Rode NT1-A review: the perfect microphone for a home studio project

They say that you will never find a professional microphone under $500. In order to prove everyone wrong, Rode decided to create the perfect microphone for a home recording studio at half the price. Even more, the mic comes with a lot of physical features that will definitely worth your money.

If you plan to make a solid investment in your home recording studio microphone, Rode NT1-A is probably the first mic you should take into consideration. This large diaphragm condenser microphone with cardioid polar pattern has the same quality and performance of mics found at prices over $1,000 but you can actually buy it for $229. But before going into further details, let’s talk about the physical aspects of this exquisite microphone.


Rode-NT1A box

What’s in The Box

Rode NT1-A comes with a fancy box that includes the instructions manual, a sticker, the instructional DVD, the 10 year warranty certificate, quality insurance checklist, the actual microphone along with a protector pouch (to store the mic in), a 3 pin high-quality XLR mic cable (that features a belt rope), a shock mount and a pop filter (the last two are attached to each other, creating a sturdy mounting system). The pop filter can be easily adjusted. Although all these items are amazing for a $200 mic, it would have been great to find a hard-case in the box. These condenser mics are really sensitive and if you do manage to drop one on the floor you could end up with a dead microphone.

rode_nt1-a microphone

The body

Although we really loved the performances of this mic, it doesn’t seem to stand out in terms of build quality. The casing seems rather cheap, and you will find other mics in the same price range with better build quality. The microphone has no switches, so you can’t activate a high-pass filter which is actually helpful if you are recording drums or other similar instruments.

The performance


Rode NT1-A features a large 25mm capsule with gold plated diaphragm and a cardioid polar pattern. According to sound engineers, this microphone has the technology and electronics that makes it one of the quietest studio microphones in the world. Although NT1-A can be used for home recording, it’s so quite (self noise level of only 5dBA) that that you can actually use it to record far away noises (like special effects) or guitars, while getting almost no noise from it. We have tested the microphone on vocals, guitars and drums and it recorded everything flawless and impeccable. As advertised, the mic was really quite and versatile, capturing warm and pristine sounds (if it’s used with a proper preamp). On the negative side, it turned out that it can be too sensitive to plosives, so you may need to position the pop filter at a higher distance from it in order to capture clean vocals.

Price

Rode NT1-A can be bought from most online stores for a price around $250 ($230 on Amazon.com)

The conclusion

Even if this microphone has some negative aspects like poor body quality, sensitiveness to plosives or no  hard-case box, we can easily skip them since the main reason for buying this mic is the audio recording quality. Either for vocal recordings or instrument recordings, this microphone is the perfect solution for any home recording studio, and the price will make it even more attractive.

If you do buy this condenser microphone, remember to register it at the Rode website in order to obtain the 10 year warranty on it.

img source: www.reflectionsav.com.au

14 thoughts on “Rode NT1-A review: the perfect microphone for a home studio project

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  4. Mark

    You are right, Rode NT1-a is the perfect solution for a start up recording studio. If you manage to combine this mic with a great preamp you can make great music.

    Reply
      1. Lucas

        Hey Martha,

        I read Your review on focurite 2i2. Im glad that You have Audio Kontrol 1 too. Can You tell me which one is better sound quality-wise?

        I’m using guitar rig mobile which have the same cirrus logic converters as AK1 but I’m suffering from latency. I can record only 16/44k not higher and I can hear the difference, how the sound clears up.

        What would You recommend? AK or focusrite?

        Thx for Your work,
        Lucas.

        Reply
        1. Martha Kent

          Hello Lucas,
          Thanks for following me. You are right, with AK1 you may experience latency (I know, because when I am recording higher than 48k I hear those popping noises). But as far as I know, it’s the ideal soundcard for live performances, since it was designed for DJs. Now, for a recording setup, I would always choose the 2i2, because the preamps are better (I’ve tested it with the mics and I was really impressed) and you get a stable performance from it. Also, I think it’s cheaper than AK1.

          Reply
          1. Lucas

            Cool,

            Thx for quick response Martha:)

            When I finally get brave enough and put some of my stuff on soundcloud I will send You the link:)

            Kind regards,
            Lucas.

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