RODE Podcaster Review – USB Broadcast Microphone

To be honest, at first, we treated with prejudice to this microphone: among the four possible candidates to become the microphone in our home studio, this was the most expensive. We had thought that we’d rather die than pay for it. Also, it is dynamic, while the other three are condenser. The only thing that really pleased us is that RODE Podcaster has a built-in audio interface, a mode of quantization with 18 bits with a sampling frequency of 48 kHz, which will provide really modern sound quality. All the other microphones we’ve tried: Blue Snowflake from Blue Microphones company, M-Audio Vocal Studio and Prodipe ST-USB Lanen. This three models are equipped with a 16-bit converter. But can a couple of poor bits of information change anything? This will be discussed in our review.

RODE Podcaster is designed for recording speech. The manufacturer positions this mic as a good quality broadcast microphone, made specifically for podcasting. To use it, you only need a computer and nothing else. It can be connected to desktop or laptop (also to your iPad) and it will provide you with a good sound, which is worthy to be demonstrated in public. Here are the basic characteristics of the microphone stated in the manual and on the manufacturer’s website. Next we’ll describe all features.

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic (capsule with a neodymium magnet and a 28mm membrane)
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Bit Depth / Sample Rate: up to 18-bit / 48kHz
  • Frequency Rate: from 40Hz up to  14kHz
  • Sensitivity: -51.0dBV/Pa (2.80mV @ 94dB SPL)
  • Output Impedance: 0Ω Ohms
  • Max SPL: 115dB (1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
  • Outputs: USB output, Headphone output with volume control
  • Power Requirements: via USB cable
  • OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac and iOS
  • Housing: strong cast metal construction with internal anti-vibration mount for capsule, steel grille
  • Package Bundle Includes: RODE Podcaster microphone, USB cable, RM2 ring mount, 10 Year Warranty paper, Sticker, Instruction Manual
  • Dimensions: [H] 215 x [W] 56 x [D] 52 mm (11.2 x 2.5 x 5.2 inches)
  • Net Weight: 655 grams (1.4 pounds)

Unboxing and First Impression

RODE Podcaster is packaged in a compact box of glossy carton paper. It just killed us with its weight: there is a real heavyweight inside, which cannot be compared with any of the three competitors. There is no special abundance of information on the box. There is only the name of the product and a list of its main advantages. Among other things, it has a piece of information that the microphone has a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty (available after product registration on the manufacturer’s website), also it is written that the microphone can be connected directly to the computer via USB, and that it has a headphone jack, which allows you to monitor direct recordings with zero delay, and that the model has a built-in pop filter. That’s it!

A box cover is fixed with a couple of pieces of transparent adhesive tape. After removing the cover, you will be able to pick up a user manual, a thin brochure, card, which tells how to get the right for a ten-year warranty on the purchased product in the face of the microphone RODE Podcaster and a sticker with which you will be able to announce to the world about your love for the microphone.

Overall Build and Design

In a time when all other companies carefully save on everything on what only possible, RODE demonstrates a terrible extravagance: its Podcaster is enclosed in a strong cast metal case of white color. It is glossy, has no sharp corners, looks very harmonious, but a little non-contemporary. In general, an impressive weight of this product can be explained by this case. But not only by that. The microphone is wholly good. A wind noise reducer matches the case: it is made of a firm steel wire. It is impossible to push it with a finger or at least to make it a little bend inside.

Rode Podcaster

The only gripe appeared to volume control of headphones: it seems flimsy on the background of the product. Interestingly enough, it can be removed simply by pulling its head. A practical use of this phenomenon is impossible to extract. In our case, the nozzle was not well put on. After we lightly pushed, it got tighter and began to look more decent.

The microphone is equipped with a green LED. It is soft, but its glow is very difficult not to notice even in a brightly lit room. By the way, it can glow green, indicating its readiness for work, or orange, that indicates an issue: the microphone is not willing to work normally.

At the bottom of the microphone, there is a protruding thread, it already has a screw, which allows to fix the product in the standard low-profile ring mount RM2. This ring mount comes in the kit, and you can find it in the box as well. It is interesting that there is a screw adapter that you can screw in the head for the stand, if the tripod has a smaller diameter.

Rode PodcasterThere is also a three-meter cable with plugs USB A and USB B in the box. It is white and there are no issues. It is just common.

