Rode’s first headphones offer a comfortable and balanced way to monitor audio

Rode, the audio company best known for their microphones, introduces its first pair of headphones, the NTH-100.

The NTH-100 are wired over-ear headphones for audio and video production. Compared to headphones for casual listening, these deliver a flatter frequency response for more accurate mixing and monitoring.

The NTH-100 aims to take on some popular models used in productions such as Sony MDR-7506, Sennheiser’s HD 280 Pro, DT 770 Pro from Beyerdynamicand Audio Technica ATH-M50x. They’re competitively priced at $149, and they have some unique features that highlight Rode knows what producers and audio editors need when editing for long periods of time.

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The NTH-100’s sound signature is designed to be flat and not color the audio in any way.
Photo by Andru Marino / The Verge

I’ve been able to try out the NTH100 for the last month and here are the features that really stand out to me:

  • CoolTech gel cushions with Alcantara fabric on the ear cups and headband: These are surprisingly comfortable headphones to wear – more so than any of the previously mentioned headphones. After a four-hour sustained session editing our podcast The Vergecast, there was little to no discomfort and they didn’t get too warm on my head (would like to see how they feel after processing in my hot apartment this summer). Those are common issues with headphones like these, and I was pleasantly surprised by the NTH-100.
  • FitLock headband closure system: There is a twist-lock mechanism on each side of the headphone that allows you to adjust the height and then lock the height at which each earcup rests on your head. I appreciate being able to slip them on and off throughout the week without having to readjust the headband every time—and not getting my hair tangled in the process.
  • Cable attachments on both sides: The NTH-100’s cable is detachable, which is useful for both repairs and changing the length of headphone cables. But something new these offer is the ability to plug the cable into either earcup. I don’t see this very often when mixing headphones, and it’s been helpful when using these headphones in different setups. Rode includes a black 2.4 meter/7.8 foot cable, but also sells different colored cables (green, orange, pink, and blue) in 7.8 foot or 3.9 foot lengths to match the colored labels on Rode’s other audio products. As many wired headphones experience microphonics (the sound that gets into your ear from the cable rubbing against yourself or your clothing) is typical, and you’ll find it in these headphones. If something like this bothers you, I would suggest trying them out first before buying them. It really struck me at first when using the NTH-100, but I’ve gotten used to it to the point where I almost forgot to write this in here.
  • Unique design: The NTH-100 are elegant with the ear shape of the earcups and the subtle curves of the headband. While these get a lot of use behind the scenes, it makes sense that Rode would make sure they have a visual presence in the headphone section – when I’m watching Video Podcaster on YouTubemany use Rode microphones and Rode audio mixers the Rodecaster Pro, but always wear Sony, Audio-Technica or other branded headphones. Rode fills this gap to appeal to those developers who already trust products for their production work and who may also be looking for a different look for their headphones on video.

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Both earcups and the headband feature soft Alcantara padding for hours of comfort.

I’ve only been using these for a month but they feel very durable. Rode says its durability testing ensures “decades of use,” which is an impressive claim but difficult to verify. There are no creaking or rattling parts that I noticed during use – something many other headphones in this price range suffer from (I had to send my own back Audio Technica ATH-M70x due to multiple repairs due to breakage of a plastic part). The NTH-100 have a strong headband and for some it might be a downside that they don’t fold at all. As such, you may need to leave a little extra room in your gear bag, especially if you need multiple pairs for a podcast recording.

So how do they sound? They sound better than most headphones in the $150 price range. They’re not the ultimate mixing headphones that will make you give up mixing monitors – but great for a lot of production work. There’s no element of sound that caught my eye or surprised me during testing, and that’s kind of the point. Nothing to worry about relying on them for podcast or video mixing.

Rode claims the NTH-100s deliver “extremely accurate frequency response”, but alongside Sony’s MDR-7506 (a headphone known for its flat frequency response) and Audio-Technica’s popular ATH-M50x, the NTH- 100 by Rode adds a bit more presence in the low mids and ends up leaving the other headphones screeching or tinny with more presence in the higher frequencies. As a sound engineer, I’ve learned that to properly mix and EQ audio, any headphone model still requires adjusting my ears and analyzing how they color the sound, and these are no different. And after a while I started to prefer their frequency response to my other editing headphones.

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The NTH-100 cable can be plugged into either the right or left earcup.
Photo by Andru Marino / The Verge

Overall, these stand out more for their comfort and durability than their sound. Considering the ergonomics, the NHT-100s are a thoughtful contender for the crowded headphone market. They offer small but welcome features that others in the $150 price range don’t have and feel comfortable over a long period of time. If you struggle with headphone fatigue in your production, are cursed with fragile headphones, or want a cool look for your video podcast, the Rode NTH-100s could be a great upgrade from your current pair. At the moment they are my go-to headphones for editing podcasts in long sessions.

https://www.theverge.com/22996194/rode-nth-100-mixing-headphones-review Rode’s first headphones offer a comfortable and balanced way to monitor audio

Fry Electronics Team

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