When Rode unveiled the original Rodecaster Pro, it was something out of the ordinary: a capable mixing desk with a particular focus on podcasting. It made it easy to record multiple guests in person or over the internet/phone, while adding background music and audio enhancements in real time or with minimal post-processing. A mini radio station in a box if you will.
Today, Rode is announcing its successor, the Rodecaster Pro II, and the message this time is that it’s for all creators, be it podcasting, streaming, or music production. The new hardware looks familiar, but brings several changes that should improve your audio wherever and whatever you publish.
The most obvious difference you’ll see here is the smaller footprint. The Rodecaster Pro II loses two physical fader strips in favor of less desk space. You still have so many channels available, but some of them are mapped to virtual controls and it feels like the right move to save desk space.
Other external hardware tweaks include an all-new contextual dial and the switch to combo ports on the back instead of just straight XLR connections like the original. This opens up the Rodecaster Pro II to things like guitars and synthesizers without taking up other inputs or needing adapters.
James Trew / Engadget
Whatever you hook up to the new Rodecaster, it should sound better as it comes equipped with new preamps capable of powering even the hungriest of mics (looking at your SM7B). Rode claims the new preamps are so powerful and quiet that using an in-line signal amplifier such as a FetHed or Cloudlifter would be technically harmful and not beneficial to your sound quality. Of course, this has yet to be tested, but it’s good news anyway if you have a microphone that needs a lot of amplification.
On the listening side, Bluetooth on the Rodecaster Pro II supports both audio out and in, meaning you can get funky and follow your show wirelessly through speakers or headphones. Rode also claims that if you’re recording dial-up guests over Bluetooth, there should also be improved sound quality (at least between the phone and the mixer – not the cellular network, of course).
Semi-related, there is no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front. On the original, the show host/producer could plug their headphones into the back (using the other headphone jacks) or through the dedicated front jack, whichever was more convenient. Unfortunately, that option is now gone, and Headphone 1 is only accessible through the 1/4-inch ports on the back. A slight pain if you have a shorter/uncoiled cable.
On a more practical front, the new hardware has WiFi built in and Ethernet connectivity, making updates easy (without having to leave your computer on). You can also connect it to two PCs at once, or even your phone, making it perfect for podcasters on the go or game streamers who have a separate gaming setup. You can also record directly to SSDs and memory cards. And with that dual PC connectivity, your options for routing where your audio goes are countless.
James Trew / Engadget
Perhaps the secret sauce here is how customizable the workflow is. This starts with simple things like the eight pads on the Rodecaster Pro II can trigger audio or send MIDI as before, as well as being assigned to “mixer actions” like a fade out or used to switch cameras in your stream. You can also remap mixer channels however you like, including assigning two inputs to one fader and saving them as profiles if you’re not happy with how things are out of the box.
There are also a number of new audio effects, including stereo panning, echo and reverb. But perhaps the most unexpected additions here are some funny voice effects. This may make podcasters flinch, but Voicemod has proved popular… so someone somewhere is all about the squeaky voices.
All in all, there’s quite a bit of news here. The new audio internals and connectivity should make this a more viable option for creators of all kinds, and the ways to connect, configure and process the audio will likely make this much more flexible. Details important to streamers like OBS control, dual PC connectivity and the ability to sync/slow down audio to match video suggest it’s a genuine effort to be more capable rather than just a few buzzy marketing terms.
Whatever your use case, the Rodecaster Pro II is available to pre-order starting today for $699. Rode expects to ship “early to mid-June.”
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