Rejoice microphone fans! Swee Lee is bringing in one of the most beloved names in the world of audio recording – RØDE Microphones! Known for their great selection of studio, live, and field mics, RØDE is a uniquely Australian owned and operated company based in sunny Sydney with international campuses around the world in Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Seoul.
RØDE’s story is nothing short of a modern fairytale. They began as Freedman Electronics, a modest audio store started by Henry and Astrid Freedman in 1967 after migrating to Australia from Sweden. After their inception, Freedman Electronics gradually grew to become a leader in the fledgling Australian audio industry, establishing themselves as the go-to experts in loudspeakers, amplifiers and custom audio electronics work.
This period of prosperity, however, came to brief halt during the eighties with the untimely passing of Henry and the difficult economy in the late 1980s that almost bankrupted the company and left Peter (the son of Henry and Astrid Freedman) in a considerable amount of financial debt. With this grim outlook for Freedman Electronics, Peter looked out of Australia and into China to find the panacea to the company’s ailments. Having previously been in contact with a manufacturer of high-quality but budget-conscious microphones at a trade show in Shanghai, Peter decided to take a chance and imported 20 units back Down Under.
It started with a rat
Fortuitously, sales of these microphones took off immediately and the speed of which they were selling was likened to the Aussie idiom – “like a rat up a drain pipe”. This inspired the first iteration of the mic to unofficially be dubbed the “Rodent-1”, which later transformed into the RØDE NT-1 model that we know today. The unique ‘ø’ character was added into the name as a homage to the Scandanavian roots of the Freedman family in addition to giving the brand a European flavour.
Following the microphone’s early popularity, the company decided that it would be a wise investment to move the bulk of the manufacturing into Australia in order to improve product quality and reduce reliance on offshore manufacturers. Today, all of the manufacturing processes of all RØDE mics are handled in Australia, with a huge amount of the processes taking place in RØDE’s very own facility in Silverwater, Sydney.
Today RØDE Microphones are a household name for recording applications in music performance, broadcast, filmmaking, newsgathering and many other various fields.