Condenser microphones are the gold standard for streaming but most suffer from the same drawback: they pick up everything. If you’re in an untreated room, that’s a big problem. They also tend to made for a single purpose. Let’s face it, you’re probably not moving your Blue Yeti your desk any time soon. Today, we’re looking at the single most versatile microphone we’ve ever seen: the Rode VideoMic NTG. It’s made for streaming, made for cameras, made to travel with you wherever you go. If you’re in the market for a microphone, this is a review you can’t afford to miss.
- Current Price: $249
- Key Features:
- USB connectivity - acts as a Windows sound card for easy use when streaming
- Zero-latency monitoring
- 3.5mm analog connectivity for cameras and sound cards
- Stepless Gain Knob (controls gain over 3.5mm and Windows sound over USB)
- Digitally controlled high-pass filter, -20db pad, high-frequency boost, and safety channel recording
- Peak indicator
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery, 30+ hours battery life
- Included shock mount and foam pop/wind filter
- Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient electret condenser
- Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
- Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Frequency Response: 35Hz – 18kHz ±3 dB
- Output Impedance: 10 Ohms
- Signal to noise Ratio: 79 dBA
- Dynamic Range: 105dB SPL
- Equivalent Noise: 15dB SPL
- Sensitivity: -26 dB re 1V/Pa (50mV @ 94dB SPL) ± 1dB @ 1kHz
- Input SPL @ 1% THD: 120dB SPL
- High Pass Filter Frequency: 75Hz, 150Hz
- Battery Life: 30+ hours
- Battery Capacity: 350mAh
- Output Connection: 3.5mm auto-sensing USB-C
- Bit Depth: 24-bit
- Sample Rates: 48kHz
- OS Requirements: Mac OS 10.12, Windows 10
- Dimensions: Diameter: 21.6mm, Length: 171mm
- Weight: 94g
Don’t let the name fool you. The Rode VideoMic NTG is much more than an on-camera mic. At first glance, you might not think so. It’s a small shotgun, which means its condenser capsule sits at the bottom of a filtered tube. In the world of streaming, these microphones are rarely used because, in general, they are made for cameras and boom poles. PC microphones usually come on heavy stands and are so big that most of us never go beyond moving them in front of our mouths. All of that has changed.
The good folks at Rode are changing the game. The VideoMic NTG completely turns that paradigm on its head. The VideoMic NTG is the single-most versatile mic I’ve ever used, it’s filled with features, and is a far better fit and value for streaming than most options on the market today.
What Makes the VideoMic NTG Special
Big claims, I know, but it’s true. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m the “mic guy” (also the “keyboard guy,” but that’s a story for another day). I’ve used dozens of microphones over the years, both for review and in search of that “perfect sound” for my own voice. Condenser microphones are most common because of the natural, full sound they’re able to represent, but their sensitivity can pose a problem. Most of us will be actively typing on keyboards or have noise in the background that makes its way directly into the microphone. Because the average desk mic leaves the whole capsule exposed inside its grill/windscreen, there’s very little shielding to allow it to focus in on your voice and adequately block those other sounds out. A common solution is to use a dynamic microphone, of which Rode has options, but if you like the sound of a condenser and face outside noise, it’s time to start looking at other options like the VideoMic NTG.
If you’re new to the world of microphones, the design of this microphone is a much better fit for the average streamer and podcaster. The shotgun design is highly directional and is made to hone in on what it’s pointed at while blocking out everything else. It’s still a condenser and delivers that same type of sound as classic mics like the Blue Yeti or Audio-Technica AT2020, but the filtered tube system dramatically reduces the sound of surrounding noise. Since moving to the VideoMic NTG, I’ve barely had to use a noise gate at all.
So, isolation. Point it at your face and everything behind it may as well be in another room. That’s point number one.
The second major element here is that the VideoMic NTG is designed for use on PC, as well as 3.5mm connections. Just like other streaming mics, it features easy USB Type-C connectivity and zero-latency monitoring with the built-in headphone jack. Once connected, the mic acts as a sound card, passing through all of your PC audio as well as allowing you to hear your own level. The gain knob on the rear, which is stepless and silent, automatically switches to controlling your PC audio. I wish there was a way to have this swap to adjust the microphone gain on PC, but these two features alone put it in direct competition with the Blue Yeti, Razer Seiren X, HyperX Quadcast, as well as other shotgun mics made explicitly for on-camera use yet can be positioned completely out of scene for your streams.
The isolation gives it one of the most meaningful edges a streaming mic can have, but it also sounds great and has multiple features that make it even better. With proper technique, I would put the Rode VideoMic NTG directly head-to-head with any of those other mics. At the same time, it features two separate high-pass filters, 75Hz and 150Hz, which are great for filtering out droning noise like PC fans, the highway out the window, reducing proximity effect (though this is a quality I actually love). It also features a high-frequency boost, so if you have a naturally lower voice, you can crispen it up with the push of a button.
It also comes with its own Rycote shock mount and foam pop filter/windscreen. The only thing you might need is a boom arm or desk tripod because the standard kit only comes with the on-camera mount. It does include the thread for easy mounting, however, so if you already have a boom arm or desk stand all you’ll need to do is screw it on.
The biggest value comes from the fact that the NTG is ready to leave the PC and work in virtually any other situation you might need a mic for. Since it connects over 3.5mm, it will work with any camera that has a mic input. It’s also small enough to easily slide into a bag and, thanks to its metal body, durable enough that you don’t need to worry about taking it anywhere you may go.
That means that rather than need to invest in one mic for your PC and another for family videos, YouTube, mobile streaming, chatting on a laptop, or any other situation, the NTG is your go-to solution. Usually, when we see these kinds of “all in one” devices, you can tell be the compromises being made. Here, that’s just not the case. I would, and will, be using this is my go-to on-camera mic for my own family videos and video reviews.
Another neat thing that it brings to the table is that it offers both a 20dB pad and a safety track. A “pad” is an audio-world term that means it will record much quieter as long as it’s engaged. This is perfect for noisy environments, like sporting events or concerts.
The safety track is also a great value at this price point and adds to its possible uses. When the safety mode is engaged, the microphone will record in stereo mode. By splitting the tracks, it’s able to devote the left channel to a full volume recording while the right channel is volume reduced. That way, if something loud happens and causes the volume to clip, you can recover your audio from the right channel. This is a wonderful feature because audio clipping is devasting. There’s no coming back from a track that’s blown out, but here, you actually can because of its stereo recording.
The Rode VideoMic NTG is an unassuming game-changer for PC users. Simply put, the shotgun design, high-pass filters, USB connectivity and zero latency monitoring, make it one of the best choices for streaming and PC use today. At $249, it’s more expensive than many options but more than makes up for that with incredible versatility. With the VideoMic NTG, you no longer need multiple mics for your PC, camera, laptop and more. It really is the “do everything” microphone.
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.