The Best Rode Mic for Vocals

The Best Rode Mic for Vocals

Nowadays, there are plenty of extremely competent microphone manufacturers to choose from. The variety of price ranges and sound options are truly mind-bending, and it is shockingly easy to get lost.

Considering this, it wouldn’t be very wise to debate who is the best mic manufacturer, but we have to point out that Rode stands out significantly when it comes to recording speech and vocals. So in this article, we will try to help you to figure out what is the best Rode mic for vocals.

Top 5 Best Rode Mic for Vocals

  1. Rode NT1A
  2. Rode NTK
  3. Rode PodMic
  4. Rode NT2-A
  5. Rode K2 Tube

Rode Mic for Vocals Buying Guide

Before we start to figure out why Rode mics are so good at recording vocals, we thought that it would be a rather good idea to dive into a bit of history. After all, the more you know, the better.

A bit of history

Rode Microphones is a microphone and audio equipment manufacturer based in Sidney, Australia. It is owned and founded by Freedman Group that started out as Freedman Electronics in 1967. It was established by Henry Freedman and his wife in Stockholm and, after a while, moved to Australia.

Henry Freedman died in 1987, and his son Peter became a chairman of the company. During that time, due to an unstable economic landscape and poor sales, Freedman Electronics was on the verge of bankruptcy, so Peter had to come up with a solution. So in 1990, he imported a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that he saw in a fare in China 10 years prior.

An origin of the name

The microphone was an immense success, and according to Peter Freedman, the sales were taking off like “rats up a drainpipe”. So naturally, the original mic was called RODENT-1 to commemorate a new step in the history of the company. Although that name was unofficial and exclusively internal, later, the company modified it to RODE NT-1 at the same time establishing RODE Microphones. Interestingly enough, the Ø in RØDE stands for commemorating the founding family’s Swedish heritage, as Peter was born in Stockholm before the family moved to Australia.

Important features

Today Rode microphones are considered “industry standard” and are well regarded amongst professional audio engineers and performers. Although Rode makes a wide range of mics for different purposes, where it shines the most is recording vocals and speech. If you are into podcasting, it stands to reason that more likely than not, some of your favorite podcasters use one or the other model of Rode microphones. It is safe to say that no matter what exact model of the Rode mic you would choose, you will get a result of the highest quality possible. But in this article, we’ve decided to point out some features that you should keep in mind in order to make your choice easier or at least more suitable for your particular needs.

Proper Connection

Although modern recording equipment is more affordable than ever, and even the most budget-friendly and portable gear can provide you with a stellar sound quality nowadays, we still prefer things to be old-fashioned. So on this list, we’ve decided to include microphones that require you to have an additional audio interface or, in some cases, a mic preamp. Of course, Rode has a spectacular range of very capable USB microphones which are not in any way inferior to more traditional set-ups and, moreover, can provide you with greater mobility. But we believe that how gear feels is as important as practicality, especially if you use it on a daily basis. And nothing compares to plugging in an all-metal tube microphone into a well-designed audio interface or a mixing console.

Durability

When you spend your hard-earned money on equipment the last thing you want it to do is to shatter in your arms after just a few uses. So durability is a necessary requirement, especially when it comes to microphones since this is the equipment that audio engineers and producers use the most often. The microphones that we’ve chosen for this list provide impeccable built quality and should last for ages if used properly. And even at that, the design implies that those mics can easily withstand some heavy-duty usage. This is a nice touch, considering that studio sessions could be stressful and emotional at times.

Sound quality

It goes without saying that when it comes to choosing the right microphone, the sound is what we pay the most attention to, which is a great challenge considering that all of Rode microphones have a sound of the highest quality possible. So instead, we’ve decided to include microphones that have some unique character, whether it would be a warm tube tone or a pristinely clean and transparent sound. Usually, it all depends on personal preference, but as our experience suggests, it is always a good idea to have as many options as possible. After all, you never know where your creative process might take you.

