Note: It’s going to take me a bit to get to the point. It’s also going to sound like I’m dumping on Røde for a while. Just stick with me — we’ll get there.
When the Rødecaster Pro came out, I was very skeptical. I’m more familiar than most with the history of Røde and while I have always found their microphones dependable and of good quality, I felt very awkward about a company with a proficiency in small electronics and low-cost borderline-pro-sumer grade microphones, suddenly getting into the engineering gear business. I worried that their focus on simplification would short-sight their ability to create a robust and versatile product.
I wound up passing on the Rødecaster Pro and purchased a ZOOM Livetrak L-12. Not only did I think I was getting more for my money, but ZOOM offered me non-retail pricing which made it nearly $200 less than the Rødecaster Pro. At retail they are priced equally at ~$600.
The L-12 is Superior to the Rødecaster Pro in a number of ways, but the Rødecaster Pro has a few podcast-specific features that the L-12 doesn’t have. Like pre-programmed pads for easily calling up sounds, music, sponsor messages, or other things, and bluetooth syncing for mobile devices.
The Rødecaster Pro is also a lot less intimidating — which is good because, and I get a lot of flack from podcasters when I say this because it sounds condescending but I’m going to say it again: Podcast Engineers are NOT Audio Engineers (usually). There’s a world of difference between the purpose and abilities of the L-12 and the Rødecaster Pro because the former is for Audio Engineers who know what they’re doing and the latter is for non-engineers who need one touch solutions because they don’t understand the technology summarized by those one touch solutions.
You can certainly argue the utility of understanding older and underlying technology in our one-button-fits-all modern world, but the fact remains: one of these boards requires a deeper understanding of audio engineering on the other does not.
This is why I shied away from the Rødecaster Pro. I needed more control over my audio and I knew there was no way the Rødecaster Pro was going to be able to give me that control. As it turned out, Røde had a couple big misses in the initial version of Rødecaster Pro firmware, namely that it didn’t record multi-track to its SD Card. They’ve fixed that since, but it highlights a big reason I’ve never encouraged people to buy the Rødecaster Pro: Røde doesn’t seem to yet “get” the engineering side of audio (a lot of which happens in post).
But pump your breaks, let me speak kindly of Røde for a moment
I might be coming off as a nose-in-the-air sneetch right now, talking about the Rødecaster Pro like it is below my station.
So allow me to sing Røde’s praises, because there are certainly praises to sing.
Røde today is built around independent creators. Everything they do is to make creators better. I admire everything about this company from a passion and purpose standpoint. I also have recommended countless Røde products to clients — and most commonly the PodMic, the M5, and the Podcaster USB.
Røde is going to be the best equipment manufacturer in the podcast market because they’re the only ones fully committed to it. It’s just a matter of them working out the kinks as they begin to get into territory which is, for them, uncharted.
But their latest product might be the dawn of that new day.
The Røde Wireless GO Lav System
I am blown away by what we know about this product so far (it has yet to actually ship) For all the misses in the Rødecaster Pro, there doesn’t seem to be a single miss here. Instead, there is innovation and (judging by the video) great sound. Here’s a product walkthrough (listen in flat cans if you’re able).
Do you know how obscene it is that we’ve struggled with dangling, rustle-prone, awkward-moment-inducing lav mics and have never once thought to build a single compact unit that got rid of the cord and put the mic in the device itself?
I almost fainted when I saw just that feature. Then you’ve got airpod monitoring, shoe mount compatibility, button-on wind diffuser, multi-lav link, clear levels display, push-button dB adjustment, USB-C connectivity, and a 7-hour battery life.
Røde may have just knocked it out of the park.
Something I found to be especially wise (and telling) of Røde’s apporoach to the Wireless GO, and I am willing to wager money that the multi-track miss on the Rødecaster got them thinking in a way that allowed them to have this foresight, is that there’s a corded lav option on the transmitter. That’s Røde saying “You can do it either way you like” and that is exactly the kind of approach that is going to make them #1 soon enough.
I’m excited to get my hands on mine when they finally do ship. If you’d like to order some, you can do it here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1471382-REG/rode_wireless_go_compact_wireless.html
If you’re in need of podcast consulting or professional podcast editing and engineering services, consider reaching out the The Portland Pod at 207.295.6039 to schedule a free 30-minute phone call to talk about your needs and how we might help you meet them. Thanks for reading and take care.