Home Microphone Comparisons Rode NT1A vs. NT2A | CLEAR WINNER!

Rode NT1A vs. NT2A | CLEAR WINNER!

by Stuart Charles Black

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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

Let’s take a quick look at a chart to start!


Comparison Chart


Preview
Best For Instruments
Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Best For Vocals
Rode NT2-A Studio Solution
Title
Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Rode NT2-A Studio Solution
Color
Beige/Gold
Silver/Gold
Type
Small Diaphragm Condenser
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Cardioid
Features
None
3 Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure 8
Primary Use
Instruments
Vocals
Max SPL
137dB
147dB
Weight
0.7 lbs.
1.9 lbs.
Accessories
Shockmount, Pop Filter, 20' Mic Cable, Dust Cover
Shock Mount, Pop Filter, 20′ Mic Cable, Dust Cover
Phanton Power Required?
Prime
Price
$179.00
$299.20
Best For Instruments
Preview
Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Title
Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Color
Beige/Gold
Type
Small Diaphragm Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Features
None
Primary Use
Instruments
Max SPL
137dB
Weight
0.7 lbs.
Accessories
Shockmount, Pop Filter, 20' Mic Cable, Dust Cover
Phanton Power Required?
Prime
Price
$179.00
Details
Best For Vocals
Preview
Rode NT2-A Studio Solution
Title
Rode NT2-A Studio Solution
Color
Silver/Gold
Type
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Features
3 Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure 8
Primary Use
Vocals
Max SPL
147dB
Weight
1.9 lbs.
Accessories
Shock Mount, Pop Filter, 20′ Mic Cable, Dust Cover
Phanton Power Required?
Prime
Price
$299.20
Details

Before we get the Rode NT1A vs. NT2A comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!!

What I will bring you in this review

of each mic

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Who benefits?
  7. What you will need?
  8. Consensus/Conclusion
  9. Similarities & Differences
  10. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Rode NT1A

In The Box

Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Rode SM6 Shock Mount with Detachable Pop Filter

XLR Microphone Cable (20′)

Dust Cover

Limited 1-Year Warranty, Extends to 10 Years upon Online Registration

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Small diaphragm condenser. Large diaphragm vs. Small diaphragm.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25.4mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 137 dB. What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Self Noise: 5dB (A-weighted)
  • Color: Beige/Gold
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 0.7 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Shock Mount, Pop Filter, 20′ Mic Cable, Dust Cover
  • Manufacturer Part Number: NT1-A

Summary

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 its price range, specifically a Neumann U87.

One thing to keep in mind:

You probably shouldn’t record with this mic using your standard computer speakers. I have read that having good studio monitors is a must. What are studio monitors?

If you don’t, your mix will sound amazing to you but translate poorly on other electronic devices such as your car speakers.

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 note:

A ton of people commented on its 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!

Pros

  • Clear and crisp vocals. Records very clean.
  • Competes with mics that are way out of their price range.
  • Versatile. Can handle anything from vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, drums, amps, etc.
  • The included pop filter is nice.
  • High SPL (sound pressure level). What is SPL? This basically means that it handles loud applications well. Stuff like drums and amps.

Cons

  • The included XLR cable is poor and may give you connection problems. It would be wise to invest in a separate one. What is XLR?
  • You may have to turn up the volume on your pre-amp to get optimal sound. 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 of 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 its harshness and sibilance in the treble range. Many folks claim it’s too bright and tinny.

Video Review

Who benefits?

All that said, I’ve seen it endorsed for:

  • Acoustic guitar. This is its 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.
  • Vocals (singing)
  • Piano
  • Drums
  • Amps
  • Mandolin
  • People who are ready to invest in a good setup, i.e. Audio interface, Studio Monitors, XLR cable, etc.

What you will need?

As alluded to above, this mic needs:

Find out more about your audio interface!

  • XLR cable(s).
  • Studio Monitors.
  • Shock-mount.
  • Pop-filter. The pop filter that comes with it is pretty nice, but some say you may need a new one.

Consensus/Conclusion

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 its price range but may sound harsh and sibilant to many. The high end is a bit tinny and too bright for some people’s 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.

Onto the…

Rode NT2A

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!

In The Box

Rode NT2-A Large-Diaphragm Multipattern Condenser Microphone

Rode SM6 Shock Mount with Detachable Pop Filter

XLR Mic Cable (20′)

Dust Cover

Limited 1-Year Warranty, Extends to 10 Years upon Online Registration

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25.4mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 147 dB
  • Low cut filter: 40Hz, 80Hz
  • Pads: -5dB, -10dB
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Self Noise: 7dB (A weighted)
  • Color: Silver/Gold
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Shock Mount, Pop Filter, 20′ Mic Cable, Dust Cover
  • Manufacturer Part Number: NT2-A Package

Summary

By many accounts, this mic is actually better than the NT1A but does cost more.

It has 3 different polar patterns for added flexibility, and a lot of people said it was the most versatile mic they’ve ever used.

