Skip to main content
forums, blogs, song critique, support & more...

ANyone here modded a Rode NT1a

Just thought Id see if anyone has modded a Rode NT1a

If so . Was it an easy DIY ?

I have one here that Id like to love more.
I used it a lot when first bought and It helped me get some really harsh mixes
through my daw.
I would like to see it be more useable.

Tags

Comments

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Tue, 08/22/2017 - 13:04

I looked into it, but the cost of some of the credible mods (which sounded good in the demonstrations fwiw) exceeded the cost of alternative mics that did what I wanted out of the NT1a, when the original cost of the nt1a was included.

I sold the NT1a with less than 10hours on it for about 50% of what I paid.

The akg 214, 414, nuemann tlm 102, all outperform the NT1a and imho the modded versions, since I couldn't demo thenmodded version in person i had only the questionable online stuff to go off of.

The AT 3035 is brilliant and what I bought at the same time as the NT1a. Now discontinued they can be had for 60-100$. I sold my AT to a former member/mod here. At the studio a pair lives on overheads, and options include 87ai, nt5's, sm81's, 414uls, ect. So it's a damn good mic. I sold mine due to logistical and medical issues I experienced, not due to the mics quality. Highly recommended. Tho the other 30 and 20 series don't outperform their price like the 3035 does. It's a diamond in the rough.

A shure sm7 and beta 57a are my current replacement mics on the list.

As an aside I've got a 414xls for sale PM me if your interested. (Sorry for the shill, you guys understand I'm sure)

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Tue, 08/22/2017 - 16:47

Smashh, post: 452223, member: 45856 wrote: Just thought Id see if anyone has modded a Rode NT1a

If so . Was it an easy DIY ?

I have one here that Id like to love more.
I used it a lot when first bought and It helped me get some really harsh mixes
through my daw.
I would like to see it be more useable.

What is the mod meant to do?
And what exactly is being altered in the mod (and the cost)?
Just curious. :)

Profile picture for user Smashh

Smashh Tue, 08/22/2017 - 22:37

Its meant to get rid of that exaggerated high end (harshness~) on the top end.
I checked out a few web sights and the mod them for 350 bucks US.
Thats too expensive for me .
I listened to to some A/~B tests online and it tames the highs , so I thought of putting a big ass piece of foam
wrapped around the mic . `about 8 mm thick and it has helped .
After that I decided to do the same to my NT5s .The foam on them is about 50mm square and 70mm long.
I made a hole and pushed the mic about 35mm in, so it has a lot of foam ~( probably medium density ) off the end.
After a few tests ``i think it sounds better .

We had a rehearsal today and I put an NT5 about 5 feet up over the congas .
It does sound better to me :D
Ill leave the foam and try some drums later today and post a sample as overheads .
Of course you won't hear a difference unless you have used the NT5s yourself.
Im sure most of you here probably have .

[MEDIA=audio]https://recording.org/attachments/nt5-with-foam-mp3.17528/

Attached files

nt5 with foam.mp3 (897.3 KB) 

Profile picture for user Smashh

Smashh Wed, 08/23/2017 - 03:34

After hearing the bleed of the hi hat , I took it another step and made a new foam cover with wings
50mm on each of two opposing sides for rejection , and BINGO! . I think Ive made them very useable now.
On a 45 degree angle they even sound good with voice .

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Wed, 08/23/2017 - 07:00

I'm not against modding a piece of gear if the cost of the mod is reasonable and will return awesome properties... there are some mods out there that I think are absolutely worth doing, but in this case with the Rode, I guess a mod like that leaves me wondering if it's worth it ... by the time you pay for the mic ( $225) And then the mod ($350) it seems like you'd be getting into the cost of a mic that wouldn't have those "glassy" or "brittle" frequencies to begin with.
At $600 (or so) for both the mic and mod, you're getting very close to the cost of a 414,
( or at least the price of a used one that is in great shape) and you'd end up with a mic that is much more versatile - with multiple patterns, filters, etc. as opposed to the Rode, which is cardioid only... ??
Just thinking out loud.
;)

pcrecord Wed, 08/23/2017 - 07:51

DonnyThompson, post: 452240, member: 46114 wrote: by the time you pay for the mic ( $225) And then the mod ($350) it seems like you'd be getting into the cost of a mic that wouldn't have those "glassy" or "brittle" frequencies to begin with.
At $600 (or so) for both the mic and mod, you're getting very close to the cost of a 414,

