This mic is not the best mic I have ever used but the best mic I have owned so I don't have a lot to compare to. It's actually the only condenser I have owned as well. So I am very familiar with the mic (had it for 4-5 years now) but not so familiar with higher end mics I have used once or twice.
I am working on an album and we track my rapper on the NT1a. We usually record any featured rappers at the studio they go to regularly because I am very out of the way and usually they are doing us a big favor.
I have noticed this. The NT1A sounds very "real". What you put in sounds what you get. That can be good, and bad, depending. It's a bit bright, sometimes harsh, but it makes up for that in how detailed it is. Compared to some higher end mics, it just sounds like it is capturing more of the frequency spectrum. It sounds more detailed to me than many comparable mics as well. It also needs very little gain and has almost no noise.
I also have to say, things rarely sit well in the mix before any processing. We I get a track for a U87
, for example, it sounds pretty good without doing anything, just laying the vocals over the beat and leveling. But, the NT1a, not that I am comparing the two mics, has a lot more room to "shape" your sound. So it's a trade off, you may get really good results but you will have to put in some work.
Now there are many more choices for lower end condenser mics. I bought this when the only mics in this price range that were popular were the NT1a, AT3035, or AT4040 for a bit more. That was it so although I am happy, there are more options and I may have made a different decision if they had the same mics out today. I am either going to mod mine through Mike Jolly, or get a U87
, a mic I have found works almost always on rap and I cannot afford to have an extensive mic collection.