If you are looking for a decent and reliable condenser microphone that does not break the bank, both AKG and Rode would like to offer you their popular condenser models, AKG C214 and Rode NT1A. These are affordable condenser mic models that are very famous on the market, loved by many because of their superior performance. While AKG C214 is modeled after the top-class AKG C414 XLII, Rode NT1A is a special release that marks the anniversary of the company. How do the two compare to each other? Which one should you get?
Rode NT1A is cylindrical in shape. Compared to AKG C214, it is certainly slimmer, but also taller and slightly heavier. Nevertheless, it can be held comfortably in one hand, or mounted properly on a stand. It is off-white and silverish in color. On the other hand, AKG C214 is quite identical to AKG C414 in appearance. The frame is black while the grille is light brown, almost golden. AKG C214 is rather bulky to the sides, but also slightly lighter than Rode NT1A.
Both models are condenser microphones. Rode NT1A is a true condenser mic, externally biased, featuring a large 1” capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it captures sounds the best from the front while attenuating sounds coming from the rear. Meanwhile, AKG C214 features an extremely rugged and durable construction of all-metal die-cast with shock and scratch-resistant finish. AKG C214 features an integrated suspension that reduces mechanical noise and vibration. AKG C214 is also cardioid.
|AKG C214||Rode NT1A|
|- Audio Frequency bandwidth 20 to 20000 Hz||- Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20kHz|
|-Sensitivity 20 mV/Pa||- Sensitivity: -31.9dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (25.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB|
|- Signal to Noise 81 dB-A||- Self noise of only 5dB (A)|
|- Polar Pattern cardioid||- Cardioid polar pattern|
|- Electrical Impedance 200 Ohms||- Output Impedance: 100Ω|
|- Voltage 9 to 52 V||- Maximum SPL: 137dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)|
|- Current 2 mA||- Maximum Output Level: 13.7mV|
|- Preattunation Pad -20 dB||- Capsule: 1.00"|
One cool thing about Rode NT1A is that it boasts an extremely ultra-low self-noise level, which is barely 5 dB (A). As the effect, it is an extremely quiet mic. It can capture any vocal with superb cleanliness. AKG C214’s equivalent self-noise is actually quite low, only 13 dB-A, which is also certainly sufficient to deliver such a clear high-quality recording, but Rode NT1A is better in this aspect.
As a special product, there is no surprise that the company has decided to include Rode NT1A along with a list of accessories. The bundle includes the Rode SM6 shock mount, a pop filter, and a dust cover.
On the other hand, AKG C214 offers a flexible and versatile usage by featuring a switchable attenuator and bass-cut filter. The attenuator is able to lower the incoming signal levels by 20dB, effectively increasing the maximum input level tolerance of the mic. Meanwhile, the bass-cut filter can attenuate sounds lower than 160 Hz, reducing low-frequency noise such as breath and wind sounds and mechanical vibrations.
Both models have a frequency response range of 20 Hz – 20 kHz, which means that they can basically capture similar frequencies. Both are praised for the excellent audio reproduction quality, providing a degree of warmth and brightness, as well as delivering very good clarity. However, Rode NT1A comes with a lower impedance and higher sensitivity, making it able to capture subtle details somewhat more easily. Anyway, would prefer between Rode NT1A Vs NT2A?
AKG C214 Vs Rode NT1A
All in all, AKG C214 makes a great way to go, especially if you can benefit from the pre-attenuation pad and bass-cut filter. It is also very rugged and durable. However, if you think you don’t need the two special features, you can pick Rode NT1A instead.