Inflation and the frenetic state of global trade are making everyone more mindful of their finances than ever. As the prices of virtually everything are rising, it is becoming increasingly important for consumers to check every purchase and ensure they are getting the best value for their money.
While many companies are citing supply chain issues as the reason for astronomical price hikes, it’s refreshing to see longtime audio maker RØDE’s approach. Not only did it release its first-ever over-ear headphones, but they also did the unthinkable: made them almost frighteningly affordable.
Of course, RØDE is far from a newcomer to the consumer electronics wars, having been making premium, consumer-grade microphone models for over 50 years. However, as podcasting, DIY home music production and live streaming continue to grow in popularity, RØDE has made every effort to own the home audio creation experience from start to finish.
Its new headphones, the NTH-100s, are exactly what you’d expect from a heritage brand leaping into space for the first time. This includes a firm commitment to overall sound quality and user comfort, while manufacturing these professional-grade headphones at a price hundreds lower than other studio monitor-quality models.
In addition, the reviews are outstanding. One Amazon customer wrote: “As a 20-year-old radio pro with more than a passing knowledge of headphones, I was blown away by the NTH-100 straight out of the box. If there was a recognized “feel test” for headphones, the NTH-100 passed it, a solid, weighty presence that doesn’t feel limp and plasticky.”
Luckily, the NTH-100 features the forward-thinking flourishes that result from Røde’s years of experience. For example, ports in both the left and right ear cups allow listeners to plug in their headphones on either side, making it easier to listen and move around without tangling.
But of course, the sound itself is where serious headphones really come into their own. The closed design helps isolate the sound. And the acoustic design of the NTH-100’s 40mm dynamic drivers allows these headphones to better isolate and reproduce frequencies throughout the sound spectrum, and balance them naturally. So the NTH-100 are not a mix that buries a listener in bass, but like finely tuned studio monitors that reproduce low, mid and high frequencies with equal, even precision.
While many modern models rely on exaggerated bass to give the illusion of power, these allow both content creators and discerning listeners to really get in and identify specific elements of a recording. This level of clarity and nuance often goes unnoticed by a mass audience, but audiophiles can hear – and appreciate – the difference here.
You’ll also appreciate the difference between headphones designed for comfort. The headband and earcups are covered in ultra-soft Alcantara fabric, the same suede-like fabric used in high-end luxury cars. Meanwhile, the cups are made from shaping memory foam, along with RØDE’s proprietary CoolTech gel material that cools your ears while you create.
The impressive sound and emphasis on comfort collides with a price point that definitely doesn’t match most studio monitor quality headphones. Unlike similar models that retail for $300-$500 (or more!), the RØDE NTH-100 are available for $149. At this crossroads of quality, convenience and price, RØDE has already carved an exciting place in the future of the crowded headphone market.
Prices subject to change.