Hi, I would be very wary of manufacturers claims, a lot is made of this "vintage warmth" these days, and that isn't necessarily true or desirable. One mans "vintage warmth" is another mans "dull and muddy" I have nothing against Rode mics, I've never used them myself, but a know people who have the NT2-A, and I get the impression, fromwhat they've told me that it has a high end sizzle, that's always apparent, and difficult to EQ out. However, I have used Audio Technica mics, and they are very good value for money, with no major frequency dips or peaks, just a nice, relativity uncolored sound, for the money. Even the cheaper AT3020 sounds good to my ears.
There is one thing that I've learnt about mics over the years, and that you get what you pay for, a Neumann M149 is an M149, people still buy them, if cheap mics sounded like they do then Neumann wouldn't sell any, simple as that. However, there are some cheap mics out there that are good value, like the AT range, also check out mic's by Sontronics (STC2) they are also very good value. My favorite cheap all purpose mic is still the Senheisser MK421, smooth, and sounds good on most things, from voice to a wide range of instruments, although that is a dynamic mic, but don't let that put you off. If possible, try before you buy, its the only way, otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of money, and most of all, never believe what manufacturers say, and only take other peoples views as a rough guide, it's you that's going to be using it in the end. If you are going to be using this for live recording I take it you'll want to record in stereo ? so factor that into the cost of buying your mics.