RØDE has long been a respected name in audio, but that won’t stop them from earning their reputation under a (sort of) new name. Rode is releasing a new line of microphones and a software solution under the name RØDE X. As of launch, this will include a dynamic microphone and a condenser microphone, both of which connect to the RØDE X software solution, Unify, which stands to be a game changer in the content creator space. The dynamic mic, the XDM-100, is a beast to be reckoned with.
In the box for the RØDE X XDM-100 is the microphone, shockmount, windscreen, an incredibly long USB-C to USB-C cable and equally long headphone extension cable, ideal for the best cable management for your space while allowing you to place your microphone virtually anywhere.
The XDM-100 itself looks like an updated, stylized version of the RØDE Procaster, with an all black body and grill with red accents and the RØDEX branding. The XDM-100 is made to look like a classic XLR mic, only there is a USB-C port at the back. Underneath the microphone is your headphone jack and headphone volume control knob that, when clicked in, will mute the microphone.
Ideally, I’d like to see a better placement for the headphone jack to make the cable management that much cleaner coming out of the mic, but the cable is masked by the shock mount if you want to tuck it back and not let it fall straight down. At the top of the mic, there is an LED indicator light that glows blue to indicate that the XDM-100 is connected and turns red when muted.
“The XDM-100 itself looks like an updated, stylized version of the RØDE Procaster, with an all black body and grill with red accents and the RØDE X branding.”
The windscreen looks like a solid piece that slides over the mic’s grill, but is actually flexible rubber. There is a white part of the windscreen where the LED light shines through so you can still see it. I love that they mirrored the detail of the microphone on the windsock, but I would have liked to see them mirror the colours of the grill underneath with some of the red accents that are found on the RØDE X XDM-100. I hesitate to use it because it covers up some of the gorgeous design of the microphone. Thankfully, I didn’t find a large increase in plosives or sibilance when not using it.
When mounted to the shockmount, the XDM-100 is an absolute beast. It can take up a lot of screen for a streamer depending on how they place their microphone. There is something aesthetically pleasing, though, about a mic on a shockmount, it is the simplest way to look like you are in a professional studio. A table with four of these around it would just instantly look cool.
The sound coming out of the mic was great. I enjoyed the amount of bass in my voice and the high frequency presence was almost where I wanted it to be. The tone of my voice would be perfectly serviceable out of the box, but a little processing in OBS or in post-production will always be an improvement.
“The dynamic mic, the XDM-100, is a beast to be reckoned with.”
The one issue I did have, however, was with the gain. I had to raise the levels on the microphone quite a bit on top of maxing out the fader in the software to get it to a remotely acceptable level. With these boosts in gain comes a lot of extra noise. It was cleaned up easily enough, but a little on-board mic gain would have gone a long way.
In addition to the good looks and good sound, however, is the pièce de résistance in the form of the RØDE X software solution, Unify. The mixing app takes what people loved about popular solutions like Elgato’s Wavelink and the BEACN app and added the things that make RØDE stand apart, like their recording functionality and sound pads that exist on previous software, RØDE Connect and their hardware, the RØDECaster Pro and RØDECaster Pro II.
Unify also unlocks the on-board processing of the RØDE X microphones, giving the complete complement of Aphex processing that is offered on the aforementioned RØDE hardware. Add to that the ability to add submixes, solo/mute channels at will, mix up to ten sources and so much more, and you have arguably the most well-rounded software mixer on the market.
As of this writing, we don’t know the price of the RØDE X XDM-100, but the price tag would have to be awful hefty to not be able to justify the value of any mic with this software.