What is it?
In current times, podcasting and video casting are more popular than ever and the call for good quality, good looking casting mics is on the rise.
Røde Microphones already produce a few suitable candidates including their large capsule Podcaster condenser, the original NT-USB, and more recently their excellent and super stylish dynamic PodMic.
Their latest release, NT-USB Mini, is a compact cardioid USB condenser with tabletop stand, headphone output, integrated zero latency monitoring and 1-in, 2-out USB interfacing (24-bit 48kHz).
As you would expect from Røde, build quality is impressive. But the mic design also manages to be both stylish and functional.
Performance and Verdict
First up, the mic has a rather clever captive swing mount clip. This incorporates a regular mic thread on the bottom, so you can attach it to any normal mic stand. But you also get a small rubber grommet that fits in the thread and allows you to slot the mic into the included magnetic desktop stand.
The mic itself is quite weighty (the stand less so), but the combination of the two feels very stable and has such a small footprint it fits neatly into your desktop setup.
The cabling ports are on the back of the mic, so they’re tucked out of the way and don’t foul the underside of the mic as you tilt it, which is good news. Connections are USB-C and mini jack for the headphones.
NT-USB Mini is bus-powered class compliant (OS X 10.12 or later, Windows 10) and mic gain is handled by your OS.
However, monitor level to headphones is set by the knob at the bottom of the mic. This knob also has a push action that adds the mic input into the headphone mix for zero latency monitoring.
This provides a fixed balance between mic and USB audio output, so you’ll have to adjust your DAW output level to get the correct balance. Finally, there are a couple of discrete LEDs on the front that confirm your USB activity and zero latency monitoring.
NT-USB Mini is a small diaphragm electret condenser and if you look through the headstock grille you can just about see that it’s suitably mounted, lollipop-style, in the middle.
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The headstock has a built-in pop filter which didn’t stop all pops but I still found surprisingly effective. It’s pretty obvious when you hook the mic up that it’s designed for speech, with a crisp sound and nice proximity effect when you get in close.
There’s no quoted noise figure but the mic was suitably quiet even at higher gain settings. With regards to the table-top stand, it is quite low, and to get a decent up-close sound I actually perched it on something.
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The other thing is that it picks up plenty of table-top rumble, and I desperately wanted the mic to have a low-cut filter. Aside from this, and bearing in mind the pretty good plosive handling, it’s actually ideal for speech, as you’d hope.
But the response is also OK for plenty of other uses and once again that tabletop stand really comes in handy. Finally, I also found it worked fine with my iPhone with no further powering required.
Overall, NT-USB Mini is an excellent compact USB mic for podcasting and beyond that I’m sure will find many fans.
MusicRadar verdict: Great features combine with a compact stylish design and attractive price to make NT-USB Mini a highly desirable USB mic.
The web says
“...It sounds excellent, with a great frequency response and noise floor so low you’ll think the mic isn’t even on. But the minimalist, doll-house design makes a slew of usability compromises.“
“For the form factor and the size, the sound quality that the NT-USB Mini delivers is fantastic and can capture clear and detailed voiceovers, with excellent clarity and sound that you would expect from Rode. The quality that Rode has included for the price is undoubtedly worth it.“
“If you need to be prepared to set up quickly and record a podcast anywhere, this is one of the best options on the market right now. It might not have lots of bells and whistles, but it does the basics extremely well.“
“The NT-USB Mini is a crisp, clear USB mic microphone. Some of the frills it lacks – DSP, for instance – may appeal to those seeking a pure signal path, while others – like the lack of a gain knob – are a bit less easy to get excited about.“
- TYPE: USB mic
- I/O: Cardioid electret condenser, 1 in 2 out USB interface, integrated zero latency monitoring, Headphone output with level knob
- INPUT SPL @ 1% THD: 121dB
- FREQUENCY RANGE: 20Hz to 20kHz
- DIMENSIONS: 54.5 x 142mm, WEIGHT: 585g
- CONTACT: Røde Microphones