Review: The X factor: Røde’s Stereo VideoMic X

Audio recording

Connections, connections

Røde Stereo Video Mic X and Tascam DR-60D on our test GH4 camera
On test: the Røde Stereo Video Mic X and Tascam DR-60D on our test GH4 camera.

The Stereo Video Mic X is powered by either a 9v battery, which clips inside the unit, or by +48v phantom power – the later over XLR connections. The power unit provides up to +20dB of gain, for use with cameras with low-power preamps; there is also a 0dB gain setting and a -10dB pad for use in noisy environments. The mic also comes with a switchable high-pass filter and a high-frequency boost Røde says improves dialogue recording.

All the buttons are on the rear of the mic, and there is a decent-sized power button too, which illuminates green when the mic is on. Unfortunately, there is no forward-facing power status light, which is a shame: it is easy to switch record on a DSLR and forget to power the mic. A simple LED would confirm the mic is switched on. On the bottom of the SVMX, there is a permanently-attached cold-shoe mount, with a recessed 3/8-inch thread for mic-stand or boom mounting.

On the right of the mic, seen from the rear, is a departure from the designs of previous Røde video mics: two XLR inputs. These are mini-XLRs, balanced and capable of powering the mic.

Røde does not, though, include these in the box. Perhaps this is because not all buyers of the SVMX will need them, but given the Stereo Video Mic’s premium price, and that mini-XLRs are not standard equipment, it would have been good to have them bundled with the mic, if only to give the option to use the SVMX with an external recorder. As no mini-XLRs were to hand for this review, we were unable to test the mic under +48v power.

Røde Stereo Video Mic X capsules
X-Y mic: the twin condenser capsules in the Røde Stereo Video Mic X

Next: Sound quality and the Stereo VideoMic X

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