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Rode Rodecaster Duo

Audio Production Workstation By Matt Houghton
Published March 2024

Rode Rodecaster Duo

Does this new compact Rodecaster achieve the same balance of flexibility, power and ease of use as the larger Pro II?

I found the Rodecaster Pro II alluring. Not only does it offer everything you need to create podcasts in a portable package, but it improves considerably on its predecessor in terms of the quality and scope of its facilities. If you’ve not read my August 2022 review of that device, it may be worth casting an eye over it before reading this one (it’s free to read on the SOS website: Still, as the Pro II will be overkill for some — not every podcast will have lots of participants, making its channel count, desktop footprint and/or price difficult to justify — it was almost inevitable that Rode would offer a more compact, affordable version...

Cut Down To Size

Launched last Summer, the Rodecaster Duo is very similar to the Rodecaster Pro II: a combination of mixer, multitrack standalone recorder and USB audio interface, and USB streaming device. But it has fewer channels and there are some other subtle differences too. There are four main fader‑equipped channels to the Pro II’s six, and those faders are shorter than on the Pro II. They’re not unduly short, though — ample for the intended application, in fact. What’s more, their use has enabled Rode to make the Duo shorter from front to back than its sibling, and it’s narrower too, thanks to there being fewer channels: its overall footprint is about 225 x 235mm, while the top of the slanted screen stands about 85mm above the surface on which you sit the device. The smaller confines do mean you’re limited to six Smart Pads compared with the Pro II’s eight, though. For many users, that will be plenty, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re weighing up the pros and cons of both devices. For heavy users of samples, effects and switching things like ducking, it could mean more frequent bank switching. The physical Record button has been replaced by an on‑screen button, top‑left of the main mixer page, and I can’t say I missed it. Importantly, the lovely, crisp colour touchscreen, which is used to access most settings, remains the same generous size as on the ‘full fat’ version.

As with the Pro II, three rear‑panel USB‑C ports cater for power (9V 3A; a mains adaptor is included) and simultaneous connection to two devices. These could be, say, a computer for recording and a phone for streaming, but as we were going to press, a firmware update was announced that, amongst other things, allows these ports on both the Duo and Pro II to host USB mics.

Like the Rodecaster Pro II — but unlike most devices — the Rodecaster Duo has three USB ports: one for power, and two for simultaneous connection to different USB devices such as a computer and a smartphone.Like the Rodecaster Pro II — but unlike most devices — the Rodecaster Duo has three USB ports: one for power, and two for simultaneous connection to different USB devices such as a computer and a smartphone.

Two conventional mics can be connected, too: you get two of the same excellent mic preamps, accessed through Neutrik Combo XLR sockets on the rear. Next to those are four quarter‑inch jacks, providing left and right monitor speaker outputs, and headphone outs for channels 1 and 2. These are the same, capable headphone amps as found on the Pro II, and each has a separate level control top‑right of the top panel. A helpful addition is the TRRS mini‑jack socket for headphones or a mic/headphones headset on the front (handy, as the cable won’t trail across the top). Finally, as with the Rodecaster Pro II, there’s an SD card slot for standalone recording, and both WiFi and an RJ45 Ethernet port built in, to allow configuration and firmware...

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