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So, this question is for anyone out there who has used both Rode and Rycote wind protection systems. Twice now I've heard people say they prefer the Rode system over the Rycote (Haydn Payne here on SSD being one of them). I'm curious if there's anyone else here who has used both and has a preference for one over the other.

I'm trying to make a decision on future purchases. The Rode price point is very appealing, and I could probably mod it to take a Rycote Connbox if I really wanted to get silly. Any thoughts on durability and functional performance of the two brands? I'm just looking at this comparison for single mic systems (not stereo/m-s).

[I'm aware that Sennheiser makes zeppelin kits as well. We have two at work, and I'm not impressed with the way the back cap fits. They're out of the running as far as I'm concerned.]

Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: So I found a deal on a used Rycote kit. I upgraded the suspension to the new lyre mounts and added a Connbox. Very happy with it, and definitely prefer it over the Sennheiser models.

Update #2: I now own three Rycote systems...just sayin'. ;)

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8 Answers 8

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I own the Rode and have the Rycote at work.

The Rode blimp has several characteristics that are pretty dramatically different from the Rycote:

  • It's much heavier. Probably 2 or 3x as heavy. If your intent is to just mount it on a manfrotto lightstand and roll on sounds then this isn't an issue. If you plan on swinging it on the end of a boompole then you're probably in for a long day.

  • It's much wider. I can fit my PCM D50 comfortably inside of the circle rings. I could never do that with the Rycote. picture here

  • The threads on the endcap are much thicker. The Rycote's endcaps are a little fiddly by comparison.

  • It has an integrated cable that it built well

  • It ships with a fuzzy. The Rycote does not.

  • The mounting rail is much thicker and sturdier than the Rycote's but again at the cost of weight.

  • It has a quick release latch for the pivot point, and a thumb wheel to slide the unit up and down on the mount rails.

If it were me I'd suggest the Rycote for film booming work and the Rode for sfx recording. That thing just isn't going to break. :)

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thanks for the info. part of my dilemma, ok that might be exaggerating, is i'm probably going to want to buy some rycotes for my akg "pencil" mics, otherwise i feel like i'll be giving up something in proper positioning. maybe i'll ask steve if i can borrow his rode blimp to see what the trade off might be in that situation. –  Shaun Farley Feb 24 '11 at 18:49
    
@Rene -- could you please fire another link to the Sony PCMD50 inside the Rode -- I'm considering doing the same myself, I've got a Blimp on the way. Cheers, J –  James Hayday Oct 28 '11 at 4:34
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I own the rode blimp myself and the production company I freelance at has Rycotes, so I've used both. The connectors inside are much more stable in the Rode, interchangeable for different mics. I'm not sure if the model of the rycotes I've used is older but the way they work is by twisting them to get them taught and then clicking the mic in which is really unstable if you're moving around a lot with them. There is a lot less movement with the rode I've found and the way the cable comes out the blimp is excellent with the main cable connecting into the handle rather than into the blimp itself. The metal switch to lock the handle is excellent and more efficient as well than the standard twisting knob.

I've had some really good recordings in windy conditions with both, and the price is significantly cheaper.

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I got the Rode blimp for 1$ when i bought the NTG3 - it was their unveiling special of the mic. Cant beat that deal. –  C3Sound Feb 24 '11 at 4:15
    
that's similar to some of the other comments i've heard. thought i wonder how things compare with the new lyre mounts. –  Shaun Farley Feb 24 '11 at 18:44
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I have used both, but each are used in different situations.

My Rode Blimp is used to house my NT4 and normally sits on a microphone stand whilst recording ambiences out and about.

The Rycote I have only been getting to know over the last few months. I usually use stuck on the end of a boom pole housing a Shotgun for outside dialogue.

The Rycote is a bit lighter which makes boom holding easier. The Rode is larger, and my NT4 fits nicely in it. I haven't had the opportunity to try each microphone in the other zeppelin to compare sound qualities.

What I do prefer about the Rode though is the mechanisms on the handle. It is easy to adjust angles and the position of the zeppelin cage.

Some people worry about the life of the Rode. It comes with the Rode 10 year Warranty. The Rycote can have a long life. But in my opinion, even if the Rode does die after 10 years of use. At half of the price of the Rycote, I would hope that in 10 years time, there would be better technologies and a better product on the market.

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thanks for sharing your opinions –  Shaun Farley Feb 24 '11 at 18:49
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I own both a Röde blimp and several Rycote, both old an new. I much prefer Rycote.