RODE Podcaster can be mounted on a desktop tripod with all-metal vertical stand, but it is better to purchase a good scissor boom arm stand and shock mount. RODE has this type of product, and their cost is moderate. There are plenty things to choose from on what to hang the microphone. We recommend to buy the RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount boom arm or something like that (also we have a huge article about best microphone stands – you can reed it here). We would not advice to use a supplied ring mount RM2 (which comes with this mic in the box) and a stand like DS1: any mouse click, press of a key on a laptop, any vibration – all of that will be tracked through the ring mount and stand, reaching the microphone and turning into background noise. So it’s better to choose anti-vibration microphone shock mount RODE SM6. The main feature of this shock mount is that it comes with detachable high quality pop filter and this shock mount will reduce any noise from vibrations and mechanical impacts.

Connection, Configuration and Test Recording

There are no disks in the microphone kit, so it does not require any drivers – just “Plug and Play”, and we took RODE Podcaster and connected it to the laptop. As a test workstation, there was a simple laptop of office class. Here its main characteristics of our laptop:

  • Brand: Asus
  • OS Microsoft Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.7GHz
  • Memory: 4Gb RAM
  • Hard disk with rotation speed of 5400rpm

After connecting the microphone to the computer, it picks up drivers for a new device, and a minute later the system is ready to be used. We recorded a test sound in two programs: in a popular free editor Audacity and expensive commercial Adobe Audition CC. The first program picked up a new microphone itself and appointed it as a device for sound recording, but the commercial package had to be reconfigured manually: in the settings of Adobe Audition, the microphone was appointed as an input device.

In the process of recording, there was noted feature: Audacity offered to record an audio in 16-bit resolution, as there is no template of 18-bit. Adobe Audition CC strongly suggested to record a 32-bit audio, which awakened a spirit of experimentation in our hearts, as we supposed that the manufacturer has put inside the microphone a new ADC and never confessed to anyone in his generosity. However, a recording in 32-bit quantization had a strong increase of load on CPU, which was regarded as a fact that pointed to a software transcode of incoming data stream, that doesn’t make much sense: it is better to use the sound as it is, because the quality is not better, but the size of the output file increases.

As the microphone is for recording a speech, it was applied for the purpose: we recorded fragments of speech programs in two cases: male speech and female speech (you can hear all audio examples recorded with RODE Podcaster below).

Small TIP for iOS device owners. You can use this microphone with any iOS device and record high quality audio with the use of iOS apps such as Garageband etc. To connect RODE Podcaster you need to buy two optional accessories – first one is powered Sabrent USB 3.0 Hub with powered switches (you need to connect your mic to this hub then to power this USB hub with AC/DC power adapter), second one is Camera Connection Kit – to connect your usb hub directly to your iPad or iPhone.

RODE Podcaster – Sound Recording Quality

First and foremost, the microphone is the best of the four tested. A reproach is that it cannot deliver an outstanding sensitivity, but it is not critical, as podcasting programs rarely require recording of a whisper. As for reading of belles-lettres, here, great limits have not been identified: the microphone confidently captures even low speech, if a sound source is in close proximity to the pop filter. It should be noted that air flashes caused by labial or labiodental sounds, do not manifest themselves clearly, so an external pop filter here is not obligatory. Its use makes sense only as a protection against drops of moisture. So we highly recommend you to buy RODE SM6 mentioned above.

ode Podcaster Frequency ResponseMicrophone perfectly captures keen nuances of voice and speech. Intelligibility is at a high level, a frequency response is excellent and designed especially for speech (as you can see on picture of frequency response there is an uplift from 5kHz to 10kHz, which will make your voice more clear and legible), a noise level is low – we are very pleased. The microphone is unidirectional as you can see on the picture of polar pattern, so the sounds outside the coverage area are well ignored.

Here is no big obvious difference between recordings made in free and paid program. It can only be heard when listening on decent monitors or in good headphones. Do you need to buy a paid software for this microphone? If you want just to record a sound file and you do not intend to do anything more with it — no, it is enough to have a free Audacity. If you need professional effects and plug-ins to edit a written material, if you need a comfortable and functional sound editing and mixdown multiple tracks, so it is impossible without a program like Adobe Audition, Cubase, ProTools etc.

