“Ultra-versatile as well as fantastic value for money”: Røde NT1 Signature review

One of the world’s most popular studio microphones gets back to basics. We find out more

  • £139
  • €179
  • $159
Røde NT-1 Signature
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

Versatile enough to do a great job on drums, guitars, vocals, or anything else, this excellent value mic is well worth the asking price.

Pros

  • +

    Super-flat response, sounding particularly impressive on vocals.

  • +

    Ultra-low noise floor captures quiet sources with minimal unwanted noise.

  • +

    High SPL rating, great for use as a drum overhead or on cranked guitar amps.

Cons

  • -

    No low-cut or pad switches on the microphone body.

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Røde NT1 Signature: What is it?

Billed as “the world’s most popular studio microphone”, the Røde NT1 has been a mainstay of home recording musicians for over 30 years. This signature edition eschews the NT1 5th Generation’s USB connectivity, returning to a more traditional studio style with a single XLR out. 

Speaking of style, it’s also available in a range of matte colourways including blue, green, pink, purple, and red, or if you prefer your mics more monochrome, it’s available in black too.

Røde NT-1 Signature

(Image credit: Future)

Røde NT1 Signature: Performance and verdict

Like its predecessor, it features a JFET impedance converter, ultra-low noise floor of just 4dBA, and can withstand SPLs up to 142dB. This makes it ideal for capturing a variety of sources from the quietest whisper of a vocal to the blast of a snare drum or guitar cab. It has the same HP-6, 1-inch sputtered gold capsule that the previous generation features too, promising excellent noise rejection.

Our review model came in sleek matte black with a shock mount, pop filter, XLR cable, and soft sheath for the mic itself. The mic feels robust in your hand, if not heavy. The aluminium shell is super smooth and should be tough enough to be resistant to dings and scratches, and it gives us the overall feeling that it’s more than capable of putting up with use and abuse in a working studio. There are no low-cut or pad switches like you’d find on other condenser mics, but to be fair, these are nice extras rather than must-haves for us.

Røde NT-1 Signature

(Image credit: Future)

To start our testing, we placed the NT1 about eight feet in front of a DW drum kit to see how it captured the wide frequency response. The results were really quite good, with it performing well as a drum room mic, capturing a very honest picture of the sound of our kit in a less-than-stellar rehearsal room. You could even purchase two and use them as a pair of budget overheads.

Next, we wheeled out our Orange 2x10 tube amp and placed the mic right up against the grill, dialling up the volume. Things got fizzy the more we cranked the volume at that distance, but bringing it back about or foot or so opened things up, delivering a nice ambience that never got wishy-washy. Recording both rhythm sounds and leads delivered more than usable tones, and we can see it pairing nicely with an SM57 for a more focused sound.

We were blown away by the warmth and detail in the sound

Our final test was on vocals and here we believe we found the NT1’s raison d’être. Capturing a Billie Eilish-style breathy vocal we were blown away by the warmth and detail in the sound. It’s neutral, but never dull-sounding, despite being darker than the NT1A which we’ve used many times previously. 

Overall it’s this tonal neutrality of the mic that we’ve ended up loving, making it ultra-versatile as well as fantastic value for money.

MusicRadar verdict: Versatile enough to do a great job on drums, guitars, vocals, or anything else, this excellent value mic is well worth the asking price.

Røde NT1 Signature: The web says

"When it comes to the age-old engineer’s debate of ‘if you had to choose one mic to record absolutely everything…’, the new RØDE NT1 Signature Series has shot straight to the top of our shortlist."
MusicTech

Røde NT1 Signature: Hands-on demos

RØDE

Curtis Judd

Edward Smith

Reid Stefan

Røde NT1 Signature: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: A large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone with a 4dBA noise floor and excellent background noise rejection. Comes with a shock mount, pop filter, XLR cable, and microphone soft case.
  • CONTACT: Røde
Matt McCracken
Junior Deals Writer

Matt is a Junior Deals Writer here at Guitar World. He regularly tests and reviews music gear with a focus on audio interfaces, studio headphones, studio monitors and pretty much anything else home recording-related. Responsible for over 60 buying guides, a large part of his role is helping musicians find the best deals on gear. Matt worked in music retail for 5 years at Dawsons Music and Northwest Guitars and has written for various music sites including Guitar World, Guitar Player, Guitar.com, Ultimate Guitar, and Thomann’s t.blog. A regularly gigging guitarist with over 20 years of experience playing live and producing bands, he's performed everything from jazz to djent, gigging all over the country in more dingy venues than you can shake a drop-tuned guitar at. When he's not holed up in his home studio recording new songs or downloading new plugins, you’ll find him making a racket with Northern noise hounds JACKALS