The Rode NT-USB is a small and stylish microphone that offers flexible recording and voice over capabilities. The mic is compatible with all the standard digital audio workstation software such as Logic, Pro Tools, Reaper, Cubase and more. It comes with an adjustable metal stand that can be easily detached when necessary.
The NT-USB sports a high quality cardioid studio condenser capsule that delivers clear and accurate sound projection to ensure that your voice sounds full of warmth and depth. For further flexibility, you get a 3 position switch for an extra low cut filter at 75Hz or 100Hz or a -10dB PAD should you find the input signal too loud for the input source on your device. There’s also a headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring.
The NT-USB is compatible with Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when using the Camera Connection Kit (not included). The mic also comes along with a free iOS app called Rode Rec which allows you to record and edit your tracks on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
You get a stand mount that easily screws into the base of the microphone and two cables: a USB cable and an XLR cable. The package contents include the NT-USB itself, a pop shield, a tripod desk stand, a ring mount, a table clamp and instruction manuals for both Windows and Mac OS users.
Please note that this microphone does not come with an audio interface so you’ll need to purchase this separately if you don’t have one already.
The NT-USB has a lovely design and it feels very sturdy and solid in hand for a budget microphone. The ABS plastic construction is of high quality while the metal ring around the grill gives it that extra touch of durability. Set up was a breeze and I found working with this mic quite pleasant due to its small size, great build quality and compactness.
For my test recordings, I used Cubase 5 as my DAW which is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8 or higher or Windows 7 or 8 on either 32 or 64 bit versions.
For Mac users, Rode Rec comes included although PC users will have to download this from the company’s website free (a simple task). The NT-USB requires no additional drivers to function so this was another advantage of using it with Cubase.
The device is very easy to set up. The USB cable goes into your computer or laptop and you can either record directly into the software or play music back through your speakers using the same cable. There’s a headphone jack at the bottom where you plug in your headphones for zero-latency monitoring while recording.
The Rode NT-USB records with a high-quality resolution of 16bits/48kHz which means that there’s plenty of detail in each track when you listen back on good speakers or via good headphones.
I’m quite happy with how well this microphone picked up my voice, even from across the room! Recording guitar amps sounded equally impressive with plenty of crisp highs and mids to capture the whole tonal range.
The NT-USB is compatible with iOS devices through Rode Rec which is basically an app that allows you to control your recording levels, switch between monitoring modes (live or zero latency) and access some basic editing tools.
The editing options are quite limited but they do allow you to remove noise from the background should you want to use this mic for recording sound effects or room ambiance.
While listening back on speakers, I found that the signal was clear but just a tad quiet so it might be necessary to turn up the gain knob on your audio interface if it’s capable of doing so. However, there were no recorded artifacts or hissing sounds whatsoever even when I cranked up the gain beyond normal levels.
I’m very impressed by the sound quality of this microphone and it’s definitely one of the best USB mics under $200. It’s perfect for recording vocals, podcasting, voiceovers or even acoustic guitars provided you pair it with a good interface!
Great build quality
Ideal solution for home studio recording Very small footprint (therefore limited to desk use only) Quieter than average (you’ll need to boost gain knob on your audio interface) No included pop shield/filter Requires an additional dongle for Apple devices that don’t have USB inputs.
- Condenser Polar Pattern
- Cardioid Frequency Range
- 20Hz – 20kHz Connector Type
- USB Output Min
- Operating Voltage
- 4V Max
- Operating Voltage
- 10V Supply Current
- 100mA Interface Type
- USB 2.0 Finish Colour
- Black Power Consumption (when not in use)
- < 0.5W Weight (Approximate)
- 180g Height x Diameter (Approximate)
- 200mm x 52mm
- Excellent sound quality for the price; Detachable magnetic stand; Headphone output; Compatible with Mac, PC, and iOS devices.
Summary Rode NT-USB is definitely one of the best USB microphones out there under $200. It’s perfect for recording both instruments and vocals in your home studio or even voiceovers provided you have a good audio interface that can boost up the gain knob. This mic has a very versatile polar pattern which means it will
Disadvantage: work well in any recording situation.
The mic works fine with most built-in audio interfaces but for optimal results, you’ll need something better like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or PreSonus Audiobox series. You can find Rode NT-USB on Amazon for about $150. If you have more money to spend, consider purchasing a studio microphone stand as this makes it much easier to use if your home is too small for desk space.