I don't think anyone should buy an NT1a with a mod in mind. I'm with you on that.
But if you bought the mic a long time ago and you did grow over it. Changing the capsule (149$ if you do it yourself) to make it more usable to you is worth it.
I meen the k47 capsule is fantastic, it sounds a bit tamed in the high end and will give a more flattering sound on any hyped budget mic.
I'd hardly think of putting the NT1a on a guitar cab, but with the k47, you're in for a treat !! ;)

Hey, that's just me ! ! !

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 08:21

You can also swap out the IC chips for a couple dollars, which could lend a better sound to it. I don't claim to know the how's or why's of it but it's something one of my co workers always says.

Profile picture for user Smashh

Smashh Wed, 08/23/2017 - 08:52

I bought the NT1a about 10 yrs back and doesn't get used.
150 dollars is within reason (only just ) in my estimation .
I want to feel good about using it , and Im sure it good as you say Marco ;)

If I only knew then what I do now.....
I would buy that Roswell mini k47 mic which is in that same price range as Rode .

I agree with you Donny , My next mic purchase will be wiser ,Another 414 would be nice
I do have one bought new , wish I had a pair ,but here in Oz 1 is around 1500 dollars.:eek: ( mine was $1,100 3 yrs ago )
Ebay has an ex display 414 for 800.

Good things take time ,so Im sure one day the opportunity will present itself as it does:).

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 08:56

One advantage to the Rode is they sell well and quickly. I sold mine to GC in a pinch, went back to the store the next day, with more stuff, and they're was someone who was calling in about the Rode I just sold.

So you could probably sell yours person to person or online for about %80 of the cost you paid ten years ago, as long as it's in good shape.

One thing to be aware of is the 414xls may or may not have been changed since Harmon bought akg. My old 240's headphones said made in Austria. The 414xls with the blue logo is post Harmon merger, the painted logo is pre Harmon.

Since they've dropped the price of the 414, which has since crept back up a little, and introduced the 214 and 314, I would suspect a possible alteration in the blue logo 414. Although I have no proof since I haven't taken either apart and would know what I wasn't looking at anyway.

In the mid 2000's the 414xls was selling for 1,099, Harmon took over and it went to 899.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:04

Smashh, post: 452250, member: 45856 wrote: Sounds a bit more tricky changing I C chip Kyle.

Firstly . What is the IC chip ?

Integrated Circuit. Basically a chip that's either soldered or pushed/clipped in that contains a circuit that would otherwise have to be soldered point to point or otherwise.

Lol end of my knowledge on the topic.

Profile picture for user Smashh

Smashh Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:07

I like the idea of doing mod because I learn more about the workings.

I started re wiring my guitar a few years back and I believe it has made my playing better
because I know what is going on under the hood .
I must have wired my guitar in different configurations at least 10 times now ,and
Im getting to a happy place with my sound now :).

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:10

Another point about decent gear is it appreciates in value. The 414 I have was 900$ I paid $830, new sealed in box, and within a year it went up to 1,000$, then 1,099. Making it a case where the mic is now 6-800$ in general used, even though it's nearly ten years old with moderate use professional.

(Some) Musical gear is a strange beast and ecomonic oddity where you can use it, make money, and recoupe your innital investment or most of it. A Gibson les Paul is another example of this.

-disclaimer not shilling just using a real world example-

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:12

Smashh, post: 452252, member: 45856 wrote: I like the idea of doing mod because I learn more about the workings.

