Packed with features and accessories, the Rode Wireless Pro is easily the best value in wireless audio. At just $400, it's an easy decision to buy, but it still has room to improve.
What's Inside the Box
The Rode Wireless Pro system comes neatly packaged with a receiver, two transmitters, and a range of accessories. The transmitters are equipped with built-in microphones, offering the flexibility to clip them to your shirt or attach them magnetically. A charging case is now included that will charge and connect all of the devices to your computer at once making setting changes and audio downloads a breeze.
Additionally, the system includes two lavalier microphones with a unique side-mounted design. While Rode claims this design allows for a flush fit on your shirt, it does raise concerns about stability and accidental rotation. The lavs now come with a screw lock that will secure the connection to the transmitters. The lavs also come with a foam cover and deadcat to be used in windy environments and they have a shockingly loose fit. Be prepared to buy extras because they're going to fall off.
The internal microphone and the included lavs sound surprisingly similar, which is a good thing. In a comparison with other microphone brands, the Rode Wireless Pro held its ground well. When compared to Sennheiser's expensive MKE 2, Rode's microphone's sounded surprisingly comparable. DJI's microphone, on the other hand, lagged behind both in terms of clarity.
Although the most important settings can be changed on the receiver, some of the settings must be changed on the Rode Central app on a laptop. The app is fantastic and way easier to use than the two-button confusing UI built into the receiver, but I wish Rode had added a touchscreen like DJI so that all settings could be changed without an additional device.
Range and Reliability
An unexpected twist came when testing the system's range and reliability. Rode's and DJI's microphones both excelled in maintaining a signal even when my body blocked the line of sight to the receiver. The Sennheiser system, despite its longer wavelength, surprisingly fell short. I was able to connect to both the Rode and DJI system over a quarter mile away over a body of water. Although the audio on both systems had some static, this range is incredibly impressive. Of course, the range isn't super important with either Rode's or DJI's mics because both of them record audio internally as a backup.
32-Bit Float Recording and Gain Assist
One standout feature of the Rode Wireless Pro system is its 32-bit float recording capability. This feature ensures that audio is never clipped, even in the loudest scenarios. This audio is saved internally on each of the transmitters. To protect your audio from clipping in the single sent to your camera, the mics have three gain assist options, which will compress loud audio before it leaves the microphone and allowing you to capture clean audio with more dynamic range in your camera.
The Rode Wireless Pro system introduces time code, promising the ability to sync audio and video seamlessly. This was the feature I was most excited about, however, after hours of trying to make it work I realized that it was not for me. First, my Sony cameras do not allow time code jamming and my editor, Adobe Premiere, can't read time code in an audio track. So, even if I wanted to use it, I can't. But after learning more about it, I've come to the conclusion that while time code can be useful in certain scenarios, using it for the average job is far more complicated than syncing audio the old-fashioned way.
In summary, the Rode Wireless Pro system offers an impressive array of features at an affordable price point. Its sound quality, range, 32-bit float recording, and gain assist options make it an easy choice for all types of content creators. However, some quirks, such as the unique lavalier design, questionable windscreen quality, and significantly larger size than DJI's system, are worth considering.
Yes, the Rode Wireless Pro is currently the most feature-rich microphone system on the market, but if you aren't going to use all of those features and accessories, and you simply want a small microphone that you can clip on your shirt, the DJI Mic may still be a better option for you.