Today we are reviewing new headphones from the well-known Australian brand of sound recording equipment – RØDE. The full-size model is positioned by the brand as the ultimate solution for professionals, so let’s look at it in comparison to well-known professional models, as well as from the point of view of ordinary users who do not work with sound, but just love music.
Packaging and assembly
The Rode NTH100 headphones come in the brand’s typical packaging: a white box with an image of the model, logo and other information about what’s inside. In order to get to the headphones, it is necessary to remove the upper protective cardboard and only then open the stylized box-case.
Inside, the buyer will find, in addition to the headphones themselves and a typical minimalist studio set with a cable and a 3.5-6.3 jack adapter (the adapter is screwed on), also an additional accessory. The manufacturer adds special replaceable multi-colored plastic tags to its cables, which will be useful to any professional, because no self-respecting sound engineer can avoid sitting in a whole bucket of different wires. Such a solution will allow you to easily distinguish the required cable from a large number of similar ones, or the same ones, if the same RØDE headphones are used by several people in the same workspace.
Twist-lock cable with 3.5 mm jack on both ends. This hurts versatility and completely limits the user’s choice of wire, but the lock-type sockets give a significant boost in reliability, so the sacrifice is justified. The cable is flexible, good quality and feels solid, helped by a thick layer of insulation and thickening near the jacks.
Design and ergonomics
The headphones look minimalistic, professional and stylish at the same time. The metal headband and the quality of the assembly promise to give maximum durability – everything is assembled and fitted perfectly, without backlash and creaks. The bowls are located on separate legs, the ear pads are not removable and are made of a pleasant-to-the-touch material similar to dense velor.
The only structural problem is the cable that goes from the headphones to the headband, because it is not protected by anything, and therefore quite vulnerable. So, in general, the new feel and look very good. The position of the headband is fixed by two rotary locks, which is very convenient and it is surprising that this method is rarely used by other manufacturers.
But the appearance of the RØDE NTH100 is not what sticks in this model. Even before turning on the new monitors, the user will be able to understand that more than one month and more than one specialist worked on their design. The headphones sit like a glove, no matter how you turn your head; it is enough to correctly set the length of the headband and that’s all, the monitors will not go anywhere from your head with literally any actions, except for deliberate attempts to throw the headphones down, of course. Moreover, they provide a fairly high level of passive isolation (the manufacturer promises up to -20 dB) and do not put pressure on the head, which seems impossible with such a tight fit. But the monitors are comfortable even after 5 hours of continuous work in them and beat even the famous Beyerdynamic DT770 in terms of ease of fitting.
By the way, it is possible to connect the cable to both bowls, but it was not possible to find out whether it is possible to connect two pairs in series without a significant deterioration in quality due to a specific connector, and it is unlikely that a person working with sound will have such a desire.
We will immediately emphasize a rather obvious, but in practice needing clarification, thing: headphones need serious amplification and will not work correctly with a smartphone. You need at least a compact amplifier like iBasso DC06 or FiiO BTR5 , if you really want to use wireless. But it is better to connect the monitors to something more or less serious, like iFi xDSD Gryphon or CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2 or Audioquest Dragonfly DAC Red , with which the main testing took place. These are recommendations for testing by audiophiles and ordinary users who wanted to try the new product.
Paired with professional equipment and audio interfaces the headphones should be revealed even more, because when listening through a rather high-class interface, namely the RME Babyface PRO FS , they gave their best and sounded like monitors – even and informative, without distortions and coloration of the sound. So thanks to versatility, sound flexibility and relative unpretentiousness, the model gets additional points.
In general, RØDE NTH100 can be characterized as a fairly smooth and melodic model – it is pleasant to use them not only for working with sound, but also simply for listening to music. Moreover, depending on the sound source, their character will change slightly, which is not quite typical for the monitor segment. I think the manufacturer did not want to scare off potential buyers with a too dry sound, but in the end, RØDE produced quite universal headphones, which, depending on the source, can provide both an even monitor sound and create a rather melodic presentation, in the case of use with “audiophile” GOAT.
Large and legible stage, excellent bass delivery, detailed midrange and pleasant and informative upper frequencies. The brightness and melodiousness of the presentation depends on the source, as already mentioned above, so if it seems to you that the headphones are not too equal – just try to connect them to a more monitor DAC and you will see how much their character changes.
In my opinion, these headphones are one of the best monitors in recent times, especially considering their price segment. Of course, there are sound recording classics such as Beyerdynamic DT770 or Sony MDR-7506 , but if you are a fan of these models, I strongly recommend listening to RØDE NTH100, because now the mastodons of the market may well have a competitor.
An extremely successful model with a pleasant sound, cool assembly and almost flawless ergonomics. Recommended for listening to professionals and those looking for full-size headphones.