RØDE has been working on creating headphones for several years, and today the new RØDE NTH-100 headphones are introduced. RØDE states the new headphones are designed for professional use with accurate frequency response. This is important if you’re mixing audio instead of listening to music. Not to say you can’t enjoy your favorite tunes with the RØDE NTH-100; however, they will be a great fit for monitoring audio. A nice design touch is that the headphones have an elegantly understated look. No bright logos or accents. They look professional as opposed to a fashion accessory.
Why Enter The Headphone Market?
There are a lot of headphones on the market today, from expensive to affordable. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. You can separate the crowd when you shop for studio monitors for professional use, such as mixing audio and audio for video production and location recording, podcasting, and streaming. A good set of headphones is a must.
RØDE states they have wanted to develop a headphone similar to what they created with the NT1 condenser shotgun microphone in the early 1990s. An affordable professional product that is attainable to the masses and performs on a pro-level. My first impression when unboxing the RØDE NTH-100 headphones was a good one. They feel solid and have some heft to them, with soft fabric covering the contact points.
|Acoustic and Electrical Specifications|
|Frequency Response||5Hz – 35kHz|
|Ambient Noise Attenuation||20dBa|
|Connection Type||Dual TRRS Cable Attachments|
Comfort is Important
having great specifications is meaningless if the headphones are not comfortable to wear for a long period of time. After using them for several hours, they are a good fit for my melon head. 😀
I don’t have a lot of headphones and have been using Sony MDR-7506 Headphones for many years for work. They are fairly inexpensive at $90 US. They aren’t perfect, but I feel they do the job and last a long time.
The NTH-100 has a different ear cushion design. It’s shaped like the ear as opposed to a rectangle or round. They fit well over my ears and are comfortable without pressing on the ear itself.
The ear cushions are memory foam with integrated Cooltech gel. Memory foam has the inherent issue of being warm on the skin, and the gel makes this a nonissue. These earpads are by far better than the Sony’s for comfort and isolation, plus they work well with glasses. I don’t feel that the earpads press the glasses arms into my head. Very cool as I need to wear glasses when I shoot.
One simple feature I love is the large printed R for right and L for left inside the ear cup to easily know how to put them on correctly. I wear glasses and when it’s dark on set, putting headphones on in the right orientation is hit and miss. You have a 50% chance of getting it wrong! With the NTH-100, that problem is solved with a simple glance.
Fitlok Headband System
Another attention to detail is the Fitlok headband locks. Once you get the placement of the headphones just right, a simple twist of the Fitlok makes it lock in place. Nice feature. The locks hold the position very well and don’t slip or unlock easily since the locks are flush with the frame. Plus, it’s easy to adjust if needed. The twist design will prevent hair from getting caught like a clip design. Ouch!
The headband also has a cushion that feels soft on the top of my head. I’m not bald, but getting there, and I think the cushion would be comfortable on direct skin similar to the earcups.
The RØDE NTH-100 are designed to deliver accurate frequency response with natural sound. RØDE states they have a sound signature like open backs but with a closed-back that includes passive isolation from external sounds and minimum leakage into the room or microphones for podcasting.
I found the isolation to have an excellent balance of focused audio, but I can still hear the room a little. I like this a lot as noise-canceling headphones can go too far and are not good for field production since you still want to communicate with others on the production; plus, they require power, and that means a battery that needs to be charged or replaced.
Cable and Options
Have you ever wished you could have the cable come from the other side of the headphones? I have, and the NTH-100 gives you the option as the cable is removable and can be inserted into either left or right earcups. It comes with a 2.4m and a shorter 1.2m cable is available. For camera work, it’s nice to have a shorter cable. I do think a coiled cable option would be great as well.
The earpads, headband, and cable are user-customizable with the modular design. The cables will be available in four colors. Pink, green, orange, and blue. The colored versions are sold separately for $22. If you want to add some personality to your headphones or replace one of those items, it’s easy.
A set of cable ID rings in four colors is included. These match the Rodecaster Pro color codes for easy identification.
Size and Weight
If you like compactable and lightweight headphones, the NTH-100 might not work for you. The design doesn’t allow them to be folded for compact storage like many headphones. I feel RØDE went with a more ridged style, which isn’t bad as they have a nice shape and don’t flop around due to articulating joints.
They do weigh more than most headphones at 350 g or 12.34 oz. For comparison, the Apple AirPods Max comes in at 384.8 g or 13.6 oz. In contrast, the Sony MDR-7506 Headphones are 230 g or 8.1 oz. I didn’t find wearing them for long periods of time to be uncomfortable or make my neck stiff.
The RØDE NTH-100 sounds good and is comfortable to wear. They do an excellent job isolating the sound so you can focus on the audio that is being captured and keeps it from getting into microphones when recording. Packability is something to consider as the NTH-100 doesn’t fold down; therefore, they are approximately twice as big when you pack them. If you have a smaller audio or camera bag, this could be an issue. Overall they sound great and have a solid feel to them plus I like that I can wear glasses with them without issue.
They can also be used to enjoy music. They don’t have exaggerated bass like headphones designed for casual use, however, they can handle it if you use a preamp and boost it up, They work great and again are comfortable to wear for extended use.
Pricing and Availablity
The RØDE NTH-100 retails for $149 and is available for preorder today and expected to ship on March 31st.