Rode makes good microphones. That much can be declared as fact at this point with all the mics that we have reviewed and the general consensus of the tech reviewing community at large. The question then remains, from microphone to microphone, which ones are good value and which ones are right for you.
If you want to go simple and portable, you would do well to check out the Rode Videomic Go II. It is small, weighing just 89 grams and comes with a shockmount, foam windsock and 3.5 mm TRS to TRS cable. It doesn’t get simpler than that, but its uses are numerous.
When looking at the Videomic Go II, we see a lightweight, well-built and mountable directional mic that is perfect for (but not limited to) vloggers, a growing market for microphone manufacturers. But this particular microphone is different, because it is not limited to mounting on a DSLR or mirrorless camera. This can also connect to a phone via a USB-C cable, making it a perfect microphone to grow with. You can start on your phone and graduate to a high-end camera without needing to change your microphone.
What’s more is that the microphone requires no batteries. It can operate as a plug and go mic when plugged into a camera via a 3.5 mm and is also powered for use on a phone, tablet or computer via that USB-C or lightning cable (sold separately), so there is no worrying about your mic being charged before going out into the field. The only thing to note is that a number of the features of the microphone are not available when just plugged in via a 3.5 mm cable. Those features are a part of the digital signal processing of the microphone and include level control, high pass filter, high frequency boost and pad settings.
“When looking at the Videomic Go II, we see a lightweight, well-built and mountable directional mic that is perfect for (but not limited to) vloggers, a growing market for microphone manufacturers.”
When connected to a phone, tablet or computer, however, you reveal the Videomic Go II’s full potential via access to the aforementioned features as well as access to Rode’s wide array of software to help you get the most use out of your microphone. Connecting to Rode Connect on your computer is just like connecting directly to a Rodecaster Pro. You have full access to multichannel recording capabilities as well as a sound pad. A couple of these mics hooked into Rode Connect and you have a very portable podcast or live stream ready to go.
Using Rode Reporter on your phone or tablet, you can take that similar functionality with you as you record your audio on the move. Rode Central, an app for either computer or mobile device, allows you access to that similar processing when interacting with third party software. When vlogging, however, one simply plugs the Rode Videomic Go II into the USB-C/Lightning port, and it is ready to use.
Another great feature of using the Videomic Go II in USB Mode is that the 3.5 mm jack becomes free to use as a headphone jack to directly monitor the mic’s signal, turning it into the perfect portable audio setup that literally fits in your pocket.
“When vlogging, however, one simply plugs the Rode Videomic Go II into the USB-C/Lightning port, and it is ready to use.”
One must keep in mind the downsides of the microphone. First, it is important to separate what this mic is compared to some of its other mics, like the Rode NTG shotgun mics or the Rode Videomic Pro series of mics, is that you are getting what you pay for relative to these other microphones. You still get a great quality mic, but it is lacking in the power and the features that you’ll find in the more expensive options, which really shouldn’t be news. I only warn to be keenly aware of what you need in a mic before selecting which one you buy, so you don’t end up getting less than you need.
The other bummer is the lack of an included USB-C cable or mount for a phone. Yes, this would have driven up the price a bit, but to my mind, that level of vlogging is a perfect use case for this microphone and to have all of those items available in one place would make for a more enticing buy.
A $99 USD price tag, however, makes the Videomic Go II a very affordable step into professional audio for any type of production and particularly ideal for a compact setup. Do you want to stream from your laptop while travelling and don’t want to bring a full-sized mic? Do you want an entire podcast setup that fits in your bag? Do you want a vlogging setup that weighs less than one pound total and still sounds great? The Rode Videomic Go II gives you all of that for less than $100.