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Review: RØDE NTK

2
Submitted On May 22, 2013 by Contributor:
ntk_02

Rating

Sound
80%


Build Quality
100%


Ease of Use
80%


Versatility
71%


Overall Value
100%


Total Score
86%

86/ 100

Review Details

Price: $529
 
Manufacturer:
 

Positives:

Crisp full body sounding mic. great customer service
 

Negatives:

Delicate, high output* (see review)
 
by 
My Review

So you’re looking for a nice big warm tube mic to round out that locker, but not a lot of money to spend.  Here’s one with some serious potential.  Introduced over 10 years ago, the NTK has been a mainstay in the Rode lineup.  A single tube mic, cardioid polar pattern and thats is.  The mic is big and heavy and requires (comes with) a power supply to provide the mic the heater and high voltage lines the mic needs via a 7 pin cable (also included).  The mic has an SPL of 158dB (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load) and what that means to you is that you can put it in front of just about any source without damage to the unit.  There is one common “mod” that can be done to the stock mic (without voiding the warranty) by changing the cheap-o tube that the mic comes with.  Though it didn’t initially sound bad, there was a tonal difference when i changed out the tube to a NOS American made tube.  One minus is the lack of a bass roll off or pad on the mic.  Since the output of the mic is all transistor based with no transformer (rather odd for a tube my in my experience). The output of this mic is something fierce, talking LOUD!!  So loud in fact that it is VERY easy to clip the input of your mic pre from a light breath on the diaphragm without a pop filter (which this mic desperately needs to have in front of it).  I usually have to run this mic into a pre with a pad on because of the ridiculously high output or have the pre set to almost minimal gain (which in the case of tube pres and transformer based pres, is not a good thing tonally)  Overall though, the mic is nice and bright, theres a bit of a bump I can hear around 3-5k range making it a little more syllabant than I prefer.  Being cardioid it has a great proximity effect to get a real boomy voiceover vocal track, but again be careful with syllabants at that distance to the mic and always watch your levels.  I should mention that I have had to return the mic for servicing a couple time, and both times Rode covered the cost of repair, even though it was already out of the warranty period, so HUGE kudos for Rode’s customer service, top notch!!!

Recommend to a friend

About The Contributor

meistudio


Full service boutique studio in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. In addition to recording media services, the studio also builds a great deal of custom studio equipment.

2 Reviews


  1.  
    fb_gary.vandy

    "As someone who has a substantial mic collection. The NTK is a mic I still sometimes pick over all the others. Despite it’s low price it supplies a great warm distortion free sound. I use it a lit on guitar and bass cabs. Don’ t get me wrong it will never replace a 47 or 251 but for a studio on a tight budget that wants a fine tube cardiode mic it’s hard to find one better.
    Gary Vandy http://www.StudioCenterMiami.com"

    "Value for price. Good build. "

    "One trick pony. "

    "$400.00"

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  2.  

    "I’ve owned the Rode NTK microphone for quite a while now, and its been a workhorse in my studio. I’m using it stock, though I have heard Rode have changed the tubes used in the unit on the more modern versions, and the older versions sound better. I dont know if this is true, and can only judge from my use, and to me it sounds very good, even with the stock tube. It works well on our bands vocals (male progressive rock) adds a nice amount of warmth and weight to the sound, without being too bright. I’ve heard people say its a sibilant mic, and perhaps it is, but if so its been nothing I couldn’t tame with some de-essing. Like meistudio suggests in his review, it for sure needs a pop filter and good vocal microphone technique as it will pick up everything you throw at it, pops and all.

    I’ve used the mic to good effect on Saxophone as well. I’d imagine there are probably better saxophone mics out there, but my clients are always impressed with the sound quality of my recordings, so I haven’t bothered to find a different mic. I’ve also used a pair in a pinch on drum overheads and it didn’t sound half bad. I actually liked its characteristics in this application as it sounded full, yet tight.

    If I had to sum up the sound from this mic, I would call it “warm, yet open with incredible detail.”

    Though I’m not one for specs, but looking at the frequency response curve you can see a couple of presence bumps – a small one at around 5kHz and a higher, broader one at around 12kHz. Overall the response is from 20Hz to 20kHz ±6dB. The dynamic range is better than 147dBA and the maximum output level can be as high as +29dBu, which explains why no pad switch is needed on the mic. The maximum SPL is 158dB.

    As for build quality, I have nothing bad to say about the mic. It looks great, feels very weighty and solid. The grille seems very tough and would be able to withstand a fall, though thankfully I’ve never had to test this theory, as the included screw clip is very sturdy. I have not used the Rode shock mount for this mic (Rode SM2) as I refuse to pay $50 for some plastic and rubber, but the standard clip as worked just fine in all my applications. The supplied seven-pin XLR cable connects the microphone to its power supply is thankfully pretty long, and I’ve had no problem connecting this mic to my system.

    From a “bang for the buck” standpoint I find this to be a very good mic and well worth it to check out if you’re in the need for a mid level condenser microphone. I might one day try out different tubes to see if I can make it sound any better, as I’ve read on the internet its a very easy mod that can have pretty drastic results.

    Here is a link to the Rode website for more information / frequency spec charts: http://www.rodemic.com/mics/ntk

    "

    "Very nice sound on a wide variety of sources

    Good quality construction

    "

    "Can sometimes sound sibilant on some sources

    Cardioid polar pattern only"

    "$499"

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