RØDE’s latest integrated solution is a home audio production powerhouse
Ideal for both podcasters and streamers, RØDE’s box is a technicolour dream for audio creation. With more inputs than you’ll ever need and incredible customisation options across every fader, the RØDECaster Pro 2 routinely answers ‘oh, I wonder if it can do that?’ with a resounding yes. It’s expensive, but this feels and, most importantly, sounds like a miracle machine.
- +Incredible audio quality
- +Intuitive touchscreen UI
- +Brilliant Bluetooth connectivity
- +Can record directly to SSD/Micro SD
- -USB-C only without an adaptor
- -Unless you’re a pro (or enthusiastic amateur), it’ll be difficult to justify the asking price
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This RØDEcaster Pro 2 review comes after hours of testing across both professional broadcasting and podcasting. It might take up a bit of space on your desk compared to a regular preamp, but the RØDEcaster Pro 2 is an all-in-one solution that’s a veritable powerhouse for anyone who wants to up their home recording game.
Whether you want to be able to tweak settings on the fly while streaming or easily add sound effects and music to your recordings without having to take them into separate editing software, the Pro 2 is happy to oblige. Its colourful chunky exterior is a smorgasbord of potentially overwhelming buttons and faders, but it’s actually delightfully simple to use. Plug in an XLR mic cable and some headphones, push up the fader, and you’ll be creating high-quality audio in a matter of minutes.
As confirmed by the 2 in the title, this is the follow-up to the original RØDECaster Pro, so in this RØDECaster Pro 2 review, we’ll map out the differences between the two devices to help you work out which one is best for you. We’ll also break down how easy the device is to set up and use as well as the best features for podcasters and streamers.
RØDECaster Pro 2 review: Price
First things first, the RØDECaster Pro 2 isn’t cheap. At an RRP of £699 in the UK and $699 in the US, this box is a serious investment. It’s also a chunk more than the original RØDECaster Pro, which is still sitting at around £400/$599. This is also the price just for the box itself. If you want the additional dust cover, you’ll have to invest an additional £45/$49, and obviously, mics, mic arms, XLR cables etc., are individual purchases too. But if you’re reading this review, you’ve probably got all if not most of those sorted. Visit RØDE (opens in new tab) today for the latest prices.
Audio interfaces obviously range massively in price, but given that you’re looking at least a couple of hundred pounds or dollars for a decent regular preamp from a brand like Focusrite, the fact that the RØDECaster Pro 2 comes with four analogue XLR inputs and has nine versatile inputs in total means that you’re getting serious bang for your buck. The Bluetooth connectivity especially – as well as an optional adaptor to connect to iPhone or iPad – means that podcast interviews via apps like WhatsApp and Skype are immediately dread-free as you’ll have a dedicated fader for audio balancing. No more dreading interview chats and hoping OBS does its thing.
(Image credit: Future)
RØDECaster Pro 2 review: RØDEcaster Pro vs RØDECaster Pro 2
RØDE calls the RØDECaster Pro 2 “a completely new beast”, but, obviously, there are slews of shared features across both versions of the RØDECaster. Both are all-in-one podcast studios with XLR, smartphone, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, as well as sound pads for stored audio clips and music. There have been some very big upgrades for the Pro 2, though. Sizewise, the RØDECaster Pro 2’s footprint is 2 inches slimmer than the original, making it 12 inches wide which does make a serious difference on your desk. This means the loss of two physical faders, but there’s a bigger touch screen on the RØDECaster Pro 2 and a stack of updates inside the console.
The Pro 2 has upgraded to USB-C power and can now handle two individual USB-C connected devices like computers or iPads to use as inputs. There’s also a far more granular approach to audio processing on the RØDECaster Pro 2, using RØDE’s APHEX processing technology. Where the original RØDECaster Pro has very simple options with basic on/off functionality, each fader on the Pro 2 has the option to fully adjust the depth, sparkle, and punch of each microphone on the fly using its proprietary VoxLab tech.
