It’s easier than ever to record podcasts, live-stream videos, and so on. Recently, we took a look at the Rode XDM-100 microphone, and found that it offered excellent audio quality. Only one problem — it’s not necessarily cheap. Thankfully, however, Rode offers a cheaper option — in the form of the Rode XCM-50.
The Rode XCM-50 is built to be a little more approachable, offers a more compact design, and comes at half the price. How many corners does it cut to get there? I’ve been using the Rode XCM-50 to find out.
- Solid design
- Good audio
- Good accessory selection
- Ports are a little cheap-feeling
Rode XCM-50 design
The first thing to notice about the Rode XCM-50 is its design, and it’s quite a nice-looking microphone. That said, it’s different from the Rode XDM-100 in a number of different ways. For example, the XCM-50 has an angled square design, which looks quite modern.
It has a red grille on the front and back, and on the back, you’ll find the USB-C port and headphone jack. On the front, you’ll find the volume knob.
Now, I wish the volume knob was a bit easier to use. Specifically, it doesn’t protrude from the front of the microphone, so you have to control it with your thumb, at the bottom. It’s not the most intuitive design, but it’s workable
In terms of build quality, the Rode XCM-50 does feel relatively well-built. It’s not quite on the level of the XDM-100, but it’s still solid.
Overall, the microphone looks good and feels relatively well-built. On top of that, it comes with a desk mount, USB-C cable, and headphone extension cable, which is a good selection of accessories.
Rode Unify software
The Rode XCM-50 also comes with Unify software. This software allows you to control the microphone, as well as mix different audio sources. I only used the software for a few minutes, but found it to be intuitive and easy to use — which was great.
Unfortunately, the software is only available for Windows. Mac users can still use the microphone, but they won’t be able to control it with the Unify software.
Rode XCM-50 sound
We’ve established that the Rode XCM-50 has a solid design and comes with useful software. But, of course, the most important thing is sound quality. Thankfully, it sounds great.
The Rode XCM-50 has a cardioid pattern. That means that it’ll accept audio from the front, and reject it from the back. Some reviews have suggested that the inability to change this is a downside. But, frankly, that’s the pattern you would want here — so it’s a good thing.
Now, the Rode XCM-50 doesn’t sound as great as the higher-end XDM-100. But, for the price, it does sound excellent. It sounds warm and detailed, and is well-tuned for spoken word. In comparison to the XDM-100, the XCM-50 seems to sound a bit less well-rounded. But the XCM-50 is no slouch — it sounds great. especially for the price.
The Rode XCM-50 may not be as impressive as the XDM-100, but it’s still an excellent option. The microphone offers a good design, useful software, and impressive sound — all at a very affordable price. If you’re looking for a good USB microphone for live-streaming and podcasting, then the Rode XCM-50 is a great choice.
Competition is strong in this area, but the Rode XCM-50 really stands out. Its design, features, and sound quality combine to make it an excellent choice for budget-minded buyers. Rode is an audio company through and through, and that definitely helps it in the streaming microphone world.
It’s also worth considering any of the options from Blue Microphones, however, I tend to think the XCM-50 is a better option for the price.
Should I buy the Rode XCM-50?
Yes, if you’re looking for a good, inexpensive USB microphone, then the Rode XCM-50 is a great option.