Rode has officially entered the gaming market, releasing a whole range of audio gear with streamers and gamers in mind. Leading the lineup is the company’s newest mixing software, Unify, along with two new microphones – the XDM-100 and XCM-50 – the first in the brand’s new Rode X lineup.
Having tackled streaming-targeted mics before with the Rode NT-USB Mini, the Rode X will have to contend with gaming heavyweights like Razer, Blue, and HyperX who offer mics that feature in our best standalone USB mics guide. . In particular, the Razer Seiren Elite and Blue Yeti set a high standard for plug and play microphones.
To capture this market, Rode has incorporated an entirely new research department dedicated to the development of this product line, with plans to offer even more equipment in the coming years.
Unify is the main focus of this release, with Rode labeling it the “ultimate audio software for streamers and gamers”. Users will be able to mix up to four USB microphones and up to six virtual sound inputs, including games, chat, music and more.
There’s also the ability to submix to separate outputs, including live streams, headphones, and chat, as well as triggering sound effects (with voice FX available later in 2022). The advanced audio software is apparently designed to be as easy to use as possible, even better for streamers to focus on their game.
While Unify is optimized to work with the Rode X range, it is also compatible with any USB microphone. However, there are some caveats to this inclusion, with processing available on any Rode mic via a simple on/off switch, but only offering routing and mixing for other brands. This is a big change from the release of the brand’s free software, Rode Connect, which was only compatible with the Rode NT-USB mini.
Accompanying the release of Unify is the XDM-100. This dynamic USB microphone comes with a PSM1 shock mount and pop protection, promising to deliver professional audio quality, particularly when used in conjunction with the included Unify. Offering high-resolution audio and reducing unwanted noise with ambient noise rejection and zero-latency headphone output, you can plug in and play this microphone right from the start.
The final offering in this initial release is a standalone condenser microphone, the XCM-50. Accompanied by Unify and a tripod with 360 degree swivel, it can also be used straight out of the box thanks to its USB-C connection and also offers zero-latency headphone output.
Priced at $249 / AU$439 for the XDM-100 and $149 / AU$259 for the XCM-50, both mics are available now (UK pricing not yet available). Unify will be included with the purchase of any Rode X microphone, but you can also access the software with a subscription that costs US$5 / AU$7.99 per month or US$45 / AU$69.99 per year (prices at UK currently unavailable). Currently, Unify is only compatible with Windows operating systems, although Rode plans to bring the software to macOS at a later date, albeit with some feature limitations.