous to think about this recording package being the one resolution for an audio-savvy firm. You’ll nonetheless have to have a devoted podcasting area with hard-wired microphones. What Nomono provides is flexibility: What if you might want to file in one other room, in another person’s workplace, or at a resort? In these conditions, a self-contained $2,490 podcasting package won’t appear so wild.

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