Australian microphone brand Rode has decided to make it onto our list. best gaming mic — its brand-new gaming and streaming division, Rode X. Rode X launched last month It features two USB mics (XCM-50 and XDM-100), both with familiar designs (but in gamer-friendly black and red).
The Rode X XCM-50 is a compact condenser microphone with the look of the Rode NT-USB Mini. This small, rugged side-address cardioid microphone features a full-range 20-20,000 Hz frequency response, records 24-bit/48 kHz audio, and sounds great right out of the box. It has a built-in swing mount and can be attached to a boom arm, but also includes Rode’s premium Tripod 2.
Rode X update sees the $149 XCM-50 capsule “tuned” for streaming and gaming, also featuring a powerful internal DSP for advanced audio processing, controlled by the new Rode X Unify software I can do it. Unify is Rode’s virtual answer to audio mixing and processing. It is essentially a software version of the Rodecaster Pro II, bundled with all Rode X products.
The design of the Rode XCM-50
The Rode X XCM-50 is a small but powerful condenser USB microphone with a built-in pop filter and 360 degree swing mount. It’s compact and simple, housed in a black and red chassis that’s mostly metal (and some plastic). Including the swing mount, the mic measures 4.65 inches (118 mm) high, 2.44 inches (62 mm) wide, and 1.65 inches (42 mm) deep.
Despite having a smaller footprint than your average smartphone, the XCM-50 weighs just over a pound (1.08 pounds / 492 grams). This mic is built like a tank. On the front of the XCM-50 are two status lights and a headphone volume dial. On the back is his 3.5 mm headphone output for zero-latency monitoring and a USB-C port for power and device connectivity.
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A clickable dial on the front of the mic toggles the mic’s zero-latency monitoring mode (indicated by the first status light).
If you’ve seen the Rode catalog before, the XCM-50 may look familiar— very Roughly the same as the Rode NT-USB Mini. In fact, the only visual difference between the XCM-50 and the NT-USB Mini is the red accents on the XCM-50 (even the X on the XCM-50 looks like it’s been slapped on later).
However, while the XCM-50 and NT-USB Mini may look similar on the inside, they are different. The XCM-50’s mic capsule is “tuned” for streaming and gaming. The XCM-50 also features a “much more powerful” digital signal processing chip, unlocking “a new world” of processing according to Rode. For now, this means advanced his Aphex audio processing, but the company said it could add more. More features in the future.
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Rode X XCM-50 ditches NT-USB Mini’s static magnetic base and ships with Rode Tripod 2 with 1/4″ to 3/8″ threaded adapter that attaches to XCM-50’s swing mount It has been.
Tripod 2 has long, sturdy legs that span a wide base. that too Wide for the average desktop setup (approximately 9 inches / 23 cm diameter), but the section just above the legs can be twisted into a higher locking position (approximately 7.25 inches / 18.4 cm diameter) ). Fold the legs for a comfortable, ergonomic handheld grip.
The XCM-50 also comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a headphone extension cable, both 9.8 feet (3 meters) long.
Specifications of Rode X XCM-50
|capsule type||1x Condenser|
|bit depth||24 bit|
|cable||USB-C to USB-C (9.8ft/3m)|
|software||Road X Unified|
|system requirements||Windows 10 / macOS 10.12 or later|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||4.65 x 2.44 x 1.65 inch/118 x 62 x 42mm|
|weight||1.08lbs / 492g|
|Manufacturer’s suggested retail price||$149|
Performance of XCM-50
The Rode X XCM-50 is a condenser microphone with a tight cardioid polar pattern. Like the NT-USB Mini, the XCM-50 records 24-bit/48 kHz audio with a frequency response speed of 20-20,000 Hz. Mostly designed for plug-and-play use, it features an on-mic headphone output (and volume dial) for zero-latency audio monitoring and playback, and a capsule that’s “tuned” for streamers. Although it comes with access to Rode’s new Rode X Unify software, this mic works perfectly out of the box, no software required.
