Welcome back to the 2nd installment of Getting the most of your RODE RODECaster PRO series. In Part one we covered the background of the RODECaster PRO and went into detail about the Hi-Pass filter, and the Noise Gate. This time around we are going to be continuing by looking into 3 of the other effects that this unit has to offer. Let’s get into it!
Compression is a very helpful tool that can be used to reduce the dynamics of an audio signal. Compression works by automatically turning down an input signal when it gets too loud. By doing this it enables us to raise the overall level of the channel without risking clipping. Here are some explanations of how to set up your compression for your talent.
Threshold - Similar to a Noise Gate, the threshold of a compressor is the level when the compressor is going to kick in. I would start between -20db and -10db depending on how loud your signal is. Too much and your audio is going to start sounding muffled or flat, so keep an ear out!
Ratio - This is representing how strong of a compressor you are applying to your mix. It is represented by two numbers separated by a colon (5:1 for example). What this number means is that for every 5 dB over the threshold the output will go 1 dB over the threshold instead. For Podcast vocals I use 2:1 or 3:1 but find out what works best for you.
Attack and Release - I am bundling these together as I mentioned them more in depth in my previous post. Attack is how quickly the compressor turns on when it goes over the threshold. Release is how quickly the compressor turns off after the signal dips below the threshold. Attack that is too low will be slower to react to sudden loud audio spikes. Too short of an Attack will result in an over-reaction to slight jumps in sound. The inverse is true for release. Generally I like to have a quicker attack at 10ms and a slower release at between 150-200 ms.
Make sure your compressor is not always engaged - You can tell when your compressor is engaging by looking at the red bar to the right of your levels. Keep an eye out for particularly loud moments like laughing or yelling. Too much compressor will squish your audio leaving it sounding flat and uninteresting.
A De-esser functions almost identically as a Compressor however it is limited to a specific frequency. This will help you focus on the pesky “S” and “T” sounds that lurk in the higher frequencies. These sounds are called sibilance, while they are perfectly normal, they are not pleasant to the ear in recording. When working with a De-Esser, You will see all of the same features as a compressor when you select this effect, in addition to the Frequency property. Set this parameter to target the specific culprit frequency.
One thing to note, This effect shines brightest on higher voices. Don’t be fooled though, this effect is just as handy and versatile as a regular compressor. I encourage you to try it out on any other audio sources and see what sticks.
The last, but certainly not least, effect that the RCP has to offer is the legendary APHEX Aural Exciter and Big Bottom package. I guarantee that you have heard both of these effects in action. The list of music superstars that have used this effect is staggering. Everyone from Kanye West to Paul Mccarty have used this effect on blockbuster records. Normally producers would charge clients per minute to get access to this processor. Now 40 years later the same effect is onboard the RODECaster Pro. Both of these effects work by first splitting the audio, then adding their effect, before mixing it back into the original signal. This is key as you can add the desired effect without affecting the volume or EQ levels. Here is a breakdown of what these effects do and how to dial them into your setup
The Aural Exciter focuses on the higher ranges of the voice and applies a harmonic distortion. This will not reduce intelligibility or raise the levels in any way. Many people find that it brightens their voice as well as adds a little umph to the upper end.
Tune - This setting sets the point where you would like to place the effect. Frequencies higher then the level set will be subject to the effect. My goal is often to bolster the sound instead of dramatically altering the sound. In order to achieve that balance I tend to keep this as high as possible so I am not hitting the entire range of the voice and getting an overly processed sound.
Harmonics - this level allows you to control how much effect you would like to apply to the channel. Normally I set this as about midway and rely on the Tune and Mix function to tweak how much effect gets into the feed.
Mix - The determines how much of the effect channel gets mixed back into the original. I try to keep this as low as possible without losing the desired effect.
The Big Bottom works essentially identical to the Aural exciter however it targets the lower end of the voice and adds a hefty punch to your voice. I personally love this effect but only use it sparingly. I find that too much can make your voice sound aggressive to the ears. The controls function the same as the aural exciter but instead of adding harmonics you are adding drive.
That’s about it! That wraps up the effects that are currently offered for the RODECaster Pro. Here are some takeaways to consider when playing with these effects.
- Have Fun! Remember that creating content should be as fun as it is challenging. Have patience when learning new features. It takes time to develop an ear for these sorts of effects. Trust me, in the end all of these small changes will result in a cleaner sound that will separate you from the others.
- Less is more. Keep in mind that your goal is not to make dramatic changes to your audio. Try to have the precision of a sculpture chisel instead of the sledgehammer. Make small incremental changes until the audio is just right.
- Stay curious. Don’t be afraid to be bold and try new things. Some things will work, others won’t, but you will not find out unless you try.
Thats it from me. Remember to have fun and keep curious!
If you have any questions on the RODE RODECaster Pro or podcasting please feel free to reach out to me at
Email: Brycel@dvestore.com Direct Line: 425-535-4967
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