Rode introduces a new version of its portable audio mixer console, the Rodecaster Pro, with upgraded hardware, new preamps, a host of new software features and a subtly streamlined design. The Rodecaster Pro II aims to pack the key components of an audio control room for live streams, podcasts, and other audio productions into a desktop console for amateurs and professionals alike.
At first glance, the Rodecaster Pro II appears to be a slightly more compact version of its predecessor, with six physical faders instead of eight, slimming it down from 14 inches wide to 12 inches wide. But the console comes with some much bigger updates inside. The console is now powered via USB-C and has the ability to connect to two computers or mobile devices simultaneously for dual operations. There’s also a larger, better-looking touchscreen, and the system comes with many more options to customize processing and automation in the built-in software.
The biggest update seems to be with the sound pads (now called the SMART pads). Previously used for playing audio clips on demand, the pads have now opened up to be fully customizable – with the ability to trigger effects, fade automation, MIDI commands, video switching and more, similar to Elgato’s 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 improve the signal-to-noise ratio of professional microphones like the Shure SM7b before going. in the blender.
A common complaint about the original Rodecaster Pro was the limited options for internal audio processing, with some effects such as the compressor and EQ presets only having an on/off function. Rode opens these functions up with more detailed parameters to adjust, as well as additional effects such as reverb, echo and pitch shifting.
Overall, these may 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, gear needs to keep up too. Activating transitions, fades and even lighting settings from the console is almost like a full control room at your desk.
Rode says it will continue to update the Pro II’s firmware for added functionality, additional features and software compatibility (which can now be updated via Wi-Fi and Ethernet on the console) “in the weeks/months after launch,” similar to the additional firmware releases on the original Rodecaster Pro. When asked if Rode will update its original Rodecaster Pro with future firmware releases, Rode says “not at this stage,” so it appears many of these software features will only be available on the Pro II.
The Rodecaster Pro II is available to pre-order now for $699 ($100 more than the cost of the Rodecaster Pro I) with plans to ship in mid-June 2022.