Friday, August 23, 2013

Rode Reporter Dynamic Interview Microphone


The first mental image I get of a dynamic Omni stick mic is of NBC’s Al Roker trying to remain standing for a live standup during a hurricane. We always hear him just fine, even in 60 mile an hour winds. It’s been a while since anyone has taken a shot at this category of mic. How well would the new Rode Reporter compare?

FEATURES
The Rode Reporter is a classic hand-held, end-address, dynamic omni stick mic in a long-handled form factor. It comes in a designer box with zipper pouch and mic clip. The 10.7 inch shaft is three inches longer than the industry standard ElectroVoice RE50, allowing a few more inches of reach for inquisitive video journalists. A two-sided clip-on flag holder is provided for station logos. Unlike square flag holders, this requires the user to make sure the mic is held with the flag broadside instead of on edge to the camera so the flag can be seen. 


Rode Reporter Comes With Flag
That’s where the Reporter’s unique shaft shape comes in handy. It’s flattened on one side. While on-camera talent is trying to make their point to the camera, all they have to do is hold the shaft so that their thumb is on the flat side and make sure the flag is turned so that it faces the camera. 

The body is made of a hardy die-cast aluminum alloy coated in a matte black, non-reflective finish. The headgrille is comprised of three layers of metal mesh, also non-reflective. The inner most screen is almost half an inch below the outer two, providing a nice space for plosives to slow down before encountering the final screen. Because the headgrille is easily removable by simply unscrewing it, you can dunk it in disinfectant periodically during flu season to prevent contagion from expressing itself from one roving reporter to another. 

The capsule itself, has a final, thin foam screen set into the handsome brass housing. It seems not easy to remove. The spec sheet quotes 150 Ohm impedance, a 70 Hz to 15kHz frequency response and sensitivity at -56.0 dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (1.00mv @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1 kHz. 

The classic RE50 is at -55 dB, the RE50 N/D is at -51 dB. In side by side tests, the Reporter was, in fact, just over 5 dB less sensitive than the RE50 N/D. The Reporter weighs in at just over half a pound, slightly less than the RE50 N/D. Here's a link to Reporter RE50 comparison files.

On the upper end, the frequency response of the Rode Reporter has a lift that begins to rise at 3 kHz and hits +5dB at 6 kHz. That will pull the voice nicely out of the mud. It stays there until 11 kHz before dropping down across 0 dB at about 15 kHz. The low end is flat to about 120 Hz, and then slopes off to be -10 dB at 40 Hz. That will push the mud a bit farther down without taking the bottom off of most voices. 

IN USE
I didn’t have those winds available for testing, but I did spend some time actively trying to pop an RE50 N/D and the Reporter. When you blow directly into either, it’s obvious that you are no longer talking, but apart from that, they both survived equally well. 

I manhandled each mic barehanded to generate handling noise. The RE50 N/D was slightly less susceptible, or rather, the frequency of what it heard was lower than that of the Reporter. Not a big difference, and with gloves on, both mics quieted down. 

SUMMARY
Well-made omni mics are supposed to sound pretty even, with no on or off axis frequency lobes. I spent some time moving around the capsule in search of beams, peaks and nulls but found no axial anomalies. The Rode Reporter is a lightweight, but solid piece of gear. To back that up, it comes with a twelve month warranty that extends to a ten year warranty when you register after logging onto www.rodemic.com

Ty Ford has been review professional audio gear for over 20 years. Find him at www.tyford.com.

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FAST FACTS

Application
ENG/EFP audio pickup

Key Features
Sturdy construction, light weight, well priced

Price 
List Price $299, Street Price $199 USD

Contact
Rode Microphones