Home Condenser Microphone Reviews Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone Review

Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone Review

by Stuart Charles Black

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Hi friend and Welcome!

Before we get into the Rode NTK Tube condenser microphone, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Value
  5. Sound
  6. Build Quality
  7. Who this mic benefits?
  8. What you will need?
  9. Changing tubes
  10. Pros/Cons
  11. Conclusion

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Rode NTK

Ratings/Price

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Tube Condenser.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid. What is a cardioid capsule?
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25.4mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 158dB. What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 82dB (A-weighted)
  • Self Noise: 12dB (A-weighted)
  • Color: Silver
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 1.68 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Carry Case
  • Manufacturer Part Number: NTK

Summary

I’ve done extensive research on the subject, and I’ve found that in recording rap/hip-hop vocals, as well as instruments/acoustics, The NTK really fits the bill. This mic will stand the test of time, and by nearly all accounts is one heck of an investment. It is undoubtedly made for the more serious musician who is looking for long-term value, as well as rugged durability and exceptional sound quality. Also, being a large-diaphragm condenser, it is very versatile and can handle a wide variety of studio applications. Large diaphragm vs. Small diaphragm.

Value

The real reason I buy anything is because of this alone. I want to be able to have something years down the road. My dad kind of subconsciously taught this to me: Invest in a quality product, and it will serve you well for a long time.

That said, this mic does exactly that. One guy mentioned he’s had his for 10 years! That’s a long-time, folks. I can’t think of many things that have consistently worked for that long.

Sound

The sound has been described as immaculate and precise. In recording acoustics, you can hear every subtle nuance of the guitar, with the sound being “crisp and alive”. It has a nice warm sound as well and is perfect for many different studio applications.

It also really brings out the personality of your voice, with every detail being crisp, clear, and airy while still remaining full-bodied.

I’ve been reading reviews and I’ve already heard the word “sizzling” more times than I can count. It’s kind of making me hungry for stir fry!! 😀 People keep talking about how this will be your work-horse mic as well as your go-to in the long term. No matter how big your collection gets, you will keep coming back to this mic…

Build Quality

Basically, it’s built like a tank. Try not to abuse it on purpose, but it can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It feels great in your hand and is very ruggedly built, as stated in the open.

Who this mic Benefits?

The general consensus is that this is great for people who want to record:

  • Vocals as well as singing
  • Acoustic instruments
  • Drum overheads

It has also been known to handle:

  • Classical Guitars
  • Upright Bass
  • Percussion

What you will need?

The Rode NTK is a tube condenser and has its own power supply, so 48v phantom power is not needed as with other regular condenser microphones.

You will need some sort of preamp, and that preamp will need to also hook up to an audio interface or mixer. Preamp vs. Interface. A couple of options are:

Both of these are very well regarded, with the FMR being the most popular choice across the board.

So your chain would look something like this:

If you want to use a Pre with the NTK you would first need to put the 7 pin connector cable into the power supply (this powers the microphone) and then run a regular XLR cable from the addition out on the power supply to your preamp.

  1. Laptop/Computer using USB hooks up to your audio interface.
  2. Your audio interface using balanced XLR t0 TRS hooks up to your preamp. (Plug the XLR side into the OUTPUT of your preamp, and the TRS side into the INPUT of your Audio Interface). The caveat here is that this method will only work if your interface has a line input.
  3. If that’s the case, you could simply use a male to female XLR cable and plug the female side into the OUTPUT of your preamp, and the male side into the INPUT of your Interface.
  4. Lastly, your preamp using XLR hooks up to your microphone. (Plug this cable into the INPUT of your preamp).

Some other things you will need:

  • Mic Stand
  • Shockmount
  • Pop Filter

Changing tubes

A lot of people also say that this mic benefits from a new tube. What I mean by that is that it can be removed from the microphone and replaced with a better one, giving you a fuller sound. This isn’t mandatory and is certainly a matter of taste. The factory tube that comes with the NTK is more than adequate for most people.

Also, replacing the tube with a better one will negate the problem of the somewhat harsh high end that some complain about.

Here’s a great article on the subject!!

Pros

  • Great value, long-lasting mic.
  • Crisp, warm sound.
  • Airy and detailed, while remaining full-bodied.
  • A workhorse mic, you will keep coming back to it over and over.
  • Smoothness, purity, and immediacy.

