While RØDE is well-known for its microphones and audio equipment, the Australian company released the RØDE NTH-100, its first pair of headphones, in spring 2022. These closed-back over-ears are designed for professional use, like mixing and monitoring audio. They also fall close in price to other similarly designed headphones like the AKG K371 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. The manufacturer advertises that their custom-matched dynamic drivers create an accurate sound with low distortion, but do they live up to the hype?
The RØDE NTH-100 are satisfactory for neutral sound. They have a warm, round overall sound profile that delivers a bit of extra boom to mixes. Vocals and instruments sound mellow but a bit muddy, while sibilants like cymbals are veiled. Unfortunately, our model's left and right drivers are mismatched, and it's audible with real-life content. The right driver particularly lacks more low-bass than the left driver. The headphones also have difficulty creating an out-of-head and spacious passive soundstage, although it's partially due to their closed-back design.
The RØDE NTH-100 are poor for commute and travel. While they're well-built and comfortable, they have a bulky design that can't fold into a more compact form, and their soft carrying pouch won't protect them from impact or water damage. Their wired design can also pose a snagging hazard. Since the cable's connector locks into the ear cup's port, if it gets caught on something, the headphones can be pulled off of your head. The headphones also can't passively block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines.
The RØDE NTH-100 are disappointing for sports and fitness. They're not designed for this purpose as they can fall off your head with moderate movement. While their audio cable is detachable, it locks into place, so the headphones can be pulled off of your head if the cable snags something.
The RØDE NTH-100 are disappointing for office use. Unfortunately, they struggle to block out ambient chatter, and they lack a microphone, so you can't answer or take calls with them. They also leak a bit of audio at high volumes, which may bother others around you. On the upside, they have a comfortable and well-built fit, so you won't feel fatigued if you're wearing them for long periods.
The RØDE NTH-100 are wired headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.
The RØDE NTH-100 are mediocre for wired gaming. If you don't need mic support or if you have an external mic, their warm sound profile can help bring out sound effects such as footsteps while you game. They also have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming marathons. However, they are prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery due to fit, seal, and position, so it's important to take the time to adjust them to your head to ensure a more consistent sound.
The RØDE NTH-100 are audiophile headphones that don't have a microphone.
The RØDE NTH-100 come in one color variation: 'Black', and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
The RØDE NTH-100 are professional headphones designed with mixing and monitoring in mind. They're often compared to the AKG K371 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x as they also occupy the low-to-mid end price point and are closed-back over-ears. Unfortunately, they don't sound as neutral as their competitors, and they're also prone to more distortion at high volumes. That said, the RØDE have good build quality, thanks to their mixed plastic and metal materials, and a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions.
Check out our recommendations for the best studio headphones for mixing and recording, the best podcast headphones, and the best headphones for music.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are better over-ears for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. The Beyerdynamic are better-built, deliver audio more consistently across different re-seats, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their passive soundstage is more immersive. They also block out more ambient noise passively. However, the RØDE have a detachable audio cable.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. The Audio-Technica are better-built, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and deliver audio more consistently across different reseats. They also leak less audio at high volumes and can block out a bit more ambient noise.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. The Beyerdynamic are open-back headphones, so they can create a more immersive audio experience as sound can leave the ear cups and interact with the environment around you. They also have a flatter, more accurate sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their build quality is higher. However, you may still want to consider the RØDE if you're looking for closed-back professional headphones. They're able to block out a bit more ambient noise than the Beyerdynamic, although it may not be enough if you're in a very noisy environment, and they leak less audio at high volumes. They also have a detachable audio cable.
The Sennheiser HD 6XX are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. While both headphones are well-built, the Sennheiser are open-back headphones with a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a more immersive passive soundstage performance. They also have more consistent audio delivery. However, the RØDE are closed-back headphones. By design, they can block out a bit more ambient noise, and they leak less audio. They also have a more comfortable fit.
The AKG K371 are better over-ears for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. While both headphones feel comfortable, the AKG's sound profile is a lot flatter, accurate, and neutral, which some users may prefer. They also block out a bit more background noise and leak less audio at high volumes. However, the RØDE are better-built.
The Sony MDR-7506 are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100. The Sony headphones have better frequency response consistency, a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and they leak less audio at high volumes. However, the RØDE are more comfortable and better-built.
The RØDE NTH-100 are sleek headphones. The ear cups have a black satin finish with a large, glossy printed 'Ø' on each ear cup. The headphones come with colorful ID rings so that you differentiate or decorate your audio cables. You can also purchase additional cables in black, pink, green, orange, or blue. However, the headphones themselves only come in this black colorway.
The RØDE NTH-100 are comfortable headphones. The ear cups have cooling padding to help keep your ears from getting too warm during long listening sessions and don't clamp too tightly on your head. There's also a lock on each side of the adjustable headband to maintain your settings. However, the headphones can feel a little heavy on your head over time. If you have a big head or large ears, your ears may also touch the sides of the cups.
The RØDE NTH-100 aren't very portable, though they aren't for use on the go. They don't fold into a more compact form, and the ear cups can't swivel to lay flat. They come with a soft carrying pouch to protect the headphones when you're not using them.
These over-ears come with a soft pouch. While it won't protect your headphones from impact or water damage, it helps prevent scratches and dust build-up when you're not using them. However, the drawstrings don't close fully, leaving a gap that can expose your headphones to the elements.
