Rode Wireless ME Adds A Second Microphone And Gets Twice As Useful: First Look

It's fair to say the original Rode Wireless GO microphones shook up the audio world. Affordable enough for fledgling podcasters and independent video producers to add to their kit bag, but sufficiently flexible and reliable that even the pros were convinced, it's now rare to find a YouTube video that doesn't include the surreptitious black block clipped to someone's shirt or coat. The Wireless GO II followed, with dual channels and a pair of microphone transmitters that also support onboard recording.

Now, Rode is closing up another gap in the offering, by adding a microphone to the receiver, too. The Rode Wireless ME is a two-unit set, with a microphone transmitter and an upgraded receiver. The latter not only pipes in audio from the transmitter into whatever camera or smartphone you're using but also has a microphone itself. The company is pitching it as ideal for interviews, where whoever is3 holding the camera might also want to be heard, as well as for capturing voiceovers.

A second transmitter can be paired — either another Wireless ME or Wireless GO II unit — for a total of three microphones being captured simultaneously. As before, there's a handy hot shoe-sized clip on the back of each unit — which also slots into the flash mount on most cameras — and Rode uses its 2.4 GHz wireless for over 100m (328 feet) of range.

Everything you need in the box

Out-of-the-box setup is easy, with the microphone and transmitter coming pre-paired. Hit the power button and they automatically connect, and Rode includes two 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables — one for camera inputs, the other suitable for phone/laptop jacks — a USB-C to Lightning, and a USB-C to USB-C cable for maximum flexibility. Plugged into an iPhone, and it showed up as a microphone source straight away.

By default, the Wireless ME blends the audio from both microphones into a single channel. However, you can also split them into separate channels, something the Rode Central app for Windows/Mac, along with versions for iOS and Android, makes easy (together with firmware updates and adjusting GainAssist and levels). Rode also has a new iOS app, Rode Capture, which supports video and audio capture on iPhone.

With that, you can record from the front, back, or both cameras simultaneously, as well as toggle the Wireless ME's channel settings and more. A free download from the App Store, it'll also allow settings control over Rode's other wireless microphones.

Automatic control over gain

While there's no shortage of accessories for Rode's wireless microphones — including different mounting clips, cases, and even adapters that turn it into a handheld mic — most of what you'll need comes in the box. As well as the four audio cables, Rode includes a fur windshield for each Wireless ME unit, plus a carrying pouch.

That takes care of the hardware. On the audio side, Rode's GainAssist automatically adjusts input levels to avoid clipping or distortion (or you can turn it off completely), while there are three levels of output gain. What the Wireless ME doesn't have is the onboard storage that the Wireless GO II introduced; instead, the focus is on recording with whatever device the receiver is hooked up to.

Another omission is a microphone input on the receiver. While there's a 3.5mm input jack on the transmitter, for using a lav mic or similar, the receiver can only use its in-built microphone.

Still, there's a whole lot here to like, particularly at the $149 price point Rode has set for the Wireless ME. That's just half what the $299 Wireless GO II — which it joins, rather than replaces — retails for. Either way, it's just as straightforward to use, a boon when you want to focus on recording not setting up equipment, and Rode's include-everything strategy means there's no hold-up whether you're filming with a smartphone, a camera, or something else. The Wireless ME is shipping now.