Because the Rode Rodecaster Pro is designed specifically with podcasting in mind, it is a pretty unique piece of audio equipment. Podcasting is a market worth investing in, which is exciting for the medium as a whole. Rode already has an excellent reputation in both the musician and voice-over worlds, which makes this an exciting development.
Rode, to their credit, has been very attentive to the feedback the community has offered. Over the years, the device has received a number of firmware updates, and that won’t stop anytime soon. Rodecaster Pro is intended to serve as a complete podcasting studio on wheels. It includes 4 XLR microphone inputs, USB, and Bluetooth connections for mobile devices, 4 monitoring headphone outputs, and 8 programmable pads for sound effects. This piece of audio equipment is extremely ambitious.
Rode describes the Rodecaster as the first fully integrated podcast production studio. You can imagine the Rodecaster as a mixer that has been cleaned up and simplified and then merged with a digital recorder. So, right away, the Rode Rodecaster will simplify a lot of lives by replacing multiple pieces of equipment and cables with one unit. The Rodecaster doesn’t even require a computer to record!
Therefore, as of 2021, let’s take a look at the Rodecaster Pro and decide whether to invest in your podcast, setup, and budget.
- For recording and broadcasting high-quality audio
- Featuring a variety of inputs, jingles, and controls
- Made of a sturdy, durable material
- Expensive gear for amateur podcasters
- There are few options for processing and effects
- The setup isn’t quite complete
What’s In The Box?
What exactly is inside the box? When you first open it, you see a bunch of massive fact cards. One side shows you the interface, and the other has facts and figures.
In addition to the Rodecaster Pro itself, it comes with all the cables to get you started, so you can have this up and running in less than a minute!
Design And Display
The RODECaster Pro combines studio-quality hardware controls with user-friendly controls, making it easy to use for amateurs and professionals alike. With just a few minutes of set-up, I was recording with a great sound using the RODE PodMic, a $99 microphone that RODE has optimized to work with the RODECaster Pro right out of the box. You shouldn’t need to read an instruction manual or guide to get started because the controls are easy and intuitive to use.
There are guides in the box that you can use to overlay the buttons and label them so that you can keep track of which is which. RODE’s eight-button grid for sound effects is probably the most complicated part of the physical interface, but even the default sounds are useful. Sliders are easy to use and smooth, so even manual fade-ins and fade-outs can be made for intro and outro or pre-recorded soundbites. With backlit input keys, mute status, and the large record button, you can easily see what inputs are active and inactive.
It’s great to see that Rode has included a locking power adapter in the box so that the cord won’t be accidentally pulled out during a recording. There is also a quick-release latch on each of the XLR inputs for secure connections. The RODECaster Pro is also lightweight enough to fit in a backpack for recording on-location, despite its large size.
An additional design feature is the touchscreen display. It is high-resolution, matte and can be viewed in a wide range of lighting conditions, and has very responsive touch input. With software-based jog controls, you can extend the functionality of the deck while still making sure it doesn’t feel fiddly or difficult to use, as it can be with jog controllers like the ones found on Zoom recorders.
RODECaster Pro’s success comes from its balance of simplicity and power. You can basically use it right out of the box without having to make any changes to how it’s set up. This is especially true if you use RODE’s microphones, as each of them comes with built-in profiles that can be used to optimize sound settings instantly.
Earlier, I mentioned that the RODE PodMic is optimized for the RODECaster Pro in this manner, and the results are fantastic. Various audio effects, such as built-in compressors, de-Essers, and others, can be toggled to customize your sound. As of earlier this month, Firmware 2.1 lets you manually adjust each of the included sound effects through the RODECaster Pro companion app for a unique, customized final sound. Another outstanding feature of the RODECaster Pro is the ability to pre-load and play sound effects on demand. As a final feature, I will draw attention to smartphone connectivity, because it is wonderful, especially in an era in which it can be hard to consistently find guests to interview.
RODECaster Pro is complemented by a variety of accessories that expand its capabilities and enhance its overall experience. The company also recently released the RODE PodMic, as well as colored cables clips which correspond to backlight colors for easy identification, as well as 1/4″ to 3.5mm stereo jack adapters which allow standard headphones to be used as monitors. RODECaster Pro owners must also consider the RODE PodMic as an essential accessory. Any RodeCaster Pro kit you plan to use outside of your own studio/home, in particular, will benefit from the USB power cable, since it can connect to any USB charger you have handy – as long as it can provide 5V/2.5A.
RODECaster Pro is a great way to upgrade your podcasting experience at home and to take your show on the road once you’re able to do so. When you press one of these buttons during the recording, it plays out in the show. The companion software, which is available for download on Rode’s website, enables you to apply different sounds or pieces of music to these buttons.