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Rode NT1 vs NT1A for Vocals

If you’re searching for a microphone designed for voice recording, you have probably come across the Rode NT1 and its successor, the NT1A.

These large-diaphragm true-condenser microphones work exceptionally well on vocals of all types.

Let’s look at their features and determine which suits your needs better.

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The Rode NT1 and NT1A are almost identical, with minimal differences between them. They also come at a similar price point.

With a self-noise of only 4.5 dB, the Rode NT1 is one of the quietest microphones on the market. The NT1A has low self-noise, too, of just 5.0 dB.

And thanks to their extremely low self-noise, these mics are ideal for vocal recording and minimizing background noise.

Remember that the Rode NT1 and NT1A require 48V Phantom power to operate. The differences between these models are further explained in the video below.


Both microphones are aesthetically pleasing and durable, but let’s see what that means for the recording process.

Rode NT1

Notably, the Rode NT1 features a large, 1″ gold-sputtered condenser capsule that can produce some of the clearest vocals you could wish for.

It also has a cardioid pick-up pattern, meaning it picks up most sound from in front of the microphone and less from the sides.

The Rode NT1 has an XLR input that can be used to connect the mic to an audio interface.

Rode NT1A

The Rode NT1A microphone has a cardioid pick-up pattern and the same 1-inch, gold-sputtered condenser capsule. However, it is a little lighter in weight.

Both the NT1 and NT1A come with accessories: a shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover.

Our Pick
Rode NT1-A Cardioid Condenser Mic Package

One of the world's quietest studio mics.

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Audio Quality

Both the Rode NT1A and NT1A are capable of producing high-quality sound. These mics can capture nuances that a typical dynamic microphone can’t pick up.

With a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, both microphones are suitable for recording vocals with exceptional clarity.

Namely, the Rode NT1 has a frequency response that is almost dead flat, which is usually seen in more expensive microphones.

The Rode NT1A, on the other side, has a shaped frequency response that is the opposite of flat. The upgraded Rode mic is relatively bright sounding, and it brings the vocals forward.

Additionally, the NT1A can sometimes sound slightly harsh in the top end, which is common in condensers of this price range.

Which is Better For Vocals?

As mentioned, the differences between the NT1 and NT1A are not so prominent.

The NT1 is the more balanced and natural-sounding microphone, and it could be more versatile in some cases. The NT1A sounds bright, sometimes even TOO bright, especially for female voices.

The Rode NT1 has lower self-noise than the NT1A, but it’s only a slight difference. This means they can record even the quietest vocals with minimal background noise.

In general, the Rode NT1 is excellent if you prefer a more natural sound, while the NT1A would be a better fit if you prefer a brighter tone in your recordings.

In other words, the NT1A works particularly well with male voices, while the NT1 is suitable for various vocals.

User experience

Though online reviews praised both microphones, there are slight nuances. One person stated that the NT1 captures fewer mouth clicks than the NT1A.

One reviewer noted that, while it’s a matter of personal preference, the Rode NT1 does sound slightly flatter than the NT1A.

Many users reported that the NT1A is fantastic at capturing instruments like acoustic guitars and vocals. Specifically, a user commented that the Rode NT1A better represents what a voice sounds like in real life.

Another user stated that the Rode NT1A “seems to have more color but picks up more noise, while the NT1 is smoother but lacks personality”.

Rode NT1 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
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Final Words

The Rode NT1 and NT1A are very similar mics, and both are an affordable, popular choice for vocals. Their super low self-noise makes them perfect for speech and voiceover recording.

You may opt for the NT1 for a warmer, more natural sound and the NT1A for a brighter tone. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your preference, recording environment, and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a condenser and a normal mic?

A condenser microphone is more sensitive and has a wider frequency response than dynamic mics. Condensers are ideal for capturing subtle details in controlled studio environments.

Additionally, condenser microphones rely on external (phantom) power to work and tend to be more pricey.

Are condenser microphones good for recording vocals?

Yes, condenser microphones are the preferred choice for recording vocals. Thanks to their high sensitivity, condenser mics can clearly capture a wide range of frequencies.

They usually have a broader frequency response than other microphone types, making them suitable for recording different vocal styles or genres.

What is the Rode NT1 used for?

The Rode NT1 is used to record vocals and instruments, such as guitars and pianos. The NT1 has a high sound pressure level capability, which is also ideal for recording drums and percussions.

Is Rode NT1 good for ASMR?

Yes, it’s perfect for ASMR applications. The NT1 is a condenser mic with a cardioid polar pattern that can record quiet ASMR sounds with great quality. It also has ultra-low self-noise (4dBA), making it capable of recording subtle details.

Is the Rode NT1A good for vocals?

Yes, the Rode NT1A is an excellent vocal microphone that can capture nuances in vocal performances. It is also affordable, making it a good option for both beginner and professional vocalists.

Does the Rode NT1A require phantom power?

Yes, it is a condenser microphone, meaning it needs external power to produce a signal. It requires 48v of phantom power to work. Most audio interfaces and mixers can supply phantom power to any microphone that needs it.

Is Rode NT1-A better than Shure SM7B?

The SM7B is a dynamic microphone, while the NT1A is a condenser, so comparing these two models is unfair. However, the NT1A is more prone to capturing background noise than the Shure SM7B.

The choice between these two ultimately depends on your desired recording style.

What’s the difference between Rode NT1 and Rode NT1A?

The difference between the NT1 and NT1A is minimal. They differ in sound because the Rode NT1A is brighter, and the NT1 has a more neutral sound.

The mid-highs are also slightly more exaggerated in the NT1A.