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Thread: C3 TB-1 NTK NT1 comparison

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    C3 TB-1 NTK NT1 comparison

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    On the weekend I borrowed a C3 and TB-1 since I am looking to upgrade from my 2 NT1's. In terms of value these mics are hard to beat and without a doubt the C3 TB-1 and NTK all give a "warmer" chestier sound than my NT1's which by comparison sound pritty thin and silibant.

    I was most interested to hear the comparison between the TB-1 and NTK since the TB-1 is now the cheapest new valve mic available that I know of. Alas I found myself heavily favouring the NTK. The TB-1 sounded flat somehow and considering the great sound I got from the C3 I fail to see why you would pay the extra.

    I had heard a lot of hype about the C1 so I was expecting a lot from the C3. Indeed I wasn't disappointed, it's a fine sounding mic with a pleasing kind of scooped phasy sound.. silibance was controlled and fairly sweet much like the NTK ... however in a close contest I found the NTK was just that bit smoother with a more open top end .... a classy more sophisticated sound in my opinion.

    I've always had problems with silibance with my NT1's. I use a Focusrite Voicemaster with a de-esser to try and tame it but by the time the silibance is truly tamed the sound is dramatically altered. With these other mics it's not so much a problem because they are less silibant and the higher frequencies have a sweeter, less harsh sound anyway.

    Interestingly when I tried the de-esser on the NTK I only needed a touch to completely tame my esses - sweet.

    Off to buy an NTK

    My 2 cents

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    Possibly a fairer comparison would have been to use the Studio Projects T3 rather than the TB-1.......they are two totally different beasts.


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    Agreed .... however the T-3 is really out of my price range.... and I know from bitter experience that borrowing good gear you can't afford is fatal.... I don't want to send my family into debt just yet ;-) ... unless of course it's possible to buy a T3 for under $A1000 ?

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    Dres,

    Thank you for the comparative report. I'm glad to hear that the Rode NTK won out in your informal test over the TB-1, as both Rode and Studio Projects deserve to succeed for bringing in great mics at home-recording prices. In the US, the TB-1 is being offered for $299, the C-3 for $349, and the NTK goes for about $450 to $500.

    With the introduction of the TB-1, the Studio Projects T-3 is now available for about $630 (and perhaps less -- I only checked one reliable vendor just now). To my ears, the T-3 competes with the $1200 Audio Technica 4060 and other great mics in that class. The NTK is certainly a giant-killer from what I've heard; I just wonder how it would perform head-to-head with the T-3.

    It is discouraging to those of us in the States that our friends in Australia seem to take such a beating on prices for most of the pro audio gear we discuss. Is shipping from the US prohibitively expensive? (DHL? Regular mail?) Do you have to pay VAT or special taxes on top of list on imports? And -- if you don't mind my asking -- are salaries in Australia comparable to the US? (By that I mean, if you and I have comparable jobs and I make USD$20,000 a year, would you make about AUS$35,000 a year?) Do you get a special break on Rode products because they're an Australian company? Ausrock, you may want to answer these general economics questions for me.

    Dres, thanks again for the report. If you get a chance to borrow a T-3 from your dealer to compare with your new NTK, I'd be very interested in hearing your opinions.

    Best wishes,

    Mark H.

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    Mark,

    To answer you in no particular order, and without getting involved in a discourse on economics (which I am definitely not qualified to do ), ........pricing structures here are, from the top...

    Recommended Retail Price (RRP).......possibly the equivalent of the US "List Price" e.g. An NTK=$1495 A C1=$649

    Buy Price (The unofficial price a retailer will actually sell for........this is up to the retailer and dependant on what "deals" they get from their wholesale supplier, but usually up to 20% off the RRP, occasionally 25%) e.g. An NTK=$849 A C1=$599

    Cost Price (What the retailer pays for their stock)

    Pricing structures closer to the source are rarely available to the public.

    The above examples are factual, although I think the "heavy" discounting on the NTK may be in response to the increasing pressure from cheaper, good quality imports.



    Salaries?.............Well I can't be positive, but I think if you take the $ Exchange Rate into account, which at the moment is $1.00US = $0.56Aust, then on average things would almost balance out.



    OK, as far as imported goods are concerned, there are Import Duties, Taxes, Shipping costs and anything else the Government of the day can slap on. Then there is a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% which is paid EACH time the item is sold on.



    Re RODE...............No, there is no special Aust., pricing. I would say you guys in the US are marginally better off than we are. The reason is explained below, in a letter RODE's CEO wrote to a local magazine. Again it comes down to how the Government apply their taxes...............

    An excerpt from the RODE letter;

    “ Firstly, you must remember we pay duty on all imprted components used in Rode mics. Given our mics use components ENTIRELY SOURCED FROM OVERSEAS, we pay quite a bit of duty. Add to that you have the 10% GST which is included in the Australian list price.

    As far as the US prices go: we ship containers to our warehouse in the US. The freight costs per mic are a few cents, so that does not impact—you can fit a lot of mics in a 20ft box! But, we don’t have to pay the Australian import duty on parts we use for exports! We also pay no GST! Furthermore, the prices we published in the US were an introductory special—the list for the NTK will soon be US$995! “

    Peter Freedman, CEO of Rode Microphones.



    I hope that kind of answers your questions.

    Regards,

    ChrisO

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    Mark H.
    just to add to ausrock's comments...

    I'm not really up with the latest but I believe tax rates are quite different between Oz and US. You guys have lower personal income tax rates and poorer social security. UK is on the other end of the scale with high tax and massive social security. Australia is somewhere in the middle. So at the end of the day we have slightly less cash to spend on toys relative to the US.

    I'd also be quite keen to try a T-3 NTK comparison.... but I'm afraid I'll fall in love with a more expensive mic... I need to get on with making music at some stage !! I wouldn't imagine there'd be a huge difference. I get the impression these mikes are at the edge of "diminishing returns" anyway. But if you get the chance let me know.

    I dare say the whole mic market is gonna keep changing quite rapidly in the next year before the price/value/volume production norms are established. 12 months from now I'm sure there will be a stack more great value mics to try. So a little patience might pay off.

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    FYI: bpmmusic.com has the best price i've found so far on a Rode NTK and for the shockmount

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    I recently had a business trip to Sydney and I planned to buy my Rode NT3 when I got there, assuming it would be cheaper than the US price of $400. But when I got to Sydney, I was amazed to find that the price was about $470 or something like that. I continued onto Japan after Sydney and went into a music store there, saw the NT3 for sale at $270 and promptly bought one! Amazing what duty and taxes add to the price. FYI, I bought a new Neumann U87 whilst in Germany for $1200, compared to thie list price of $2400 in the US.

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    I got a quote this week on the NTK at bpmmusic.... $409 WITH FREE GROUND SHIPPING!!!!!! Amazingly cheap price. I should get another.


    Bowisc

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    Wow! $409.00 is a GREAT price for an NTK!

    I'm tempted to buy a second one, too... I LOVE my NTK!!!

    I have no idea what the T-3 sounds like (apparently nobody else does, either) but for what it's worth, I haven't seen ONE negative review about the NTK.... not one.

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