The Thronmax MDrill One Pro is an excellent microphone that offers outstanding value
- Manufacturer: Thronmax
- Model: MDrill One Pro
- Type: USB Condenser microphone
- Platforms: PC, PS4/PS5
- Price: £75.99 MSRP
- Reviewed on: Windows PC
- Supplied by: Thronmax
Thronmax has been in the audio game since 2009, producing quality microphones and audio equipment tailored for content creators. The MDrill One Pro microphone is their flagship microphone, with a feature set that puts it head to head with the likes of the Blue Yeti X and HyperX Quadcast.
Whilst it shares almost identical features, the Thronmax MDrill One Pro has a significant advantage over its rivals – the price. Retailing at £75.99 MSRP, it is often available for as low as £69.99, which is significantly lower than the competition.
Design and build
The MDrill One Pro is a stylish and thoughtfully designed headset that is very light, due to being constructed from lightweight metal and plastic. It is still very durable, though, and doesn’t feel fragile.
At the rear of the microphone are a pair of highly convenient dials for adjusting the gain and headphone volume.
On the front of the microphone is a mute button, the mode selector button and indicator lights, and a large LED display that shows the level of microphone gain or headphone volume. The display only lights up for a few seconds while you are adjusting these settings, so it doesn’t cast a distracting glare while you are streaming or recording.
The stand feels very stable, and although crafted from moulded plastic, it has a large metal weight in the base that gives it a very low centre of gravity. A rubberised pad on the base keeps it from sliding around on your desk, and it’s resistant to tipping.
As can be seen in the images, the base is, well, pretty basic, but a circular disc that sits under the microphone adds some flair. Adorned with a series of concentric circles, when it catches the light from the RGB on the microphone it gives the microphone an attractive underglow.
With the included stand, it weighs just 669 grams. If you detach it from the stand to use with a boom arm, the microphone itself weighs only 264 grams, which means even the weakest of boom arms can easily support it. A pair of tool-less screws are used to attach the microphone to the stand and can be removed in seconds. Once free of the stand, there is an industry-standard ⅝” threaded universal screw mounting on the base for connecting to your boom arm.
The included USB-C to USB-A cable has a right-angled fitting at the USB-C end, which enables it to fit in the limited space between the stand (or boom arm) and the base of the mic. If you are connecting headphones to the mic for monitoring, you’ll probably need a right-angled connector at the end of your headphones, too. The headphone output is a very welcome addition, though, as not only does it work for zero-latency monitoring, it can also serve as a passthrough for all of your PC audio if needed.
Connectivity and setup
The MDrill One Pro has plug and play simplicity. All you need to do is plug the USB-C connector into the microphone and the USB-A into a USB 3.0+ port on your PC and it is automatically detected and will appear in your available devices. Upon first connection, it will route your computers audio output through the MDrill One Pro’s headphone output, but once you change it the setting should be retained by your computer.
All of the connections are found on the base of the microphone. These include a USB-C port for connecting to your PC or console, a 3.5mm TRS jack output for headphones, a universal mounting screw connector, and a button to operate the RGB circling the underside of the microphone.
The RGB casts an appealing colourful glow under the mic, but it’s limited in its operation. There are seven different colours that you can switch between, but they are static with no lighting effects, and no option to create your own colour or adjust brightness. Despite its limitations, it looks very nice, but we’d have liked to see some more control. Usually, this is handled by custom software, but that goes against the plug and play nature of the MDrill One Pro.
To get the best possible audio, you need to go into your PC sound settings and switch to 96kHz 24bit for the MDrill One Pro, but again, this is a one-off configuration setting.
There is no bespoke software for the MDrill One Pro, so any audio customisation will need to be done with third-party software like Audacity, or through integrated enhancements, such as found in Discord or OBS.
(As well as Windows, Linux and Mac, the microphone is also compatible with PS4 and PS5.)
The MDrill One Pro is a triple condenser microphone with integrated gain control, which is a great addition at this price point. It also has multiple recording patterns, a 96kHz 24bit sample rate, and a 20-20,000Hz frequency response, ensuring the highest quality audio. As alluded to before, the specifications and quality of life features put this microphone on par with others costing well in excess of £150.
