The Rodecaster Pro is an all in one solution that works great for either mobile casts or setting up in your studio for a more permanent solution. Keep in mind that if you are going mobile with the Rodcaster Pro, you still need an outlet as there is no battery power onboard. The unit is around the size of a large shoe box and is about 2 inches tall at its thickest point, so it's thin enough to easily stow in a bag with all your necessary cords, mics, and other gear.
Why is this so great? Simple, this unit is just about everything you need as a podcaster, and it helps to streamline your workflow so you can get your podcasts done a LOT faster.
This unit is a mixer, recorder (Micro SD onboard or USB out), compressor, headphone amp, hotkey, USB interface, and Bluetooth connected to port in a source with ease such as music or a Skype call.
Mixer - The unit is equipped with 4 XLR ins for your mics, each with their own set of controls and fader so you can get each source dialed in perfectly on your mixing board. The faders are well built and very smooth, so don't fret on the build quality - it's solid all around. The mixer also lets you bring in source via USB (your computer), cell phone via 3.5 MM TRRS input, and last but not least a Bluetooth connection to port in a source wirelessly, which is what I used for my Skype interview with Douglas Rushkoff below. So whether you are doing it live or via phone/skype, you have a robust solution for all sorts of podcasting scenarios.
Recorder - The onboard recorder drops a stereo mixdown perfectly to a micro SD card via the slot in the back (not included), or you can opt to use recording software on your computer and connect it via USB. What's nice about the onboard recorder is that you don't need a laptop to execute your podcast, just the console, mics, and some headphones for you and your guests. If you are more of a pro, you can also opt to record each channel independently as well for a more professional mixdown; this was just made possible via the latest firmware - see video below. If you are keeping it simple and streamlined, just hit the big orange glowing REC button and off you go. To keep track of time there is a timer that clearly shows your record time, and also a marker button to add points to the audio file for help in post-production.
Compressor - The onboard compressor allows you to dial in the sound of each input and get a more professional sounding podcast. This function includes a range of dynamics, as well as compression, limiters, and noise gating. These features help to give you the polish you need on the fly, so you don't have to do a post mixdown. What sounds "good" is all very subjective, so I would highly recommend doing a bunch of tests with these settings to get a feel for all the options, you might just like the natural sound coming from your mic after all. Again, for seasoned pros, you have the option of turning this functionality off altogether and just doing all your fine tuning in post-production - but I would say the compressor is worth a try if you want to speed up your workflow.
Headphone Amps - Yes, this seems basic, but it's an essential part of the process when you are doing podcasts with multiple guests. Each XLR input has a corresponding headphone out so each guest can monitor themselves how they see fit. Make sure to check the levels with each of your guests before you start recording so your podcast runs as smoothly as possible.
Hotkeys - I LOVE this feature. You get 8 hotkeys to trigger loops, stingers, music, sound effects, etc. which are easily loaded by connecting the Rodecaster to your computer via USB and using the app. You can drag and drop the sounds you want onto the console's onboard memory and assign them to the pad you desire which you can name and color code to help you remember what pad triggers what. These keys allow you to add all the intros and stingers you need to the podcast as you go along, thus significantly speeding up workflow and allowing you to get your podcast all done in one take. The hotkeys also allow you to choose either Play or latch functionality so the sound either plays all the way through via play or can be stopped/started again via Latch.
USB Interface - For those of you that are using your laptop for the podcast, the USB interface allows you to record directly to the DAW or recording software of your choice. The computer app also allows you to get a visual on your hotkeys so you can see what each pad is assigned to and allows you to change out sounds on the fly quickly.
What Mics should you use? This question is all contingent upon your budget, obviously, the better the mics you have, the better your podcast sounds, but this can get crazy fast in regards to prices. So I highly recommend starting with the Pod Mic by RØDE to start - it is tailored for podcasting and has internal pop filters, a dynamic capsule that helps to keep room noise down, and it's $99.00.
Is The Rodecaster Pro for you?
If you podcast professionally or even as a hobby (that you take very seriously) this console is absolutely for you. The Rodecaster Pro is the ultimate streamlined solution to get your podcasts sounding tremendous and ready to go faster than you ever thought possible.
MSRP $599 - For all of the tools in one console, this is a bargain only for the fact that it saves you vast amounts of time.
More information at the RØDE website.
Magnetic Magazine's Fast Forward Podcast below was produced on the Rodecaster Pro: