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Rode NTK Harsh
Old 6th July 2008
  #1
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shadyru's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Rode NTK Harsh

I just bought a Rode NTK and have a few questions:

Chain: Rode NTK, Great River ME-1NV, Distressor

The Rode NTK has a nasally digital harsh sound to it for some reason but sits in the mix great for my baritone voice. I have used 4033, SM7, and 3035 and this sits the best.

1. Why does it sound slightly harsh and digital?
2. How far is a good distance to sing into the rode ntk?
3. What is common eq'ing for the Rode NTk once in the box?

Thx
Old 7th July 2008
  #2
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climber's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I am a low tenor. I have an NTK that I got about 1 month ago. frankly it sounds pretty warm to me. prior to getting it I used a 421, which was good. I have been running it directly into my FF800, no external pres. however I am getting a moded MPA Gold this week so I will try it & see if it is better. my latest chain is

NTK -> FF800 -> Mac G5 -> DP 5.1.3 -> UAD-1/1176 -> UAD1/Plate140

have you tried it without the external stuff? you don't say what system you have.

I have a pop filter & sing pretty close to the mic. I am not a screaming rocker tho, more of an R&B singer, so YMMV.
Old 7th July 2008 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I have an NTK and don't find it harsh/nasaly/digital. Many have pointed out that the NTK is extremely sensitive to the tube more than one would expect. Mine has an EH tube in it - so maybe start with opening it and seeing what it has. Most of the people who complain about the harshness didn't come stock with the EH tube (or they are used to 47s, which would likely make an NTK sound harsh LOL).

Mine is paired with a GT Brick and sounds very warm. EQ depends on the voice and song. I usually find myself boosting 4.7k, and dipping 220 or 270 ever so slightly.

Also, do you get the harshness WITHOUT the distressor??
Old 7th July 2008 | Show parent
  #4
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I had a NTK years ago and found it to be exteremly harsh sounding. Works good as a drum room mic though.

IMO a mic should work in its stock form without having to change tubes to begin with.
Old 7th July 2008 | Show parent
  #5
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Energie's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I find the NTK overly bright and just a little brittle up top, I havn't changed tubes yet, that would probally help, getting a tube that would maybe smooth out the top end, not sure what to reccomend on that one?

mullard? Nos?
Old 7th July 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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The dman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Energie View Post
I find the NTK overly bright and just a little brittle up top,
That's what I found when I had mine.
Old 7th July 2008 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I have one and have worked on several.

First off, there seems to be some variations over the years- some of the earlier ones sound different (less tizzy) to me. Some of the newer ones sound "cheaper" to me. But I have heard rumor that some of the newest ones actually sound better again?! So maybe the love/hate stories have to do with manufacturing consistancy over the years.

Tubes can make a huge difference. I have worked on tube circuits for many years and have never seen anything where the sound was so dependent on the brand of tube used as the NTK.

These have a boat load of output with some very high peaks at certain frequencies. I have found that they can easily overload a preamp input making the mic. sound harsh and bright. I often use at least 10 dB or more of attenuation at the input. This can clean things up considerably with certain preamps.

They are very sensitive about preamps- some like the mic- some very good ones seem to hate it no matter what I do. I get killer vocal sounds out of a Joe Meek VC1. My Spectrasonics preamps don't get along well with it (but they love the AT 4060, another tube mic). I had a homebrew API preamp which sounded killer but the NTK didn't sound good on that at all. It loves a pair of homebrew tube preamps I have......

Try singing into it a little off to the side for vocal work. Sometimes this works good with strident vocalists.

When this mic. works on vocals or acoustic guitar it sounds killer, but when it doesn't .... I have some much better mics but I keep this around because nothing sounds better on my voice than the NTK. Go figure....
Old 8th July 2008 | Show parent
  #8
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Stitch333's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I worked in a studio at one time with a couple of NTK's
and suggested the tube upgrade as well.
ChrisCarter has a good idea: try switching the tube.
Also, if you are so inclined, a Peluso capsule upgrade and
a high quality 7pin tube mic cable will improve the quality
of the mic. I haven't done this mod to an NTK, but these (and also high quality cap upgrades) have worked wonders on many lower end tube condensers I've used.
Highs will start to seem airy instead of shrill...

a good distance to start at is about a foot away.

You can also adjust the angle of the mic to affect how the
mic will perform. Essing and sibilence can be (somewhat) controlled this way.

Also, the room you are recording in can definitely affect the recordings...
I've never encountered piercing shrills due to a poorly treated room, but that coupled with other things, can create poor recordings.

