Rode has produced some of the best microphones for home recording, and its software could be a game-changer for making your own group podcasts and livestreams.
Rode Connect is a new, free app for Windows and macOS that lets you record and stream the input from multiple microphones at once, all on a single computer. However, it’s only compatible with the Rode NT-USB Mini mic, so Blue Yeti fans will need to stick to more complex setups.
The reason it’s usually so hard to use several microphones with a single PC or Mac is that without additional hardware and software, the computers can only recognize one USB mic at a time. Buying highly specialized gear like a USB audio interface is therefore a common, if expensive and inconvenient solution.
Rode Connect, by contrast, is free to install, uses a simple UI and integrates multiple audio peripherals without needing any other external hardware. You can connect up to four NT-USB Mini microphones and control their volume levels, including muting, from a single screen. Podcast hosts will likely appreciate the ability to add fades and compression too, as well as set up separate channels “Virtual” and “System” channels.
These allow you to simultaneously record music and soundboard ditties from the same computer, as well as stream the audio of someone who might be calling in over a Skype or Zoom call. Hosts can apply the same controls as the locally connected microphones.
For the most part, Rode Connect sounds like an excellent solution to a problem that’s yet to have a truly accessible, easy-to-use solution. It doesn’t just need to benefit group podcasts, either: solo streamers might want multiple microphones, and aspiring musicians can use several mics to record their instruments.
However, only being compatible with the NT-USB Mini is a huge limitation; you can’t even use the Rode Podcaster, our favorite dedicated podcasting microphone. The NT-USB Mini costs $99 so isn’t expensive, even by the standards of the best microphones for gaming, streaming and podcasting, but hopefully Rode finds a way to at least expand support to other models in its own range.