The NT1 cardioid condenser microphone from Rode is designed to be a all purpose mic and really delivers a great sound. While the overall appearance looks like the previous NT1-A model, the internal components have all been upgraded and with a whole new design. If you compare it to the older models you will immediately notice the difference. This newer model gives you improved clarity and sounds even more natural. In fact I think it has been improved upon in virtually every category.
I compared the Rode NT1 to a Neumann TLM 103, which costs 4x as much, and found it matched the more expensive mic. Like the Neumann it has a large diaphragm, which the makes the response very neutral. Not only that, but I was surprised to find that was superior in terms of eliminating unwanted noise!
The NT1 high quality is found due to the completely large 1″ diaphragm and completely redesigned capsule. The reason it’s so important to have the large diaphragm is due to the stronger signal they produce naturally. This stronger signal means that you have a better signal:noise ratio because you need less amplification. In the studio setting this is very important because every dB is important.
Before the NT1 you would have to have spent anywhere from $1k -$3K for a Neumann U87 or TLM103 to get a large diaphragm mic that gave you nice unbiased and neutral sounding extended response. It was impossible, or at least very difficult, to get a budget friendly mic that had a perfect response diaphragm with a crispy response. Generally only professional studios were able to afford those mics. Regular people like you and me just made due with what we could afford and struggled with the unbalanced sound produced by cheaper mics. Thanks to the Rode’s NT1 and other LDC’s in this new generations models, we no longer have to worry about that.
The NT1 handles any vocal range with ease and shines even with very high range harmonics and percussion. The resulting sound is totally neutral and completely stable. At this price point you will not find a mic that gives you more clarity or precision. The NT1 is really in another class and just destroys its competition. This is the new benchmark microphone in terms of absolute quality in the sub-$1k range of microphones.
As I mentioned earlier this mic has been completely redesigned and upgraded. The internal electronics have been wired with durability and precision in mind. This results in almost no internal noise interference like you would find with lesser microphones.
There is an internal DC converter that takes the standard 48V from the phantom power supply and converts it to a higher voltage to run the new capsule.
The capsule is encased in a high quality military grade ceramic coating which, in addition to looking great, provides great durability. The entire mic is then housed in the highly shock resistant suspension system that is yet another line of defense against mechanical noise.
Rode is paving the way for affordable, very high quality microphones and Neumann would be wise to play catch-up. Once people start realizing these mics are available they will be sure to scoop them up fast. You can mic an entire band with the new Rode NT1’s for what a couple Neumann’s would cost.
Rode NT1 vs NT1KIT
You can buy the Rode NT1 either by itself, or in the NT1KIT. The NT1KIT is the same mic, but also includes a pop filter and shock mount. Both include a dust cover and standard ring mount. The shock mount works great, but looked a bit weird to me initially. The pop filter works well enough. There are better after market ones out there, but the included one is more than capable.
Here is a great video from Rode that goes over some additional information about the NT1:
Like I said earlier, the Rode NT1 can be used to mic an entire band. It sounds great whether you use is on drums, accoustic guitar, vocals, or… whatever. Hip hop and death metal both come out sounding professional. Just spend some time setting the mic up in an appropriate position and you’re good to go. If you’ve ever used other LDCs then you already know what needs to be done. Try this mic out and you will not be disappointed!