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NAB Spotlight: RODE Talks Wireless GO Mic for On-the-Go Production

Streaming Media Producer's Anthony Burokas and RODE's Ryan Burke discuss RODE's ultramobile wireless mic system and mixer on the show floor at NAB 2019.


Anthony Burokas: Hello there, my name is Anthony Burokas, and I am here at NAB 2019, with Ryan from RODE. And I think there's a lot of buzz about the new microphone that you came out, this teeny little thing. A lot of people have tried 2.4 gig, there's been a couple of them out already. You guys have had experience with the larger system. But, this new system just seems really designed for, like, iOS filmmaking, for just the lightest weight possible.

Ryan Burke: Anything that you need, something really quick, you know, on the go filming, that's why we called it the Wireless Go. The mobile journalism, or even all the way up to pros that just want to be doing things like this, where you need to clip a mic onto somebody really quick, you don't want to do that whole dance of, you know, putting on the wires down the shirt, and belt-packing and all of that kind of stuff. But, of course you can do it, so it's the RODE Wireless GO. Have you ever seen a mic system so small that it fits into a pouch like this?

Anthony Burokas: Not the transmitter AND the receiver, yeah, no!

Ryan Burke: So this has everything. Now this is the transmitter, and we're actually using the Wireless GO right now.

Anthony Burokas: I think this is the key thing, you know, I've tried to do 2.4 gig before at NAB, it did not work. And both of us are using the RODE 2.4 gig wireless mic at the same time, two different systems going on the NAB show floor, and you're hearing us through the RODE system right now, so I think that is really proof of the pudding.

Ryan Burke: Totally, totally. So the Wireless Go is designed to get up to 70 meters of range, line of sight, in normal, you know, good conditions where you'd be on a regular shoot. In a really hostile, wireless environment, like a trade show--this is probably the worst place in the world that you could use a wireless system. But, it's designed to be able to hop frequencies very fast all by itself in environments like this, so that you have a solid connection.

Anthony Burokas: Now, in terms of the receiver, is there a way that you got to aim it, or like is there a particular face that, you know, that's receptive?

Ryan Burke: Basically, the way that the receiver's designed is it's got a clip on the back here so you mount it onto a sound bag or mount it onto your camera. You're always going to get the best results if you have it mounted upright on your camera, aiming forwards like this, or outwards, you know, on a sound bag.

Anthony Burokas: Right, so that's where antenna, you don't want to have the electronics blocking the antenna.

Ryan Burke: No, but I mean, ultimately they are, you know, kind of radiating all around. You could walk around the whole system, but for the best results, and that's true for most wireless systems. You want to be on the side where the antennas are, and those are on the front.

Anthony Burokas: Right, right, right, okay. And, you know, you were saying the clip, but also we're using a little mixer here to mix our two mics together.

Ryan Burke: Yeah, yeah, a little bit.

Anthony Burokas: And the clip is actually designed to fit in a hot or cold shoe.

Ryan Burke: Exactly right. So it's a really clever design where we wanted to keep this thing as small and compact as possible, so both the transmitter and receiver have the same clip. But as you said, that clip is the perfect dimensions for an accessory shoe, you just slide it in.

Anthony Burokas: I mean, it makes it so easy, it's like, twisting it.

Ryan Burke: Yeah. Exactly, yeah.

Anthony Burokas: You're just like shoot, done.

Ryan Burke: Yeah. Exactly right. And I mean, describe the weight of this thing to these guys. It's 31 grams, it weighs nothing.

Anthony Burokas: You almost don't even know it's there.

Ryan Burke: Yeah, yeah, exactly right. And the reason that we ended up landing on the design that we did with this unit that has the lav in built is because it is so compact that for run-and-gun shooting, you can literally use the in-built lav on the transmitter, clip it straight into your shirt like we're using right now. Or, you can belt-pack mount it, and you've got an external 3.5 lav input that provides plug-in power. And it doesn't deplete the battery life any faster using an external lav to using the internal lav, 'cause when you plug it in, it defeats the internal lav, which also uses plug-in power internally.

Anthony Burokas: Right. What's the run time?

Ryan Burke: So you get up to 7 hours of use on one charge.

Anthony Burokas: Okay, It's got the USB-C for charging. Is it Rode lav only?

Ryan Burke: No, any standard 3.5 mil TRS jack lav will work fine with this. So, standard wiring as in you've got your hot pins on the tip and ring, and then the sleeves are ground. So as long as you've got that. So even if you're using video mics like the Rode video micro VideoMic Go, you can literally plug it into this unit and have that wireless if you want, on end of a boom pole or whatever.

Anthony Burokas: So that is, I mean, in a nutshell it's got this little LCD screen on the top rim. This one's not on, That's on, so what does the LCD show us?

Ryan Burke: I'll show you, so let's turn this guy on. Now, out of the box, these units will pair automatically, they're already paired to one another. You've got to press and hold the power to turn it on, or to turn it off, so that you don't accidentally bump it and turn them off. And you can see here on this unit, one, two, three, I've got high-resolution metering running. It shows the receiver and the transmitter battery life. You basically control the whole system from the receiver, but it's so simple that there's almost nothing to control, apart from your output level and your link. So, then you've got a three-stage output gain that you can switch so that you can match the camera or device that you're plugging it into. Some cameras these days have a really hot input gain. And to be able to, you know, actually use an external wireless system, you need to be able to attenuate that down enough. Other cameras maybe require a nice, hot output level.

Anthony Burokas: Or or for some DSLRs, it's like listen, you want the internal gain as low as possible. So you want to feed it a hot signal.