Cheers!
Old 8th July 2008
  #9
soulstudios
Guest
The NTK benefits hugely from warmup time, unlike most tube mics nowadays-
comparisons here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-shoot-outs-sound-file-comparisons-audio-tests/158653-rode-ntk-tube-warming-up-tests.html

Also, tube swapping is important:

Rode NTK Test 2 - Tube swaps

Under a foot distance for vocals is a good rule of thumb (with a pop filter, of course). All depends on the vocalist and the kind of sound you're wanting.

I rarely have to do much eq on my modded NTK, wouldn't use anything else for vocals.
[email protected]

p.s the audio links are down on those reviews, just read my observations. On dialup, don't have the time to re-upload now.
Old 8th July 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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Phrygian's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I like my NTK. Some things that have worked for me are 30 minute warm up, a good preamp (I usually use my GR as well) and Distressor on Opto with the input/output around 5. Also, 6 to 12 inches away, depending on the vocal/intensity.

I haven't had to EQ either.

You'll find what works best for your voice with the NTK, and when you do find it you'll love the NTK. It just needs some TLC but it's worth it!
Old 9th July 2008 | Show parent
  #11
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88fingerz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Try this:

Try selecting 35 on the gain of your ME-1NV. Pull the output back to about a 75% position and work it from there. Engage the loading button (on).

Bypass the Distressor for a moment and hear what it's role is in changing the sound.

Definitly use a pop screen with the NTK.

Also, I find the NTK to be great on big acoustic guitar.
Old 10th July 2008 | Show parent
  #12
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
How the hell can a mic sound "digital?"

Jezus. That's such an 80's thing to say.

heh
Old 10th July 2008 | Show parent
  #13
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Phrygian's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88fingerz View Post

Also, I find the NTK to be great on big acoustic guitar.
Agreed!
Old 16th July 2008
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Lander's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyru View Post
I just bought a Rode NTK and have a few questions:

Chain: Rode NTK, Great River ME-1NV, Distressor

The Rode NTK has a nasally digital harsh sound to it for some reason but sits in the mix great for my baritone voice. I have used 4033, SM7, and 3035 and this sits the best.

1. Why does it sound slightly harsh and digital?
2. How far is a good distance to sing into the rode ntk?
3. What is common eq'ing for the Rode NTk once in the box?

Thx
Perhaps room reflections are interfering?
Old 16th July 2008 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
channelite's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a Rode NTK that I bought in 2002 and haven't used it since then. I think I paid like $399 for it back then. It sounded great with vocals and captured my drum set amazingly. I haven't had it plugged in for like 5 or 6 years since I left it in storage. It should still be good right?
Old 16th July 2008 | Show parent
  #16
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asagaai's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy5000 View Post
I have a Rode NTK that I bought in 2002 and haven't used it since then. I think I paid like $399 for it back then. It sounded great with vocals and captured my drum set amazingly. I haven't had it plugged in for like 5 or 6 years since I left it in storage. It should still be good right?

They have PCB with wiring prone to corrosion, and in about 5 years are prone to spontaneous combustion. Post it to me and I will store it for you in an environmentally friendly environment-free of charge.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
Old 16th July 2008 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I had the NTK and HATED IT! Now I have a Telefunken AK-47.....MUCH better!heh
Old 17th July 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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88fingerz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I replaced mine with a Sputnik! Much MUCH BETTER!! (though I've been thinking of bringing back the NTK solely for acoustic gtr duty).
Old 17th July 2008 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
1. Because it's a Rode and most of them do.
2. About 3 miles or preferably more.
3. Equalise it to the level of the floor with the heel of your boot.

Sorry, couldn't resist........heh
Old 18th July 2008 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Lander's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
1. Because it's a Rode and most of them do.
2. About 3 miles or preferably more.
3. Equalise it to the level of the floor with the heel of your boot.

Sorry, couldn't resist........heh
lol.
Old 19th July 2008 | Show parent
  #21
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chrispick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88fingerz View Post
I replaced mine with a Sputnik! Much MUCH BETTER!! (though I've been thinking of bringing back the NTK solely for acoustic gtr duty).
The NTK can work nicely for pop strummed acoustic guitar, especially if you want the part to cut and be percussive.

It's more miss than hit for vocals, I think, unfortunately. Still, if it works for someone, it works.
Old 20th July 2008 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Zooey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The NTK is pretty harsh. Or maybe "silibent" or "strident" would be a kinder way of putting it. It can capture a lot of detail, but some sources are painful with the NTK.

