Rode Podcaster Review: Worth It Or Not

Man using a white rode podcaster
Image via Amazon

Podcasting is more than a good idea that you broadcast weekly, biweekly, or monthly. You need the right equipment to help a podcast stick. Beyond the software, the headphones, and the platform, you need a good microphone. A good mic is the main, physical method for reaching your audience and should not be overlooked. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have as a podcaster. To help you decide what the best option for you is, we are diving in with a Rode Podcaster review and comparison.

What Is the Rode Podcaster?

The Rode Podcaster is a traveling podcaster's dream. Its mic setup is simple and boils down to a single cable and USB — perfect for users who are constantly on the go or need the space saved by having a small microphone. All you need to do is plug in and go — a simple stand will work, and the Rode Podcaster is fully functional and at its best in seconds.

There is always some hesitation when playing with the idea of a more portable microphone — what is being given up, or what is being taken away? In this Rode Podcaster review, though, you will find that it is still a fully functional microphone that focuses in on the spoken word. This makes it ideal for interviewing or podcasting.

Product Specs

Black mic infront of a screen

Image via: Pixabay

Due to the Rode Podcaster's focus on spoken audio, it is designed to pick up sound from the front and both sides while rejecting sound from the rear. So background noise in an interview or ambient noise in the room you are recording in is rejected, which furthers its practicality for users on the go in particular. It is built to mimic classic broadcasting microphones and designed for close range audio. This, coupled with a narrower frequency, means that your voice sounds fuller and carries more bass than it would normally.

Beyond podcasting and interviewing, the Rode Podcaster can also connect to iPads to work with recording or camera equipment. This is just another avenue we will explore in the Rode Podcaster review that demonstrates the usefulness of a USB microphone.

Pricing

Macro shot of a black microphone

Image via: Pixabay

While prices may often change, we found that the Rode Podcaster is typically sold for around $​$ with a margin on either side of about $​. In terms of podcasting, audio, or interview microphones with similar specs, this is a fair price. Of course, if you are looking for even more versatility, or maybe some added weight behind the mic, you will end up paying for it as it will likely be within a higher bracket closer to $​$$ or more. In the lower bracket of around $​, you can find less portable microphone options as well.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare. We used criteria that allowed us the best option to get at what is important for users and what makes each model competitive. For the sake of this review, the low bracket will be less than $120, the middle bracket will be $120 to $250, and over $250 will be the high bracket. We will start with our Rode Podcaster review and then move on to the following competitors to see how each measures up:

Rode Podcaster

Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
  • Broadcast sound quality
  • 28mm dynamic capsule
  • Windows and Mac compatible
  • Tight Cardioid pattern for superior off axis sound rejection
  • Includes a 10 foot USB cable and stand mount
  • Ease of Use

    This is the short and sweet aspect of the Rode Podcaster. It is incredibly simple to set up and to use — even if you are on the go, have limited space, or have limited time to set up. It is this ease of use section that really makes the Rode Podcaster shine, as it is a great option for a lot of users whether they are beginners who need simplicity, professionals who need the convenience, or even those in the middle who need something that dips into both sides.

    Durability

    For something as portable and on the move as this microphone aims to be, it needs to be durable. Fortunately, this Rode Podcaster review does not have to beef up its specs in this area, either. For the most part, the Rode podcaster does its job and is a solid portable option. The only area we found a little lacking was the volume control on the mic itself — it feels a little flimsy compared to the weight of the rest of the microphone.

    Warranty

    There is a one-year limited warranty on the microphone that can be extended to 10 years given the right circumstances. Overall, users do not seem to need to use the warranty, though, which speaks to the quality Rode puts behind their products.

    Pros

    • Portable
    • Simple to use and set up
    • Rejects background noise
    • Headphone jack

    Cons

    • Heavy
    • Wide
    • Not great for music audio

    Blue Yeti

    Sale
    Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play - Silver
    • Tri-capsule array - 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation.
    • Multiple pattern selection - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo.
    • Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output.
    • Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls.Signal to Noise: 100dB
    • Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8 (including 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (Home and Professional), and Mac OS X (10.4.11 or higher), and requires a minimum of 64 MB of RAM(remove existing and upload).

    This is another USB microphone built for podcasting. It has a reputation as the Swiss Army Knife of microphones as it offers the portability of a USB mic while also giving the user different audio modes to work with, like 360-degree audio or front and back audio. Like the Rode Podcaster, it also offers a headphone jack for monitoring and comes in at the lower end of the middle price bracket.

    Ease of Use

    While this microphone does offer a simpler and faster setup, we would recommend it to more intermediate users who know what they want from their audio and can really use the options offered to their advantage. It should also be noted that while this mic can be more portable due to its USB nature, it is heavy and bulky, so limited space may not play well with it.

    Durability

    In terms of what reviewers are saying and what we found, this mic holds up well against long-term use with few exceptions. There are no worries about pieces breaking off or the mic suddenly going on the fritz, which is a welcome weight to be lifted from users needing to spend the money for a mic.

    Design Quality

    As we mentioned earlier, there is some added weight and size to this mic that makes it less portable. While the Rode microphone also had some extras in those areas, we found that the addition to this mic impeded its function on the go and was better left as a stay-at-home mic. Beyond that though, the added features of a headphone jack and the versatile ways to record audio give this mic an edge as well.

