BEST MIC FOR RAP VOCALS: ULTIMATE LIVE AND STUDIO

From my experience as a house mixer and studio engineer, I understand why it’s important to use the best mic for rap vocals.  Let me explain, rap is an expression medium, and words and sounds often come with more “pop” and “sss” (those are the extended s’s on words, they often don’t record well).

Top 5 microphones for Recording Rap/Hip-Hop:

  1. Audio Technica AT2035 – Best Value Condenser Microphone
  2. AKG’s P220 – large-diaphragm condenser mic
  3. GXL3000 Multi-pattern Condenser- Studio Package
  4. AKG Pro Audio C214 – Personal Favorite
  5. MCA-SP1 Large Capsule – Great Budget Mic

My personal favorites to use are listed above.  For live performance and studio, I got you covered on the best mic for rap vocals.

Recording rap vocals is a little more tricky.  Condenser microphones (the large mic) have a bigger diaphragm and are way more sensitive.  They will pick up every single noise and the really loud annoying ones too!

But don’t let that scare you in any way.  These are fantastic mics and for recording, they are the ones the pros use, and so can you.

Best Mic For Rap Vocals Reviews

best mic for rap vocalsFirst of all you’re going to want a pop filter.  But don’t fret, I have listed a few great packages below that include a pop filter and cable and some extras.

Let’s start with live rap microphones.  You really don’t have to spend a ton of money on a good microphone for live performances.  You’re looking at around a $100.  But, don’t get me wrong you’re still getting the top of the line product.  Let me show you a favorite go to mic.

The legendary Shure SM 58

We used this one a lot on stage for just about every concert we did.  This is a great mic that has really no issues when it comes to EQ and vocals.

Its built really well with a solid metal body.  Made for vocals and this is why I consider it the best rap microphone, it has a bright mid-range and bass roll off to help control the proximity effect.

Built-in pop filter.  Yes, that means the annoying “pops” won’t sound like a huge beat box when you’re just trying to rap a normal word.  The Frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz.


It is a very simple mic to use, it runs on your standard XLR cable, just plug-in and you’re set to go.  It does NOT require phantom power.

This is the industry standard when it comes to good vocal mics on stage.  I recommend this one for vocals ONLY.  You could use it on other instruments, but keep in mind, it was designed for voice.


 

Audio Technica AT2035

This is a great bundle package and for the money it’s really worth it.  Check out the great things that come with it.

Features:

  • Cardioid polar pattern (reduces sounds from the sides and rear, improves isolation)
  • Large diaphragm natural sound and low noise with smooth deliverance
  • 1 – Pop Filter eliminates the “plosives” and “sssss” from the recording
  • 1 –  10ft. XLR Cable to connect to work space
  • 1 – Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

This is a great package that exceeds he standards of recordings.  The large diaphragm and the pop filter are a total combination that will blow your vocals out of the water.

Your natural voice tone with all the high’s and bass boost to give it that extra bit of power.  Particularly if you’re recording a rapper, this mic will sound beautiful.  This is such a sweet package for around $150, you really can’t pass it up.


AKG’s P220

Another awesome product from AKG.  This Large-diaphragm condenser really over delivers.  This is really just a great versatile mic to have in the studio.  You can really use it for so many projects.  I’ll explain more below, but first let’s take a look at the features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 155 dB
  • Sensitivity: 20 mV / Pa
  • Pattern and type Capsule: large Condenser
  • Pattern: Cardioid Type: Mounted Applications Primary: Studio Secondary: Stage Other: Not applicable
  • Metal Clip: Shock mount
  • Hard portable case

For rappers, this is a nice one to have.  You have the hard carrying case to take with you from studio to studio or take and use on stage.  It is a large diaphragm black metal capsule, just beautiful.

There are a couple of switches to make adjustments, I like that option.  Sometimes there is just too much bass and attack, all you need to do is flip the switch and roll off 20db.

This also comes withe spider shock mount for the microphone, this is great for reducing and odd bass or mic stand noise.  You know, being so sensitive it will pick up every sounds.


