The Rode Podcaster USB mic is good for podcasting, but that’s about it. Lol. The difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone. It’s not very versatile, but is extremely heavy and durable. So durable in fact that you will need a stand of equal durability just to be able to hold this barbell in place! The asking price in my mind (and many others), is not justified here at all.
Keep in mind there is a bit of discrepancy in the reviews. Some absolutely hate it, and point out flaws that others regard as Pros. The bottom line is that I am not going to recommend it today because I wouldn’t buy it myself.
Built in headphone jack for live monitoring, with volume control.
USB plug and play.
Works automatically on a Mac.
Very well made. Solidly built.
Rodes patented 10 year warranty + amazing customer service.
Cannot use mixer or voice processor with it as it’s USB.
The internal electronics of the mic preamp and analog to digital converter are bad (worst in class?).
Doesn’t receive EQ well at all.
Who this mic benefits?
Endorsed for all of the following:
Not really good for anything else. Again, it’s hard to say one way or the other. Many people said to only rely on it for pod-casting and nothing else. Still others said it was good for most voice-over situations, including Skype, Youtube, etc.
What you will need?
Rode PSM1 Shockmount was highly recommended.
The Rode PSA1 is an amazing boom arm for the Podcaster as well as other mics.
The built in pop-filter is sub-par. A separate one is highly recommended.
The The DSA1, as well as the DS7200B is a great stand for this heavy mic.
It’s a bit on the heavy side. You will need to invest in a proper mic stand for this beast.
Because this is a dynamic mic, it should in theory be less prone to picking up background and ambient noise. Well, it’s not. Lol. It picks up way too much, and doesn’t have good noise rejection. The frustrating thing about this is that some people claim it doesn’t pick up background noise, while others do.
The proximity effect of this mic is very strict. You must speak directly into the mic with your face only 2-3 inches away at all times or it won’t pick up the sound very well. It has a limited pickup range.
Though someone mentioned in the Pros section that it works automatically on a Mac, you may still have problems. At random times it refuses to be recognized by your PC or Mac, and about 70% of the time you will have to perform a full reboot to get it working again.
You may have to turn up the gain a lot on it, which is unfortunate because the higher the gain, the more likely you will start to receive undesirable sound in the recording.
If you’re having trouble getting it to work, a simple firmware update should do the trick. Http://rode.com/microphones/podcaster. This update is only necessary for mics with serial numbers below 7730 and for use on Windows. If your mic has a serial number above 7730 it will already have this installed at the factory.
There was a lot of back and forth about this piece. A lot of the reviews directly contradicted each-other. Some criticized it heavily for things that others praised it for. Overall I wouldn’t recommend it. There are better options out there for your dollar.
The mic does not have a gain control or mute button.
The mic is built like a tank, but the various issues hold it back from even being recommended. Gain issues, sibilance, it’s proximity effect, and the fact that it picks up background noise despite being a dynamic mic are all shortcomings that cannot be overlooked.
The Heil PR40 is a broadcast ready mic that excels in primarily voice-over situations. Called the Gold Standard for pod-casting, this dynamic mic is ruggedly built and superbly flat and neutral. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. You won’t have to do much EQ’ing, and a setting of “flat” will do the trick in most cases. It doesn’t need phantom power, but a good mic preamp with around 55-60 dB of clean gain is a must. Preamp vs. Interface.
Broadcast ready sound, with an extended low frequency response.
Extremely warm, intimate sound. Clear and articulate representation of your voice.
Superbly flat frequency response.
Easy to EQ with.
Bright and rich like a condenser, but controlled and soft like a dynamic.
End fire pattern rejects side and rear noise. Excellent noise reduction overall.
Nice foam/plush/leather case.
Built rugged, with a beautiful and flawless finish. It’s heavy, with everything being metal.
Comes with clamp that has an adapter that screws in to allow the clamp to be used on different sized stands and boom arms.
Preamp with 58 dB of gain, or a cloudlifter + interface. More on that in a bit.
Good compression (either a hardware compressor or a software plugin).
Heil broadcast boom and mounting piece, suspended shock-mount, and a pop-filter (Popless VAC-PR40). The Electrovoice 309a Shockmount & OC White desk-mounted boom are also solid, and should be considered.
