The New Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro Hands-On Review

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Røde is the undisputed leader in on-camera microphone technology, and its new Stereo VideoMic Pro is the most lightweight, compact and superior sounding camera-mountable stereo microphone the company has ever built. It’s an excellent choice for capturing the sound of live musical performances and for ambient / environmental recordings. The built-in microphones on HDSLR and video cameras have a very unnatural and unpleasent sound quality. The Stereo VideoMic Pro has a life-like response, capable of transporting audiences into another world. It features a -10dB pad for louder sounds, and it has a +20dB boost option that improves the audio quality on HDSLR cameras that feature manual level control (such as the Canon 5D mkII). A camera-mountable shock mount is built in, and you can attach it to a boompole with its 3/8" thread mount. A single 9-volt battery gives the Stereo VideoMic Pro over 100 hours of life, and a rear LED stays illuminated when powered on. There's a lot more to like about this mic, so for more information and to hear it in action, please watch this hands-on review video.



Transducer Pressure gradient
Active Electronics JFET impedance converter
Frequency Range 40 Hz - 20 kHz
High Pass Filter Selectable, 75 Hz
Output Impedance 200 Ohm
Maximum Output +4.2dBu (@ 1% THD into 1kΩ)
Power 9V battery
Output Connection 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini-jack
Directional Pattern XY Cardioid (coincident)
SPL 134dB (@ 1 kHz, 1% THD into 1 kΩ load)
Sensitivity -38dB (12.6mV@94dB SPL) ±2dB re 1V/Pa @ 1kHz
Equivalent Noise 20dBA SPL (A - weighted per IEC651)
Dynamic Range 100dB (per IEC651)
Signal/Noise 73dB SPL (A - weighted per IEC651)
Dimensions 2.6 x 4.25 x 5.1" (66 x 108 x 130mm)
Weight 4.1 oz (117 g) (without battery)

Items discussed in article

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So when does it ship? I ordered one a few weeks ago.

Hello -

I have checked with our buyer and the first pre-orders should begin shipping towards the end of the first week in March.

Hello,

 I was wondering would either the Rode Videomic Pro or the Rode Stereo Videomic Pro be better for recording me talking into the camera? Would be extremely gratefull for a response..

 Thank you.

Hello,

For a spoken voice, the Rode Videomic Pro is the better option. The microphone has a broadcast-quality condenser capsule with a supercardioid pickup pattern to capture audio from the front, while minimizing pickup from the sides and rear. An integrated shockmount and foam windscreen minimize handling and wind noise to keep your recordings crystal clear.

The Rode Stereo Videomic Pro features a matched pair of 1/2" cardioid condenser capsules, mounted in a coincident X/Y position for accurate stereo imagery and detail. This is best suited for recording live music.

Perhaps a foolish question, but as someone who was looking to get into shooting video on a 5DmII how does this compare in sound quality to a Zoom H4n? With the H4n I'd have to splice the audio and video together, but that shouldn't be a problem and I also think I like the freedom to use the H4n without the camera. Thoughts?

Hello

If we are concerned strictly with the captured audio quality - then the Zoom H4n is the way to go.  Although very good quality - convenience would be the overriding consideration when choosing to go with the new Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro. 

Would the H4n retain its advantage mounted to a hotshoe & run through a Beachtek xlr adaptor?

Would love to have heard maybe some docu style interviews with the mic in the store. See how it performs in noiser environments. Still looks very exciting.

For interviews, and any kind of footage with dialog, you will capture clearer sound using a shotgun microphone (like the Rode VideoMic Pro). Stereo mics are for recording ambient environmental sounds, and for recording music.

It's really important to properly capture the sound of dialog. Your audience will be less distracted by unfocused sound, and paying more attention to your subject matter.

Does it have an output for head phones?  If so what size.  Please recommend ear bud style earphones that would fit.

Hello -

There is no headphone output on this microphone.

Greetings,

 How would the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro do for recording of different events like an Air show with either prop and jet planes, football hockey games, amusement parks like Disneyland etc?   Family gathering events weddings, birthdays, Christmas etc?     Would the Rode VideoMic pro work better in these events?  

 Is there a Video Microphone guide lines of types of Mics to use for recording different subjects or events?

 I am also looking at the Rode VideoMic HD Digital Recorder Video Microphone.  Is there a target price point for this unit yet?  Is the release date still June 2012?  I like many of the features that this Mic has.

  Thanks!  -Jeff

Hello -

For the events you have described the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro is an excellent choice.

