If you’ve stumbled upon this Rode PodMic review, you’ve likely explored several budget microphones for podcasting and are seeking a more in-depth analysis of this highly popular beginner podcasting mic.
Rode achieved significant success with the launch of one of the world’s first dynamic USB microphones in 2007 – the Podcaster. This was a game-changer because the Podcaster featured its own in-built analog-to-digital converter, eliminating the need for an external preamp or audio interface. Rode subsequently introduced the XLR variant, the Procaster, which also became a favorite among podcasters.
Recognizing the success of its two podcasting microphones, Rode aimed to offer a more affordable option for the broader audience and one that could seamlessly integrate with their RODECaster Pro podcasting console. This vision culminated in the launch of the Rode PodMic in December 2018.
The anticipation for the PodMic was so high that it led to a massive backorder in the US. Customers faced long wait times to receive their orders, and available stocks were selling out rapidly.
So, if you’re curious about why this microphone garnered (and continues to receive) such immense attention, stay tuned to this Rode PodMic review, and we’ll delve into its details!
At a Glance
The Rode PodMic is a top pick for beginners and seasoned podcasters alike with its robust build, crisp sound quality, and affordability at a price point of just $100.
Designed primarily for spoken word, it is a dynamic mic that offers clear audio and effective noise rejection. While it may not be ideal for recording vocals or instruments, its performance in podcasting is commendable.
While it was developed to be used with the RODECaster Pro II podcasting console, it will work just as well with any home studio audio interface.
Design and Build Quality
If you’ve ordered the Rode PodMic online and it arrives in its external packaging, you might initially believe you’ve received the wrong item due to its surprising weight. Weighing in at 2.06 lbs (935g), the PodMic feels as hefty as a brick despite its small and compact size.
Even its larger predecessor, the Rode Procaster, tips the scales at only 1.53 lbs (695g) despite being nearly twice as long. Remarkably, even the renowned Shure SM7B doesn’t match the PodMic in weight. Given the PodMic’s heft, it’s advisable to invest in a robust stand or boom arm, such as the Rode PSA-1, to support it. Cheaper boom arms might sag under its weight.
The package includes only the PodMic, with no additional accessories. However, Rode thoughtfully included an integrated swing mount with a 5/8″ to 3/8″ adapter into the PodMic, a step up from the basic mount adapter provided with the Procaster.
You can immediately see the similarities when comparing the Rode PodMic, Podcaster, and Procaster. With the PodMic, it’s as if Rode took the Procaster and reduced it to half its size. The microphone boasts a sturdy all-metal construction, and its compactness enhances its portability, making it ideal for on-the-go setups.
The Rode PodMic does not have any fancy microphone controls like EQ filters, a headphone jack, or a USB port, which can be seen as a boon for beginners. Instead, it offers a straightforward XLR connection at the back. This means that if you wish to record audio directly to your computer, an audio interface like the Scarlett 2i2 will be necessary.
While it doesn’t offer the hassle-free convenience of plug-and-play USB mics, its sound quality is definitely better than most USB mics in the same price range.
The Rode PodMic delivers a crisp and clear sound that is great for spoken word. It has a similar sound profile to the iconic Shure SM58, where there’s good clarity in the mids, but they do lack quite a bit of bass quality and do not sound as full-bodied compared to something like the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20.
The Rode PodMic has a colored frequency response that does not sound as flat and clinical as a condenser microphone.
While the specifications show that the Rode PodMic has a frequency range between 50 to 20,000 Hz, there is a steep roll-off after 100 Hz and 12,000 Hz. This means that the microphone might miss some details in the bass and air frequencies. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback, as it means the mic won’t pick up low-frequency rumbles from things like air conditioning or certain sibilance from your voice.
There’s a boost around the 150 Hz region, enriching the lower mids. This is beneficial for individuals whose voices lack bass, lending them a more authoritative low-end presence.
There is a significant boost in the trebles between 3,000 to 9000 Hz, which gives your voice that ‘crisp podcasting presence.’ However, it doesn’t provide the airy shimmer to your voice (or instrument) in the same way a condenser mic, such as the Rode NT1 5th Gen, would. A slight dip in the 7 kHz region also helps to reduce some sibilance from your voice.
Given that the Rode PodMic’s tone has been somewhat pre-EQ’d, it sounds impressive straight out of the box. There’s minimal need to adjust the frequency response to achieve a professional sound.
The Rode PodMic is a dynamic mic, which is known to be less sensitive compared to condenser mics because it does not have active electronics that use phantom power. However, it has a similar sensitivity of 1.6 mV/Pa to the Electro-Voice RE20, which makes it not as gain-hungry as a Shure SM7B.
