The best way to improve your sound is to have the right microphone. Specifically, the right condenser microphone. Whether you’re recording a choir or needing the best overhead drum mics, you might have narrowed your options down to two strong contenders —the Rode M5 and the NT5. Both of these microphones are made to create rich and clear recordings. When it comes down to a Rode M5 vs NT5 showdown, which one you choose really depends on what you’re looking for and the sound you want.
Taking a look at the Rode M5 mics, you’ll notice that they’re thin—which is why it’s called pencil mics. Don’t let the small size of these M5 mics fool you though: these little mics are made to record voices just as well as they’ll record all types of instruments, and can withstand a pressure of 140 decibels. This means that you can use M5 for recorded and for live performances.
The M5 microphones are made to sound over the entire frequency spectrum, giving you a little bit of emphasis on the treble. This means that the sound should be nice and clean.
When you pick up the Rode M5 microphones, here’s what you can expect:
- An externally polarized single-diaphragm condenser
- ½ size capsule
- Frequency response of 20Hz and 20kHz
- Dynamic range of 128dB
- Signal/noise ration of 78dB
How Do They Work?
The Rode M5 mics work using a directional pickup pattern, meaning that they are able to pick up sound in a frequency range of 20Hz and 20kHz. They won’t pick up self noise and ambient noise around the sides and the back, and if you use the wind shields, they also won’t pick up wind because it would lower self noise. That being said, you do need those wind shields since they don’t have a low-cut filter.
These are also quiet microphones, so when you’ve got them working, you won’t hear any buzzing or humming. Just plug them in with longer cables to get both low and high frequencies.
Why You Should Buy
Ultimately, there are a lot of reasons why the M5 microphones stand out, but what it comes down to is the sound. The sound to the M5 is crisp, clean, and natural. You won’t notice any interference in your sound, and you’ll have the ability to produce a flat frequency response across both high and low frequencies.
Of course, it also helps that the M5 mic has a good tonal balance and clarity, along with some rugged mic clips to help you with setup.
Before you pick the M5, you’ll want to be aware of the fact that they are just a little bit edgy for drums at high frequencies. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad, but you may notice some sibilance with these. We also found that they tend to scratch easily, although with the case included, this may not be something that bothers you.
Another thin design from Rode, the NT5 is both powerful and durable. Unlike the Rode M5 microphones, the Rode NT5 mics are made to be just a little bit more durable, if only because they have nickel plating. NT5 also include a gold-sputtered capsule, which is ultimately meant to provide you with a better conduction of sound overall. Having the same frequency response as the M5 mics, these are a solid set of microphones.
When you pick up the Rode NT5 microphones, these are the specifications to expect:
- Condenser microphone type with stereo
- A frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz
- An output impedance of 200 Ohms
- Signal to noise ratio of 75dB
How Do They Work?
The Rode NT5 mics work using a small diaphragm condenser mic inside small half-inch capsules. With the gold-sputtered capsules of NT5, you’ll have a good level of conduct, but you’ll also have a similar sound pickup as the M5s. This means that you have a pickup pattern that’s directed toward the front, so they won’t pick up ambient noise to the rear or sides and lower self noise. In these microphones though, you can exchange the capsule to be an omnidirectional capsule if you want it to pick up more sound.
You can record higher frequencies with these mics, and they’re able to withstand a higher sound pressure than the M5s as 143dB without any kind of distortion. This is one of the reasons why these are so great for percussion instruments.
Why You Should Buy
Ultimately, when we’re talking about the sound, it helps that the Rode NT5 mics have a smooth sound along with a smooth and clear frequency response. This makes them a very versatile set of microphones, not to mention that they’re durable as well.
They can also pick up a little bit better on percussion instruments thanks to their ability to withstand higher sound pressure.
You do need to be careful when you’re carrying these around, even if they are more durable in general. This is because the grill extends past the edge of the body—it’s easy to ding it if you’re not careful.
You may also notice that these mics can be sibilant at times as well, and that they’re a little difficult to put into the mount when you’re setting them up.
Which One is Better for Traveling?
You may be moving around with your microphone to get performances recorded, so which mic would be the best option?
Well, it’s true that the Rode M5 is indeed lighter by around 20 grams, so it’s not really significantly lighter. But if you’re lugging it around, you might just notice a difference. It’s also a little bit smaller, which means better portability.
That being said, it’s also true that the Rode NT5 is a more durable option. It’s made to be a little sturdier, so you may feel more comfortable carrying it around with you.
Both of these mics are fairly similar, and can both be used for the same types of recording. Use either one in a recording or on a stage and you can be sure you’ll get a good sound.
That being said, you may not notice a huge difference in the sound quality, and may therefore want to choose the M5 for its less expensive price. You may also prefer the NT5 because they’re easier to carry around though, and work better with louder instruments. It really depends on which microphone you feel will work better for you.