If you’ve spent much time podcasting, Skyping, recording any kind of audio on your Mac, you’ve no doubt found its built-in microphone woefully inadequate. Well if you’re ready to toss down some Benjamins for an upgrade, the Rode Podcaster Microphone ($230) is a rich-sounding, easy-to-use option you should consider.
Rich and true — that’s how I would describe the Podcaster audio quality. During Skype calls and podcasts, my voice always sounded great and people could tell my audio had been significantly upgraded. Rode is a microphone company, and I can tell the Podcaster was built as a proper mic first, and a computer mic second. I also love that Rode didn’t try to make the Podcaster a jack-of-all-trades. This mic was built to be a high-quality, dead-easy way to bring your voice into your computer, and that’s exactly what it is.
So how easy is it to use? How’s this: you take it out of the box, plug it into your Mac via USB, then select it from your audio input sources. Done. It’s USB powered, so no XLR cables, no phantom power or expensive Mac audio interfaces needed. In fact, though I have other professional vocal mics laying around, the Podcaster’s ease-of-use has made it my go-to mic when I need to do most anything voice related. Why mess with an audio interface and XLR if you’re not recording an album?
Additional features I like include a zero-lag audio out jack (with a volume knob) you can use to monitor your sound and a little green light that tells you when it’s powered on.
And finally, a quick thought about the Podcaster’s build quality. This microphone feels like it’s hewn from a solid metal ingot. It has a heft that exudes “well-made,” and feels great in the hand. Nothing about it feels cheap or compromised. It even comes with a ten year warranty — ten years!
In order to get the best sound from the Podcaster, you’re going to need to get your lips literally right in front of the mic, and in order to accomplish that, you’re going to need to cough up extra cash for a microphone shock mount and studio arm. Sure, you could use a $15 desktop mic stand to hold the Podcaster, but you’d always be arching your neck forward to get your lips where they need to be — hello neck pain. A shock mount/studio arm combo is really the way to go, and together those will run you another $150.
A lesser gripe: I wish the Podcaster had a mute button like other USB mics on the market. Seems like a small addition easily remedied by hitting mute in your software, but eventually you’ll forget to unmute yourself and spend 30 seconds as a moving mouth with no audio on that video podcast you do… not that that’s happened to me personally more than once./p>
The ease of plug-n-play; solid build; great audio; the Rode Podcaster is an easy product to recommend if you have need for a good computer mic – just be prepared for a cramped neck if you don’t spring for that studio arm.