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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.7 update for Headphones! Read the Noise isolation R&D Article to learn more.

RØDE NTH-100M Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed May 02, 2022 at 10:23 am
Latest change: Retest Apr 15, 2024 at 12:44 pm
RØDE NTH-100M Picture
7.3
Neutral Sound
4.3
Commute/Travel
5.1
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
5.0
Wireless Gaming
7.1
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Calls

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 the spring of 2022. This was followed by the RØDE NTH-100M variant, which have a detachable boom mic (that you can also purchase separately), in early 2023. These closed-back over-ears are designed for professional use, like mixing and monitoring audio, but can also be used for gaming thanks to the addition of a boom mic. 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?

Our Verdict

7.3 Neutral Sound

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. For closed-backs, their bass lacks a bit of thump and rumble, though. Vocals and instruments are also recessed in mixes, so they sound weak, while sibilants like cymbals are veiled. That said, some people may still prefer the mellowness of the mids and treble, especially if you're using these cans for long mixing sessions, as this underemphasis can help reduce ear fatigue over time. That said, they have difficulty creating an out-of-head and spacious passive soundstage, although it's partially due to their closed-back design.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
  • Detachable 1/8" TRS cable.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery.
  • Distortion present at high volumes.
4.3 Commute/Travel

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • Bulky and can fall off of your head with moderate movement.
5.1 Sports/Fitness

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery.
  • Bulky and can fall off of your head with moderate movement.
5.7 Office

The RØDE NTH-100 are sub-par for office use. Unfortunately, they struggle to block out ambient chatter and 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 wear them for long periods.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery.
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
5.0 Wireless Gaming

The RØDE NTH-100 are wired headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.

7.1 Wired Gaming

The RØDE NTH-100 are decent for wired gaming. Their warm sound profile can help bring out sound effects like 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. If you have the original model, you can purchase the NTH-Mic separately or pick up the NTH-100M, which come with the boom mic. This mic ensures that your voice sounds clear and natural, though it has some trouble separating speech from noise, which can be annoying if you game in a noisy environment.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
  • Excellent recording quality.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery.
  • Mediocre noise handling.
6.5 Phone Calls

The RØDE NTH-100M are fair for phone calls. The 'M' model comes with a boom microphone, but if you have the original model, you can also purchase the NTH-Mic separately. This mic offers excellent recording quality, so your voice sounds crystal clear. However, the mic has trouble separating speech from noise, and while your voice never gets completely lost in background sound, it's still annoying to hear.

Pros
  • Excellent recording quality.
Cons
  • Mediocre noise handling.
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 4.3 Commute/Travel
  • 5.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.7 Office
  • 5.0 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.1 Wired Gaming
  • 6.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 15, 2024: We re-checked our sound results to see if we could find out more about our unit's channel imbalance. We noticed a tester error in the process, which affected our results. We have retested all sound tests, and you can read more about the issue (and solution) in our Sound Profile test.
  2. Updated May 16, 2023: We've retested these headphones using the NTH-Mic. All of the Microphone tests have changed, and we have updated our review. We've also updated Wired, PC Compatibility, PlayStation Compatibility, and Xbox Compatibility to reflect their performance.
  3. Updated Apr 19, 2023: We've updated our review to reflect the RØDE NTH-100M, which are the same headphones as the RØDE NTH-100, but come with a detachable boom mic. You can find more information on this model in the Differences Between Sizes And Variants section. We will be testing the boom microphone's performance in the near future.
  4. Updated May 04, 2022: There has been confusion regarding the setup used to test these headphones and how the headphones are set up in our photos. We have retaken all the photos with the audio cable connected to the headphones to reflect how we've tested them: with the audio cable connected to the left ear cup and with the port cover in the right ear cup. We have also added a close-up shot of the cover in use to 'Build Quality'.
  5. Updated May 04, 2022: We've added a couple of graphs to 'Sound Profile' that show the FR when the port cover is in place and removed and have clarified our text.
  6. Updated May 02, 2022: Review published.
  7. Updated Apr 26, 2022: Early access published.
  8. Updated Apr 19, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  9. Updated Apr 13, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  10. Updated Apr 12, 2022: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The RØDE NTH-100 come in two variants, which have the same 'Black' color scheme: the original NTH-100 and the NTH-100M. The only differences are that the 100M model come with the following: a detachable boom mic called the NTH-Mic, as well as a 1/8" TRRS cable, and a Y splitter cable. While we originally tested the NTH-100 model, and you can see our model's label here, you can also purchase the boom mic separately and add it to your pre-existing NTH-100 model. As a result, we purchased the NTH-Mic, and tested it in this review. 

