loading
loading

Dark or Light
logo
Logo

Rode Procaster/Podcaster Broadcast Microphone Review

Affordable, Professional, Outstanding

By Christopher Coke on March 17, 2020 | Hardware Reviews | 0

Last week, we shared the $99 Rode PodMic and were floored. For $99, it’s easily one of the best choices for streamers on a budget ready to make the jump to XLR. Today, we’re looking at its big brother, the Rode Procaster. Available in XLR and USB versions (under the “Podcaster” name), this microphone offers incredible, broadcast-worthy sound that cuts out background noise and will fuel your content through its incredible 10-year warranty. Is it the right fit for you? Join us as we find out!

Specifications

  • Current Price: $229 (Amazon, Official Site)
  • Key Features:
    • Broadcast quality sound
    • High output dynamic capsule
    • Balanced, low impedance output
    • Internal shock mounting of capsule for low
    • handling noise
    • Internal pop-filter to reduce plosives
    • Robust, all metal construction
    • Designed and manufactured in Australia
    • Free 10 year extended warranty when you register online at www.rodemic.com/warranty
  • Acoustic Principle: Dynamic
  • Directional Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 75Hz ~ 18,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: -56dB ±2dB re 1V/Pa @ 1kHz, (1.6mV/Pa @ 94dB SPL)
  • Output Impedence: 320 Ohms
  • Dimensions Length: 214mm (8.425”), Diameter: 53mm (2.086”)
  • Output Connection: 3 pin XLR, balanced output between Pin 2 (+), Pin 3 (-) and Pin 1 (ground)
  • Net Weight: 695g

Should You Choose a Dynamic Microphone?

Like the PodMic, the Procaster is a dynamic microphone and is designed with content creators and broadcasters in mind. In fact, you’ll find it used in radio stations and on major podcasters around the world, which makes its $229 price point even more impressive (especially with the Podcaster version that saves you having to buy an audio interface). If you’re a creator that works on a desktop PC, you’ve probably already discovered that the majority of microphones targeted toward your work use condenser capsules.  If you’re not sure of the difference, this is what I wrote last time in the PodMic review and will act as a good primer to which microphone type is best suited for you:

If all of that sounds like gibberish to you, allow me to explain. For capturing vocals outside of a studio, such as at your desk, you really only have two options: condenser and dynamic microphones. Condenser microphones have taken over the desktop space and for good reason. Condensers are great at capturing a wide range of audio, from very quiet sounds to the very loud, which is good if your mic is sitting on top of your desk. They also offer a very natural sound that many find pleasing for recording their voice. Dynamic microphones, on the other hand, are great for recording louder sound sources because they are very directional and are great for rejecting noise outside of the mic’s recording space (or polar pattern). You’ve probably already seen a dynamic without realizing it: they’re the most common mics used in stage performances, which is why you don’t hear the sound of the crowd coming through their mics.

Unless you’re recording in a quiet, sound-treated environment, there’s a good chance a condenser mic isn’t the best fit for you. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a streamer is using a mic like a Blue Yeti or QuadCast and decides to type in chat, sending every clack of their mechanical keyboard right through to the stream. If you’ve used a condenser yourself, you know the balancing act of getting enough gain without also piping through the sound of your computer fans and other background noise. If you have anyone else active in the house, well, they may as well be guest stars on your podcast. Condenser microphones are great, but they’re so sensitive that they’re just not a good fit for most streamers.

In short, if you have background noise from a computer, keyboard, or other people in the house, a dynamic microphone like the Procaster is a good choice for you.

The Procaster Difference: Professional Quality and Performance

The Procaster/Podcaster (hereafter referred to as Procaster) are professional microphones that easily compete with the microphones your favorite broadcasters use today. It’s clear from the outset that the Procaster is a high-quality piece of gear. The microphone has a long, solid metal body that feels very durable. The grille protecting the capsule is rigid and includes a built-in pop-filter. Internally, there’s also an internal shockmount, so you won’t have to buy either of those accessories as long as you’re careful.

That said, if you’re buying a $229 microphone, it’s probably a good idea to have some accessories with it. Even though Rode sent over the sample for me to try, I purchased the PSM-1 shockmount and WS2 pop filter. They both make a difference, but I can say confidently that neither is necessary as long as you’re careful to not bump the mic or send plosives straight into it. It’s an absolute step up from the PodMic in that regard. You’ll need a stand to mount it on, too, but since it’s end-address (you talk into the top) and fairly skinny, the actual footprint on-camera isn’t bad at all.

Rode Procaster Shockmount and Pop Filter

A key difference between the Procaster and many of the streamer-target condenser mics is that it only uses a cardioid polar pattern. That means it captures from the front, and slightly on the sides, and rejects sounds from the rear. While it might sound limiting to not have omnidirectional or stereo recording modes, most podcasters and streamers only require cardioid anyways, since that’s what you’ll use when recording yourself. Likewise, the benefits to rejecting outside noise are profound.

As I introduced in the first section, dynamic microphones are better at isolating your voice by honing in on a tight recording zone and dropping volume dramatically when you move away. That means that sounds like your PC fans, passing cars, the sound of your mechanical keyboard as you type in chat, are all much quieter than any condenser microphone I’ve ever heard. To even approach the level of isolation offered by the Procaster, you would need to turn the Blue Yeti to virtually silent, which will harm the quality of what you do want the listener to hear.

Rode Procaster Grille

Another benefit that the Procaster offers over the PodMic is that you can get away with speaking into it at more of an angle while still enjoying its rich, full-bodied sound. The PodMic is great, but I found that I really had to talk directly into it to reach its maximum quality. With the Procaster, I’m able to turn my head more to take in my surroundings, which is perfect if you have a guest.

But enough about that – let’s get into how it actually sounds.

How Does It Actually Sound?

The Procaster punches up. This is a microphone that comes in at $229 and whose closest competition, the Shure SM7B and Aston Stealth, retail for $399 and $379 respectively. Some have even compared it to the $479, Electro-Voice RE-20, though I think those two microphones are more unique. I only wish I had an SM7B on-hand to compare to. Thankfully, I did have the Aston Stealth and Rode PodMic, which you can hear in the sample below.

As you can tell, the Procaster has a very crisp sound to it. I love that it gives my voice an edge while also maintaining the natural bass through its proximity effect. It has a definitely radio timbre to it, very similar to the other dynamic mics I compared it against. Between the three, I definitely prefer the clarity the Procaster offers and wouldn’t hesitate to use it for any of my normal recording work.

Final Thoughts

The Rode Procaster is a professional-level microphone for a mid-level price. At $229, it’s not the cheapest, but I do think it’s an outstanding fit for the vast majority of streamers and podcasters out there today. With the introduction of the PodMic to Rode’s line-up, it becomes a harder sell for streamers on a budget – with one big catch: thanks to the USB-based Podcaster version, if you don’t have an audio interface already, the Podcaster becomes one of the best-value, all-in-one broadcast USB  mics on the market.

Buying a microphone is subjective. You need to find what works best for your voice. For me, the Procaster is my new hands-down favorite mic.

The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

9.5Amazing
Pros
  • Excellent sound: both crisp and rich
  • Superbly built with internal pop filter and shockmount
  • Well priced, more than $100 cheaper than its nearest competition
  • Available in XLR or USB option
Cons
  • No included stand - requires a boom arm


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight