Not matter what is your purpose of using the Rode USB microphones. Knowing your primary usage purpose is the most critical step in choosing the right USB mic to get your vocal and recording jobs done perfectly for better sound quality and recording efficiency.
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What To Consider When Buying Rode USB Microphones
Applications: Are you using the Rode USB mic for podcasting, voice- calls, interviews or singing recordings? You have to know the purpose of using the mic. Currently, Rode has two brands of USB mic. The “NT-USB” which is optimized for speaking voice such as podcasting and voiceover related tasks. And the “Podcaster” which is optimized for singing and music recordings.
Pre-amps?: Most USB mics consist of internal preamps. It’s just a matter of how well the built-in pre-amps is capable of amplifying sound into PC. Does the selected USB mic need additional pre-amps to amplify its sound for better quality audio output?
Budget: To be honest. USB mics by Rode are not cheap if compared to other USB mic manufacturers such as Blue Microphones and Sennheiser.
1) Rode NT-USB USB Condenser Microphone
This Rode NT-USB is a cardioid condenser mic that suitable for record singing voice and musical instrument sound. It can easily pick up the sound sources from the area around the mic surrounding evenly. And the sound quality of recording podcast and voice-over is quite good.
The feature I like the most is the “zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring (3.5mm) jack” where the user can control and monitor the mic input while recording.
In my experiment, I found that NT-USB mic is capable of produce fuller and richer sound with its built-in audio interface / pre-amp. Thus, you don’t really need to buy an extra external preamp to boost its sound quality. This is all you need to get your recording job done quickly without scarifying its sound quality.
The NT-USB Mic does come with the tripod stand, pop filter, and ring mount. The pop filter is very useful to filter the popping sound during singing or speaking.
It’s not only compatible with the Mac & Windows-based PCs. Furthermore, it is also compatible with most of the recording applications on Mac and Windows-based PCs like GarageBand, Apple iPad with RØDE Rec, and all the other recording apps that can work with an external mic. However, you will need a compatible USB connection adapter (Apple Camera Connection Kit), if you want to connect it with iPad.
2) Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
Rode’s “Podcaster” USB mic deserve its name, as it’s a premium USB mic that designed for podcasting. It’s a dynamic mic that more suitable for spoken tasks such as podcasting, voice calls, and voiceovers.
Like NT-USB model, it converts the analog sound signal to a digital stream and then amplifies the audio signal via its internal built-in A/D converter and pre-amp.
It only picks up the sound source from in front of the mic. Thus, you have to make sure your mouth is close enough to mic during recording. Thus, it’s the Rode USB mic that only suits for podcasters and voiceover professionals. You won’t be getting fuller and richer sound quality if you use it for recording singing and musical performance.
If you are a podcaster, running your personal radio talk-show, it’s “must-have” USB mic in your studio. Perhaps you will need an additional external USB audio interface if you want to record fuller and richer sound beyond podcasting specifications.
NT-USB VS Podcaster Comparisons
In my opinion, both Podcaster and NT-USB are great USB mics in term of their sound quality. But, the final decision is all came down to one fundamental aspect. “What is your primary usage?”
If you are using it heavily on voiceovers and podcasts, you should buy the Rode Podcaster microphone. However, if you plan to use it more on the music recordings and vocals, Rode NT-USB mic is the one you should choose.