The RØDE NTH-100 have a good build quality. They're made out of a mix of plastic and metal, making them feel more durable than the AKG K371. Like the Meze Empyrean, they also have Alcantara padding, which is a patented synthetic microfiber textile that feels soft and plush on the skin. The ear cups have removable memory foam padding and you can connect the audio cable to either the left or right ear cup, depending on your preferences. There's also a rubber cover that's meant to protect the port not in use. The headband has a locking mechanism on each side so that you can maintain the same adjustment too. Unfortunately, you may force the locks if you forget to unlock them, and they could be prone to breakage as a result. The plastic part of the ear cups also feels a little cheap, and the glossy print is prone to scuffing over time.
With the audio cable connected to the left ear cup and the port cover in place on the right ear cup, the RØDE NTH-100 have an overall warm, round sound profile. They deliver a touch of extra boom to mixes while the rolled-off treble mellows vocals and lead instruments. While they lack low-bass for closed-back headphones, you may still find their amount of thump and rumble adequate for vocal-centric content. They don't sound as neutral as the AKG K371 or Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, though.
Unfortunately, there's some mismatch present between the left and right driver, and it's audible with real-life content. We tested the frequency response when using the audio cable attached to the left ear cup versus the right. The port cover was also used in the opposite ear cup. These passes are done on human ears, and they show that there's no audible difference when switching the cable between the left and right ear cup. However, this graph shows a discrepancy between drivers as the left driver reproduces more bass than the right. In addition, we tested the headphones using or removing the cover on the unused port on the left and right ear cup. We noticed slight changes in their audio reproduction, but the deviation isn't enough to adequately explain a mismatch in drivers occurring in the bass range.
Some users have also expressed concerns regarding the quality control as there has been a report of audio quality differing between units. One user noticed that, when taking off the ear cup padding and putting it back into place, the headphones are prone to deviations in audio delivery. It may suggest a rupture in the seal between the pads' retention mechanism and the housing, even if you manage to correctly connect all the locking pins. If you experience this issue, please let us know in the discussions.
These headphones have okay frequency response consistency. They're prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses, as this can break the ear cups' seal on your head. However, if you take the time to ensure a better fit and seal, you should achieve more consistent audio reproduction.
The RODE NTH-100's bass accuracy is good, although the left and right drivers are mismatched. As a result, the right driver lacks a lot more thump and rumble than the left. Conversely, the high-bass is overemphasized more prominently in the left driver, adding extra boom and warmth to mixes. Overall, songs with kick drums like Kavinsky's Nightcall feel a bit light on bass. This may not be a problem for other genres like podcasts or classical, though. If you're looking for audiophile-grade over-ears with a flatter bass response, check out the AKG K371 instead.
Note: These headphones are prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery. You may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses. The response here represents the average response.
The RØDE NTH-100's mid accuracy is great. While there's still some mismatch between the left and the right driver present across the range, it's less severe than what's present in the bass range. As a result, vocals and lead instruments are present and sound full in mixes, although they lack a touch of clarity. However, the overemphasis extending from the high-bass into the low-mid can muddy the fundamentals of vocals and instruments, like the dialogue sampled in The Avalanche's Frontier Psychiatry.
The RODE NTH-100 have great treble accuracy. The low-treble is fairly neutral, so the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments are detailed but not harsh. That said, a dip in the mid-treble dulls sibilants like cymbals.
The RØDE NTH-100 have mismatch between the left and the right driver, so some frequencies are affected more prominently in one driver than the other. The left driver is overemphasized in the low-bass, and mixes have extra thump and rumble compared to the right driver, which is lacking in this regard. The overemphasis continues in the left driver through to the mid-bass, adding more punch to your audio. The right driver has a peak in the low-mid, which muddies vocals and lead instruments. The left driver then dips in the mid to high-mid range, so vocals and lead instruments are nudged to the back of the mix and lack clarity. Both the left and right drivers have peaks in the low-treble, so the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments sound a little harsh. However, a dip in the mid-treble affects the left driver, dulling sibilants like S and T sounds.
The RØDE NTH-100's imaging performance is good. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase response, but a peak from the mid-bass to mid-mid is noticeable with regular content. Audio is louder in the right driver, leaning the audio to the right. There's also some mismatch presence in amplitude and frequency response, which can create holes and imbalance in the stereo image. Imaging can vary between units, though, and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.
The RODE NTH-100 have a disappointing passive soundstage, which is normal from closed-back headphones. The soundstage doesn't feel very wide, and sound seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you. It also doesn't feel very spacious, although it sounds more natural and open than the AKG K371, which are similarly designed closed-back headphones.
The RØDE NTH-100 have a satisfactory weighted harmonic distortion performance. Unfortunately, there's a large peak in both drivers at high volumes across the mid range. This level of distortion is audible with regular content and mixes sound impure. However, it's unlikely that most people will be listening to audio at such a high volume. At normal listening volumes, distortion shouldn't be noticeable.
These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The RØDE NTH-100 have poor noise isolation. Although they have a closed-back design, they don't block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines and have a hard time cutting down ambient chatter. That said, they can reduce some of the high-pitched hums of an AC unit.
These headphones come with a detachable 1/8" to 1/8" TRS cable and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter. They also come with a couple of color-coded tags that you can use to identify or decorate your audio cable. You can buy colorful audio cables directly from the manufacturer too. They come with a port cover to protect the AUX jack when it's not in use, but it's very small and can be easy to lose.
These headphones can only receive audio when connected to a PC using their 1/8" TRS cable.
The RØDE NTH-100 can connect to your PlayStation console by plugging in the audio cable into the controller. However, you can only receive audio.
The RØDE NTH-100 can only support audio via an analog connection to your Xbox console.