Reviews and Opinions
When I first purchased the Rode NT2a, I worked with it for about 3 months, constantly messing with EQ trying to get a warm sound.. searching for options on the internet, I found John Bonnell Mic Mods, and sent it in for a mod. After 3 years of use, the Rode NT2a is the best mic in the locker. The sound has been warm and natural, without the previous crunch in the upper range of the stock mic. I rarely use EQ in mixes and the track compress nicely. Many singers will check out the mic after recording. If they ask, I mention the mod to make the NT2a the best.
Thanks John, for making this mod possible!
You modded my Rode NTK a few months ago. I have had the mic for about four years and never used it much at all. I thought it brittle on the top end and had an odd compression sound when a singer really got on the mic. I tried different tubes, but nothing really made it work for me.
I finally sent it to you as a last resort. What a difference! Much more robust and smooth sounding, can take a lot more dB thrown at it without becoming "hard" on the top end. Yesterday I recorded several vocal/guitar songs with just the NTK. When placed correctly, it captured every nuance of the guitar and voice in great balance. What once was junk is now a treasure.
I sent in my Rode NT2A microphone as I love the Mic, but felt it a little shallow on detail. I was extremely pleased with the professional manner on how the service was carried out and obviously the new and improved sound quality. My Rode NT2A now sounds just as good as my $6,000 AKG C12VR.
—Nj, Atlanta, CurvdMotion
This is the first time I came across professional microphones, not to say any related upgrades. With all the doubts and worries on money wastage, especially when I am still an unemployed student, John really unconditionally provided the best and most detailed objective advice, helping me to choose the right and most suitable microphone, which no other internet research could have done. It was his great in-depth understanding of his profession and devotion of work showed through the many email conversations we had over weeks, which I'll always be appreciative of, that I found it to be a very reliable, and must-be-done, service—knowing this is my first microphone, $300+ in value, along with letting someone who resides outside of my country that I've never met before, handling it.
The microphone, a Rode NT1000, turned out to be another surprising relief. The vocal I recorded sounds so clear, in-tune, and sensitive; as dimensional as if you were hearing a professional singer standing in front of you using every breath to carry out the emotions and meanings of the song to touch your mind. Knowing I am not even a trained singer, just another teenager who loves the joy of singing. As loud-singing and vocal recording are two totally different things, the upgraded Rode NT1000, where cheap parts were all replaced by germany and japan-made high quality parts, really emphasized the difference. You get to hear what your vocal is really like when it appears in a recording. Perhaps you are another great singer, capable of touching and inspiring others with your voice, but never came to realize this just because of a shortage of the equipment.
Now, if you have done any research on professional condenser microphones, a price range between $150-200 is considered very low, which is just about the price you could purchase a used NT1000, and that's what I've got and am more than satisfied with. The purchase of the upgrade itself is definitely worthwhile, and the key reason to why I described how my mic performed on a vocal record. It is something we could put it as, "why would you buy a gun if you are not going to get any bullets?"
So, whether you are already a professional in the music producing industry, or an amateur looking forward to pursuing your dream, this microphone upgrade will be something that refines your great piece of music with such a small price—enabling you one step forward on the road of success with all the confidence you will get from this instrument's add-on improvement.
—D. Yan, (Canada/China)
I bought an NTK years ago after reading several glowing reviews by nationally well-known engineers; when I got mine and warmed it up, it sounded like crap—like a cheap Pacific rim knock-off with an attitude. I couldn't believe it. That is, I didn't believe it—I'm ashamed to say I didn't trust my ears. I didn't return it. I thought, "Well, the real engineers with all these top-selling album credits must be hearing something different. Maybe it's my preamp, maybe it's my converters, maybe I need more expensive cabling, etc..." I'd put the mic away for a year or so, then get it out again, thinking," This is supposed to be a really good mic; I'll try it again." Of course, it sounded just as bad. Then, as a last resort, I bought another tube for it, a New Old Stock tube manufactured in the U.S. in the '60s to replace the third-world suppository that was in it. With great hopes, I switched tubes and warmed it up—but it sounded just as bad. I finally admitted to myself that it really did sound like dog doo, and decided to sell it. When I looked up the going prices for NTK's on eBay, however, I was appalled: I was going to take a big hit, probably losing well over half of its already heavily discounted retail price, even though it was still like new. I hated finding out I'd been such a sucker. The emperor was butt naked, but I hadn't wanted to admit it 'cause the "experts" said his clothes were so cool.
