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Rode Podcaster USB Microphone

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PUTTING THE RODE PODCASTER USB MICROPHONE TO THE TEST

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While USB microphones have been out on the scene for quite some time now they've more or less been relegated to the lower pro-consumer end of the spectrum as multipurpose general recording devices. No real problem there but start getting serious about any type of reasonable recording and  it becomes pretty clear there's nothing reasonable about their inherent fidelity. As a result over the past few years we've started to see a new influx of higher quality USB microphones more geared towards the recording artist as a convenient means to have a simple all-in-one microphone/monitoring system without the need for breakout converter boxes or relying on an on-board sound card.

INTRODUCING THE RODE PODCASTER USB MICROPHONE

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Order Rode Podcaster USB Microphone from The Vocal Gear Store  

A quick check on the interwebs reveals there are a number of other notable manufacturers out there {C}such as Blue and Audio-Technica offering a similar solution to that of the Rode Podcaster USB Microphone but Rode has positioned their microphone at a slightly higher price point than the rest suggesting a moderately more premium product. Interestingly unlike the Podcaster, which looks pretty sweet in its white powdercoat alloy casing and silver grill, most other similar product offerings come in a more pro-consumer plasticky look to their packaging. I should note however that without holding each example in my hand I only have the high-res photos to go off of. Your mileage may vary. Further the only microphone with a similar traditional studio grade housing was the AT-2020 which does not have a integral audio processor and headphone jack. So on the surface the Rode does in fact appear to have the most presentable and functional packaging.

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In addition the Podcaster itself, Rode was generous enough to send along their PSA1 professional studio boom arm and PSM1 shock mount which when used as a complete package along with the Podcaster work beautifully together. What always gets me with Rode is their inherent attention to detail. It's the little things such as the green led on the Podcaster which indicates its powered up and ready to go to the clever cable routing and velcro ties that come with the PSA1 that set them apart from the competition.

FIRST TMV PRODUCT REVIEW PODCAST

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This being a microphone developed with the podcaster in mind I felt it very fitting then that we use the Rode to kick off a new feature of product reviews for TMV which you will now find at the top of each product review from now on. That said setup on the Podcaster was 100% plug and play. My Windows 7 machine instantly installed the drivers and the Rode was ready to go with no drama. Being as I'm a Protools guy I did unfortunately have to find an alternative audio tool so in the interest of a total budget free solution I used Audacity for the podcast. As you can tell if you've listened to the audio sample above the Podcaster has a fairly flat response curve with a slight bump around 10k that should work nice with most voices. I felt no need to muck around with any EQ after the fact. The built-in pop-filter does a great job neutralizing plosives and I feel negates the need for any additional pop-filtering. Additionally with a maximum SPL of 115db the Rode has plenty of headroom to also be useful in grabbing quick demo recordings or song ideas on the fly. It should be noted however that while the Podcaster looks suspiciously like a condenser microphone it is in fact a dynamic so while it can be a subjective subject you may want to experiment with a few different mics when recording sounds which are far away or have a lot of high frequencies such as cymbals or acoustic guitar as it may or may not do them justice.

WRAP-UP

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With the Podcaster USB Microphone, Rode has produced what is, in my opinion, the most well-engineered execution of the pro-audio grade USB microphone. It looks great, the build quality is up to Rode's typical high-standards and quite honestly it just works and sounds good doing so. Available at your favorite music retailer soon for around $229. ~TN

www.rodemic.com
Ph. (805) 566-7777 (USA)
Review by Travis North

*This product review is a courtesy of The Modern Vocalist World and is endorsed by The Vocalist Studio International.

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