If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

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 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 are prone to more distortion at high volumes. The RØDE have good build quality, thanks to their mixed plastic and metal materials, and a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions. You can also purchase a variant with a detachable boom mic if you want to use them for gaming or purchase the boom mic separately to add to your setup.

Check out our recommendations for the best studio headphones for mixing and recording, the best podcast headphones, and the best headphones for music.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are better over-ears for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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, and the '100M' model come with a detachable mic if you want to use them for gaming.

AKG K371

The AKG K371 are better over-ears for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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 and come with a detachable boom mic for gaming.

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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. You can also purchase them with a compatible boom mic if you want to use them for gaming.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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 and the '100M' variant comes with a detachable boom mic for gaming.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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. However, the RØDE's '100M' model come with a detachable boom mic for wired gaming.

Sennheiser HD 6XX

The Sennheiser HD 6XX are better headphones for neutral sound than the RØDE NTH-100M. 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 and you can even purchase them with a boom mic (or buy the boom mic separately) if you plan to use them for gaming.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

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.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.77 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

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.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
5.5
Design
Portability
L 7.7" (19.6 cm)
W 7.3" (18.5 cm)
H 3.2" (8.2 cm)
Volume 181.44 in³ (2,973.30 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

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.

5.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

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.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

6.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have fair stability. They're not designed for use during physical activity, so if you wear them while moving around, they can fall off your head. However, they'll stay on your head if you're listening to your audio at your desk.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • RODE NTH-100 headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • 1/8" to 1/8" TRS cable
  • 1/4" to 1/8" TRS adapter
  • Port cover
  • Color ID set
  • Carrying pouch

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.68 dB
Treble Amount
-3.25 dB

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 mids and treble mellow vocals and lead instruments, though this also makes them sound weak and distant. 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. That said, if you're using the NTH-Mic, you can also expect the frequency response to remain the same.

When we originally tested these headphones, we noticed mismatch present between our unit's left and right drivers. After noticing channel imbalance on another pair of headphones was caused by our test rig's silicone ear fixture, we've revisited this product and retested them to see if this was also the case here. However, in this case, the channel imbalance was related to an error in testing. Originally, only three human passes were performed, but they were derived from the same individual. These passes were default (no glasses, short hair), with glasses, and with long hair. As a result, we retested headphones using five passes done on five unique individuals. While the sound profile is still warm, the difference between the left and right driver is a lot less pronounced.

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 correctly connect all the locking pins. If you experience this issue, please let us know in the forums.

7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.49 dB

These headphones have good 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'll achieve more consistent audio reproduction.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.37 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.67 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.44 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.57 dB
High-Bass
0 dB

The RODE NTH-100's bass accuracy is great. While songs with a prominent bassline, like Kavinsky's Nightcall, are light on thump and rumble, the mid and high bass are much more present, which helps bring punch and warmth to mixes. If you're looking for audiophile-grade over-ears with a flatter bass response, check out the AKG K371 instead.

7.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.95 dB
Low-Mid
0.01 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.67 dB
High-Mid
-4.05 dB

The RØDE NTH-100's mid accuracy is good. The response here is a bit tilted, so vocals and instruments have body but are pushed to the back of the mix. In songs like The Avalanche's Frontier Psychiatry, sample dialogue also sounds weak and distant.

