Rode presents a new version of its portable audio mixing console, the Rodecaster Pro, with upgraded hardware, new preamps, a host of new software features and a subtly sleeker design. The Rodecaster Pro II is intended to consolidate the key elements of an audio control room for live broadcasts, podcasts and other audio productions into a desktop console for amateurs and professionals.
At first glance, the Rodecaster Pro II looks like a slightly more compact version of its predecessor, with six physical faders instead of eight, reducing it from 14 inches wide to 12 inches wide. But the console comes with much bigger updates inside. The console is now powered via USB-C and has the ability to connect to two computers or mobile devices at once for dual operations. There’s also a bigger, better-looking touchscreen, and the system comes with a lot more options for customizing processing and automation in the on-board software.
The biggest update seems to be with the sound pads (now called the SMART pads). Pads were previously used to play audio clips on demand, but have now been opened up to be fully customizable – with the ability to trigger effects, automate fades, MIDI controls, video switching, and more, like the Elgato Stream Deck.
The new console’s preamps have a lower noise floor and higher gain than the previous model, so much so that Rode says it eliminates the need for products like the Cloudlifter to boost the signal-to-noise ratio of professional microphones. like the Shure SM7b before going into the mixer.
A common complaint about the original Rodecaster Pro was the limited in-house audio processing options, with some effects like compressor and EQ presets only having an on/off function. Rode opens up these features with more granular parameters to adjust as well as additional effects like reverb, echo, and pitch shift.
Overall these might seem like minor updates and may not be a necessary upgrade for all current Rodecaster Pro users – but as live video and audio platforms have evolved into higher productions, equipment must also keep pace. Triggering transitions, fades, and even lighting settings from the console comes close to having a complete control room at your desk.
Rode says it will continue to update the Pro II’s firmware for additional features, additional features, and software compatibility (which can now be updated via Wi-Fi and Ethernet on the console) “within weeks/ months after launch”, similar to the additional firmware versions on the original Rodecaster Pro. When asked if Rode would update their original Rodecaster Pro with future firmware releases, Rode replied “not at this stage”, so it looks like many of these software features will only be available on the Pro II.
The Rodecaster Pro II is available for pre-order now for $699 ($100 more than the cost of the Rodecaster Pro I) and is expected to ship mid-June 2022.
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