Here are the 3 patterns:

  1. Cardioid. This is your standard pattern and only picks up sound from the front.
  2. Omnidirectional. This pattern can receive sounds from all directions and is good if you want to record a live band with a choir. Also good for recording classical and jazz ensembles. Omni is great if you need a natural sound but works best with acoustically treated rooms.
  3. Figure 8. This pattern picks up sounds from the front and back. Great for interviews or dual recording with a buddy.

Check out this great post, What You Need to Know About Microphone Polar Patterns.

The NT2A is better for vocals than acoustics but does well with both. Like all condenser microphones, it’s very sensitive and picks up a lot.

It has a natural sound, with a nice added warmth, but doesn’t really color the sound in any way.

It’s very true in recreating what it hears, with an even sound representation.

Pros

  • Build quality and construction are second to none. Expect to have this for a long time. Very heavy. Make sure your mic stand can hold it properly.
  • Rode has a great warranty, and the studio package containing a pop-filter, shock mount, XLR cable, and carrying case is a nice added bonus.
  • Some compared it with a Neumann U87 and didn’t see much of a difference. Be aware that Acoustic Sound Treatment plays a big role here!
  • Warm sounding but also natural. It’s accurate, rich, and balanced.
  • Smooth frequency response
  • Extremely versatile. Handles instruments, vocals, and voice-over with ease. Will be your workhorse mic.
  • A few reviewers were so happy with it that they bought 2!
  • A choice of 3 different polar patterns, bass roll-off response setting, and a choice of pads.

Cons

  • Humidity Sensitive. If it’s really hot you may hear a bit of noise from the mic during the scalding summer months.
  • One reviewer said he was missing the ring for mounting on a standard shock mount, separate from the one provided. This could pose a problem if you plan to use a different shock mount or upgrade in the future.
  • More body. Another reviewer said the mic could benefit from a heavier texture and more sound body.

Video Review

Check out this in-depth video covering everything about the NT2A!

Who this mic benefits?

The NT2A is great for all of the following:

  • Vocals. It’s bread and butter.
  • Upright bass
  • Spanish guitar
  • Ethnic drums
  • Flute
  • Breathier female jazz singers
  • Bells and chimes
  • Mandolin
  • Male vocals
  • You-tube vocals
  • Drum miking
  • Low brass
  • Trumpets
  • Trombones
  • Reeds
  • Horns
  • Percussion

What you will need?

Being that this is a studio bundle, the only thing I would recommend is to purchase a good and durable mic stand. Your typical On-stage stands won’t cut it here.

You may want to consider investing in the ATLAS SOUND MS20E Heavy-Duty Microphone Stand.

For heavier mics such as this one, it’s a great option.

You will also need 48v phantom power via a mixer or audio interface.

Again, the Scarlett 2i2 is what I would recommend.

Consensus/Conclusion

A really versatile mic that is at its best with vocals. It also does well with a wide variety of instruments and has a lot of features not found in other mics.

The 3 polar patterns, three-position variable high-pass filter: Flat, 40 Hz or 80 Hz, and three-position variable pad: 0dB, -5dB or -10dB make this a mic for the ages.

The fact that you can control all of these features on the front of the mic is a huge added benefit.

Similarities & Differences

Similarities

  • Both come with similar bundles containing the stuff you need to get started!
  • Both require 48v Phantom power via a mixer or audio interface.
  • Both are similar in color and appearance.
  • Both can be purchased with that sweet 10-year warranty through Rode’s website.
  • Both are pretty heavy and durable and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate mic stand. There’s nothing worse than your mic busting or falling over because the stand wasn’t adequate enough. Trust me, I know from experience in having a Samson C01. A fantastic mic, though I dubbed it the barbell, and had plenty of problems using a standard On-stage brand stand with it.

Differences

  • Application. The NT1A is said to be better for instruments, while the NT2A is more geared toward vocals. Both are pretty versatile, however.
  • Features. The NT2A has all of those great features mentioned above, conveniently placed on the front of the mic. The NT1A by contrast doesn’t have any.
  • Sound. The NT1A has been criticized heavily for being very sibilant in the high end. What does Sibilant mean? Conversely, the NT2A has an overall smooth and natural sound and doesn’t get these same complaints.

Final Word

If you need a mic strictly for instruments, and would rather save some money, the NT1A is an excellent solution.

If you want a mic that is extremely versatile, with a ton of added features, go with the NT2A.

 


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Rode NT1A vs. NT2A.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Just want to make a one-time donation? Click here. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps keep this site running!

Which of these mics is more suited to your needs? I would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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24 comments

George Mickel August 6, 2017 - 8:08 am

Great article!

Reply
Stu August 7, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Thanks George!
If you ever need anything music production related, please contact me!
God bless,
-Stu

Reply
Mark Harris September 30, 2017 - 5:53 pm

Great review. Thanks! I’ve been using the NT one for a while, and really like it for the piano. I like that your review wasn’t biased, and showed both sides. Sometimes, recording comes back to personal taste, and what you said about it picking up the high-end this could be a plus for some, and a minus for others Cheers

Reply
Stuart Charles Black September 30, 2017 - 6:10 pm

Thank you so much Mark! Let me know if you ever need help with anything!