Then I saw John Bonnell's little ad. He had the nerve to say how harsh and brittle it sounded (his opinion was exactly the same as mine), and that he could make an NTK sound good for a hundred bucks, so I decided to give it a shot. Not much to lose, right?
Well, I just got it back today. The actual turnaround was about a week, including shipping. He wasn't just blowin' smoke—it sounds really good! The harshness and brittleness are gone, but the detail remains. Let me say it again—the NTK really sounds good! My only regret is that I didn't record it before I sent it to him; all I have is my memory of its previous crappitude, but now I do have proof that it sounds good! If you have an NTK, send it to John Bonnell now!
BTW, I've been in the recording industry for 40 years, won two Dove awards, and recorded over 20 albums. I know a little about sound and recording. And I'm not so easily fooled by "experts" anymore.
All I can say is wow. This is the first mic I've ever used that sat in a mix so nicely without any de-essing. The clarity and neutrality of my K2 is incredible.
Thanks for the mod
Got the mic just now! I compared it to the sample I recorded before I sent it to you and I really do like your mod to my NT2-A. The mic is not as 'splattery' with sibilance and everything seems more focused and well rounded. It also has less 'honky-ness' in the upper mids. It's always a gamble to send a mic in to someone not knowing what the results will be but this was money well spent in my mind. Thanks.
—Cary King, Creative Sound Images Inc.
Got the mic back yesterday. I spent the evening doing some vocal recording with my girl. All I can say is "WOW!!" What a difference! The sound is much more rounded and 3 dimensional, focused and clearer. We recorded some prior tracks over to compare the mic pre-mod vs modded. The pre-mod track sounded one dimensional and flat, quite sibilant, and lost in the mix. The modded track was clear, much less sibilant and professional sounding. I made sure I used the same preamp, compressor and eq on the input bus so the comparison was fair. Obviously I am very happy with the work done. My AKG 200 now sounds like an expensive condenser! I can't wait to track acoustic guitar through it today. I'm thinking that I want to buy a few cheap used mics just to send them to you to mod!! Thank you!
My ADK A-51 sounds fuller-bodied and much more open on the top end than before. You've done it again, John!
—Jerry Immel, Jerry Immel Voiceovers
The modded mics arrived safely. I was able to audition them last Tuesday morning, and I am pleased with the results of your excellent work. First, the NTK, which had always sounded harsh with added sibilance now sounds full and rounded—what I had hoped for when I purchased this as my first tube mic. It was great on male voice. I also tried it on a bluegrass banjo, and the irritating harshness at the top end was no longer present. I had recorded “pre-mod” samples for comparison, so I did not have to rely on just memory. The Oktava M-319 no longer has the “ringing” problem. I will look forward to using both “new” mics, and I thank you for applying your expertise to make these mics into what I had hoped for when I bought them.
Holy cow…I had to get in touch with you….I have used my SE2200a that you modded recently for the first time on a session at the weekend and my god it sounds good!!! The top end harshness has been completely eliminated and it has such a warm sound low down, but without sounding muddy—it sounds like an expensive tube mic!! Rather annoyingly I can see me using this on just about all vocals for acoustic tracks as it outshines my Mojave MA201 FET. The 201 is still great for thick, dense pop mixes as it has the presence to cut through, but the SE totally wins on less dense arrangements!!
You really have surpassed all my expectations with this mod!! Thank you!
—Adam Fiasco, www.adamfiasco.com
This is Martese Hannah from Chicago (Hip-Hop/R&B artist, producer, and engineer). I apologize for such a late response for the work you did back in January to one of my mics and pres - the Audio Technica AT4047 and the Golden Age Pre 73. I greatly appreciate the magic you put on those pieces!! They sound awesome! Very Neve-ish compared to real Neve setups I've been around. I just finished engineering my co-producer's R&B project, an 8 song EP, and we went for a real 90s R&B sound. The raw vocals sound amazing and even better with a little compression and eq, but there is a huge difference in my Pro Tools session workflows. We've been knocking out songs in one or two sessions. Once again, thank you for your work and I look forward to doing business with you in the near future. Take care.