Updated: Dec 18, 2020
It’s been a little over 14 months since I added the Rodecaster Pro as my audio hub for my studio. It’s not the first audio interface I have owned or worked with over the last 16 years in video and audio production. However it is the most feature packed and user friendly device by far!
Why does it stand out in the Live Streaming, Conferencing and Audio/Video World?
First off it was designed to be used in the world of podcasting and that’s not true with most audio interfaces. With four main audio channels plus two additional channels for phone calls, built in midi pads as well the fact it's a USB audio interface should garner some attention. The phone channels mand the USB have built in mix-minis abilities and one of the two onboard phone channels is for bluetooth audio. These two additional phone channels are unique in that they are designed for audio in and out. That means you can talk back and forth with your guests and they will receive the stereo show. Ok, that’s a big deal! Plus the mix-minus feature removes their voice from the stereo out back to them so they don’t get weird feedback. You can also bring in a third caller and enable mix minus with the usb computer interface as well and that's perfect for Zoom, Skype, Google Meetings and other conferencIng programs.
Next up is he ability to record multi channel .wav files in addition to the midi pads, usb channel, and phone and bluetooth. Plus the stereo mix channel so you could hand off the micro ssd to your client as you head out the door. Better yet, you can do it with or without the built in effects. You can use the Rodecaster Pro as a stand alone device without a computer. You also can record into your favorite audio software using it as a low latency audio device. Wait there's more things I love about it. You also have 4 headphone outs with individual volume control knobs on the front for easy adjustments in a live event. The Rodecaster Pro has the ability to have a private off the air communication between the host and the guest before they go on live. You can now listen pre-fader or post and mute and solo to get ready for a show or those moments you need to make a change in a live recording. One other option available on Channel 1 only is the host talk over feature. This makes it so the guests audio on the other channels dim automatically when the host speaks. This helps you as host, when you need to go to a break or generally lead and direct the conversation.
Most Podcasters need the ability to roll in music and promo spots and with the built in eight color programmable midi pads this make this more than possible. You can set them to latch, pause, replay, and play. With these pads you can add show specific sound effects or a pre-recorded guests in the middle of your live show from one of the pads. You can also use the pads to play your segment music.
With the new firmware updates you can not only record on these pads you can now layer music and audio. This is great for recording a promo spot on the fly with a guest or a last minute intro voice over change with music and sound effects.
The latest firmware adds the ability to control individual effects on each of the four audio channels once you enable this in the options menu. You can also add as little or as much compression as you would like to you master track. With this update you can take control of the basics of the other built in effects like, high pas, noise gate, de-esser, compressor and the Aphex built in two effects. With the ability to add Compression to your master stereo track you have more control for Live broadcast levels. For those who are not audio effects tech-savvy people you have the option to just leave this feature off and use the default settings for no worries.
Also with the latest firmware update (2.1.0) you now have the addition of show pages for the included midi pads. So you can have audio ready for your different shows. The Rodecaster Pro includes Companion software that integrates perfectly with this device for simple changes like shows, firmware updates, the ability to transfer audio to your computer form recordings including each individual track. The companion software also allows you to drag and drop audio files from your computer directly onto the midi pads, even change pad colors and for the computer interaction you can name the audio files on the pads for better info as you produce your Live Podcast with your companion software open on your computer. I love this feature because now I can be ready for multiple podcast without the hassle of having to reload effects and audio clips every time you change shows. Now just change the page on the touch screen on the Rodecaster Pro or in the software. That means you can set up multiple client podcasts, or have your own shows all ready and not have to change anything when your client comes in for their show.
But how does it sound?
Rode has been in and around the audio business since 1967 and I personally own and have used their microphones for years. They have some amazing microphones. Rode understands good audio and quality. They also are now leading the industry in Innovations for those of us who need to do audio on the fly from DSLR microphones, smart phones and Live production High value projects. Personally I think this Audio Interface, remote recorder sounds great. For thousands more I have heard better digital conversion, yet these Class-A Servo Preamps sound great and even headphone preamps sound good. If you have been using your laptop headphone jack this is by far better audio quality and they have plenty of gain. The Monitor Outputs sound great just make sure you have the newest USB drivers in your MAC or PC and you have a decent USB port to make sure you do not impact the audio quality it provides.
What’s in the box for audio effects?
You get the Rodecaster Pro, a power supply, and a USB to USB C adapter with a USB power port to power it from a powered USB port. It has great audio features out of the box, with settings for different microphones, fantom power for condenser microphones and some amazing presets for Rode Microphones and EV RE20. It has these presets to make out of the box settings simple. All in it’s beaming with specific tools for voice control. One BiG Deal is the two built in Aphex effects “BIG Bottom” for great lows as well as a “Aural Exciter” effect that brightens up the top end of your voice if your into these two radio effect. These are high end effects purchased from Aphex who has long been the choice of many a major players in the broadcast world for years.
Now the reason it’s more applicable in 2020 than ever before.
It’s an amazing tool for conferencing. You can use it with Skype, Zoom, Live Stream, you can even bring in guests audio and it integrates with your computer, smartphone and tablet. In fact you could have three guest call in at the same time and still have yourself and three other guest with you live in the studio at the same time. Plug your smartphone into the phone jack and your smart tablet Bluetooth in on the other channel and you ready with two callers. Then plug your computer or laptop in and be face to face with a Zoom caller as you record your show. Set up OBS or other streaming software and now you have a LIVE STREAM audio interface that does it all. Wish it would cook a little something for us to eat on the break.
Is it with the Cost?
So with it’s $599.00 (US price tag) I believe it’s worth the investment. Hands down yes!
Also the New PodMic for $99.00 US makes this sound great and once you pick up some decent headphones and table desk microphone stands your ready to podcast. BSW and B&H have some great buys or you can click on my added WEB PAGE links.
Who would I recommend this for?
Anyone who plan’s on Live Streaming or Podcasting and you want to be able to easily add guest both in and outside your show. If you are a video producer and you want a solution for Live recordings. Are you a wedding videographer this is a perfect mobile tool. Musicians for small live events Streaming from home studios. Home Production studios and small businesses this could be the perfect audio tool.
In Review: Check out my Studio Overview of how I use the Ropecaster Pro and some of the amazing features in this video: https://youtu.be/yE13dIohYuM
If you want great audio, the ability to record and add music, roll in sound effects and pre-recorded audio clips. If you want be able to add in outsides callers seamless integrate it with your smartphone , tablet or computer conferencing audio then it may be the best solution for you.
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