The Rode NT1-A Complete Vocal Recording Solution might well be a great place to start for the ambitious first-time producer, packaging the mic, a shock mount, a pop shield and an XLR cable all in one handy box.
You might already be familiar with the Rode NT1 – the company has done a huge amount of work in establishing the model and its peers as go-to industry standards against stiff competition – and if so you’ll notice an immediate similarity between that and this update. The newbie looks a little more classy, admittedly, finished as it is in a currently-popular satin nickel finish, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s in any way vulnerable. We’ll look at the accessories you’re getting in this pack in part two, but the grill itself – steel – is going to do a good job of averting any major accidents. There are gold XLR connector pins too, for that extra nice touch.
This model also has a large-diaphragm, cardioid-pattern mic inside, just like its predecessor; the same design of diaphragm too (gold plated). So far, so almost-similar then, but taking a look at the mic’s sonic spec, it’s clear that things have had more than a little trade-up in terms of the wiring. The frequency range on the NT1-A is a broad 20Hz-20kHz, a catch-all spectrum that the NT1 didn’t possess at the top end. There are no switching options, however (pad’s etc), so it’ll be important for us to check how noisy things get. That said, I’m not too worried – sure, at this end of the budget you’re not going to be getting all the mod-cons, but much like a number of other manufacturers Rode has long taken a pride in the quality of its entry-level models. We shall have to see, but the specs suggest low-level input noise while still retaining a decent sensitivity. Assuming that that’s the case, there’ll be mileage for recording less-punchy instruments as well as vocals, and longer-distance recording too.
The grill has apparently also been designed to prevent pop – you’ll have seen the doubled-up grill design before of course, and while it’ll help, I’ve yet to come across one that doesn’t need a pop shield. Then again, that’s why you’re looking at this all in one pack – everything in one box!
It’s looking promising, with a spec that’s easily the equal of a lot of capacitor mics I’ve come across and a solid build quality that goes above and beyond the price tag. I’m going to nip off and get this plugged in now, and along with making sure that nothing’s too noisy and that the range achieves what it claims to, I’ll have a listen out for any specific microphone character that’ll either be a help or hinderance