Rode M2 Live Condenser Vocal Microphone Review
Rode is an Australian company well-respected around the world as a manufacturer of high quality live and studio microphones for a wide range of applications and catering for different budgets.
The stage was once the sole domain of dynamic microphones, such as the ubiquitous Shure SM58. The SM58 has long been the industry standard for live vocal microphones. A 58 will offer a reasonable sound and is virtually indestructible without breaking the bank…and they can be purchased just about anywhere.
But condenser microphones are being designed more and more with the stage in mind. The point of difference? A well-built condenser microphone will offer a smoother response through the full frequency range and offer more attention to detail than a dynamic mic will.
The Rode M2 is a handheld condenser mic designed with vocalists in mind. It features a super-cardioid polar pattern to reject off-axis sounds. The frequency range of the M2 is 35Hz to 20kHz, higher than the typical dynamic mic, which will roll off the high end above 16hKz.
The microphone itself looks like a quality bit of gear straight out of the box. The manufacturing standards at Rode are extremely high, and they believe in their products so much that many come with a ten year warranty.
It will require phantom power to run, but can function with anything ranging from 24V to 48V.
The M2 is shipped with a pouch and stand mount.
So, most importantly, how does it sound?
As a vocalist I am primarily a guitarist. Singing has been something of a necessity instead of a choice. My voice in terms of range lines up very well with Eric Clapton’s vocals, so I’m a baritone.
I mentioned the SM58 earlier and for many years I used one of these mics. They are just about indestructible! I’ve even had a car in a club carpark run over my mic and it kept working without issue. And the overall sound is good, but the M2 offers more than good!
My first impression was how smooth and full the response of the mic was. I sang some acoustic blues and it was a great match for the material at hand - I was able to get a great warm and rounded tone from my voice without having to reach for the EQ at all. The nature of such a microphone will tend to produce more detail in the signal than the equivalent dynamic mic - certainly this is in evidence here. I was very pleased with how good my vocals actually sounded. At the risk of repeating myself so soon, the warmth and detail were particularly evident, certainly far more so than from the SM58 I have used for many years.
The output was also somewhat higher, so I needed to trim the input signal back by 8db or so. Handling noise is very low - always a good thing- and I am confident that it will provide great results for a range of vocalists in a variety of live situations.
At the time of writing, the SM58 and the M2 both have a RRP of $249, with a street price normally much better than this. Given the price, build and tonal production, the Rode M2 offers fantastic value.