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Hi there,

The question is quite obvious from the subject of the post: I'm looking to buy my first LDC, and was wondering which of the above was best. It will be used mainly for vocals - male and female - so it will have to be quite versatile. It would be great if I could use it for other sources as well though (acoustic guitar, toms, strings).

What are their main differences? Is the NT2a only more expensive because of its switchable polar patterns?

It will be going through an ART MPA Gold preamp with upgraded valves/tubes. This is quite transparent sounding, so it works well with many microphones. If anyone has any experience using it with the mentioned mics it would be great for any comments.



anonymous Tue, 02/17/2009 - 04:49

Thanks for the replies so far.

Link - Apparently that bump was ironed out in the transition from NT2 to NT2A. It uses the same capule as the more expensive K2 valve mic now.

RemyRAD - I'm looking at the AT4040 and Blue Bluebird as well. I just wanted to know what my best bet was from the Rode camp. Pretty much everyone I have talked to says that the Rodes are great value for the money. I recently got a pair of NT5s and am very pleased with them. The ten year warranty is very tempting too.


anonymous Tue, 02/24/2009 - 11:00

After reading more into it, it sounds as if you are just paying for the extra polar patterns on the NT2A. It doesn't actually sound that much better than the NT1A, just different. The NT1A has less self-noise too.

Right now, I'm seriously considering the Audio-Technica AT4040 as well. However, it is pretty much twice the price of the NT1A. Does anyone have experience with the two mics?
The Bluebird sits in between them price-wise.

If anyone has any samples of work recorded using any of these, it would be a big help.

Thanks for the replies so far!

robbiusa Tue, 02/24/2009 - 20:37

Online it looks like they are all between $200-300. I just got the Bluebird for $265 at AMS. MF has the AT4040 for $300 but I've seen it for as low as $240. The Rode seems to sit around $230, so the price differential doesn't seem all that great between the 3 mics.

I have an MPA Gold (I haven't changed out the tubes).

FWIW, the AT4040 sounded grainy and dull on acoustic guitar compared to the Bluebird which seemed more open, full and present. Didn't try the Rode. Maybe I just don't have enough experience to home in on each microphones unique qualities.

On vocals (male-tenor) the AT4040 was kind of grainy sounding compared to the Bluebird and didn't have as much top and presence. The NT1A was a little harsh sounding.

Didn't record anything yet.

I didn't dislike any of them; they were all usable and if I hadn't had a chance to A/B them, I might have been happy with any one of them. But, of the 3, the Bluebird appears to be a better fit overall for the sound that I am looking for. YMMV.

Boswell Wed, 02/25/2009 - 04:53

The NT2-A is a good first LDC. Not only does it account for itself pretty well on its own, but when you later get a second one, you have a very versatile pair that can be set up X-Y cardioid, A-B omni, Blumlein and M-S Blumlein fig-8, M-S cardioid/fig-8, and various other combinations. Rode's manufacturing tolerances are such that you scarcely need to worry about having matched pairs.

They should sound great through your ART MPA Gold.

The NT1-A is a basic but pleasant-sounding LDC lacking the flexibility of the NT2-A.

By the way, the NT1-A and NT2-A have just about the lowest noise floor of any LDCs available. The multi-capsule design of the 2-A adds only 2dB to the 5dBA level of the 1-A.

anonymous Wed, 02/25/2009 - 09:12

@ robbiusa - I'm talking UK prices. The NT1A is about £115, the Bluebird is about £160 and the NT2A and AT4040 are similar, at a little over £200.

The 2A is pretty much twice the price of the 1A and doesn't come with a pop filter.

That's strange what you say about the 4040, I've read that it is really quite a full sounding mic. I guess it just doesn't match well with the MPA Gold.

My MPA has Tung-Sol valves, I didn't even give it a chance with the stock ones. Apparently these make quite a big difference..

The thing that is putting me off the Bluebird is how delicate and fragile it looks. I've also heard that the shockmount loses tension easily and one of its screws can get worn quickly.

I haven't actually used one but apparently the supplied pop filter isn't amazing?

Bluebird also doesn't have a bass roll off, which would be useful if I wanted to run it straight into a desk. The one I'm looking at right now (Soundcraft Spirit Studio 24/8) doesn't have a high pass switch on the channels...

@ Boswell - Thanks for the advice. I can see extra polar patterns being of use in the future. Right now though, the mic will mainly just be used for mono vocals.

If the 1A and 2A were A/B'd in cardioid mode, would the 2A sound noticeably better?

And how does the 2A compare with the AT4040? They're both pretty much the same price.

Before your posts, I was thinking either NT1A or AT4040 depending on how much money I can raise. Now I am really undecided!

You say the 4040 doesn't match too well with the MPA Gold for the applications I want it for, some people say the Bluebird fragile and is too bright (and can also be heavy on bass), some people say the NT2A has a wierd presence boost, you say the NT1A is harsh. Hehe...!

Thanks for everything so far though!

robbiusa Wed, 02/25/2009 - 09:57

You may have very different results in your space with your vocalist and using your equipment. My knowledge (or lack thereof) may also have tainted my results.

I never meant to imply that the others sounded bad because they didn't, I liked them all (but then I would) just stating my observations "when compared to" in the space I had and my equipment. My opinion may have been very different if I had used them separately at different times and places; I might have then chosen differently.

I haven't used the Bluebird pop filter and so far haven't had a problem with the shockmount which is not the best one I've seen but is better than the one that came with my ADK Hamburg.

The Bluebird is a very solid and sturdy feeling mic. I haven't taken it apart yet, but I'm not worried about it's fragility as I keep all the mics in good cases when not in use.

droc8705 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 11:06

I currently have the Blue Bluebird, a pair of Rode NT2-As and an AT4050, which is similar to the AT4040, except that it is a multi-pattern mic.

I love the Bluebird. I use it mainly for vocals (it's my go-to mic for this application) and absolutely love it. I've never had to eq any vocal track that came through it. Vocals are clear, yet warm to the ear and have a great presence to them. I've also used it on acoustic guitars before as a mono source and liked it, but not as much as my AT4050 or sm81s.

The Rode NT2-A is a great mic. I've used it before on vocals as well with good results. I REALLY like this mic as a room mic, especially for drums. It sounds really good on the outside of a kick too, and as overheads i've had some pretty good results. I've also used it on acoustic guitars and liked the sound as well, probably more so than I liked the bluebird. I've also used this mic on a bass cab once and had great results.

The AT4050 is not the same as the AT4040, but probably close enough to lump them in the same category. I like this mic a lot for all sorts of things...amps, hihat, mono overheads (I only have one...I'd love to get another for stereo applications), acoustic guitars, and vocals. I really like this mic as a mono source for acoustic guitars. It's pretty bright in comparison to the other mics, but I'm a fan of brighter sounding acoustics in general, so its ideal for me. Also, I've used it as a side mic in an M-S pair on acoustic guitar and grand piano before with really good results. For vocals, it's never dissapointed me, but IMHO it doesn't exceed the bluebird in this application.

If I were just having to pick one mic out of the three, with a very strong emphasis on vocals for it's use, I'd go with the Bluebird, hands down. It's not that it can't do other things well, because it can. There are just other mics in my locker that I tend to prefer for other applications.

I don't have a MPA Gold, but I do have a Pro MPA, the model which the MPA Gold evolved from. I'll see if i can do samples tonight on voice and acoustic guitars with all of these for you tonight and post them for you to judge on your own.



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