A few months ago, Rode, a company more popularly known for its microphones, decided to get on the other end of the audio gear process with their first pair of headphones, the Rode NTH-100. They quickly became very popular headphones – and for good reason. They’ve been the main headphones I use on my desktop computer for editing, as well as general use, since they were first launched.
Now, Rode’s expanding the capability of the NTH-100 headphones with the new NTH-Mic. It exploits a feature of the headphones in that it has two audio sockets – one underneath each earpad. When you’re just using them as regular headphones, this means you can plug the cable into either side of them for ease of use. With the NTH-Mic attached, one is still used for the audio cable, but the other is used for the mic.
It’s a great addition to the NTH-100 headphones, as they’ve proven to be very popular amongst live streamers and podcasters, where having a microphone is kind of important. Now, with a microphone connected right into the headphones, you’ll get more freedom to move around without worrying about whether or not you’ve got good microphone position. Of course, this will all depend on how the microphone sounds compared to the usual sorts of microphones people use for these tasks, like large diaphragm cardioid condensers, dynamic mics, shotgun mics or even wireless lavs.
Rode says that the NTH-Mic is a “broadcast-grade condenser microphone for highly detailed voice reproduction”, specifically designed for the NTH-100 headphones that’s optimised for plosive rejection. If you have no idea what plosives are, have a watch of this excellent video from Mike Delgaudio (AKA Booth Junkie) where he explains what they are, the problem they cause and how to overcome them with the usual sorts of microphones we’d use for recording voiceovers, podcasting or live streaming. But in short, they’re the burst of air that comes out when we make “P”, “B”, and other sounds in our words. These cause microphones to clip because it’s basically like they’ve just been blasted with a high gust of direct wind.
The NTH-Mic is designed to prevent this.
As the Rode NTH-100 headphones come with a standard TRS cable, the NTH-Mic comes with a replacement 2.4-metre TRRS cable that allows you to carry audio in both directions from the headset when you have the NTH-Mic plugged in. Of course, a TRRS plug typically means that your device also requires a TRRS socket but don’t be so quick with your disappointment! Rode also includes a Y splitter cable that lets you turn your TRRS plug into a pair of TRS plugs for devices with separate audio output and microphone input sockets.
You don’t have to just buy the NTH-Mic as an addon to your pre-existing NTH-100 headphones, either. Rode has bundled the two together into one box called the NTH-100M. The only difference between buying them separately and buying the NTH-100M is that you don’t get the 2.4-metre TRS cable. You just get the TRRS cable. If there are times when you’re only using them as headphones, though, the TRRS plug will still work fine in a regular TRS stereo headphone output socket.
The only potential downside to adding the NTH-Mic to your NTH-100 headphones is that you no longer get to choose which side your cable plugs into. The microphone plugs into the right, and the cable plugs into the left. I do hope that Rode decides to make a mirror-image version of the NTH-Mic at some point, though, that you can plug into the left side. I have my cable plugged into the right earpiece because that’s the side of my desk that my USB audio interface is on, and it stops cable riding across my neck when I’m wearing them. First-world problems, huh?
The Rode NTHMic and NTH-100M kit, which includes the NTH-Mic and NTH-100 headphones, will be available to pre-order soon for $59 and $199, respectively. We’ll update this post with links once they become available. The Rode NTH-100 headphones on their own without the NTH-Mic are available to buy now for $149.