Here you can check out some audio examples of RODE Podcaster

RODE Podcaster vs Blue Yeti vs RODE NT-USB

According to numerous requests from our readers, in this review we will compare three microphone models: RODE Podcaster, Blue Yeti, RODE NT-USB. All microphones are from the same niche – “USB Microphones“.

We wont describe in detail all the technical characteristics of each microphone as you can see it in the table below.

RODE Podcaster Blue Yeti RODE NT-USB
Transducer Type Dynamic Condenser Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid Switchable Polar Patterns (Cardioid, STEREO, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional) Cardioid
Frequency Response 40Hz – 14kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
20Hz – 20kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
20Hz – 20kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
Bit Depth / Sample Rate 18bit / 48kHz 16bit / 48kHz 16bit / 48kHz
Pros Great sound quality espesially for speech
High bit-depth / sample rate
Cast metal construction of housing and metal mesh grille provides microphone durability
Real-time direct audio monitoring via 3.5mm  jack with volume control
Internal capsule shock mounting
10 Year warranty
Good sound quality
Durability of housing
Switchable polar patterns
Mute button
Real-time audio monitoring with master volume
Gain adjustment
Price / Quality
Studio sound quality
Modern design
Package bundle includes: carrying case, tripod stand for table, ring mount, pop-filter
Price / Quality
Cons High price, but it is worth the money Low bit-depth
Large size of the housing
Low bit depth, but sound quality is on good level
Check the Price

Let’s start from the pair: RODE Podcaster vs Blue Yeti. We just want to note the fact that the Rode Podcaster is much more expensive than Blue Yeti microphone. Describing Blue Yeti mic we would like to mention the fact that it is more functional than the RODE Podcaster, for example: Blue Yeti has 4 switchable polar patterns, mic gain control and mute button, while microphone from RODE does not have these features. But why the RODE Podcaster is more expensive than our competitors? – This is because it has a clear sound quality (typical for podcasts) and it’s designed for professionals, also quantizing bit rate of RODE mic is higher and frequency response is flat with uplift on 5kHz – 10kHz (it means clear bass and mid-range with saturation on high frequency, which is great for podcasting) as you can see in our table above. It is impossible to say which microphone is better. If you do not want to spend a lot of money and still to get a mic with extended features and with a good sound quality – your choice is Blue Yeti. If you already have experience in voice/speech recording and you want to get an ideal and detailed speech recording – your choice is RODE Podcaster.

So let’s turn to the next pair: RODE Podcaster vs RODE NT-USB. RODE NT-USB is cheaper than Podcaster mic and has some distinctive features, for example: RODE NT-USB has gain controller, comes with tripod stand, pop-filter and zip pouch, while RODE Podcaster does not have this features and it’s more expensive . Therefore, the winner of our comparison is RODE NT-USB microphone – as it is more practical and has a wide functionality, not yielding to the sound quality of Podcaster mic. But we still want to mention one significant fact in audio performance of RODE Podcaster – it’s more unique in its sound, and sound parameters are more clear as it has audiophile 18-bit resolution, while RODE NT-USB has only 16-bit converter.

Three Reasons to Buy Rode Podcaster:

  1. Sound characteristics tailored for podcasting, YouTube videos, online broadcasting, Twitch streamers, in-game voice chats and skype, vodcasting, corporate videos, online radio, audio books recording and for everything which is connected with speech recording.
  2. You do not need to buy external audio interface and good XLR cable as it has 18-bit 48kHz audio converter. Just Plug to your PC, Laptop and Play.
  3. RODE Podcaster has 10-year warranty when you register your microphone. It’s really great feature, that indicate the reliability of the mic.

In Conclusion

RODE Podcaster is a great microphone for podcasting. If you need to create a voice program, you want to make and post on a podcastings website and have an excellent quality of sound for minimum money, the choice of this microphone is optimal. Another challenge for it can be recording an audio narration for video reports. The microphone is compatible with almost all common software and it is ready to work in amateur and professional programs.

RODE Podcaster pleased with its simplicity: you can get a quality sound without slightest effort. The company’s engineers created it as a simple microphone for recording speech and they succeeded. And don’t forget about the warranty of 10 years. The company is very confident in its product, if it gives such promise to the customer. So, buy it, use it and have fun!

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Global RODE Podcaster Rating
  • Sound Recording Quality - 10/10
    10/10
  • Overall Build & Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
9.0/10