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

Is a $3,000 podcasting kit worth it in today’s economy? That was my initial reaction upon discovering Nomono’s portable recording setup last year. Although the price has since dropped to $2,490, I still have reservations. After all, why invest in this kit when you can get a small audio recorder and lavalier microphones for a fraction of the cost? However, I was intrigued. Nomono’s kit boasts four wireless lav mics and a space recorder for capturing room tone and spatial data, all conveniently stored in a portable carrying case. Your recordings are automatically uploaded to Nomono’s cloud service, where you can optimize audio quality and eventually edit them in your browser. As an avid podcaster since 2008, the idea of an all-in-one kit that simplifies local recordings is enticing. Nomono’s kit has the potential to revolutionize the podcasting industry, but does it warrant its high price tag?

Clearly, this product isn’t aimed at everyone. It is not suitable for beginners and is beyond what most podcasters require. However, after using Nomono’s kit for a few weeks, I see how it can benefit recording studios and companies in need of flexible podcasting solutions. It is user-friendly, delivers high-quality recordings, and can be used in various settings. For these professionals, spending $2,490 on Nomono’s kit may be a worthwhile investment compared to dedicating engineering resources to each recording. Additionally, considering the cost of a cloud subscription, which can reach up to $29 a month, it becomes evident that this kit is not intended for average podcasters.

Nomono’s design reflects a commitment to Apple-level aesthetics. Despite being made of plastic, the materials feel high-quality. The egg-shaped charging case features a cloth handle and a USB-C port. The two halves securely snap together, revealing four lavalier microphones around the space recorder. It is like a charming podcasting bird’s nest.

The space recorder serves as the central component of the Nomono experience. This rectangular device features omnidirectional microphones for capturing room tone and spatial information, allowing it to determine each participant’s location during a conversation. It has a small screen displaying the lav mics’ battery levels, recording and directional buttons, a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. As audio is captured, the space recorder collects data from the lav mics and uploads it to Nomono’s cloud platform after the session ends.

The lavaliers themselves are not particularly unique. These small, inconspicuous square pucks have four LED colors for easy track differentiation. They attach to clothing using magnets, making them simple to put on but potentially easy to accidentally dislodge. During my testing, the lavaliers never fell off, but the magnets did concern me. Nomono includes extra magnets in the accessory kit, which also includes windscreen sleeves for the lavs and space recorder.

Setting up Nomono’s hardware was relatively straightforward. After charging the case, I downloaded the Nomono Companion app, created an account, and paired the kit with my phone. The app displays battery levels for the lav mics and space recorder. Recording audio is as simple as removing the space recorder and at least one lav mic, then pressing record. This process was remarkably fast and reliable, with recordings typically starting in under 30 seconds. Uploading and processing recordings on Nomono’s cloud platform depended on my internet connection. A 90-minute recording took less than 60 seconds to upload, followed by a few additional minutes for processing. Shorter recordings uploaded even faster, but be prepared for potential delays when handling large amounts of audio.

Nomono’s hardware delivers high-quality 16-bit 48kHz WAV files for each lavalier, as well as an ambisonic WAV file from the space recorder. The recordings are crisp and detailed, even in slightly noisy outdoor environments. While the lav mics may not match the richness and nuance of premium dynamic or condenser microphones, they are on par with other wireless lavaliers used in video production. During a conversation with my wife, the sound was remarkably clear, without any crosstalk or echo issues commonly encountered with cheaper multi-mic setups.

To enhance your recordings, Nomono offers three levels of audio enhancement through its cloud platform. From a simple high-pass filter, cross-talk reduction, notch EQ filter, de-noising, and de-essing for beginners, to loudness normalization, tone-shaping EQ, and adaptive level for intermediate users, and even more advanced features for the professional editing enthusiast. However, it’s worth noting that relying heavily on audio enhancement may result in a slightly compressed and tinny sound. Nevertheless, these enhancements can be helpful for those with limited audio editing knowledge. Nomono also plans to introduce spatialization options, allowing users to create the illusion of sound coming from various directions. While I personally wouldn’t utilize this feature in a podcast, it may appeal to others.

Although Nomono’s hardware impressed me, I found the online platform cumbersome for managing larger files. Preparing a 90-minute track for download took over five minutes, not including the time required to actually retrieve the file. This delay can be frustrating, knowing that accessing a file directly from a local device would be faster. Unfortunately, the space recorder did not appear when connected to my Mac or PC. Nomono representatives explained that offline features are planned for next year, but for now, the cloud-based workflow is prioritized for its convenience and time efficiency. Livestreaming is currently not possible with this kit, although it may be offered in a future Nomono product.

Due to the uncertainties of startup companies, it is difficult to justify the high price of Nomono’s kit. After all, what good is a $2,490 recording kit if the company ceases to exist in a year or two?

Nomono has undoubtedly developed an exceptional recording kit, but it is unlikely to be the sole solution for audio-savvy companies. A dedicated podcasting space with hard-wired microphones is essential. However, what Nomono offers is a portable, all-in-one solution for on-the-go recording needs.



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