Cons

  • One reviewer complained that the placement of the mic has to be just right.
  • May sound a bit “tinny” in the high end, around the 6 and 12 kHz range. A bit harsh on the sibilant factor. What does sibilant mean?

Conclusion

This is an incredible option for the vocalist who is looking for long-term value, as well as upgrading from the lower-end mics to a somewhat more expensive but tried and true option.

The sound quality you get is exceptional and rivals a lot of mics in the thousand dollars and up range. It handles a variety of studio applications as well as record instruments with great clarity and precision.

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!

 

Well, that’s about it for today folks! Hope you enjoyed my review of the Rode NTK tube condenser microphone!

Do you think this mic is worth the price tag? Let me know!!

If you have any further specific questions about this beast, please don’t hesitate to leave them below in the comments or contact me! I very much look forward to hearing from you.

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!

Save

Rode NTK

4.95

Value

5.0/5

Sound

4.8/5

Build Quality

5.0/5

Versatility

5.0/5

Pros

  • Clear, warm, full bodied sound
  • Versatile
  • Rugged and durable
  • Great value

Cons

  • Can get a bit tinny on the high end

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24 comments

G.C.Horton July 24, 2015 - 1:51 am

This mic might be more than I need. I’m looking for a mic for recording videos of me reading stories and also teaching creative writing.

Would the Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone be a good choice or would it be overkill?

You mentioned that replacing the tube that comes with it with a better one might be recommended. What tube would you recommend and how much would it cost?

Reply
Stu July 24, 2015 - 2:18 am

Hey man!

You’re right, this is overkill for your needs.

If you want a great entry level mic at an affordable price, check out the Audio technica AT2020! It’s got a crazy amount of positive reviews and is just a great all around option. Would be perfect for your situation..

If you have a bit more to spend, the AT2035 sounds incredible, and comes bundled with a lot of stuff.. A great value. Check out the video review when you click on the article!

-Stu

Reply
Kerry Bramham July 24, 2015 - 1:57 am

Hi Stu,
Great article! This mic sounds like a great option and I think the price is quite reasonable, especially if it can last for ten years. I actually did a bit of a search for comparison prices and yours is the cheapest, so that is great. If it lasted for ten years, that is $53 a year or roughly $! per week.
Sounds like pretty good value to me.
Kerry

Reply
Stu July 24, 2015 - 2:14 am

Hey Kerry!

Glad to see you back! The NTK really stood out to me when browsing the internet as one of the best around, so I had to do a review.. Those aussies make some of the best equipment for sure!!

-Stu

Reply
Jerry August 2, 2015 - 3:44 am

Hi Stu, it was a pleasure reading this review. Your article perfectly describes what this mic can do and also for what purposes it can be used best. It gives your audience sufficient information to make the right choice. Are there any mics comparable to this one, I mean as competition? Cheers, Jerry

Reply
Stu August 2, 2015 - 6:31 pm

Hey Jerry!

Thanks much for stopping through. I appreciate the comment..

As for comparable mics? The Rode K2, the AKG C414, the NT1000..

Hope to hear from you soon!

-Stu

Reply
Levi Kaus August 2, 2015 - 5:21 am

thoroughly enjoyed your site :). It has very helpful and informative information. You targeted your audience well and your layout seems to match your theme. All in all not bad at all. Keep up the content generation and you’ll be sure to attract loyal viewers.
I will be back to see this page again for sure.

If you could go to my website and leave a comment that would be greatly appreciated as well. (My site is relatively new.) If not then thanks again for the information.

Reply
Stu August 2, 2015 - 6:27 pm

Thanks for the feedback and the same comment 3 times on 3 different articles 🙂

Reply
Vanessa September 23, 2015 - 1:16 am

This mic sounds like a great investment.

When you think about it, you really can’t go wrong with this pick. Any musician wants quality sound and buying a cheaper mic might work, but for how long until you have to purchase another.

Like you, I prefer quality any day, especially when it comes to music. I want to hear a good clean sound all around, and that includes instruments and vocals.

This mic is definitely worth it.

Reply
Stu September 26, 2015 - 3:12 pm

Thanks for your valuable input Vanessa! The NTK is a great option if you are in the market for this type of mic!

-Stu

Reply
Maureen January 3, 2016 - 6:59 pm

Hey Stu it sure sounds like you know about what is needed to produce some good sounds. It also sounds like you have a true passion for this type of work. I think your recommendation of the Rode NTK Tube Condenser microphone shows good judgement. I think the price is reasonable compared to some other microphones and if the quality is as good as you say it would be a good investment.

