2022 has already been a busy year for iconic Australian audio brand Rode – they launched the excellent Rode VideoMic GO II, the brand's first-ever headphones, the Rode NTH-100, and the RodeCaster Pro 2 integrated audio deck. One might think that's plenty for any brand, but clearly, not for Rode, who just announced the launch of Rode X, a sub-brand dedicated to all things gaming and streaming. As a matter of fact, it's the first sub-brand in its history!
It's no surprise Rode wants a slice of the streaming pie; the live streaming market will be worth 4.26 billion dollars by 2028, according to Bloomberg (opens in new tab). The brand's mics and other audio solutions are already super popular among streamers, so it only makes sense they would launch a dedicated sub-brand focusing on this emerging market.
The streaming scene is getting busy with brands like Logitech for Creators (parent company of Blue Mics) and others producing quality gear for content creators. How can Rode X stand out? Australia's finest audio brand is trying to get ahead of the curve by employing dedicated streaming and gaming R&D department to develop its brand-new product line, of which the first three products are available worldwide today: UNIFY, a virtual mixing solution custom-designed for streaming and gaming, and two new professional USB microphones – the XDM-100 dynamic USB microphone and XCM-50 condenser USB microphone.
Rode X UNIFY – Streaming hero
Designed to be the "ultimate audio software for streamers and gamers", UNIFY consolidates functionality that would otherwise require multiple applications into one easy-to-use solution, Rode X says. This includes routing and mixing up to four USB microphones or other audio devices and up to six virtual audio sources (including game, chat, music and browser applications) in one interface; creating independent sub-mixes for different outputs, including their live stream, headphones and chat; adding studio-grade audio processing to microphone channels; triggering on-the-fly voice and sound effects; multitrack recording and more.
The best way to imagine UNIFY is like a virtual RodeCaster Pro 2, with digital controls and buttons to control every aspect of your streaming efforts. At face value, it sounds familiar to Logitech For Creator's G Suite, an application that allows you to manage all Logi devices, including mics, lights, cams and more, in one user interface. Of course, Rode's UNIFY puts all emphasis on audio. The software comes free with all Rode X products or is available for purchase as a monthly or yearly subscription for use with any other USB audio product.
Rode X XDM-100 and Rode X XCM-50 – Professional mics for streamers
Of the two dedicated streaming mics, the XDM-100 is a professional dynamic USB microphone that delivers "rich, broadcast audio" ideal for streaming and gaming. It features premium circuitry with Rode’s ultra-low-noise, high-gain Revolution Preamp and high-resolution 24-bit/48 kHz analogue-digital conversion, ensuring pristine audio quality.
The more compact XCM-50 – reminiscent of Rode's very own NT-USB Mini – is a professional condenser USB microphone also optimised for streaming and gaming. It, too, features a high-power headphone output complete with level control and mute button, and an internal pop shield and capsule shock mount provide protection from pops, knocks and bumps. To make getting started even easier, the XCM-50 comes with a desktop tripod and features an integrated 360-degree swing mount for flexible mic positioning.
Both microphones feature powerful internal digital signal processing (DSP), which can be unlocked using UNIFY. This allows users to add advanced APHEX audio processing to their voice – including a compressor, noise gate, high-pass filter, and the Aural Exciter and Big Bottom effects. Together, UNIFY and any Rode X microphone offer a complete audio solution for streaming or gaming with the full capabilities of a professional broadcast studio.
The XCM-50 is available now for $149 (approx. £131/AU$235), and the XDM-100 is available for $249 (£220/AU$394). UNIFY is available to download from RØDE X (opens in new tab). It is free with any Rode X microphone or can be purchased on a subscription basis for $5 monthly or $45 annually. These products are the first in the Rode X range, with more slated for release in 2023 and beyond.