If you’ve been following filmed podcasts and radio for any amount of time, chances are you recognise the Electro-Voice RE20. It’s an absolute classic for recording narration, and has also found much love in studio circles recording anything from voice, to guitar and even kick drums. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and if this is the case then Røde has been flattering the RE20 for years.
From the Podcaster to Procaster, the Røde team have put their own spin on the legendary dynamic mic, even making one a condenser, but always bringing it down to a more affordable price point. The most affordable so far - the PodMic.
Affordability however is never an indication of quality when it comes to Røde products, with everything from accessories to the body of the microphone itself being of the utmost quality of engineering. With reassuring weight and solid XLR pins, the PodMic is easily positioned within its bracket. Even without the two year warranty, this tank of a microphone should handle all the knocks and scratches which could be possibly thrown at a studio microphone. The sector-cut chassis is of course evocative of RE20-type microphones, but the sleek black steel modernises it significantly. The shorter length helps this too, as well as compacts setup space. While it may sound silly, being able to see the faces of the people talking in a filmed podcast is another boon of the 17.2cm length. It really is an attractive microphone.
This style of microphone must excel in two things. Crisp, clean, yet slightly pokey high end, and warm, bellowing bottom end. All this and more arrives in droves with the PodMic. Some may say that to compare a sub-$200 microphone with one that is more than triple its cost would be unfair, but it is a testament to the PodMic at how close it comes to the RE20. At close proximity the two are nigh indistinguishable. The booming low end can make even the squeakiest of voices sound like melted butter dripping down Optimus Prime.
Hyperbole aside, the PodMic’s frequency response graph may look like the mountains of madness, but the characteristic bumps at 120Hz, 900-1000Hz, and more speckled between 5-10kHz are exactly the kind of EQ sculpting which would occur in post-production anyway. The dip in the low-mids are the icing on the cake as far as plug-and-go recording is concerned, making the PodMic near perfection for anyone wanting to chat away without worrying about tedious EQ processing.
The sound quality is only impacted by two things. Firstly, proximity is paramount for this microphone. From even 10cm away there is a noticeable loss of low end, even with a loud bass-registered singer. Secondly, the inbuilt pop filter leaves a little bit to be desired, especially with sung vocals instead of spoken word. For music recording, a balancing act may be required to introduce a seperate pop filter whilst still keeping enough proximity for that gorgeous low-end to gather around the capsule. The results though, are more than worth that slight effort.
Whether you are using the Røde PodMic for recording spoken word or sung vocals, there is very little out there which can beat it in its price range. It clearly comes from a place of great planning, and Røde’s long history of knowing how to ace a vocal microphone. It may not be the right choice for recording instruments, placing it outside the versatile realms occupied by ‘jack-of-all-trade’ microphones often found in this price range, but its the decisive and specific nature which makes the PodMic so incredible at what it does.
Hits and Misses
Solid build quality
Looks and feels great
Sensitive to pops
Needs close proximity to retain warmth