Rode X XDM 50 and XCM 100 gaming mic tests – Video

By | 09/11/2022

RODE X XCM-50 and XDM-100 Review: RODE’s Dearest Alphabetic character to Streamers

Building on a Solid Foundation

RODE has been ane of the biggest names in the microphone and content creation business for years, but today marks a special milestone for the company. Today, it launches RODE X, a sub-brand dedicated to streamers, gamers, and creators. RODE X is launching with three major products to kick off its portfolio, including the USB-powered RODE X XCM-50 condenser and XDM-100 dynamic microphones, likewise as a brand new software suite called UNIFY that aims to replace your GoXLR and works with whatever USB microphone. Information technology’due south an exciting launch, then let’s dive in.

Specifications

RODE X XCM-50

  • Current Price: $149
  • Key Features
    • Professional condenser USB Microphone
    • Complete audio solution for streaming and gaming with included UNIFY software
    • Highly detailed audio capture optimised for voice applications
    • Tight cardioid polar blueprint
    • Zippo-latency headphone output with level control and mute button
    • Internal DSP for advanced audio processing
    • Plug-and-play USB-C connectivity with 24-bit, 48kHz analog-digital conversion
    • Integrated 360-caste swing mount
    • Desktop tripod included
  • Polar Blueprint: Cardioid
  • Capsule: Condenser
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – twenty kHz
  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Analog Outputs: 3.5mm Headphone Output
  • Sample Rate: 48 kHz
  • Flake Depth: 24-bit
  • OS Requirements: MacOS 10.12, Windows 10
  • Net Weight (g): 492g
  • Dimensions (mm): 62 (Due west) ten 42 (D) x 118 (H)
  • Included Accessories:
    • Tripod 2
    • SC29 USB-C to USB-C cablevision
    • 3m Headphone Extension Cable

RODE Ten XDM-100

  • Current Toll: $249
  • Key Features
    • Professional dynamic USB microphone
    • Consummate audio solution for streaming and gaming with included UNIFY software
    • Rich, detailed sound capture optimised for voice applications
    • Superior room noise rejection
    • Zero-latency headphone output with level control and mute button
    • Internal DSP for advanced audio processing
    • Plug-and-play USB-C connectivity with 24-scrap, 48 kHz analog-digital conversion
    • Popular shield and daze mountain included
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Capsule: Dynamic
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Analog Outputs: 3.5mm Headphone Output
  • Sample Charge per unit: 48 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 24-bit
  • OS Requirements: MacOS ten.12, Windows 10
  • Cyberspace Weight (thou): 700g
  • Dimensions (mm): 52 (Westward) x 213 (H)
  • Included Accessories:
    • PSM1 Daze Mount
    • SC29 USB-C to USB-C cablevision
    • 3m Headphone Extension Cablevision
    • Popular Shield

RODE X XCM-50, XDM-100, and UNIFY – What Are They?

If you know RODE, you probably know them as a microphone visitor (though they

certainly do more
). It’s no surprise that the launch of the RODE X make launches off with two new microphones, but what did surprise me — at least at starting time — was that they were both USB mics. That begins to make a bit more sense when you look at what RODE X is out to achieve. Once you do, you can see just how well-positioned this launch is.

RODE, seeing the explosion in popularity for streaming and content creation, has created the RODE X make specifically for these needs, and in doing so has positioned itself equally the all-in-one solution for stream audio. Since the microphones are USB, y’all won’t need any special audio interface to connect to your PC; you plug information technology in and get.


Merely

, veteran creators will tell you,


USB mics aren’t scalable. They can’t grow with you or connect to other hardware you might want

. That’due south true, simply with a combination of excellent internal components and RODE X’s UNIFY software, you genuinely don’t need to.



That’s considering each of these microphones comes with a license for RODE X’s new UNIFY software. In a nutshell, it is a software version of the

RODEcaster Pro two
. It’southward more powerful than a

GoXLR

or

Razer Stream Audio Mixer
. Like those devices, y’all’re given virtual audio channels to independently control the levels of your game, system, mic, music, browser, and more than. Y’all tin so create sub-mixes, and then your audience can hear one mix while you have some other piped through to your ears.

UNIFY besides gives you real-time sound FX pads and, not long afterward launch, real-time vocal FX. It comes with APHEX sound enhancements, such as a compressor, exciter, noise gate, and big lesser. Together, yous tin filter out the noise and craft a circulate-worthy sound. It’s incredibly similar to what the RODEcaster Pro accomplishes, without the need for a hardware controller on your desk.

You don’t even need to worry about losing out on RODE’south impressive Revolution preamps if you get with the XDM-100: they’re built into the mic itself.

Which brings us back to the microphones…

RODE X XCM-50 and XDM-100 – A Closer Look

If you’ve followed Rode’south portfolio over the years, you lot’ll probably observe that both new microphones look familiar. The XCM-50 shares a body with the

NT-USB Mini
. The XDM-100 shares its grade with the

Rode Podcaster
. They’ve been trimmed up with a new crimson and black colour scheme and bundles with some accessories, just at first glance, you might call up they were a rebrand and call it a mean solar day.

