By Tim McArtney
RØDE has released a beast. The RØDECaster Pro II is an audio production studio for all content creators. Vloggers, musicians, podcasters, streamers and gamers read on.
RØDE have had a long journey in the audio world from changing the game with high-quality yet affordable microphones — seen in all the home studios and used by Adele — to making waves in the film industry with their camera-mounted microphones, blimps, boom poles and various accessories.
With the release of the RØDECaster Pro II, they have delivered a product that serves all content creators. While the original RØDECaster Pro was focused on podcasters, this new audio production studio can be used to record a podcast, live stream or in a recording studio.
We live in a multi-tasking, multi-skilled world. Musicians make their own music at home and are making their own film clips, Twitch has become a huge platform for gamers, musicians and more, the world’s most successful Podcasters both record and film themselves and apparently, 720,000 hours of video get uploaded to Youtube each day!
So how do these creatives setup a studio? You need preamps, headphone amps, mixing consoles, control surfaces and then all the microphones, stands, headphones and cables. It’s overwhelming for both the bank balance and making the right choice of quality.
RØDE know this setup can be draining and confusing, so they created the RØDECaster Pro II to cover everything. For example, if you were to create a podcast, you can have 4 physical microphones plugged in with each guest having their own set of headphones and level, Bluetooth and USB channel for remote guests, and you can use the smart pads for your music, audio grabs and/or sound effects.
The connections and controls
To connect the RØDECaster Pro II you have 4 analog inputs via combo jacks, 1/4 inch main outputs to connect to speakers, 4 headphone outputs, 2 USB-C connections for computers or mobile devices, Wifi and ethernet connectivity, a microSD card slot, and it’s own power supply.
To control the unit there’s a 5.5 inch high-resolution touch screen, 6 faders with a on/off button and mute/solo buttons, 8 smart pads, 4 headphone level knobs, a Record button, and one Encoder knob for your menu diving.
The 8 Smart pads can be changed within 8 banks — making a total of 64 — and each pads can be coloured, renamed and assigned to anything.
There’s also an app called RØDE central that let’s you configure the smart pads, export files, update the firmware and more. You can also connect the devices to wifi and get your firmware that way, neat!
There’s a huge range of on board effects from the audio company Aphex. To name a few, there’s the Exciter, Big Bottom, and a master compressor and leveler as well as a de-esser, noise gate, filters, and eq for each channel.
Using the RØDECaster Pro II
The Revolution Preamps in each of the 4 input were made specifically for the RØDECaster Pro II and are super low noise, high gain preamps. Perfect for those go to dynamic microphones usually used in a Podcast setting. Think RØDE Procaster, Shure SM7, Sennheiser MD421 and EV RE20.
For the audio geeks in the room that’s -131.5dBV EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) and 76dB of gain. Say farewell to your microphone lifters, or running out of gain on your preamps.
If the musicians in the room are being turned off by the words podcasts, gaming or streaming, think about a recording studio setup. With the 4 high-quality, Neutrik combo jacks (Both mic and instrument inputs) and the 4 headphones, a band could very easily demo new songs, or record multiple sources at once. If you are a solo artist you could connect all your favourite mics, guitars and keys to be ready for when inspiration and creativity strikes.
As well as these setups, an artist or band could perform a live set or even take the RØDECaster Pro II to a location and record onto a microSD card.
RØDE also have a wide range of accessories to go with it, including a cover, mic cable colour rings, and any USB connections you might need.
With a colourful design, inputs and features a plenty, the RØDECaster Pro II falls in the category of ‘Master of all trades’ for us. For a retail price of $1199 AUD or US$829.39 (Most places have it at $1079 AUD) it’s worth considering this as a new audio interface, and or upgrade to your setup to elevate your content.