(NOTE: the kit was provided to us free of charge but the opinions and love for it expressed are genuinely our own; we never let suppliers dictate what we say in our reviews)
Rode’s Newsshooter kit turns any XLR microphone into a wireless radio mic. There are two parts, a transmitter which plugs into your microphone, and a receiver, which plugs into your camcorder.
The receiver is the same as the one in Rode’s “Rodelink filmmaker” wireless lavalier system, a slightly bulky plastic box with a bright, easy to see display on top, and buttons for on/off, channel selection to pair with a transmitter, and a mute function.
On the back, there’s a detachable cold shoe mount for fixing the receiver to the camcorder, and on the side a locking 3.5mm jack to take the mono audio to the camcorder – if your cam has XLR sockets, you’ll need a separate adapter which is not supplied, unfortunately.
Power for the receiver comes from two AA cells. Also under the sliding cover are a gain control to attenuate the signal going to the camcorder, and a red button used when pairing the receiver with a transmitter.
The transmitter is a fairly solid, oblong block, mostly made of metal which gives it a reassuringly substantial and heavy-duty feel.
The idea is that your stick mic plugs directly onto the female XLR at the top but a nice touch is the inclusion of a 3.5mm mic jack if you want to use this as a transmitter for unbalanced mics such as some lavaliers or small camcorder shotgun types.
A simple control panel hides behind a slide-down flap on the front and again there’s a bright display. On the side, you find a headphone jack for monitoring if needed – amusingly, it goes up to 11 – and a USB port which can be used to power the unit.
Otherwise, the transmitter takes two AA cells again but ingeniously, the pack is designed to be the same shape as a Sony NPF battery pack so you can even slot one of those directly in. Having three powering options makes this very versatile.
Another nice touch is the supplied pouch into which the transmitter can sit, that pouch having a belt clip on it, so if you’re using this with a tieclip mic, or you just want to wire a stick mic down to the pack, it will act like a normal belt pack transmitter.
Pairing the transmitter and receiver is easy – just a couple of button presses – and once done, the system takes care of keeping them in tune.
There are three issues to consider on this kind of system: what the audio quality is like; how reliable the transmission is; and what distance it will work over.
Obviously, quality will depend on what kind of mic you use but as an example, our voiceover in the video above was recorded on the newsshooter system using a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun mic and a Sony AX53 camcorder.
In terms of reliability, the transmission is entirely digital and uses the 2.4GHz WiFi band, hopping around frequencies automatically to minimise glitches. While recording this video, we set up two WiFi networks right next to the transmitter and could detect two more in the vicinity but it didn’t seem to affect the signal.
And as for distance, 100 metres in clear line of sight is suggested; it will be less if there are obstacles between transmitter and receiver. Watch the video for our test.
In conclusion, this is an excellent product from Rode. Arguably, it’s better then their wireless lavalier system because this will transmit either a 3.5mm unbalanced signal such as a low cost lavalier, or an XLR mic so it’s multipurpose.
The only critiques are that the transmitter and receiver could always do with being made smaller, and it’s a shame a 3.5mm to XLR adapter isn’t included for plugging the receiver into a professional camcorder.
Thanks for watching; leave any questions below.
If you’d like to buy the system, please consider using these links as that way we get a small commission which helps to keep the videos coming:
Newsshooter kit: http://amzn.to/2gzxQbP
Filmmaker kit: http://amzn.to/2dlSwrK