Thankfully, there have been some central changes to each microphone. Each is an improvement over the mic it shares a chassis with, and then this isn’t a example of Rode-X just reskinning existing mics and calling it a day.




RODE X XCM-50

Starting with the more than affordable of the two microphones, the RODE X XCM-50 is a condenser microphone. It’s small and uncomplicated, with only a volume wheel on the front. Effectually the dorsum is a aught-latency monitoring port to plug in a pair of headphones (or the included extender cable which comes with both mics), and a USB Type-C port.

The microphone comes installed on a U-bracket that lets the microphone plough a full 360 degrees. Thus far, apart from the new red and black color scheme, all of this has been true of the NT-USB Mini, but the XCM-fifty adds in a much better desktop stand up. It’s actually a miniature tripod. The legs tin can be locked in a lower or higher position to better fit your recording needs, and the microphone attaches with a ball head for even more adjustability.



The XCM-50’s condenser capsule is blusterous, detailed, and can audio quite rich when you get close to it to elicit the proximity outcome.  It uses a cardioid pick-up pattern to record a tight circle effectually the face of the microphone, and audio drops off quite a scrap from the back and sides. With a frequency response range of 20Hz to 20kHz and a 24-bit, 48kHz sampling rate, this is the microphone to choose if you want the most natural, true-to-life audio.



I of my criticisms of the NT-USB Mini was that the included stand up was too low to get a good volume level without cranking the proceeds and adding white dissonance, but with the new stand, that’due south much less of a challenge. I was able to go it positioned comfortably where I could be clearly heard even from a normal sitting position, which wasn’t possible with the NT-USB Mini without calculation extra gain.

That, by itself, is a marked improvement but information technology isn’t the only i. When you


do


need to plow the microphone up, the microphone generates less white racket. The hiss of too much proceeds isn’t nearly every bit loud, which frees you upwardly to set your levels, punch in your dissonance gate, and relax to focus on hosting your stream. The headphone jack works besides as e’er but was able to drive my headphones even louder than the NT-USB Mini, and then you can safely use nigh sets without fear of not getting plenty volume.



It’s also worth mentioning here that the XCM-fifty is very robustly built. It’south tiny, dwarfed by the likes of the Blue Yeti, merely its all-metal frame seems made to stand up up to years of use. The tripod is plastic just feels very sturdy.

At $149, this is a good value that becomes even more and then when you add vocal FX similar Large Bottom to widen out the audio. Leave that off and this doubles as a great microphone for live-streaming guitar or piano.




RODE X XDM-100

The XDM-100 is the higher finish of the two mics and you don’t need to do more hold it to see for yourself. It’due south a tank of a mic if ever there was one, made of cast metal, and has the long, cylindrical look of a studio circulate microphone. Every bit a regular user of the Rode Procaster, I felt correct at dwelling house with it, but I have to say… the red and black colour scheme looks even better here than on the XCM-50. The cherry trim around the headphone jack, backside the grille, and the band around the terminate simply look fantastic. There’south fifty-fifty a ability indicator light that illuminates, yous guessed information technology, ruddy when plugged in.



To me, the XDM-100 is the more than interesting of the two microphones. It shares a lot of Deoxyribonucleic acid with the Procaster and Podcaster but is wholly impressive equally its ain product.



Similar its predecessors, the XDM-100 is a dynamic microphone. It’south less sensitive than the XDM-50 and doesn’t selection up well-nigh as much surrounding noise. Your mechanical keyboard and case fans aren’t almost every bit audible every bit whatsoever other condenser streaming mic, and, in fact, neither were my kids as they played in the room nearby. You don’t need to worry about adding audio handling to your room or making sure everything around yous is “alive performance” quiet when you want to stream some gameplay. It’s more expensive but is also a much better fit for the bulk of streamers, in my stance.

The microphone carries a classic circulate sound. It has the same 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response range as the XCM-50, but there’s a bit of that archetype dynamic “crunch” that comes through. It’s not overdone merely has a very clear radio character about it that is immediately recognizable if yous’ve ever heard a major talk show or podcast.



At the same time, there’s a richness to the audio character that I really enjoy. It’s very concentrated and bassy without condign boomy and bloated. Rode Ten has done a stellar job of tuning the sound of this microphone into something that’s simultaneously professional person and versatile enough to be approachable for new creators.

It’s an instant upgrade that only gets meliorate when tuned with UNIFY, but you should exist enlightened that it’s not as natural or airy as the XCM-fifty. This is definitely a vocal mic.



