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Something to look forward to: Rode has long been seen as one of the "go-to" companies for premium microphones and audio equipment for musicians, podcasters, movie production, and many other groups. Now, Rode has decided to launch a new gaming line, hoping to draw in customers from that multi-billion-dollar sector.
The Australian audio company has produced many highly praised products over the years. Currently, Rode sells dozens of microphones, multiple audio interfaces and mixers, and even a line of headphones. However, it has always been more tailored towards enthusiasts and professional workplaces rather than casual consumers.
Rode has attempted to change that with its new "Rode X" line, featuring products targeted towards gamers and streamers. It currently offers two microphones and software geared toward stream audio mixing.
Rode designed its new Unify software with tools to make streamers' lives easier. It supports mixing up to four USB microphones or six audio sources, such as games, videos, and audio chat apps. Other audio processing features include noise reduction, compressors, and noise gates. Unify also has high-pass filters to allow streamers to make their microphone audio sound as good as possible.
The software is compatible with any USB microphone, but some features, such as advanced audio processing, are only available when using the new Rode X microphone. Unify comes standard with Rode X microphones, but users can also purchase it separately for $5 per month or $45 per year.
Speaking of microphones, Rode has two on offer in the X line. The XDM-100 (above) and the XDM-50 (below). The XDM-100 includes features one would expect from a good mid-range microphone, such as a headphone jack with level control, a mute button, and USB-C connectivity. The product also has a pop filter and shock mount. However, a microphone arm is not included. The XDM-100 retails for $250.
The XDM-50 sports a more compact portable design, with a pop filter and shock mount integrated within the microphone. It has the same features and specs as the XDM-100, except the 50 is a condenser mic, whereas the 100 is dynamic. Unlike its sibling, the XDM-50 includes a tripod in the box. It retails for $150.
The "Rode X" lineup seems like a good start for Rode to break into the game streaming sector. Its reputation precedes it, so it should fair well with those familiar with the brand. Rode's UNIFY software should also offer some enticement for users just breaking into streaming, but pros are likely to stick with the mixing software they are already using. A set of quality headphones or a gaming headset would also fit well with the line.