Acoustic Sound Treatment. It is important to note that this mic does a great job of rejecting room noise, but Acoustic Sound Treatment never hurts!
What people are using?
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP.
Great match with the Steinberg UR22.
Symetrix 528E Processor.
The Shure X2U XLR to USB adapter works well, and provides a a mic control and headphone jack.
Alesis Mictube solo with 65dB of gain & +5dB drive with XLR to XLR.
What do I recommend?
I would go with a Cloudlifter because it’s more affordable, and you can bypass having to buy an expensive Preamp.
So in a nutshell:
Steinberg UR22 + Cloudlifter + PR40. This ensures that you get that extra 25dB of gain (provided by the lifter) in order to effectively and properly amplify the mic.
Note: In my SM7B review, I also recommend the Cloudlifter. Which mike you go with entirely depends on your intended use. More on that in my Final Word.
Who this mic benefits?
Endorsed for all of the following:
Kick Drums due to that deeper low end response.
Not as good for:
All around recording.
There were a sprinkling of reviews that mentioned it’s prowess with some instruments; namely Bass, Didgeridoo, and Kick Drums. Please don’t buy it solely for these purposes however.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
True dynamic mic. Does not need phantom power.
End fire pattern that rejects off axis noise. This makes it perfect for podcasting and broadcasting.
Use the low frequency gain knob and the HF knob as well. The mic may become a tad bright but both of these methods should do the trick in taming it down.
Sounds great with EQ set to flat.
The PR40 has a slightly “scooped” mid-range that may take the nasal “honk” and stuffiness out of your voice.
The Proximity effect is good. Anything more than 6 inches away from the mouth starts to sound thin. The sweet-spot here is around 2-4 inches. You can also put your lips right on the grill and the proximity effect is still controlled. It never becomes too thick or muddy.
You may want to mess around with an expander/compressor/limiter/gate to go with the mic, in order to fine tune the sound.
The main draw of this microphone is that it is designed to record only the sound that its closest to it, while rejecting everything else. This makes it great for less than perfect recording environments.
A ruggedly built microphone that is perfect for voice-over situations, with a broadcast ready tone. Doesn’t do as well with instrumentation, but remains a Gold Standard with it’s primary intended use. Remember that a good Preamp or the Cloudlifter + Interface combo is a must for this mic to truly shine!
Similarities & Differences
Both have end fire patterns.
Both are dynamic mics.
Neither have gain control.
Both good for podcasting.
Both are solidly built.
The Podcaster comes with a headphone jack for live monitoring, while the PR40 does not.
The Heil PR40 is a true dynamic microphone, and rejects most if not all background and ambient noise. The Podcaster does not.
The Proximity effect of the PR40 is much more forgiving than that of the Podcaster. In the case of the PR40, anything more than 6 inches away starts to fade. By contrast, if you aren’t right up on the Podcaster at all times (2-3 in.), expect a weak sound.
While the PR40 has a scooped mid-range that takes the nasal “honk” and stuffiness out of your voice, the Podcaster does the opposite. It just doesn’t flatter your voice much at all, and may make you sound honky.
The Podcaster is a USB mic, while the PR40 is XLR. You will need some extra accessories to go with the PR40.
Both mics look very different from each other aesthetically.
The PR40, while primarily used in voice-over, is also pretty versatile as well. The Podcaster is not.
Now obviously I’m going to recommend the PR40 over the Podcaster, no questions asked. The PR40 is a true dynamic, and will take some rudimentary knowledge on how your set up is supposed to run. Luckily for you I’ve laid it all out here for you!
Computer via USB > Audio Interface > Cloudlifter > PR40. That’s your chain right there!
Now, either of these other 2 mics work in the same way as the PR40’s chain. I consider all of them to be the 3 best dynamic mics overall:
The RE20 and PR40 are perfect for voice-over, but aren’t as versatile as the SM7B. So if you need the best strictly for voice-over, #2 or 3 are your best bet. Which is better? There is no real definitive answer to that question unfortunately. I rate the RE20 #2 based on history and time tested results. In my research I’ve found that some simply prefer one to the other. Just know they are extremely similar mics, and both get some very high accolades. Strapped for cash? Go with the PR40. Want the industry standard? Go with the RE20.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.