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NT1-A Microphone Sets

Mods for the NT1-A

  • OktavaModOktavaMod
    Michael Joly’s mod for all Rode NT-series LDCs replaces the stock tight-weave headbasket with his signature single-layer open headbasket. Further, the Rode capsule is replaced by the MJE-K47, a Neumann K47-style single-backplate capsule whose naturally flatter frequency response provides a sonic contrast to the brighter, more peaky response of most imported mic capsules. Internal wiring is upgraded, as are critical front-end capacitors.
  • Microphone PartsMicrophone Parts
    Replacing the stock capsule in the Rode NT1-A with an RK-47 revoices the microphone, replacing the bright/peaky high frequency with a broader, flatter response curve.

CardioidRØDE NT1-A

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The NT1-A is a revision to the company’s NT1, a fixed-cardioid, large-diaphragm FET condenser.

The original NT1 was was designed by Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades, and employed high-grade through-hole components. The NT1-A was described as an “Anniversary” edition, but is essentially an entirely new microphone design.

How did the NT1-A differ from the NT1?

Frequency Response Comparison, NT-1 vs. NT1-APerhaps most significantly, the NT1-A employs surface-mount components on the circuit board. This enabled assembly automation and lowered the production cost of the microphone.

The surface-mount PCB design for the NT1-A was adapted from the company’s NT1000, according to MIX, although it boasted superior specifications to the NT1000 (as well as the NT1).

The conversion to surface-mount components also included an IC-based replacement for the DC power oscillator circuit; this no doubt reduced costs, and most likely improved the consistency from mic to mic. To be clear, the integrated circuit on the NT1-A board is not part of the audio circuit; it is simply a voltage multiplier feeding DC voltage to power the capsule.

In the sample microphone we tested, the backplate was polarized to +75VDC — which is high for a condenser capsule, but is presumably part of the reason the mic has such a low noise floor.

NT1-AFor example, the NT1-A’s self-noise is just 5dBA, whereas its predecessor produced 13–17dBA of self-noise (reports vary). The newer mic was billed as “The World’s Quietest Studio Condenser Microphone,” and although quieter mics have since been produced, the NT1-A remains among the lowest noise condensers we’ve seen.

The grille of the NT1-A is slightly larger than on the NT1, according to Audio Technology, and the exterior finish changed from “hospital blue” to satin nickel.

The capsule in the NT1-A is said to have been retained from the original mic, but reports from mic owners suggest that some production runs utilized alternative capsules. Our best information is that the NT1-A uses a 34mm edge-terminated capsule (28mm diaphragm), whereas photos of the NT-1 show what appears to be a typical China-supplied K67 derivative (center-terminated).

NT1-A Capsule, by Mike Rooke
Photo: Mike Rooke

Michael Joly

The NT1 and NT1a mics use three different capsule variations based around the K67-type backplates. One of them is center-terminated and is basically a K67 recreation (intentional 8kHz boost). Another … has a HF resonator plate for even more HF [boost]. And the third type of capsule uses the K67 backplate pattern, but the diaphragm is edge-terminated and has a very unusual drilled aluminum plate on the back side instead of the usual back diaphragm.

Rode NT1-A with case and mountThe NT1-A is supplied with a shock mount and zip pouch.

The NT1-A is also available in a factory-matched pair.

Audio Technology, 2003

Sonically the NT1-A seems to have a little more in the extreme highs and less midrange presence than the NT1, making it a slightly smoother and more comfortable microphone to use on vocals and stringed instruments.

MIX

The new NT1-A (the “A” stands for “anniversary model”) comes from pairing the true condenser (externally polarized), 1-inch-diameter, gold-sputtered capsule from the original NT1 with J-FET surface-mount electronics modeled on RØDE’s NT1000 for an entirely new creation, with a personality of its own, an impressive 5dBA self-noise spec and a new nickel-finish body.

Electronic Musician, 2003

The NT1-As … sounded great in every application appropriate for large-diaphragm condensers. They can handle extremely loud SPLs without the need for a pad, and their self-noise spec is a huge bonus. The frequency response is very smooth all the way from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, with only a very small presence bump around 12 kHz.

The RØDE NT1-A is also known as: NT1A.

The mic was released in 2004.

Specifications

Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!
NT1-A Cardioid Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (25 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 28mm
Capsule diameter: 34mm
100 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 137 dB
Self-noise: 5.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
326g (11.50oz) 190mm (7.48'') 50mm (1.97'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 24-48v

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