Rode has announced the new VXLR Pro, expanding on the original VXLR and VXLR Plus with one new and extremely useful feature. It lets you run your cables up to a length of about 100m with little-to-no drop in quality, thanks to new transformer-balanced output electronics.
While designed specifically with the VideoMic NTG in mind – for reasons that will be obvious to just about anybody who’s used it – the VXLR Pro isn’t limited to just that one microphone. It works with practically all of Rode’s 3.5mm on-camera and lavalier microphones to give them balanced XLR output. And you even get phantom power.
The Rode VideoMic NTG (review here) is a powered on-camera microphone with some very smart features. It can detect when you turn the camera on and off, turning itself on and off automatically when you do so, and it also has a Type-C USB socket that allows it to act as a digital audio source with your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android device.
But, the design of the Rode VideoMic NTG, in my opinion, puts it far above and beyond the rest of Rode’s previous VideoMic models in terms of sound quality. I’ve been using the VideoMic NTG for the past several months both as an on-camera microphone and as the main microphone on my computer for recording voiceovers for videos. And, to be honest, plugging it straight into a camera and dealing with crappy preamps sometimes feels like a waste of its abilities.
So, this is where the VXLR Pro steps in. It turns the VideoMic NTG’s 3.5mm analogue output into a balanced XLR output, allowing you to plug it directly into an XLR socket on a camera or into the XLR socket on a field recorder. It can even step down the 48v phantom power to the 4v plug-in power that microphones like the Rode VideoMicro and VideoMic GO utilise to do their thing. In fact, the complete list of compatible Rode microphones looks a little something like this…
- VideoMic NTG
- Wireless GO
- VideoMic Pro
- VideoMic Pro+
- VideoMic GO
- RØDELink Filmmaker Kit
- SmartLav+ (When used with SC3 Adapter)
It’s also compatible with the PG2-R pistol grip (this is the same one that comes with the Rode NTG5 – review here) when you want to use the VideoMic NTG or another one of the usually-on-camera microphones in a more traditional shotgun mic setting, either handheld or on the end of a boom pole.
But what makes the VXLR Pro special over the VXLR Plus (which also offers a 48v to 4v plug-in power step-down) is that the VXLR Pro offers a balanced audio output. It will actually convert the non-balanced output of the microphone you plug into it into a balanced output. This means you can run XLR cables up to 100 metres in length with little-to-no drop in quality.
It means that you can use the VideoMic NTG or other compatible VideoMic microphones in the same way you would something like the Rode NTG3, NTG5 or any other shotgun microphone without really having to worry about the length of your cables in most shooting situations.
A very cool update to an often overlooked adapter.
The Rode VXLR Pro transformer-balanced 3.5mm TRS female to XLR male adapter is available to pre-order now for $39 and starts shipping soon.