When a narrower audio pick-up pattern is called for - the Rode VideoMic Pro makes more sense.  The Rode VideoMic is a lower cost alternative to the "Pro" that delivers similar performance in a larger form factor, in case you decide to have both types of microphones in your arsenal and want to save a few dollars.

You may find our B&H InDepth article "On-Camera Microphones" to be a helpful guide to microphone choices.

"How would the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro do for recording of different events like an Air show with either prop and jet planes, football hockey games, amusement parks like Disneyland etc?"

The -10dB pad on the Stereo VideoMic Pro will be useful for recording the loud sounds of airplane engines. A pad essentially keeps the sensitivity of the mic low, so that loud sounds don't distort. The pad on the Stereo VideoMic Pro may also be useful for sporting events (if the crowd is making a lot of noise). Some sounds at an amusement park may benefit from the pad as well (if the mic is close to a roller coaster, or if people are whacking mallets at a game, etc.). But in general, a stereo microphone like the Stereo VideoMic Pro will more effectively capture what an environment sounds like to human ears, with the exception of dialog.

Just a note: all of those environments (air show, sporting event, amusement park) will require additional wind protection. When you are recording audio outdoors with a sensitive microphone, you need more than a foam windscreen. For the Stereo VideoMic Pro, the unfortunately named Rode Dead Kitten is mandatory for outdoor use. Full disclosure: I'm a cat person.

"Is there a Video Microphone guide lines of types of Mics to use for recording different subjects or events?"

B&H InDepth offers a basic guide for on-camera video microphones, here's the link:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/indepth/audio/buying-guides/camera-microphones

The basic idea is that recording dialog properly requires a different kind of microphone than recording an ambient environment sounds. Recording sound in loud environments requires a pad, and the ability to adjust levels so that you're not distorting the sound. Recording outdoors requires proper wind protection.

There's no single guide that can sum all of this information up in one article. That's why we created the B&H InDepth Learning Center section of the B&H website. The navigation bar at the top of this page has a menu option with the words "Buying Guides" in it. Navigate up there, and click on the "Audio" option from the drop down menu. There are some excellent information guides about shotgun microphones, portable digital recorders, and more. A guide about wireless microphones will be published soon. Always check out that area of InDepth for new information. The goal is to help educate people about how to record excellent sound for video, and other topics pertaining to pro audio. Same goes for photography, video, computers, home entertainment, etc.

"I am also looking at the Rode VideoMic HD Digital Recorder Video Microphone.  Is there a target price point for this unit yet?  Is the release date still June 2012?"

I haven't heard any additional information about this product yet since its recent announcement.

Mark,

Thank you for the Great and indepth responce! This has helped a lot.

Cheers!

-Jeff

How would this compare to the Zoom H1, I seem to get alot of noise when recoding softer sounds such as birds chirping on 5d2.  Thanks.

Hello -

The Zoom H1 is an excellent portable recorder with amazing sonic quality for the price - tremendous value!  That said  - it is really no match for this new Rode Stereo VideMic.  You are gettinng noise while recording on your camera due to the way the Automatic Gain Control  (AGC) functions. When recording something with quiet and loud passages, the AGC will tend to make the quiet passages louder and the loud passages quieter, compressing the dynamic range - resulting in the noisy recordings you are experiencing.

I was under the impression on the 5D II that if I was operating in manual mode the AGC wasn't an issue?  When you say that the Zoom H1 is no match for the Rode what is your reasoning...what is better about the Rode?  Would I see an improvement in the noise department with the Rode?

Hello -

The Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro will capture the ambient sound better and with less noise than your camera or the H1 due to its larger, higher quality microphone elements, wide dynamic range, and quality JFET circuitry. A high pass filter at 75Hz, is designed to cut out the noise generated by air conditioning, traffic and other undesirable low frequency interference.  The Rode also features a +20dB level boost specifically designed to provide a higher quality signal with DSLR cameras. When activated, the typically low quality camera preamp level can be reduced, resulting in a lower noise floor and much clearer recording.  If you have more questions feel free to e-mail us at:  audio@bhphotovideo.com

I am looking for a good microphone to "up my game" when recording railroad/train videos.  Would this new mic be a good choice as opposed to the Rode VideoMic Pro?

Hello -

Generally speaking, choosing a stereo microphone for your recording project is the way to go. Stereo recording will enhance the feeling of location, ambience and movement within your shot, especially while trains are rushing by, applying brakes, whistling or just pulling out of a station. When recording outdoors, be sure to use additional wind protection like the: Rode - Dead Kitten Artificial Fur Wind Shield

If I am just going to record a couple of car drifting events and home videos, would this be the mic for me? I am looking at using it with my Nikon D7000 and Panasonic GH2. I am gathering this would be give much better qualtiy than the add-on mic that Panasonic sells.