As long as you keep within 2 inches of the Rode PodMic, a decent home studio audio interface with 50-55 dB of gain is sufficient to produce clear, audible levels.
Dynamic microphones are often recognized for their noise rejection capabilities due to their lower sensitivity, and the Rode PodMic certainly shines in this regard.
With its cardioid pattern, it effectively isolates your voice while minimizing unwanted background noise, making it perfect for noisy environments or untreated rooms.
Furthermore, the Rode PodMic features an internal shock mount for its capsule, which helps mitigate noise from table bumps.
Unfortunately, the Rode PodMic doesn’t excel at rejecting plosives. Even with its internal pop filter, it tends to allow those pesky Ps and Bs to come through.
Thus, when using the PodMic, it’s crucial to employ proper microphone techniques. Speaking at an angle to the microphone and incorporating an external pop filter can further diminish those plosive sounds.
While the Rode PodMic might sound somewhat thin compared to the richer and warmer dynamic mics like the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20, achieving a deeper tone is possible by getting close to the PodMic, with your lips almost touching the mic.
The microphone’s proximity effect can provide that deep, authoritative voice without sounding overly muddled. However, I observed that this deep tone from the proximity effect diminishes rapidly as you move just an inch away.
Therefore, if you decide to leverage the PodMic’s proximity effect from the beginning of your voiceover, it’s essential to maintain that position consistently. Otherwise, there’s a sudden shift to a thinner voice quality.
Integrating with the RODECaster Pro II
As previously mentioned, the Rode PodMic was designed to integrate seamlessly with the RODECaster Pro digital podcasting console. Both products were launched just a month apart. With the introduction of the RODECaster Pro II in 2022, several newer and enhanced features were incorporated.
The RODECaster Pro II offers microphone presets for the PodMic, as well as other Rode microphones like the NT1 and Procaster. It even includes presets for iconic mics such as the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20. The PodMic preset comes with predefined settings for gain, compression, noise gate, and EQ to ensure optimal microphone performance.
Additionally, you can effortlessly add a low-end boost or a high-presence shimmer to your voice as needed without delving deep into EQ adjustments.
The RODECaster Pro II also supports connections for up to four XLR microphones, making it an excellent choice for podcasts or live streams with multiple guests.
However, priced at $700, the RODECaster Pro II might be a significant investment for some. If you don’t require multiple XLR mics and are considering a 1-2 microphone setup, we have excellent recommendations for cost-effective dual-input audio interfaces.
Who is the Rode PodMic for?
As the name suggests, the Rode PodMic was designed specifically for podcasting and other voiceover or spoken word applications. It delivers crisp and clear audio while effectively rejecting off-axis noise. Although it doesn’t possess the smooth, low-end characteristic of the Shure SM7B, a deeper tone can be achieved using the proximity effect.
The Rode PodMic is also an excellent choice for budget-conscious beginners. The audio quality it offers at just $100 makes it a valuable investment.
Moreover, it’s a user-friendly microphone compatible with most audio interfaces and requires minimal processing. This stands in contrast to the gain-hungry Shure SM7B, which requires high-end audio gear like a high-gain mic preamp and a Cloudlifter for an optimal signal level.
However, the Rode PodMic might not be the best choice for recording vocals and instruments. It lacks detail in both the lower and high-frequency ranges. Additionally, its frequency response isn’t flat, which can result in recorded instruments sounding less natural.
If you’re in the market for high-quality vocal microphones, we have some excellent recommendations to consider.
The Rode PodMic has proven to be a reliable, budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality. Its design, sound clarity, and user-friendly features make it a standout choice for both beginners and seasoned podcasters alike. While it may not offer the deep richness of some higher-end mics, its performance, especially at its $100 price point, is commendable.
The PodMic’s ability to deliver professional-sounding audio straight out of the box, with minimal tweaks, is a boon for those who want to focus on content rather than technicalities.
However, like all products, it’s not without its limitations. For those seeking to record musical vocals or instruments, there might be better-suited options out there. But for spoken word, voiceovers, and podcasting, the Rode PodMic is undeniably a strong contender in its category.
After reading this Rode PodMic review, this mic should be high on your list of considerations if you’re on the hunt for a microphone that offers great value, durability, and quality. Whether you’re just starting your podcasting journey or looking to upgrade your current streaming setup without breaking the bank, the PodMic is a choice you’re unlikely to regret.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid polar pattern
- Transducer Type: Dynamic (moving coil)
- Power Requirements: None
- Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: -57 dBV/Pa (1.6 mV/Pa) @1kHz
- Output Connection: XLR
- Weight: 935g (2.06 lbs)
- Accessories: 3/8″ to 5/8″ thread adapter
- Integrated swing mount
- Internal pop filter