RØDE Announces RØDE X – A Brand New Streaming And Gaming Audio Brand From Australia’s Top Tech Company

Tech Industry

The name RØDE is well known in broadcasting and audio circles, but until now it’s not been a name most people link to gaming and streaming. However, in an age where e-sports are so massive, it would be folly for any high-end audio brand to ignore this burgeoning market.

The manufacturer of high-end microphones, mixing desks and video mics has launched RØDE X, a new streaming and gaming division. Building on the company’s reputation as a leading audio brand for content creators, RØDE X will develop high-performance audio hardware and software for streamers and gamers.

The launch of RØDE X is the first time the Australian company has ever launched a sub-brand and is a significant step in the company’s evolution. The company claims that RØDE X will have all the passion for innovation, accessibility and manufacturing that RØDE has built its reputation on. RØDE X will feature innovative audio solutions designed specifically for streamers and gamers.

The new division will have a dedicated streaming and gaming R&D department for developing new products. Today it’s unveiling three new products to excite the streaming and gaming market. The first is UNIFY, a virtual mixing solution custom-designed for streamers and gamers; the other two products are professional USB microphones. The XDM-100 dynamic USB microphone and XCM-50 condenser USB microphone are the first two hardware launches from the RØDE X range.

Damien Wilson is RØDE’s CEO: “We are incredibly excited about the launch of RØDE X. RØDE has been the go-to audio brand for the world’s creators for over three decades. We have made it our mission to provide professional audio solutions to musicians, filmmakers, podcasters and broadcasters. Listening to and learning from creators is what we do and it has led to the development of groundbreaking products like the VideoMic, RØDECaster Pro and Wireless GO. Now we’re doing the same for streamers and gamers.”

The hero product of the new RØDE X range is UNIFY. Designed as the ultimate audio software for streamers and gamers, UNIFY has functions that would otherwise require multiple applications, including routing and mixing for up to four USB microphones or other audio devices. It can handle up to six virtual audio sources (including game, chat, music and browser applications) in one intuitive interface. Users can create independent sub-mixes for different outputs, including their livestream, headphones and chat; add studio-grade audio processing to microphone channels; trigger on-the-fly voice and sound effects; multitrack recording and more.

RØDE says UNIFY is the most advanced audio software for streamers and gamers, offering innovative features that are easy to use. The software comes free with all RØDE X products, or it can be bought separately as a monthly or yearly subscription for use with any other USB audio products.

“UNIFY is a huge step forward for streaming and gaming audio technology,” said Senior Product Manager Chris Beech. “Throughout development, we spent countless hours researching exactly what streamers and gamers need from audio software. We worked tirelessly to implement every feature while ensuring it is as simple to use as possible. From professional streamers with complex technical requirements to casual gamers who want to take their audio to the next level, UNIFY is the perfect solution.”

Alongside UNIFY, RØDE X is launching two brand-new microphones. The XDM-100 is a professional dynamic USB model that delivers rich, broadcast-quality audio with a sound tailored for streaming and gaming. It has premium circuitry using RØDE’s ultra-low-noise, high-gain Revolution Preamp and high-resolution 24-bit/48 kHz analog-digital conversion.

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I’ve had a chance to get my hands on one of the first XDM-100 review units and I can tell you that this is a beast of a microphone. Even when used without the UNIFY software, it has a deep and compelling presence and is built like a proverbial tank. This mic is a winner if you want a classic broadcast mic with an excellent pickup pattern from the front and the side, enabling the presenter to move about more than with some other super-cardioid dynamic mics. The XDM-100 also has superb noise rejection. The gain level is fantastic; you can dial it right back and hardly pick up any unwanted sounds.

Incorporating a studio-grade dynamic capsule and tight cardioid polar pattern, the XDM-100 is clear and rejects room noises like keyboard or mouse clicks. It has a high-quality pop shield and shock mount for cutting plosives and unwanted knocks and bumps. A high-power headphone output serves up zero-latency audio monitoring and playback, complete with hands-on level control and microphone muting.

The XCM-50 model is a professional condenser USB microphone optimized for streaming and gaming. This mic looks a lot like a souper-up RØDE NT-Mini. Thanks to its full-frequency response, it produces a detailed sound with warmth and presence that sound far bigger than its compact size. The XCM-50 has a high-power headphone output with level control and mute button for those tricky moments when you need to close the mic quickly. There’s also an internal pop shield and capsule shock mount to cut pops, knocks and bumps. To make getting started easier, the XCM-50 comes with a desktop tripod and has an integrated 360-degree swing mount for flexible mic positioning.

Both new RØDE X USB microphones have powerful internal digital signal processing (DSP), which can be unlocked using the UNIFY software. This enables the user to add advanced APHEX audio processing to voices – including a compressor, noise gate, high-pass filter, plus the legendary Aural Exciter and Big Bottom effects. You get complete granular control over every parameter with UNIFY and the DSP.

For those already familiar with the RØDE range of products, the new UNIFY software is a beefed-up version of RØDE Connect, a software package that can be used for mixing the audio for up to four RØDE USB microphones into one PC. The two new RØDE X microphones aren’t compatible with RODE Connect yet, but RØDE assures me that this is in the pipeline. UNIFY is Windows-only at launch, which makes sense as most gamers use that OS. That said, RØDE has assured me that a macOS version of UNIFY is on its way and I can’t wait to try it out on a Mac.

These three new products are the first in the RØDE X range, with more slated for release in 2023 and beyond. CEO Damien Wilson says the launch of RØDE X marks an exciting new era for the Sydney-based company. “In addition to these two incredible microphones and UNIFY, we have a suite of groundbreaking products currently in development that will shape the future of audio for streaming and gaming. This is just the beginning.”

Pricing & Availability: The XCM-50 USB microphone is available now for $149 and the XDM-100 costs $249. UNIFY can be downloaded from rodex.com/unify. It comes free with any RØDE X microphone or can be purchased separately on a subscription basis for $5 monthly or $45 annually, to be used with other USB audio devices.

More info: rodex.com

Tech Specs:

RØDE XCM-50

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid.
  • Capsule: Condenser.
  • Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz.
  • Connection: USB-C.
  • Output: 3.5mm.
  • Sample rate: 48kHz.
  • Bit depth: 24-bit.
  • OS: macOS 10.12 / Windows 10.
  • Weight: 492g.
  • Dimensions: 52 x 213mm.
  • Accessories: PSM1 shock mount, SC29 USB-C to USB-C cable, 3m headphone extension cable, pop shield.

RØDE XDM-100

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid.
  • Capsule: Dynamic.
  • Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz.
  • Connection: USB-C.
  • Output: 3.5mm.
  • Sample rate: 48kHz.
  • Bit depth: 24-bit.
  • OS: macOS 10.12 / Windows 10.
  • Weight: 700g.
  • Dimensions: 62 x 42 x 118mm.
  • Accessories: Tripod 2, SC29 USB-C to USB-C cable, 3m headphone extension cable.
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