Over the winter break, I got a pair of Rode M5 microphones and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. I was able to record some things with them, and the Scarlett even came with some extra plug-ins. So this week, I’ll be writing about my experience using the microphones and audio interface.
The Rode M5s came as a pair of pencil condensers which means they have a smaller diaphragm making them more responsive and detailed. The cylindrical shape also makes them easy to position. They also came with microphone clips and pop filters for each microphone which was really useful. However, I feel like the clips were a bit too tight. While they are supposed to be tight enough to make sure your microphones don’t fall out, these ones made getting the microphones in really difficult.
I’ve only used one other microphone to record with before, and although I don’t know the name of it, that’s what I’ll compare the Rode M5s to. Using a spaced pair setup towards the fretboard and bridge to record guitar I would say that the M5s definitely pick up a lot less room noise. I also think that they picked up some more of the high frequencies compared to my previous microphone, but that could’ve just been from positioning. Having two microphones also helps create a much wider stereo image compared to using one microphone.
Moving on to the Scarlett 2i2, it has four different inputs, two XLR and two 1/4″ however only two can be used simultaneously. The main reason why I ended up getting a new audio interface is because I needed to be able to have two XLR inputs available at the same time to record using the M5s in stereo. All the knobs for things like gain and volume feel really smooth and the two line outputs at the back were needed to connect the monitor speakers that I got soon after.
Comparing the Scarlett 2i2 with the previous Apogee One I was using, it sits a lot easier on the desk and has much more input options. The noise between both of them is quite minimal so there’s not much of a difference there. However, the software on the Scarlett is much easier to navigate and change settings. The different plug-ins that came with the Scarlett are also really useful as well. Some of the VSTs sound really cool, so I want to try using those soon.
Overall, the Rode M5s and Scarlett 2i2 are big upgrades to my recording setup. The M5s allow me to record in stereo while reducing room noise and getting more detail. The Scarlett makes it possible to use the microphones and also allowed me to have outputs to connect to my future monitors. Next week, I’ll write about the new JBL 305p MKIIs I got over the break as well.