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Rode NT1 vs NT1A: Overview
If you’re into recording and audio production, chances are you’ve come across these two legendary entry-level mics. Rode is pretty much a household name at this point, and these mics are part of the reason why. In this Rode NT1 vs NT1A comparison, we’ll take a look at the differences in specs, frequency response, polar patterns, and overall sound and performance to help you make a good decision. Lets dig in.
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Last Updated: 10/11/2021
NT1A Pros & Cons
NT1A Frequency Response
The NT1A sounds warm in comparison to the NT1 due to the clear bump in 100 – 200 Hz range. This means that voices or sounds with a lower pitch or tone, such as rap vocals, will sound deeper and fuller with the Rode NT1A vs NT1.
We can also see that the mid-highs are slightly more exaggerated in the NT1A. There are a few peaks – one at 3500 Hz, one at 5300 Hz, and one at 12,500 Hz – which will all add to vocal presence and punch.
NT1A Polar Pattern
NT1 Pros & Cons
NT1 Frequency Response
The NT1 is a much more neutral mic when compared to the NT1A. We can tell by the relatively flat frequency response curve. The NT1 is extremely flat all the way up to around 4 kHz. At this point, we begin to see a slight and gradual rise that will add to the presence of high-pitched noises.
Since the NT1 is a more “honest” mic, some complain that it sounds boring. However, if raw accuracy is what you’re after, the Rode NT1 is hard to beat at this price point.
NT1 Polar Pattern
Rode NT1 vs NT1A Conclusion: Similarities & Differences
As we can see, these two mics have much in common. Like the NT1, the NT1A has a cardioid polar pickup pattern. This means they accept noise from the front and reject noise from the back.
Most microphones have a polar pattern that varies slightly with frequency, and these mics are no exception. In fact, the polar patterns for these two mics are nearly identical, even when we take this variation into account.
Both mics are also condenser microphones with 1″ diaphragms. Condensers are versatile mics that are commonly used in recording studios around the world for anything from vocals to kick drums to guitars and other stringed instruments. Condenser microphones require phantom power, so make sure you’ve considered where it’ll come from.
On the other hand, these mics have some very important differences to pay attention to. In frequency responses, the Rode NT1 is much flatter in comparison to the NT1A. This makes the NT1 great for recording reference track due to its raw accuracy. But at the same time, its neutral tone is not for everyone.
The NT1A also has a slightly higher max SPL (sound pressure level), coming in at 137 dBA vs the NT1s 132 dBA. This means the NT1A will be slightly better for recording loud sounds. That being said, unless you’re recording drums, it’s not likely this will make much of a difference.
In the self-noise department, the NT1 takes the cake. The NT1 boasts an incredibly low self-noise of 4.5 dBA vs the NT1A, which has 5 dBA of self-noise. While that’s not much of a difference, it may be noticeable if you’re recording in a less-than-ideal acoustic space like a bedroom or home studio.