Buying recording equipment for the first time can be a daunting prospect. With a strict budget and such a wide range of products on the market, you can easily get lost in the options, and while spec sheets can be useful, they leave some of your broader questions unanswered.
Sound like a familiar story? We’ve got you covered, as today we will be answering some of your biggest questions surrounding the Rode PodMic.
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The PodMic – Rode’s Low-Cost Podcasting Powerhouse
In January of 2019, the Rode PodMic was unveiled. It offers customers a cheaper alternative to the already hugely popular Procaster, and its USB alternative, the Podcaster. Following in the footsteps of previous Rode Podcasting microphones, the PodMic is a dynamic microphone that packs a lot of punch at a lower price point than that of the high-end alternatives.
Offering low self-noise, a huge frequency range, a balanced frequency response, this microphone offers professional-grade audio quality, and versatility to boot for those with a smaller budget.
Whether you are thinking about starting your own podcast, or are a long-time creator looking to improve your sound, the PodMic is made with vocals in mind. This microphone sounds very nice and feels great to use thanks to its intuitive design.
Rode PodMic – Frequently Asked Questions
Does it Need a Cloudlifter?
As a dynamic microphone, the PodMic is naturally gain hungry. Therefore, the addition of an inline mic activator such as the Cloudlifter is a welcome addition to any podcasting setup.
While dynamic microphones are great for podcasting as they boast a low sensitivity, ensuring you capture only what you want your listeners to hear, the trade-off is a much quieter overall output level when compared to other microphone types.
While you can crank the gain on your interface, you run the risk of significantly raising the noise floor which can quickly become problematic when recording. The Cloudlifter however, can give you the level you need, with none of the noise.
Does it Need Phantom Power?
The PodMic does not need phantom power. Unlike a condenser, the PodMic has no powered circuitry, meaning there is no need to power the microphone.
Having no circuitry is a major advantage if you are planning to podcast out and about, as this means that the microphone is more robust (with no delicate components to consider). The sturdy build and no need for a source of power make this microphone a great choice for those with a tight budget, or a limited amount of space.
Does it Need a Pop Filter?
Another advantage the PodMic has over other microphones in a portable setup is that it has an integrated pop filter. This microphone is designed specifically for vocals, and as such the capsule is protected from plosives thanks to the built-in mesh grille and pop shield.
So, there is no need to buy a separate pop filter when recording with this mic. The fully enclosed capsule means that you can plug and play without having to worry about harsh plosives ruining your show. This microphone ensures crisp and clear voice quality without breaking the bank!
Does it Need a Preamp?
While you can certainly record without a preamp, with a dynamic mic like this, the more gain the better. You will struggle to get a decent signal level if you choose to record without a preamp, and boosting the signal in post only leads to a noisy recording.
Preamps are a great way to tackle this issue. While devices such as the Cloudlifter offer a fixed gain increase when used, a preamp allows you to dial in the exact amount of gain needed for a recording. By getting your levels set correctly prior to recording, you are minimizing the risk of unusable audio. While it is an extra step in setup, it is far better than realizing you’ve just lost hours of footage due to a leveling issue.
Does it Come with a Stand?
While not a stand per se – the PodMic comes with an arm mount attached, which keeps the capsule relatively isolated from any surfaces that may be prone to mechanical transmission. With full metal construction, this mount is both sturdy and offers enhanced flexibility when positioning the microphone.
If you are looking for something more substantial for your recording setup, however, the PodMic is frequently bundled with various types of stands. Sweetwater offers a PodMic bundle with a desktop stand and XLR, or for those of you looking for additional flexibility, you can order the microphone on Amazon along with the industry-standard Rode PSA-1 Boom arm.
How much does it Weigh?
Coming in at around 2lb, this microphone is robust, to say the least. For comparison; both the Rode Procaster and Shure SM7B clock in at 1.6lb, making the PodMic the heaviest of the three.
Although this may come as a burden to those looking for a traveling setup, this weight may actually be an advantage. As mentioned earlier, the mount adds some additional heft to the capsule itself, however, with such a durable build quality, this microphone is well equipped for even the harshest of environments.
What does it come with?
The PodMic is pretty minimalist when it comes to freebies – in that it has none. Although it would’ve been nice to have a few additional accessories to help incorporate this mic into different recording setups, with such a low price tag you really can’t complain.
Truly what you see is what you get with this product, and in all honesty, the lack of additional equipment only speaks to the quality of the microphone. While it is standard for a microphone to come with a mount adapter, Rode has made this a non-issue, with the PodMic mounting stand accounting for all thread sizes without the need for accessories.
Does it come with an XLR Cable?
Unfortunately, there is no XLR included. As with the previous question, this comes down to the price tag. For under a hundred dollars, you are getting a broadcast-quality microphone that can hold its own against benchmark podcasting products. This is a fraction of the cost of the high-end equipment, and for the quality, it is quite frankly a bargain.
While the PodMic doesn’t come with an XLR, shops tend to bundle microphones with cables, so if you are looking for a good deal there will absolutely be options online – and if all else fails, you can grab a decent XLR for under $20.
How much Gain does it need?
How much gain you will need varies greatly based on your setup and location. That being said, it’s safe to say that like most low-sensitivity dynamic microphones, the PodMic is gain-hungry.
As it has no built-in amplification circuitry, the output level of this microphone is relatively low, and in order to get a level that is usable in a podcast, you should be aiming for a level of around -6dB.
While increasingly capture devices boast a 32-bit float, setting levels to -6dB will ensure that your tracks aren’t peaking but are still audible when recording. The only thing you need to look out for when increasing gain is the noise of your preamps, which may seem like a small point – but can become a big issue when really cranking the signal.
Is it a USB Mic?
The Rode PodMic is an XLR microphone. Unfortunately, this means you may need to invest in an audio interface, or digital recorder in order to capture your vocals.
This does seem counterintuitive given the USB capabilities of the Rode Procaster which is double the price point, but the PodMic is specifically designed with the RodeCaster in mind. This interface is made for recording and mixing podcasts all in one place, and the PodMic being a Rode Product, is optimized for use with the interface offering seamless integration.
Is it a Good Singing Microphone?
Being tailored to vocals, this microphone captures singing very well. While typically condenser microphones are used for singing to better capture the nuances of the voice, dynamic microphones are a great choice if you don’t have a studio at your disposal, with a low noise floor and directional pickup pattern you can ensure that your recordings are crystal clear.
Is it Good?
For the price, this microphone is incredibly good. As far as (relatively) cheap microphones go the quality is incredible, the design and materials are sturdy, and it is an all-around great microphone for those looking to take their first steps into the world of podcasting.
Hopefully, this has answered all your burning questions about the Rode PodMic, and you are able to make choice as to whether this microphone is right for you. Still unsure which mic is right for you? You might like our other article, the ‘Best Dynamic Microphone Under $100’.