Rode NT1 is best Now let me explain why !!!
After reading about this microphone shootout, I decided to write a full report of my own. Unfortunately, I will not be doing the listening tests myself because none of these mikes are available here.
So, I have searched around and found some great expert opinions on these microphones which I will be adding down below.
All of these microphones have different uses but for this report, I will focus on vocal recording. For simplicity’s sake, I shall only refer to the mikes described above: I will not mention any of the others, simply because they did not make it on my shortlist.
The parameters of these mikes; available direct from their manufacturers and/or distributors websites:
SHURE BETA 87A
Beta 87A is a side-address, large-diaphragm, solid-state condenser microphone designed for professional studio and live applications. The Beta 87A incorporates a transformerless design to achieve its high output level while maintaining an extremely low noise floor.
The mike has high sensitivity (3.5mV/Pa) and features an extremely smooth, flat frequency response that is free of proximity effect.🎉
The mikes’ cardioid polar pattern provides maximum gain-before-feedback and isolates the main sound source while reducing unwanted background noise. In addition to its outstanding performance as a vocal mike, the Beta 87A is exceptional for oboe, clarinet, flute and saxophone.
Shure Beta 87A Features:
- Flat frequency response is free of proximity effect – Highly sensitive (3.5 mV/Pa)
- Smooth, wide dynamic range provides high gain before feedback and superior rejection of unwanted noise
- Reliable under adverse environmental conditions
- Unaffected by moisture, humidity or temperature extremes – 18Hz to 20kHz Frequency Response
- MXL 990
- The older brother of the MXL 990 is an extremely popular microphone among podcasters. It has a warmer, deeper tone than the MXL 991 and is often compared to lower-end tube mikes.
It’s not for everybody since that low end may become unpleasantly boomy on vocals.
The Sennheiser e 945 super-cardioid vocal condenser microphone ensures maximum feedback rejection and gain before feedback. It has a smooth bass response that makes it ideal for use with bass instruments such as the guitar, bass guitar and double bass.
The Sennheiser e 945 has a cardioid directional characteristic which enables it to pick up sound sources in front of the microphone while reducing background noise coming from other directions.
Two low-frequency filters switchable high pass filter (flat, 80 Hz) and a 10 dB pad assists the microphone in handling extreme sound pressure levels.
NT1-A is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone with two switchable polar patterns, figure 8 and cardioid. The mic’s low noise circuitry ensures that hiss and other extraneous noise elements are kept to an absolute minimum.
NT1-A is ideal for recording most acoustic instruments and is also very well suited to vocals and speech.
The mic ships with a shock mount and a custom carrying case. It is supplied complete with stand adaptor, pop shield and detailed instructions on how to set up and use the microphone correctly.
Rode NT-1A Features:
- Wide dynamic range: 110dB – High max SPL: 138dB
- Low noise: 7dBA
- High Output level: +4 dBu ( balanced and unbalanced)
- Extremely low residual noise – Flat, wide frequency response ideally suited for digital recording technology.
The NT1-A has a cardioid polar pattern which picks up the main sound source while minimizing background noise from other directions.
The mic thus provides maximum gain-before-feedback and a high level of gain before distortion, resulting in highly professional audio reproduction.
NTK is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone featuring a K2 capsule that can provide a choice of two different polar patterns.
In figure-of-eight mode, the mic will pick up sound from both front and back, simultaneously. In cardioid mode, it is very directional and you’ll be able to point it right at the source of the sound you want to record.
NTK has a natural, detailed, and transparent sound and it is very linear over a wide frequency range.
It performs extremely well on stringed and wind instruments, piano and acoustic guitar.
The K2 capsule of NTK has a figure-of-eight polar pattern which picks up sound from both front and back simultaneously. This allows for ‘Blumlein’ stereo recording with the option to choose the mono signal of the two.🛒
Rode NTK Features:
- K2 capsule with figure-of-eight polar pattern – Requires 48V (Phantom) phantom power
- Low mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response for excellent detail and clarity
- Neutral sound at any working distance – ideal for close miking applications – particularly demanding vocalists
- Natural, detailed and transparent sound
The mic is very well suited for recording acoustic instruments and has a detailed and transparent sound while being highly linear over a wide frequency range. It performs extremely well on stringed, wind and brass instruments as well as piano and acoustic guitar.
NT1000 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with an extremely smooth, flat frequency response. It features a switchable 70Hz high pass filter and 10dB pad to handle extreme sound pressure levels. The mic ships complete with a shock mount and custom carrying case.
NT1000 is designed for professional studio use, recording vocals or musical instruments in applications where extended bandwidth, low noise and excellent dynamic range are critical.
The NT1000’s cardioid polar pattern picks up the main sound source while minimizing background noise from other directions.
The mic provides maximum gain-before-feedback and a high level of gain before distortion, resulting in highly professional audio reproduction.
It is also very well suited for recording most acoustic instruments and has a natural, detailed and transparent sound.
- Input impedance: 200 Ohms
- Signal to noise ratio: 78dB (Ref. 1Pa A-weighted)
- Dynamic range: 120 dB (max)
- THD, total harmonic distortion: 0.5% max (-3dB @ 94dB SPL)
- Equivalent noise level: 14 dB-A a weighting
- Open circuit sensitivity: -42 dB re 1V/Pa
- Self-noise: 14dB-A a weighting
- Switches: Flat, roll off filter (-6dB/octave at 80Hz) & 10dB pad
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 2.5 dB @ 482 V/uS source
- Max SPL for 0.5% THD@1000Hz: 134 dB
- Power requirements: Phantom voltage required 48V +/- 4V
- Weight without cable: 375g
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 56mm x 184mm
- Weight with cable : 380g approx.
- Connector type: Gold plated 3-pin
By far the RODE NT1-A is the most expensive microphone in this list, but it’s also arguably one of the best value for money.
The NT1-A is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone perfect to record vocals, acoustic guitars, and drums. The design is pretty simple and the build quality is not the best in the market.
On paper, it doesn’t even have a pad or low cut filter but sonically, you won’t get a better microphone for this price range.
The NT1-A delivers great performance at an extremely affordable price. The mic uses a single 1″ capsule with a gold-sputtered large diaphragm and transformerless preamplifier which delivers a high SPL, detailed sound with a great transient response.
The cardioid polar pattern reduces noise from the sides and rear while isolating the main source of the sound.