CAD GXL3000 Multi-pattern Condenser

This big guy is a truly a beast.  With its 1″ diaphragm it makes it’s a great studio go-to mic.  CAD is a great music company that has been producing great audio equipment for 80 years.  This particular microphone is a great representation of that.

Check out some of the features:

  • Switch Between Three Polar Patterns
  • Included Shock Mount and Carrying Pouch
  • Nice balance of clarity and richness in recording voice
  • Internal high-pass filter, great if you want/need it for your use

A great well-balanced microphone for the studio and the stage.  I have to say that while this guy is under 100, don’t let that scare you away.  It has all the power of a 1000 one no doubt.

There is a switch that can switch into 3 different polar patterns for recording.  You can use this for beautiful hip-hop recordings or instruments.  It even sounds great doing podcast.  I would recommend this one if you’re on a budget and want a stellar recording.


AKG Pro Audio C214

As a big fan of AKG, I am in love with this one here.  As a guy who raps and produces hip-hop I get asked a lot, what studio did you record at.  And I’m always like, it was recording on my laptop, but it’s the mic that makes the sound.  And then I show the AKG Pro Audio C214.

Check out some of the features:

  • Legendary Large-Diaphragm Sound – beautifully detailed’s of lead vocals and solo instruments
  • Dynamic range and ultra-low noise – for close-up recording of high-output sources of up to 156dB SPL
  • Switch – 20dB attenuation and bass-cut filter for close-up recording and reduction of proximity effect
  • Cost-Effective Alternative
  • Roadworthy Construction

With a great laptop or HD sound card and you use this microphone, you will be producing some great sounding recordings.


MCA-SP1 Large Capsule

Here is a great one for a super affordable price.  This one gets high remarks from me for great price for a great mic.  Hip-hop and rap vocals sound really good great.

Check out these features:

  • Solid metal body for long-lasting durability
  • Large Diaphragm Cardioid pickup pattern
  • Delivers clear, natural results with no distortion and prevents feedback
  • Hard mount mic adapter

This one of the most affordable studio microphones.  It really packs a professional recording using the large diaphragm and cardiod pickup.

You can also use this for micing drums and guitars.  The vocals really do stand out with this one.  Use a standard 3 pin XLR cable and connect to 48Volt phantom power to make this one of the best mics in your studio.


What really can take your recordings to the next level, and to do that a great large diaphragm microphone is what you need.  But, if you didn’t see anything above that you liked let me list a few things you should keep in mind when buying one.

What do look for when buying the best mic for rap vocals?

    1. Price and budget – What’s your budget?  Make sure you know how much you want to spend.  As you can see they range from $50 to a few 1000.  But knowing what you can spend, will help narrow the field down for you.  Not done with buying the mic though.  You may need some extras like a pop filter, XLR cable, Preamp.  So, look for bundles or package deals.
    2. Condenser mic –  So what exactly is this and how is it different from other mikes?  “Condenser microphones require power from a battery or external source. The resulting audio signal is stronger signal than that from a dynamic.”  So, usually a power source is needed, like a preamp.
    3. Who are some of the best audio companies to look for?
  • AKG
  • Audio Technica
  • Neumann
  • Shure
  • Blue Microphones
  • Audio-Technica
  • Neewer
  • CAD
  • PylePro
  • Behringer
  • Nady
  • Pyle
  • SOONHUA
  • Singing Machine
  • Tonor
  • ECOOPRO
  • Samson

The Wrap Up

What ever it is you need the mike for, live or studio.  This guide has provided a great detail of information for the best mic for rap vocals.  Any of these will take your vocals to the next level you want to be at.

As a live sound engineer and studio engineer I have listed my top 5 ones to use.  I experiment with a lot of them and usually go back to the ones listed above.  Why?  Because they are that good!

Which one are you using?  I would love to hear your input on it.

2 Comments

  1. Samuel April 11, 2016
    • Bob November 18, 2016

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