Without any integrated audio enhancement or dedicated software, the MDrill One Pro lives or dies by the quality of its sound pickup. Fortunately, the quality of the audio is pristine. Vocal pickup is crisp and clean, without overemphasis of any frequencies, and the result is a natural-sounding representation of your voice.
When I first tried the MDrill One Pro, the sound that was picked up was very quiet, even with the mic gain maxed out. After a brief bit of troubleshooting, I discovered that the mic volume was turned down within Windows 10’s settings. Once I turned this up to 100%, the audio was picked up correctly.
With regards to the gain setting, in my setup, which has almost no background noise, I was able to set the gain to 40%. This gave a crystal-clear sound and well-balanced overall volume, which picked up my voice clearly between 2.5ft and 3ft away. From greater distances when testing the omnidirectional pickup I increased the gain to full, which introduced a minor amount of hiss and distortion to the recorded audio; a gain setting of around 80% seems to be the maximum you can use before signal degradation occurs, but in a typical setup around 40-50% should be ideal.
At close range (<3ft) the acoustics of the room didn’t have a major influence on the audio quality. Once you are trying to record audio from further away, however, the microphone is more susceptible to picking up reverb and echo from around the room. For consistent overall quality, the MDrill One Pro works best when your recording distance is closer and doesn’t deviate too much. Fortunately off-axis pickup is very good, meaning you don’t need to have the microphone directly in front of you for it to be effective.
You will need to be very aware of how sensitive the microphone is. It picks up a lot of background noise, so the clicking of keys or mouse buttons were clearly audible, and even the wheels of my chair sliding over a wooden floor. For simple voice-over work or recording podcasts, or when using a game controller, this will be less of an issue, but for louder environments, you will need some form of software-driven noise cancellation to eliminate unwanted sounds.
The MDrill One Pro has four separate recording patterns: Cardioid, Stereo, Bi-directional and Omni-directional, with much appreciated at-a-glance mode and mute light indicators. I spent the vast majority of the time using cardioid mode, as this is optimal for gaming voice-comms and typical streaming setups and it performed perfectly. In testing, the bi-directional mode worked very well, too, picking up voices evenly from in front and behind the microphone. Omni-directional mode, though, gave a very hollow sound to the recording, with voices sounding distant and subdued. For basic conferencing, it would be fine, but it doesn’t have the professional sounding quality of the other sound modes.
Incredible value for money
At just £75.99 (or less) the MDrill One Pro is competitively priced. The audio quality is comparable to that of the Blue Yeti, though the Yeti does have the advantage of having the excellent Blue Vo!ce software which can significantly enhance the quality of your recordings with its audio filters. Aside from the software, though, there’s very little to choose between the MDrill One Pro and its competitors when it comes to native audio quality. When you factor in the price, and if you don’t mind making adjustments in post-production or through third-party applications, the MDrill One Pro represents incredible value for money.
Outside of testing, I’ve been using the MDrill One Pro in place of my usual gaming headsets, and I can’t see myself going back. Before we even get to the excellent sound quality, I’ve got used to not having an awkward headset mic shoved in front of my face, which feels as liberating as the first time I tried a decent wireless headset. I’ve mostly been using Discord, which has excellent noise cancellation that eliminated all of the clacking of keys whilst gaming and kept my voice clear and distinct.
Although the stand isn’t huge, the microphone itself is quite large, so I’ve been using a Thronmax Caster S2 Boom Arm to keep the microphone up and out of the way, and I’d highly recommend picking one up if your desk is short on space.
The Thronmax MDrill One Pro is an excellent microphone that offers outstanding value. The quality of the audio is superb, and it has numerous quality of life features that elevate it way above other competitors at this price point.
For anyone looking to add professional standard voice recording equipment to their setup, the quality of the MDrill One Pro is close to studio-grade, but at a pocket-friendly price and with a simple USB plug and play connection.