Monday, August 30, 2010

Technical Pro PM-22 Podcast Kit Review

Well, my Technical Pro PM-22 Podcast Kit arrived today.
To say I'm disappointed would be the understatement of the decade.

There's no two ways around it. This thing is absolute trash. I'm talking a real piece of worthless shit.
So, I was taking everything out of the box, and at first, I was impressed. The mics felt nice and heavy and well made, the mic stands were solid and the mixer itself felt rugged and compact.

Before connecting it to the computer, I hooked up one of the mics, a set of headphones and turned it on. The sound was nice, but I was only getting audio through the left headphone. I checked to see if the cable was plugged in all the way and was rewarded with a huge crackling sound. It appeared that even breathing on the headphone cable resulted in a burst of static.

This was when I started to think maybe the mixer wasn't very well made.

Well, I played with it for a while and I have to admit, even though it was only coming through one headphone, the sound was quite nice. Having control of the bass and treble on my voice let me adjust it until it was just so and I figured crackling headphones was a small price to pay (and I'd probably find a fix for that with a little time and ingenuity). I was also impressed that from a comfortable distance away, the mic was picking up the full range of my voice, but wasn't picking up the sound of the fan or air conditioner. That's a big deal. I was happy. No more having to podcast in the 95 degree temperatures with no A/C!

Then, I decided to actually try it out properly and record something. I plugged in the USB cable, connected the other end to my computer…

'Noise' doesn't cover it. As soon as it was connected to the computer there was what can only be described as a constant roar. Ever talked to someone who's using their cell's speaker phone while they're driving with the window down?


It was truly unlistenable. It was like trying to listen to the radio with the station just barely tuned in.
So, obviously, the USB wasn't going to work, but all was not lost because the mixer has an RCA out connector and I just so happened to have an RCA to 3.5 mm jack adapter. This mean that rather than connect through USB, I could just run a line from the mixer to the mic or line-in jack on my computer.

So I did, and was relieved when I didn't get any noise…

…at first.

Suddenly, I can hear someone talking. I look over and the TV isn't on…

The mixer was picking up a fucking Spanish radio station. I wish I was kidding.

This is a piece of audio equipment that is so badly shielded that not only does it get a ton of interference from the USB connection it needs to work, it's picking up Spanish radio.
The more I played with it trying to find a solution, the more and more I realized just what a badly made piece of shit it was. The headphone connectors were crap and loose, there was a ton of play in the USB connection, and you'd set your volume, bass and treble just right and they'd randomly change.

Obviously, this meant I was going to return it, but as I've mentioned before, if you get a defective unit, you send it back and get a replacement. If they do it for free, no harm, no foul. Instead, while I was looking online to see if I was doing anything wrong, I stumbled across a ton of reviews of this piece of shit that had the same problems. It appears that the single positive review I read (on the site I purchased it from) was the one guy who got a decent unit (of he just has really low standards and thinks a recording with deafening white-noise all over it is acceptable).

So I wanted to return it, I wanted my money back (I didn't want them to send me another one)…and luckily the site I bought it from has a 15 day, no questions asked return policy, so I was relatively happy…until I read I had to ship it back to them at my own expense.

What really pisses me off is for forty bucks less I could have bought a Behringer mixer that's received nothing but absolutely glowing reviews that compared it to much higer-dollar mixers, but I'd nixed that idea because I'd have had to order a second mic and stand separately. It would still have worked out a couple of dollars less, but I figured it was worth it to get everything in one box.

Turns out I was wrong.

If you take nothing else away from this review, take this: The Technical Pro PM-22 Podcast kit is a useless piece of overpriced crap. It's not worth the $140 price tag, it's not worth a $20 price tag. It's a device that simply can't do what it was designed for. Avoid it at all costs.

[Edit - I talked to B&H (, the company I ordered it from, and after explaining the situation, they immediately emailed me a return form and a pre-paid shipping label. The product may be a pile of shit, but I can't fault B&H's customer service.
I'm exchanging the PM-22 for a Behringer Podcast studio bundle, which works out at the same price when you factor in an extra mic, cable and stand. I'll let you know how it goes)

(Edit 2 - I posted my experience as a comment on the 'ad' for this on  Technical Pro's youtube video. Two hours later, they had deleted it. I posted it again, the deleted it. I tried to post again, and they'd banned me from commenting. No response, no apology, just deleting anything negative. I wonder how many other comments they did this with?)


donaldGuy said...

Got the PM-21 via (payed for by my parents as a christmas present). I have basically the same experience. Is this thing just not shielded AT ALL?


Paulius said...

Yep, I'd call this mixer a toy...except for the fact that toys actually WORK.

If you only need a single mic setup, I can HIGHLY recommend the Behringer Podcastudio. It costs around the same price, but it is a million times better made and is extremely high quality.

I record my current podcast with can find a link in the you can give that a listen to get an idea of the sound quality.

Christopher Michael said...

I also got this on Woot, And I 'm not having the problems with noise or other interference that you had, but I'm not getting true stereo recording. External devices default to mono recording in Windows 7, but in sound properties, there's a drop-down menu for recording quality, and with this mixer, it cannot be changed from 1-channel mono to 2 channel stereo. I'll try running it through the line in...