Review of the Rode NT1
Condenser Microphone with detailed sound
by Rich the Tweak
want good sound coming
from our studios. We all know that the microphone is an important part
of translating acoustical energy into analog waveforms that can be recorded and
played back. That's about the only things people agree upon when
discussing microphones. The rest is up to debate. Should you use a
dynamic? Condenser? Ribbon? If a condenser, should it be a large
diaphragm, small diaphragm? Should it have tubes? Should it cost over $500, over
Tweak's Pick! The NT-1: A true large capsule
condenser microphone, like the NT2, using only the highest quality
components and state of the art transformerless FET circuitry. The NT-1 is a
high performance professional recording microphone which will re-define
recording industry standards. Tweak: Great all-rounder. I
like it on Vocals. It picks up lots of bass too. No roll off switch
though, so use the HP filter on your board. I have it here in the lab and have used
it on many recordings. If you only want to buy one mic and don't want
to spend a lot, but demand high, detailed sound quality, this is an
excellent choice. Very sensitive mic. One person wrote on Usenet
"Want to hear what your neighbors are up to? Crank the gain and listen
through the cans" lol.
Along comes the Rode NT
series one of the few microphone lines that can stand up against the big
boys with a warm, lush-yet detailed crystalline condenser sound. The mic is a
hit with those with home and project studios, and here's why. It delivers
audio remarkably well at all frequencies. I would not call it "flat", but
hey, you want your monitors to be flat, not your mics! The NT1 will bring forth
pronounced bass you didn't know was there and detailed high frequencies
too--including those you never knew you made when you sing or speak over your
I think it is a great
vocal mic. As tracks are recorded and polished for the mix, it's pretty
rare that you would ever have to boost either the bass or treble bands. If
anything, you will want to record with the bass roll-off on your mixer channel
turned on, just to make sure "room rumble" is not recorded. I have also
recorded acoustic guitar with it and drums. The guitar came out nicely,
plenty of high frequency clarity on harmonics and the percussive qualities of
pick/strum noise were good, with that warm bass thudding that makes for a
quality acoustic guitar recording. I find the NT1 weakest on drums.
There is no -10 pad to make the mic less sensitive to quick percussive bursts.
I tried to record a loud snare hit for my sampler and had to try several times
to get one that was loud and did not distort. It did fine with softer
drums in my world drum collection but I would not use it with anything that
takes a hard thwack. Pull out the trusty sm57 for those.
But while no mic is good for everything, the NT1 is good for a lot of things home studios need to do. It's got a rugged casing and a dual mesh screen covering a large diaphragm. It's cardioid, the "heart shaped" polar pattern that records clearly only from one direction. It works well hanging upside down, right side up and can be hand-held if you don't move your fingers. Of course, like all professional caliber mics it takes a 3 prong XLR cable. Your board must have phantom power to use this mic; it does not come with a power supply. It works well with all my mixers and does not require cranking the preamp to get a strong usable signal.
The next step up from the
NT1 by Rode is the NT2, which is more in favor in pro studios
due to its switchable polar patterns, bass rolloff, and switchable pad, which
makes up for the lack of these on the NT1. But not everyone can afford
that. The NT2 comes with a shockmount too, which the NT1 does not.
There lies another weakness of the NT1, if you put it on a mic stand and bump
the stand, you'll get a resounding bass bump. But if you are careful, can set
the bass cut on your mixer, back off before you belt out that bloodcurdling
scream, you will find the NT1 is capable of stunning quality.
You can definitely do a lot
worse than a rode NT1, and you can pay a lot more to get less sound. If
you need a lot of mic for a not a lot of money it's an excellent choice.
For that reason, it has enjoyed the status of Tweak's Pick for several years.
Best of luck in your studio
Rich the Tweakmeister
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