Rode K2 vs NTK: Which Condenser Mic Sounds Excellent?

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Tube condenser microphones offer you a differ take over recordings with its authentic sound; the Rode K2 and the NTK are two such game-changers that don’t fail to woo you.

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Representing the same brand, the Rode K2 and the NTK share a series of similarities that maintain their hereditary progression as well as some vital distinctive characteristics that make one of them a better microphone than the other.

We’ll talk about them systematically as we proceed further and find out who emerges out as a winner – Rode K2 or Rode NTK.

Let’s have a look at their specifications:

 ParametersRode K2Rode NTK
Acoustic operating principlePressure GradientPressure Gradient
Frequency range20 hz to 20 khz20 hz to 20 khz
Equivalent noise level10 dB A-weighted12 dB A-weighted
Maximum Sound Pressure Level162 dB SPL158 dB SPL
Impedance200 ohms200 ohms
Sensitivity36 dB at 1 khz38 dB at 1 khz
Amazon Product PageUser reviewsUser reviews

Rode K2 vs NTK – Let’s clear the smoke!

Design and build

The Rode K2 and the Rode NTK can be thought as brothers as they have some resemblances with each other; the foremost being that both the Rode K2 and Rode NTK are tube condenser microphones.

Rode k2 multi pattern dual condenser valve microphone

To kick things off, the physical dimensions – both the Rode K2 and the Rode NTK have an equal length and breadth. The only difference being that the Rode K2 is slightly heavier than the Rode NTK.

The grille design, although is fairly alike to a great extent, the support frame of the Rode K2 is heftier than the Rode NTK, which probably is the reason for its heavier weight as well.

Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone

Adding to the list of subtle difference is the color scheme of the exterior body. While the Rode K2 comes in a silverish light brown shade, the Rode NTK has a dark brown hue.

Now, coming to one of the most significant differences between the Rode K2 and the Rode NTK is the capsule design. Rode K2 houses a newer capsule design than the Rode NTK.

You get a gold-sputtered diaphragms in a large dual-diaphragm capsule in the Rode K2 while the Rode NTK features dual-triode tube.

However, a valve impedance converter with bipolar output buffer is common in both the Rode K2 and the Rode NTK.

Rode ntk premium microphone


Features of tube microphones

Now, we know that coming from under the same hood, the Rode K2 and the Rode NTK will have many common features between them. So why not make a list? Lists are always good!

  • Both have a similar output impedance.
  • Both have the same frequency response range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, so we know that they will capture the same lows, mids, and highs.
  • Both need to be powered using a power supply which comes along with their packaging.
  • Both are connected using an XLR cable.
Rode ntk
Power supply

However, there is one key feature which puts the Rode K2 way ahead in the game than the Rode NTK in terms of usability and practicality, and that is the polar pattern.

The Rode K2 has multiple polar patterns which can be switched between Cardioid, Figure of 8 and Omnidirectional.

  • The Cardioid pattern specializes in picking up the majority of the sound from the front, a little from the sides and completely blocks out the sounds coming from the rear.
  • The Figure of 8 picks up the signal from the front and the rear and blocks out the sounds coming from either side of the microphone.
  • The Omnidirectional patterns picks up sounds equally from all directions.

No wonder, having multiple polar patterns, the Rode K2 becomes very versatile and can fit your recording needs and conditions perfectly.

Meanwhile, with the Rode NTK, you get only a single Cardioid polar pattern.

Sound and performance

This is the segment where things take a turn and get competitive.

Remember when we talked about the improved capsule design of the Rode K2 compared to that of the Rode NTK? Well, that contributes significantly in deciding which is a better performer than the other.

Firstly, going with the similarities, both the Rode K2 and the Rode NTK are warm sound microphones, especially while recording vocals and other acoustic instruments.

Their mid-range sounds nice and full and helps the audio signal to cut through the mix with ease.

The low-end has the necessary depth and richness, and doesn’t make it sound muddy.

Rode k2 multipattern mic

However, the high end of the Rode NTK is slightly boosted than the Rode K2. What happens due to that? It makes the Rode NTK to sound quite harsh and has quite some high-end bite which results in some of the vocalists sound shrill. Admit it!

On the other hand, we have the smooth sound Rode K2 which is both pleasant to the ears and has sufficient amount of brightness, crisp and detailing to it as well.

Furthermore, while the Rode K2 has a balanced sensitivity, the Rode NTK is highly sensitive and picks up even the slightest of ambient sounds and makes it really difficult to use it in a noisy environment.

Also, the Rode K2 boasts of a lower self noise than the Rode NTK which helps the former in delivering a more cleaner and stronger sound than the latter.

So if you want to focus on the minute details of any recording, Rode K2 would be a better option than the Rode NTK anyway.The Rode K2 has a higher sound pressure level handling capacity than the Rode NTK.

Meaning that with the Rode K2 you can capture loud noises without it getting distorted, which isn’t the case with the Rode NTK.

Also look at: Rode M5 vs Rode NT5-Which One is the Better Condenser Microphone?

Similarities and differences:


  • Both are side-address microphones
  • Both have a pressure gradient acoustic principle
  • Both are warm sound microphones


  • Rode K2 has a higher sound pressure level handling capacity than the Rode NTK.
  • Rode NTK is highly sensitive than k2.
  • Rode K2 has multiple polar patterns whereas NTK comes with a single cardioid polar pattern.

Rode K2 – pros and cons


  • Capsule features an internal shock-mount
  • Switchable polar patterns


  • Might take some time for the tube to heat up

Rode NTK – pros and cons


  • Excellent for acoustic guitar recordings
  • Very light-weighted which makes it easily portable


  • Can be noisy during recordings


To sum it up, after sharing a line of similarities and significant differences, our verdict about the better microphone between the Rode K2 and the NTK is quite evident and it is undoubtedly the Rode K2. 

There is no saying that the Rode NTK is a low performer, given the price tag attached to it. However, in comparison with the Rode K2, it does lack in performance and features as well.

So if you can afford a slightly more investment, then we would definitely recommend you to go for the Rode K2.

Jennifer Max


Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI. 

I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.

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