Rode Stereo VideoMic X

Stereo Microphone for The Hot Shoe Camera Mount

  • Inherent noise: 12 dBA
  • Peak SPL: 143 dB
  • Sensitivity: 25 mV
  • Full metal casing made of cast aluminium
  • High RF shielding
  • Two selected 1/2" real condenser capsules in XY arrangement
  • Body noise decoupling of the capsules via miniature lyres by Rycote
  • Electronic push buttons with status LEDs
  • Switchable high-pass filter: 75 Hz - 150 Hz
  • Switchable level adjustment: 10 dB +/- 20 dB
  • Switchable presence lifting: 5 KHz / +6 dB
  • Operation switch with on/off delay and control LED
  • TRS mini jack socket plus 2 balanced mini-XLR jacks - also usable simultaneously
  • Battery compartment for 9 V block
  • Running time with high quality battery >30 hours
  • Operate via XLR connectors also with 48 V phantom power
  • 3/8" thread in the hot shoe adapter for tripod or tilt mounting
  • Dimensions: 102 x 118 x 100 mm
  • Weight (without battery): 300 g
  • Includes basket windscreen, fur windscreen and spiral cable (TRS mini jack)

Further Information

Polar Pattern X/Y
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Comparison Rode Videomic X versus Neumann KM184

Wernie, 18.12.2017
I got the Videomic X to make music videos with my Sony Alpha 6500. The microphone is delivered in a sturdy cardboard box, in which the two windbreaks can be accommodated. Unfortunately, the box is not roadworthy, a zipped pocket would have been better in view of the price.

The first time I used it, I noticed negatively that the mounting nut of the microphone on the hot shoe of my expensive camera left scratches behind. That should not be! In addition, the large spherical windscreen touches the lens and interferes with zooming. However, my system camera is pretty small. For a large SLR camera that should not be the case. After a few days of use, it became noticeable that the control knobs are made of black, overpainted, transparent plastic: the color on the power button began to peel off.

On the positive side, I noticed that the sound is remarkably good, almost as good as with my Neumann KM184 stereo set, which, however, can hardly be attached to a camera. This set is about twice as expensive as the Videomic and can not be operated without additional accessories with battery.

Comparison test: I wanted to know exactly and have the Videomic with the Neumann KM184 built and compared side by side. The comparison is a bit tricky, you have to be careful that you do not go wrong. Since the KM184 is mono, I compared the right channel of the Videomic with the KM184, where I adjusted the volume of both microphones as equal as possible and aligned the microphone axes carefully because of the directional characteristic (kidney in both). As a preamp / mixer, I used a Mackie 402-VLZ3. The result is amazing, you have to listen carefully to make the difference. The KM184 sounds a bit more balanced overall, while the Videomic seems to have a slightly higher treble boost and bass reduction than the KM184, which is not quite linear either. In terms of noise, the difference is minimal, the noise is far below what one is used to from electret microphones. It is almost imperceptible in normal surroundings. The Videomic in the + 20dB setting is slightly louder than the KM184, but its directivity seems to be more pronounced, ie the KM184 gets the voices a bit closer. Again, the difference is small, because the Videomic sounds a bit more present. I have also done acoustic guitar tests, using two KM184s in XY arrangement for comparison. The difference was a bit clearer here, the guitar sounded a bit softer and more natural with the KM184.

Now to the technology: The Rode Videomic X is a stereo microphone consisting of 2 small membrane condenser microphones with 20 mm diameter in XY arrangement. These are not electret microphones, but condenser capsules with a high polarization voltage, which is generated in the microphone with a diode-capacitor cascade connection. The case is made of solid aluminum and relatively heavy, but not waterproof and dustproof. It contains the 9 volt battery and a very low-noise preamplifier with either unbalanced jack output (3.5 mm) or balanced mini-XLR jacks. The electronics are quite elaborate and contain high-quality operational amplifiers of the type LT6234, some "profilipler chips" and even an ATMEL microprocessor. This suggests that the microphone contains digital signal processing, which would not really excite me if it's true. What was forgotten despite this effort, unfortunately, is an overdrive indicator! The impedance converters for the condenser microphones are located in the capsules themselves. These are suspended vibration-isolated. The decoupling of the case is pretty good, handling noise is strongly damped.

The Videomic X clearly plays in the upper quality class, comparable to the best small-diaphragm microphones from Rode. Of course, the KM184 from Neumann is not quite up to scratch. The great thing about the microphone is that it all works in stereo and with a 9 volt battery that lasts for quite a while, and even symmetrically via XLR. In the + 20dB setting, it is loud enough to make the noise of the camera microphone preamplifier disappear. However, you have to be careful that this is not overdriven.

The uses certainly go far beyond the use as a camera microphone. In any case, the Videomic X is except for voices and noises also very good as a guitar microphone. Here comes the benefit that the microphone is quite compact and does not bother in front of the guitar as for example a KM184 stereo set. Due to the bass reduction, it is also slightly less pop-sensitive than the KM184, and does not let the body resonance boom so much. The boundary sound pressure is similar in both.

The use is limited mainly by the non-adjustable XY arrangement without directivity. The stereo effect is much more restrained in an XY arrangement than in an AB arrangement. Compared to a mid-side stereo mic, the panorama is not adjustable and the stereo center a bit weaker. So in this regard, no miracle. Distant speakers are better detected with a directional microphone. Even for choirs or orchestras, the microphone is not the first choice, but for convincing ambience recordings at any time. Because of the high limit sound level, it can also be used at rock concerts. For outdoor use, the two windbreaks (foam and fur) are very welcome.

Conclusion: Apart from the mentioned limitations (minor defects in processing, lack of overdrive display and non-adjustable XY arrangement without directivity), the Videomic X can really only be highly recommended. The sound is great and the price is reasonably consistent.
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Microphone

Florent060, 07.10.2016
Very good microphone especially for the setting of atmosphere.

A good depth in the bass while remaining very clean, limpid in the acute.
Clear and transparent sound.

A microphone with two capsules: these are therefore two microphones oriented right / left, which requires you to know how to orient the microphone according to the shot and the angle of sound diffusion chosen.
With a few tests, we learn quickly.
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