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Rode NT1A Review: An In-Depth Look

Rode NT1A Review An In-Depth Look

Are you planning on creating a Youtube channel for your song covers?

Do you want to showcase your instrument-playing prowess on social media platforms in the future?

If so, you can start by having one of Rode’s best-selling condenser microphones: the NT1A.

Check out our in-depth review below, and make your way to unleashing that talent of yours!

Table of Contents

Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone Overview

Rode NT1-A is the PERFECT microphone for your instrumental or vocal recording needs.

With this great mic, you won’t be flexing just its audio quality. Its premium silver design is also something to be showcased to your viewers.

The mic’s natural sounding ability also enables you to record vocals and acoustic guitars as authentic as possible.

The best part is that its price is quite budget-friendly considering its features!

To be clear, it’s not in the same price range as non-performing budget mics. But it’s also NOT too expensive as an investment considering its value.

This mic offers a good deal if you’re planning to have or are currently creating your home studio.

Main Features:

  • Makes sound beautiful and transparent with its large diaphragm capsule
  • Picks up sound in a cardioid polar pattern
  • Clean recording with 5dBA Noise level (Very low)
  • Caters Sound Pressure Level (SPL) up to 137dB
  • Complete Package: The case includes an SM6 shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover

Mechanical Specs

Rode NT1-A has the following dimensions:

  • Height: 190mm
  • Width: 50mm
  • Depth: 50mm

Sounds pretty big, right? Well, it also weighs 326g.

But, you don’t have to worry.

The mic comes with an SM6 shock mount, so you can be confident that it won’t easily fall.

There’s also a pop filter so you can give your best performance when used even for an extended period of time.

Acoustic Specs

Rode NT1-A caters to ALL your recording needs.

It’s an excellent microphone for instruments and vocals. Your diction and pronunciation will sound smooth and precise, whether it be for singing or speaking.

Below are some of the significant acoustic specs to take note of:

Frequency Range

You NEVER want to miss a beat or word while recording.

This great microphone has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz to prevent that from happening!

Rode NT1A is better compared to similar mics that roll off at certain frequencies. You can focus on your sessions WITHOUT worrying about anything at all.

Do you want to use your guitar amps during a session? Try it! Just make sure to hit those chords and let NT1A do its magic of bringing your sound to life.

As long as it’s inside Rode NT1-A’s frequency range, anything will sound perfect.


For sure, your listeners also don’t want to hear mic noise — especially when they’re already in the zone in feeling every verse of your music or every strum of your acoustic guitars.

Rode NT1-A also has VERY low self-noise with 5dBA.

This guarantees that no unnecessary microphone sounds will be heard inside your studio when you listen to the recorded audio.

Because of that, your results are ensured to be clear and accurate after every session.

Polar Pattern

This condenser mic has a cardioid polar pattern that is the BEST for your home studio recording.

NT1A’s heart-shaped unidirectional pickup pattern only records a sound source placed in front.

Thus, it minimizes the noise from behind and focuses on your singing, talking, or acoustic guitar playing.

So, to make the most of the mic, make sure your mouth faces it well. Place the guitar center in the right place.

Doing these will result in your audio output sounding perfect!

Sound Pressure Level (SPL)

Do you need to add drum beats to the song you’re working on?

We usually use two mics as drum overheads. But this microphone alone can do that job perfectly well too!

Rode NT1-A has a maximum SPL of 137dB. 

This high SPL is good not only for recording acoustic guitars. It can ALSO do a great job on different percussion instruments.

The mic can clearly record your drum’s loud and broad volume level variations while playing.

Electrical Specs

Having this recording equipment does not only mean knowing how to put the parts together.

You should also be familiar with the electrical standards. This is very important should you decide to assemble or operate this mic in your home studio by yourself.

For one, you should be aware of this condenser mic’s power requirements.

Like other microphones, you cannot directly plug this mic’s 3-pin XLR cable into your computer or device and expect everything to work afterward.

You need a phantom power source of P24 or P48 to start and keep recording sessions rolling.

Aside from that, this mic also uses a bipolar output buffer for its active electronics.


