Rode's Rodecaster Pro II goes after streamers and gamers, too.

Rode’s Rodecaster Pro II goes after streamers and gamers, too.

When Rode unveiled the original Rodecaster Pro, it was something extraordinary: a capable mixing desk with a unique focus on audio streaming. Made it easy to record multiple guests in person or online/phone, adding background music and audio enhancements in real time or with minimal processing in the mail. A little radio station in a box if you will.

Today, Rode is announcing its successor, the Rodecaster Pro II, and this time the reporter is out for everyone Creators, be it a podcast, broadcast or music production. The new device looks familiar, but it brings with it several changes that will improve the sound anywhere and whatever you’re posting.

The most obvious difference you’ll see here is the smaller area. The Rodecaster Pro II loses two physical dimmer strips in favor of taking up less desk space. You still have many channels available, but some of them are dedicated to virtual controls and it seems like the right move to save space on the desk.

Other external hardware tweaks include an all-new contextual rotary control and combo ports navigation around the back instead of just straight XLR connections like the original. This opens up the Rodecaster Pro II to things like guitars and synthesizers without taking up other inputs or the need for transducers.

Rear view of Rode’s new Rodecaster Pro II mixing desk.

Whatever you connect to your new Rodecaster should It sounds even better because it comes with new amplifiers that can power even the hungriest mics (SM7B looking at you). Rode claims that the new speakers are so powerful and quiet that using a built-in signal booster like FetHed or Cloudlifter would technically be detrimental, not helpful, to your sound quality. This is still being tested, of course, but it’s good news either way if you have a mic that needs a lot of gain.

On the listening side, the Rodecaster Pro II’s Bluetooth technology supports audio output as well as input, which means you can have a funky experience and wirelessly monitor your show over your speakers or headphones. Rode also claims that if you log guests connected via Bluetooth, the audio quality should be improved as well (at least between the phone and the mixer – obviously not the cellular network).

Semi-contact, there is no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front edge. Originally, a show host/producer could plug their headphones in either around the back (with other headphone jacks) or via the dedicated jack on the front, if that’s more convenient. Unfortunately, that option is now gone and Headphone 1 can only be accessed via the 1/4″ ports on the back. Mild pain if you have shorter/uncoiled wire.

In practice, the new device has built-in Wi-Fi and an Ethernet connection allowing for easy updating (without having to leave your computer running). You can also connect it to two computers at the same time, or even to your phone making it ideal for podcasters on the go or game streaming players who have a separate gaming device. You will also be able to record directly to solid state drives as well as memory cards. And with this dual-computer connection, your options for routing where your audio travels are endless.

Close-up of the top right corner of the Rodecaster Pro II where the headphone volume controls are displayed with colored LEDs.

Close-up of the top right corner of the Rodecaster Pro II where the headphone volume controls are displayed with colored LEDs.

Perhaps the secret here is how customizable the workflow is. This starts with simple things like the eight pads on the Rodecaster Pro II that can play audio or send MIDI as before but are also customized for “mixer actions” like fading out or used to switch cameras in broadcasts. You can also reset the mixer channels the way you like, including setting two inputs to one dimmer and saving them as profiles if you don’t like how things are out of the box.

There are also a number of new sound effects including stereoscopic panning, echo and reverb. But perhaps the most unexpected addition here are some funny sound effects. This may make the podcast fall out of favor, but Voicemod has proven its popularity…so someone out there is all about sharpening vocals.

In general, there are a lot of new features here. New audio internals and connectivity should make this a more viable option for all types of creators, and the methods for delivering, configuring, and processing audio are likely to make this more flexible. Important details of streaming devices such as OBS control, dual PC connectivity and the ability to synchronize/delay audio to match video, suggest it’s a real attempt to be more capable rather than just a few noisy marketing jargon.

Whatever your use case, the Rodecaster Pro II is available for pre-order starting today for $699. Rode expects shipping to begin “from early to mid June.”

2022-05-24 00:50:19

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