It started with a crawl, but audience demand for podcasts has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. iTunes hosts more than half a million podcasts, and you’d almost have to be naive to not investigate - or get involved with - this burgeoning medium.
Last time I checked, there are only a handful of episodic discussion and interview-style podcasts in the guitar-related zeitgeist for iTunes. Jude Gold, our very own contributing editor, hosts one called No Guitar Is Safe, which has proven to be popular among players. Considering the numerous social media platforms guitarists use to launch their own brands, it seems podcasting is surprisingly overlooked because the potential to become a very big fish in a small pond can easily be nurtured in this forum.
Now don’t get me wrong, the idea of podcasting can be overwhelmingly intimidating without a clear plan or proper equipment, but I’m here to eliminate one of those fears by letting you know Rode has introduced the Rodecaster Pro (RCP), a fully integrated podcast production studio with an intuitive and user-friendly design that removes all guesswork so you can stay focused on managing your own original podcast or seamlessly stream live shows.
FEATURES At its core, the Rodecaster Pro is a mixer and digital recorder rolled into a smart all-in-one unit that delivers superb audio quality. The RCP features four high-quality XLR mic inputs that can accommodate dynamic and condenser microphones, eight faders to control audio levels, solo source listening and mute buttons for each channel, a four-channel headphone amp, eight programmable pads that can offer instant playback of sound effects and jingles (with companion app), two echo-free phone-connection channels (via TRSS cable or Bluetooth), a USB audio channel and can record 24-bit/48kHz audio directly to microSD card or computer via USB.
The servo-biased preamps and outputs feature Class A circuitry that deliver professional broadcast-quality signal, and for fine-tuning audio, the RCP incorporates Aphex Big Bottom and Aural Exciter processing, along with multi-stage compression, limiting, de-essing and gating.
The gorgeous full-color touch screen is so easy to navigate that you can be up and running within minutes without hitting the manual. Downloading the latest firmware (as of this writing, it’s version 1.2.0) adds enhanced updates, like multitrack recording direct to SD card, record-pause function and color-coding for the record button.
PERFORMANCE For the uninitiated, all you need to create a podcast is a computer, headphones, recording and editing software (GarageBand, Audacity and Adobe Audition are favorites), plus a really good USB microphone. So, it would seem the Rodecaster Pro might be overkill if it’s just you, but if you interview guests (in a studio or remotely via phone) and bands for your podcast, consider it an upgraded portable recording studio, with advanced functionality, that will make your workflow in live broadcasting a breeze to control on the fly with a touch of a button or fader.
You won’t even need your computer because it can record in stereo directly to an SD card. And if you don’t deal too much with post production, the RCP is incredible for quickly cutting to commercials, injecting applause and sound effects when tapping the custom color pads, isolating channels and muting if you’re in the middle of an interview or live streaming a performance.
In other words, you have complete control of your live show. Obviously, the Rodecaster Pro is great for post production too, but I find it shines as a portable live broadcasting tool. As a guitar journalist, the RCP makes me rethink the many ways I can use it to create even more ambitious content - and maybe one day start my own guitar gear podcast.
STREET PRICE: $599
MANUFACTURER: Rode Microphones, rode.com
● The Rodecaster Pro features four high-quality XLR mic inputs to simultaneously record and mix podcasts and live streams directly to a microSD card or to a computer via USB.
● The RCP’s eight programmable pads can instantly trigger sound effects, jingles, commercials and applause, and can be color-coded for visual cues.
● THE BOTTOM LINE: As a full-production broadcast studio with intuitive operation and mobile capability, the Rodecaster Pro is an essential standalone unit for professional podcast recording and live streaming.