  • Cardioid polar pattern pickup
  • Good SPL Handling
  • Premium build quality
  • Low self-noise
  • Perfectly priced for the value it offers


  • Need a separate phantom power source device
  • Relatively heavy compared to similar microphones

If you’re looking for more information about the Rode NT1A microphone, you can check their official website here.

Alternatives to Consider

As a starting singer-songwriter, you can also agree that Rode NT1A sounds like a quality microphone, right?

However, we can suggest alternatives for a new mic if you are looking for features that are not present in this Rode model.

Below are some options for a more affordable condenser mic.

1) Rode NT1

The Rode NT1 condenser mic follows a black theme for its overall look. It has a professional appearance with the mic design, metal grille, pop filter, shock mount, and other accessories.

Like its predecessor, it also has a sweet spot for versatility — it’s a good mic for recording vocals and different instruments.

With its fixed frequency range, a low-cut filter will NOT be needed.

The more exciting part is it has lower self-noise than the Rode NT1-A. The older version can already produce clean audio results. What more if you’ll be using the Rode NT1?

Undeniably, a Rode NT1 is a WORKHORSE for your home studio as a budding singer-songwriter.


  • Very low self-noise (4.5dB)
  • SPL (132dB)
  • Good frequency response
  • Cardioid polar pattern pickup
  • Phantom power requirement (P24 and P48)

2) Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Studio Xlr Condenser Microphone

If you have a tighter budget, this is the right mic for you.

This choice from Audio-Technica is an entry-level microphone.

Because of that, you can expect LOWER specs compared to more expensive mics.

One significant feature is its high self-noise which might make you feel uncomfortable when recording.

It may not be as amazing as the Rode NT1 or the NT1-A, but it’s still a good starting instrumental or vocal mic for its price range.


  • High self-noise (20dB)
  • Unidirectional cardioid polar pattern pickup
  • Good SPL handling
  • Metal build quality

3) MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

If you want to record vocals individually or as a group, this BUDGET-FRIENDLY option is one of the best mics for this purpose!

MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is also as versatile as the Rode NT1 and the Audio-Technica AT2020.

It can cater to recording vocals and instruments in your new home studio.

It is actually one of the favorite picks on the budget mic spectrum for streaming and podcasting.

However, you can expect a little background noise pickup with this microphone. But, it’s not that big of a deal compared to the things it can offer for its price.


  • Frequency response (20KHz)
  • Phantom power requirement (48V)
  • Cardioid polar pattern pickup

4) Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

If you’re more on the speaking side of recording rather than music, this mic is for you!

Rode NT-USB Microphone works best with voice-over projects and podcasting.

However, it also works great with singing, playing instruments, and other types of recording needs.

This mic is the answer if you’re going for a more flexible setup.

A separate power supply is also NOT needed for this to function since this is a USB-type microphone.

You can find the control options on the mic itself for easier access to its whole function.

Overall, this mic is just as VERSATILE as the others in this list of alternatives.


  • Frequency range (20Hz – 20kHz)
  • SPL (110 dB)
  • Cardioid polar pattern pickup
  • Capsule (0.50″)

Are you looking for more?

We feel you in your eagerness to pick the BEST microphone for your studio.

It is indeed best to consider all the choices in any category as much as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Curious about more? Looking for comparisons and more microphone choices?

We can definitely answer more of your questions below.

Which One Is Better, Rode NT1 or NT1A?

Do you have a set budget and are confused about which mic is BETTER?

To cut the story short, the Rode NT1 and NT1A are actually tied in most categories.

However, aside from the Rode NT1 being a newer model, it’s also the overall winner.

Here is a quick look:

Tied categories:

  • Design
  • Package (Same inclusions)

Categories where Rode NT1 is the winner:

  • Frequency Response
  • Value According to Price

Categories where Rode NT1A is the winner:

  • Sound Pressure Level (SPL)
  • SPL Handling

The design for Rode NT1 is more on the black theme, while the Rode NT1A capitalized on a premium silver style. Regardless of your color preferences, both are PERFECTLY designed.

Another significant comparison is their frequency range. Rode NT1 doesn’t need a low-cut filter and has lower self-noise compared to the Rode NT1-A.

