Rode NT1A Mods

Rode NT1-A

The Rode NT1-A introduced significant changes to the original NT1's architecture: surface-mount electronics, IC-based DC circuitry, and an edge-terminated capsule. Yet the mic shares sonic characteristics with the original NT1, in that it sounds too bright, too peaky, too sibilant on too many sources.

NT1A Capsule Replacement

RK-47 CapsuleIf your NT1-A is too bright for your tastes, there is a simple fix available: change the capsule to our RK-47.

The new capsule will completely re-voice your microphone, replacing the strident high end with flat, neutral, natural response above 8kHz. The RK-47 has a mild boost in the upper mids, which helps bring definition and clarity and richness to voices, without sibilance.

As for the NT1-A's circuit, we recommend leaving it alone. It is our philosophy that DIY mods to surface-mount electronics are a bad idea. The risk of damage to the board is very high, and there is no room to attach replacement parts — it can be done, but only by those with specific experience.

Fortunately, this circuit performs very well in its factory-stock form. It has spectacular noise performance (~5dBA). It has very low distortion. We see nothing here to be improved (except the capsule!).

What about the grille?

We get asked every week about grille mods for the NT1/NT1A. Our answer is: don't change it. We used to advocate for single-layer grilles, but after testing a few such modifications, we learned that single-layer grilles sound worse than the stock grille. The problem with a single-layer grille is that it resonates in the audio band. In other words, it rings, and you'll hear that in every track you record.

Neumann and Shure have invested tens of thousands of dollars into grille design. Most of their microphones use a 3-layer grille. Why? Because it is more effective at blocking EMI and RFI and plosives, and because the use of multiple layers of different-gauge material prevent any one of them from resonating when excited by acoustic or mechanical energy.

Some people claim that single-layer grilles sound more "open", but in our testing this effect is not as audible as the resonance problem. For this reason, we recommend leaving the NT1A grille as it came from the factory.