I know many of you may have been using the Snowball from Blue and it is OK but what if there was a better USB microphone? I thought about it and it turns out there is one and it is the Rode Podcaster.
The Rode Podcaster requires a little bit of setup because it does not come with a stand to sit on. It is meant to be mounted when you use it. You can use an elaborate arm or an expensive desktop USB mount and it will hold it just fine using a standard mount plate.
The Rode is a superbly built USB mic weighing in at 2.4 pounds. It is so robust that you could throw it into your bag without worrying about breaking it.
On the microphone itself, there is a headphone jack. What is important about the jack is that you can plug a pair of headphones into the mic and monitor your volume and listen to your voice while podcasting. If you cannot listen to yourself while recording a podcast, there is a possibility that you play it back only to discover that you are “popping out” or that the volume is bad and the recording just sounds terrible. Also, if you are using your computer to listen to your playback, the USB connection has a latency and then you would have a delay of the audio, so you would be hearing yourself a few seconds after you have said something.
To get the most out of the Rode I would highly recommend a swivel mount microphone boom arm because it will allow you to easily move the mic around and it will float in the position that you move it to. You can get it perfectly adjusted for your podcast show and the mic will remain perfectly counterweighted. The spring system makes it so that there is not a lot of sound transfer into your audio recording. You can even go one step further by buying a spider mount where you can hang the Rode inside the spider mount where so it becomes shock-resistant. This way if you bounce on the table or bump the stand the sound isn’t transferred into the mic.
The overall audio sound quality is superb. It is 48 kHz so you are beyond CD quality and it has an indicator light on it to let you know that it is active and these types of visual cues are great. The audio quality is quite near some $300+ microphones on the market today such as the Heil PR-40 mic. When you talk about plugging the PR-40 into an amp and a board along with the stands needed you are approaching $800 but you can rival the same sound quality with the Rode Podcaster mic.
The only drawback that I could find is that you will have to buy a stand because it does not come with one. To get the best sound out of this mic you going to want the complete configuration that I mentioned above so that you sound like a pro. The boom arm is easy to set up as it is just a C-clamp that you clip onto your desk so it is easy to move around.
The Rode Podcaster feels, looks and sounds great. It is a directional mic so if you move mouth off-mic it noticeably affects the sound quality and how well you can be heard. What this means is two things:
- If you have a co-host on your show you will not be picking up each other on your individual microphones as much which will make a huge overall difference in your overall sound quality. If you have ever done a show with two mics at once and you mute one channel and you allow one person to talk then you unmute the other in bouncing back-and-forth manner you will notice a huge difference in the way it sounds.
- If you have a loud case or something that makes a lot of noise in the background such as a fan in the room or a PC humming, the Rode is not going to pick it up.
The one disadvantage with a directional microphone like the Rode is that you do not have the ability to pick up the sound very well if several people are in the room. If this is something you are looking for and only have one microphone then you can choose a mic with an omnidirectional pickup pattern like the Blue Snowball or the Samson C03U.
The Podcaster also does not have any settings to change. When it is on its in its best fidelity mode. However, being able to have the audio built right into the microphone itself more than makes up for the absence of a bunch of settings.
So if you аre ready to get serious about your audio, I really recommend this microphone is the way to go. You have pro sound directly into your computer. The good thing about a USB microphone is you avoid the machine noise that is often inherent in a lot of sound cards.
The Rode USB microphone has its own built-in filter, so in my opinion, a pop screen is not necessary. In conclusion, you really cannot go wrong with the Rode Podcaster microphone and I can assure you that once it is in your hand you will not be disappointed.