The RØDE NT-USB Studio Microphone is highly regarded as a quality studio and podcasting microphone at a reasonable price-point.
RØDE is an Australian based microphone manufacturer who, since the launch of their US office in 2001 has enjoyed a growing international following. While not as well known as the major international manufacturers, their name crops up often in discussion of Podcasting and studio mics. The RØDE NT-USB pops up on the first page of internet searches. For our first microphone test, we chose this locally designed mic. Sadly, while RØDE used to manufacturer all product in Australia, this product is manufactured in China.
At $168.00 Australian from major outlets, and available for a similar USD price from Amazon the NT-USB hits the pricing sweet spot for those looking for a quality Studio and podcasting mic.
While the packaging is not Apple class, the NT-USB comes in a large box with substantial foam packing to protect the mic and accessories.
The first impression when unboxing is just how solid the NT-USB is. At a claimed weight of 520gm, this is no flimsy portable mic. It’s designed for your podcast desk or a studio. not to be thrown in a backpack for your travel blog.
The NT-USB comes with a removable pop filter, 6 (YES 6) metre USB cable, storage pouch and tripod desk stand. It is compatible with studio arm mounts.
Compatibility is claimed with Mac, Windows and iPad. We tested with Mac and iPad and found the mic to be immediately recognised and ready for action. For iPad use, it is necessary to purchase the Apple USB Camera adapter for which you’ll get slogged in the region of $46 Australian.
After unpacking and plugging into our test MacBook, we selected the NT-USB in System Preferences, opened GarageBand and were straight into recording. The included booklet also gives installation instructions for Windows computers. With an iPad, once plugged in with the Apple adapter, GarageBand recognised the NT-USB and was ready to record. RØDE mention their own iOS app, RØDE Rec which is available in a free LE version, or a $9.99 full version. We tested the free version which has basic functionality. The built-in headphone monitors output and adjustment controls made setup easy and painless.
The RØDE NT-USB delivers great sound. True to their history, RØDE seems to have used a quality cardioid capsule set in a standard studio format. It sounds very natural, clear and transparent, and did not suffer from popping. The mic was not susceptible to positioning and worked from a number of angles. Desktop mounted with the included stand there was no vibration effect, even when using a keyboard next to the stand. For what seems a basic tripod, it works extremely well. For ultimate results, you could use one of the RØDE suspension kits. Personally, I did not find the need.
Initially we had to fiddle with settings, however once set up, vocals were superb, from full-throated shouts down to whispers. None of AppleHQ could be considered even passable singers, however, for podcasts, there was a great clarity and using the mic to pick up instruments displayed a clean sound across the entire spectrum.
RØDE NT-USB vs Blue Yeti
Blue Yeti has a great following in the podcaster community, however, after borrowing one from a friend, I found the impression of product quality and the sound quality to be night and day.
The RØDE NT-USB is a solid rock of a product. It FEELS and looks higher quality before you even run them side by side. The controls are well placed and solid vs the flimsy feeling controls on the Blue Yeti.
The supplied tripod doesn’t look amazingly special, however, it works a treat. The Blue Yeti passes significant vibration through its standard mount according to its owner. He rigged spacers to enable him to fit his to an industry standard mount.
The RØDE is a GREAT mic for podcasting and studio work. it is competitively priced but soundly beat the popular Blue Yeti. If you are desk or studio-bound, I give the RØDE NT-USB a solid recommendation. For portable work, I’d be looking for a smaller, lighter rig. RØDE do offer the i-XLR and i-XY. I haven’t had the opportunity to test those, so could not comment on podcast suitability.
Excellent sound quality, Low noise, Solid, Well designed, Free pop-shield, Solid stand
Weight (only for portable use)
The RØDE NT-USB earns a well deserved 5 Thumbs Up – Editor’s Choice. GREAT PRODUCT!!