Ryan Burke: Yeah, exactly right. So the maximum output gain on this unit is actually plus three DVU's, so it's a really, really hot level when you've got it at the high gains. So you can get, you know, even like an old Canon 5D Mark II, which had really noisy pre, you can turn that all the way down to like one, and then have this on medium gain, and you've still got plenty of gain. But if you're using a GH5 or something, you can bump this down to the lowest gain setting and you've got you know, plenty of--

Anthony Burokas: Lots of range to adjust it.

Ryan Burke: Exactly, yeah.

Anthony Burokas: So this is the biggest announcement, but a lot of people in the mobile production community are also really talking a lot about this RODECaster Pro. This is very slick. There's a lot of features specifically for, I mean, you're saying podcasting, but I find, multi-camera live streaming capability. This is getting a lot of buzz as well. Specifically, you know, because of both the Bluetooth, and the wired, mixed minus. And you guys just released an update for this.

Ryan Burke: Yeah, we did. So, just to a give a brief overview of the RODECaster Pro, this is the most complete podcasting studio, pretty much available on the market anywhere at the moment. It integrates a fully functional mixer, loads of digital signal processing that would normally, you know, be a stack of different pieces of gear. You've got a multi-track USB interface. You've got two channels of telephone hybrids, which is the system that you normally needed to use in traditional radio production. To be able to take a call, and have the whole mix of the radio show--

Anthony Burokas: I've used my share of, I think they're JK Audio.

Ryan Burke: JK, yeah. It's a great, it's a great unit, the telephone hybrids that they make. But, with this unit, it does it for you. And you literally link up via Bluetooth, or with a TRRS cable. It has a sample player, so that you can play back sounds, things, jingles. It's got a four channel headphone amp. It's got a dedicated main output, so even if you're using it at live events where you want to do a presentation. And you want to have it going out to speakers, you can do that. And literally, it's all in this one pack that is 599 US dollars, so it's an incredible price--

Anthony Burokas: It's a lot of functionality. And then, you've got the solo buttons on the bottom. So, like a real mixer you're like, you're hearing a little bit of noise. Which one is that coming in on?

Ryan Burke: Exactly, yeah. And the nice thing about that is that headphone channel one has an output on the back here, and also a little 3.5 on the front. And, the headphone one channel will actually be the only one that can hear the solos as you go through if you want to listen to each channel. And that's by design. So that, if you've got guests on your show, they don't all of a sudden, you know, forget hearing everybody else. And if you've soloed a channel, you're the only one that's hearing it as the host of the show on--

Anthony Burokas: Right, so if channel one's the engineer's headphones, and the other channels are great so that if you're doing something where you've got a caller, but you don't want the caller to go back into the mics. So everybody's wearing headsets, and everybody can have have it at their own level. So that, I think is really nice too. Like you know, somebody is like "No, no, no, turn mine down," but then I have somebody else who's hard of hearing, it's like "No, no, no. You got to turn it up. You got to crank it all the way up." So, that is a really interesting functionality is like the four discrete volume outputs. And then, obviously the mix minus too. So the callers don't hear themselves.

Ryan Burke: Exactly. And that's what a mixed minus is. It sends you the whole mix of the entire podcast, except for your own channel going in. And that's something that anyone who's tried to set this up before without a device like this will know that the caller is getting a direct echo of their own voice, and it's just impossible to be able to speak when you've got that happening.

Anthony Burokas: It's so hard, cause I've worked doing that, And you start talk and I can't speak.

Ryan Burke: It slows you down. It's this weird, psycho-acoustical thing that happens. So, and one of the recent updates, don't forget it also has a built-in recorder. So, you just press the record button here, you record directly to micro SD card. And you can record your whole podcast, or radio production, or live stream direct to the SD card as well.

Anthony Burokas: So is that master stereo? Or is that all channels?

Ryan Burke: So at the moment, it's a master stereo mix that records to this unit. Now, the really cool thing about the RodeCaster Pro is that it's firmware updatable. And, since its release, we've already released multiple firmware updates that added a whole bunch of functionality. We're going to continue to do that. So people that own the RODECast Pro, it's only getting better every single month when we bring out firmware updates. The most recent firmware updates actually enable multi-channel recording over USB. The way that works is it creates a secondary interface that has all of the 14 inputs. So you get the main mix from th stereo out. Then you get the mono channels for the four here, And then you get the stereo channels for the USB input, the mobile device, the Bluetooth and then the sound player.

Anthony Burokas: So if you're someone who did want to have total isolation, everything in there, you just hook up a laptop to the USB interface, and you're ingesting all the ISOs.

Ryan Burke: The nice thing is that even though the main mix is always giving you the fully mixed version with all the effects processing on, you can even choose to isolate the tracks without effects when you record them to the multi-channel. So you can get the dry channelsnd it's all pre fader. So even if you've accidentally had your mix wrong, where one person was a bit quiet, in post-production, because you've recorded the multi-channel mix, it has everything directly from the preamps. So, it's all at the proper gain level. You can mix it then however you like.

Anthony Burokas: Excellent, excellent. Well that, plus the new microphones I think are excellent tools for both mobile, and more studio based production. I think Rode is really doing a fantastic job this year.

Ryan Burke: Oh, thank you man. Our design team are all working very hard, so thanks so much for coming by. I really appreciate you guys putting this together.

Anthony Burokas: We're here at NAB, 2019, here, Ryan with ROde, for Streaming Media Producer. My name is Anthony Burokas, thanks for watching.

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