For those who haven’t been paying attention, podcasting has become huge. According to a recent post on the Podcasts Insights website, there are more than 700,000 different podcasts out there. I’m not referring to podcast episodes, but separate podcast titles. The number of episodes is 29 million.
Not surprisingly, gear manufacturers have taken notice and are putting out products specifically designed for podcast production. One of the most comprehensive is the Rødecaster Pro from Røde. Released late in 2018, the unit is an all-in-one podcast production studio that functions as an audio interface, mixer, recorder, telephone interface, sample-triggering device and more.
The Rødecaster Pro was a compelling product already, but what makes it newsworthy today is its 1.2.0 firmware update, which introduces multitrack recording of all of its sources to the internal microSD recorder. This supplements the existing capability to record the stereo outputs, which was supported in the unit’s first release. Now you can record mono tracks of the four mic preamps, and stereo tracks of the USB input, TRRS phone connector, Bluetooth input, and the sound-trigger pads.
In the previous update, v. 1.1, multitrack recording to a connected computer was added, but being able to record everything internally, if you want, makes the Rødecaster Pro much more mobile, which could be a real boon to podcast producers. For example, now you can do an interview in the field with multiple people, and save each one’s mic output to a separate track for later mixing in your DAW.
The unit is designed to be simple enough for neophytes making their first foray into podcasting, but its convenient features will also satisfy experienced podcast producers. In addition to offering four mic preamps and USB connectivity, it provides several features that would otherwise require separate pieces of gear. These include an onboard mixer with individual faders for the various input sources, eight sample pads for live triggering of sound effects, and wired (3.5-inch TRRS) and wireless (Bluetooth) telephone inputs.
Getting good quality recordings of phone interviews is a challenge for podcast producers, so having the built-in phone inputs is extremely handy. The Bluetooth input makes it possible to use a cell phone or web-based audio service to connect with your interviewees. The TRRS stereo input can also be used for bringing in music or other audio.
The sample pads are another convenient feature, as you can record directly to them to set up intros, breaks and other in-show audio, which you can then trigger live. Also, you can import audio from your computer so you can have music, sound effects, pre-recorded interviews, or any other audio you want, available at the touch of a pad.
I haven’t yet had a chance to work with the unit, but I hope to get a chance soon. With a price point of $599, it seems like it would be a worthy investment for a fledgling or experienced podcast producer because of its comprehensive feature set. As far as I can tell, it’s the only product of its type, and it appears to be quite thoughtfully designed.
Thanks in part to the Rødecaster Pro, we’ll probably see that 700,000-podcast number rising soon.