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New Rode NTH-100 headphones.

MayaTlab

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The gel layer is a bit firm so seal might be harder to obtain when wearing glasses.
Again, no issue in studio usage for the intended purpose but maybe an issue for glasses wearing sub-bass fans.

On that note, I wear glasses with somewhat thin, but not the thinnest arms.
For me at least, the Røde's FR with in ear mics is more repeatable and stable when moving about than anything passive and closed I've ever tried from Harman.
The yoke's axis geometry is a bit unusual but works well enough to provide enough range of motion to align the cups properly against my head and my ears fit somewhat well within the cups (but I don't have gigantic ones).
 

solderdude

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seal-loss.png

As can be seen thin armed glasses resting against the skin hardly affect seal in an obvious audible way. (40Hz still around 0dB)
The good news is that when the seal is broken the sound does not become wonky nor honky but retains the same character, only subbass suffers.

The issue with passive Harman compliant headphones is the artificial boost that is needed which is immediately sacrificed when seal is broken.
The Rode doesn't and does not comply to Harman. Nor does it have to given its intended usage.
What is interesting to observe is that the dip at 8kHz seems to be less when seal is slightly broken.
This is why I would suggest to only EQ that up about 5dB max (narrow BW).
 
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MayaTlab

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I've also seen a similar pattern when breaching seal. But for me, these couple well enough in most cases that they seal well enough to get a stable response, that doesn't improve in the bass when increasing pad compression (quite similar effect with in-ear mics as on your fixture in that regard BTW).

The K371 have plush and soft pads but also doesn't have enough range of motion to properly align the cups against my head. It's quite inconsistent as a result.
 

solderdude

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Pad compression:

pad-compression.png


It just makes the tilt darker. The light red line is extreme pad compression (the foam would have to be disintegrated) and slightly shifts the 8kHz dip.
 

Videoteque73

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I love Rode as a company, they started making microphones. I am sure the build quality and value are there, as they are in all Rode products. Unfortunately I was hoping for a more hifi friendly frequency response. Will keep searching!
 

Tim D

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Interesting stuff. As pointed out, breaching the pad seal with spectacles makes little material difference. I did make sure that they were sealed, which was easy enough. Despite the pads' apparent stiffness they conform to my head very well.

I'm sure they will wear in nicely, but the pads are so transparent in the first place, it's hard to imagine this being a factor.

I auditioned them specifically for mixing and tweaking quite simple field recordings. I don't have a dedicated studio, but I have a good set up which is occasionally subjected to normal household ambient noise. And that's the thing. In the same package, I received my Austrian Audio Hi-X60s - which provided an unavoidable comparison. I also own Hi-X65s, and the NTH-100s transmit almost as much ambience as the Hi-X65s, which are - of course - unashamedly open-back. FWIW, off-topic, Hi-X60s have VERY good isolation.

In trying to figure these things out and decide whether to keep them (and wait for aftermarket pads) or just return them, I've been back and forth over the usual reviews and Rode's own materials.
 

tikky

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There is a huge hype going on for these headphones. I hope to see Amir's review before I even pull the trigger.
 

Hamster

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@solderdude do you mind comparing AKG K371 vs NTH-100 (maybe also Shure 840A)? Since they are of the same price and are intended for studio usage. I am in the market searching for a closed back studio cans for amatuer YouTube production usage that can also be a part-time music enjoyment pair of cans. Appreciate your insightful inputs.
 

solderdude

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rode-compare.gif



The SRH840 and K371 are both in here. Not the 840A version which seems to be a slightly bassier 840.

The SRH840 has significantly more treble and 'air' and can be a bit 'boomy/fat' where as the NTH-100 is more 'full bodied'.
02 green = NTH-100, pink = SRH840.png


The K371 is more 'neutral' in the mids with more bass extension (thumps) but lacks some 'bite' in the clarity area (4kHz) dip.
Treble quantity is about similar but because of the relative emphasis of the NTH100 (+4dB) around 400Hz the K371 sounds a bit brighter/sharper.
Treble quality and 'air' of the K371 is maybe a small bit better.
09 green = NTH-100, brown = K371.png
 

MayaTlab

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I am sure the build quality [...] are there

Mmmm... I'm on my second sample so far. The first one had an asymmetrical headband (I presume that it's because of the folded metal yoke piece, even a few degrees or so off on this sort of piece can throw off the geometry) and the channel matching of the so-called "custom-matched drivers" wasn't anything to write home about, even when using the rubber stop in the unused jack, and resistant to pad-swapping. The second sample's headband is better shaped, but the channel matching even worse.