7.1
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.29 dB
Low-Treble
-3.31 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.8 dB
High-Treble
-13.81 dB

The RODE NTH-100 have decent treble accuracy. Overall, this range is underemphasized, so vocals and instruments are veiled, further weakening detail. Sibilants like hi-hats are dull, too.

8.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.07 dB
Dips
0.53 dB

The RØDE NTH-100 have an excellent peaks and dips performance, which means they can control their sound profile quite well. Deviations are somewhat minor; there's a little bit of driver mismatch, so the left driver has more of a bump in the high bass than the right, which adds warmth to mixes. The following bump in the low-mid affects the right driver and clutters the mix. There's a bit of deviation in the treble range, so vocals and instruments sound clear, while sibilants like hi-hats are bright in both drivers.

8.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.22
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.47
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.03
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.58

The RØDE NTH-100 are the brand's first pair of headphones, so there's not much to compare them to. That said, for their first try, their imaging performance is great. Our unit's group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. There's a peak from the mid-bass to mid-mid in the phase response, though, which is noticeable with regular content. Audio is louder in the right driver, leaning the audio to the right. There's also some mismatch present in frequency response, which can create slight holes and imbalance in the stereo image. Imaging can vary between units, though, and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.

5.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.84 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.25 dB
PRTF Distance
1.54 dB
Openness
6.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.0

The RODE NTH-100 have a sub-par passive soundstage, which is normal for 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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
6.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.911
WHD @ 100
0.354

The RØDE NTH-100 have an okay weighted harmonic distortion performance. Unfortunately, there are a few notable spikes, like the one in the low to mid-bass and throughout the mid range. The bass range peaks are less noticeable as the headphones struggle to reproduce this range. However, the mid-range peaks are audible with regular content and mixes sound impure. However, it's unlikely that most people will listen to audio at such a high volume. At normal listening volumes, distortion won't be noticeable.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
3.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-9.56 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.66 dB
Mid
-5.35 dB
Treble
-24.37 dB

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.

6.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
42.45 dB

The RODE NTH-100 have a just okay leakage performance. Leakage is concentrated across the mid to treble range, which sounds fuller than in-ears and earbuds. If you're listening to audio in a shared environment, others around you may hear parts of it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
Yes
Mic Yes

The original RØDE NTH-100 doesn't come with a mic, but you can purchase the NTH-Mic separately. They also come in an RØDE NTH-100M variant with the NTH-Mic in the box. You can connect the boom mic to the right ear cup and you'll have to twist them into place to lock the headphones into place. Overall, it's very easy to install the mic, and you can adjust it a bit to suit your needs. However, the mic isn't the most flexible.

8.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.4 dB
HFE
9,122.8 Hz
Weighted THD
0.16
Gain
29.95 dB

The boom mic has an excellent recording quality. Your voice sounds clear, accurate, and full-bodied. You'll have no problems being heard clearly.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
21.44 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The boom mic has mediocre noise handling. The mic can capture your voice well if you're in a quiet room, but add in some noise, and the overall audio becomes more congested. The mic struggles to separate speech from noise, and while your voice is never completely lost or drowned out, background noise is always present in the audio, which is annoying.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 8.04 ft (2.45 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The original model of 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.

If you have the '100M' model of these headphones, they come with an additional 8.04 ft (2.45 m) 1/8" TRRS cable and y-splitter.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio + Microphone
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only receive audio when connected to a PC using their 1/8" TRS cable. However, if you're using their NTH-Mic, you'll also have mic support.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

The RØDE NTH-100 can connect to your PlayStation console by plugging the audio cable into the controller. If you have the NTH-Mic, you can use it and receive audio.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

By default, the RØDE NTH-100 don't have a mic and can only support audio via an analog connection to your Xbox console. However, if you have the '100M' model or purchased the NTH-Mic separately, you'll also gain mic support.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock