Rode Mini Boompole
Online information about this boompole is inadequate, so I thought I would write a quick first impression review.
I just purchased the Rode Mini Boompole as a handy little boom for run and gun audio. It will mainly be used with my new Tascam DR-100 portable digital recorder and external XLR mics, mostly Rode NT-4 stereo and a Sennheiser MKH 40.
My other pole is a Gitzo, but not carbon fiber. So I am working with cheap gear, not the fancier booms that full time production audio guys use.
The Rode Mini Boompole is made from aluminum tubing. It arrived with evidence of residual manufacturing oil. I wiped it down with no bad effects. I'd characterize build quality as better than a lot of indy filmmaker gear, which features a lot of improvisational engineering - dollies made with skateboard wheels and such. Machine work on locking collets is good looking and everything works well. When you disassemble the pole, as I did in an attempt to load a mic cable internally, the machine work in thread cutting is not as polished. But it is completely acceptable in a $100 item that works very well.
The Rode Mini Boompole appears large enough to feed an XLR connector internally, but this turns out not to be the case. The pole's throat is slightly too small, which appears to be a design oversight. Still, the smallest extension on the mic end of the pole is much larger than my Gitzo, which is barely large enough to thread a permanent cable before the XLR connector is affixed.
The Rode Mini Boompole does have machined channels at both ends where a permanent internal cable could be installed if desired. It also comes with velcro straps used to secure a cable externally, which is what I did when mounting my Rode NT-4 stereo mic.
I like the dense open cell hand grip material covering the entire first section of the pole. The rubber end at the base is a bit under engineered, if someone is going to rest the pole end on the ground during breaks in production. Just a flat disk of rubber less than a quarter inch. I would expect something a little more rugged and robust.
So far, I have only used the boompole in a noisy environment (high school football). Even without a suspension mount on the Rode NT-4 stereo mic, I did not notice any handling noise, even though I was listening and testing a bit. Likewise, using the supplied velcro straps to secure the mic cable externally did not seem to cause problems.
My initial reaction about weight was a bit of concern, but this turned out to be no problem, even with the largish Rode NT-4 mounted using an internal 9-volt battery in lieu of phantom power off the recorder.
In general, I enjoyed using this boompole. My application is fairly casual, no long tiresome booming. For quick sound grabbing, this is a nice addition to my kit at very low cost. I'm happy with the purchase, and would recommend it to others.