Despite the wider range, the older version still has better SPL handling.

We feel you if you say it’s challenging to decide which one is better. Thus, we believe you should depend on your primary purpose for recording.

Ask yourself first what feature, budget, or category you are most considering.

Through this, you can make the mic hunt better, faster, and more in line with your needs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rode NT1A is recommended for doing sound collaboration. In comparison, Rode NT1 is best for an audio mix.

What Is Rode NT1-A Good For?

Are you having an information overload with all the details we have discussed above?

Let’s make everything simpler:

Like any Rode mic, Rode NT1-A performs well in almost all the categories you can wish for.

A few of these purposes are:

  • Home recording
  • Recording vocals
  • Recording the acoustic guitar, drums, and other instruments

What Microphone Do Famous Singers Use?

If you want to use the same mic models as your favorite singers, here are a few:

Audio Technica AEW-T4100

Do you want to be like Taylor Swift?

Aside from practicing to reach your idol’s talent level, using the mic they love is also one of the ways to feel closer to them.

In the case of Swifties, you would also definitely want to consider using the Audio Technica AEW-T4100.

Famous singers mostly use this mic during LIVE performances.

Thus, it is guaranteed to be durable in any way you want to use it for your music.

Everything sounds great with this microphone, whether hand-held or with a mic stand.

This is definitely a huge upgrade from the starting microphone that you’ve been using in your studio.

It’s rated five stars in almost all the stores it’s listed in.

You can also make your music a 5-star level with this mic, together with your great vocals and instrument-playing skills.

Main Features:

  • Good frequency response (566.38 MHz)
  • Unidirectional polar pattern pickup
  • Durable (Studio recording or live performance)

Sennheiser SKM 5200

Maybe you’re more of a Madonna fan.

In that case, you should consider the Sennheiser SKM 5200. After all, a rising star like you also needs a microphone on the same level as hers.

This hand-held microphone has been one of the top choices in the music industry. 

Sennheiser SKM 5200 has an award-winning design that compliments any famous singer’s style. It also has an audio interface designed to perform best in live performances.

If you want to be one of the TOP singers like Madonna, this microphone should be one of your target investments too.

Main features:

  • Function Time (8 hours)
  • Wide variations in the frequency range
  • Frequency Response (60 – 20.000 Hz)

The list goes on for famous artists, and the same is true with the types of microphones they use.

Regardless of whatever mics you fall in love with, you should start saving. After all, the high-level performance of these celebrities’ microphones also calls for higher prices.

Final Verdict: Is It Worth It?

It’s definitely worth it!

Rode NT1A did not gather a LOT of buyers in the past years for no reason.

It is best for beginners, especially when you have a specific budget in mind.

This mic is a perfect mix of good mechanical, acoustic, and electrical specs!

It has great features like self-noise, frequency response, audio interface, sound quality, and more. No matter what aspect you look at, it will indeed perform very well!


Rode NT1A is your best friend in starting and continuing your career in music and other vocal-related paths.

It caters to HIGHER frequencies for you to never miss a part in your recording sessions. Meanwhile, its extremely low self-noise helps produce clear sounds — may it be from your vocals or instruments.

However, you might have hesitations when it comes to the need for a separate phantom power source. Added by the fact that its build and size result in a heavier weight than most mics.

Nevertheless, you can never go wrong with the Rode NT1-A!

Comparing it to the Rode NT1 (the newer version) makes the decision quite hard. This is for the reason that both mics are tied in many aspects.

But if you are leaning toward the sound collaboration part of your music rather than the audio mix, Rode NT1A is the choice to pick.

Suppose you don’t have the budget YET for these choices. There are definitely performing microphones in the low-end category.

You can expect them to be more budget-friendly but still produce high-quality sound results for your projects.


Are you a singer? A musical instrument playing artist? A podcast host? A voice-over artist?

Make your plan on starting a Youtube channel or being a content creator on different social media platforms a reality!

You don’t need to rent a recording studio since you can already plan or start creating your own at home with the Rode NT1A as your microphone buddy.

Producing professional sound content via home recording is like magic with the Rode NT1A!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.