    Warranty

    Blue Yeti offers a 2-year warranty that many users appreciate – though few have needed to cash in on it. Overall, it is not a bad sign to see a company backing their product with a little extra padding.

    Pros

    • Simple to set up
    • Variety of audio options
    • Headphone jack

    Cons

    • Heavy
    • HeavyBulky
    • Does not do well with non-single-voice audio

    Shure SM7B

    Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
    • Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
    • Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
    • Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors
    • Internal "air suspension" shock isolation virtually eliminates mechanical noise transmission
    • Highly effective pop filter eliminates need for any add-on protection against explosive breath sounds, even for close-up vocals or narration

    Though this is a Rode Podcaster review, we would be remiss if we did not highlight this microphone — though it does stand a little outside our comparison group. This microphone is a beast in the podcasting world — but not because of its portability or simplicity. This mic is extremely durable. While its price makes it a more committed purchase, what you get for those extra bucks is a lot of extra time with a functioning product.

    If this mic offers what you need now and in 6 years; it is worth the commitment. This mic also does a great job at eliminating unnecessary background noise like shifting, rustling papers, or moving around the room — so feel free to wiggle as much as you want while you record.

    Ease of Use

    This is not a microphone for a beginner. While not overly complex, it does offer a lot of features that will only make their worth known when you have gained enough experience to feel their use. This is also not a USB microphone either, as the previous options have been, which means that setup is not a one-stop shop kind of deal and it is harder to transport it.

    Durability

    This microphone shines in this area. It really does last a long time, so those wanting to commit to a mic will want to take a look at this option. It is built to keep crisp audio quality over the years, and its various audio options give you some creative options to work with during that time.

    Design Quality

    This microphone is a little bigger than the portable USB options, though we appreciate the ease of mounting and unmounting that has been put into the design. There are also a lot of optional add-ons this microphone has to open the creative doors as well as add functionality.

    Warranty

    Shure's warranty is interesting in the fact that they offer a limited warranty for 1 or 2 years. We would assume that the length of the warranty is determined by them and by what the specific issues are of each product, so it is possible that this warranty could work for or against you.

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Lots of audio features
    • Easy mounting
    • Eliminates mechanical/rustling noises

    Cons

    • Not easily portable
    • More expensive
    • Uncertain warranty
    • Not for beginners

    HyperX QuadCast

    HyperX QuadCast - USB Condenser Gaming Microphone, for PC, PS4 and Mac, Anti-Vibration Shock Mount, Four Polar Patterns, Pop Filter, Gain Control, Podcasts, Twitch, YouTube, Discord, Red LED - Black
    • Anti vibration shock mount
    • Tap to mute sensor with LED indicator
    • Four selectable polar patterns
    • Mount adapter included
    • Convenient gain control adjustment

    This USB microphone features a dual shock mount, which means whenever you hit the table, you do not have to worry about editing out your blunder or re-recording to get clear audio. This is a great feature for beginners and professionals alike, though we would recommend this microphone more for the former.

    It is simple to set up and easy to understand, making it a great option for those just starting out. This mic also does not need a pop filter as it has a similar piece of equipment built in. The USB nature of the mic also allows it to be used on multiple systems like Xbox, PC, or PlayStation systems.

    Ease of Use

    Like most USB microphones, the HyperX is easy to use. It has a fast and simple setup that is great for new users and those just starting in the podcasting industry. It only offers one recording option, which is straight ahead — this may be good for new podcasters, but limiting for any other users. It does offer a touch-to-mute option, though, which is genius for users who need fast access to mute when an unexpected noise comes up.

    Durability

    While nowhere near the level of the previous microphone, this little guy holds his own. For a USB microphone, there have been few complaints about the sturdiness of this model, which is really the backbone of what you need to know going in. It is a bit thinner than other mics, though, so a lot of jostling in a bag or against other items while traveling is probably not the best option.

    Design Quality

    We mentioned the mute touch option earlier, but we are mentioning it again. This feature has been a fan favorite since its appearance. It can be incredibly useful and intuitive and was definitely a well thought out addition to the design. The anti-vibration shock mount is another one of those features that new users, in particular, will find useful.

    The only downfall we see with the design here is that it is very one-dimensional in terms of actual audio recording. It is very simple and straightforward, which some users may appreciate, but others may find it lacks the creative pathways they want.

    Warranty

    This microphone comes with a standard warranty, though details on it are sparse. Luckily, most users have never needed to cash in on a warranty and find that the microphone holds its own.

    Pros

    • Simple to set up and use
    • Anti-vibration
    • Mute and un-mute with a touch

    Cons

    • Simple one-dimensional audio recording
    • Not a lot of creative options
    • Limited warranty information

    Conclusion: A Rode Podcaster Review

    As we conclude this Rode Podcaster review, we want to return to the namesake of the article. It is easy to see that there are a lot of microphone options out there, and they each can offer something unique or specific to a niche of audio recording — but which is best? Though this is specifically a Rode Podcaster review, the Rode Podcaster may not be the best fit for what you need.

    However, now that the specs of its competitors are laid out, it is easy to see through this Rode Podcaster review that there are a lot of highlights for the little mic as well. It actually performed well — even against the Swiss Army Knife of microphones and the crowd favorite for durability. If you are a beginner looking for something simple but that offers more than straightforward audio functions, the Rode Podcaster is a great place to look.

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