Hello Chris-

This mic would be excellent for recording the ambient sound at motor sport events and certainly outperform many other external mics.  Keep in mind that a stereo mic is not always the ideal device for many home video stuations where single point (directional) audio is required. In those cases checkout the Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone .

Thanks.

Is there a huge jump in quality between the Pro and Non pro Rode's mic?

Hello Chris -

The most noticeable difference when using the the Rode VideoMic Pro vs. the Rode VideoMic is the difference in the form factor. The "PRO" is more compact and the shock mount is more fully integrated and better designed. The Pro also offers a 3 way ouput switch (as opposed to a two position switch).  Frequency response is identical and other specs are very similar.  The standard Rode VideoMic offers tremendous value, while still providing the level quality you are looking for.

The microphone itself looks suitable.  My question is rather: What camcorder to pair it with?

Currently, I have no video recording equipment at all.  I want a setup film and record music, for brass band, tuba solo (no joke: tuba, an instrument that can make beautiful music at 30Hz), brass quintet, and lots of tuba & piano duo.  Locations include a school practice room, a large living room with a grand piano in it, or a concert hall.  

The question is the audio.  With a single (stereo) microphone that's not placed in an optimal position, I won't get studio quality recordings, but I want at least decent sound.  And that's at very low frequencies (tuba), and without distorting at high sound levels (trumpet solo).  I think this microphone itself is up to the task.  I like the -10db pad; at high sound levels, that will make the camcorders life easier.  I like the fact that the rumble filter can be turned off, and the mic will record clear down to 40 Hz.  If you look at the spec sheet, it has rolled off by 10dB at 40Hz, which as far as I can see is the best you can do with an inexpensive and conveniently packaged stereo microphone.  Going down in frequency response is complicated and expensive (at least a beachtek or similar, plus two expensive mono microphones with XLR outputs), plus of limited value with real-world playback equipment.  40Hz lower limit will get me decent sounding tuba recordings, I hope.

The mechanics of recording has to be pretty turnkey: set up the camera and microphone on one or at most two tripods or booms, press the button, done.  For video quality, anything goes (I would be happy with 640x480); for convenience I want a disk- or flash-based recorder (there will always be a laptop computer nearby, to transfer recordings to).

Question 1: Is this microphone the right choice for my application?  I think so.

The other piece I need is a camcorder (or video-capable DSLR) that has a very good audio input, a headphone output (for monitoring what's going on), the ability to turn off AGC and to manually set the gain.  And obviously it has to have an actual microphone input connector (duh), which is actually used during recording (on some camcorders, the mic input is actually only used when editing, double duh).  I don't need any fancy features, like low light or HD video or replacable lenses or still photos, just a little bit of video.  I have no problem spending $300 or $500 on the camcorder, but I don't want to waste money on a device that then produces ****** audio.

Question 2:  What camcorder should I pair with this microphone?

Hello Ralph -

The audio inputs on all consumer camcorders and DSLR's are unbalanced and adequate at best. A product like the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro does an admirable job easily with little muss or fuss.  For your application it would be a great choice with a decent camcorder like the Canon Vixia HF R30.  If you needed further improvement  - a portable field recorder like the Tascam DR40 will record near broadcast quality audio that could be sync'd to your camcorder's footage during the editing process.  Plural Eyes software makes it a snap. For a more detailed discussion please feel free to contact us via e-mail:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi.

Along this line of comparing this videomic to using a good portable field recorder, I'm wondering how it compares to the Tascam DR-2D, which I already own.

I need something to better handle my kids' music recitals where I often cannot get all that close -- often need to be 30-50ft away -- and must deal w/ ambient (mostly less-than-the-best audience) noise.  And placing the Tascam recorder near the performer (to help minimize audience/crowd noise) while I'm shooting from farther away doesn't seem feasible either.

I'm thinking I'd probably be better off getting the shotgun videomic instead since I find my Tascam DR-2D tends to pick up too much ambient noise during these music recitals -- these are typically small/chamber scale performances from solos (accompanied or not) upto maybe quartet/quintets.

OR will this stereo videomic be good at rejecting typical ambient/audience noise in a way that my Tascam portable does not?

Interestingly, I find that my camcorder's built-in "stereo" mic much better at rejecting audience noise than my Tascam portable.  Maybe the built-in mic acts more like a shotgun than the kind of stereo config that my DR-2D has.

I'd like to make the purchase in-store in the next couple days (for use this coming Sunday), so quick, solid advice on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks much.

