Hi. I’m thinking of purchasing the RODE NT1-A condenser mic to use in Cubase and was wondering if anyone has any intel they might like to share on the product?
I have an NT-1, and it’s perfectly OK as far as I’m concerned. Of course, it needs phantom power. I preferred it over the NT-1A when doing the research. There seem to be fans of each. The NT-1A seems to have gathered a greater following in recent years. There are debates about this in several forums, most of them old. I was a bit concerned about the frequency response in the high end and complaints about harshness unless the placement was right. I wanted richness more than brightness. I guess I was conservative when I decided to go with the NT-1. I did a lot of internet research.
I suppose the standard advice is to rent 5 or 50 or 500 different mics and see which one works best for you. I haven’t found it easy to rent mics, other than cheap ones like the SM-58. I bought a used NT-1 from a guy who let me try it at home first. The main test was comparing how it sounded live on headphones versus how the room sounded live without headphones. I was very satisfied. I felt it was entirely good enough for the near future, and I wanted to move on. I did try other mics, but not the NT-1A.
The other standard advice is that microphone choice depends on what you plan to record. I think it’s like buying a guitar. Your first guitar is probably a cheap (yet playable) affair. Until your ears become more cultured, and your technique develops in some directions instead of others, you’re too ignorant to wisely choose a mid-priced or high end guitar that’s right for you. Likewise with microphones and a DAW. You can’t make a choice if you can’t hear a difference. You need to gain tracking experience to appreciate your true needs. I consider my own expertise in this area to be a bit thin, but I can tell the difference between a typical cheap Chinese large condenser and the NT-1. (I have a couple of cheap Chinese mics that I use in secondary roles.)
Many thanks for the fully comprehensive response. I’ve decided to order it. I can always send it back, as it’s from amazon! My singer (wife) wanted to spend higher, but this one does get good reviews.
You can’t go wrong with the NT1. I’ve got more expensive mics but I still use my NT1.
I’ve been using an NT1-A for a long time, I have it pretty much left up on its stand in my studio for quick use… bad procedure I know, but it sounds fine and does not seem to have suffered for being left out! I also have the newer designed black NT-1 which comes with the Lyre shock-mount.
They both have very low noise floors, and the NT1-A gets used as an all rounder, vocals, acoustic guitars etc, and works very well. It does not have bass cut or pad switches, so I usually use a high pass filter on my desk going in, where necessary. (You can of course use EQ afterwards to do the same.)
Bottom line, if you are in the market for a large condenser at a great price you cannot go far wrong with this mic.
Thanks guys? Just what I needed to hear! Mic arrives tomorrow
IMHO Female vocals are much more mic-sensitive (and placement sensitive) than male vocals, it’s easy for females to sound shrill with many mics that sound fine with a male vocalists. I’ve found my dynamics (Heil Audio) often provide the solution as the room noise is taken out of the equation with a dynamic mic which is less sensitive. That said if I have time to setup properly and damp the area behind the singer most of my mics work, I guess you can always EQ stuff out - adding it is a different matter! The Rode NT1-A is a decent budget mic, but it’s always a gamble as to whether any mic will suit a particular singer or not - the best mics in the world do not suit every singer.
I have an original NT1 and a pair of NT1-As. When I bought the NT1, I did a side by side between it and the Neumann TLM103 as they had just come out with that series. The difference between the mics was incredibly subtle but the price was not, so I went with the Rode. It’s served me very well on vocals in particular.
I later bought the first NT1-A and find there is a great deal more detail in the upper frequencies. I don’t see it as a better or worse thing, rather just a different tool in the bag. In addition to vocals, I also use it on acoustic guitar and like the results I get there as well.
Mic choices, like most studio gear, are one part quality and one part religion. You can find pros and cons for any of them, but the Rode mics in my cabinet have served honorably.
Yep, my nt2a is an excellent alrounder, really sweet wih some vocalists and the little m5s have been a revelation (for the price) perhaps the m5’s noise floor is a tad higher than expensive mics but I’ve had brilliant results using them, from accoustic guitar to the tops on a djembe - besides, compared to the noise floor of tape or dodgy 70s and 80s effects processors, they’re practically silent! We don’t know how lucky we are with the quality of budget mics these days.
I’ve been very happy with the NT1/As. When I tell people that they compare almost invisibly to the Neuman TLM series they sometimes think I’m just a Rode fanboy and am exaggerating.
I have a pair of Neumann 184s that are incredible. I heard some side by sides with the rode NT5s (I don’t own any) and while they sound good, they weren’t even close to the 184s. Oddly that makes me feel a little better about the NT1/As, since that tells me I’m not just hearing what I want to believe. They really are that good.
You’re right about the choices we have these days. I remember the stuff from the 70s and don’t miss it at all. Not only is the overall quality of stuff so good today in comparison, but the differences between a $200 mic and a $1200 mic are often very, very subtle. Better toys are always fun, but if you can’t make good music with the budget gear available today, the problem is probably not in the gear.
In case anyone is reading… I ended up sending the NT1-A back, as it was simply too top heavy for a female vocal IMHO. Bought the NT1 instead, and noticed a massive difference. Brought the vocal beautifully into the mix, instead of sitting on top of it. Thanks for the advice
I had the NT1 first, then later added the NT1-A. If I could have only one of them I’d make the same call as you if female vocals were a factor.
That said, if you have the opportunity to add a 1-A later you might find it useful on things like acoustic guitar, where the additional detail on the top end is a benefit rather than a detriment.
That confirms my concerns “about the frequency response in the high end and complaints about harshness”. It seems you’ve added your opinion to that side of the debate.
If the goal is a one size fits all mic then it’s probably not the best pick. That said, I think “harshness” or other such adjectives is relative to usage. While it’s a bit too bright for use on some of the female singers I’ve worked with, I find the top end detail is beneficial in tracking acoustic guitar.
Most studios have a collection of mics because what works well in one application isn’t the best fit for another. A 57 or 421 works fine on a Marshall cabinet, but I wouldn’t use either as my first choice to track a singer. That doesn’t mean the 57 is a bad thing to own, just that it has its own areas to shine.