Reply
Stu January 4, 2016 - 4:54 am

Hey Maureen!

Thanks for stopping by. The NTK is a good option. It gets extremely favorable reviews (4.9/5) but on amazon only a 4.2 with a smaller sample size. And yeah! I’ve always been passionate about music, headphones, and microphones/recording in general. I make beats and am always looking for that true mixing/reference sound.. If you have any questions about anything music production related, contact me!

Talk soon,

-Stu

Reply
Daniel Lara January 30, 2016 - 12:12 am

Hey, Stu! Great review on the Rode NTK. I read an interview once with Chris Cornell’s Euphoria Mourning producer, and he mentioned that Chris recorded many of his vocals with a NTK through a 1176. He didn’t mention the preamp, it was most likely the desk’s, as it was not a big budget album. If it was good enough for Chris Cornell, it’s good enough for me!

Reply
Stu January 30, 2016 - 7:32 pm

Nice Daniel!

The Rode NTK gets rave reviews nearly everywhere I’ve looked, but is a tube condenser which may throw some people off because of it 1) having it’s own power source 2) requiring a preamp rather than 48v phantom power and 3) having interchangeable tubes. It really is radically different from your standard condenser.

Thanks for dropping by my friend!

-Stu

Reply
Kegan March 30, 2016 - 7:36 am

Absolutely, Rode are hard to beat generally, but the NTK really is a studio workhorse of many purposes. I’ve had one for a few years and it hasn’t missed a beat (although my heard did when I dropped it on the studio floor – no damage, whoo!).

Perhaps a mic shootout would be a cool idea between a few others of a similar range?

Reply
Stu March 30, 2016 - 7:36 am

Kegan,

Thanks so much for the vote of confidence! I do think a mic shootout is in order.. great call there.. Lol I’ve heard of people dropping some of these condensers and they still hold up. Amazing, especially since they are known to be a lot more fragile than dynamics!

Thanks for stopping by man!

-Stu

Reply
LayLow Inc January 23, 2017 - 9:07 am

I’ve had this mic for over 15 years now and the only issue I’ve ever had is that the high end is too bright, which I ultimately end up using an EQ and I lower the high end by -3 db which ends up solving my “harsh high-end” issue. Overall I made a lot of artist smile by the quality of sound this mic gives. It’s a great mic!

Reply
Stu January 27, 2017 - 1:35 am

Nice dude! What’s your setup as far as preamps/interfaces? Would love to know.

Reply
Wayne April 18, 2017 - 10:10 pm

The $300-500+ price for the NTK plus the price for the preamp exceed the cost of a TLM103. I am a voice-over artist with my home studio. Is the NTK overkill for mono talking voice only recording? I currently have a NT-1a that works well. Just wondering about an upgrade.

Reply
Stu April 23, 2017 - 1:56 am

Yeah I would say the NTK is overkill, as you’ll have to get a preamp and it’s more for singing/rapping/female vocals, etc. Hm.. an upgrade for the NT1A? Are you wanting to stick with Rode here? The NT1 is fantastic. My top 3 for voice over would be the Shure SM7B, Electrovoice RE20, and Heil PR40. I would say overall the SM7B is the go to, as it’s extremely versatile. Check out my Shure SM7B review!

Reply
Wayne April 18, 2017 - 10:13 pm

Also, why doesn’t the 48v power from an audio interface work with the NTK??

Reply
Stu April 23, 2017 - 1:59 am

The NTK comes with its own power supply, and doesn’t run off of 48v phantom power. It does however require a separate preamp.

Reply
musicturtle April 23, 2017 - 5:59 pm

Hey Stu,
I have a Focusrite 2i2. It has mic pre-amps built in. Do I still need a seperate preamp?

Thanks for the review. It was really helpful.

Reply
Stu April 24, 2017 - 1:33 am

Hey man!

If you’re going to purchase the NTK, you will want to also get a preamp. It would just be an insult to the mic not to. ? Your 2i2 doesn’t have line inputs, but instead you could get a male to female XLR cable and run one end from your 2i2 into the main output of whatever preamp you use. Then you would just plug the mic via XLR into the preamp.

And no problem. Glad I could help out!!

-Stu

Reply

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