Top critical review
40 people found this helpful
Worst USB mic for the money! Don't believe the 4-5 star reviews.
on May 8, 2014
I am an audio professional of over 20 years in Nashville, both recording and sound reinforcement (live sound).
All-in-one USB mics are all compromised to begin with since it is a mic, mic pre, and analog to digital converter all in one unit. But with the right mic, the tradeoffs can be worth it. This is NOT the right mic.
The Podcaster is the worst of its breed and price range. Check out what The Wirecutter says about it in their tests...
Tonally it is very mid-rangy and "open" sounding, and tends to get harsh and "honky" (mid-rangy/nasal). Many podcasts I listen to use it and I can hear it's bad sound instantly.
The internal electronics of mic pre and analog to digital converter are worst in class. These electronics are just as critical as the mic element/pickup, so dedicated pre+converter is always better. With the Podcaster, it's cheap electronics not only add to the bad sound, but also allows it to distort easily. I can't stress how terrible this device sounds to my trained ear.
Typically a dynamic mic like this should be less susceptible to ambient and handling noise. One podcaster I consulted with was getting 400Hz resonance reflections from proximity to his computer monitor, and it was picking up typing noise and him bumping his desk all of the time (it was on a desk stand without a shock mount). Another one was picking up his MacBook Pro's fan noise plain as day, which had to be gated. They say it has "good rejection". Wrong!
The first guy upgraded to the Shure PG42 USB (almost same price), and tonality is much improved, as is ambient noise - despite the fact that it's a more sensitive condenser. It comes with a shock mount too! It is a little brittle sounding, but all you have to do is cut some 3kHz in your EQ...
Back to the Podcaster. EQing this mic is a nightmare and compressing it only makes its bad qualities stand out. I would give it zero stars if I could. Røde is not a professional brand - zero professional recording studios in Nashville have them. Shure is the best mic brand in my opinion across the board and is in every studio in town (SM57, SM7B, Beta52, KSM44A, etc.). If you want a cheap all-in-one mic for podcasting, go with the Shure PG42 USB.
Keep in mind that in recording if you choose a good mic+pre+converter setup, you'll save tons of time on EQ and editing out ambient noise. The better the source audio you have to work with, the easier time you'll have in editing and mixing.
Pro mic tip: keep your mic's pickup element/diaphragm from being parallel with any vertical surface like computer screens, note/music stands or walls. Angle it up a few degrees and speak down into it, and turn your body/mic so that it not directly in front of your computer monitor or music stand. Use blankets or curtains on reflective surfaces close to you.
Have fun recording (with a different mic)! :)