Review: Røde NewsShooter Kit. Does it Solve All Life’s Problems?

Review: Røde NewsShooter Kit. Does it Solve All Life’s Problems?

Full Disclosure? When I saw the Røde NewsShooter transmitter in its Beta version while shooting the Pro Member Education in Australia, I told Røde in no uncertain terms, “I need to have one of these.” I’m telling you all this so that you can understand: I might be a little biased.

But based on Matthew Allard’s incredible review of the Rode NewsShooter transmitter on NewsShooter.com (from the department of the

NewsShooter Kit

The Røde NewsShooter Kitredundancy department), I don’t think I’m that far off the beaten path.

The Concept

Imagine you were a boom op who has to constantly memorize the script so as to know where to point the very directional hypercardioid microphone on the end of your pole, keep the mic out of the shot and keep 100′ of cables from tripping yourself and banging on the pole. Brutal. Now imagine an ENG team which has to cable a stick mic to a transmitter in the talent’s pocket or, worse, directly to the camera. Imagine your same ENG team needing to use separate cables/transmitters for a lav and the stick mic – which means the camera has to have two receivers mounted to it. Imagine you physically run for your reports.

Yeah. Brutal.

The concept of the NewsShooter “kit” is a one-transmitter-does-all box that solves all of these issues with a sleek and wildly affordable 2.4 Ghz transmitter wonder. Are there other boxes that do this? Oh yeah. Zaxcom came out with an amazing one you can read about here at NAB 2017…for $1,700/channel. There are others. But for $499 on Amazon which includes a Rodelink Receiver (RX) which is identical to the one found in the Røde Filmmaker Kit … Are… You… Kidding… Me…? While there is no microphone which comes with the NewsShooter Kit Package, read on and discover how dope this thing is.

The Prose

Power
There are 3 Ways to power the NSK

I find that writing about this piece of kit is a little like “pitching” it as a Røde rep – which I’m not, so bear with my writing if my experience with the NSK sounds a bit frantic:

  • A cordless solution to boom pole use with an awesome XLR input and phantom power.
  • It runs on regular AA batteries, via Sony NP-F battery or via USB charging.
  • A cordless “buttplug” solution for stick mics for ENG and others – did I mention phantom power?
  • The capability to receive XLR and TRS 1/8″/3.5mm microphones so it can act as a “normal” transmitter.
  • It transmits at 2.4 Ghz frequency range which means it’s not in the crosshairs of the FCC UFH wireless bandwidth sell off and also finds its transmissions alone and unimpeded on set.
  • It has 8 distinct channels which can be easily switched and set up on the fly. Find a bad one? Switch within seconds.
  • It comes with a handy-dandy carrying pouch.
  • It has a robust build which has survived some serious deceleration trauma on my part on set.
  • Has over a 100 meter range.
ButtPlug
The NSK ButtPlug Configuration

The Khans

  • You can expect to burn through a set of Pro Cell AA batteries faster than it takes the Enterprise to get impulse back online in Star Trek II (less than 2 hours).
  • Many times the 2.4 Ghz band is crowded and you’ve only got 7 other channels to go to.

    Kahn
    The Metal XLR Ring Can Sometimes Be…Constricting
  • The carrying case is strangely built and forces the user to have the unit upside down because of the clip position. Sort of like the Botany Bay.
  • It is impossible to have the transmitter transmit to more than one Rode receiver. This is the case for the Filmmaker Kit as well. It’s an issue with diversity at the higher frequency. It would be so dope to be able to send this transmitter output to both the camera and a recorder. They really need to install a prefix code.
  • The amazing metal XLR screw-on connector sometimes is SO durable, it locks itself onto a stick mic so hard, brute force is required to get it off. Like Ricardo Montalban’s grip on Walter Koenig’s spacesuit.
  • The only recommended cables/adapters I suggest are those from Røde. I’ve never been able to get any other cable to work – although I’ve heard stories about some solutions.

The only real issue in the Kahns is the nature of transmission on the 2.4 Ghz band. This range of frequencies is like the wild West: pretty well uncharted for pro audio use. I’ve heard my recording colleagues complain about lost signal reception. I had absolutely no trouble with Rødelink transmission until I arrived at the sardine-can-wireless situation of NAB 2017. There I experienced issues 25 percent of the time. However, simply switching channels fixed it. You can read about my experience here using the Filmmaker and NewsShooter Kits.

The Bottom Line

120 Cs Rating
The Røde NewsShooter Kit Receives a 120 CS Rating

Should you buy one? Yes. And No.

If you do ENG work, Yes.

If you do on set work, the biggest issue is that you don’t get a microphone with the kit – which means you’re shelling out more money for a mic.

The better value for you is the Filmmaker Kit – and then hassle with cords on the boom pole like we’ve been doing for decades.

If you need an all purpose transmitter, Yes.

If you have $3,000 to spend, No. Get one of the higher end models where you’ll have better reception and more perks. Of course, once the FCC rules, you’ll have to throw it away, but at least you’ll have had it as long as you did. And since you have $3k to drop anyway, you’re rich and you can make it back when you get rid of your Audi R8.

For me? Like I said, I’ve been wanting one since I saw it burn through a set of batteries in 45 minutes as a Beta product. Didn’t matter to me, the value is incredible and what it can do in terms of versatility is genius. It’s why it receives a 120 CS Rating

Ultra Full Disclosure: Røde is a sponsor of Cinema Sound and I tend to believe, in general, that it’s really hard to find better value in recording equipment anywhere.

Have a different view or experience? Let us know or Tweet about it!

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