This microphone upgrades the Procaster in multiple ways. First off, it has an internal DSP that enables those effects within UNIFY. It also uses RODE’s Revolution preamps that we saw on the Rodecaster Pro two. They’re powerful enough that you’ll have ample book headroom with this mic and clean, so you don’t have to worry almost extra hiss. A like XLR mic (like the Procaster) requires an audio interface with plenty of power and high-quality preamps, which can add a pregnant cost on top of the microphone itself. None of that hither.

RODE X likewise throws in a few accessories to increment the value of the package. Y’all have a custom-fit pop filter to block plosives and a shock mount made to connect to a boom arm (not included). There is no desktop stand up, merely that’s not surprising. Dynamic microphones are meant to be used close to the oral fissure, then a standard desktop stand wouldn’t piece of work well.



Compare this microphone to the Podcaster and you’ll observe a pretty stark cost contrast. The Podcaster

retails for effectually $160
for just the microphone.
The XDM-100 is nigh another hundred dollars. A more fitting comparing, withal, is against the Podcaster when arranged with the

matching stupor mount

and

RODE WS2 pop filter
. And then, the price jumps to $218. Add in the reworked and upgraded internals and improved performance of the RODE X, and that boosted $thirty premium begins to brand sense.

That, and its compatibility and license for UNIFY.

RODE 10 UNIFY – RODECaster as an App

I was a large fan of the

RODECaster Pro 2

when I reviewed it early this year. It’south a wonderful device that offers you lot hardware-level controls over multiple audio streams, tons of power and processing effects, and all-around wonderful content creation potential. UNIFY isn’t a replacement for all of the features the RODECaster offers, only if all you need information technology for is streaming, it comes close and will save you hundreds of dollars and a noticeable amount of desk-bound space.

Ask any creator and they’ll tell you the aforementioned: video is of import, simply viewers will sit through a lower video quality if the content is adept enough. Poor audio quality will drive them away immediately. Just upgrading to 1 of the RODE X mics will immediately heave your sound quality, but in one case you go serious near streaming, you’ll quickly find that you need more a good mic.



A professionally produced stream requires mixing. You have to exist able to balance out the volumes of multiple audio sources while nevertheless being able to be heard yourself. The built-in tools within Windows are also basic to do a very skillful chore with this, then streamers accept turned to third-political party solutions like the RODECaster or GoXLR. These devices create virtual audio devices defended to things like game audio, browser audio, chat, and music and give you independent volume sliders for each i, “mixing” those feeds into a mix that sounds good underneath your ain microphone.

UNIFY does the same, but all within an app that mimics the interface and functionality of the RODECaster. It does for USB microphones what hardware mixers do for XLR mics. And if yous’re using an XLR microphone with an interface, you lot tin can use it to by adding the interface to ane of its virtual audio channels.



Combined with one of RODE X’southward new microphones, it becomes an all-in-one solution that replaces the need for that expensive boosted hardware on your desk-bound. It will even piece of work with other companies’ USB mics, though you’ll need to pay a subscription fee to employ it:
$7.99 AUD when paid monthly (nearly $5 USD) or $69.99 AUD for a twelvemonth-long plan (virtually $45 USD).

Information technology’south all-inclusive, yes, but a bit complicated to learn. If you’ve ever used another stream mixer, you lot’ll find that it’s not that unlike at all, simply if information technology’s your offset, be prepared to spend an hour or so learning how information technology works and setting information technology up. A software solution besides isn’t as easy to adjust on the fly as a dedicated book slider. Only… the RODECaster is $699. The Beacn Mix Create is $199. The GoXLR Mini is $139 and doesn’t support USB. At that kind of savings, it feels like a pretty fair trade-off.

RODE X XCM-50 and XDM-100 – Audio Samples

Final Thoughts

The launch of a dedicated streaming make from RODE is heady. The company is 1 of the masters in the audio business and I’one thousand eager to see what they do with a defended make serving this infinite. It’s certainly starting things off on the right foot.

The ii microphones and UNIFY software are each excellent products in their ain correct. Either the XCM-50 or XDM-100 will offering noticeable upgrades from even very expensive gaming headsets, so your streams and videos volition have an instant boost in sound quality. UNIFY processing alongside them allows you lot to enhance the audio in a fashion that’s non possible with other microphones to improve things even more, while too acting equally a alive audio mixer, complete with sub-mixes.



An exciting launch indeed, and absolutely a set of products you should consider if yous don’t want to invest hundreds into a complicated audio setup.


The product described in this commodity was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.


9.0


Amazing

Pros

  • Killer design – very cool aesthetics to both mics
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Revolution preamps offer lots of power without the noise
  • Peachy included accessories
  • UNIFY is a game-changer and uniform with any USB mic

Cons

  • External design is the same as the Podcaster and NT-USB Mini
  • Learning curve with UNIFY
  • Non-RODE 10 mics crave a yearly subscription to UNIFY


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every take a chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight

Source: https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/rode-x-xcm-50-and-xdm-100-review-rodes-love-letter-to-streamers-2000126475