But the most important thing to remember is that only you can tell what is best for you personally and what would benefit your workflow. Unfortunately, you never know how things turn out for you unless you try them. So all we can do at this point is to share what we believe to be some of the best Rode mic for vocals, but the choice is yours.

Best Rode Mic for Vocals Reviews

Rode NT1A

Rode NT1A

Pros
  • Dynamic range of 137dB
  • Full frequency response
Cons
  • Requires 48V phantom power
See price @ Amazon /  @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Rode NT1A is an evolution of the original NT-1, a mic that made Rode a household name in the first place. It is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with an extremely low self-noise and a very clear and crisp sound with a full spectrum frequency response. A nickel-plated body provides sufficient durability and a sleek, stylish look. With an included shock mount, decent XLR cable, pop filter, and a dust cover, Rode NT1A makes a very good argument in terms of price-to-value ratio.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Rode NT1A as it evens out consonant sounds with loud vowels. It doesn’t have any undesirable artifacts when being plugged in preamps, it gives clear, accurate, and finished sound. It provides the feeling of material being recorded in stereo despite the signal coming through one channel only. It has a very notable design and looks really stylish and awesome. Users say that this microphone is very good at catching low noises.

What we think

Of course, Rode NT1A shines on vocals and speech recordings, but what makes it truly great is that it is generally a very capable all-around microphone. It is very much capable of capturing every minuscule detail, which makes it one of the best microphones to record acoustic instruments that are capable of extremely nuanced sounds. With its 137dB of dynamic range, Rode NT1A is also very good at capturing more powerful sounds, such as guitar cabinets and other sorts of amplifiers.

Bottomline

Rode NT1A is a perfect choice for audio engineers and producers who are looking for a condenser mic with a very low self-noise and a clean sound. Considering its price, one might think that this is an entry-level mic for beginners or professionals on a tight budget, but using it, you will quickly find that nothing about this mic suggests that it is something less than top-shelf equipment.

Rode NTK

Rode NTK

Pros
  • Full frequency response
  • Dynamic range of 158dB
Cons
  • Not very portable
See price @ Amazon /  @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Rode NTK very much shares its DNA with a previous entry on the list but with an added tube flavor on top. It has a very impressive dynamic range,  even by condenser mic standards, and a full spectrum frequency response. The sound is very silky and somewhat spacious, which is perfect for recording voices with any given timbre. It comes with its own power supply and a multicore cable.

User impressions

Users like Rode NTK because it has a clean and professional sound quality without added EQ and processing. It is said that this microphone is smooth and silky in highs and lows. This microphone is good for catching male vocals and soprano voices without any coloring and making them very detailed and warm. Users add that this microphone is less preamp-dependent and provides a great sound regardless of the preamps’ quality. The only thing is that some of the women’s voices when recorded with this mic, might be sibilant.

What we think

What truly amazed us is that it seems that Rode NTK doesn’t try too hard to sound vintage. One can argue that everything benefits from vintage sound, but in all reality, there are only so many projects that actually shine from the added vintage flavor. Rode NTK gives everything that a tube mic can give you but without any obvious “vintageness”. It still has the flavor but sounds very modern and somewhat restrained.

Bottomline

Rode NTK is a perfect choice for audio producers who wish to have a tube mic that does not sound too vintage but still gives you that crispy and silky timbre. When it comes to the price, one can easily make the same argument as with the previous entry on the list. Absolutely nothing apart from the price suggests that this is a “budget” microphone. The only downside that we found is that it is rather problematic to travel with this mic as the case doesn’t fit into the luggage.

Rode PodMic

Rode PodMic

Pros
  • Integrated pop filter
  • All-metal durable body
Cons
  • Swing-arm mount
See price @ Amazon /  @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Rode PodMic was designed specifically with podcasting in mind, which means that it is perfectly tailored to be used with vocals and speech. It has a built-in pop shield and a very robust metal body. It is a heavy-duty dynamic microphone with a full-range frequency response and a stellar, clean sound.

