Studio Equipment
Now Reading
Rode NT1A Microphone Review
1
Review

Rode NT1A Microphone Review

by 2016/02/28
Overview
Price

$229.00

Product Name

Rode NT1A

Positives

• Detailed sound
• Very low self-noise
• Well suited to vocals and acoustic instruments
• Good results for the price

Negatives

• Highs can be harsh
• Included pop filter is low quality

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Sound Quality
84%
71%
Appearance
80%
70%
Worth it?
85%
78%
Ease of Use
95%
79%
Hardware
85%
100%
Features
82%
100%
Bottom Line

The Rode NT1A produces quality results on a budget. It has low self-noise, reasonably high SPL rating and is suitable for use on both vocals and a range of instruments. The tone of the mic is considered pleasant by many although there are certainly a number of users that take issue with the timbre of the highs.

84%
Our Rating
83%
User Rating
5 ratings
You have rated this

The Rode NT1A is a large diaphragm condenser microphone which was designed and made in Australia. The original Rode NT1 was released in 1991. The company released the NT1A model in 2003, and have continued to manufacture it since. The NT1A looks fairly similar to the original NT1, although the microphones are quite different. The NT1A has completely new circuitry and a much wider frequency response. The original NT1 is now discontinued, although somewhat confusingly, Rode have reissued the NT1 with a different capsule (a HF6). The new NT1 is mostly flat and has a vintage voicing, while the NT1A has a more tailored, modern sound. Both mics have fairly similar technical specifications. The NT1-A is available in a factory-matched pair, which is listed as the Rode NT1A-MP.

Simple design for the Rode NT1A

RODE NT1-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic

Rode NT1-A Microphone

The Rode NT1A is a side address condenser with transformerless JFET circuitry. It has a cardioid polar pattern and a large 1″ capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm. It has a very simple design with no pad or filters. Rode leave these extras to the higher-end microphones in their product line. The NT1A has a standard large diaphragm condenser frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz. The mic has a maximum SPL of 137dB. It’s a reasonably high rating but if you are particularly concerned about SPL you may be better off getting a mic with a higher overall rating or a pad switch.

High sensitivity and low self-noise

The mic has an extremely low self-noise of 5dB-A, making it one of the quietest large-diaphragm condensers on the market. The sensitivity is -31.9dB re 1 Volt/Pascal. The mic’s high sensitivity and low noise make it ideal for capturing quiet sources. The dimensions are 190mm H x 50mm W x 50mm D, and it weighs in at 326gm, making it fairly average as far as large diaphragm condensers go. The mic can be run on 48V phantom power or 24V phantom power and has a gold-plated XLR output. It has a satin-finished, nickel-plated body and the capsule is protected by a stainless-steel grill. Buyers can expect a standard one-year warranty with the option of a free extension. Rode offer a 10-year warranty upon registration.

RODE NT1-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic on stand

Rode NT1-A in a shock mount with a pop filter.

The Rode NT1A has internal capsule shock mounting and ships with a Rode SM6 shock mount, pop filter and fabric dust cover. Buyers best keep the box or buy a case if they want to protect their investment. A Rode 20′ mic cable is included, which is a handy inclusion for people starting a home studio set-up. There’s also a Rode instructional DVD included in the package, which gives a rundown of the features and accessories as well as some studio tips.

Rode produces bright, present sound

RODE NT1-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic Box

NT1-A Box

The NT1A has a bright sound and produces detailed results. The mic has a presence peak of around 12 kHz and there is a lift to the low end at around 120Hz. The result is that the mic will flatter sources without being excessively coloured. It produces very detailed highs and doesn’t skimp on the lows either, creating a balanced sound. The mic is well suited to vocals and acoustic instruments. Acoustic guitars sound very much at home on the mic, and the low self-noise level lends it to this application. The SPL rating means it can handle electric guitars as well. The Rode’s response helps it reproduce clean sounds quite nicely, although it’s no slouch with overdriven guitars either.

NT1A polarises users

RODE NT1-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic with shock mount

A closer look at the shock mount and NT1-A

The NT1A does have some issues with sibilance. You will need to pair it with a good pop filter. Unfortunately the included pop filter is not high quality. Placing the mic off-axis to the source can alleviate the issue. Naturally some good de-essing software (or hardware) wouldn’t go astray either.

Many people like the crisp highs of the NT1A but a number of users decry the highs as  being overly harsh and tinny. The issue can be addressed by the use of EQ or placing the mic off-axis. If you are concerned about the high end, I would definitely recommend listening closely to the wide array of vocal recordings posted online featuring the mic, or better yet, actually trying it out on your voice before buying.

The Rode NT1A is a popular microphone for a reason. The affordable mic produces clear, detailed results on vocals and acoustic instruments. It has a high enough SPL rating to be used on loud sources. The low self-noise is a notable feature. The timbre of the mic is somewhat polarising. Whether you enjoy the distinctive high end sound is a matter of personal preference.

United States: bhphotovideo, Amazon, Newegg, Musicansfriend

United Kingdom: Gearsformusic

International: Ebay, Thomann, Guitarcenter

This mic lived up to its reputation. Crystal clear sounds and dynamic range.


It can be a little harsh on the highs which can be fixed in editing but overall a great mic for the price!


I still think it is the best sounding microphone on large body acoustic guitars.


Simply stated, this mic does everything I had read and heard and the sound quality and tone is clean, warm, and exceptional.


  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure Gradient
  • Active Electronics: JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer
  • Capsule: 1.00"
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Address Type: Side
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Output Impedance: 100Ω
  • Maximum SPL: 137dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
  • Maximum Output Level: 13.7mV
  • Sensitivity: -31.9dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (25.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
  • Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted): 5dB-A
  • Power Options: 24V phantom power, 48V phantom power
  • Weight: 326.00gm
  • Dimensions: 190.00mmH x 50.00mmW x 50.00mmD
  • Output: XLR Output
  • Warranty: 1 year with free extension to 10 years following registration
What's your reaction?
Thumbs Up
100%
Hype!
0%
Funny
0%
Cool
0%
Boring
0%
Rubbish
0%
Upsetting
0%
About The Author
Stephen Charlton

Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

  • Shelby
    2017/12/06 at 1:14 pm
    Positives

    Sounds great for guitars, providing a crisp clean and watm guitar tone.
    Vocals are super crispy, you may need to turn the highs down 2dbs or so
    Light De essing for certain people’s voices but overall provides a great sound quality.

    Negatives

    A little too crispy on the highs, but my vocals are up in the spectrum. Lower vocals are great.

    Rating
    Sound Quality93%
    Appearance90%
    Worth it?100%
    Ease of Use100%
    Hardware93%
    Features95%

    Use this as a second mic to get the best brightness and clarity
    Awesome for the price, You can track out a professional sounding track with a little fine tuning.

Leave a Response

Sound Quality
Appearance
Worth it?
Ease of Use
Hardware
Features