While RØDECaster Pro isn't the cheapest audio interface available, it is one of our favorites. Since its release in 2018, firmware updates have made recording and creating podcasts a breeze. With firmware version 2.1, it unlocked a ton of new features including granular control, an updated master bus compressor, new options to record pre- or post-fade, and an overdubbing mode while using the sound pads, among others.
With the launch of the RØDECaster Pro Learning Hub, let's highlight some of the features that the device can do that you may not know about.
When recording a podcast, you may need to prep a guest before bringing them into the live feed. This usually involves a conversation that plans the entry of the guest into your show. This usually is unimportant to the audience because all they hear is something like, "Our next guest..."
For this reason, the RØDECaster Pro has a Producer Mode. This can be activated by pressing the solo and mute buttons for the host channel and any other channel that you want to prep, including the smartphone, Bluetooth, and USB channels. The icons for each channel included in Producer Mode will turn yellow on the touchscreen.
You can then turn up the faders for each channel participating in the Producer Mode conversation, allowing each of the guests on these channels to communicate without the audio being recorded.
You can think of it as a private line that your audience won't hear.
Podcasting can get complicated with different guests and sounds finding their way in a single episode. Knowing that, sometimes the host must cut through the hubbub, and this is where ducking can be handy.
Ducking is a processor that effectively reduces the volume of one sound signal whenever another sound signal occurs. When activated, it will temporarily reduce the volume of all the channels whenever the host speaks on Channel 1. This means the host will always be heard clearly above the rest of the podcast, no matter how busy it gets. Cool, right?
To activate ducking, simply go to Settings >Advanced >Audio >Processing and select Ducking.
Have you ever been in a virtual meeting, and you or the other people on the call can hear an echo of their voice? This can be very distracting, and not something you want to be audible in your podcast if you are recording remote callers via USB.
This can be mitigated easily by using a feature called USB mix-minus. When activated while using the USB channel to bring in a remote caller, the RØDECaster Pro will cancel out the returning audio to your comms app, resulting in echo-free communication between you and your guest(s).
To activate USB mix-minus, simply go to Settings >Advanced >Audio >Processing and select USB Mix-Minus.
When it comes to other communications channels, like Bluetooth and smartphone, the unit will automatically apply mix-minus to the signal, so you don't have to worry about activating the feature.
The default level meters on the RØDECaster Pro home screen are designed for ease-of-use. For those who want more detailed information from them, use the Broadcast Meters Mode function. When activated, all meters on the home screen will be displayed with full dBFS markers, which can help you gauge the exact spots a channel is peaking.
To switch on Broadcast Meters Mode, go to Settings >Advanced >Audio >Operations and select Broadcast Meters.
When you have a podcast or a recurring show, being able to save a snapshot of all your settings can save setup time. With the RØDECaster Pro, you can save all of your settings and reload them for future productions.
The caveat is that the feature is only accessible from within the Companion App while connected to the RØDECaster Pro. To save or load a show, navigate to File >Save Show to save a preset, or Load Show to access your pre-saved setting.
Sound Pad Record and Overdub
You can easily load sound onto RØDECaster Pro through the Companion App, but there's also an option to go about creating custom sounds on the device itself.
There are two different ways to do this. First, you can simply record over the audio on any sound pad by entering the sound pads menu, selecting the pad you want to replace, tapping Record, then tapping the red record button. Now any audio running through the unit will be recorded onto that sound pad.
The second way is the Overdub Mode. When activated, the audio you record onto the sound pad will be layered on top of the existing audio, allowing you to create multi-layered audio for intro and outro music, jingles, or ad rolls.
To switch this on, simply tap Overdub while in Record Mode.
Quick Menu Navigation
When setting up your RØDECaster Pro, you’ll be navigating in and out of menus, which can slow down the process. By swiping the touchscreen from the bottom to the top, you can quickly access the home screen. The same works vice versa, where swiping from top to bottom will take you back into the menu screen you were previously viewing.
With all the different types of headphones available, some will need different volume adjustments settings so your hosts and guests can hear the conversation. But if you notice that you need to push the headphone level output up quite high, try using the headphone boost function.
To activate this, head to Settings >Advanced >Headphones and press Boost Headphone Volume.
Hot tip: Before you do, remember to turn down all of the headphone volume knobs then gradually increase their volume. You don't want to be blowing out the ears of your guests or hosts.
Effects Edit Mode via the Companion App
Did you know that you can access advanced effects and processors from the Companion App as well as the unit?
You can do so by connecting the RØDECaster Pro to a computer, open the Companion App, go to File >Open Effects Editor, and switch on Effects Edit Mode. Aside from the usual settings, the Companion App offers some extra options:
- The compressors come equipped with visual graphs to show effects over time
- An extra Set to Default function.
- Arrows that allow for precise parameter changes.
The Master Compressor
If you’ve ever listened to a popular podcast, you may have noticed that it has a smooth and consistent quality that gives it a professional edge. This is often the work of a compressor being applied to all of the channels, which helps make a cohesive audio track.
Each channel has its own individual compressor, but there is also a master compressor, which is the last processor in the signal chain before your audio goes to the output. This can be extremely helpful for a live show or when you don't plan on editing the content in a DAW.
Enabling the master compressor will require Effects Edit Mode to be switched on (Settings >Advanced >Audio >Processing). Once activated, go to Settings >Channels and select Master Compressor.
When used correctly, the subtle effects will glue all the elements of your podcast together and give it a balanced, even sound.
Have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.
For more, see our ongoing coverage of Sound Week 2020.
No Film School's podcast and editorial coverage of the Sound Week 2020 is sponsored by RØDE.