RØDECaster Pro II Announcement05/23/2022
While the original RØDECaster Pro was a formidable podcast-focused production studio, RØDE’s release of the RØDECaster Pro II expands on the success of its predecessor with serious enhancements in sound, connectivity, and adaptability, pushing its feature set into attractive territory for livestreamers, gamers, and musically inclined content creators. This all-in-one solution makes “advanced” effortless with fluid workflows via a large touchscreen and tactile controls, studio-quality onboard processing, multitrack recording and mixing, assignable sound pads, and extensive customization. Produce and mix on the fly in just moments with up to four microphones, music, prerecorded segments, and remote guests on calls all going on at once.
Version II Upgrades
Obviously, the big question is, “What’s the big deal with version II?” Here are my top five highlights:
• Premium boutique-class preamps with a ground-up redesign, tons of gain, and mic/line/instrument inputs
• A customizable mixer with RGB color coding and increased sonic power
• Extensively programmable SMART pads for launching sounds, shows, mixer actions, and more
• iOS-ready dual USB Type-C ports to connect multiple computers or mobile devices
• Advanced high-quality Bluetooth input/output, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet
Those and other enhancements are presented in the same tabletop form factor as the original RØDECaster Pro, but now with a slightly smaller footprint.
4 High-End, High-Gain Preamps
Built to hold their ground with pricey, boutique microphone preamplifiers, the RØDECaster Pro II’s new-to-the-world Revolution Preamps deliver classy transparency and detail with ultra-low noise (just -131.5 dBV) and incredible gain up to 76 dB, which enables robust recording levels, even for low-output dynamic mics—no mic boosters, lifters, or normalization needed.
Pro-grade Neutrik XLR-1/4" combo jacks provide connection points for microphones (+48V phantom power is available for condenser mics), line-level sources such as mixers and rack equipment, or instruments such as electric guitar and bass. Plus, pairs of analog input channels can be linked for easy recording of stereo mic setups or stereo outputs from synthesizers, DJ mixers, or outboard gear.
Studio-Quality Processing and Effects
Give your productions the polish and impact they need with authentic emulations of classic APHEX hardware processors—Aural Exciter elevates clarity and sheen, Big Bottom adds warm and deep low-frequency punch, and Compellor glues it all together with compression/leveling—as well as other widely used processors including reverb, delay, pitch shifter, equalizer, high-pass filter, noise gate, de-esser, robot effects, and more.
Use the VoxLab editor to manipulate parameters quickly on several processors via three intuitive controls, or access the advanced editor (on screen or with RØDE Central on a computer) for intricate editing. Use pre-loaded presets, save your own, and load them at any time to call up your favorite settings immediately. Thanks to the internal 1.5 GHz quad-core audio engine, the RØDECaster boasts impressive processing power and significant potential for future updates.
8 Programmable SMART Pads
In place of the original model's sound pads, the RØDECaster Pro II has programmable SMART pads. Each SMART pad can trigger audio files such as music or sound bites, activate special effects, send MIDI commands to software or hardware, or execute mixer functions like fades, music ducking, and bleeping.
Bank switching buttons beneath the pads allow easy access to eight banks for a total of 64 unique actions. Making the pads even better is the color-selectable pad illumination, a convenient way to remember which effect is on which pad.
Customizable Multichannel Color-Coded Mixer
The 9-channel mixer features six channels outfitted with full-size, broadcast-quality physical faders and three virtual channels. Physical faders and virtual channels are freely assignable to the four analog inputs, USB and Bluetooth interfaces, and SMART pads, and there is the option to expand via digital hosting and hardware integrations in future updates. Each channel on the RØDECaster Pro II offers a pan control, mute button, and listen button (pre- or after-fader solo). With channel-specific color coding, you're assured fast identification of your sources.
Stereo/Multitrack Recording and USB Audio
Record stereo or fully separated individual multitrack files (in uncompressed WAV format for maximum audio quality or MP3 format to save storage space and extend recording time) to a microSD card or USB storage, such as an external drive. Alternatively or simultaneously, you can use the RØDECaster Pro II as a high-quality USB audio interface to stream/record to a computer. Staying in line with the industry-standard audio resolution for video production, the RØDECaster Pro II runs at 24-bit / 48 kHz.
Monitoring for All
Four high-powered headphone outputs with 1/4" jacks provide clear personal monitoring for the host and up to three guests while separate, color-coded volume controls let all participants easily control their own headphone levels. Connect a pair of active speakers to the 1/4" line outputs if you need to amplify your content to a live audience, or go wireless and monitor through a Bluetooth speaker to check the mix on an alternate system.
The inclusion of “producer talkback mode” lets you communicate with guests without affecting the recording, and mix-minus on the Bluetooth and USB channels prevents the person on the other end of the call from hearing a distracting echo. Equipped with advanced Bluetooth connectivity, the RØDECaster Pro II can be used for ultra-high-quality phone call integration, pristine audio streaming, convenient wireless monitoring, and more.
Something that truly shocked me about the RØDECaster Pro II was the presence of not one, but two USB Type-C ports, allowing two computers or mobile devices to be connected simultaneously and unlocking great options for everything from remote podcasting to complex streaming configurations. These USB connections are MFi-certified for perfect integration with iPads and other iOS devices, and they support bidirectional MIDI communication to play nice with DAWs and streaming software.
As an ideal way to switch instantly between types of productions such as podcasts, livestreams, and game commentary, the RØDECaster Pro II lets you save multiple “Shows” containing all unit's settings. Tailored presets for RØDE microphones (like the PodMic) and other popular models are on tap to help you get great sounds in a hurry. Also contributing to the RØDECaster’s efficiency is the large 5.5" color touchscreen with haptic feedback and automatic brightness adjustment. Where the original model’s screen was flat, this one is tilted up for optimal viewing. Next to the touchscreen, a rotary encoder is placed for effective navigation and control.
Considering the RØDECaster Pro II’s two powering methods—via the included AC adapter or through USB Type-C PD (30W), it is equally ready to live in your home studio or join you as you venture out into the world. In either case, the optional RØDECover II, a tough polycarbonate cover that guards it against debris, dust, and spills, is available to protect the RØDECaster Pro II. Prepped for global use, the unit is programmed with 10 languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi.
Providing high-speed communication with computers and other devices, the Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections (new to the version II model) offer functionality for updating firmware, integrating software and hardware, and more. Firmware updates are the key to the continued evolution of the RØDECaster Pro II, and RØDE has plenty of plans for new firmware and additional hardware accessories, such as colored cables, carry bags, and mounting options.
Too Good to Resist
Although even minor improvements to the previous generation RØDECaster Pro would have made it a convincing choice, do the RØDECaster Pro II’s substantial upgrades render it too tempting to pass up?
How would this piece of tech improve your production process? Let us know your impressions and thoughts in the Comments section, below.