RØDE NT-USB+ Microphone Review

RØDE’s Busy, Successful Month Continues

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Brutalist Review Style (Version 2)

RØDE has been on a tear in the last month with some pretty big product launches. The launch of their RØDE X brand was big news, but they didn’t make us wait long to bring the next big thing to their flagship brand with an update to a popular microphone, the brand new RØDE NT-USB+.

The RØDE NT-USB+ is a condenser microphone with an internal DSP to keep any necessary processing on the microphone and off of your PC, lightening the workload as you record. It comes with a detachable pop filter, ring mount to mount it on a stand or arm and a small desk stand.

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In the NT-USB+’s capsule is a blue LED light that shines subtly through the grill of the mic. The glow provides a great, understated aesthetic on screen. On the side of the microphone, you’ll find knobs for the Mic Monitoring controls and headphone volume, as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack. I wasn’t a huge fan of the positioning of the headphone jack because the cable then juts out the side of the mic. I’d like to see RØDE expand the size of the bottom of their USB microphones to allow the headphone cable to run alongside the USB cable down a mic arm, keeping it nicely tucked away.

“The RØDE NT-USB+ sounds fantastic out of the box, providing perhaps the best vocals of any USB condenser microphone.”

The RØDE NT-USB+ microphone is built solid. The all-metal build has some real weight to it. The body and grill feel every bit like the most professional studio microphone you have ever touched. The pop filter is also well-built but a little big for my taste. For my taste, I’d rather see a more narrow filter, so it was a little more discreet when using the mic on camera.

The only part of the kit that I didn’t particularly light was the provided stand. It is incredibly light and feels cheap relative to the rest of the contents of the box. Especially when you compare it to the stand that was provided for RØDE X’s XCM-50, this stand feels like a real oversight.

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The RØDE NT-USB+ sounds fantastic out of the box, providing perhaps the best vocals of any USB condenser microphone. Standard issues like room noise exist but are minimal. What’s better is that any software you can use with this microphone can boost your quality.

RØDE Central allows you to control a high pass filter at 75 and 150 Hz, a noise gate and compression, as well as their proprietary Aphex processing, consisting of the Exciter (High-Frequency boost for that vocal presence) and Big Bottom (Low-Frequency Boost for the bass in your voice). From RØDE Central, you can save the settings directly to your microphone, so you never have to have the software open to maintain your processing.

All of these controls are also available on RØDE Connect, the audio company’s OG streaming software. You can access them by clicking on the microphone settings. The only issue with this processing is the lack of advanced settings. These are simply an on/off toggle, and depending on how you speak into the RØDE NT-USB+, the processing could negatively affect your voice. For example, the noise gate may occasionally cut your voice off if you are a bit of a low-talker. Ideally, I’d like to see RØDE retire the original software and move all mics onto the UNIFY software. You know, to unify them.

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The RØDE NT-USB+ launches today at a price point of $169 USD, which, given the build and sound quality, is way less than I would expect to pay for this microphone. Very good microphones exist out there that don’t match up to how solid the mic is and how good it makes you sound, and they cost as much as $100 more.

Any flaws I could find with the RØDE NT-USB+ are very nit-picky (all of which are detailed above). The pop filter size, headphone jack position and software compatibility are not showstoppers in any way.

Final Thoughts

Joe Findlay
Joe Findlay

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