The vocals on the XCM-50 are wonderful, natural, warm and rich. The condenser capsule picks up nuance and detail without being too harsh, and the mic has an internal pop filter that does a pretty good job of reducing plosives.
Rode says the XCM-50 is “tuned” for gaming and streaming, but doesn’t elaborate on what this means. A live recording on the XCM-50 sounded different than a live recording on the NT-USB Mini. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s there.
The most noticeable difference is that the XCM-50 picked up more volume than the NT-USB Mini while maintaining a relatively low noise floor. (This may be partly due to the desktop stand that comes with the NT-USB Mini, which is sturdy yet places the mic very low on the desk.)
The Rode XCM-50 can be a little picky when it comes to connectivity ports. A few times during testing it suddenly stopped working and I couldn’t get my PC to recognize it.
This seems to be a problem with the ports connected, or the number (…a lot) of USB devices I have connected all over my PC. This was easily fixed with a reboot and cable shuffling, and while it didn’t happen all that often, it happened multiple times, so it’s worth noting.
Rode X XCM-50 features and software
One of the XCM-50’s most streamer- and gamer-friendly features is bundled access to Rode X Unify, Rode’s new audio mixing and processing software. All Rode X products include lifetime access to Unify, and if you want to use it on another device (including regular Rode devices that are not part of Rode X), a separate subscription ($5/month) is available. , $45/year). line).
Unify is a virtual mixing deck that allows you to connect, route and control multiple audio sources (virtual and non-virtual). Unify allows you to connect up to 4 microphones (or other audio input devices) and control 6 virtual audio interfaces created on your PC: System, Chat, Music, Game, Browser, and Virtual .
(Windows[サウンド設定]Once you’ve set up your virtual interface (via the volume mixer in the menu) and connected your devices, you can use Unify to fine-tune the balance of your audio sources.
You can create multiple submixes and assign them to different outputs such as streams, headphones, chat, etc. This is useful if you want the viewers of your stream to hear some elements, such as your voice or game girlfriend audio, but not others, such as team girlfriend chat.
Unify looks and acts like a virtual version of Rodecaster Pro II, Rode’s multi-channel audio mixer and one-stop podcasting device. Its main screen has a channel mixer on the left and a bank of scroll-through buttons on the right (8 buttons spread over 8 pages, 64 total).
Buttons can be programmed to play sound effects (loadable or recordable) or toggle between voice effects. The first eight buttons are pre-programmed with basic sound effects such as clapping, laughter, and crickets.
Thanks to its internal DSP, the XCM-50 also has access to advanced Aphex audio processing via Unify. This includes compressors, noise gates, high pass filters, and enhancements to Aphex’s “legendary” Aural Exciter and Big Boom. Unify gives you fine-grained control over each parameter within these processors, allowing you to create the perfect custom sound.
Unify does a very good job of streamlining multiple audio sources in a virtual mixing deck with submixes, sound effects, and advanced audio processing. It also has a built-in recorder and supports multi-track recording. While it can’t replace the hardware elements of the Rodecaster Pro II, it’s a very powerful app for streamers and gamers looking to take their audio to the next level with mixing and processing.
Even if you’ve used the Rodecaster Pro II or other hardware decks before, the software isn’t immediately intuitive. Perhaps (or three) should be checked. User guides and video walkthroughs set everything up. But once set up, it works very seamlessly.
The Rode X XCM-50 is a more impressive update to the Rode NT-USB Mini than its minimal redesign suggests. A great entry-level USB gaming mic that produces full, natural vocals right out of the box, with advanced features for pros thanks to its internal DSP and access to bundled Rode’s Unify software. Provides many.
At $149, the XCM-50 is on the pricier side, but at least with its sturdy research build and premium accessories (extremely long cable and versatile tripod mount), I’d say it’s worth it I feel Plus, it’s compact, making it perfect for travel (or a small desk).