Product Reviews

Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package Review

rode nt1

If you need a mic that can handle instruments and vocals, and a model you can use to learn how to sing higher, then this mic by Rode can deliver. If you’re on a tight budget and you can’t afford to drop hundreds of dollars on a studio-quality mic, the NT1A by Rode is just the best alternative. It may not perform quite as well as some higher-priced dynamic mics, but what it does offer is sound quality, versatility, and a reliable performance.

Our Verdict: This mic is the perfect budget buy. It comes with plenty of accessories for the new musician or vocalist. This model is easy to use and is perfect for both vocals and micing instruments, however, if you have a high-pitched voice or a very trebly voice, then this model can make your vocals sound too thin. Overall, the price is right and it’s a solid alternative to higher priced condenser mics.

Overview and Features

Most models of condenser mics will come equipped with a shock mount, so finding one in the Rode mic’s package wasn’t a huge surprise. However, it also comes with an XLR mic cable, pop filter and a cover, which are all great extras. This package deal is perfect for the vocalist or musician who’s just starting out. All of the extras in this package will save you around fifty dollars, which is a big deal for the musician on a budget.

Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

rode nt1

  • Reasonably priced
  • Can be used for vocals and instruments
  • Excellent choice for acoustic instruments
  • Package includes several free extras
  • Instructional video
  • Beginner-friendly

Instructional DVD

Inside the package, you’ll also find a bonus DVD that discusses what you can do to get the most out of your mic and how to use your new mic correctly, for the best sound. In the video, the founder of Rode, Peter Freedman, discusses many of the mic’s features, how it can elevate the quality of vocals, and how to use it to mic certain instruments.

Sound Quality

For many sound engineers, this model is the first choice for micing acoustic guitars. This mic gives a noticeable presence bump at higher frequencies, which makes the sound of those strings really shine. Since this model is so quiet, you’ll also be able to pick out even the most subtle nuance of the guitar’s sound and notice details you have never heard before.

You can use a little EQ to emphasize the low end, which will make this mic sound even better.

When it comes to vocals, it will meet the needs of any performer. It features a clear, crisp sound that will complement most singing styles. This mic is perfect for rap vocals since it definitely makes vocal recordings very easy to EQ. This can make some rappers and singers sound even better on a recording than they do in real life.

Recording

If you’re looking for a mic to use that won’t add too much coloration, then this model is a great pick. It offers a natural response that helps it to stay true to a performance, which is essential for most musicians.

Volume

Many users have described this mic as very quiet, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on the user and the environment. If you’re in a studio that has great acoustics, then this shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll find that the mic’s sweet spot is typically about six inches away from the mic. This will allow you to capture room ambience for clear, rich sound quality. If you want less room acoustics recorded you’ll need to move closer to the mic. To maximize the sound, use a vocal booth. You can use even a basic, homemade acoustic shield for a boost in sound quality.

Brightness

rode nt1

One of the things I noticed when using this mic is how bright it is. It’s actually one of the brightest models I’ve ever encountered. If you have high-pitched vocals, then this mic can make you sound a lot sharper. It can also make a baritone’s voice sound too thin at times, which is not exactly a goal. Essentially, if you’re tone is extremely trebly or high then this mic may not be the best choice for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros

  • Low price
  • Works for vocals and instruments
  • Perfect for acoustic guitars
  • Includes plenty of free extras
  • Easy set to up
  • Free instructional DVD

Cons

  • Overly bright

The NT1 Vs. Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone Bundle

In the war of the condenser mics, in terms of price, the Rode mic is the clear winner. But as I mentioned earlier, some musicians and vocalists will find that this mic is just too bright for their sound. The Heil PR40 dynamic mic is considered one of the best vocal microphones on the market. It comes complete with a flexible support system, which works by absorbing vibrations in order to suppress the low-frequency rumble. This makes the Heil mic a better choice for vocalists with tones that are too low or too high, unlike this Rode mic which struggles with both ends of the tonal spectrum. The Heil model comes with a couple of nice extras, but it also features a much higher price tag, which can be a deal-breaker for any musician on a tight budget. However, if you need a mic with more versatility than what the Rode can offer, then the Heil is a much better alternative.

Conclusion and Rating

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

rode nt1The Rode NT1 condenser mic may not be able to keep up with studio-quality mics that run three hundred dollars and up, but it can provide the type of performance you need, if your voice isn’t high pitched or particularly low. It tends to struggle with some singers, due to its overly bright sound, but for the most, part, this budget-friendly buy blows other condenser mics out of the water. This model is a great option for the musician or vocalist on a budget. I gave it a rating of four and a half out of five stars.