This is not my full review of the just announced NT1-5th edition. Instead, this is both a first look and a first listen, which RØDE is unveiling today. Ahead, I’ll describe many firsts in this edition, including the first NT1 to be hybrid (analog XLR and digital USB-C), the first to have a USB connection inside of an XLR connector, the first to offer true 32-bit floating with its built-in A-to-D (analog to digital converter) and more. You’ll also hear a first test recording I made with it after receiving it for review under non-disclosure.
According to RØDE, with over six million units sold, the NT1 is the world’s most popular studio microphone and boasts a legacy that few can match. Since its release more than 30 years ago, the microphone has gone through multiple transformations, including the NT1-A and innovative fourth generation NT1, both of which are used by countless creators today. RØDE says that the NT1 5th generation is the most significant evolution yet, harnessing the iconic sound quality and world-class performance that made the previous generations so successful while introducing state-of-the-art technology, including RØDE’s, patent-pending Dual Connect output offering both XLR and USB connectivity, an “unclippable” 32-bit float digital output, advanced digital signal processing and more. I will clarify that the “unclippable” part is true as long as the sound source doesn’t surpass the NT1 5th generation’s maximum SPL (sound pressure level) of 142 dB, which is indeed quite loud.
- HF6 large-diaphragm (1-inch) gold-sputtered capsule, precision engineered to sub-micron tolerances
- Smooth frequency response, high sensitivity and high SPL handling for incredible performance in a wide range of studio applications
- Exceptionally low noise (4dBA) – the world’s quietest studio condenser microphone
- Patent-pending Dual Connect output with both XLR and USB-C connectivity for use with audio interfaces, mixers and consoles, or direct plug-and-play recording with a computer
- 32-bit float digital output
- Ultra-high-resolution (up to 192kHz) analog-to-digital conversion
- On-board DSP for advanced APHEX audio processing, including a compressor, noise gate, two-step high-pass filter, and Aural Exciter and Big Bottom effects
- Studio-grade shock mount and pop filter, XLR and USB cables included
- Available in black or silver with a rugged aluminum body and high-grade finishes – highly resistant to scuffs and scratches
- Designed and made in RØDE’s precision manufacturing facilities in Sydney, Australia
A brief history of the NT1
Introduced in the palindromic year of 1991, the NT1 was RØDE’s debut microphone – the first in a long line of products that have reshaped the way creators across every discipline captures audio. Released at a time where new advancements in audio technology democratized the studio workflow and made recording more accessible than ever before, it was an instant success and quickly became the go-to microphone for a new generation of DIY musicians and studio professionals alike. Over the last three decades, RØDE states that the NT1 has continued to be the best-selling studio condenser worldwide, beloved for its warm, classic sound signature and incredible versatility.
“The NT1 is not only our flagship microphone, it’s an icon for today’s creative generation,”
says RØDE CEO Damien Wilson.
“Countless musicians, podcasters, streamers, broadcasters and content creators consider it their go-to microphone, and for good reason – it sounds incredible, is extremely flexible, and is built like a tank – a true studio workhorse. With this new generation, we wanted to preserve all of these qualities while incorporating innovations that have never been seen before in a microphone like this. The NT1 5th generation is unlike any studio mic out there, but it hasn’t lost its charm and is sure to continue inspiring creators for decades to come.”
Connectivity: pluses and minuses
For over 50 years, the XLR connector has remained virtually unchanged – until now. The NT1 5th generation features RØDE’s groundbreaking, patent-pending Dual Connect output, which offers both XLR and USB-C connectivity in the same housing. This allows users to connect to an audio interface, mixer, console, audio recorder or camcorder via XLR with 48-volt phantom power for a traditional analog workflow or directly to a computer via USB for plug-and-play recording.
Despite that innovation, I was very surprised to see (and have RØDE confirm for me) that the NT1 5th Generation does not have any headphone output at all. This means that for all cases when the digital USB-C output is used, there is no latency free monitoring. Of course, this limitation is irrelevant if you use the analog XLR output, since in those cases, the headphone jack for latency free monitoring will likely be in the connected XLR device.
First audition test recording
Above is my first audition and test recording, made via USB-C using the NT-1 5th generation’s built-in preamp and A-to-D (analog-to-digital) converter via USB-C.
Price and more information
The NT1 5th generation is available for U$259 or AU$439
For more information, visit rode.com/nt1-5th-generation
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RØDE is not paying for this article. Some manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units, including RØDE and FDUCE. Some of the manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur, BeyondPodcasting, CapicúaFM or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.
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