RODE are a very well known and highly-regarded Australian microphone manufacturer Despite having a stellar reputation on the microphone and boom arm front, the company hasn’t turned its hand to a headset – until now.
The results – if you’re a content creator or doing other professional work – are excellent, but gamers may not find as much to get excited about.
The Rode NTH-100 is a wired, closed back headset designed for professional use – it’s well made, has great quality sound, and is designed to be worn for long periods of time.
While the headset lacks a lot of the features you’d expect from a gaming headset (eg a boom mike and volume controls on the unit), it has something I’ve never encountered before – it has an audio input jack on each earcup, meaning you can select whether you want the cable plugged into the left or right ear.
It’s a minor thing but makes a notable difference for the user depending on how you’ve got things set up – and there are even colour-coded clips included with the unit to help you keep track of what cable is plugged into which port/jack/outlet.
There’s only a 3.5mm connection (although a 3.5mm-to-6.5mm converter is also included), so unfortunately these don’t work with most smartphones or tablets nowadays, which tend to have Bluetooth connections only.
The lack of an on-unit volume control is quite noticeable if you are gaming on a system without an easy volume control (my keyboard, for example, has a volume control knob on it that makes adjusting the sound extremely easy), but again, the NTH-100 is obviously intended for use with professional setups where there are volume controls on the deck
How’s the sound quality, though?
It is crystal clear and very detailed, but very much designed for professional or focussed use. For audio playback (whether it’s voiceover work, streaming, or listening to an audio documentary) it is outstanding. I spend a lot of time listening to music while I work, and the NTH-100s provided absolutely superb audio no matter what sort of music I was listening to.
For gaming, however, it’s not as dazzling. There’s not enough bass or treble for a serious gaming experience, at least to my ears, but this is by design and I totally understand why Rode have tuned the NTH-100 the way they have.
Don’t misunderstand my point here – these are fantastic headphones, with great sound quality and wearer comfort, but they aren’t designed for skull-rattling bass or fully accentuating gunfire, explosions, spells being cast, or assorted things going brrrr. You can still hear all these things just fine, but they just seemed to lack the oomph that I’d usually want from a proper gaming headset.
For PC use, I got the best results when connected via an EPOS B20 (which also provided the missing microphone functionality as well) using the EPOS Gaming Suite software, with the Sennheiser GSX-1000 amp I usually run my headset through coming a close second; the headset was tested with a wide range of games including Age of Empires IV and Shadow Warrior 3.
I also plugged the headset straight into the audio port of a Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 7 laptop (review coming soon!) and was impressed with the audio quality the onboard Nahimic software was able to provide.
I also connected the NTH-100s to a PlayStation 5 and an Xbox Series X; the sound quality was noticeably clearer on the PS5, including in games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Ghost of Tsushima where some of the individual ancillary sounds really stood out.
The build quality on the NTH-100s is excellent. Solid, quality materials including a metal headband and cup attachment arms.
Instead of memory foam, the NTH-100s have a “CoolTech” Gel in them, which is designed to provide comfort for extended use while also not overheating your ears.
It certainly did this during my testing – no sweaty ears or discomfort from the headset, even when spending all day writing and gaming. The adjustment on the headset was good and once set in place, I didn’t have any issues with them moving.
Although there is no active noise cancelling, the NTH-100s did a brilliant job of blocking outside sound anyway – it let me really focus on my work, while still providing some awareness of what was going on elsewhere in the house.
With an RRP of AUD$249, the price is right – and what’s even better, the NTH-100s are Australian made. It’s so rare to get that trifecta of quality, price and Australian made in one place, and Rode have succeeded admirably here.
If you are a content creator with a separate microphone or looking for a professional set of cans for focussed listening, the Rode NTH-100s come highly recommended. For gamers, however, a specialist headset like the EPOS H6 Pro or Astro A40TR is likely to be a better bet due to their extra features and gaming-tuned sound profile.