I started re wiring my guitar a few years back and I believe it has made my playing better
because I know what is going on under the hood .
I must have wired my guitar in different configurations at least 10 times now ,and
Im getting to a happy place with my sound now :).

Lol about to get into the rabbit hole of self guitar mods myself. Cheers.!

audiokid Wed, 08/23/2017 - 11:25

Smashh, post: 452229, member: 45856 wrote: Its meant to get rid of that exaggerated high end (harshness~) on the top end.

what mic-pre are you using?

FWIW, I expected this but had to do it for giggles the other. I compared a few cheap and quality mics I am familiar with through a cheap preamp. Cheap preamps suck big time, they do not represent a true image of microphones or conversion. The mics I tested sounded NOTHING LIKE they do through my higher end mic pre's. The most obvious difference was top end smoothness and the plosives were very exaggerated. The cheap pre couldn't recover fast enough to handle much more than low end dynamics at best. They work but basically what I'm saying... if it were me... if you are using a cheap pre... get a good one before you do the mod on a mic.

Good preamps go a long way.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 14:51

audiokid, post: 452257, member: 1 wrote: what mic-pre are you using?

FWIW, I expected this but had to do it for giggles the other. I compared a few cheap and quality mics I am familiar with through a cheap preamp. Cheap preamps suck big time, they do not represent a true image of microphones or conversion. The mics I tested sounded NOTHING LIKE they do through my higher end mic pre's. The most obvious difference was top end smoothness and the plosives were very exaggerated. The cheap pre couldn't recover fast enough to handle much more than low end dynamics at best. They work but basically what I'm saying... if it were me... if you are using a cheap pre... get a good one before you do the mod on a mic.

Good preamps go a long way.

Ya know man that's a good perspective. We put those AT mics thru a Manley dual tube pre, which basically is almost exclusively for drums, often to the point where I took it for granted. When it needed service we swapped in my old ART stereo pre with stock tubes, and it was good, surprisingly good, but cymbals suffered and things didn't sound as dank, or full, like a little phase cancellation-ish, relative to the Manley. The art still was a good value, but like usual there were certain qualities in high end unit that were otherwise unattainable.

Using a calrec changed my life, to the point where I felt able to produce commercial quality (albeit not blockbuster quality), and I felt comfy enough to start the hiatus. And that was thru a $300 sm7.

Good pre amps take to EQ in mixing much better as well, and can require less.

It becomes more artistic less problem compensation.

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Wed, 08/23/2017 - 16:19

The better the tracks sound going on, the easier they are to mix.
We've got a few recordings for this OASIS project, and Dave (@dvdhawk ) did such a wonderful job at the capture that they will be really fun to mix.
I've already started some preliminary mixes from which I'm gonna extract 30 sec -1 min excerpts for a PR vid for fundraising, and I'm really not having to do much but adjust levels.
A few weeks ago, the drummer we were working with on a song brought in a Craviotto Snare drum ... I haven't had to touch the EQ on that track yet, and probably won't have to at all.
Good performances, good instruments, good mics and pres... are all the foundation(s) to good sounding tracks. Ya... it matters... all of those things.
IMHO
-d.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 08/23/2017 - 16:29

DonnyThompson, post: 452264, member: 46114 wrote: The better the tracks sound going on, the easier they are to mix.
We've got a few recordings for this OASIS project, and Dave (@dvdhawk ) did such a wonderful job at the capture that they will be really fun to mix.
I've already started some preliminary mixes from which I'm gonna extract 30 sec -1 min excerpts for a PR vid for fundraising, and I'm really not having to do much but adjust levels.
A few weeks ago, the drummer we were working with on a song brought in a Craviotto Snare drum ... I haven't had to touch the EQ on that track yet, and probably won't have to at all.
Good performances, good instruments, good mics and pres... are all the foundation(s) to good sounding tracks. Ya... it matters... all of those things.
IMHO
-d.

Were there any pres that happened to sound really good, either in general or cost vs performance, that stood out on that project?

Jealous of the no snare eq needed comment :)

x