RODE Mic Reviews
Affordable Professional Microphones by Rode:
If a recording studio was a living organism, then microphones would be their heart. Pumping blood (sound) through the veins (cables) and keeping the studio running. Without microphones, studios wouldn’t exist. Every studio whether a professional recording studio or a home studio requires some type of microphone (I suppose with the exception of some mastering studios). Just because your running a home recording studio on a smaller budget than professional studios doesn’t mean that you should have to settle for lower quality mics. This is where Rode comes in. Rode microphones are some of the best budget-friendly microphones available and are not only capable of competing with the higher end mics, but even producing better sound than what you could pay well over a thousand dollars for.
I’ve selected 3 Rode condenser microphones for this review. Instead of doing reviews of the 3 Rode microphones on individual pages, I decided to review all of them here. Because every sound engineer works differently and has different applications I’ve also thoroughly read numerous reviews from other people on these microphones to provide you with the most complete understanding of their characteristics and features. My own personal experience with these microphones has been mainly recording vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion instruments, and I’ve been very satisfied with the performance of all 3 of these microphones.
Rode Microphones being reviewed:
- Rode NT5 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
- Rode NT1-A Studio Condenser Microphone Review
- Rode NT2A Variable Pattern Microphone Review
Rode Mic – NT5 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
The Rode NT5 is a small diaphragm condenser microphone commonly used for recording acoustic guitar, strings, and as overheads for drums. NT5′s use a cardioid pickup pattern (uni-directional)
and provides a full 20Hz-20kHz frequency response with a slightly higher response in the upper range (around 8kHz-15Khz) giving you a nice bright sound. This microphone is superb for acoustic guitar, typically using a stereo matched pair in X/Y configuration. I’ve also been very impressed with their performance as drum overheads. I wouldn’t say they are quite Nuemann KM-184′s but comparable and only a quarter the price.
The only downside of this microphone is because it’s so bright with the upper frequency response being stronger than the mids, you might have to utilize some EQ to bring out the body of your recording especially in a busy mix. This is something that can be said about a lot of microphones, but it is something to consider nonetheless.
Bottom line, this is a great microphone capable of capturing professional quality recordings, and at the same time extremely affordable. There are very few SDC’s I’ve come across in this price range that can compete with the Rode NT5′s sound.
Rode Mic – NT1-A Studio Condenser Microphone Review
Another excellent microphone in the sub $300 dollar range from Rode, the Rode NT1-A is one of the most popular large diaphragm condensers for home recording studios. One of my favorite attributes of the Rode NT1-A is it’s incredibly low noise, making it very ideal for home studio owners who don’t have the most professionally treated room for recording.
Rode NT1-A’s are very practical for acoustic instruments and vocals, effectively picking up subtle nuances and details, and at the same time capable of standing up to relatively loud sounds with a maximum SPL of 137 dB. Another great aspect of the Rode NT1-A is it’s response to EQ. It’s dry signal has a slightly warm sound with detailed highs, producing satisfying recordings straight out of the box, but if you do want to adjust it with EQ you’ll notice it’s light coloration and character doesn’t get in the way of slight boosts and cuts.
Although I’m normally hesitant about recommending cheaper condenser microphones, I have no second thoughts about standing behind Rode’s Mic the NT1-A. The popularity of this mic among home recording studio owners speaks for itself, and is well justified. Whether you’re looking to get your first condenser microphone or just want to add a versatile mic to your collection the Rode NT1-A should definitely be a consideration.
Rode NT2A Variable Pattern Microphone Review
The 3rd choice in our selection, the Rode NT2A variable pattern microphone, offers a variety of features appealing to a professional studio at a price reasonable for home studio budgets. Slightly more expensive than the more simple Rode NT1-A design, this mic is great for a wide range of applications.
The Rode NT2A Microphone provides you with a handful of options, from -5 db, 0 db, and -10 db pads, to both a 40Hz and 80Hz high pass filter, not to mention 3 different pickup patterns available at the flip of a switch. Having figure-8, carioid, and omnidirectional gives you the type of versatility that could require many different microphones to achieve, all in one small package. You also get a pop filter, shock-mount and cable with your Rode NT2A which bi-passes any aftermarket purchases you’d be making with other microphones, besides of course a preamp and power supply.
Although the Rode NT2A is great for many different recording applications, I personally prefer to use it for recording vocals. There’s a noticeable warmth and presence to this microphone that really enhances the low to mid range of a voice without causing smearing or muddy coloration. If you do notice some excessive muddiness or low end simply apply the highpass filter and you’re back in business. Having the option to select between two different places to roll the lows off is just another bonus.
On paper the specs of this microphone are impressive, but the real magic of the Rode NT2A is it’s actual performance. Being one of my primary go-to microphones for vocals, I’ve never had a client dissatisfied with how their voice sounds coming through the NT2A. When I tell them I’m using a microphone that’s less than $450 they can hardly believe it.
Boasting a sturdy and solid build that becomes apparent as soon you put the microphone in your hand, along with a quality HC-1 capsule, this is no Chinese produced microphone. Manufactured in Australia and aiding the production of musical hits everywhere in the world, it’s astounding that the price of the Rode NT2A isn’t twice as much. I’ve been very satisfied with mine, and have no regrets in purchasing it.
Rode Microphone Reviews Summary
The strength of all 3 of the Rode microphones in this review is not their low price, but the fact that they present the quality of higher end microphones while remaining very affordable. Rode has established it’s name throughout the recording industry, with their products found in numerous professional recording studios as well as home and project studios. When I was proof reading these microphone reviews I noticed that they all seemed very positive, and although it might seem too good to be true, you could read 100 other reviews of all 3 of these microphones and you’d still perceive the same vibe and enthusiasm towards their quality and performance. There’s no question that the Rode NT5, NT1-A, and NT2A all make a great addition to any microphone collection.