Rode Videomic GO II review
Written by Gordon Laing
The Rode Videomic Go II is a compact shotgun microphone aimed at video creators, podcasters or anyone wanting to improve the quality of Zoom calls. Launched in January 2022, it costs around $99 and slots between the budget Videomicro and the high-end Videomic NTG in Rode’s range.
All three are designed to mount onto camera hotshoes or boom poles, and as shotguns all are also designed to concentrate on the sound right in front of them, so ideal for recording vlogs, podcasts or any kind of piece to camera. Where they differ is in size, quality and features.
The Videomic Go II is the successor to the original Videomic Go launched over five years earlier and like that model is designed to be as simple as possible, powered by whatever you plug it into and with no battery or controls to worry about. In my complete video review below I’ll show you around the mic and how it compares to other models, and of course let you hear how it sounds. If you prefer to read a written version, keep scrolling!
The Videomic Go II is essentially a smaller, lighter and simpler version of the NTG, sharing a similar acoustic and external design. The naked mic tube itself is 15cm long, made of metal and weighs just 89g. Like the NTG, it clips onto the supplied shockmount which effectively absorbs any vibrations while also providing channels to guide cables.
Rode supplies the Videomic Go II with a foam cover that provides some protection against minor wind noise, but if you’re filming in breezy conditions you should use the optional fluffy accessory that costs around $30 to minimise any rumble. Note the cheaper Videomicro skips the dense foam cover and is supplied with a fluffy accessory making it more practical out of the box for breezy conditions, although it can get in the way of some smaller cameras.
Like the NTG, a twist of a locking wheel lets you slide the entire mount back or forth by around 2cm in either direction, which, coupled with side-mounted ports, means you can position the mic so it won’t get in the way if you’re filming with the electronic viewfinder on a mirrorless camera.
In contrast the older VideoMic Pro+ not only can’t shift back and forth, but also positions its audio cable on the back rather than the side – this makes it awkward to use when composing through an electronic viewfinder. Rode fixed this with the sliding mount on the NTG which is now inherited on the Go II. Just push them forwards and you won’t get in the way of the viewfinder. Alternatively if you’re filming with an ultra-wide lens, being able to slide the mic back could avoid it appearing in the top of shots.
Again like the NTG, there’s two ports on the Videomic Go II: on one side, a standard 3.5mm analogue output for connecting to cameras or audio recorders, and a USB C port on the opposite side for connecting to phones, tablets or laptops. Rode supplies a 3.5mm male to male analogue cable with the mic, but you’ll need to supply your own USB cable.
The ability to also be used as a USB mic is a key benefit the Go II has over its predecessor as well as the Videomicro and Pro+, and when connected over USB, the analogue port on the opposite side doubles as a zero-latency headphone jack.
Like its predecessor and the smaller Videomicro, there’s no battery in the Go II, with the mic instead powered directly by your camera or USB connection. In contrast the Pro+ and NTG both use built-in batteries, which are charged over USB. Rode has also kept things simpler than the higher-end models by not including any physical controls on the Go II, but that doesn’t mean it misses out on some of their more advanced configuration options.
Connect the Videomic Go II over USB and the Rode Central app – available for mobile or desktop – allows you to pre-configure a bunch of options including a pad, a high pass filter which could help reduce rumbling from a light breeze, and a high frequency boost. Handy if you need the features, without over-complicating the device for those who just want to plug and play. And while it lacks the signal boost of higher-end models, the output is sufficiently loud for most cameras and devices to have their pre-amps set reasonably low. You will need to take some care over your levels though as unlike the NTG and Pro+, there’s no safety channel option.
For my audio tests, I recorded examples from four mics in three different environments: first the built-in mics of my Sony A6400 camera that I use for filming, followed by the Videomic Go II, then the older Videomic Pro+ and finally the recently released Lavalier II. I tested all four indoors at a distance of 1m, then 50cm, before finally taking them all outside. You can hear the results in my video review near the top of the page.
Rode Videomic GO II verdict
The Rode Videomic Go II is a solid choice for anyone who wants to upgrade the audio quality of their recordings without breaking the bank, whether they’re YouTube creators, Podcasters or simply making online calls with colleagues or family.
It takes the simplicity of the original Go microphone with no battery or controls to worry about, but inherits key features of the high-end NTG mic including a sliding mount to get out the way of viewfinders and ultra wide lenses, and a USB port so you can alternatively connect it to a computer, tablet or phone as well as a camera.
The higher-end Videomic NTG is unsurprisingly better-featured with a fuller sound, physical controls, safety channel and adjustable gain, but the Go II does offer some adjustments via Rode’s app and is loud enough to keep most camera pre-amps nice and low.
If you’re recording outdoors, I would strongly recommend a fluffy accessory for any shotgun mic to reduce wind noise, and Rode’s will set you back around 30 bucks. And if you’re more than a meter away from the camera, get the mic on a boom pole or just use a lav mic instead; in fact when it gets really breezy, lav mics often prove better overall, so think carefully where you’ll be recording.
Ultimately the higher-end NTG has justifiably become one of the most popular mics for creators, but at $250 is beyond the reach of many on tighter budgets. This is where the Videomic Go II comes in, delivering key aspects of the NTG but costing two and a half times less; it is essentially a Mini NTG, with the quality and features making it one of the best shotgun mics you can buy at a double-digit price.Check prices on the Rode Videomic GO II at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!