RODE VideoMicro II review

The RODE VideoMicro II microphone boasts “small size, stunning sound”. It's a great choice for video beginners

RØDE VideoMicro II
(Image: © Rod Lawton)

Digital Camera World Verdict

In the context of on-camera shotgun mics generally, the VideoMicro II is pretty small and very light, but by the time you put on the foam or furry wind shield (both are included), the size difference over a regular shotgun mic is hardly huge. And while the audio quality is great and the price is definitely right, it’s a lot less versatile than the RODE VideoMic II, and not massively cheaper.

Pros

  • +

    Extremely light, not very big

  • +

    Foam and furry windshields included

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Inexpensive to buy

Cons

  • -

    Not as small as all that

  • -

    3.5mm analog output only

  • -

    No headphone monitoring

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The VideoMicro II is the smallest on-camera shotgun mic in the RODE line-up and its price, size and simplicity make ideal for video and vlogging beginners, as well as videographers who need a small, compact mic to keep in the kitbag in case it’s needed.

The shotgun design means it has a highly direction, focused pickup pattern designed to capture sound from a subject directly in front of the camera and suppress sound from the sides or behind the mic. It’s a popular design for on-camera use, though it can also be used off camera.

It's worth considering as one of the best microphones to get if you're just starting out, and it would make a good companion to the best vlogging cameras, though you might also want to look a the best wireless microphones for longer-distance filming, and if you're already looking at the best 4K cameras for video and filmmaking, you might want to look at the RODE VideoMic GO II instead, which is a bit more versatile.

Specifications

Weight: 24g, 29g with isolation mount
Dimensions: 80 x 22mm
Acoustic Principle: Pressure Gradient. Electret Condenser
Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
Frequency Response: 20Hz — 20kHz
Output Impedance: ~2.6kΩ
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 79 dB
Dynamic Range: 95 dB
Sensitivity: -30dBV (31.62 mV @ 94 dB SPL) ± 1 dB @ 1kHz
Max SPL: 110 dB SPL
Output Connection: 3.5mm TRS

Key features

The RØDE VideoMicro II is very small and light for a shotgun microphone, weighing just 24g without its mount. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

RODE says its new mic offers “Professional quality” despite its small size and low weight. It uses RODE’s annular line tube tech to provide a highly directional supercardioid polar pattern.

You don’t need a battery, and the mic comes with a new ‘Helix’ isolation mount to suppress any vibration from the camera. RODE’s new mount has been developed especially for this mic’s small size and low weight.

There is actually quite a lot in the box. As well as the mic and its isolation mount, you get a regular foam windshield and a furry windshield too for when wind noise is worse. There are also two patch (connection) cables, one of which is a TRS-TRS type for regular camera connections, and a TRS-TRRS cable for smartphones – iPhone users will need to get a Lightning-TRRS adaptor.

It cannot work as a USB mic like its bigger brother, the VideoMic Go II, however, and it does not have that mic’s audio monitoring socket – though more advanced vlogging cameras will have these anyway.

Handling and performance

RØDE's new Helix shock absorbing mount has been made specially for the VideoMicro II. You can see the 3.5mm output jack at the back. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The VideoMicro II could hardly be simpler to use. The Helix mount has a generic cold shoe foot (no electrical connections) that slides straight into your camera’s accessory shoe, and then all you need to do is connect the cable from the mic to the camera. It will automatically override the camera’s in-built mic.

RODE says the VideoMicro II has ‘all-metal’ construction, which is a bit of a stretch given that it’s only the mic itself which is metal – the suspension mount and mounting foot are plastic, though they do the job perfectly well.

The audio quality is a clear step up from a camera’s in-built mic. We tested the VideoMicro II on a Panasonic Lumix G9, and where the in-built mic lost volume very quickly as we moved away from the camera, the VideoMic II was still capturing speech quite clearly even from a distance of 4m.

Shotgun mics do have limitations. The further away you get, the fainter the sound – that’s when you need to switch to a lavalier (lapel) mic or a wireless mic.

And while the VideoMicro II does have a much more focused directional pickup pattern than the inbuilt mic on a camera or smartphone, it’s not immune to sounds from other directions. We had to abort our first test when dogs in a neighboring garden (behind the camera) started barking.

Verdict

You do get quite a lot for your money, including the mic and its mount, both a foam and a furry windshield, and cables for both a camera and a smartphone. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The RODE VideoMicro II is affordable, light and super-simple to use – and it comes with all the accessories you’re likely to need. It’s a nice surprise to get both a foam and a furry windshield and two patch cables not one.

Its performance is really good. The improvement in quality over an in-built mic is obvious straight away, and it has more range for capturing audio from subjects further from the camera and with reduced ambient noise from other directions.

Read more:

Best microphones (opens in new tab) for vlogging & filmmaking
Best lavalier microphones (opens in new tab)
Best mic isolation shields (opens in new tab)
Best iPhone microphones (opens in new tab)
Best mic boom arms (opens in new tab)
Best audio recorders (opens in new tab)

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Rod Lawton
Contributor

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com (opens in new tab) but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com (opens in new tab)