The M Audio Nova is a modern version of the Rode classic NT1. This mic is very cheap to buy, but honestly it sounds way better than it should for this price. Value is definitely the defining characteristic on this mic. It's a large diaphragm condenser, so you will need to hook it up with phantom power. The pickup pattern is cardioid, with a medium or average sized width to the pickup pocket. Unfortunately the pattern isn't switchable, so you won't be able to use these as omni room mics or figure 8's. There also is no bass roll off switch, so make sure you enable that on your preamp or make a high pass filter in your DAW later on. There is also no pad switch, but one of the great things about this mic is its insanely high SPL tolerance for such a cheap mic. You could blast a huge Marshall stack into this and it wouldn't distort. That basically gets rid of the need for a pad switch. It has a pretty thick mesh built-in pop guard around the capsule, but you will likely still need another pop filter in front of this to avoid plosive problems.
Overall, this mic sounds very good. At this price point I am very hard pressed to think of a better mic for recording vocals. It sounds very detailed and smooth, and most other mics for this price tend to get very harsh on sources with a decent amount of high frequency content like the human singing voice. It's no Neumann or anything, but it is definitely a quality mic and a superb investment for the recording beginner looking to upgrade their main vocal mic. It's a fantastic value and I would recommend it for beginners as a main large diaphragm mic, or to pros as a good choice to have available for the right source.
When I purchase the NT1-A I purchased the bundle and not just the microphone alone. It came with a shock mount, a pop filter, a 20 inch XLR cable and an instructional DVD. The DVD turned out to be worthless though because I am not a beginner, but all of the other things that came with this bundle were a huge plus because the price was not much more the microphone by itself was.
The NT1-A has a wide dynamic range and a cardioids directional pattern. It does require phantom power and at the time I was using an M-Box with phantom power so I didn’t have any issues. It has really low noise and gave me just the type of recordings I was trying to get when using Cubase. I also use Waves plug-ins on my vocals so that just added to the presence of what this microphone could already do for vocals.
I recommend getting a pop filter and shock mount for this microphone (in my case it came with it because I purchased the bundle). You will get a lot of warmth and clear recordings with this microphone but you may have to open up your EQ with the vocal track and boost some of the high end frequencies to get the vocals to cut through the mix properly because the NT1-A tends to be more of a low and mid frequency type of microphone no matter what kind of voice you have. But just boost some of the higher frequencies and it will sound really clean. This microphone is not only affordable but ready to give you some of the best recordings you will ever have from home. It is for not only beginners but for any one who wants to record at home. Rode has been around for a long time and I have been using their microphones since the late 90’s. They have never let me down!
I produce and record alot of local artist and let me say that this mic sounds beautiful and very crisp. I have to do very little when it comes to cleaning up the vocals with this mic. The only problem that I have found with this mic is that if you have a bass type voice it doesn't record that well. That's fixable with the right equipment though. I highly recommend this mic to anybody starting off in recording whether it's home studio products or professional recording!
The mic is a great value. Other mics that come close to it, like AKG or M-Audio are at least double the price. If you can afford it, this is a great bargain. This is great looking mic, and works great. Like I said above, this takes the home studio one step closer to being a pro-studio. After all, this is a pro mic.
The Rode NT1-A is a cardioid-pattern, large-diaphragm condenser mic. It is probably the quietest mic you can buy for a measly 350 dollars. It boast an impressive signal input noise of just 5 DB, better than many professional quality condenser mics. For those who don't know what that means, it's super quiet. I love this mic, it is my baby. I use it for almost all of my vocals, acoustic guitars, most strings, drum overheads, and even a small chorus. It is not really useful in live sound situations, given the fact that condensers are fragile, and don't hold up as well to being blown into or screamed at. The sound quality is pristine, though the microphone is lacking both a pad and a roll-off switch, however it sounds fine with out. Don't use this if you play death metal or are going to mic a singer who sings REALLY loud as just blowing into most condenser mics is enough to pop the Diaphragm and break them. The output is pretty loud, and it runs on phantom power. This mic is an AWESOME deal, and worth every cent.
My favorite thing about the NT1-A is how incredibly quiet it is. It's amazing and captures sounds with pristine quality. The diaphragm is really high quality, and all the circuitry is professional. As far as condenser mics go, this one is pretty durable, and useful in lots of different situations. Lacking a roll-off and pad is kind of annoying sometimes, especially when recording say electric guitars. Some male vocals will need some careful eq'ing due to a sharper high end on them, but overall this mic is great! I use this mic all the time, and I've recorded so many songs with it. I have no regrets about buying this mic, and it is a GREAT first condenser mic. Love the design to, very attractive piece of gear.