It's not something we expected, considering the headphone market is so saturated, but sometimes it's nice to be surprised. Rode has been synonymous with high-quality professional and prosumer-grade microphones for decades. With recent product launches in the hardware and software space, they have been widening their product portfolio to target podcasters and content creators over the last few years.
Check Out our past Rode product reviews HERE.
The moment has finally arrived for Rode to launch yet another product to round out their ecosystem, the new NTH-100 professional over-ear headphones. These new cans have been meticulously designed to address the demanding needs of the professional and prosumer user.
Who is this headphone for?
The NTH-100 targets the pro and prosumer users involved in podcasting, vlogging, and video/audio production. This is a headphone designed for long sessions in the studio or editing room, and the design, sound quality and materials achieve this with high marks.
Comfort & Build Quality
We wanted to lead with comfort, as this is one of the elements that sets these headphones apart from the pack. Using the velvety soft suede-like Alcantara material filled with CoolTech gel, Rode has achieved the perfect balance of buttery soft comfort and heat management. The cooling gel inside the earcups helps absorb and dissipate the heat during long sessions, so you don't have to constantly take them off due to excessive sweating. No headphone can completely resolve this issue, but the NTH-100 is one of its best, if not the best. We are huge fans of the Alcantara material, and once you feel it against your ears, it's hard to go back to sweaty pleather.
Now that we've established the high comfort value proposition, let's dive into the sleek design and build quality. Many studio headphones look the same and haven't changed much over the last decade or so. Rode knows that creators using these types of cans are now on camera more often, especially when doing video podcasts or vlogging. The sleek design of the NTH-100 sets it apart and will surely catch the attention of those seeking a cool aesthetic on camera.
Along with the good looks come an incredibly durable build, but with that build quality comes a caveat, these headphones do not fold up. For the on the go user, this might make a difference in how you pack your bag, but probably not something that we would consider a deal-breaker. Long-term durability for us outweighs saving a few cubic inches in your travel bag, but that's obviously very subjective. So what about these two excellent features?
We love the FitLock headband locking system; it's a simple idea but long overdue. Do you hate it when someone sits in your car and messes with the adjustments you dialed in perfectly? Well, this locking mechanism is akin to that feeling of being able to slide your phones on and have them fit right every time. Simply use the turn-lock mechanism on each side to get your fit height locked in, and you are good.
Having a set it and forget it fit is great, but what about those pesky cables? Ah, well, Rode has solved that too with their dual-sided cable attachments. This feature isn't all that common on studio headphones and is a very welcome one as it makes swapping out broken cables cheap and easy as well as allows you to upgrade for a different color or a shorter length. The black detachable cable included is 7.8 feet/2.4 meters, or you can buy shorter 1.2m (3′11″) and 2.4m (7′10″) variants in different colors. So if you have a Podcast called Pinky Pie's Super Pink Party, they've got a cable just for you! That's not an actual podcast, or at least we sure hope it isn't.
So how do they sound?
As with any studio headphone, the sound signature is highly personal and subjective. Rode is striving for a very flat sound with these cans so that users are getting the most accurate sound possible when mixing and monitoring. For the most part, from our experience, the sound engineers have achieved this with only a touch of color in the mids, which we don't mind.
We used these headphones in Logic Pro to cut together a podcast interview and monitor mix levels, and they worked great, allowing us to hear and correct pops, breathy bits, and over SSSSing in the subject's speech. We also messed around in both iMovie and Final Cut Pro and listened to those subtle and essential details like background noise, minor anomalies, etc. We wouldn't necessarily use these headphones for our primary audio mixing headphones with music production, but we would use them to compare and contrast with our Audeze LCD-1s.
Pro Tip - never trust one source; if you have the luxury of having an A/B monitor set up in your studio and another pair of cans to use, it's always going to give you the complete picture of what the mix will sound like.
Summary: Rode has delivered an exceptional pair of headphones for the price that leads the category in comfort and functionality for video and audio production monitoring. If you are a professional or prosumer power user and constantly using headphones for video shoots, podcasting, editing, or even vlogging, you will be pleased with the NTH-100. They are built to last and look great on camera compared to other more clunky-looking cans.
RØDE NTH-100 KEY FEATURES:
- Custom-matched drivers that deliver an incredibly accurate frequency response and low distortion – ideal for critical listening in all content creation applications
- Precision-engineered acoustic construction optimized for exceptional detail and clarity
- Alcantara® earcup and headband cushions for superior comfort
- Unique ergonomic earcups with memory foam cushions for excellent noise isolation and revolutionary CoolTech™ gel for reducing fatigue
- Fully adjustable headband with FitLok™ locking system for a tailored feel
- Rugged, hard-wearing construction and modular design for unmatched durability
- Designed and made using high-grade components in RØDE's state-of-the-art facilities in Sydney, Australia
"The NTH-100s are the culmination of decades of passion and immersion in audio," says RØDE CEO Damien Wilson. "We developed these headphones from the ground up with avid attention to every detail and an obsession with perfection, and we are incredibly proud of the outcome. It is with absolute confidence that I say the NTH-100s are the best in their class. If you're a creator looking for your first headphones or a seasoned professional still on the hunt for the perfect cans, your search is over."
- Unmatched comfort and heat dispersion
- Great design that looks cool on camera
- Swappable cable on either side of ear cups
- Very solid sound for the price and for being a closed-back
- Locking headphone mechanism
- Built very well and will easily outlast most competitors at this price point
- They are more expensive than similar headphones in the category
- They might be a bit big for some users, and they don't fold up
To Purchase The RODE NTH-100 Head HERE ($149.00)