A great option for anyone who wants to make their podcast more professional or record on the go. A variety of inputs and simple setup makes this a winner.
As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, you have more options than ever for recording your show. If you’d like to grow your podcast beyond the basics, you really need a proper mixing board for that professional touch.
That’s why the RØDECaster Pro promises to be the world’s first podcast studio that’s all integrated into one board. Whether you’re recording while traveling or want to upgrade your home setup, this board is a solid choice for podcasters. Let’s take a closer look, and the end of this review we’re giving one away to one lucky reader!
What Connections Does the RØDECaster Pro Offer?
On the back of the RØDECaster Pro, you’ll find the following ports:
- 4x three-pin XLR connectors for connecting standard microphones
- 1x 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a phone or tablet
- 4x 1/4-inch audio jack outputs for headphones
- 2x 1/4-inch audio jack outputs for left and right speakers
- 1x microSD port for recording audio
- 1x USB-C port for file transfer to and from a computer
- 1x 15V, 1A power socket
In addition, the board features Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect to your phone to feature a remote caller on your podcast.
This variety of ports allows you to connect all the devices you could possibly need for input and output. If you have four people on your show, each one can connect a mic as well as their own set of headphones to monitor the audio. But it works just as well with only your microphone, plus one remote caller via Bluetooth or the 3.5mm audio jack.
The RØDECaster Pro retails for $600.
Mixing Audio With the RØDECaster Pro
After you’ve connected your microphones and other devices using the ports, you’ll find an easy-to-use interface for monitoring and recording the audio.
Each of the four microphone ports has its own slider. The board also provides sliders for input from the USB port, 3.5mm jack, and Bluetooth. As with any mixing board, you can use the red Mute button to temporarily silence a channel and the green Solo button to hear just that channel.
At the top-right of the board, you’ll find four knobs to adjust the headphone audio for each of the outputs. There’s also a single knob to adjust the speaker audio output.
In addition to all this, the RØDECaster Pro comes with eight buttons for music and sound effects. Out of the box, these include stock sounds like laughter, interlude music, applause, a rimshot, and more.
While these sounds are useful, you can replace them with anything you like. To do so, the board lets you record audio from any input, or just drop a file from your computer if you connect the board and use the included software. This makes it easy to play your intro music, use a standard sound effect for a certain segment, and more, right from your mixing board.
Audio Settings and Recording
As the RØDECaster Pro wants to be your entire podcast studio in one place, it includes some audio options right on the board. Press the Settings gear icon on the touchscreen display and choose Audio to access some preferences for each channel. For convenience, you can also press the numbered button on the board to jump right to its options.
For inputs like the USB port, you can choose between presets like Phone call and Music to get the best sound for each channel. When adjusting the microphones, you can adjust the input for the speaker’s voice, plus toggle advanced options like a high-pass filter, ducking, and more. This lets you set up as much audio control as possible before recording so you can save time in post-production.
Thanks to the Podcasts option in the settings menu, you can also review recorded shows to see how they sound.
Once you pop a microSD card in, you’re all set to start recording. You’ll see an icon on the display so you know you’ve inserted the card properly. As a nice touch, this also displays the remaining recording time for how much space you have left.
Press the big Record button, and you’re off. The display shows how long you’ve been recording, and lets you bookmark major moments in the audio. You just need to hit Record again to stop.
Putting the Board to the Test
In Las Vegas after CES 2019, some of the MakeUseOf team stayed to record videos for our YouTube channel, Tech Geeks Try Stuff. We used the RØDECaster Pro to capture the audio, and overall were very pleased with the experience.
Connecting our RØDE lapel mic receivers was simple, and the board truly does work well out of the box. The only small issue we ran into was that the 3.5mm connector on our headphones didn’t fit the 1/4-inch jack on the board, so we had to buy a few adapters.
As of this writing, the RØDECaster Pro outputs your entire recording as one file, ready to publish. This is great for convenience, but makes post-production difficult if you only need to adjust one channel. However, in February 2019, the company plans to publish an update that enables multi-track output. This will let advanced podcasters edit individual tracks for each recording source after the fact.
Should You Use the RØDECaster Pro?
We’re very impressed with the RØDECaster Pro. It performs its intended purpose admirably, allowing you to take its small form factor on the road and record podcasts anywhere. It also makes a great board for giving your home podcast a professional touch if you don’t plan on traveling.
Its ability to have eight personalized sounds at the touch of a button is great. Four microphone inputs should be enough for most podcasts. And the board does all the heavy audio work for you, so you shouldn’t need do much post-production while on the road.
The addition of multi-track output will fix one of the biggest potential roadblocks the board had. Having a USB-C port on the board might be a slight inconvenience if you don’t have any other devices that use this yet, but it’s a minor point.
In all, the RØDECaster Pro served us well while recording simple videos, and is more than enough for your podcast. If you’re ready to take yours to the next level, we recommend giving it a look.
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