The RØDE PodMic is the microphone definition of good things coming in small packages. It packs seriously strong performance into a form factor that’ll fit in even the smallest of home streaming setups.
the good bits
Sounds great, even without post processing
Studio quality looks
Excellent build quality
Small form factor
the not so good bits
Needs a separate mic arm & interface
RØDE might not be the first name that comes to mind for streamers but they’re a brand with a strong history in the professional audio game. Their pairing of the PodMic and PSA1 microphone arm takes their studio experience and brings it home for creators.
Both the microphone and arm sit comfortably in the mid range when it comes to price but on paper it looks as though there’s a lot on offer for your money. So, is RØDE about to jump to the top of the list as the best microphone for streamers?
Straight out of the box the RØDE PodMic oozes studio quality. This isn’t a ‘gamer’ microphone with RGB and a funky shape, this is a suit and tie job for those looking to take things a little more seriously. RØDE have built a strong reputation on delivering quality, professional grade gear to the audio industry and their consumer offering here is no exception.
“Built like a tank is an understatement.” say RØDE and frankly it’s hard to disagree. All-metal construction is a welcome surprise on a microphone that sets you back under $100/£100 and feels premium from top to tail.
Despite a compact form factor, the PodMic does weigh-in surprisingly heavy and it’s something to be mindful of. The weight certainly adds to that premium vibe, but running at close to a kilogram there’s likely enough heft there to start troubling the cheapest of non-brand mic arms. For reference, the PodMic is by far the heaviest on our list of best microphones for streaming, more than three times heavier than Elgato’s Wave:3 microphone which is just 280g.
There’s no stand included with the RØDE PodMic so you’ll need a decent mic arm, but I had no issue with RØDE’s own PSA1 or the Elgato Wave Mic Arm, the PodMic hung in place handsomely on both.
With a singular XLR output on the rear, plus an internal pop filter and shock mount it’s a sleek unit with no external add-ons required. RØDE do offer a foam windshield that’s compatible with the PodMic, but for most setups this won’t be needed. I put the microphone through its paces with and without that added layer and there was no noticeable difference, save yourself the $12.99 and pop that in the cable fund instead.
For the last few months I’ve been streaming with Elgato’s excellent Wave:3 USB microphone but the RØDE PodMic has now knocked it off its mic arm perch. There’s very little to complain about here with impressive audio performance even without post processing.
A tight cardioid polar pattern helps focus in on your voice and rejects unwanted room noise like mechanical keyboard clatter. It does a good job too and overall my voice sounded closer and less ‘roomy’ than with the Wave:3. This is particularly helpful for creators unable to dampen their streaming space with acoustic panels and should help tighten things up overall.
Being an XLR microphone you’ll need to bring your own cable and interface to the party, I paired the PodMic with the RØDE AI-1 and a RØDE XLR cable. At first plug in without any post processing at all, the PodMic delivered a decent balanced sound. Despite being a dynamic microphone the PodMic doesn’t fall into the trap of delivering an overly manufactured closeness.
While benefiting from that broadcast roundness, my voice sounded bright and natural on stream. This neutral starting point should see it well suited to a range of creators from Twitch streamers to podcasters. Some might want to fiddle with EQ settings, but it’s far from a necessity and will come down more to personal style and preference.
If you’re ready to make the move from USB to XLR, the RØDE PodMic is an excellent first step. The microphone’s small form factor and impressive sound quality make it a great upgrade choice and at $99/£99 there’ll still be room in the budget for cables and an interface like the RØDE AI-1.
At a simple bang for your buck level, the quality of audio on display here will be tough to beat.