After the recent video I made looking at which microphone you should use for podcasting I got several questions about the Røde Procaster and its USB sibling, the Podcaster. People wanted to know which I thought was better.
So I thought I'd do a mic test and compare the two back to back.
USB or Dynamic?
Both the Røde Procaster and Podcaster go for around 229 USD on Amazon at the moment and are essentially the same microphone except the Podcaster is designed to connect to the computer by USB, the Procaster must be run through a mic preamp such as a USB / Firewire interface or an analogue preamp, mixing desk and into a digital recorder.
Both the RØDE Podcaster and Procaster are dynamic, end-address microphones that are of “broadcast quality audio”, according to the manufacturer.
The Podcaster is essentially a plug-and-play mic with the simplicity of USB connectivity, allowing recording direct to a computer without the need for an additional digital interface.
One nice feature of the Podcaster is that it has a headphone output on the (very solid) microphone body.
This provides zero latency monitoring, so you can hear exactly what is being recorded in your headphones, free of delay or echo.
Both the Procaster and Podcaster include an internal pop filter, designed to minimize plosives sounds that can overload the microphone capsule and distort the audio output. However, you'll need to have excellent mic technique to not produce plosives that the mic picks up. An additional pop filter won't go amiss.
My Recording Set-up
For the purposes of this comparison I ran the Procaster through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface going into my iMac. The Podcaster connects directly to the iMac via USB.
The audio samples were recorded in mono into AdobeAudition C6 as .wav files. The .wav audio was added to the video soundtrack; the stand-alone audio samples are mp3s.
Just to provide a point of comparison I've included the same text sample recorded in exactly the same recording conditions using the Heil PR-40, which runs at just over a 100 USD more than the Rode mics.
The mics are recorded in the following order:
Because most audio editing involves some processing I've included the same three samples run through a custom preset that I learned from Mike Russell, from Music Radio Creative. This gives another point of comparison, showing how each mic responds to some processing.
Clip 1: Procaster, Podcaster, Heil PR40 unprocessed
Clip 2: Procaster, Podcaster, Heil PR 40 processed using Mike Russell's preset as specified above.
What do you think?
So which mic do you think sounds better ?
Personally, I think the Procaster sounds much better. It's got a rounded warmth that the Podcaster doesn't quite have. Compared to the Heil PR40 both sound a little bit thin; however, once the mics are run through the processing in Adobe there's very little between the Procaster and Heil as far as I'm concerned. At least, not a 100 USDs worth of difference.