This is a game-changing mic that has been around for a few years. You may have already used it, but if you haven’t, you’ve definitely heard about it. We’re talking about the RODE NT1.
In this review we record some acoustic guitars and I sing badly into it (you know me!) The point is, this was a game-changing mic. It was the first affordable large diaphragm, good sounding, microphone out there!
I focused on vocal and Guitar because this Mic is perfect for the home recordist who would be using a lot of virtual instruments!
Although this is such a popular mic, I’ve never actually used one! Watch the video below to see my real-life first-time thoughts on this mic! Let’s take a look at the description from the RØDE website:
“The RØDE NT1-A 1″ cardioid condenser microphone has become an industry standard; delivering the warmth, extended dynamic range, clarity and high SPL capability typically only featured on some of the world’s most expensive microphones.”
The manual says incredibly quiet cardioid condenser microphone and it’s pretty darn quiet, I’ll give you that! I’m not hearing any hiss or any noise or anything.
I love a lot of different microphones, but I can understand why this particular one has sold in bucket loads and why so many people talk about it! Many people have made great independent records using it! What a great mic! Bravo! Thank you RØDE!
RØDE has been kind enough to give us ANOTHER one of these to giveaway to one lucky viewer! Please watch the review above and then enter the giveaway! Remember, the more actions you take the high you increase your chances of winning!
Have a marvelous time recording and mixing,
Enter to win!
RØDE NT1 1 cardioid condenser microphone
Rode NT1 vs. NT1-A
Although similar in name and physical appearance, the NT1 and equally popular NT1-A have subtle individual characteristics. The original NT1 first came out in 1997. Following the NT1-A’s success, Rode redesigned it from the ground up, paying particular attention to the capsule. They also made it extremely durable using military-grade ceramic and loads of incredible manufacturing techniques that Rode is famous for.
The NT1 has been described as rich and full, with extremely low self-noise. This is perhaps one of its most impressive features, as it’s still a very sensitive microphone that captures tons of detail. Inside the NT1, the transducer is suspended using Rycote’s Lyre System, which drastically minimizes external vibrations. Overall, the NT1 has an incredibly low 4.5 dBA of self-noise.
The NT1-A also came out in the late ’90s, and it quickly became an industry-standard, budget-friendly mic for vocals and acoustic instruments. Similar to the NT1, the NT1-A captures instruments with clarity and detail; it also has the ability to handle high SPLs, making it suitable for a variety of instruments.
|Microphone Model||Rode NT1||Rode NT1-A|
|Dimensions||Length – 187mm / Diameter – 50mm||Length – 190mm / Diameter – 50mm|
|Net Weight||395g||326 g|
|Acoustic Principle||Pressure Gradient||Pressure Gradient|
|Active Electronics||JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer||JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer|
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz||20 Hz ~ 20 kHz|
|Output Impedance||100 Ohms||100 Ohms|
|Equivalent Noise||4.5 dBA SPL (as per IEC651)||5dBA|
|Maximum Output||8.0mV (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1 kOhms load)||13.7mV (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1 kOhms load)|
|Sensitivity||-29 dB re 1V/Pa (35mV @ 94dB SPL) +/- 2dB @ 1kHz||-32 dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (25 mV
@ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
|Dynamic Range||128 dB SPL|
|Maximum SPL||132 dB SPL||137dB SPL|
|Signal / Noise||90 dBA SPL (as per IEC651)|
|Power Requirements||24V phantom power
48V phantom power
|24V phantom power
48V phantom power
|Output Connection||3 Pin XLR
Balanced output between pin 2 (+), pin 3 (-) and pin 1 (ground)
|3 pin XLR
balanced output between Pin 2 (+), Pin 3 (-), Pin 1 (ground)
On paper, there doesn’t appear to be a drastic difference between the NT1 and NT1-A. They both have super low self-noise, they have the SPL tolerance of a dynamic mic, and they’re practically identical physically. Still, however, most people who have used both tend to hear them as two very different mics.
Rode NT1 Frequency Response
Reading the chart, we can tell right away that the NT1’s response is super flat. There’s a slight low-end roll-off before it becomes totally flat until a gentle 1 dB lift between 4kHz and 10kHz. It finally rolls the high-end off at around 15 kHz.
What all this means is that the NT1 reproduces frequencies between 30 Hz and 4 kHz super accurately. It doesn’t color anything between those two poles; it simply captures what really exists. On vocals, for example, the NT1 does a great job of capturing a true representation of someone’s voice.
Rode NT1-A Frequency Response
Right away, you can see the NT1-A has a completely different frequency response compared to the NT1. There are tons of boosts and dips across the entire spectrum, compared to the almost completely flat NT1.
There’s a gentle 1 dB lift from about 100 Hz to 250 Hz. From the upper mids into the highs, there’s quite a bit of boosting going on, culminating in a roughly 2.5dB boost at the 12 kHz mark. The result is a much brighter microphone compared to the NT1. This can be great for capturing subtle harmonics in the high-end, or adding a bit of extra air to a source. However, lots of people would describe the NT1-A as “harsh” compared to the NT1.
Rode NT1 vs NT1-A: Conclusion
Taking the frequency charts into consideration, these are two very different mics. Ultimately, it isn’t about which one is ‘better,’ but what color you’re going for and why.
With the NT1, you’re getting a super flat, accurate representation of an instrument or voice. With the NT1-A, you’re getting a hyped high-end for extra presence and clarity in that area — a brighter sound overall.
Both can handle a variety of high SPL sound sources, both have been used and loved on vocals and acoustic instruments, and both have extremely low self-noise. If you’re going for flatness and accuracy, try the NT1. If you’re going for bright and hyped, give the NT1-A a go!