As a Dad, one of the things that I do is record my son’s marching and concert band performances so their director can use them as a teaching aid. With audio being half the equation, having a good external mic to get the best sound you can is equally as important as the camera you shoot on, and RØDE’s Stereo VideoMic Pro can be a good option for capturing ambient sound to get the feel of having been there.
“The new Stereo VideoMic Pro provides a high quality stereo option for videographers … with its ergonomic form factor, perfectly suited to DSLR, consumer camcorders and large-sensor video cameras, it is ideal for recording music, and the atmospheric ambience essential in building a realistic audio scene.” – RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro Product Description
RØDE released the original Stereo VideoMic Pro in 2012, but has redesigned it with some notable improvements, which include the Rycote Lyre suspension system, better higher sensitivity microphones, a kevlar reinforced 3.5mm minjack, and redesigned foam wind screen.
The RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro is a bulbous, yet compact microphone that sits on top of the hot shoe of your DSLR. The stereo microphones mounted in an x/y configuration, the Stereo VideoMic Pro is ideal for capturing ambient background sound. So if you’re shooting some location footage and want to capture the soundscapes of the world around you, the Stereo VideoMic Pro is ideal for that.
The SVMP also comes with an 80hz high pass filter, which can cut out lower frequencies, so if you’re recording a scene and don’t want to pick up footsteps in a quiet scene, the high pass filter will work for that.
There is also a 3 step PAD switch for -10, 0, and +20 db. Cameras sensitive to mic inputs should use the -10 option, while the Canon DSLRs can benefit from +20 and then adjust the gain within your DSLR to compensate. Then there’s middle of the road zero, which I tend to use on my Canon because I just like how it sounds for my needs.
The cold shoe mount also has a 3/8-inch thread so if a shooter wanted to plug in a longer cord and then affix it to a boom pole for interviews or to get the mic closer to an audio subject, they can do that. Ordinarily you’d want to use a more directional mic, like the RØDE VideoMic Pro, but it’s a good option anyway.
Other features include:
- Improved higher sensitivity matched 1/2-inch condenser mics mounted in an x/y configuration
- Rycote Lyre absorbs the movement of the mic to dampen out and prevent transfer of movement to the mics
- Two step flat/80hz High pass filter
- Improved RF shielding
- 9V battery promises 100 hours use.
- Kevlar reinforced 3.5mm minijack cable with improved shielding
- Redesigned foam windscreen to filter out more wind noise without compromising sound quality
- Optional Furry Deadcat
- 10 year warranty
The SVMP uses a 9V battery and RØDE says you can get up to 100 hours of recording and standby time before having to swap it out. I totally believe that as I have been using it all season recording my son’s band performances and have yet to swap out the battery.
But I till say this… I HATE the battery door on RØDE’s Mics. The design is so compact, it’s very difficult to get the door back on when you have the furry and windscreen on and you’re trying to swap out a battery on the fly. It’s just frustrating that you have to take the time to pull everything off in order to get the battery door to seat properly, so get in the habit swapping batteries out before every shoot, so there’s no surprises with a depleted battery.
The Rycote Lyre Mount seems to be standard now on all RØDE Camera mounted microphones now and that’s a good thing. Having learned that the old rubber band design can stretch out and cause the mic to shake more and transfer that noise to the audio recording, RØDE took the step to replace the rubber band system on the original VideoMic Pro last year. This was after seeing how well it performed on the standard VideoMic, which had a large red Rycote Lyre.
I really liked that model and still use it from time to time (I also like it’s battery access), so I was thrilled with the VideoMic Pro got that upgrade and now, the Stereo VideoMic Pro gets it. The benefits are obvious, and the Rycote Lyre Mount till cushion the movement of the microphone as you walk or move the camera, preventing that movement from being transferred to the microphones and having that low, rumbling shake noise appear on your video’s sound track.
Like all the previous RØDE models, the Stereo VideoMic Pro is very easy to use, has options for various configurations of cameras you’re seeking, with two simple switches which give users a high pass filter for either flat or 75-80hz and a three switch PAD to adjust the gain for recording. You can combine the two to adjust for your camera’s unique audio sensitivities (and lets face it, with camera amps, you need all the help you can get).
How does the RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro perform? Well, it largely depends on what you’re using it for. If you’re into recording music and you want to control the sound in your studio, but still be able to pick up everything around you, this is a good option. Other instances it works well is when you want to capture the energy of a live event with the crowd cheering, music blaring at a concer, or even wanting to capture the ambient sound of a location, then the RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro is an ideal addition to your sound quiver.
But if you want to get directional, to capture what someone is saying, like in an interview, or want to try and mask out the noise around you in order to grab some dialogue, then you’re likely going to want to go with the VideoMic Pro because it’s going to mask out more the ambient noise in favor of what’s in front of it. Either way, you’re going to have an excellent external microphone platform to capture the audio for your project as you move around.
Another benefit, is if you also have the RØDE VideoMic Me for your iPhone. You can use that for an off camera safety recording and get sound that is easily interchangeable. I have gotten into the habit of doing that as a backup just in case, and the other night I had forgotten to turn on the mic for the first minute of my son’s concert. Luckily, I was running the VideoMic Me with my iPhone as a backup, and the sound quality was consistent enough between both that I could make it work. That’s the beauty of the RØDE ecosystem.
- New Rycote Lyre Suspension for dampening out mic movement
- Quality RØDE Sound
- Improved stereo microphones
- Better foam and deadcat wind screens
- Price is a bit high
- Better suited to ambient recording, so it isn’t a jack of all situations microphone
Price of the RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro is $299 [affiliate link to buy], plus another $24 [link to buy] or $36 [link to buy] for the windscreen. RØDE has redesigned the foam windscreen to give better filtering of wind noise, but we all know that a ‘dead cat’ windscreen outdoors is often a good insurance policy, so it’s worth the extra money.
It is a bit of a limited use external microphone, admittedly, and let’s face it, if you’re someone looking for an all in one external mic to capture the moment, the VideoMic Pro may be a better option. But if you’re into music or ambient soundscape recording for your landscape videos, then this is the mic for you.
4 out of 5 Stars
For more information, visit RØDE.com.