User impressions

Users say that Rode PodMic has a great sound, professional build quality, and looks. This microphone provides you with a crisp, clean high end and at the same time warm and bellowing bottom end. Also, users like that this mic has an internal pop-filter that is great in blocking out your plosives. Some users note that this mic’s swing-arm mount isn’t ideal for beginners. Also, when sung in this mic from 10 cm away, there’s a loss of low end.

What we think

Usually, when something is advertised as a specific niche product, it means that it’s more likely than not lacking in other applications. But in the case of Rode PodMic, this is far from being the case. This mic performs spectacularly recording acoustic instruments and amplifiers, which is truly impressive considering how reasonably priced it is. Although we found the swing-arm mount to be rather unusual, and it certainly requires some time getting used to it, overall, it is a pretty capable mic.

Bottomline

Rode PodMic is a perfect choice for beginner podcasters and audio producers as it is extremely reasonably priced and provides a great production value. Even seasoned audio enthusiasts and professionals may find Rode PodMic to be a pretty competitive microphone. It confidently stands its ground even when compared side by side with its more expensive rivals.

Rode NT2-A

Rode NT2-A

Pros
  • Variable polar pattern
  • Variable high-pass filter
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon /  @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

It seems that Rode NT2-A is a more sophisticated version of Rode NT1A, but only at first glance. They certainly share the same heritage, but it’s where the similarities end. If Rode NT1A has a pretty straightforward design and a very modern and clean sound, Rode NT2-A offers you a variable high-pass filter and polar pattern alongside a sound that has a very slight vintage flavor to it.

User impressions

Users like Rode NT2-A for its great sound quality and that it makes the sound warm and sparkling. This mic has a good build quality, it feels solid and durable. It has a sleek UI and looks really professional. This microphone is versatile in handling different textures of the voice. Also, it enhances the low frequencies and the body of the voice without making it muddy, and it adds extra ‘punch’ to the voice that makes the voice stand out.

What we think

What impresses about Rode NT2-A is its versatility. There are quite a lot of different sounds that you can get from it with proper adjustments, but what is interesting is that all of them share the same classy and expensive quality to it. We believe that considering its reasonable price, Rode NT2-A provides one of the best value-to-price ratios on the market.

Bottomline

Rode NT2-A is a perfect choice for someone who is in need of a budget-friendly condenser mic that doesn’t sound cheap at all. On the contrary, it can easily compete with even the most expensive offerings in this category of audio equipment and at times even surpass it. And considering that Rode NT2-A is made from heat-treated steel, you can be certain that it will last you for ages.

Rode K2 Tube

Rode K2 Tube

Pros
  • Lush tube sound
  • Variable polar patterns
  • Dynamic range of 150dB
Cons
  • None, really
See price @ Amazon /  @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Rode K2 Tube is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a rich, lush tube sound. In addition to that, it lets you choose from any known polar pattern, which in turn makes it extremely versatile, and that is not that common when it comes to tube mics. With its 150dB of dynamic range, Rode K2 Tube is more than capable of capturing even the most nuanced performances.

User impressions

Users agree that Rode K2 Tube sounds really good on a wide range of sources, including vocals. It’s very easy to use, though it needs some time to warm up. Some users note that the tube in this mic colors the sound is a bit too much to the taste of some, but with the right amount of EQ, you can achieve great results.

What we think

When compared to Rode NTK, this mic gives you much more flavor when it comes to coloration. At the same time, Rode K2 Tube doesn’t sound excessive, but it has to be said that this mic sounds more noticeably vintage.  So it all pretty much comes down to how much flavor you prefer your tube mics to have.

Bottomline

Rode K2 Tube is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a tube mic with a vintage sound and modern durability. Considering that this mic is priced very similarly to the Rode NTK, all you have to do is decide how vintage you like your mics to be, with NTK being the more modern one.

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