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Rode NTH-100 headphones review

Pure and clean professional studio-quality audio at a price that will excite you

Rode NTH-100 headphones review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Rode NTH-100 Headphones are stylish, ergonomically designed acoustic masterpieces that make sturdy and affordable headphones a reality.

Pros

  • +

    Pure and clean audio profile

  • +

    Thunder-from-down-under bass

  • +

    Sturdy

  • +

    Eye-catching ergonomic design

  • +

    Comfortable over long periods

Cons

  • -

    A wireless version would be nice

When Rode reached out to share that it would soon be releasing a pair of professional headphones that have been in the works for decades, I was excited, to say the least. When the NTH-100 arrived, I tore open the box, pulled them out of the cloth protective case, and plugged them in. What I immediately discovered was they sound way more expensive than the $149 price point Rode has set for them. 

For over 50 years, the Australia-based Rode (originally Freedman electronics) has been considered a leader in audio technology focusing on quality audio products across the consumer, prosumer, and professional markets. Across studio recording, filmmaking, and broadcast, you’ve probably seen the company logo many times. Now, with its new NTH-100 Headphones, you’re sure to see the logo a lot more.  

Let’s have a listen to these NTH 100’s and see if Rode has brought the thunder from down under.

Rode NTH-100 Headphones pricing and availability

The Rode NTH 100 headphones cost $149 and are available worldwide today. You can find them at your favorite audio retailers or at Rode’s website.

Rode NTH-100 Headphones design

When I took the all-black Rode NTH-100 Headphones out of the included cloth storage pouch, I immediately noticed the distinct, ergonomically crafted design of the uniquely styled earcups. The NTH-100 is a nice melding of classic elements blended with a modern cutting-edge design. On each ear cup, you’ll find the Rode logo and gold dot that provides a nice pop of color, which adds to the overall high-end fashionable design. You can feel the high-grade materials that went into building the NTH-100s; the headband is made of a brushed black chromed finish spring steel that feels strong and looks fantastic.

Rode NTH-100 headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

Every aspect is unique, even the flat thick wiring feels premium and strong. Tested and designed for up to 25 years of use, the earcup cables are rated to withstand up to 55 pounds of tugging force. There are so many interesting design elements and textures that I found myself just gazing at them in my hands for a long time before remembering I had to put them on to hear. I almost overlooked that there are 3.5mm audio ports on both ear cups so that you can use the audio cable on either side, which allows for a lot of freedom when setting up your studio space. The earpads and headband are user-replaceable and easy to take off, as are the easy-roll earcup connection cables. Having easily swappable parts is also a big win here for product longevity.

Rode NTH-100 headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

At 12.3 ounces(0.77 pounds), they’re lightweight for a pair of wired over-ear headphones. They come with a sturdy, thick audio cable that measures 7.8 feet, a 3.5- to 0.25-inch audio adapter, and a color ID set so you can visually identify the left from the right ear cup if you somehow miss the large and bright white letters in each ear cup that also denote right and left.

Rode NTH-100 Headphones comfort

Shaped to perfectly cover and mold to the ear, the Rode NTH-100 Headphones’ memory foam cushioning uses CoolTech gel to help keep them cool and reduce fatigue. The earcups and headband are covered in a luxurious-feeling Alcantara fabric material that is velvety soft, adding to the comfort level while also adding to the headphone's premium feel.

Rode NTH-100 headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

I really like the Fitlok headband locking system Rode’s design team created. It ensures that once you’ve got them adjusted and fitted to your head, it stays locked into that zen-like customized spot where everything feels perfect and comfortable. I used the Rode NTH-100s daily for a week, averaging eight to ten hours of use, without feeling fatigued. They also never got too hot or uncomfortable in any way.

Rode NTH-100 headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

The headphones fit even my massive head and malformed ears wonderfully. I have huge ears, and I was initially concerned about the unique shape of the NTHs fitting properly. However, the memory foam adjusted to my ears and created a comfortable seal that enhanced the audio experience.

Rode NTH-100 Headphones audio quality

Trying to describe the Rode NTH-100 Headphones’ pure and clean audio experience is a little difficult for me. I recently attended CanJam 2022 in NYC and it’s where audiophiles with American Express Black cards go shopping for their premium headphones that cost more than I spent on my last two cars. I got to listen to headphones plugged into some of the most expensive pure sound pumping amplifiers ever made and experience audio like never before. That experience taught me the difference between what $300 headphones sound like in comparison to a pair of $4,000 headphones, where the sound profile covers every frequency powerfully, yet elegantly. 

That said, the audio quality that these Rode NTH-100s produce even had our Editor in Chief Sherri Smith asking me to ask our contacts at Rode what audio profile the company used. For $149, the audio is so clean and pure, I’m happy Rode took thirty years of research to make them. No matter how loud I played the audio, or how much bass I tried to push through them, they produced distortion-free audio that was crisp, rich, full and absolutely beautiful.

I used them while recording a voice-over for a benefit I am taking part in and the playback of my deep timbre was beautifully reproduced. They even helped me spot a hiccup in my audio which had me record it again and get it right. 

Watching video content was a blast as I enjoyed a pure theater experience while watching Captain America: Civil War. When Spidey catches the Winter Soldiers punch in the airport, there was this moment of deep bass, followed by a metal ping, that the NTH-100s reproduced so beautifully I rewatched the scene a few times just to enjoy the audio mixing.

Rode NTH-100 headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

It wasn't just the large audio moments, it was the subtle ones like the crackling fire of the debris in the background when Iron Man lifts Black Widow up off the ground after an explosion. It’s also nice when you can pick up the running footsteps perfectly synced as the Avengers sprint across the tarmac. The foley artist's work is clearly heard and appreciated. 

I listened to Doja Cat’s “Need To Know”, and I was blown away by the clean, perfectly thunderous bass lines, with the crisp high synthesized notes of the background digital handclaps and occasional snare drums cymbals. Doja’s vocals were pure silky sexiness. 

I’m not an audio engineer, but the 40mm neodymium magnet, with a custom voice coil with four layers of ultra-high-tension aluminum alloy that’s combined with a triple-layer Mylar diaphragm, smoothly transition from movie vocals and special effects to hip hop so seamlessly and smoother than melted butter. I threw on Lenny Kravitz's “Fly Away” and the Rode NTH-100s precise audio profile met the funky rock guitar like an old friend they’d been waiting on at the local bar with a shot of single malt whiskey. I could hear the full arrangement of the band’s instruments the way they’re meant to be heard. For instance, the way the tone levels change the sound profile to a more muted sound, with gentle drums and cymbals harmonizing with the guitar, until the audio mix returns to its filled-out, warmer tune to finish off the song. Yeah, you get all of this audio quality for $149!

Rode NTH-100 Headphones bottom line

I’ve owned other over-ear headphones before but none match the Rode NTH-100 Headphones’ audio profile, sound clarity, and frequency response. I’ve used a pair of Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless headphones that produce clean and detailed sound but, in my humble opinion, they can’t compete with the Rode NTH-100s — they’re even $100 cheaper. 

The Rode NTH-100s are an amazing choice for studio pros, streamers, podcasters, gamers, and audiophiles alike. You’re going to enjoy a pure audio profile that normally costs a lot more than $149. If Rode ever makes a wireless pair of these, Sony and Bose will be in trouble. For now, if you need the best wireless headphones or best noise-cancelling headphones you’ll need to look elsewhere, but if you can get past those limitations these headphones are hard to beat.

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.