On the face of it, the NT1 from Rode doesn’t have a long list of features to get excited about, while the design is very simple. Yet it proves one of the most popular condensers mics you can buy for under $300 for a very good reason. Let’s take a closer look to see what it’s all about.
There’s something very reassuring about the design of the NT1, which is reminiscent of more vintage condensers. It features a sleek and simple tubular chassis that extends up to meet a pretty small side-address grille.
The nickel-plated aluminum chassis and the grille are finished with a layer of protective hard ceramic and an attractive scratchproof matte black finish. Aside from the Rode NT1 logo, there isn’t much left to break up this simple appearance – no switches, no buttons, no frills! Designed and built in Australia, it feels like some love has gone into the manufacturing process of the NT1, resulting in a condenser mic that is built to last and inspires confidence.
The key to the aNT1’s success is its newly-designed HF6 capsule with a 1” diaphragm and high-grade electronics, which is restricted to a standard cardioid polar pattern. In fact, there aren’t many extra features to list here – with no attenuation switches or filters included. As for specs, you are looking at a pretty standard 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response range with a max SPL value of 132dB.
You will notice an XLR connection, which means 48v phantom power is required to power this mic. Meanwhile, it comes with a quality Rode shock mount and a pop screen, as well as a basic dust bag, so it’s pretty much ready to go out of the box.
While it isn’t blowing anyone away with its limited list of features, the NT1’s appeal is undoubtedly in its sound. As you hook everything up and feed some power into this bad boy, you will immediately understand what makes it so special.
The sound quality is fantastic, with vocals coming across deep and natural, with great midrange clarity and perhaps a slight vintage warmth to it. There are no significant spikes in the frequency response range and it doesn’t add too much coloration to the sound, so you could say the NT1 is very welcoming to all kinds of vocal styles.
Due to the lower max SPL, recording loud instruments is a little tricky. Not impossible, and acoustic guitars record very well, but trying to record aggressive drums or brass instruments might push this mic a little too far. It’s worth noting that with just 4.5dBA of self-noise, this is a very quiet mic, which makes the sound even more delightful.
The versatile Rode NT1 may come across as quite a simple mic for its price range, however it shows off a very unique nature. Its heavy-duty build and flawless sound make up for the lack of features, and for that reason it proves a very good buy for serious musicians and producers shopping in the midrange market.