I'll make a long story short. Remember that Rode NTK large diaphragm tube mic I liked and told you guys about? I sold it of course, but this past week I picked up another one. Yeah, I know, if I liked it why did I sell it? Because I'm a BLUE man. I like Blue mics better. Or so I thought.... Anyway, this week, a giant beer company offered a guy whose record I produced some promotion. The catch is that they didn't want the word, "f^ck" on their website, could we replace the one word in one of the tracks they liked? Well, that was kind of a no-brainer. Of COURSE we could accomodate them! So, we decided to recut one line. I happened to have the Rode NTK up on the boom; the plan was to recut the one phrase with the original Blue Kiwi we cut the track with, same singer, same room, same Focusrite ISA 220 settings, same recording system, and match the existing track that was on the record. But for fun, we decided to cut a rehearsal track with the Rode, because, well, because I wanted to putz around comparing how the mics record. This was because I hadn't yet cut a vocal with the new Rode, and because I was revisiting a track cut with the Kiwi. Perfect opportunity. Well, I will make it short. To my utter astonishment, and that of everyone in the room, the Rode was the better mic for this vocalist, a guy I've worked with for years! The Rode was ever so slightly less airy, but it made up for it with the most three dimensional, focused, vocal I've ever tracked, and it was perfect for this singer. The vocal sat well in the mix, very little EQ was needed (I was able to use the very same setting I had with the Kiwi!), and the vocal was simply more "there." That's all I can say. It wasn't peaky, it wasn't harsh, it wasn't too polite, it was just the way you'd want this vocal to sound. Believe me, I went back and forth between the takes, the one with the Kiwi, and the one with the Rode, and I honestly preferred the Rode to the point that we decided to retrack the entire song with it, including backup vocals. This particular Rode seemed to sound a bit better than my memory of the one I had a while back. Maybe that's how it is with tube mics...you get a great sounding tube in the mic and power supply, and the whole mic sounds better, like with amps. Then again, maybe it's my imagination. Who can say. Maybe I got lucky! So I tried recording my Collings with it. Again, it was rich sounding, smooth, with a lot of presence. It sounded sweet. Anyway...this is a mic that sells for $499, comparing well with a mic that ran $1999. Come on! That's gotta be the mic bargain of the century. Michael K told me these mics are good, and he was absolutely right.