I am delighted to inform you that our Australian friends at RØDE Microphones has officially embraced Android users (while continuing to embrace iOS users) with the announcement of three additions to its market-leading range of creative solutions for vloggers. I tested the USB-C version. It features the VideoMic Me-C, tripod, phone grip, LED light and accessories. This is my review article, including an outdoor audio/video test recording.
What comes in the USB C Edition kit:
- VideoMic Me-C directional microphone for USB Type-C devices
- Rubber mic clip
- RØDE WS9 windshield (artificial “dead cat”)
- Tripod 2
- MicroLED On-Camera Light
- Clip-On diffuser
- 8 x colored filters
- USB Type-C cable
What’s outstanding about the VideoMic Me-C microphone:
The built-in preamp and A-to-D (analog to digital) supports up to 48 kHz (the absolute standard for audio sampling for video, see 48kHzAlliance.com) and up to 24-bit resolution (see this article). It also as a built-in DAC (Digital-to-Analog) to allow playback from the connected device via a 3.5 mm TRS stereo jack to connect headphones. The same DAC and 3.5 also works for latency free monitoring and to hear a remote panelist via a service like Cleanfeed, Hangouts, Skype, Teams or Zoom.us (see my prior articles).
Here are the official specs of the microphone:
Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient electret condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 74.5 dBA
Equivalent Noise: 19.5 dBA SPL (A-weighted as per IEC651)
Maximum SPL 115 dB SPL (1 kHz @ 1m)
Power requirement bus powered USB device 5VDC-100mA
Analog outputs: 3.5mm headphone
Device connectivity: USB Type-C
Simultaneous I/O: 1 in, 2 out
Bit Depth: 24-bit
Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz (not recommended, see 48kHzAlliance.com) and 48 kHz
Direct Monitor: Yes (latency free)
Bus powered: Yes
Android requirements: Android OS 10 or higher
About the SmartGrip
The SmartGrip can officially accommodate any phone between 65mm and 85mm wide. My Moto G Power (known as Moto G8 Power outside of the US) was a tight fit, but fortunately is compatible. It has a built-in cold shoe.
About the Tripod 2
In my opinion, the Tripod 2 is the weakest of all of the otherwise wonderful kit. As a table tripod is too short for most desks or tables (more appropriate for a standing desk or at a bar). As a handle to hand-hold the rest of the other wonderful components, it works, but should really be substituted by a good gimbal. You’ll see shakiness in the video ahead.
Outdoor audio/video recording
The below recording was shot with the Moto G Power (know as the Moto G8 Power outside of the US) inside of the SmartGrip. I used FilMiC Pro to record at 25p at 48 kHz. I edited with Final Cut Pro. No audio noise reduction or equalization has been applied.
As you will see, it is shaky video, although the audio is very good, considering the distance (arm’s length) in the windy location. I recommend combining this kit with a good gimbal or tripod.
Build quality and appearance of the overall kit
Audio quality at its price point and distance (outdoors)
Stability and height of the Tripod 2
I would recommend a good gimbal for handheld use and a proper table tripod for standard desktop use.
General value for price
For its US$149 price, the RØDE Vlogger Kit — USB C Edition is an excellent value. The sound quality is very good outdoors at an arm’s length. I love the fact that it can record 48 kHz 24-bit audio and that it has latency-free monitoring. I would highly recommend combining it with a good gimbal or standard tripod instead the included Tripod 2.
The still photo was shot by Sandra Pulgarín Rua.
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