Even if you have got the hottest flow and some crazy lyrics, poor microphone may ruin your tracks. Getting a decent gear is an investment; you can record good quality audio without a need to visit a studio all the time. Even though there is no specific mics for hip-hop only, you can easily find great products that will do a great job in this genre. I’ve selected a few products that could do as your best microphone for rapping, but you might need some more equipment if you want to elevate your recordings into a higher level. Don’t worry though, I’ll guide you through every piece of gear you might possibly be interested with, in order to achieve flawless tracks. So bear with me, and without further ado, lets try to find best microphone for rap vocals.
Best Microphone for Rap Vocals – Things To Consider Before Buying
As always, before buying any mic, you need to specify your needs and answer some questions.
Probably one of the most important factors of recording vocals is acoustics. Even the most expensive microphones will not deliver perfect results when used in a room that hasn’t any acoustic treatment.
If your room in which you’re going to do recordings has poor acoustics, it might be wise either to get some acoustic treatment first, or get a dynamic microphone instead of a condenser one. However, you can’t tell which route will suit your individual needs best, unless you try yourself. If you’ve got your walls covered with shelves, cabinets, or wardrobes, it might be enough to achieve some entry-level, decent sounding recordings. Plus, getting a vocal isolation booth may help you get better results tremendously.
You need to specify how much you can spend. Best devices can cost thousands of dollars but you don’t necessarily need to use that pricey stuff. On the other hand, getting cheap and poor mic will get you nowhere and you’ll probably end up selling it and looking for a better one. I know some of you might not have an impressive budget and are at the very beginning of their music journey; this is why I’ve included some affordable products as well. However, if you can’t afford even the cheapest mic from my list, I’d pass on buying one now. It’s much better to wait and save up to get a decent mic rather than wasting your talent and time with useless gear that won’t ever sound right.
Best Microphone For Rapping – Budget Pick
When looking for best rap microphone that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, a USB device is the way to go. Why? Simply, because USB mics can work on their own, without the need to buy an audio interface. If you don’t feel like getting an audio interface just now, take a look at the products listed below. However, keep in mind that USB-only microphones may limit you in the future.
M-Audio Vocal Studio
Vocal studio is a great entry-level mic for a great price. It uses a USB port to connect to your computer so you won’t need any audio interface. A nice feature that it offers is a headphones plug allowing you to monitor your audio in real time. Plus, it offers a decent sound quality. What more could you possibly expect for that price?
Shure PG27-LC Multi Purpose
PG27 is a level up from the previous mic. It offers two knobs allowing you to independently set the level of your headphones and input gain. It might be extremely useful for recording louder parts of songs, which are not completely uncommon in rap music. Moreover, it provides you with clearer and more real sound.
MXL USB 009
This one proves that USB mics are not necessarily just toys for youtubers or podcasters but can be pretty powerful. MXL USB 009 offers great sound quality and is capable of recording in 24-bit/96kHz. In addition to headphone volume and microphone gain knobs, you also get a playback mix knob, granting you better control over what you hear in your headphones; it’s a perfect feature for recording vocals and instruments.
Best Rap Microphone – XLR Condenser Mics
XLR devices offer much better control over your audio signal, allowing you to tweak and enhance it on its way. However, they are more expensive than their USB counterparts, as they need to be powered externally, using audio interfaces. If you’re looking for a versatile gear that you can upgrade easily and you’re aiming at the high quality tracks then you definitely should invest in a great XLR condenser microphone.
Well-known and extremely popular product that has a great reputation in low-budget recording. It’s a great microphone to start your journey with recording; it offers great build quality, great sound quality and is really affordable. It’s versatility and quality-for-money ratio makes it a great deal. However, it is not perfect; you may encounter some problems with sibilants but for that price it’s nothing major and you can’t really complain.
Another widely-known product that you can often see in professional studios – that’s pretty much enough recommendation. It’s definitely the best choice within its price range, offering low noise levels, great build quality, and excellent and warm sound.
If you’re looking for clean and dynamic vocals, this one is for you. It has high sensitivity which results in nice and warm sound but without enhancing annoying sibilance. It offers great sound quality but it’s not the cheapest. You get what you pay for.
K2 is a tube microphone that features a little bit different sound than regular condenser mics. The sound it produces has a nice, kind of analog feel. Some people love it, and as it’s a matter of taste I’d suggest listening to demos to get the idea how it works before buying. Anyway, it’s a great pick as long as you can afford it.
Best Microphones For Rapping – Dynamic Mics
If your room has terrible acoustics and you’ve got no way to apply any sort of acoustic treatment then dynamic microphone is probably your best bet. Dynamics are designed mostly for live perfomence as they’re not as sensitive as condenser ones, but you can successfully use them in your studio for vocal recording too.
SM58 is a legendary microphone known for its high quality and extreme durability. It works great with loud and dynamic audio sources therefore it can do a great job for your hot rap verses. Perfect for tiny rooms, or bigger ones with terrible acoustics.
Shure seems to dominate this list but not without a reason. SM7B is another widely-praised device, it was used to record vocals on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. It’s extremely high quality mic that’s often used in professional radio stations and studios. It’s perfect for podcasting and voice over as it handles dynamic vocals well and doesn’t enhance sibilants which is extremely important for rap recording.
This point concludes my best microphones for rapping list. Trying to select best rap microphone may not be the easiest thing on earth but I hope the list above gave you an idea which device might be perfect for you.
Other Useful Accessories
Having a decent mic is often not enough, especially if you bought an XLR device. In this case you’ll need additional external source of power. So let’s take a look at best audio interfaces for rap vocals.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Got everything you might expect from an audio interface for a great price. It offers direct monitoring feature which allows you to monitor your vocals in real time without any delays. Moreover, build quality is decent and it has great mic preamps on board.
Vocal Isolation Booth
RF-X SE Electronics Portable Vocal Booth
Proper acoustics is often even more important for the quality of your tracks than your microphones. If you don’t have enough money or simply can’t apply acoustic treatment (sharing your room, or living in a block of flats where landlord won’t allow you do that?) then vocal booths can help you significantly. A good vocal booth will help you control the sound and reduce reflections a bit; it’s not a perfect solution but it’s better than nothing and it really can improve your vocals. RF-X is a cheaper vocal booth from sE Electronics but it does it job well. However, if you have enough money, I’d get the higher model, SE Electronics Reflexion Filter Pro Ambience Control.
These are not so important and do not have a direct impact on your recordings but you have to get a decent enough model not to bleed any audio to your microphone.
Superlux HD-662 Closed Back Studio Headphones
Instead of collecting every piece of gear one by one, you might be interested in getting a vocal package. Most of the times it’s not the perfect way to go, but it saves you a lot of time and effort.
Focusrite Scarlett Studio
Good starter pack, that has everything you need to have to start your vocal journey. It offers great audio interface, but the mic itself is not that great. It’s not terrible either, but any of the mics mentioned above would be a better choice. Overall it is a great choice for beginners who don’t want to bother with collecting gear and wondering if it’s good or not. Here you have a bundle that you can’t go wrong with.
Best Microphone for Rap Vocals – Final Words
That’d be enough for this guide. Even though there are still some areas that could be covered (shockmounts and pop filters) I’ve decided to skip them in this guide as they’re not necessary for you to be successful at audio recording. Hope my guide helped you find your best microphone for rap vocals. Let me know in the comments what mic you use, what are your favourites?