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Rode NT1 VS Rode NT1A

One of the most difficult tasks that every podcaster has to face at some point is choosing the perfect microphone for their show. It’s not an easy task, and with so many to choose from, the decision-making process becomes even more difficult.

However, one brand that shines out like a beacon of hope amongst the plethora of microphones available is Rode. Renowned for creating high-quality audio equipment, Rode is a go-to favorite for audiophiles from all over the world.

And, amongst Rode’s arsenal of offerings, it’s the NT1 and the NT1A that are the most popular choice of microphones for hundreds of podcasters. But what’s the difference between the two microphones? And, more importantly, which is better?

We decided to take an in-depth look at each of them, breaking down their features and, once and for all, answer these burning questions.

By the time we’re finished, you’ll have a better idea of whether the Rode NT1 or the Rode NT1A is the perfect tool for giving your podcast that professional finish.

Rode NT1

Let’s start by taking a look at the Rode NT1. The first thing you’ll notice about this microphone is its modern, stylish design that will fit in with any studio setup.

It’s not just aesthetically pleasing; however, the all-metal construction ensures that this microphone can withstand the occasional bump without showing any signs of damage. This is ideal if you’re planning on taking your show on the road at any point.

The entire microphone has also been nickel-plated, and this makes it corrosion resistant. This is an important feature in any microphone since our saliva’s salt content can cause rusting over time. But, with the addition of nickel-plating, this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.

So, we know it’s durable, and a 10-year warranty also backs this up. But what about it’s recording quality? The Rode NT1 features a large, 1” gold-sputtered condenser capsule that helps produce some of the cleanest vocals you could ever wish for.

The clarity of your recordings is also further enhanced by the microphone’s cardioid pickup pattern. This focuses the microphone’s attention on the sound coming from directly in front of it while simultaneously eliminating any ambient noise.

The result is super-clear vocals and zero background noise.

The Rode NT1 also operates with a low self-noise level of just 4.5dB. This means that electrical interference or buzzing will appear on your recording either.

It has a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz too, and this helps to transform a variety of voice types into smooth, conversational tones.

An XLR input port is located directly on the bottom of the Rode NT1, and this can be used to establish a secure connection to your audio interface.

It’s also really conveniently placed, too, as the cable will hang directly from the bottom of the microphone, keeping it out of the way and preventing it from being caught and tugged on by a particularly enthusiastic amount of gesticulating!

Rode NT1KIT Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
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Pros:

  • The strong, durable construction keeps the capsule well-protected and ensures the microphone can withstand general wear and tear
  • Features a 1-inch, gold-sputtered condenser capsule
  • Operates with a cardioid pickup pattern, focusing on vocals and eliminating background noise
  • Has a low, 4.5dB self-noise level
  • Can pick up a variety of vocal tones with a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency range

Cons:

  • It is quite expensive, so not the best choice for anybody working with a limited budget

Rode NT1A

Our Pick
Rode NT1-A Cardioid Condenser Mic Package

One of the world's quietest studio mics.

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You might be thinking that the Rode NT1 has so much to offer that it would be impossible to improve on it. However, the Rode NT1A has a couple of extra features up its sleeve that will help take your recording experience to the next level.

Before we get into the details of those, however, let’s examine the similarities between the two.

As with the NT1, the Rode NT1A features a solid, all-metal, nickel-plated construction that makes it super durable and corrosion-resistant. It also comes with a 10-year warranty that acts as a testament to its quality.

The 1-inch, gold-sputtered condenser capsule is the same as the NT1 too, and it operates with a cardioid pickup pattern. The reason for not changing these features is simply because it wouldn’t make sense to do so!

If you’re looking for crystal clear vocals, then a cardioid microphone with a condenser capsule will give you the best performance possible.

So, what makes the Rode NT1A different from the Rode NT1? First of all, it’s lighter in weight at just 325g (compared to the 395g weight of the NT1). This means that you’ll be able to suspend it from a boom arm or in a shock mount with more confidence.

The Rode NT1A has the same frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz as the NT1, but it is notably brighter in the treble regions. This makes it better for pairing with male voices as it will produce clearer notes from lower tones.

It also has a lower self-noise of just 4dB. While this is only 0.5dB smaller than the NT1, it does make a noticeable difference during those short periods of silence. It also has a higher SPL (sound pressure level) than the NT1 to record louder noises more effectively.

The XLR cable port is conveniently located on the bottom of the microphone for easier positioning. You’ll also be able to suspend the microphone upside down without the cable getting the way, giving you more versatility and allowing you to set it up in the most comfortable way.

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Pros:

  • The strong, durable construction is tough enough to handle the studio and life on the road alike.
  • Features a gold-sputtered, 1” condenser capsule that produces concise vocals
  • It also features a cardioid polar pickup pattern to eliminate ambient noise and concentrate solely on vocals.
  • It is lighter in weight than the Rode NT1 so that it can be suspended from a boom arm or shock mount with a greater level of confidence.
  • It has a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range that is brighter in the treble regions, so it’s ideal for pairing with low, male vocals.
  • The 4dB self-noise level ensures no buzzing or electrical noise in silent periods of recording.
  • Features an XLR port conveniently located on the bottom of the microphone for easy setup and unrestricted use

Cons:

  • As with the NT1, the Rode NT1A is an expensive microphone, so it may not be the best choice for anybody new to podcasting or a hobbyist podcaster.

Which is better?

The truth of the matter is that there isn’t much difference between the Rode NT1 and the Rode NT1A. This makes determining the better of the two a little difficult, and, to be entirely honest, there isn’t really one that is better than the other.

Instead, it’s a case of determining which would work best for your podcast format and studio setup.

Both offer a large, gold-sputtered condenser capsule, and both operate with a cardioid pickup pattern. This makes each of them ideal for podcasting since you’ll want the majority of your show to be focused on capturing clear, concise vocals.

However, the frequency range of each is something to consider when deciding between the two. While both have the same frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, the Rode NT1A is notably brighter in the treble regions.

This makes it ideal for capturing lower frequencies so, if you’re an all-male show, it could be the better option.

Both are similar in their construction, too, and are backed by a generous 10-year warranty. However, the Rode NT1A is 70g lighter in weight than the Rode NT1.

This may not seem like an important difference, but it can make a world of difference between your microphone remaining in place or falling when suspended in a boom arm or shock mount. So, think about your studio’s setup when considering the two.

Finally, the Rode NT1A has a 0.5dB lower self-noise level than the Rode NT1. This is something that you’ll want to consider if your podcast features moments of silence, such as a theatre podcast or audiobook narration.

The absolute silence this lower noise level guarantees will keep your listener immersed in the story, rather than being put off by annoying electrical interference.

Conclusion

If you’re still torn between the two, the simplest way to look at it is like this; if you want a warmer sounding microphone that works particularly well for male voices, then the best choice would be the Rode NT1A.

If you’re looking for a microphone that works well across a range of vocals and doesn’t need to be brighter in the treble regions, then the Rode NT1 would be perfectly suited for your needs.

Whichever you go for, the one thing you need to remember is that both the Rode NT1 and the Rode NT1A come with a hefty price tag.

So, if you’re new to podcasting and are still figuring out what works best for you, or if you’re on a smaller budget, a different brand might be more suitable for the time being.

However, if you can stretch to the price tag, you’ll be adding an invaluable piece of recording equipment to your studio that will last for years to come.