Rode continues its tradition of quality design and construction at reasonable prices, but in this instance its not a new microphone, but something designed to help you get the most out of your microphones. A Blimp system is not a new concept, but with this model Rode are hoping to show they are just as capable of making good support equipment as they are of making good microphones.
This was a unplanned purchase at the time. It wasn't that I didn't want one, I just didn't know they existed. I had used a Rycote system years ago at a studio I worked for, but for the entire time I was in Japan I was using a system that consisted of a simple shock mount, a foam windshield and a fluffy over cover all made by different companies. The system worked, but not brilliantly. Shortly after I returned to Australia I was in John Barry replacing some cables when I saw the Rode Blimp for the first time. My very first impression was " Wow that's a big box!" because the blimp comes in a very large box. My second reaction was " I bet I can't afford one." It was a week before Christmas and I had no plans on buying any gear, but I was curious of the price anyway. When the woman at John Barry came back and told me they were $250 I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough. At that price I will eventually own three of these, and three of these is still half the price we paid for the Rycote system 6 years ago. (although I do believe they have come down in price)
I have always been amazed at how Rode produce really well designed, manufactured and accessorized equipment at the price they do, but the Blimp was just so far beyond my expectations. It came packed with a huge number of bits and pieces including a variety of clip sizes, spare elastics, a brush for maintaining the fluffy as well as the actual microphone mount, cage and fluffy setup itself. All the components are beautifully deigned and well manufactured. The Rode website also states it comes with a ten year guarantee. This level of care and service is something that is sadly missing from manufacturers and impresses me when I see it. It may seem strange to get so excited about a piece of equipment, but this purchase made me happier than the last couple of actual microphone purchases because it was something I really needed and to be able to get such a good piece of kit for the price was great. Now I just hope it lives up to the huge expectation I have placed on it.
The first thing I noticed is that the cage itself is really large in diameter. This system could easily house just about any microphone including things like Rode's Nt4 with the large stereo head and bulky body size. The strange thing is the NT4 would really benefit from just such a system because it is so intolerant of wind and yet the Blimp does not come with clips big enough to hold it. (amazing considering they are both Rode products) This I really didn't understand, but as I had bought it to house my MKH60 almost exclusively I was not really too fussed by it.
Living in The Docklands in Melbourne gave me the perf4ect opportunity to really test out the blimp system as its one of the most consistently windy places in Melbourne, and the wind can get really severe. All the initial tests I put the blimp through it passed with flying colours. Either hand held or mounted on a boom pole or tripod it dealt with vibrations well and I would need to practically jam this thing down the exhaust of a fighter plane to have an issue with wind noise (and I have just about done exactly that.) I will continue to test this system out as I use it every week, but currently it is one of the best pieces of equipment I have ever owned and has quickly become an integral part of my kit list.
After 12 months my Blimp system still looks practically brand new and it gets used almost every week. I do take care of my gear pretty carefully, but this thing has been on road trips, stored in overhead lockers on planes, carried on bikes, rollerblades, iceskates, skateboards, horses, boats, trains, trams, in rain, wind and extreme heat. I have been accused of being overly passionate about things sometimes, but when I find something that I think is good I will not apologize for singing its praises. ( and you should see me if I don't like something). This system is simply an excellent piece of equipment, made even more so by the low price. I will be buying a second one in the new year as I plan on setting up multiple tripod mounts for location recordings. This puts serious recording capability into the hands of everyone.
In the real world
There is nothing better to prove the effectiveness and necessity of a wind protection system than trying to record wind sounds. The extreme conditions of a violent wind storm will put any recording gear to the test, but the ability to capture the sound of strong wind is something that is simply not possible without something like the Rode Blimp. This gear works consistently well and I generally would never attempt any serious recording with it.
Excellent Value for Money
All the accessories you'll need
Could have clips for a few more mics