After years spent in skilled studios, RODE is stepping into gaming, and the streaming for avid gamers house. Launched as the enduring model’s new ‘streaming and gaming division’ RODE X brings two new microphones to the market, the dynamic XDM-100 and this, the XCM-50.A $149/£169 USB condenser microphone, the RODE X XCM-50 guarantees studio high quality sound that’s been ‘optimised for gaming and streaming’. It ought to have all of the substances to make it the most effective microphones for streaming, however this a crowded market to interrupt into, no matter your roots.Today’s finest RODE X XCM-50 offers (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)Design & optionsThere’s one thing surprisingly charming concerning the design of the XCM-50. A compact little rectangle with rounded edges and a playful pink tint behind the grill, the entire unit measures simply 11cm lengthy and 6cm huge. The built-in 360-degree swing mount means the XCM-50 usually lives with a seemingly quizzical tilt to its head, possibly that’s the place the appeal comes from; it is a bit like R2D2 reborn as a microphone. Both the USC-C and three.5mm headphone jack ports are hidden on the again and a putting pink achieve dial pops off the entrance. There’s fairly a little bit of resistance to the dial which can cease unintentional bumps, however I additionally discovered it to be considerably redundant anyway. I spun it to 80% once I first arrange the microphone and by no means checked out it once more. Any stage adjustments from then on had been from the software program facet, nevertheless it’s not doing anybody any hurt by being there I suppose.(Image credit score: Future/Alex Berry)Build high quality on the XCM-50 is as rock strong as you’d count on from RODE and the gently textured black steel physique has a correctly premium really feel to it. The similar is true of the included 3m USB-C to USB-C cable, it simply feels extremely high-end. It’s not a generic plasticky cable, it’s versatile and rubberised and beautiful. I do know this can be a microphone assessment and never a cable assessment, nevertheless it actually stood out to me and it sums up the entire expertise with RPDE X and the XCM-50 – you’re getting actual high quality in change for that above-average worth level.RODE does embody a stand with the XCM-50 which comes as a nice shock and like every part else within the field the mini tripod feels well-made and premium. However, whereas one thing is certainly higher than nothing, I didn’t discover it significantly helpful. The clear desk house wanted when the tripod is absolutely open meant there was no spot I might add it to my setup the place it wasn’t in the best way of one thing else or within the fallacious place for the mic itself. Of course, you too can mount the XCM-50 to a standard mic arm and the hidden, built-in shock mount did a commendable job at isolating bangs and bumps from the desk.(Image credit score: Future/Alex Berry)EfficiencyFor a plug-and-play USB microphone in such a compact kind issue the XCM-50 floored me with simply how properly it carried out. You’d be forgiven for anticipating a small microphone like this to ship timid outcomes however the reality is the other. The XCM-50 produced impressively highly effective, clear audio from the outset, even with out tweaking EQ settings.Being a condenser microphone you’ll discover a crisper and extra pure sound right here than with dynamic microphones just like the XDM-100. This isn’t to say higher in fact nevertheless it does deliver with it completely different issues in terms of your setup and what you wish to current.(Image credit score: Future/Alex Berry)In testing, I discovered the XCM-50 did an excellent job at offering loud and clear vocals that sounded such as you had been in the identical room. It was extra pure than the overly easy ‘podcast voice’ some microphones purpose for whereas nonetheless sounding clear and with out an extra of room noise. Condenser microphones can usually be introduced undone by unhealthy environments, however the RODE X XCM-50 does a superb job of minimising disruption courtesy of a decent polar sample and built-in pop filter.The XCM-50 options some intelligent inner processing as commonplace too however if you wish to take additional management then RODE has launched the UNIFY app. It nonetheless feels slightly bit beta and the included filter and impact choices are restricted for now, however they do a good job of providing some primary personalisation to hone in your audio. There’s room for enchancment on the software program facet however fortunately it’s removed from obligatory anyway.(Image credit score: Future/Alex Berry)Overall – Should you purchase the RODE X XCM-50?It’s a little bit of a cliche however the RODE XCM-50 is a good instance of getting what you pay for. At $149/£169 it’s on the larger finish of USB microphones nevertheless it delivers construct high quality and efficiency properly and actually within the high tier. For streamers searching for a balanced, natural-sounding microphone the XCM-50 is an excellent choice that won’t disappoint. Today’s finest RODE X XCM-50 offers (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)How we examined the RODE X XCM-50The RØDE X XCM-50 turned my major microphone for a few weeks, mounted on a PSA1+ mic arm and related to my gaming PC with the equipped USB-C cable. It was examined throughout a variety of duties together with stay streaming, voice recording, and Discord calls. You can learn extra about our strategy to gaming tech and merchandise within the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.Complete your streaming setup with the most effective seize playing cards and the very best webcams.