Included Accessories: Shock Mount, Pop Filter, 20′ Mic Cable, Dust Cover
Manufacturer Part Number: NT1-A
This mic seems to get either glowing reviews, or people really complain about it. Some say it’s the warmest, most even sounding mic you can buy in this price range. Others claim that the high end is harsh, sibilant, and much too bright. It can start to sound tinny and thin with big voices, coming out rather sterile.
Overall, it’s a very quiet mic, and the overwhelming majority of people say it’s extremely sensitive. I read a lot of folks regarding it so highly, that they would gladly put it up against mics way out of it’s price range, specifically a Nuemann U87. One thing to know, don’t even think about recording with this mic using your standard computer speakers. I have read that good studio monitors are a must. If you don’t, your mix will sound amazing to you but translate poorly on other electronic devices such as your car speakers. What are studio monitors?
The build quality on the NT1A is nothing short of amazing, and it goes really well with a Scarlett 2i2. It may pick up things that you don’t want, so be aware of your studio setup. One thing that really stood out to me was the 10 year warranty that can be bought through Rode’s website. One final thing to note, a ton of people commented on it’s ability to record acoustic guitars with the greatest of ease. If you’re looking for a mic that can do just that, this may be for you!
Clear and crisp vocals. Records very clean.
Competes with mics that are way out of it’s price range
Versatile. Can handle anything from vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, drums, amps, etc.
Included pop filter is nice.
High SPL (sound pressure level). This basically means that it handles loud applications well. Stuff like drums and amps.
The included XLR cable is poor, and may give you connection problems. It would be wise to invest in a separate one.
You may have to turn up the volume on your preamp to get optimal sound. Preamp vs. Interface. Some say that the positive accolades for “quietest mic” are a bit of a misnomer. It actually means that the mic itself can be too quiet when recording, while at the same time being pleasantly quiet while idle.
Some reviewers claim the mic sounds cheap without a lot of EQ. It’s not the type of piece that you can just casually record with. Having some knowledge on EQ, compression, reverb, and the like greatly benefits the sound, especially with the NT1A.
High end. One of the biggest complaints about this mic is it’s harshness and sibilance in the treble range. What does Sibilant mean? Many folks claim it’s too bright and tinny.
Check out the review!
Who this mic benefits?
All that said, I’ve seen it endorsed for:
Acoustic guitar. This is it’s biggest strength.
I’ve also seen it endorsed a lot for rap vocals as well.
If you have a Scarlett 2i2 or 2i4, or plan to get either, this will be a great choice.
People who are ready to invest in a good set up, i.e. Audio interface, Studio Monitors, XLR cable, etc.
Pop-filter. The pop filter that comes with it is pretty nice, but some say you may need a new one.
A durable mic with a rock solid 10 year warranty (purchased through Rode’s website). It’s extremely sensitive, and can pick up a fly farting in the next country. Lol that was straight from an amazon review, can’t take credit although it made me laugh. It compares favorably with mics way out of it’s price range, but may sound harsh and sibilant to many. The high end is a bit tinny and too bright for some peoples tastes.
If I had to choose one thing to say about this mic, it’s that it does really well for instruments, but not as good for vocals due to it being extremely bright.
Included Accessories: H85 Shockmount, Metal Carry Case
Manufacturer Part Number: 3185Z00010
If you’re looking for a mic that’s a step up from some of the lower end models, may be your best bet! It performs extremely well for rap vocals as well as R&B. Apparently it uses the same cardioid capsule as the AKG C414! A lot of people can hear a huge difference in sound between the C214 and some lower end models. The value becomes apparent when people start asking you what professional studio you recorded that gangster rap song in. 😛
While most mics have somewhat of a neutral, flat response, this one doesn’t. It has a touch of warmth to it and is meant to accentuate your vocals a bit. It’s very clear and bright, but not harsh. It is also great for people who don’t speak very clearly on the mic, or mumble a little. This will make some of the other cheaper end models sound muddy and uncompromising.
Even turned all the way up it performs exceptionally well. Crank it all the way up, then turn it down a smidgen (or two), and then stand about 8-10 inches away. Now start rapping or singing, but make sure that the capsule is positioned between your nose and upper lip.
As for construction, this baby was built in Vienna, Austria, and truly performs well. It has an integrated capsule suspension that reduces mechanical noise and resonances for even greater sonic accuracy.
It also sports a double mesh, all-metal grille that protects the capsule and ensures high RF immunity without affecting the mic’s acoustical performance.
It features a modern scratch-resistant finish, dent-resistant metal grille, and gold-plated XLR output. Perfect for travel!
It’s also important to note why this is so good for both vocal and instrument applications. The 20-db switch allows you to record close up or far away. Close up it can record in very high sound fields; Up to 156 DB SPL (sound pressure level). For female vocals it’s also amazing. The recording is so live that you may have to throw on a hi pass filter.
Comes with a cradle, pop filter, and a nice carrying case.
Great for Rap/R&B vocals.
Huge difference in sound from lower end models.
Bright but not exaggerated or harsh. Crisp, clear, thick, natural, and warm.
Great for a variety of uses.
There’s one 2-star review on amazon (with poor English and grammar), that says it “wasn’t as good as the AT 3035”
2 reviewers from Sweetwater sound said it doesn’t quite have the bass or fullness that they were hoping for.
Check out the sound test!
Who this mic benefits?
It’s great for rappers, vocalists, R&B singers, as well as instrumentalists. I’ve read it’s also very good at recording acoustic guitar, drum overheads, saxophones, etc.
If you’ve ever tried to mike a guitar amp with a Shure Sm57 and had trouble finding that sweet spot, then this mic may be your solution.
More on the last point: this is a condenser mic, and a super sensitive one at that. It picks up everything. This means that you will need to isolate as much sound from the mic, and block out the rest. Here are some ideas:
Record in a small space, such as a closet.
Turn off all Air conditioners, extraneous noise, as well as ambient noise. Do not record near a window!
Consider using Acoustic Studio Foam, line the walls with old comforters, use a CAD audio acoustic shield, or even record underneath a blanket! It sounds crazy but it works. Check out the video below to see the point illustrated quite humorously. 😀
This is a crisp sounding mic that will make all of your others pale in comparison. It is very versatile and does well with most applications. Namely rap, R&B, acoustic guitar, saxophones, drum overheads, and female vocals.
It is bright but not harsh, and records crisp and clear. One of the biggest endorsements I came across was the fact that people will think you recorded in a professional studio setting.
Similarities & Differences
Both have a high SPL level (can handle loudness well).
Both are very versatile, and excel in a wide variety of applications.
Accessories. The C214 comes with Windscreen, shock-mount and hard carrying case. The NT1A comes with: Pop-filter, carrying bag, shock-mount, XLR cable, and instructional DVD.
Aesthetic. They each look vastly different from each-other. From color and overall look. The C214 has more of a squared off shape in contrast to the rounded NT1A.
Warranty: The NT1A has an impressive 10 year warranty, purchased separately through Rode’s website.
After diligent research, some of the bad reviews on the NT1A and more careful consideration left a sour taste in my mouth. I can’t really recommend it because I myself wouldn’t buy it. I do however have a great recommendation that’s a bit more affordable as well! It’s versatile like the NT1A, but gets almost universal praise and functions as a truly all purpose tool.
The AKG C214 in this case would be that “step up” from other lower price mics and I highly recommend it for that purpose. I really didn’t hear that much negative feedback outside of 1 or 2 things. If you’re really serious about recording, it’s a perfect option.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.