Out of the blue, microphone manufacturer Rode has announced its first-ever USB audio interface, the AI-1. It’s currently sold as part of the Rode AI-1 Complete Studio Kit bundle, which also includes the popular Rode NT-1 condenser microphone, a shockmount with windshield, cables, and a copy of Ableton Live Lite for recording. The interface will be sold separately sometime soon.
The Rode AI-1 audio interface
The AI-1 is a small and robust 1-channel USB interface with a combined instrument/microphone input, a headphone output, and a pair of 1/4-inch balanced speaker outputs. The bus-powered box houses a Class-A microphone preamp and a 24-bit/96kHz analog-to-digital converter, and the USB port is of the Type-C (3.0) variety.
The interface seems to have a rugged build and metal body with a satin black colour. Direct monitoring is an option, and the interface is class-compliant with Windows and Mac computers so there’s no need to install drivers.
All in all, there’s enough modern technology in this unassuming little interface to get anyone started with high-quality recordings – and that’s what matters.
Rode NT1 Condenser Microphone
The Rode NT1 has been a popular choice for an inexpensive condenser microphone for a long time. It’s a large-diaphragm model with a cardioid pattern and aluminium build, designed to record both instruments and vocals. It has a 1-inch condenser capsule with gold-plated membrane and a suspended transducer to minimize external vibrations. The microphone provides a detailed, crisp sound and has a low 4.5dBA of self-noise. It’s housing is supposedly resistant against corrosion, scratches, and marks. The Rode NT1 is still a very good option for an affordable condenser microphone.
Price and availability
Rode isn’t disclosing price and availability information yet. However, the bundle appears to already be on sale. We’ll update this post with official pricing information once it becomes available.