Radio news reporting is fast-paced. Upon arrival at the scene of the interview, news gatherers generally have no clue as to what auditory challenges he or she will face. In addition, reporters certainly have no time to choose a microphone, nor do they want to carry several of them. Rode Microphones has spent more than 20 years at the drawing board considering the specific audio needs of the media world. As a result, the aptly named Rode "Reporter" is a handheld microphone created for news gathering on the go.
Out of the box, the first noticeable feature of Reporter is its 10.7" length. Designed with a one-on-one interview in mind the extended length keeps waving the mic to and fro to a minimum. It also allows for some comfortable distance between the interviewer and interviewee. The Reporter has a dynamic omnidirectional element; a feature that bolsters performance in several ways. The polar pattern is perfectly omnidirectional at all frequencies. Essentially, both the interviewer and his subject can stand centered anywhere around the Reporter without concern for off-axis coloration or other annoying proximity differences. The dynamic element is less sensitive to ambient noise and very tolerant of wind noise and plosives. However, it is important to note that Reporter need not be held at close proximity to a speaker's mouth unless necessary. Reporter has plenty of output. While any vocal placement is acceptable, when Reporter is held at chest level, optimal performance is obtained. Problematic environmental noises and wind are reduced due to frequency response and an internal plosives screen design. Reporter's internal shock mounted capsule and die cast aluminum body help keep handling noise at a minimum while protecting the element inside from the bangs and bumps of field reporting.
| ||Performance at a glance || |
| ||■ Rugged matte finish aluminum body|
■ Internal wind and plosives screen
■ 10.7" handle
■ Optimized frequency response for speech
■ Dynamic element, omnidirectional pattern
The mic's frequency response is tailor-made for optimized speech intelligibility. 20Hz to 30Hz is rolled off significantly (-14dB) with a gradual slope and 0dB leveling at a little more than 100Hz. This design is brilliant for several reasons: Plosive reduction, wind noise reduction and a minimalizing of unnecessary low frequencies that all-to-often "muddy up" field audio. Speech clarity is key, which is why a slight 2dB notch at 1.5kHz helps accentuate vocals. Then from 4-15 kHz a 4dB slope with a moderate Q provides a touch of brightness and clarity to the response curve with a smooth roll-off afterward to prevent too much sibilance.
The polar response is effectively a perfect circle at 500, 1,000 and 4,000 hertz. This characteristic makes it a consummate omnidirectional microphone and perfect in situations where the interviewer has folks from all directions providing commentary. As previously mentioned off-axis coloration goes unnoticed.
I took the mic on an interview with a college music professor. Environmentally speaking, the location was ok. A moderately reflective room, a big-voiced professor, students chatting outside the door, HVAC noise and instruments in adjacent rooms embodied the location. At the start of the interview, I noticed right away that the professor and I did not need to be miked closely. Again, at chest level and evenly spaced between us, the mic performed smoothly. I didn't need to wave the mic back and forth. The resulting audio was a natural, clear sound of the two voices. No booming low frequencies and no unwanted ambient sound was recorded. Reporter produced a natural-sounding audio. Vocal characteristics were punchy and clear.
The Reporter ships with a black double-sided flag that can be screen-printed with an organization's logo. The flag is a flat surface that is clipped above the capsule and of is course, removable. The mic has a black, matte finish and has an XLR jack. It also comes with a leather pouch.
In a world where audio is most often needed immediately, having tools that are ready "now" is key. No time can be spent on looking for the right microphone. With the Rode Reporter in a news-gathering arsenal, clear and professional audio is a guaranteed result.
Frequency response. Click to enlarge.
Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.