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Rode PodMic USB review: Good, but that’s it

These days, it seems as though podcasts are one of the most ubiquitous forms of entertainment around. Enter the Rode PodMic USB, yet another solution to help folks share their own stories and thoughts for hours at a time. Let’s take a deeper look at this microphone, and see if it can help you garner an audience.

Why you should trust this review?

I’m a producer, audio engineer, and songwriter with over 10 years of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I’ve tested and worked with a myriad of different microphones, from Shure, Electro-Voice, Rode, Neumann, and AKG, among others.

Rode PodMic USB with pop filter
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the PodMic USB 3.0

While the PodMic USB is fairly capable for podcasting, I found it fell short in most other areas. Also, there are a myriad of contenders in this price range that offer better sound quality as well as more versatility.

What I like

  • Offers both USB and XLR.
  • Affordable.
  • Decent sound quality for the price.

What I don’t like

  • There are many microphones in this price range that are arguably better alternatives.
Buy Rode PodMic USB at: SweetwaterAmazon

Polar pattern and frequency response 3.7

The PodMic USB has a cardioid polar pattern and purported frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. The mic gives off some prominent low end at around 150 Hz, and there seems to be some peaks around 900 Hz, 4-5.5kHz, and a recess at around 7 kHz.

This 7 kHz dip can help with any sibilance issues that might come up, but not always. There’s a slight bump around the 9-10 kHz area to my ears, which can help add some extra shimmer to your voice.

Testing it side by side to a few microphones, I have to say that the Rode sounds a bit harsh and brittle, but not terribly so. Most issues can easily be fixed with some post-processing.

The PodMic USB is pretty good at rejecting unwanted background noise, and I doubt you’ll run into many issues here. I did notice a small amount of electrical interference coming out of this Rode mic, but I don’t think this is such a huge issue, just something to be aware of.

Let’s go over some ways this microphone might be used.

Studio vocals 3.8

While this microphone might be capable of music recording, I can’t say that this is its forte. For podcasters or spoken word recordings, this is a pretty decent microphone in its price range. Like I stated earlier, it does come off as a bit harsh sometimes, but nothing a little EQ won’t fix.

Live vocals 3.0

I wouldn’t personally use this mic for live vocals but I won’t stop anybody from trying. It can deal with handling noise a bit better than a SM58 but not by much. I also can’t really see a scenario in which this microphone would be preferred over a SM58 or SM57, but that’s just me.

Rode PodMic USB with microphone stand
Image: Higher Hz

Guitar amps 3.0

While not specifically designed for recording guitars, it yielded usable results when I was testing it out. Not the best, not the worst. I felt it was better at capturing cleaner tones, but that’s just my taste.

Acoustic guitars 2.0

Definitely not my favorite mic for acoustic guitars. I felt the results were pretty lacking, and fell flat of anything usable. You’re better off with a normal SM57.

Bass cabinets 1.0

Didn’t like it, won’t do it again. As a guy who takes bass tones very seriously, this did not deliver. Get yourself a more dedicated microphone for recording bass, or just run it DI.

Drums 2.0

If you’re feeling creative and bored, feel free to try using this mic on drums. I tried using it as a crush mic and was somewhat happy with the results. That being said, I did end up processing the heck out of what I recorded.

Build quality 4.0

The design here feels pretty rugged, and the microphone is certainly heavier than some other broadcast mics, like the SM7B for instance.

I felt that it was a bit difficult to position well due to its size and mount, but again, not the end of the world. I don’t imagine most people looking at this microphone are planning on moving it around all that much.

Rode PodMic USB available outputs
Image: Higher Hz

In terms of connectivity, the Rode PodMic USB offers USB-C as well as XLR output, which adds to the versatility. There’s also a 1/8-inch headphone output for easy monitoring.

Compared to other USB microphones

While this might be a good choice for anyone looking for a decent USB microphone for vocals, here are a few microphones to consider in comparison to the PodMic USB.

Rode PodMic USB vs Podcaster

I’d say that the Podcaster is a bit better, although it’s better suited to folks with lower register voices. Otherwise, the results aren’t drastically different. Up to you.

Read the full Rode Podcaster review

Rode PodMic USB vs Shure MV7

The MV7 is more expensive than the PodMic, but it’s worth the cost. It’s a better-sounding microphone, and much more versatile than the PodMic. You’ll have to ask yourself whether sound quality is more important than the cost.

Read the full Shure MV7 review

Rode PodMic USB vs Blue Yeti

These two microphones don’t really do anything better or worse than the other, in my opinion. I guess it comes down to which you think looks better, and if you think that the aesthetic difference is worth the PodMic being about twice the price.

Rode PodMic USB vs Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X

In my experience, the AT2020USB-X is a much better microphone. For a much cheaper price, the AT2020USB-X offers a better response and more flexibility.

Who is the Rode PodMic USB best suited for?

The PodMic USB is best suited for small-scale podcasters looking for an affordable and effective recording solution.

Buy Rode PodMic USB at: SweetwaterAmazon

Video demo

You can also check out this video by my colleague Fabio, where he puts the Rode PodMic USB microphone to the test.