_Man_

Hello _Man_:

The Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro is an ideal microphone for capturing environmental and ambient sounds, as well as live music.  Stereo mics, generally speaking, are designed for ambient recording and will not offer good attenuation fom the sides or rear.  Using a boom pole or having the recorder close to the source would be ideal, but not possible in your situation. So, for dialogue and directional applications the RØDE VideoMic and VideoMic Pro are recommended.  If you have more questions, please e-mail us at: AskBH@BandH.com

Would you recommend the Stereo Videomic Pro or the Videomic Pro for recording:

a) Speeches, talks, presentations from a considerable distance away

b) Nature (birds, sea, etc.)

Thanks a lot for the excellent review!

Your best bet for (a) would be to use a wireless lavalier microphone on the presenter. This will eliminate most of the ambient sounds. If that is not possible for whatever reason the Videomic Pro (non-stereo) will work better as it will be more uni-directional.

As for (b) the stereo videomic pro will work well better for that scenario.

Hey,

I just received my rode stereo videomic pro and connected it to the 7d to record the audio straight into the camera. Doing a couple tests but hearing a distinct hissing noise. Is this normal, am I doing something incorrectly or do I need to apply a filter to everything I record, and if so, what filter? Thanks!

Hello Ralston -

If you have applied the 75Hz high pass filter to no remedy, then the "hissing" may be due to the AGC feature of your Canon 7D.  Unfortunately, Canon does not provide a switch or menu control to disable this feature.  Using a device like the Beachtek DXA-5DA Passive DSLR Adapter will disable the camera's AGC and help provide pristine recordings with the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro.  The AGC Disable feature reduces the hiss that normally occurs when certain HDSLRs record audio during quiet moments. This is accomplished by delivering an inaudible tone to the camera to force down the recording level consistently throughout the recording. This allows you to use the adapter's cleaner preamps for adjusting the volume of each input.

Would you recommend the Stereo Videomic Pro or the Videomic Pro?

I primarily use it for recording musical theatrical shows and dance performances of my kids.   I am usually 30-80 feet back and I want to minimize noise from people to my sides and behind, focus on the stage, but be able to get everyone from the stage as well as sound coming from the PA system (often the actors are miked, but not all of them).   I currently have a SONY HDDR-XR520V which does a great job with the picture and, with the 5.1 sound, a reasonble job at pulling in sound from the front.   However, there is time when there is too much audience mixed in.  

From what you have written (and correct me if I misunderstood), the specifications of the two mics are the same:

- Frequency?

- signal to noise?

- cardiod pattern?

If there are differences, what are they?

If there are not differences, is the from factor the and the $50 the only difference?  Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

Hello Sandy -

Th specs of the RODE  Stereo VideoMic Pro  and the earlier Stereo VideoMic are very similar.  The improvements of the "PRO" version are the inclusion of a 3-way gain level pad and a lighter, more efficiently designed body and shock mount.  This type of stereo mic with it's X/Y pressure gradient, cardioid condenser mic capsules will attenuate sound from the sides and rear but will recordx reflected sounds from the audience. I suggest moving as close as possible to the desired source (the stage, in this case) for the best possible audio capture.

Hello Sandy -

Th specs of the RODE  Stereo VideoMic Pro  and the earlier Stereo VideoMic are very similar.  The improvements of the "PRO" version are the inclusion of a 3-way gain level pad and a lighter, more efficiently designed body and shock mount.  This type of stereo mic with it's X/Y pressure gradient, cardioid condenser mic capsules will attenuate sound from the sides and rear but will recordx reflected sounds from the audience. I suggest moving as close as possible to the desired source (the stage, in this case) for the best possible audio capture.

The main thing is off axis rejection, while both mics will be great at recording everything in front of them the Stereo video mic pro will also be recording all around it.  The Videomic pro offers more rejection and isolates the sides and will try to “reject” that noise.  However due to the length of the mics they do not do the best job.  There is a Rode NTG2 that is a longer mic that would provide more isolation and focus more on the front than the sides and rear.  The kit I would suggest is RONTG2K2 which is currently $299.99.  If that is too expensive than the Video mic pro would help to isolate more than the stereo video mic.

Hello there,

I bought the Rode Stereo Videomic Pro to use on my Panasonic Lumix FZ150 camera. I primarily use it for concert footage. Last week I went to see a band and recorded some footage from the balcony. I used the -10dB filter, not the 75Hz option. The video turned out to be very full of bass sounds. Really deep annoying bass sounds which overwhelm the rest of the sound. I was quite disappointed as the mic costs a lot of money. Unfortunately, the camera has no options to reduce bass or something like that.

