RØDE VideoMic GO II
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Similar to the original VideoMic GO, the RØDE VideoMic GO II is a compact shotgun microphone perfect for capturing high-quality audio with ease, that now introduces advanced connectivity and customization thanks to its new USB-C output. At $99, there isn't anything else like it.
- USB-C Output and Advanced Connectivity/Features
- Compatible with RODE Connect & RODE Central
- 3.5mm TRS Output or Monitoring
- Compatible with Smart Devices
- Lightweight and Compact
- Brand: RODE
- Type: Shotgun
- Pattern: Supercardioid
- Power: 3.5mm plug-in power 2 – 5V USB 5V
- Audio Sensitivity: -31dBV(28.78mV @ 94dB SPL) ± 1dB @ 1kHz
- Connector: USB-C, 3.5mm TRS
- Weight: VideoMic GO II: 33, VideoMic GO II with SM8-R: 89
- Dimensions: Height: 120cm Diameter: 21.6cm
- High Pass Filter: Yes, via app
- Equivalent Noise: 15 dBA
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 79 dBA
- Very rich and warm sound
- Great for several applications
- Easily connect via USB-C without needing additional software or drivers
- 3.5mm TRS can double as a second output or be used to monitor while recording via USB-C
- Can be used with up to three other USB-C RODE microphones using RODE Connect app
- All advanced features require connecting via app to change
- Included wind muff isn't the best with lots of wind
- No physical buttons
Sound quality is obviously important when choosing a microphone, but connectivity options can often be overlooked. The popular RØDE VideoMic GO has been a trusted shotgun microphone for content creators since its release back in 2015. This year's VideoMic Go II brings that same dependability in an even more compact package, and now can be connected via a USB-C cable. This makes it easier and quicker to output directly to more devices—including phones, tablets, and laptops.
The new VideoMic GO II is competitively priced at $99, making it one of the best value shotgun microphones which not only sounds great but offers far more in terms of features and usability. Especially as content creation shifts to being more mobile, with many of us now ditching our dedicated cameras in favor of using our phones instead to crank out videos faster, it's still important that we can still capture high-quality audio on the go. Unlike other budget shotgun microphones, the VideoMic Go II is successfully adapting to this change without compromising sound quality.
Be sure to check out my in-depth video review for the VideoMic Go II where I provide several indoor and outdoor tests and comparisons to the Deity D4 Duo, one of my other favorite compact shotgun microphones because of its unique design of having two microphones which can be set to record with either both simultaneously, just the front one, or the front and an external TRS input of your choice.
My side-by-side examples include demoing the mics for voiceovers, vlogging, and podcasting. About halfway through the video, I also provide an overview of how to pair and use the microphone with RØDE's Connect and Central PC/Mac apps to unlock its additional features and customization. We'll talk more about the software side of things later.
When connected via USB-C, the VideoMic Go II offers zero-latency audio monitoring or a second output via its 3.5mm jack. Beyond being a great shotgun mic, the VideoMic GO II can basically replace your dedicated USB mic too. Whether you're vlogging, recording an interview, podcasting, streaming, or doing voiceovers, this is one microphone that can handle it all.
The USB-C output is plug-and-play, enabling you to easily record into your phone, tablet, or computer without the need for adaptors. Even better, just like with the RØDE NTG USB microphone—one of my favorite choices for voiceovers and podcasting—using the USB-C connection with your computer lets you connect and record several VideoMic Go IIs at once without needing additional hardware, though you will need to download an app.
Using its software for mobile devices and computers—RØDE Connect and RØDE Central—unlocks the ability to assign channels and customize the settings of several of RØDE's latest USB-C compatible microphones. You can tweak the sound before recording to cut down on time editing later or fixing it in post.
- VideoMic GO II
- SM80R Camera Shock Mount
- Foam Windshield
- SC14 TRS to TRS Cable
It's a barebones set, and there's a number of items notably missing, which you may wwant to consider purchasing as well:
- USB-C Cables. In many of my tests I used the optional RØDE SC-15 (USB-C to Lightning) and SC-16 (USB-C to USB-C) cables to pair the microphone with my iPhone and directly to my MacBook Pro. Any third-party cable should work fine, however, with this being specifically marketed for use with smart devices, it would have been nice if these cables were included in the box.
- Protective Carrying Bag or Case. Although this microphone more or less falls under the budget category, some competing shotgun microphones come with a nice hard-shell protective case. I'm not necessarily concerned with this microphone getting damaged in transport, however, at the very least a protective carrying bag for the microphone and its wires would be great.
- "Deadcat". The included wind muff is great for indoor use and alright outdoors, but not perfect when it's very windy. If you plan on using this a lot outdoors, I would suggest getting the WS12 dead cat which does a better job at cutting down on those low rumbles.
Design & Build Quality
Despite being very compact and lightweight, weighing just 3.14oz (89g) and measuring 5.91 inches (150mm) long, the all-black microphone has a rugged all-metal body that feels very well built and durable. Similar to RØDE's other microphones, you can expect this to last a long time and take a beating.
It's not the smallest mcirophone around, nor does it have a very unique design, especially when compared to the even smaller Deity D4-Duo which has a front and rear microphone.
