Archive for: April, 2011

Rode NT1A Review

The Rode NT1-a is a large diaphragm condenser mic. It’s warm, natural tones are perfect for recording voice and acoustic guitar. A pair of these mics together will record many things quite well. I picked up a couple and put them through some basic tests. Here’s what I found.

Testing the Rode NT1-a

Rode nt1-a review from Old Port JinglesFor starters, it’s built pretty solid. No moving parts on the exterior means no switches to concern yourself with. There is a gold dot to indicate the front of the mic. I opened it up to make sure the capsule was legit. To Rode’s credit, it was not too easy. It involves taking the bottom off and then having to pull pretty hard on the circuit board. The top of the board where the mic is connected is made of rubber, which sticks to the sides of the case. Anyway, it’s a very sturdy design. I wouldn’t toss it around like an SM57, but I wouldn’t do that with any condenser.

The Rode NT1-a needs phantom power, which we supplied with our Focusrite Saffire Pro24 DSP. For recording vocals, this mic worked extremely well. It was quiet, and accurate, and quite warm. It’s hard to explain the sound without actually hearing it, but it is by far the most accurate mic in it’s price range.

I set up the pair and recorded some acoustic guitar, and I have to say, it’s impressive how well it recorded. Pointing one at the neck, and the other at the body, I captured what may be my favorite sounding acoustic configuration. I will be using this for a while, or at least until Old Port Jingles spends big bucks on some more condensers. I also used this mic as an area mic for an electric guitar coming through a Fender Deluxe amp. It sounded pretty good when paired with an sm57.

Is the Rode NT1-a Worth Buying?

Overall there is no better mic in this price range, period. Some come close, but most don’t reproduce the warmth and accuracy with less noise. There are mics that go for more that probably aren’t as good. You won’t find a quieter mic in the 2-$300 dollar range. This mic is great for use in studios of all kinds, as well as musicians recording at home. If you’re on a budget, it can’t be beat. Check on Ebay, but beware of fakes. Mics are one thing you are generally better off buying from your local music store, or direct from the supplier.

For specs, check out the Rode website.

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New Ibanez SR400

Ibanez sr400 green

Click to see the Ibanez sr400 larger

Yes. I wasn’t sure if I was going to land this bass guitar. I’ve been out of a bass since I had my last one autographed by Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman of Phish, and was in desperate need of a replacement. I had decided on an Ibanez SR model, but didn’t want to spend too much, as our studio musicians have stellar equipment. I found the Ibanez SR 400 on Craigslist and with one short drive up north, I was the proud owner of it. My favorite part? It’s green. No seriously, I love the active pickups, built in EQ and good action. I have to replace the strings and give it a good tune up, as it’s been sitting for a while, but it will be well worth it.

So far, I haven’t done much with it, other than look at it. You might find this a little strange, and that’s because it is strange. Erich, you got a new toy, how come you’re not rocking out right now? Well, the answer is simple: I’ve just been busy. Between making some excellent hold music with a narritive for Hubspot, Portland Buy Local meetings, and Record Store Day coming up, I’m a busy bee. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll get it tuned up and restrung just in time to wake up the neighbors.

In other news, I’ve been ordering unhealthy amounts of TNG figures on Ebay. I am up to 14. At least I was able to give Geordi a job. In this economy we could all use the help, am I right? Sorry this post is all over the place, but it’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday! Call me when it’s Friday please. -Erich

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