Rycote kit 4

Positive

  • Lightweight
  • can be mounted on a boom without the handle (saves weight)
  • con-box ix great
  • lyre suspension is great
  • smaller size
  • great fur
  • additional acessories such as the "hard wind cover" (great in the forest)
  • great support, have upgraded two 20 years old kits with new handle, lyre mounts, fur, etc.

Negative

  • expensive
  • one of my 20 years old Rycote has some cracks.
  • harder to adjust the balance (position of the handle)

Röde blimp

Positive

  • sturdy
  • less expensive
  • "easy" to adjust the balance (position of the handle)

Negative

  • heavy
  • no con-box
  • XLR contacts are heavy!
  • Cable is less flexible
  • old O-ring suspension
  • the small plastic-rubber thing used to fix the cable is not fixed so it's easy to lose.
  • the fur is not as good as the one that comes with Rycote.
  • the ajustment for handle position and angle looks good on paper, but is a bit fiddly to use.
  • did I say it's heavy?
  • overall finish is not as good

I have yet to compare the impact they make on the recorded sound, but my guess would be that Rycote will color the sound far less.

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Rycote all the way!! I've used them for years and they have never let me down. I have just taken deliver of the S-Series which is excellent, extremely light so a joy to have on the end of the boom and with 'furry' being integrated there is one less thing to go missing. It fits my new NTG3 perfectly and if you put a shorter or longer mic in the cradle you can get other end pieces to attach. The Rycote Lyre system is incredible, virtually indestructible and you don't have to worry about the mic detaching or twisting.

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The Rycotes generally sound a little bit more natural.

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Hi,

I've had this same dilemma for a while back and ended up buying the Rode for the following reasons:

  • usage: i mainly do sfx recording with m/s setup and not a lot of booming (and yes, it's really heavy)
  • i also own sennheiser blimps, but the fur is too old and more expensive than a rode blimp.
  • returnable: if it's not good i can always return it.

i've had my blimp for two weeks and recorded for 6 hours in windy conditions, it works ok. although i am thinking about buying a stereo kit from rycote, if weight is less than the rode blimp. this way i can use it for sfx and booming.

here are my experiences:

pro's: -wind protection is very good -it's sturdy -fit's a piggy back MKH30/50 or 60 setup (with some fiddling) -cheap enough to replace if broken in extreme situations

con's: -a bit fiddly setting up (as a boom up you'd probably hate it, takes way too much time) -fur is cheap and loses hairs during set up -i personally don't like the metal clip and cable in the handle (too fiddly again). -heavy (but not an issue for me yet)

the rode blimp is cheap and if you're not a boom op, i'd go for it.

Arnoud

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Technically, most is already said here, but the reason I would never trade my trusty Rycote-kits for Röde is actually all acoustical.

The Rycote does by all means lose a lot of high details with the zeppelin on, and even more with the fur, but it's quite neutral, and honestly it's completely impossible to get a windshield that doesn't affect the sound at all, so I must say I'm very impressed by this system considering gains versus losses. And I absolutely love the suspensions!!!

The Röde-blimp on the other hand sounded much more restrained and lack-luster I think. It was, literary, in comparison like powdering gray dust over a camera-lens. As far as I can say, the Rycote is great at fending off internal reflections, but the Röde is not. I think it felt a little like the old DV-cams I played with in the beginning of the 2000's, though not by far as sickening. Their sound was greatly affected by the capsules mounted sloppily in a crappy casing of very cheap plastic and gave a very annoying resonance-flutter in the higher mid. I feel the same effect in the Röde-blimp, though it's MUCH easier on the ears and more focused on the lower mid where you're much more likely to filter anyway.

One other thing that annoyed me was balance. My Rycotes are balanced with the handle in the middle of the blimp and with the rear suspension all the way back on the mike and the front suspension halfway up the tube on the shotguns, and nearly all the way (or as far as it allows on MKH-40) up on other mikes. On the Röde I didn't seem to really be able to change the positions of pretty much anything, so it was much harder to get a good flow in the work as all weight was too much off.

When it comes to sturdiness, I have no clue how much the Röde can take, but my first Rycote has gotten many a good beatings over the years as I do tend to work in pretty unhealthy situations some times, and the only time it took any damage at all was while on location an extremely heavy steel security-door the same construction as safe-doors got slammed right on it. The door was heavy as hell (we where recording at a place where people have all reason to do their best to keep burglars out...), and yet the only thing that happened (except me nearly crapping my pants) was the part between the handle and the rail got slightly warped in a perfectly straight angle. Pretty impressive, actually! As I said, the door was frigging massive, but still there was absolutely NO damage whatsoever on the mike (a Sennheiser MKH40) nor my K-Tek Klassic boom! :-D

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