Earlier in November, I published Use the free RØDE Connect to mix remote guests, phone calls and local mics for recording or live broadcast. One of the major points about RØDE Connect (and my article) is about how simple it can be, accomplishing an amazing number of tasks with a single free application, including up to 6 mix-minuses in a foolproof way. I am still amazed how RØDE Connect allows mixing up to 4 local compatible RØDE microphones and up to 2 remote communication services, either stereo or multitrack recording and virtual carts, aka a soundboard. However, Memo Sauceda asked an important question below the article: «Can I use an Apollo Solo interface with RØDE Connect?» Of course, that is an important question, especially for those who already own high-end microphones which are not USB. My short answer was: «Not directly». This article is the longer answer about how to accomplish this with Audio Hijack (on macOS) while still maintaining the mix-minus, as well as the pros and cons compared with using only compatible RØDE USB microphones or a compatible RØDE interface.
Disadvantages of using a non-RØDE interface or a non-RØDE compatible USB microphone
- You need to use a third-party application, which means a less simple system.
- You lose direct access to the third-party hardware from RØDE Connect, either to adjust its hardware gain, update its firmware or adjust its DSP (digital signal processing) if available.
- You must use one of the two virtual RØDE Connect channels, which leave you a single one to connect to remote guests or telephone calls. You still get 6 inputs plus the virtual carts (sound board) for a total of 7.
How to accomplish it
I accomplished it using the latest version of the paid application Audio Hijack from Rogue Amoeba, which had its most recent update only a few days ago on November 14, 2023. They added new features, but that will be for an upcoming article. Today, we are focusing on solving Memo Sauceda’s request: To make a third-party audio interface (or third-party USB microphone) work with the wonderful RØDE Connect. Interestingly, the last time I wrote about Audio Hijack was nine years ago, in November 2014. Time flies.
Although I used a different brand and model of audio interface than Memo’s (the recently reviewed MVX2U from Shure), you may substitute any other non-RØDE audio interface (or USB microphone) in its place in the following explanation, as long as it includes its own latency-free output and works with your macOS computer.
I created two Audio Hijack sessions to accomplish the goal, although it may be possible to do it with a single session. The two Audio Hijack sessions I created run simultaneously on my Mac Mini M1 with 16GB of RAM, together with RØDE Connect. You’ll see the first session below:
First, I placed an input device from the far left and selected it to be the Shure MVX2U. Next, I added a Peak/RMS meter (to make sure that the signal was properly reaching the Audio Hijack program and that the level I had set in the interface using the Shure MOTIV application carried through, to have proper gain staging. Finally, I added an output device, the RØDE Connect Virtual device I covered in detail in my recent article. After that, RØDE Connect Virtual input (which I labeled as Shure MVX2U) was getting a proper level when I spoke into the dynamic microphone connected to the MVX2U interface.
The first part of the mission was already done, as you’ll see above.
Now, we need one more step so that the mix-minus for this specific input reaches the third-party audio interface, which in this case is the Shure MVX2U audio interface.
In this second Audio Hijack session, I first placed an input device, the RØDE Connect Virtual. Even though it is an input for Audio Hijack, it’s the mix-minus output from RØDE Connect for this particular channel. (That way, the entire mix —minus this source*— can be heard via the 3.5 mm headphone output of the Shure MVX2U.) Next to that input device, I placed another Peak/RMS meter for visible confidence and played one of the virtual carts from RØDE Connect’s soundboard. Finally, I placed an output device to send it to the input of the MVX2U to be heard via the 3.5 mm jack.
*Of course, since the Shure MVX2U has latency-free monitoring, I can also hear myself latency-free, but that happens independently of what we have done with Audio Hijack and in RØDE Connect. Also, remember that the mix-minus was created by RØDE Connect and sent via Audio Hijack.
I am delighted to know that Audio Hijack can allow third-party audio interfaces to work with RØDE Connect, especially since RØDE doesn’t currently offer any XLR audio interface that is compatible with RØDE Connect. Of course, RØDE does offer its AI-Micro interface (which I reviewed here) which indeed works with RØDE Connect, but it is not specifically designed for XLR microphones and (even if used with a female XLR-to-TRS 3.5 mm plug) does not offer 48-volt phantom power, only bias voltage, aka «plugin power». RØDE Connect is still free. Audio Hijack currently costs U$64 (or U$29 to upgrade from version 3).
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RØDE is not paying for this review, although RØDE sent devices to Allan Tépper to facilitate reviews. Allan Tépper paid the normal price for Audio Hijack (previously known as Audio Hijack Pro) and then has paid for upcoming upgrades since then. Some of the manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur, BeyondPodcasting, CapicúaFM or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.