Rodecaster Pro II: A mixing console for all makers

When Rode introduced the original Rodecaster Pro, it was something extraordinary: an efficient, podcast-focused mixing desk. This made it easy to record multiple visitors in person or via internet / phone by adding background music and audio enhancements in real time or with minimal processing in the mail. Mini radio in a box if you prefer.

Today, Rode announces its successor, the Rodecaster Pro II, and the message this time is that it is designed for all creators, be it podcasts, streaming or music production. The new hardware looks familiar, but it brings with it a few changes that should improve audio quality wherever and whatever you post.

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

Other external hardware enhancements include all-new contextual rotary controls and a transition to combo ports on the rear, not just simple XLR connections like the original. This opens the Rodecaster Pro II to things like guitars and synthesizers without taking up other inputs or the need for adapters.

James Trew / Engadget

Whatever you connect to the new Rodecaster it should sounds better as it is equipped with new preamps that can drive even the most hungry microphones (looking at you SM7B). Rode says the new preamps are so powerful and quiet that using a built-in signal amplifier like the FetHed or Cloudlifter would be technically detrimental, not beneficial to sound quality. This of course remains to be tested, but it’s good news anyway if you have a microphone that requires a lot of gain.

When it comes to listening to things, the Bluetooth on the Rodecaster Pro II supports both audio output and input, which means you can go wild and monitor your program wirelessly on speakers or headphones. Rode also claims that if you are recording guests calling via Bluetooth, it should also improve the audio quality (at least between the phone and the mixer – not cellular, of course).

Partially tied, there is no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front edge. In the original, the show host / producer could have plugged in the headphones on the back (with different headphone jacks) or through a dedicated jack on the front if it was more convenient. Unfortunately, this option is now gone and the Headphones 1 are only accessible through the 1/4 inch ports on the back. Mild pain if you have shorter / coiled cable.

From a more practical point of view, the new hardware has built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, allowing for easy upgrades (without having to leave the computer turned on). You can also connect it to two computers at the same time or even a phone, making it perfect for mobile podcasters or game streamers who have a separate gaming platform. You’ll also be able to record directly to SSDs and memory cards. And with dual-computer connectivity, you have countless routing options wherever your sound goes.

A close-up of the top right corner of the Rodecaster Pro II where the headphone volume controls are shown by colored LEDs.

James Trew / Engadget

Perhaps the secret sauce is how customizable the workflow is. It starts with simple things like the eight pads on the Rodecaster Pro II that can trigger audio or send MIDI as before, but can also be assigned to “mixer actions” such as fading or be used to switch cameras in the stream. You can also reassign your mixer channels however you like, including mapping two inputs to a single fader and saving them as profiles if you don’t like how everything is out of the box.

There are also many new sound effects, including stereo panning, echo and reverb. But perhaps the most unexpected addition here is the fun voice effects. This might make podcasters go backwards, but Voicemod has proven popular… so someone is dealing with squeaky voices somewhere.

In general, there is a lot of news here. New internal audio components and connectivity should make it a more viable option for all types of creators, and the ways to connect, configure, and process audio will likely make it much more flexible. Details important to streamers such as OBS controls, dual PC connectivity, and the ability to sync / delay audio to match video suggest this is a real attempt at augmenting capabilities, not just a few buzzing marketing terms.

Regardless of the application, the Rodecaster Pro II is available for pre-order starting today for $ 699. Rode expects to start shipping “early to mid-June”.

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