Rodecaster Pro 2 review: The best sound ever
(Pocket-lint) – Rode has been delighting podcasters for a while now with the Rodecaster Pro, but the company realized people wanted more. Enter, then, the Rodecaster Pro 2.
It’s a device the company touts as a “revolution” on the original Rodecaster Pro, and one that’s so feature-rich that it can also be described as an “integrated audio production console.”
What does this actually mean? Well, it’s a device that can be used for all kinds of things and by all kinds of people.
The Rodecaster Pro 2 is designed for content creators, streamers, podcasters, musicians and more.
It’s an all-singing, all-dancing machine that can do all sorts of things, and, if you’re looking to create audio content or improve the quality of your production, this might just be the device you need. So we put the Rodecaster Pro 2 through its paces in various ways to see what it’s capable of – and whether it’s worth the hefty price tag.
It may be pricey, but the Rodecaster Pro 2 is immense audio hardware that opens up a world of possibilities for content creation and audio capture.
We love how easy it is to pick up and use for beginners, as it also offers tons of customization options to tailor it to your own specific needs.
The preamp setup and processing helps deliver the best sound we’ve ever heard from such a device, and it’s hard to overstate how fantastic it is.
Aside from its price, there are very few, if any, negative things to say about this audio interface. So, if you are looking for the best solution to improve the quality of your production, this is it.
Rodecaster Pro 2
5 Stars – Pocket-lint Editors’ Choice
- Superb customization options
- Fantastic noise cancellation
- Easy setup for beginners
- Lack of virtual audio routing like GoXLR
No longer just for podcasters
The Rodecaster Pro 2 is an interesting and flexible audio device in many ways.
It has four high-quality combo inputs that you can use to connect XLR microphones, instruments, and line-level devices. The obvious use case here is to connect several different microphones and use them in a podcasting situation or for high quality interviews.
You then have hardware sliders to control levels and the ability to add audio enhancements, mix in some effects, or even record shows on the fly without a PC connected using a microSD card or USB key.
It has nine different channels, with six hardware faders and three virtual faders and gives you the ability to route audio from multiple sources including Bluetooth devices, 3.5mm connections, smartphones and more. , then monitor the audio from each source separately.
It also has two USB-C connections so you can connect a PC or two and extract audio from there as well.
All of this means you can do so much more than just record a standard podcast. It can also be used for home music production, voiceover work and streaming.
We’ve also found that it’s flexible enough to allow for a multitude of different use cases. Connect two XLR microphones like these Rode Podmics and you can set one on the left channel and one on the right channel and capture interesting stereo sound for your audience.
We also use it for YouTube streaming. Once connected to a gaming PC via USB-C, you have access to a few USB channels.
One is the USB chat which can be used for voice chat programs like Discord and the other is the main USB channel for other sounds like music and game sound.
You can then output all of the audio into a single custom mix that you can use in OBS Studio or Streamlabs to then stream to YouTube or Twitch.
A premium alternative to the GoXLR
As you can see, the Rodecaster Pro 2 is an attractive alternative to the much-loved TC Helicon Go XLR.
It’s a bit more expensive, but it also has more potential use cases in different ways.
The GoXLR can only control one XLR microphone, compared to the four possible with the Rodecaster Pro 2.
Although we will say that the GoXLR offers more in terms of virtual sound channels than the Rodecaster Pro 2 at the moment.
You can’t currently set game audio to a specific audio slider, for example, and easily adjust it on the fly and you can do that with the GoXLR. But Rode regularly works on firmware updates, so that might change in the future.
Another way the Rodecaster Pro 2 appeals is its convenient setup and user-friendly design.
Simple mic and sound setup
One of the things that struck us about the Rodecaster Pro 2 is how easy it is to set up. When you’ve plugged in your microphone and headphones, the setup wizard guides you through various settings. The first of these is to select a microphone.
Rode has pre-programmed a number of different microphones for you to choose from. Naturally, this includes a selection of Rode pickups, but others are also available. When you’ve chosen the mic you’re using, a number of processing effects are applied by default, including a noise gate, compressor settings and more.
As you’d expect, you can adjust the gain and tweak each of the settings individually to suit your needs, but we found we really didn’t have to and that’s the joy of this device.
It delivers clear sound with minimal noise. With a GoXLR or similar device you usually have to do a lot of tweaking to get the best sound and there can be a steep learning curve in knowing what settings to adjust and why. The Rodecaster Pro 2 takes all that hassle away and is a blessing for beginners.
There’s even a setting for the Shure SM7B which is a notoriously gain-hungry microphone that can be a problem getting the sound right.
You can use it with this interface with no problem and it even sounds better than the other preamps we’ve used as well.
That’s because Rode designed the Rodecaster Pro 2 with an industry-leading preamp that promises more gain than the original Rodecaster Pro, but with an ultra-low noise sensor. This results in better audio quality and much cleaner sound.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 1.5Ghz quad-core audio engine inside so it can handle processing multiple things at the same time and Aphex processing for settings that include Aural Exciter, Big Bottom, Compeller, Noise Gate, High-Pass Filter, Equalizer and many built-in effects. All this means you can adjust the audio to your heart’s content. But you don’t need it either, and that’s one of the reasons it’s fantastic.
Useful smart tablets and simple interface
On the right side of the Rodecaster Pro 2 you will find a row of eight large buttons. These are so-called “smart pads”, these pads can be used in many different ways, including adding effects to your microphone, playing various sound effects and other things – like sounding out accidental swear words or intentional in your audio.
You are not limited to the standard settings here as you can reprogram the smart pads and the two buttons at the bottom can be used to switch between other pages of them. You can see which button does what on the touchscreen at the top of the interface and it’s also very easy to change the buttons from there.
With the accompaniment Rodecaster Central app, you can also transfer files to it easily, which means you can add more sound effects and audio files. So there is a world of possibilities.
As you have understood, the Rodecaster Pro 2 is highly customizable. Even to the assignment of sliders. You can choose which audio goes where, whether you’re using mics, instruments, USB audio, or more.
This logic can also be saved in shows, so you can choose to export, and you can also easily change what you’re doing for different use cases.
Podcast one minute with one set of settings, then stream another with different inputs and settings? No problem.
The Rodecaster Pro 2 is an integrated audio production console like no other. A wonderful device with many possible uses and features galore.
Written by Adrian Willings. Editing by Conor Allison.