Compared to the RØDE NTG and the RØDE Micro, its size falls almost in the middle of those two. That said, it's still small and light enough to throw in a bag and carry around when you need it. More importantly, because of its small size and weight, it means you can easily add this to a gimbal setup without it requiring much, if any re-balancing. As a videographer who does a lot of wedding films, it's great to be able to attach or remove the microphone quickly when I need without it messing up the gimbal's balance.
As is common with RØDE's other microphones, the wind sheild has a large white RØDE logo, and the bottom of the mic itself also has RØDE and "Made in Australia" in large font.
A big focus of the RØDE VideoMic Go II is of course its smart features, however, without any physical buttons on the microphone itself, all adjustments need to be made with its software.
Highly Directional Pattern
The VideoMic Go II has the same highly directional microphone as the original model, allowing it to focus on the audio source in front of it while minimizing unwanted background noise. In my outdoor tests it does a great job at focusing on my voice and hardly picked up the surrounding ambient noise. Especially from its sides and behind the microphone, it dramatically cuts down on sounds from those directions.
With the USB-C output, you can either use the standard 3.5mm TRS connection for monitoring or as a second output source. When connected via USB-C to your PC or Mac using the RØDE Connect and RØDE Central apps, you can make adjustments to the microphone's settings. Because of its digital output, the VideoMic Go II can easily be added as part of a 4-input recording session through RØDE Connect.
Plug & Play Flexibility
The VideoMic Go II doesn't need batteries, nor does it need to be turned on to use. I find it frustrating when some microphones require batteries or need to be turned on before using them. I have had many unfortunate experiences where I've forgotten to turn on the microphone or not noticed that the batteries had died, only to ruin an entire recording.
Beyond this, the VideoMic Go II will automatically output to USB-C when it's connected without needing additional software, drivers, or any modes switched.
Using its USB-C or 3.5mm outputs is equally easy and having the choice between the two without any compromise can be a gamechanger. With most new phones and tablets eliminating the headphone jack and most laptops lacking a dedicated mic jack, setting up a TRS input can be tricky and time-consuming, often requiring additional adaptors or dongles which can be hit or miss.
My iPhone 13 Mini automatically defaulted to using the RØDE VideoMic Go II when it was connected. When using the mic with my MacBook, the microphone was instantly recognized as an available input. Even without opening or making adjustments in RØDE's software, you can quickly switch to using the microphone as your input.
Having the two outputs is a huge benefit for me, especially when I want to have a redundant recording as a backup. Rather than needing splitters or a mixer, I can output via USB-C and the 3.5mm TRS right off the microphone. Beyond this, if for example, my dedicated audio recorder was completely dead, I would always have peace of mind knowing I could still record directly into my phone (provided I had a compatible cable on me).
Also, very important, is its very effective shielding which allows the RØDE VideoMic Go II to connect directly into devices like the RØDE Wireless Go II and other similar transmitters and recorders without causing that annoying hum or static sound.
Sound Quality & Comparison
The VideoMic Go II has a very full sound profile that excels in the lower frequencies. Compared to the Deity D4-Duo from about 6-12 inches away, I found the VideoMic Go II to be warmer and slightly (3-4db) louder as well.
At further distances of 3-5 feet away the tone differences weren't as noticeable from my tests, however, the Go II did seem to do a much better job at isolating my voice and not picking up as much of the ambient sounds including cars passing by, the fan on my video light, and the slight hum from the fridge in the kitchen.
For the most part, I could confidently use the VideoMic Go II's raw audio stream for most of my videos if it was about 6-12in away from my face. It wasn't until the video light's fans kicked up to 100% that the background noise became noticeable, and I felt it would need some noise reduction.
With some very minimal EQ tweaks, you can push this to another level and get some incredible sounding audio. More than likely, I will be switching to using this for most of my voiceover and video review productions.
Using the included windshield, the VideoMic Go II does alright with the wind blowing directly in front of it, however, with the wind hitting it from the side, there was a noticeable low-rumble which, while didn't make the audio completely unusable, definitely wasn't up to the quietness I would like. Again, I think if you are planning on using the microphone outdoors a lot, investing in a good dead cat is necessary.
Advanced Features & Customization
RØDE Connect can be used to make the adjustments to the VideoMic Go II including input level, a high-pass filter, high-frequency boost, PAD(Passive Attenuation Device), and monitoring levels for the 3.5mm TRS. For a $99 microphone, this level of configuration is unheard of. Using RØDE Central, the same software used for offloading recordings from the RØDE Wireless GO II, you can see the firmware of the microphone (1.03 at the time of this article), and if any future updates are available, you could upgrade here.
The fact that the microphone has upgradeable firmware could suggest new features or improvements in the future. With RØDE Connect, you can record or add up to three other compatible USB-C RØDE microphones and adjust their levels individually. This is a great solution for live-streaming and tweaking your sound on the fly.
Your New All-Round Mic?
The RØDE VideoMic Go II is a very impressive shotgun microphone for just $99. It's compact, sounds great, and has several advanced features thanks to its USB-C connection, that nothing else at this price point comes close to offering. For many applications, this can be your one microphone for it all.
Less than stellar wind noise is worth noting but taken as a whole, it's a compelling package that brings a lot new to the table. Similar to the RØDE Wireless Go II, I wouldn't be surprised if the competition tried to catch up by copying some of these smart features with their latest releases. That said, it's safe to say the RØDE VideoMic GO II has a strong lead for now.