RODECaster Pro – first impressions

We took delivery of our first batch of RODECaster Pro today, and with all the hype building lately, we just had to plug it in straight away.

Here’s the lowdown.

The first thing you’ll notice as you unbox, is the ‘life-sized’ quick start guide…

The 3x double-sided cards contain all the info you need, including what each control button or slider does, along with what all the connections are for. There’s a reminder of how to download any updates, how to connect your phone for adding another voice to the podcast, among other things.

The included power supply is 12V, with a ‘locking collar’ arrangement to ensure your power doesn’t disappear during a crucial moment.

Right out of the box, RODEcaster Pro is sized ‘just right’

It ‘feels’ like a good size, and there’s plenty of space to get to any function you need without hitting the wrong button.

Before we even bothered with a microphone, we plugged a pair of headphones in (there are 4 headphone sockets on the rear), turned them up on the top right of the console, to have a play with each of the 8 triggers pads.

Of course, they’re pre-loaded with fairly saccharine fodder, but it’s totally obvious that the LONG fader to their immediate left is the volume control

From the HOME of the touch screen (home is a nice, clear metering view), hit the settings wheel on the top left, and that will take you to a choice… select SOUNDS, and you can use a mic to record anything you’d like onto a trigger pad.

For those who’d like to be a power-user, attach to your computer, and you can drag and drop files straight from your computer. This is particularly handy if you’ve pre-recorded an interview, and just want to set it running in the middle of your podcast show.

A look at the microphone inputs

Here’s where things got interesting for us. What’s the right way to describe this?

Excitement.

Generally when something is this super-simple to use, there’s has been a truckload of effort put in to making it so.

See the BLUE buttons above Microphone Channels 1 – 4? Hit one of those, when you’re ready to set up the mic.

Not only are there presets for all the relevant Rode podcast-friendly microphones (including the soon-to-be-announced PodMic), there’s also a choice for a generic Condenser or Dynamic.

For the purposes of our testing, we actually used a Beyer M160 – not that it’s ideal for this environment, but because it was the closest mic to grab.

On the screen above, can you see the SETUP button next to MICROPHONE?

That’s where you can engage phantom power for a condenser mic (if you haven’t just selected a RODE preset), and adjust your microphone gain. There is also an ADVANCED button here… more on that in a moment.

The VOICE button on the top right of the screen lets you select the type of voice that will be addressing the mic.

Choices: Low, Medium, High (pitch of your voice), along with Soft, Medium, Loud (strength of your voice projection).

Aphex on board

So, back to that ‘ADVANCED’ button we talked about earlier..

For each of the 4 microphone channels, you’ve got the option of turning off the included APHEX dynamics control – either as a group, or individually.

Really, is there a reason why you don’t want them? Probably not, which is why they ship as ‘ON’ by default.

The Aural Exciter and Big Bottom features are particularly impressive, and have been part of many broadcast studios sound shaping armory for decades. Turn them off if you don’t like them.

Other simple dynamics control (simple, because they’re either on or off), include: Compresser, High Pass Filter, De esser, and Noise Gate.

Can you see CHANNEL 1 MIC has it’s own little section on the fader board above?

That’s important for the HOST of your podcast. Channel 1 gets an extra feature, being DUCKING (also shown in the photo above).

Ducking is only available on Channel 1, and when it’s ON, the result is calm control by any host – that is, if guests won’t pipe down, just get the host to talk, and the CHANNEL 1 signal will automatically duck the other levels down.

Fantastic.

Again, turn it off if you don’t want this feature.

Without overstating it, we were seriously impressed with the functionality behind such a simple ‘advanced’ interface.

Record to Micro SD with a button push

Yeah, so all that’s great, but RODCaster Pro is actually a smart recorder, suited for up to 4 presenters doing a podcast.

Turn up each of the faders – up to 4 microphones, plus computer playback and phone (TRRS cable or Bluetooth), load up your sound pads, and you’re ready.

Straight out of the box, you can get recording to a MicroSD card in just minutes. It’s really that simple.

PUSH the RECORD button, and not only will your screen move straight back to the ‘metering’ home page, it will also bring up a timer to indicate how long you’ve been waffling.

Doing it on a bigger scale?

Use the Left and Right 1/4″ jack outputs to feed to a pair of speakers for the cafe-crowd you’re performing the live podcast in front of – or whatever the scene may be.

You can also use the USB connection to record the podcast to your computer – if that desirable for you. Of course, this is still going to be the stereo podcast feed, not individual tracks (but if that’s what you’re after, then this is not the product you’re actually looking for).

Back up the truck – Phone interviews?

Yes. Both the BlueTooth AND the TRRS input channels feature “mix-minus” audio to prevent echo being heard by the caller(s), so if you’re going live with your podcast / broadcast, well, if you’ve tried it before, you know it’s tough to sort (until now).

First impressions

We’re not going to summarise any further.

It’s great.

RODECaster Pro is going to be a winner for so many potential podcast providers, or for those existing one who’d like to add a bit of polish.

Come in and check it out – you’ll be impressed.
Webstore product page for RODECaster Pro is here

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