The AM200-S1 looks great, and is a little larger than I expected, but feels very robust and premium. The front of the device is taken up by all the various dials, faders and buttons, and definitely looks the part.
The faders and dials feel really good, with a good amount of weight to them, so it doesn’t feel like you’re pushing thin air – they actually feel like they’re doing something, which isn’t always the case with faders.
There are 12 buttons in the center, 8 of these are pre-loaded sound effects (applause, laughter etc) and the bottom four are available as custom sound effects.
To the right of these you’ll find your effect/action buttons: Effect, Pitch, Music Only, Denoise, Loop Back and Side Chain
These perform as you would expect, pitch changes the tone of your voice, from a female, to a male, to a baby, to a robot and so on, whilst effect changes the output style, and denoise removes any unwanted extra sound in the room. And for the most part, these work really well, and are fun little additions to the setup, but switching between them can be a little cumbersome – you press the button until the desired effect loads up, which is fast, but having to press a button four times to get back to the one you want is a little finicky.
Above the center buttons you’ll see a touch sensitive panel, that allows you to play around in octaves and give yourself the auto-tune voice all the Tik-Tok kids love – it’s not for everyone, but it’s good fun.
The bundled microphone sounds great, much better than I would expect a bundled mic to be and I would be more than happy to record a podcast with it.
There is no XLR support on the AM200-S1, and whilst you are able to connect your own using the supplied cable, bare in mind that any microphones that require phantom power to function wont get the juice from the AM200, so you’ll need to supply your own.
Moving back to the front of the device, the big eye catching dials fill out the sides of the panel, the left for your microphone, and the right for controlling music, with the four small dials in the middle taking care of highs, lows and mids, and a separate dial to control recording volume.
These are all great and feel really good to use, with a satisfying bit of heft to them, and under these are the three LED bars that allow you to monitor sound, and see any clippings going on.
A really neat feature for a portable podcast studio, is the ability to connect devices via bluetooth or 3.5mm jacks, and bring music into the mix. The large dial on the top right allows you to control the volume of the music, and it's a really cool way to keep your production high on the go.
I really genuinely love the AM200-S1 - it's a fun and easy to use addition to any podcast set-up, and if I was to add anything, it would be full XLR support (and phantom power), and the ability to control two microphone independently.
But these are fairly minor gripes for an otherwise excellent product.