Saturday, November 24, 2012

RODE Reporter Interview Microphone

Update Oct 1, 2013: Street price is now $129 from the original $199!
Update April 2013: RODE has updated the Reporter to have less handling noise!

The RODE Reporter mic has landed. My first impression was, "Hey this thing is too skinny and long." It's definitely not as physically "beefy"in build as the Sennheiser MD46 handheld that we're used to using. For the past 8 years, we've been using the Sennheiser, which is a cardioid interview mic, with great success. As you'll hear in the video, it has a clarity that is hard to beat. Now there are both pros and cons to using an omni-directional handheld microphone versus a cardioid microphone in a typical outdoor interview.

The omni has the edge in:
Lower handling noise
No need to "Cue" or point the mic at the subject
Better wind protection

The cardioid has the edge in:
Side rejection
Loud environments (also with sound reinforcement - loud speakers, stage monitors)

Now where the RODE Reporter really comes in to shine is in the wind tests and forgiving pick-up pattern. We were shocked at how our beloved MD46 was just pummeled with a household fan blowing. It's just the nature of a cardioid rather than an omni. Keep in mind that both of these microphones have a similar double basket grille to the eye, but I'd have to image that there is a lot more science to the design that what we see.

You'll also see in our video, how during a live interview that I forgot to "cue" the mic towards the talent.  It's easy to do without an In Ear Monitor. You really can get absorbed in the discussion and forget that you're recording/live and that the mic is the viewers only chance at hearing clear audio. The omni pattern of the RODE Reporter certainly makes it more forgiving in this regard. Take a listen:

Now Sennheiser also makes an Omni directional interview mic called the Sennheiser MD42. Their description is The MD 42 is a high-quality reporters microphone with omni-directional pick-up pattern. It has been specially optimized for rough use in live reporting and broadcasting environments. The MD 42 is a very "good-natured" microphone that avoids wind and handling noise problems

Tip: After reading a few posts on handheld mics over at, one great tip from John Willett was to create a loop of the mic cable and hold the loop against the body of the mic.

We're seeing some folks on the Planet5d blog, including our friend Steve Oakley joking about how the included mic flag might poke someone. What are your thoughts?