It’s a joy to be able to tweak each of these to get exactly the sound you prefer, and there’s a real richness to the tone here. Obviously, this depends entirely on your microphone, and there are also presets for each specific microphone type. This is especially handy if you’re using a RØDE mic as there’s an automatic option, complete with programmed levels for each one. There’s also phantom power if you need it.
Importantly too, you can customise the sound pads on the Pro 2 for more than just audio with scene changes and MIDI commands to make this a little more like the Elgato Stream Deck. Versatility is key here. If you’re already using a RØDECaster Pro, these updates might not be worth upgrading for, but if you’re choosing between the devices, the extra on-the-fly audio tweaking is much appreciated and the sound pad upgrades could be essential if you’re looking for speedy streaming solutions.
(Image credit: Future)
RØDECaster Pro 2 review: Set-up & use
Set-up out of the box is surprisingly easy. All you need to do is plug the RØDECaster Pro 2 in at the wall and switch it on with the push button on the rear. First-time set-up means connecting to WiFi and doing some updates, and you’re ready to go. It doesn’t take too long to get used to, but, simply, each physical fader on the RØDECaster Pro 2 is dedicated to an individual input channel, whether that’s a mic, an instrument, mobile or tablet.
Plug in a microphone via XLR on the rear in one of the four ports and a pair of headphones via the 6.35mm jack for listening, and you can then customise the fader and choose your microphone type and gain. Tweaking settings immediately feels intuitive, and everything is exceptionally clear on the touch screen. The faders feel satisfyingly premium, and the light show when you turn the whole thing on is an especially nice touch.
Importantly, you don’t need to have the RØDECaster Pro 2 plugged into a computer to function. While you can easily plug it into a PC or Mac via USB-C and use it as an input and output – either in multitrack or just stereo form – it is a fully self-contained beast. The Pro 2 lets you record directly onto an SSD via USB-C or onto MicroSD. You can then transfer and use the full stereo recording you’ve created using the faders, but you’ll also get the multitrack recordings of each individual fader too. It’s a great belt and braces approach, meaning that whether you record as ‘live’ or not, you can always take everything into your chosen editing software regardless. We tested with a Sandisk USB-C SSD, and hitting the record button on the Pro 2 was seamless and satisfying, with great sound from both the RØDE PodMic as well as an SE2200.
(Image credit: Future)
Setting up the Sound Pads, too, is exceptionally easy. Download RØDECaster Central on your PC or Mac from the RØDE website, and you can personalise the 64 available sound pads with effects, music and commands. We were surprised just how fast podcast music transfers over to the device via USB-C, and there’s a real thrill in being able to add and manipulate music live instead of waiting to do it all in post. Adding sound effects is especially good fun too. The Pro 2 already helpfully has crickets, drum beats, and air horns, so for any online recordings via apps like Squadcast or Zencastr, it’s brilliant to be able to add some extra comedy punchlines by bringing up the effects fader and letting rip.
But it’s the sheer power and versatility on offer here that’s incredible. The audio processing is impressive enough, creating a broadcast quality sound that’s ready to go but that you can add devices over Bluetooth on the fly or via computer feels like genuinely revolutionary power. Adding interviewees for podcasts is as easy as connecting over iPhone or iPad Bluetooth and choosing the RØDECaster as you would a set of headphones and bringing up the fader. The RØDECaster Pro 2 makes online chat app recording just as easy as sitting around in one room, each with a dedicated mic. For one device to hold this much power almost feels too good to be true.
(Image credit: Future)
RØDECaster Pro 2 review: Verdict
The RØDECaster Pro 2 is an incredible all-in-one content creator device. Whether you’re using it as an input for recording directly into editing software on PC or Mac, for online podcasting, or recording straight from the Pro 2 itself, the sheer number of inputs and customisation options means you’ll always be able to do what you want. Professional audio quality and a slick UI make this an incredible upgrade of an already impressive audio toolkit.