My question: what am I doing wrong? Using the wrong settings? Or did I just buy the wrong mic? :(

Thank you,

Arjan.

Hello,

I have a somewhat unusual situation - I am trying to record the exhaust sounds of a car (drive by as well as in car in a tunnel) and was wondering if this mic (with a dead kitten on it) would be suitable. The mic would be going on a Canon Rebel T3i. Windows would be down in the car and wind noise will be the biggest factor.

Thanks

Hi Sam. I'm curious to know how the Rode Stereo Videomic Pro compares to the 3D Mic Pro? I'm looking into getting a mic to record ambient sounds in my landscape and travel video footage. The 3D Mic Pro costs significantly more so I wanted to know if both were comparable or not.

I have read instructions everywhere but can't get the mic open to put the battery in....will you please let me know where I can see a video demonstrating how to get the mic to open to accept the 9 volt battery.

I'm currently extremely frustrated.

Thanks,
Anonymous

Hi
Perhaps you can help me understand
My scenario wedding or bar mitzvah live event
I use the 5d markII but I'm scared to turn off AGC because of the changing distance to sound music etc
Now I own the h4n and h1 and I'm trying to understand if perhaps the stereo mic pro might be the solution
I have not yet been very successful at creating a good secondary sound file either but my main question here is

1 If having to leave AGC on will the steremicpro still Enhance the sound should the setting be at -10 to reduce clipping
2 is the steremicpro approach mentioned above better then having the h4n in a neutral position during dancing etc

Or am I missing something and I can turn off AGC even in my changing condition even if I forget to constantly monitor. Levels on the 5d

Thanks in advance for any input

Hello B&H,

I'm living in London, so sadly will not be popping into your store!

I found your video review v helpful. However, My need is specifically for live piano at close proximity, which i know is notoriously difficult to record. (I want to make some youtube vids of myself playing the piano)

I have pretty much made up my mind to buy the Canon 60D and want to get a good video mic for use with piano at the same time.

Do you think I'd be happy with the Rode Stereo videomic Pro?

I would be very grateful for your opinion.

Many thanks,

Gary

If this mic is used with Rode's 1/8th to XLR adaptor inline with a Zoom H4n, does it come out as single channel? I see on the specs on the adaptor that the sound is output as mono two channel,but am currious if used with Zoom H4n on one XLR input, what the sound then becomes, single or still two channel?

Also, have you tried this input direct into a Go Pro Hero 3?

Let me know before the 28th if you can, would like the bargine being offered that expires on 28th if I'm going to buy one.
Rob Billington

Rode's 1/8" to XLR Adapter is designed for the Rode Video Mic and Video Mic Pro. Both would be mono mics. You can not use this adapter with a stereo mic like the Rode Stereo Video Mic Pro.
The Zoom H4N does have a 1/8" mic input, so there will be no need to use the XLR adapter anyway.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions: AskBH@BandH.com

Hi Rob,
My main use for a mike on my Canon Mark 3 would be for recording interviews on noisy trade show floors from5-10 feet away from the subject. Is the stereo videomic pro a shotgun mike that would be good for this, or is there something better.

Hello

I'm thinking of buying the SVM Pro but I have 2 questions:

1) I'm a video amateur and I'm doing different videos that include ambience sound as well as voice acting. The question is : Will this mic be good for studio voice recording? As I have no budget I can't afford a studio one yet, so I'm wondering if this mic will do well.

2) Will this work on a sony HDR SR-12e?

Hi Cristi -

This shotgun should serve you well for ambient recording.  Voice acting and general dialog work demands a single channel (mono) directional pattern shotgun like the RODE Video Mic PRO.  I would advise getting the mic off-camera and onto a boom-pole for the best results.  The closer the mic to the source - the better the audio recording quality. Most film and TV productions rely heavily on shotguns positioned close to the talent,  just outside the frame of the shot. 

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi

Thanks for answering but I was referring to buying the SVM pro instead of a studio condenser mic. I record sounds in studio not outside. Also to me the Videomic appears to sound muffled.

Hi Cristi -

Again, the Rode Stereo Videomic is not an appropriate substitute for a studio condenser microphone.  In a similar price range you may want to consider the sE Electronics X1 Studio Bundle is a high-quality home recording solution, which includes a RF-X Reflexion Filter, X1 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone, shock mount and pop filter kit, and 9.84’ (3m) microphone cable. It can be used for recording lead vocals, acoustic guitar, strings to percussion, acoustic instruments, and ensembles, and is suitable for recording both male and female vocals. 

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

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