Rodecaster Pro 2 review: The best sound around
(Pocket-lint) – Rode has been pleasing podcasters for a while now with the Rodecaster Pro, but the company realised people wanted more. Enter, then, the Rodecaster Pro 2. It’s a device the company pitches as a “revolution” compared to the original Rodecaster Pro, and one that’s so feature-packed that it can also be described as an “integrated audio production console”.
What does that actually mean? Well, this is a device that can be used for all sorts of things and by all sorts of people. The Rodecaster Pro 2 is designed for content creators, streamers, podcasts, 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 well be the device you need. So we’ve been putting 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.
Our quick take
It might be expensive, but the Rodecaster Pro 2 is an immense piece of 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, with it also offering a multitude of customisation options to make it fit your own specific needs.
The pre-amp setup and processing help deliver the very best sound we’ve ever heard from such a device, and it’s hard to overstate how fantastic that is. Aside from its price, there are very few, if any, negative things we can say about this audio interface. So, if you’re looking for the very best solution to improve your production quality, this is it.
Rodecaster Pro 2
5 stars – Pocket-lint editors choice
- Superb customisation options
- Fantastic noise elimination
- Easy setup for beginners
- Lacks virtual audio routing like GoXLR
Not just for podcasters anymore
The Rodecaster Pro 2 is an interesting and flexible audio device in a number of different ways.
It has four high-quality combo inputs that you can use for connecting XLR microphones, instruments and line-level devices. The obvious use case here is to connect up multiple different microphones and use them in a podcasting situation, or for high-quality interviews. You then have hardware sliders for controlling levels and the ability to add audio enhancements, mix in some FX or even record shows on-the-fly without a PC attached using a microSD card or USB drive.
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 control the audio of each source separately.
It also has two USB-C connections so you can connect up a PC or two and pull in audio from there too. All this means that you can do so much more than just record a standard podcast. It can also be used for at-home music production, voice-over work and streaming too.
We also found that it’s flexible enough to allow for a multitude of different use cases.
Plug in two XLR microphones like these Rode Podmics and you can set one to the left channel and one to the right channel and capture some interesting stereo audio for your audience. We’ve also been using it for streaming on YouTube. Once it’s connected to a gaming PC via USB-C you have access to a couple of USB channels.
One is 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 the audio into a single custom mix which you can use in OBS Studio or Streamlabs to then stream on YouTube or Twitch.
A premium alternative to the GoXLR
As you can see, the Rodecaster Pro 2 is an interesting alternative to the much-loved TC Helicon GoXLR. It’s quite a bit more expensive, but also has more potential use cases in a number of different ways. The GoXLR can only control one XLR microphone, compared to the four possible ones with the Rodecaster Pro 2.
Though 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 that on-the-fly and you can do that with the GoXLR. But Rode is regularly working on firmware updates, so this might change in the future. Another way the Rodecaster Pro 2 pleases is in its convenient setup and user-friendly design.
Straight-forward mic and sound setup
One of the things that struck us about the Rodecaster Pro 2 is just 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 selecting a microphone. Rode has pre-programmed a number of different microphones that you can choose from.
Naturally, this includes a selection of Rode mics but others are available too. When you’ve chosen the mic you are using a number of processing effects are applied as default, including a noise gate, compressor settings and much more besides.
As you’d expect you can tweak the gain and adjust each of the settings individually as you need to but we found we really didn’t have to and that’s the joy of this device. It offers a clean sound with very minimal fuss.
With a GoXLR or similar device, you usually have to do a lot of tweaking in order 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 renowned gain-hungry microphone that can be a faff to get sounding right.
You can use it with this interface with no fuss and it even sounds better than other pre-amps we’ve used as well.
That’s because Rode has crafted the Rodecaster Pro 2 with an industry-leading pre-amp that promises more gain than the original Rodecaster Pro but with ultra-low noise pick-up. This results in a nicer quality of audio and a much cleaner sound, too. 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, Equaliser and numerous onboard effects.
All this means you can tweak the audio to your heart’s content. But you also don’t need to and that’s one reason it’s fantastic.
Useful smart pads and simple interface
On the right-hand side of the Rodecaster Pro 2, you’ll find a row of eight large buttons. These are so-called “smart pads” these pads can be used in various ways including adding effects to your microphone, playing various sound effects and other things – like bleeping out accidental or intentional swears in your audio.
You’re not just limited to the standard settings here as you can re-program 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 from the touch-screen display at the top of the interface and it’s really easy to edit the buttons from there as well. With the accompanying Rodecaster Central app, you can also transfer files easily to it meaning that you can add in more sound effects and audio files.
So there is a world of possibilities.
As you’ve gathered, the Rodecaster Pro 2 is highly customisable. Even to the assignment of the sliders. You can choose which audio goes where, whether you’re using mics, instruments, USB audio or more.
This logic can also be saved to shows, so you can choose export and you can also change what you’re doing with ease for different use cases too. Podcasting one minute with one lot of settings and then streaming another with different inputs and settings? No problem.
The Rodecaster Pro 2 is an integrated audio production console like no other. A marvellous device with many possible uses and features galore. Writing by Adrian Willings.
Editing by Conor Allison.