Blessings,

-Stu

Reply
Antonio January 13, 2018 - 4:13 pm

Great post! What’s the best for double bass in classical music ?
Thanks

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 16, 2018 - 9:01 pm

Hmm. Out of these two, probably the NT1A, but I’d have to research your specific question as I’m not familiar with double bass for classical. Some options I came across: ELAM 251, M49, U47, U87, Electrovoice RE20, Sennheiser 441 or 421, AKG C414, Beyer M88, AT 4041, CAD M179, AT4050, AT3035, Heil PR40, SM7B.

You may try the Heil PR40, SM7B, Beyer M88TG, or RE20. Seem to get a lot of love and the SM7B is a fantastic all around piece.

For budget, maybe the Studio Projects B1.

There’s so many options and people have luck with an array of mics. Let me know what you’re thinking about this and what your budget is.

-Stu

Reply
Nadeem May 24, 2018 - 8:12 pm

I want a microphone for vocal recording plz suggest which one is Best???

Reply
Stuart Charles Black May 24, 2018 - 10:35 pm

Hey Nadeem what is your budget?

Reply
RockMa July 18, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Great in depth review!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black July 18, 2018 - 2:54 pm

Thanks so much! Let me know if you ever need a hand with anything!

Reply
Alex August 2, 2018 - 2:10 am

thank you bro

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 2, 2018 - 6:42 pm

No problem man glad to help. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any advice.
-Stu

Reply
Raju August 7, 2018 - 4:39 pm

Thank you so much for this, but I’m still confused as to which to choose.

I am a beginner in sound production, and starting up a home studio specifically for recording vocals and some guitar.

I would like to get the best mic that suits a male, soft vocals, within 350 dollars range.

What do you think?

Thank You

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 7, 2018 - 6:57 pm

Hey Raju!

What kind of interface/preamp are you using? Would you prefer a dynamic mic or a condenser? Do you have any sort of room treatment employed? Let me know..

Two options off the top of my head are the AKG C214 and Shure SM7B. Check out my article on the SM7B.

Reply
raju August 9, 2018 - 4:54 am

Hey, Thanks for reverting back.

I am using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 connected to a Macbook Air. I would prefer a condenser as I have a very soft voice and I think a condenser would suit me well. Do correct me if I am wrong. I am leaning towards the Rode NT2a for now. Please do help me with this. Am I making a right choice? And as for the room it’s not treated much. I have some acoustic foam fixed perpendicularly in the corner of the room where I want to record my vocals.

Thank you.

Raju Vysyaraju.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 11, 2018 - 1:40 am

Hey Raju!

I understand you have a soft voice. Would you like more presence or shimmer to make it sound more alive? My recommendation of the SM7B still stands, with the Electrovoice RE20 and Heil PR40 coming in second and third respectively.

If I were forced to choose between the 3 you mentioned in your other comment, the C214 is the best out of those. Honestly you’ll be happy with any of these. It’s more technique and EQ than anything else.

Let me know what you decide.

-Stu

Reply
Rebecca Reeves November 17, 2019 - 4:00 pm

Thank you for the information. I am looking for a microphone that can handle big vocals and a wide range. I was originally going to just go with the Nt1. But after reading this review, I’ve decided that the NT2 is the best option for me since the majority of what I will be using it for is vocals. I do have one question though. In the Nt1 description it lists acoustic guitar as it’s strong point, but is not listed in the Nt2 “pros”. Is the Nt2 not as well equipped for softer sounds? Thanks again.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 17, 2019 - 5:51 pm

Hey Rebecca!

My pleasure 🙂 Nah the NT2A will also be good for various types of instrumentation as well. Let me know what you decide!!

I also apologize about the comparison table. It wasn’t showing when you made the comment but it’s now back up! I was having some technical difficulties with the plug in but it’s all up to speed now.

Reply
Jon pintoff December 24, 2020 - 1:35 am

Would one of these be better for recording upright bass (jazz)?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 27, 2020 - 4:23 pm

Hey man! The NT2A for sure as stated in the article. NT1A is more for acoustic guitars.

Reply
Automatik July 7, 2021 - 11:45 pm

I just got a studio and I bought NTA 1 , after reading this article I feel like getting NTA 2 but I don’t have the money can I still continue using the Nt1

Reply
Stuart Charles Black July 8, 2021 - 2:13 pm

Hey man! Actually, I would continue using the NT1 as it’s one of the flattest and best-vocied microphones on the market! I plan on getting an NT1 for my own studio if that’s any indication. That or an MXL 990 which is basically the budget version haha.

Reply
robin May 15, 2022 - 4:03 pm

im planning on buying the nt1a with the motu m2 interface”what do you guys think of it? would love to hear anyone thoughts thankyou

Reply
Stuart Charles Black May 17, 2022 - 5:01 pm

Hey Robin! I myself am debating between the Motu M2 and Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen. I’ve previously owned a 1st gen 2i2. I have not heard the M2 but have heard great things.

Reply

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