For 2015, Rode have updated their hugely popular Videomic Pro. It’s one of the company’s most popular and well-known products because it provides an instant quality boost to camcorder and DSLR audio for very little money.
The VMP is a small, lightweight shotgun mic with unbalanced mono output on a stereo 3.5mm jack. As usual it boasts Rode’s 10 year warranty if you register the purchase; and as before it runs for hours off a single 9 volt battery, and offers a high boost output to compensate for the awful preamps you get on many DSLRs.
But there are two new aspects to this model. First it now offers the Rycote Lyre suspension system which is a virtually unbreakable flexible plastic whereas the old VMP used elastic bands which would eventually perish or snap. We’ve reviewed versions of the Lyre before on Tubeshooter and it’s excellent both in strength and in isolating handling noise.
Naked of its foam windshield, the new VMP is about the same size as before but the supplied windshield is now much thicker and longer so it looks bulkier as a whole, although it’s still not massive when seen on a camcorder. You’ll need a bigger furry windjammer on it than before if you’re filming outside though.
As with the old model, power comes from a single 9 volt battery which slots in underneath; on the back there are switches for on, off and a low-end bass cut filter, as well as the minus 10, zero and plus 20 dB gain, so as to match the levels to your recorder.
The other major change is that Rode have updated the capsule inside the mic as well. They say it now offers a self-noise of just 14dB and greater sensitivity than before.
So what does it sound like in practice? In our video, we compare it to the first generation VMP and then see how it sounds outside picking up some music.
Being unbalanced there is always a worry that a mic will pick up electrical interference so we took it very close to a dusty old DECT landline handset and if you turn up the volume you’ll hear there IS some pickup when close. But when placed next to a ringing mobile phone, we didn’t record any of the usual mobile jitter.
In summary, though we never recommend on-camera mics for anything other than background sound, this is a worthwhile update from Rode. The sound quality we think is much the same as before notwithstanding the new capsule, and that’s to say it’s pretty good especially at the price, but the Lyre suspension is a definite plus and keeps the VMP at the forefront of the market for tiny shotgun mics.
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