Rodecaster Pro II: A mixer for all creators | Engadget

The new podcast mixing desk from Rode.
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When Rode unveiled the original Rodecaster Pro it was something unusual: a capable mixer with a particular focus on podcasting. It made it easy to check-in 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 everything creators, whether it’s podcasting, streaming or music production. The new hardware looks familiar, but brings several changes that should improve your audio wherever you go and whatever you post.

The most obvious difference you’ll see here is the smaller footprint. The Rodecaster Pro II loses two physical fader strips to take up less desk space. You still have so many channels available, but some are assigned to virtual controls and that seems like the right move to save desktop space.

Other external hardware changes include an all-new pop-up rotary control and a switch to rear combo ports rather than 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 plug into the new Rodecaster, it should sounds better because it’s equipped with new preamps that can drive even the most hungry for microphones (looking at you SM7B). Rode claims the new preamps are so powerful and quiet that using an inline signal amplifier like a FetHed or cloud lift would technically be detrimental, not beneficial, to your audio quality. This remains to be tested, of course, but it’s good news either way if you have a mic that needs a lot of gain.

On the listening side, the Rodecaster Pro II’s Bluetooth supports audio output as well as input, meaning you can get funky and monitor your show wirelessly on speakers or headphones. Rode also claims that if you record call guests via Bluetooth, the sound quality should also improve (at least between the phone and the mixer – obviously not the cellular network).

Semi-relatedly, there’s no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front edge. On the original, the show’s host/producer could connect their headphones either to the back (along with the other headphone jacks) or via the dedicated jack on the front, if that was more convenient. Alas, that option is now gone and Headphone 1 is only accessible via the 1/4 inch ports on the back. A slight pain if you have a shorter/uncoiled cable.

On a more practical level, the new hardware has built-in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity that allows for easy updating (without having to leave your computer on). You can also connect it to two PCs at the same time, or even your phone, making it perfect for podcasters on the go or game streamers who have a separate gaming rig. You will also be able to record directly to SSDs as well as memory cards. And with this dual PC connectivity, your options for routing where your audio goes are endless.

A close up of the top right corner of the Rodecaster Pro II where the headphone volume controls are displayed with colored LEDs.

James Trew / Engadget

Perhaps the secret sauce here is workflow customization. It starts with simple things like the Rodecaster Pro II’s eight pads that can trigger audio or send MIDI like before, but also be assigned to “mix actions” like fade out or be used to switch between camera in your feed. You can also reassign mixer channels however you like, including mapping two inputs to a fader and saving them as profiles if you don’t like the way 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 addition here is some fun voice effects. This might set podcasters back, but Voicemod has proven popular… so someone somewhere is interested in squeaky voices.

Overall, there’s quite a bit of new stuff here. New internal audio components and connectivity should make this a more viable option for all types of creators, and ways to connect, configure and process audio will likely make this much more flexible. Important details for streamers such as OBS control, dual PC connectivity and the ability to sync/delay audio to match video suggest this is a genuine attempt to be more capable rather than a few buzzwords in marketing.

Whatever your use case, the Rodecaster Pro II is available for pre-order starting today for $699. Rode plans to begin shipping “early to mid-June.”

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#Rodecaster #Pro #mixer #creators #Engadget

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