The Rode ProCaster Dynamic Mic

New Media Gear


Rode ProCaster


The Rode ProCaster Dynamic Broadcast Microphone.

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There is something about a good microphone that really catches my ear.

The instant gratification of knowing, right away, just what you have. Connect, set the levels and it’s all there with just a few words.

When I heard about the Rode ProCaster, I first thought it was a very clever name. Then my inquisitive side kicked in. We just had to try it out on New Media Gear.

Still warm off the truck, I unboxed the ProCaster. Very nice in appearance, the ProCaster is matte black and very business looking. At slightly over 1.5 pounds, it is quite hefty with a very solid feel.

Of course, the real test is to mate the ProCaster to a waiting XLR. No phantom power needed since this is a dynamic.

After adjusting levels, the ProCaster came to life. I immediately noticed that the audio was as crisp as a cookie. The comfort of a smooth, quality dynamic that isn’t afraid to take on high frequencies.
As I reached closer to the mic, I noticed the warm proximity effect take place. The ProCaster definitely needs to be worked on-axis. The cardioid pickup appears to be nice and tight, keeping the talent sounding great while rejecting side and back pickup.

As with most microphones, the ProCaster has a unique tone and a nice “bite” that works very well at cutting voiceovers. Sometimes a voice can get lost in the backing tracks with a dynamic, but not with the ProCaster. Again, that signature crispness lended an almost movie-trailer type sound to my work.

The ProCaster lives up to its name. Whether for netcasting, broadcasting or podcasting …you may want to check out the ProCaster from Rode.

Listen in as I try out the ProCaster. From start to finish, this mic doesn’t leave the boom.

Street Price for the The Rode ProCaster: $229 at record time

Best,
MarkJensen
Sig

The Giant Squid Speaks at the Festival

New Media Gear


Giant Squid Mic


Zoom H2


Listen in as we field test the “Giant Squid” mic with the Zoom H2 recorder

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What do Ice wine, Pot Stickers, Bobotie, Starship, baked Ziti, Big Fish and a Zoom H2 with a Giant Squid Mic have in common?

Normally, not much.

However, the 2008 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is here. As usual, Laura and I couldn’t resist, so we packed up the old Buick Station Wagon and headed for outdoor audio fun; Food and Wine Festival style. The H2 recorder was a magnet for the little (Giant Squid) microphone. I was curious to try out the Giant Squid stereo mic, hand crafted by Giant Squid Audio Labs.

The H2 internal mics are some of the most versatile compact internal mics I have used. They are no substitute for professional broadcast microphones, but considering the whole recorder (with 4 internal mics) fits in a shirt pocket and costs less than a few tanks of fuel, it’s a great little tool when you don’t want to be weighed down.

I chatted (via email), with Darren at Giant Squid Audio Labs. The mic we test here is actually not the Podcast mic. The Podcast version is a little hotter with an omni-directional pickup. On our stereo cardiod Squid, the H2 plug-in power worked perfectly.

Laura tried on the stereo cardiod mics. The quality is very similar, but you may prefer omnis for interviewing. I found the cardiod pickup worked very well even in a noisy environment.

Stop by and listen in as we make our way around a virtual world.

“Gear you can Hear!” This is NewMediaGear.com.

Street Price as tested $65.00, mono omnis were on sale for $25 when recorded. Check the site for current pricing

Street Price for the Zoom H2 Recorder is $199 at record time.

Best,
MarkJensen and Laura
Sig

Tascam DR-1 Portable Digital Audio Recorder

New Media Gear


Tascam DR-1


The Tascam DR-1 24-bit Solid-State Recorder

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These days, portable audio recorders are almost as plentiful as USB microphones. Most of the major pro-audio players have released, or plan on releasing, a portable recorder. It seems like (or maybe it was?) just a few years ago that only a few options were available in the hand held category of pro/pro-sumer recorders. That playing field has changed drastically and my take is that it’s all about Citizen Journalism and New Media. The days of needing a strong arm and big microphone to capture pro audio are dwindling.

Enter the Tascam DR-1. Just hearing (or typing) the name brings back fond memories as I glance over to my faithful 22-2 reel-to-reel deck. What a beauty. Tascam also was my cassette player of choice for 80’s mix tapes. Ah, metal cassette tape. …but I digress

Most portable recorders in this price class have very similar features, such as LCD displays, electret mics, plug-in power, headphone monitoring and line in/out. I’ll highlight some of the unique offerings of the DR-1:

Lithium-Ion Battery – very efficient formulation. The battery can be slow-charged using the (included) USB cable or fast-charged with an (optional) dedicated charger. Lithium batteries are very potent and this one is rechargeable right from your computer, but unlike AA models, you can’t just pop in a new set of batteries from any corner store.

Overdub – This allows you to record on TOP of your original recording. If you like impromptu karaoke, this may be fun.

Playback pitch change – This is a cool feature that plays your recording back faster, while NOT changing pitch. Have you ever recorded a “slow talker” lecture and wanted to skim through it quickly?

MP3 recording on the DR-1 is selectable up to 320kbps/48kHz. WAV (uncompressed) recording is selectable up to 24-bit/48kHz.

Operating the DR-1 and navigating menus was very easy thanks to a nice tactile feel and the “control wheel” that felt very comfortable in my hands. Already inserted (at least in my unit) was a SanDisk brand 1GB SD card. The DR-1 is SDHC compatible for extended recording. Typical Tascam quality is just what I’ve come to expect and the fit/finish of this recorder lives up to it.

Of course, the most important question… How does it sound?

That’s why we love to create the show! Listen in as Laura and I try out the Tascam DR-1 recorder.

“Gear you can Hear!” This is NewMediaGear.com.

Street Price at Publish Time – $299.00

Here is a Handy Feature Comparison of Portable Audio Recorders from BSW

Best,
MarkJensen and Laura
Sig

The Legend of the Giant Squid

New Media Gear
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Giant Squid Mic


The Giant Squid GS Series microphone. A great companion for the Zoom H2.

Long, long ago (2005), I decided on a career in Podcasting. Of course, that was before I realized that New, similar to traditional media would play a big role in the coming years as well. That seems like a long time ago, and a lot has transpired during that time.

These days, it’s all about the fame and money. Well, maybe not so much fame …or money, but my passion for Media has not faltered; rather it has grown.

How many people reading this remember one of the early iRiver pocket audio recorders? Those little recorders were inexpensive and sounded great, even with the built-in electret mic. How about adding an external mic to that recorder? Many people did, and the mic of choice was very similar to the “Giant Squid” you see above.

As New Media evolved, we have gravitated towards names like Zoom, Tascam, Marantz, Sony, Olympus and many others that make incredibly capable digital audio recorders.

We still sometimes want, or need, an external microphone. The Giant Squid is out there and very much up to the task. As we go to press, the Squid prices range from $9 [sale] to $90. Giant Squid Labs is not a huge company, but rather a craftsman of small, quality microphones.

As Laura and I try out the Squid, we decided to plug it into, arguably, the most popular hobbyist/pro-sumer recorder of all time – the Zoom H2, complete with updated 1.40 firmware.

Listen in as we couple a popular recorder with a hand-crafted mini-mic.

NOTE: Due to a syndication issue, this audio show has not yet been published. …stay tuned.

Street Price at Publish Time – $25 – $90 (check for sales and current pricing)



Best,
MarkJensen
Sig