A MICROPHONE is a very important piece of kit in that nebulous realm of “content creation” which I appear to accidentally stumbled into with all the grace of particularly oblivious Zap Brannigan.
Up until this point I have contented myself with using the microphone that’s attached to my Sennheiser GSP 370 headset, which has been doing a very respectable job, but when the opportunity to review a dedicated desktop mike landed in my inbox, courtesy of the folks at Røde, I decided to take it for a spin.
The Røde – the line though the “o” puts me in mind of making some sort of Monty Python reference, for some reason – NT-USB Mini is, as the name suggests, a small, USB-connected desktop microphone.
It’s surprisingly sturdy and heavy – it weighs half a kilo – but attractively designed. Not that aesthetics are important in an audio medium, but the simple fact of the matter is the Røde NT-USB Mini does look rather fetching on my desk.
One thing that stood out for me is a label on the bottom of the stand: it says “MADE IN AUSTRALIA”.
There aren’t many products made in this country anymore, so being able to see that on the bottom of a quality microphone was a real bonus, bolstered by the fact it’s a really good bit of kit too.
In fact, I’m using it to record this interesting little piece of audio-visual content.
Set up is extremely simple: I plugged it into a USB port on my computer, my computer said “Oh look, a microphone!”, I went into settings, set the Røde as my default microphone, and away I went.
It took me longer to make my pre-review cup of coffee with my Nespresso machine, and they’re so simple to use even my cat can do it. Well at least I think he can; someone’s using all my coffee pods and my wife swears it’s not her and the kids aren’t uncontrollably bouncing off the walls in a perpetual state caffeine overload, so that doesn’t leave a lot of suspects now, does it?
*VERY OBVIOUS SIP OF COFFEE*
Now then, where was I? Oh yes, the Australian desktop mike.
As you can hear, the Røde NT-USB mini has a clean, clear sound, further helped by the built-in ‘pop’ filter to help with the plosive sounds you get with the letters “B” or “P”.
The stand is detachable magnet affair, meaning you can also mount the mike on a swivel arm or somewhere that works best for you, meaning it can be customised to suit your recording arrangements. You can even hold it if you want to feel like Michael Buble or Robbie Williams.
Measuring 141mm high by 89mm wide, it’s a compact piece of kit which is portable enough to take with you for an outside broadcast or off-site thing, but big enough to still be a respectable and useful size so you’re not wondering where your mike has gone and if the cat or one of the kids has wandered off with it.
While it’s a standalone microphone, it also has a 3.5mm input jack for plugging in a set of headphones, and there’s a headphone volume dial prominently mounted on the front.
The only real criticism I have of the microphone – taking into account its target area and intended purpose – is the lack of a mute button on it.
After all, who among us has not inadvertently threatened to declare war on the Soviet Union or described all the children in Springfield as S-O-Bs thanks to a hot mike?
While it has a decent pickup range, the included USB-C cable wasn’t long enough to get from the back of my PC (where the good USB ports are) to the bit of my desk in front of my keyboard where it would be most effective.
Fortunately, USB-C cables aren’t exactly hard to get, so it’s an easily sorted issue and one that’s not really a problem at all if you’re using a laptop.
Lack of a mute button aside, the Røde NT-USB Mini microphone is a rather good microphone, solid, well made – in Australia, no less – and definitely something to look into further if you need a mike for your computer, streaming, or content creation setup.
That’s basically it for my review – Thanks for listening, and until next time remember: Even if it’s not a competition, you’re still a winner.
Bye for now!