Mic of the Month - May 2017 - Rode NTR
For May's Mic of the Month we have the Rode NTR. This 1.8 micron ribbon element microphone boasts a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range and a 130db maximum SPL. We all know these are extremely impressive specs for this style of element. Ribbon microphones are notorious for being extremely fragile, they cannot handle Phantom Power and are best stored upright so the ribbon doesn't bend or sag. Fortunately, Rode has taken extreme measures on the design of this mic by adding a locking mechanism for the ribbon element itself. It's shock mounted on all four corners and comes loaded inside a heavy duty matte black chassis. As for the phantom power issue this is an active element so you have no need to worry about your session being ruined by a fiery mistake.
The employees here at Performance Audio have tested this microphone on several sources. My personal favorites were vocals and acoustic guitar. The rich and openness of the top end around 3kHz to 5kHz adds presence to anything you are recording. If you go on Rodes website they have an extremely well produced video of the NTR on a stereo bar suspended over an acoustic piano and female vocalist. As the vocalist starts to hit higher registers the NTR handles it with ease; there is no present harmonic distortion or misrepresentation of the ribbon. This shows off the pure characteristic and tonality of an acoustic session. Now if you are looking to mic a guitar or bass amp this mic can pull through on a more distorted type of session as well. With its higher SPL rating you can be more confident with a close mic technique and pull all of the richness out of a distorted tone. The frequency response of this mic is incredibly flat from 20Hz to to roughly 300Hz it starts to dip about 4db right around 350Hz and continues to stay with that dip until 900Hz. This pulls a lot of those mid range problems out naturally without having to reach for an EQ. As we keep going down the frequencies you have about a 3db boost at 3kHz and again at 5kHz and then a dramatic 10db decline until 10kHz. Providing presence but making the top end smooth and not harsh to the ears.
Rode not only takes special care in making fantastic microphones they also have some of the best customer service around. The NTR comes with a one free ribbon replacement within the lifetime of the warranty, and speaking of the warranty... Rode provides a standard one year manufacturer's warranty with the option of a free 10 year warranty if you register it on their website! This gives many customers an ease of mind with the purchase of this microphone and many others.