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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

Røde Podcaster USB Microphone Review


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Aptmunich

 
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Hey guys!

As some of you may or may not know, I dabble in music a bit (some of you may remember be linking to my old band a few years ago).

Well, I recently received the opportunity to review the Røde Podcaster: This USB microphone promises to make recording professional-sounding audio with your Mac really simple. But does it live up to the promise?

What's in the box


The Podcaster comes in a sturdy black box: Apart from the mic itself, you'll also find a USB A to USB B connector (the kind most printers require but never include), and an adapter ring for connecting the mic to a stand.

Build Quality
The microphone has a solid metal enclosure that gives it considerable heft and weight, but in a really good way. It has a fairly large pickup area that is also protected by the outer casing, which is good as the mic grill is something that is often damaged by knocks or drops on traditional microphone designs.

The adapter screw also doubles as the USB port enclosure and is also entirely made out of metal. This should also do wonders for this mic's durability, as the stand adapter is often under a lot of strain on mics and can often crack if made out of plastic.

The one minor gripe I have is the headphone volume control on the front of the mic: It's made out of plastic and feels a bit wobbly and out of place on a mic this well made.

Audio performance
Probably the most important factor when choosing a mic: How good does it actually sound? Røde promise "High quality broadcast sound" and I can honestly say that the Podcaster delivers. It has an incredible textured sound that gives recordings a "studio" feel. It sounds very accurate without too much treble and produces clean, warm audio.



A normal recording setup requires:
- A mic
- A mixer with preamps and monitoring capabilities
- An audio interface

Whilst there are some solutions out there that can act as an interface as well as a mixer, this mic is so much quicker to get set up: A single cable to your Mac, plug in your headphones and you're set. Ever tried to record decent audio without hearing yourself? Or without hearing your overall mix? Getting monitoring set up (without a delay!) is usually more trouble than it's worth - the Podcaster solves that issue nicely and you have zero timing issues.

I've created a short audio snippet to give you an idea of the audio quality: Both the voice and guitar heard in this video were recorded with the Podcaster:
Rode Podcaster Microphone review on Vimeo


Compatibility
The Podcaster works out of the box with OS X: Just connect the USB cable and you're all set. There are some Windows drivers and applications on the CD that's included, but you can safely ignore those. Fire up Garageband, select one of the vocal presets and you're good to go. It also shows up as an audio output device immediately as well.

Tip: Remember to turn off Garageband's live monitoring feature if you use the Røde as your output device (the mic will already pipe your audio to your headphones) – otherwise you'll start hearing yourself twice!

Conclusion
The Røde Podcaster is a great microphone. It's well suited to creating podcasts, screencasts, movie voiceovers and even recording music. The build-quality is almost flawless and it offers an ideal feature combination of features for fast and easy recordings.
I've found myself quickly recording song ideas and voiceovers, simply because it's so much less hassle to do so (previously I had been using an interface with a traditional microphone, which usually required extensive setting up and configuration to get decent results).

The Podcaster includes a 10 year guarantee and is available online for around $229.

RØDE Microphones - Podcaster

Amazon.com: Rode Microphones Podcaster USB Microphone: Musical Instruments

I also have posted some more pic in the gallery on my blog: Review: Rode Podcaster USB Microphone
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forumdood007

 
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I doubt the input levels are any better than the USB mics I've tried.....if so, what makes this mic better?
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Aptmunich

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forumdood007 View Post
I doubt the input levels are any better than the USB mics I've tried.....if so, what makes this mic better?
From the look of your other post:
Quote:
I am so fed up with this issue as well. I use a USB microphone and also bought an M Audio Podcast Factory USB preamp, including microphone and cannot get a decent input level in Garage Band or any other Mac application. Bottom line is, the sound card in my iMac is crap!! I have to literally have my mouth on the mic to get anything at a decent level. All of the forums out there have people reporting low input levels on all macs. The cheezy little built-in mic picks up sound better. Unfortunately, the Macs suck at external microphone input!!! They are crap....nuff said!!!!!
I'd say there's an issue with your sound settings. When you use a USB mic, the soundcard doesn't actually do anything... the processing is all done in the mic itself.

This mic easily gets enough input level to distort in Garageband, so volume definitely isn't an issue.

Are you sure your USB mic was selected in the Garageband preferences?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich View Post

Are you sure your USB mic was selected in the Garageband preferences?
OMG!!! My bad, I also forgot to turn the power to my computer on!!! This is what I'm talking about....anybody able to help the millions with the low input level problem with the macs?
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mediamaker

 
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I bought a mic from this site called Shortcut Editing Keyboards, Vocal Booths, USB Studio Microphones, Pro Tools Keyboard, Final Cut Keyboard, Avid Keyboard, Adobe Premiere Keyboard, Pop Filters and much more, have been using it constantly since and its actually amazing, I get perfect vocal recordings every time! Is nice and crisp on its own but also picks up the sound from my guitar really well. I bought the SL300 but they have a cheaper one as well, probably just as good!

Also just bought a pop filter from them too, pretty cheap and works really well with the mic.

Definitely give them a go.
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