Rode’s been a big name in pro audio since singers have been standing in front of microphones and pouring their hearts out. The company’s NT1A is a vocal performance classic, and the likes of Adele have captured iconic performances on Rode hardware. So the fact they’ve just launched a dedicated gaming subdivision, Rode X, is kind of a big deal.
It’s not just a name, either—Rode X heralds the launch of a dedicated R&D department that’s looking specifically at the wants and needs of gamers, then applying all that pro audio heritage and know-how to it. The first products coming out of Rode X include a mixer and two mics, but they’re also supported at software level by Unify, a one-stop solution for streamers looking for polished mix quality.
Essentially it’s a DAW, without all the bits streamers don’t need. It’ll let you route and mix four different inputs, whether they’re mics or other audio devices, along with six other audio sources. That gives you a handy virtual mixing desk with the power to tweak game audio, chat, music and browser sources.
When the levels are set, you can also whack some plugins onto the audio channels to get the mics sounding even more polished, from compression to limiters. Anyone who’s watched a FIFA pack opening video on earphones knows the value of a good limiter.
On the hardware front, the XDM-100 and XCM-50 mics look to cover the bases of both dynamic, studio-style sound reproduction with the former, and robust condenser input as you’d use in a live setting in the XCM-50.
Put the XDM in front of you for a rich, ultra-detailed studio sound - ideal if you’ve got a bit of editing time before your content hits its audience. If you’re going out live, the XCM-50’s designed to absorb those volume changes, knocks and mishaps and smooth it all out into a polished broadcast.
It’s a real statement of intent from Rode, who look determined to bring that pro audio standard to the gaming market and demystify studio-grade sound.