RODE’s NT-USB+ is a contemporary replace on a microphone that was among the finest desktop podcasting mics you could possibly purchase for the previous a number of years. This new model makes essential upgrades with out taking away from what made the unique nice. It’s an all-around win.
Years in the past, I wanted a pleasant microphone at my desk and picked up the RODE NT-USB as a result of it gave the impression to be the best to plug and play with my laptop, was cheap, and the audio high quality was supposedly nice. After utilizing it for the higher a part of 5 years, I’ve been nothing however delighted with it. I went on to file a ton of episodes of the Artwork of Pictures Podcast with that microphone.
My solely criticism with the NT-USB was that because the years handed, the kind of USB connection it used turned extra inconvenient: USB Kind-B. This bizarre, chunky cable is all however extinct lately, however for some time, it was ceaselessly seen on printers and copiers. However regardless of this, I used an assortment of USB adapters with my NT-USB to stick with it and working even on first my iMac, then my MacBook Professional, after which most just lately a Mac Studio.
However lastly, final November, RODE introduced an improve: the NT-USB+. It ditched the traditional USB Kind-B port, swapped in USB-C, and improved the general audio expertise with the inclusion of its ultra-low-noise, high-gain “Revolution Preamp” and high-resolution analog-to-digital converter, all with out taking away any of the advantages of the shape issue and — extra importantly — the condenser capsule. The result’s a mic that sounds nearly as good if not higher than the unique and is surrounded with higher tech and a contemporary connection.
Audio pattern under, captured with the RODE NT-USB+:
RODE NT-USB+: Design and Construct High quality
Out of the field, the NT-USB+ seems and feels just about the identical the identical as the unique. The all-metal physique is mainly similar to its predecessor and it has a pleasant weight to it. It’s not “heavy,” however you possibly can inform while you maintain it that it’s made from high-quality supplies.
When plugged in, the mic emits a smooth blue mild that’s extra evenly dispersed across the head of the microphone than it was on the earlier technology mic (that didn’t glow throughout the mic, however quite was condensed right into a single seen LED). It’s not vivid sufficient to really solid a lightweight on you even in a dimly lit room, however it’s seen sufficient to inform you that the mic is powered on and able to obtain audio.
The bottom of the NT-USB+ screws into an included pop-shield and adjustable joint that both attaches to the included desktop stand or can connect to any variety of different stands. I’ve sometimes not appreciated the included stand because it wants to sit down instantly below my chin after I’m utilizing it, which inhibits my entry to my mouse and keyboard, and it’s a bit wobbly because it’s made from plastic. Whilst you may very simply connect it to a mic increase arm, I’ve been utilizing a desktop mic arm for the final couple of years (beginning with the unique NT-USB) and it really works nice with the NT-USB+.
On the backside of the NT-USB+ is the USB-C port that connects with the included cable which, by the way in which, could be very lengthy and means that you can simply mount the mic on booms or connect it to a pc a long way away. After plugging the opposite finish of that cable into your laptop, it immediately turns into a audio supply for each audio out and audio in, which is just about the definition of “plug-and-play.”
On the appropriate facet of the microphone are two dials, that are the one bodily controls on the microphone, in addition to the three.5mm headphone jack. On the earlier technology mic, that headphone jack felt form of unfastened and it didn’t take very lengthy for my headphone port to begin to wiggle round in it. That by no means inhibited the efficiency, nevertheless it didn’t instill a lot confidence. RODE seems to have mounted that within the NT-USB+ and the brand new gold-colored 3.5mm jack feels safer.
These two aforementioned dials management the general quantity of the audio despatched by way of to the headphones and the audio combine. Whereas the precise enter quantity of the microphone must be adjusted from the hooked up laptop, these dials allow you to decide how loud you need the quantity to be to you in addition to how a lot of your personal voice you hear versus what is available in from different sources by way of the pc.
Usually talking, I are inclined to preserve my combine just about down the center, with even distribution between my voice and the opposite facet of the road — I discover it’s far more pure to my mind to listen to myself speak at about the identical quantity as after I’m talking head to head. That’s a private desire although, and you may modify this dial to suit your explicit use case.
RODE NT-USB+: In-Use
I discussed that the NT-USB+ capabilities as an ideal instance of “plug-and-play” as you possibly can think about, and which means it’s extremely simple to only begin utilizing it. You don’t want any particular cables, devoted preamp, or something like that. You simply plug it in and it begins working nice.
Beause it’s a USB microphone, you possibly can just about present up wherever with the NT-USB+ and have the power to file top quality audio. And by top quality, I imply mainly indiscernible from the top-end XLR microphones which are made particularly for podcasting, radio, or broadcast purposes. The RODE NT-USB+ has a built-in preamp, so any audio handed by way of it sounds actually, actually good straightaway.
What I particularly like concerning the NT-USB+ is how simple it’s to make use of for a wide range of functions. If I do know I’m recording an audio-only expertise like a podcast, I flip down my enter ranges to only under 50% and transfer the mic near my face to get the absolute best high quality. However since I at all times depart it related to my laptop, I additionally use it to take video calls and reply the telephone, and I’ve it positioned a bit farther away and switch the enter degree up in order that it may hear me. In each circumstances, I’m repeatedly complimented on how good my voice sounds.
I’m completely assured that the standard of my telephone calls with potential photograph and video shoppers positively influenced my capacity to shut these offers.
Pretty much as good because the NT-USB+ is, it’s not excellent for everybody. As a result of it’s a USB microphone, there may be the draw back of it being mainly chained to make use of at a desk. Whilst you may theoretically use different mics for a number of functions and even within the subject, the NT-USB+ is mainly by no means going to depart a pc’s facet, whether or not that be at your own home workstation or hooked up to your laptop computer whereas touring. I believe for the low asking worth and the very fact it really works so nicely at this devoted function, that is very a lot an inexpensive tradeoff.
The Finest Plug-and-Play Mic on the Market
As a result of it’s so nicely made and produces such glorious audio, the NT-USB+ is simple to suggest for any content material creator who does nearly all of their work in entrance of a pc. Positive, you’re restricted to utilizing it when related to a Mac or PC, nevertheless it’s actually arduous to argue with this degree of high quality with so little effort to get there.
Particularly when, on the time of publication, it prices a mere $170, there may be actually nothing to complain about. Even on the MSRP of $200, it’s a fantastic deal.
Are There Altnernatives?
In all probability the preferred desk-mounted creator-focused podcasting microphone is the Shure SM7B. That and RODE’s NT1Logitech Blue Sona — the latter which PetaPixel just lately favorably reviewed — are stable picks for many who like working with XLR. However if you would like one thing that you would be able to simply plug into your laptop with USB and it simply works, you could possibly think about the Blue Yeti, however we will’t suggest something apart from the NT-USB+ in relation to the price-to-performance ratio.
Ought to You Purchase It?
Sure. The RODE NT-USB+ has glorious upgrades over the first-generation mic and is well one of the best plug-and-play USB microphone you should purchase.