Review: RØDE Broadcaster, the voice microphone that challenges conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom says that condenser mics are too sensitive to be used in an untreated room. The RØDE Broadcaster proves to be an exception.

The general consensus is that in order to reject background noise (especially with acoustically untreated rooms), it behooves you to use a dynamic microphone, not a condenser one. The RØDE Broadcaster microphone’s 1” condenser proves to be a worthy exception to that general consensus. In addition, it allows better high-frequency coverage than most dynamic mics, and has a much higher output level, so you won’t need such a demanding preamplifier or pre-preamp like a CloudLifter or FetHead. Ahead are test recordings I made in an untreated room, compared with another mic that challenges that “rule”, the Audio Technica AT875R shotgun I reviewed in July 2017. Both comparative test recordings of each also include my reading in English of part 3 of the Spain’s Constitution of 1978, which is particularly appropriate since today, Catalonia declared its independence from Spain, and the Spanish Senate just approved taking over. This is all happens in the same month when Amazon independently decided to feature and honor two of my related books. Do you believe in coincidences?

As you will hear ahead, the RØDE Broadcaster (Amazon linkB&H link), is the 1” condenser microphone that breaks the rules. It rejects background sound as well as comparable dynamic mics.

Another advantage of the RØDE broadcaster and the Audio Technica AT875R shotgun I reviewed in July (Amazon linkB&H link) is that their output is much higher than most dynamic mics, so I was able to set the input gain on my Zoom H5 recorder just under 5 in order to get a conservative -12 dB level on the raw recording. However, both do require phantom power from your preamp/interface/recorder. The raw recordings were 48 kHz (see All audio production & distribution should go 48 kHz. Learn why.) and 24-bit (see Understanding 24-bit vs 16-bit audio production & distribution). The low cut is always active with the AT875R, and was active with the RØDE Broadcaster.I used no equalization or filtering in post. I only normalized the two recordings to -16 LUFS before uploading them. The final audios are 48 kHz 16-bit mono WAV.

Even a tally light!

Another unique advantage of the RØDE Broadcaster is its inboard tally light, which requires a special mic cable with an extra conductor with a compatible radio or TV mixer. I did not test that automatic feature, since I didn’t have such a mixer with tally capability. However, in that situation, the tally light does illuminate continually when the mic receives phantom power from a standard 3-pin XLR.

Detailed specs

Acoustic Principle: Pressure Gradient

Active Electronics: JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer

Capsule: 1.00″

Polar Pattern: Cardioid with good rear rejection

Address Type: End

Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz (with low cut filter deactivated)

Output Impedance: 40Ω

Maximum SPL: 128dBSPL

Maximum Output Level: 2.0mV (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)

Sensitivity: -34.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (20.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz

Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted): 14dBA

Phantom Power: 24-48 volts

Weight 577.00g

Dimensions 167.00mmH x 50.00mmW x 65.00mmD

Output: XLR

Warranty: 1 year with free extension to 10 years following registration

RØDE clarifies its situation with Amazon

Back in 2015, I published Amazon’s clarification about buying RØDE microphones from Amazon:

Amazon itself is authorised for purchases from Amazon, but other dealers ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ are not. We know the sales channel through which Amazon purchases and it is legitimate but other dealers that send their stock to Amazon and sell on their marketplace are not only grey importing (which makes it difficult to give proper support) but we’ve identified counterfeit VideoMic GOs. To tell, the user just needs to select the microphone marked as ‘sold and fulfilled by Amazon’.

Test recordings

Example text at the end of each: Spanish Constitution, Part 3 in English

At the end of each recording, you’ll hear my voice read Spanish Constitution, Part 3 in English:

Castilian is the official language of the State. All Spaniards have the obligation to know it, and the right to use it.

The other Spanish languages shall also be official in their respective autonomous communities, according to their statutes.

The richness of Spain’s diverse linguistic modalities represents our national heritage and shall be the object of special respect and protection.

My related books (which Amazon “coincidentally” decided to feature during is independent author month (#MesIndie, amazon.com/MesIndie, amazon.es/MesIndie, amazon.com.mx/MesIndie) are:

The English versions are not being featured by Amazon this month, and the Apple iBooks Author versions are not being featured by Apple, but are available at their normal everyday low price:

For more general about Castilian and “Spanish”, visit my SpeakCastilian.com. Do you believe in coincidences, or do you think Amazon had advanced inside information when the company picked the two of my (presently) 12 titles listed at books.AllanTepper.com several months in advance?

Conclusions

Both the RØDE Broadcaster (Amazon linkB&H link) and the Audio Technica AT875R shotgun (Amazon linkB&H link) do an extraordinary job of producing high quality voice capture while minimizing background noise, and reduce the need for a strong preamp with +60db gain or more, although both do require phantom power. You will probably love the RØDE Broadcaster esthetics and tally light capability. After hearing both recordings, you may prefer the quality of the RØDE Broadcaster for doing voiceovers, however the Audio Technica AT875R shotgun can be more versatile if you need to use the same mic for field production, in those cases when a shotgun is required. However, if you have a budget for more than one mic, or need to use more than one mic in a studio environment, you might want one of each.

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Save US$20 on Project Fi, Google’s mobile telephony and data

Click here to save US$20 on Project Fi, Google’s mobile telephone and data service which I have covered in these articles.

Learn to speak Castilian, the most widely used Spanish language

SpeakCastilian.com

FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units, including RØDE and Audio Technica. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!


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Allan Tépper

Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers through his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video tech seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a frequent radio/TV guest on several South Florida, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan radio and TV stations. As a certified ATA (American Translators Association) translator, Tépper has translated and localized dozens of advertisements, catalogs, software, and technical manuals for the Spanish and Latin American markets. He has also written many contracted white papers for tech manufacturers. Over the past 18 years, Tépper’s articles have been published or quoted in more than a dozen magazines, newspapers, and electronic media in Latin America. Since 2008, Allan Tépper’s articles have been published frequently –in English– in ProVideo Coalition magazine, and since 2014, he is is the director of CapicúaFM.com. His website is AllanTépper.com.

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