Replacement tubes can be worthwhile, though not the magic bullet some make them out to be. 6922, 6N11, 6DJ8, and EC88 are all replacements for the stock tube. I've got a EC88 in mine right now--it's branded RCA and marked "Made in Holland." It's a little less harsh, but has less gain and possibly more noise.
Old 20th July 2008 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Lander's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Using a few Rode K2s, sometimes a foam screen calls it a day.thumbsup
Attached Images
Rode NTK Harsh-13964.jpg 
Old 21st July 2008 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Let's face it-in this price range mic to mic consistancy probably isn't very good for LDC's. A lot of people (including some well known and highly respected) use RODE and seem to have a high opinion. While there seems to be a significant amount of sample to sample variation on NTK's my experience with the Sputnik may not be any better. I had one for a day and I was totally underwhelmed and can't understand what the fuss was about. I have heard several clips with the same distortion at the top end that I heard. But I don't doubt there may be some Sputniks out there that sound OK. Maybe even excellent.

As a one time manufacturing engineer I have no doubt they can crank microphones off the line with highly consistant physical parameters. But anyone who works with microphones knows you can make several that are measured to be physcally identical that somehow will sound different Then add parts variability in the electronics. I doubt very much that any one from RODE or M Audio (or anyone else in this price range) critically listens to mics before they go out the door.

Someone is always doing mic shootouts between the models and brands. Someone should take several NTK's, Sputniks, 414XLII (or whatever), preferably over several years of manufacture and do shootouts for consistancy. I think there might be some surprises.
Old 21st July 2008 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good point! Like with cheaper guitars, some will probably end up with the 'good' Rode with the lucky capsule (like the guitar made from the accidentally decent piece of wood...) that sounds nicer than most its brothers......did hear a fairly decent NT-1 (old one) a few years ago. Maybe it was a friday one heh
Old 24th July 2008 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I have had an NTK for 4-5 years and never recorded anything real with it. It was a disappointment out out the box, so I spent another $100 for a Telefunken tube. That made no difference. I even posted clips and others could not tell any significant difference either. Yes, 30 minutes warm up.

I still have this NTK, maybe one day I will pull myself together and sell it.
Old 25th July 2008 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
jaz49's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregl View Post
Let's face it-in this price range mic to mic consistancy probably isn't very good for LDC's. A lot of people (including some well known and highly respected) use RODE and seem to have a high opinion. While there seems to be a significant amount of sample to sample variation on NTK's my experience with the Sputnik may not be any better. I had one for a day and I was totally underwhelmed and can't understand what the fuss was about. I have heard several clips with the same distortion at the top end that I heard. But I don't doubt there may be some Sputniks out there that sound OK. Maybe even excellent.

As a one time manufacturing engineer I have no doubt they can crank microphones off the line with highly consistant physical parameters. But anyone who works with microphones knows you can make several that are measured to be physcally identical that somehow will sound different Then add parts variability in the electronics. I doubt very much that any one from RODE or M Audio (or anyone else in this price range) critically listens to mics before they go out the door.

Someone is always doing mic shootouts between the models and brands. Someone should take several NTK's, Sputniks, 414XLII (or whatever), preferably over several years of manufacture and do shootouts for consistancy. I think there might be some surprises.
Thanks for pointing this out. I almost thought I was losing my sanity for a while reading so many posts by people posting very positive reviews of the AT3035. Mine is terribly harsh and I have a difficult time getting a usable sound out of it (another gearslut posted something similar about his). I have to use the 10dB pad or I overload the input on my preamp...even with a pretty soft singing style. Even doing that it doesn't sound that great. Others on the forum obviously feel differently about theirs.


http://www.myspace.com/lejaz
Old 25th July 2008 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz49 View Post
Thanks for pointing this out. I almost thought I was losing my sanity for a while reading so many posts by people posting very positive reviews of the AT3035. Mine is terribly harsh and I have a difficult time getting a usable sound out of it (another gearslut posted something similar about his). I have to use the 10dB pad or I overload the input on my preamp...even with a pretty soft singing style. Even doing that it doesn't sound that great. Others on the forum obviously feel differently about theirs.


http://www.myspace.com/lejaz
Bear in mind there are a LOT of different standards of ears on this forum! Remember hearing your first condenser? Invariable wow factor........bla, bla
Old 25th July 2008 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Phrygian's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The one thing about the NTK is, like any other mic, it isn't right on every voice. This is especially true on higher range singers. I bought an AK47 just to tame some of my singers high end.

I still think it has it's use in the studio, and acoustic instruments is definitely one of them. I couldn't sell mine, just in case.
Old 25th July 2008 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
jaz49's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Bear in mind there are a LOT of different standards of ears on this forum! Remember hearing your first condenser? Invariable wow factor........bla, bla
Good point, however in this particular case, I think it's the mic. Lot's of experienced musicians/engineers have had good things to say about the AT3035, so I think I just got a bum one. I recently purchased the PR35 dynamic, and an mk219 which I am getting modded. Neither of these has the extreme harshness of my AT3035, though the pre-modded mk219 definitely has its issues. I'm going to have to contact the company again if I ever get the time.

http://www.myspace.com/lejaz
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