Rode NT1-A Anniversary Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today, we are looking at another high quality microphone from Rode, which is labeled The World's Quietest Studio Microphone; The Rode NT1-A.

This is an XLR condenser microphone, which means you will need to connect this to an audio interface that offers +48v of phantom power. For this review, I have connected the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, with the +48v phantom power turned on with my gain set around ~55%. In post, I did boost the signal +6dB as well, but no actual

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $230 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pouch / Dust Cover
  3. Shock Mount
  4. Pop Filter
  5. XLR to XLR cable
  6. Documentation
  7. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -31.9dB
  4. Max SPL: 137dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Phantom Power: 24v - 48v

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is excellent. We have a full metal construction with a metal grill. Unlike a stage ready dynamic mic, this mic is delicate, so I absolutely recommend using care while handling this. The pouch does not offer any padding, but it can be used as a dust cover while the mic is mounted on your stand. The shock mount is all metal and feels very well built while performing it's job admirably. The pop filter is attached to the shock mount and did an excellent job at eliminating plosives during the test. 

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz. On the electric guitar, it sounded full and crisp. During the electric guitar test, the palm muting had plenty of punchy low end without sounding muddy, and sharp high end that was not overwhelming. While testing the acoustic, we hear a similar sound; full low-mids, and crisp highs. On the vocals, the mic seemed to focus on the mids and highs without too powerful of a low end. As with every mic, this is based off a single microphone placement, and as you know, playing around with the mic placement is essential when getting the correct tones for your recording.

The cardioid polar pattern offers just the right amount of background noise rejection while maintaining the ability for your room to color the recording. For gamers and podcasters, this may not be ideal because you want as little background noise as possible, but for professional recordings made in a nice room, this will allow your recordings to sound unique to your studio.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Great Natural Sound
  • Low Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Excellent Shock Mount & Pop Filter
  • 10 YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Cons

  • Delicate

Conclusion

As I said with the Rode NT1 review, I love this microphone. I think it sounds excellent, and I will absolutely add this to the mics I rotate for music recording and podcasting. If you like the tone of this microphone, and are looking for very low line noise, I absolutely recommend this mic! Keep in mind it does have a fairly wide polar pattern, which will pick up a bit of background noise, so if you're concerned with that, you may want to look into some dynamic microphones.

I also don't think that this is the right mic for people who are just starting on youtube or podcasting. I think that when starting out, you can get by with a much cheaper microphone. Then down the line if you want to improve the audio quality and you are well researched on microphones, then you should consider this microphone.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Rode NT1-A
US: http://amzn.to/2iFdsK5
UK: http://amzn.to/2jhStfq

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2jpDz96
UK: http://amzn.to/2iA4ZER

SADES SA917 USB Stereo Gaming Headset Review / Test

Before I begin I need to mention that SADES sent me a review unit of this headset to test out for this review.

Today we are going to be looking at the updated 2016 version of the SADES SA917 USB Gaming Headset. As I'm sure you could guess from the name of this product, it is a USB gaming headset, meaning it has a single USB plug to power everything.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $33 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset (mic & cable attached)

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Sensitivity: 115 +/- 3dB at 1kHz
  4. Impedance: 32 Ohms at 1kHz
  5. Max Input Power: 15mW

Microphone

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 10kHz
  2. Polar Pattern (Not Listed): Omnidirecitonal (based on test)
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -38dB +/- 3dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is decent. It is still an all plastic build, but it feels sturdier than other headsets in the same price range. The padding on the ear cups and the headband is pretty comfortable, however, it does not form a tight seal around your ears. The microphone's joint feels a little bit too loose for my liking, which makes me believe that after a decent amount of use it will not stay in the desired position.

The cable is a standard 1.5m rubber USB cable with an inline controller. The control panel has a headphone volume control, microphone mute button, and a button to switch between different EQ settings. There are 4 options: (1) Off, (2) Red, (3) Green, (4) Blue. I don't know what each of these settings is because they did not list each of them. Based on listening, Red boosts bass frequencies, Green boosts high frequencies, and Blue boosts mid frequencies.

The headphones are not the best sounding that you will find. They lack a little bit in the high end and the audio in the lower frequencies is a little loose. The sound is still better than other headsets I've tested at a similar price point. 

The microphone flat out does not sound good. It is very dull sounding, almost as if you were speaking through a sheet. It lacks a LOT of high end and once you get above 50% on the gain you start to hear digital artifacts. It is also an omnidirectional microphone which means it picks up quite a bit of keyboard noise while you're gaming. You also are unable to articulate the mic to move it closer or farther away from your mouth. 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Decent headphone sound
  • USB Headset for easy setup
  • Inline Controls
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Poor microphone quality
  • Omni directional mic is not ideal for gaming

Conclusion

If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a headset that has decent audio quality from the headphones, this is a great option and I absolutely recommend it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a gaming headset that has great audio quality from the microphone, this is not the headset for you. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2duUgup
UK: http://amzn.to/2cz6cOQ