Rode VideoMic Pro+ review

VideoMic Pro+ upgrades Rode’s iconic shotgun microphone in all the right places

Over the past decade or so, Australian audio equipment manufacturer Rode — pronounced “road,” not “row-dee” — has built a name for itself in the consumer and prosumer audio market with the help of its VideoMic lineup of hotshoe-mounted shotgun microphones. Rode’s VideoMics are popular among all walks of video shooters, from amateur vloggers to professional videographers, thanks to their good quality, great value, and ease of use with any DSLR or mirrorless camera with a 3.5mm microphone jack.

Each generation brings along a handful of improvements, and Rode’s latest addition, the VideoMic Pro+, is no exception. It offers many new features that make it more versatile and easier to use in a variety of conditions. Without question, it is the best VideoMic Rode has ever made, and one that any video shooter would be happy to have in their kit.

Design and features

As with past models, the VideoMic Pro+ sits on Rode’s signature Rycote Lyre suspension system. This soft plastic material works as a shock mount to reduce unwanted noise from various bumps and movements the camera endures during filming. In our testing, the suspension system proved fantastic, especially during run-and-gun style shooting with a handheld camera that endured a good bit of jostling.

The windshield has been redesigned with a larger, “optimized” shape, which makes the VideoMic Pro+ less compact than its predecessors, but it still works well as an on-camera mic. What’s more, we noticed minimal wind noise throughout our test, even in breezy situations. If the larger windshield of the VideoMic Pro+ still isn’t quiet enough for your needs, Rode does offer a dead cat accessory that should stop all but the strongest of winds.

One of the biggest pain points of past VideoMic models was the battery and accompanying battery door, which would completely come off the mic whenever you opened it to swap batteries. Rode addressed this much fussed over issue by adding a built-in battery door assisted by a hinge, making things much easier and less frustrating. Moreover, the battery itself is now rechargeable, meaning you no longer have to keep a stash of 9-volt batteries around just for your Rode microphone. To charge the battery, simply plug in the microphone using the onboard Micro USB port and you’re good to go. In the event your battery does die and you don’t have time to charge it, you can also power the microphone with two AA batteries (or straight from a USB power source).

Rode’s VideoMic Pro+ is the perfect upgrade to an already incredible piece of audio equipment.

Fortunately, that shouldn’t be a problem. Rode claims the new battery can last upwards of 20 hours on a single charge. That estimate proved to be accurate, give or take an hour, in our testing.

Speaking of batteries, another new feature should ensure you don’t burn through them as fast. The VideoMic Pro+ now has auto-on/off technology. When plugged into your camera via the included 3.5mm TRS cable, the microphone automatically turns on when you power your camera on and turns off when your camera does. Now you won’t burn through a battery because you forgot to turn off the microphone, nor will you have to reshoot a scene because you forgot to turn it on. We’re guessing this simple advancement will bring a good deal of peace of mind to many videographers.

Digital switching and recording modes

One of the biggest changes with the VideoMic Pro+ is the digital switching interface. Rather than swiping a toggle from one setting to the next on the rear of the camera, Rode now relies on a pair of buttons. When pressed alone or together, the buttons activate various recording modes to suit your needs.

Rode VideoMic Pro+ Review-1
Gannon Burgett/Digital Trends
Gannon Burgett/Digital Trends

The first mode is a two-stage high pass filter. This is turned on to help reduce lower frequency background noise in recordings, such as the sound of an air conditioner unit or the rumbling of cars on a nearby highway, while allowing higher frequencies to come through uninterrupted.

The next mode is a three-stage gain control. This setting is used to boost the audio signal to make up for the more quiet preamps built into mirrorless and DSLR cameras, which often introduce noise if their own gain settings are raised too high. This lets you keep the gain down in-camera and should lead to cleaner audio.

An additional high frequency boost mode helps bring out more detail in recordings, specifically those with dialog is involved.

Another unique mode is the dedicated safety channel setting. This is geared for more advanced users, particularly those covering live events when it’s impossible to predict how loud things might get. This setting records audio at two different gain levels — one at the gain level you set, the other at minus 10 decibels — across the left and right channels. This is done to ensure that even if one channel is clipped due to an unexpected increase in volume, you’ll have a backup, or safety, recording to recover the audio. This is a brilliant way to make use of a camera’s stereo audio channels from a mono microphone, and could be a life-saving feature in many situations.

Overview

Overall, Rode’s $299 VideoMic Pro+ is the perfect upgrade to an already incredible piece of audio equipment. It hits on all of the sore spots of its predecessors, but sticks the same successful formula that has always made it a popular choice. Sure, it’s slightly larger than the versions that came before it, but that’s mainly due to the larger windscreen.

If you have the VideoMic Pro and are happy with it, it might not be worth it to update to Rode’s latest version, but auto-on/off and the new recording functions make a strong case for the Pro+. If you’re a first-time buyer, then we think it’s definitely worth it to spend a little more and get the Pro+ over the Pro. Heck, you might even break even over a year or so given the cost of all the 9-volt batteries you’ll have to buy for the older model.

Photography

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Photography

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Photography

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.
Photography

Olympus teaser shares glimpse of OM-D camera that’s good for more than sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's capable for landscapes…
Photography

Nikon A1000, B600 pack big zooms into compact, budget-friendly cameras

The new Nikon Coolpix A1000 packs in a 35x zoom lens, 4K video, and an optical viewfinder, while Nikon's B600 brings a 60x zoom lens to the table. The cameras are modest updates to Nikon's budget-friendly zoom models.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.