Rode NT-USB Mini Review
October 12, 2021
Rode NT-USB Mini
Price as Reviewed:£89.00
Nigel Atherton tests a compact desk mic that’s ideal for video voice-overs, webinars and much more.
At a glance
- Compact desktop microphone
- USB-C connection
- No power supply required
- Works with Mac and Windows computers
Photographers are being re-branded as ‘content creators’. Most people coming into photography today no longer just take still photos. Many of us also shoot video, for which we might want to do a voice-over. Others might host or attend photography webinars. Some may even host their own photography podcast. This is nothing new. For much of AP’s history it has been almost as absorbed with moving images and sound as with stills, whether that be 16mm, Super 8, VHS video and now digital video. Only the technology has changed.
- Compact – The NT-USB Mini measures just 141mm x 54.5mm x 89.3mm, making it very portable.
- Compatible – Being Class Compliant it works with both Mac and Windows laptops as well as tablets and mobile devices.
- Robust – Weighing 585g the NT-USB Mini is made from steel and reinforced nylon resin, with a solid magnetic mount.
- Customisable – With the free Rode connect app you can fine tune the sound, connect multiple mics and much more.
One of the most respected brands in the world of audio recording is Rode. Its NT-USB Mini is a sleek and compact desktop microphone capable of providing professional-quality audio. It certainly lives up to its name. Designed as a smaller and affordable alternative to Rode’s larger NT-USB model from 2014, the Mini is just 141mm tall by 54.5mm wide, on an 89.3mm diameter base — making it ideal for transport, and meaning that it can be set up and used anywhere in no time at all.
Despite its size it’s unexpectedly heavy, at 585g. Much of the weight is in its robust, 360-degree swing mount, which attaches magnetically and enables the mic to be positioned at any angle, while remaining fairly steady on the recording surface, and being less susceptible to unintentional knocks. The USB-Mini does not require an external power supply or drivers to work, and being Class Compliant it can be used straight out of the box with various types of devices, from tablets to desktops, Mac and Windows.
Like its big brother the Mini uses a high-quality condenser capsule with a fixed cardioid polar pattern, designed for recording clear sound mainly from the front. But unlike the older unit the Mini includes a built-in pop filter, for reducing plosives and unwanted ambient noise. The 3.5mm headphone output comes with a volume control and a zero-latency mode for echo-free sound monitoring.
The sound from the Mini is rich and warm out of the box – incomparably better than the built-in mics of laptops, tablets and webcams but also noticeably superior to most of the no-name Chinese imports that proliferate at certain online retailers.
Rode Connect App
Additional features and audio fine tuning controls are available through Rode Connect — Rode’s free podcasting and streaming software. These include access to the built-in digital signal processing, broadcast-style faders and levels metering, and the ability to connect and control up to four NT-USB Minis for multi-participant podcasts.
Rode NT-USB Mini Verdict
In summary, the Rode NT-USB Mini is an excellent compact, studio-quality microphone that offers near universal compatibility with most devices, impressive sound, and a very reasonable sub-£100 price point.