Rode Podcaster

The quality of your microphone can make the difference between a good podcast and a professional podcast. The Podcaster from Rode is one microphone that can give you that studio sounding quality without requiring extra hardware.

The Podcaster is a dynamic mic that connects to your Mac via USB and does not require any type of breakout box or phantom power. It is self powered, so that means you donit need to worry about external power supplies, although it does need a powered USB port. Connecting the Mic to one of your Macis built-in USB ports, or into a powered USB hub will do the trick.

The mic ships with a USB cable and a mic stand adapter, so itis ready to go when you take it out of the box. No special drivers are needed, either. Actually, there are no special drivers or additional software for Mac Podcaster users, even though the manual says there are.

The Rode Podcaster microphone.

You will need your own mic stand, and be sure to balance it because the Podcaster is a fairly heavy microphone. Like about two pounds heavy.

Since the Podcaster is a dynamic mic, it is designed to pic up sound that is directly in front of it. The audio quality is really good, but you can tell when someone pulls away or gets to close to the mic. Thatis not a problem with the Podcaster, but instead just the nature of dynamic microphones.

Despite the great audio quality, I did have some issues getting enough gain out of the Podcaster. When Ricky Spero and I started testing this mic during the Apple Weekly Report podcast, I had to max out the sound input level in the Sound Preference Pane. I also had to keep the mic a bit closer to my face than I was comfortable with while recording.

I first used the Podcaster during the December 16, 2006 edition of AWR. If you listen closely, you can hear where I accidentally bumped my glasses against the mic while turning my head. Odds are that most people were born with better physical coordination than I was, so you probably wonit have to worry about bouncing your face off the Podcaster while recording - but that wouldnit have happened if I didnit have to get so close to the mic.

If you want to monitor your audio input directly from the microphone, you can do that, too. It includes a headphone jack and volume out control on the side of the mic body. This is the only microphone Iive every tested that included its own headphone jack.

Monitor your audio through the built-in headphone jack.

Another first for me was the Rode Podcaster Web site. This site was set up by Rode to host and broadcast the podcasts that Podcast owners make. Youill have to set up a free account on the Podcaster Web site, and there are support documents to help you get your recordings uploaded. Not many users are taking advantage of the site, but my guess is because most already have podcast feeds set up elsewhere.

At first I was disappointed that the Podcaster didnit include some kind of carrying case. After time, however, I realized that it wasnit really necessary since this mic is more likely to stay in a studio environment instead of traveling around for on-site recordings.

The Bottom Line
The Rode Podcaster is a great choice for voice recordings, and is capable of pro-level quality when used correctly. If you tend to move around a lot when you record, this may not be the best choice for you since condenser mics are better at picking up moving targets.

For users that are comfortable with dynamic mics, however, the Podcaster is a fantastic choice that will reliably and accurately record your audio for you. Just remember this one will most likely stay in your recording studio.

Product: Podcaster Microphone

Company: Rode

List Price: $349

Vendor Price: $199.95


Pros: Superb audio reproduction, USB cable and stand adapter included, in-mic headphone jack.
Cons: Occasional problems getting adequate audio input levels.