Rode Videomic Go II Review

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The RØDE VideoMic GO II is the ideal external microphone for vloggers and amateur filmmakers looking to improve audio quality. Everyone focuses on video specs for moviemaking, but it’s usually poor sound quality that destroys the show and makes your endeavors look amateurish.

The VideoMic GO II does two important things. First, it offers much better audio capture than the tiny microphones built into the cameras. Second, it’s ‘directional’ – a ‘shotgun’ mic – which picks up sound in the direction it’s pointing. It comes with a hotshot mount for attaching directly to the top of your camera, so wherever the camera is pointing, so is the mic.

Characteristics

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Acoustic principle: Pressure gradient electret condenser
Polar diagram: Supercardioid
Response frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz
Signal to noise ratio: 79dBA
Dynamic range: 95dBA Typical
Sensitivity: -31dBV (28.78mV @ 94dB SPL) ± 1dB @ 1kHz
Max Input SPL: 110dB SPL
Output connection: 3.5mm TRS
USB-C Connectivity: USB-C (USB 2.0)
Power requirements: 3.5mm plug-in power supply 2-5V, USB 5V
Shallow: 24 bit
Sampling rate: 48kHz
Minimum operating system: macOS 10.15, Windows 10 (20H2), iOS 14, Android 9.0
Weight (with stand and cable): 96g
Dimensions (mounting included): 150mm (L) x 70mm (W) x 86mm (H)
Accessories included: 3.5mm TRS to TRS cable, foam windscreen, SM8-R shock mount

Main characteristics

This removable foam windshield comes standard and simply pops on and off. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The USB socket allows the GO II to be connected to a smartphone or a computer. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

You can plug the GO II directly into an iPhone, but you’ll need an SC15 USB Lightning Cable, sold separately. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

You connect the VideoMic GO II to your camera via the supplied 3.5mm cable. Almost all mirrorless and DSLR cameras (and some vlogging compacts) have a mic jack – you plug in the RØDE, it replaces the built-in camera mic and that’s all you need to know.

This is the base for most in-camera mics, including the original RØDE VideoMic GO. You can use a regular mic with a smartphone or computer, but these are usually configured for USB input rather than audio input, which is why desktop vloggers and podcasters use USB mics instead.

But the new VideoMic GO II also has a USB output, so with the right cable, for example USB C to Lightning, USB C to USB C or USB C to USB A, you can simply plug the GO II into either of these devices. You may already have these cables; if not, you need to consider the extra cost.

There is one more trick. When you connect the GO II via USB, its 3.5mm jack becomes a headphone output – you can use it to monitor audio levels while you record. It’s the next step for audiophiles who want the best sound quality for their videos. At the very least, it can tell you if you need to move to a quieter environment or if you need to reshoot because of unwanted noise or indistinct speech.

Build and manipulate

When connected via USB, you can use the 3.5mm jack for audio monitoring with TRS headphones (not TRRS headphones). (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

There is a cold shoe mount on the base of the Shockmount and a tripod socket too, although this is the larger 3/8 inch type and you may need an adapter . (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The VideoMic GO II itself is extremely lightweight and the included foam windshield adds virtually no weight. The orange Shockmount cradle has a curious wobbling feel for those unused to on-camera microphones, but that’s its job. It actually takes a bit of pressure to push the GO II into the mount, and once it’s there, it’s gripped like iron.

The base of the Shockmount has a hotshot mount for mounting directly to the top of the camera or a cold shoe mount. It also has a tripod screw thread in the base, although this is the larger 3/8″ size rather than the 1/4″ screw used by cameras, so you’ll probably need a reinforced sleeve to fit the camera plate. on our tripod. It’s a minor drawback – they’re cheap and you might already have one – but it’s good to know.

The GO II draws power directly from the camera or your computer’s USB port, so there’s no battery to recharge or power switch – just plug it in and check that the little blue power light is on.

The thing is, everything works flawlessly, right out of the box. The only thing to know is that the 3.5mm socket is TRS (tip-ring-sleeve), not TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve). TRS jacks are the standard for audio recording and cameras, but TRRS is used on smart devices and incorporates a fourth connector for the built-in mic typically included in headset and earphone sets. So you can physically plug your smartphone’s TRRS headphones into the GO II to monitor the audio, but the built-in mic will really spoil the sound. You will need a regular TRS headset to use the audio monitoring option.

Verdict

You can use the GO II as an in-camera mic or via USB with your smartphone or computer. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

It’s hard to fault the RØDE VideoMic GO II. You can get on-camera directional mics cheaper than this, but it’s still not expensive and its combination of 3.5mm output and USB makes it practically a no-brainer for vloggers, YouTubers and podcasters who want a mic that can do a lot of different jobs. . The audio quality is excellent, the mic and its accessories are light as a feather but feel really well made, and setup and operation is as simple as it gets.

Is this the only mic you’ll need? Probably not. A lav mic will be better for speech, especially at a distance, a wireless mic will be needed for long-range presentations, and a stereo USB mic will be better for podcasting and interviews – but don’t forget you can plug in the GO II on your smartphone and use the free RØDE Reporter app to turn your phone into a standalone audio recorder, then edit your audio later. The RØDE VideoMic GO II isn’t everything, but it comes close.

Read more:

• Best microphones for vlogging and filmmaking
• Best USB microphones
• Best XLR mics
• Best audio recorders
• Best mic arms

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