Besides channel matching, each respective channels were quite different on the two samples, and an EQ profile suited for one of the samples wouldn't work for me on the other one.

I mean, it isn't that much worse than the cr*p I've seen with Harman headphones such as the K371, but while for the latter I don't really care given how unstable the FR is anyway when wearing it, making it unEQable and not suited to fine tuned EQ and critical listening, the NTH-100 on the other hand is, for me, a much more stable platform worth EQing.
 

solderdude

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Besides channel matching, each respective channels were quite different on the two samples

Makes sense as there are always going to be tolerances in electro-mechanical components.
Rode solves this by (hand ?) matching drivers. They just look for 2 drivers with very similar response and put them in a headphone.
Sennheiser (at least in the past, did the same with HD650) and expect more expensive models from other brands also use this trick.
Of course there are limits and thus tolerances have to be allowed otherwise too much drivers (outliers) may end up in the bin which is expensive.
In cheaper models those tolerances can be much wider as to not throw away too many drivers.

I have measured a few few HD681 and T50RP(mk II) drivers in the past. These can have substantial differences between L and R.
 

freddi

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Do the measured compression effects from ~30 to 150Hz affect the sound in any noticeable way ? (the low end looks flatter at higher spl) I wish my ESS 422H had that 1.7 watt handling as forgot to turn the amplifier down from listening to T50RP - both AMT appear dead.
 

solderdude

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The problem with compression is not the change in frequency response. This is just a side effect, the tell tale signs as it were.
The real problem is that distortion increased and not only at low frequencies but also higher frequencies are affected as soon as larger excursions (from low frequencies) are present. This effect is not shown in distortion measurements because the sweep used only 'looks' at a single frequency where as in lots of different frequencies are present in varying amplitudes.
A higher frequency (in music) is superposed on low frequencies. When 'soft clipping' occurs (which compression here really is) the amplitude of the higher frequencies is (asymmetrically) modulated in amplitude giving side bands at higher frequencies in the of the low frequencies.
Fortunately they aren't very high in amplitude and the side-bands (distortion) are very close to the higher frequencies so may be masked.
In any case compression at low frequencies also affects other frequencies.

In the sales pitch Rode stated very low distortion (< 1% at 1kHz @ 1.7W) This means distortion was measured at 130dB SPL.
That may well be true (can't confirm anyway) but at 100Hz distortion is already > 1% at 84dB SPL and above 3% at 94dB SPL (peak) which is not a loud at these frequencies.

Of course, for its intended goal which is spoken word and being used on instruments, this doesn't really matter as they usually don't have these low frequencies. For bass yes but when playing bass only (at loud levels) you just hear a bit more harmonics which isn't a problem.

The NTH-100 is more a tool for content creation than a sturdy and nice looking audiophile headphone. Of course it can be connected to that gear and won't sound bad at all. Just less suited for that job.
I fully understand people to want this to be the ideal closed audiophile headphone. Its why I bought it and returned it. Some may well like the sound signature or EQ it to get it closer. It's really well made.
 
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Hamster

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From Joshua Valour: He mentions "veiled treble". Do you all agree?
 
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solderdude

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We can all want this to be the ideal cheap closed hifi headphone but it isn't.
It can get closer with EQ.

These headphones are not intended for hifi sound reproduction nor mastering of music recordings.
These are pro tools for content creators and videos and it has the right tonal balance to obtain clear and not boomy voices on monitors when mixed on these cans.
Lightly rolled of treble is fine and maybe even preferred during production (not music production)
 

tikky

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We can all want this to be the ideal cheap closed hifi headphone but it isn't.
It can get closer with EQ.

These headphones are not intended for hifi sound reproduction nor mastering of music recordings.
These are pro tools for content creators and videos and it has the right tonal balance to obtain clear and not boomy voices on monitors when mixed on these cans.
Lightly rolled of treble is fine and maybe even preferred during production (not music production)
What would be the ultimate headphones for an accurate representation of mixing and mastering audio for you then? Like we mix on headphones and we get a perfect result representation on studio monitors.
 
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