Best Microphone For Rapping in 2019

Best Microphone For RappingSo you know you can rap, your friends tell you that you can rap and heck sometimes even strangers suggest that perhaps you should look into rapping or what not.

Well then, it’s time to get a mic and see what you’re made of. Here you will find good rap mics that will reflect your current voice in the best way possible. Just for your rap voice, not to record guitars or anything like that.

That’s the way I would approach it but hey who knows, you might release a track with vocals that sound completely robotic and it might become a hit.

Anything is possible and always lean towards your natural creativity first.

No matter how ‘bizzare’ the world thinks it is.

My job is simply to share what has or is working for me and hopefully, it will help you pick the right mic for you as well.


Audio Technica AT2020 XLR Review – Best Microphone For Recording Rap

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Black
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
  • Custom engineered low mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response

If I could marry a microphone, it would be the AT2020. This microphone is reliable as a tank and the sound quality is the best (Especially for rap vocals).

I love the fact that it really captures your natural voice. Thanks to it’s awesome “Flat response” or in other words, how you sound in real life is how you will sound on this microphone. Rapping at home is actually quite fun with this one.

I’ve recorded rap vocals on the AT2020 microphone for 3 straight years (On and off), dropped it several times and it still worked like a boss.


Audio Technica AT2035 Review

Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Bundle with Pop Filter with 2 Layered Mesh and 10-foot XLR Cable
  • Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source
  • Large diaphragm for smooth, natural sound and low noise
  • Pop Filter to eliminate the annoying "plosives" from your recordings
  • 10ft. XLR Cable to connect the mic to your mixer or interface

This is AT2020’s big brother. This mic is a little bit different than the AT2020 on some technical things but overall, it’s just another great mic.

I found my “rap voice” with the AT2020 so I’m going to stick with it but this is also right up there.

The AT2035 happens to be the first xlr microphone for most so you can’t go wrong with this one either.

Most actually prefer it over the Rode NT1-A. Including singers.

Great for rap vocals and recording other live instruments (Guitar, drums, etc) as well. As far as I’m concerned, I think the AT2020 and 2030 are the best Audio Technica mic for rap


Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package

Rode NT1-A-MP Stereo Studio Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphones, Matched Pair
  • ENSURE YOU BUY GENIUNE RØDE PRODUCTS! Products from sellers which say ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ under the price are NOT authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
  • Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled ‘shipped and sold by Amazon.com’)
  • Large 1” capsule with gold plated diaphragm. Maximum SPL is 137 dBSPL
  • Cardioid polar pattern; True condenser (externally biased)

This was the package that I got after the AT2020 and love it.

It’s my top pick because the clarity and background noise reduction (None if you adjust your audio interface properly)is really amazing.

Almost everyone in the games loves this microphone. If you’ve decided to finally record rap vocals in a professional way, this mic is for you.


Shure SM58 Microphone

Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone (with On Off Switch)
  • Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect
  • Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise
  • Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise
  • Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter

This is Shure SM58. This was the very first microphone I ever used in my life and I can tell you that it recorded my voice just as good on this as I do now with the at2020.

The reason for that is both of these microphones have a pretty ‘flat’ response so what you sound like in real life is what you’ll get out of these.

This is not a condenser microphone but if budget is an issue, this is the best rap microphone you can use to record. Not professional tracks but record just for the fun of it.

Apparently Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J they all use this microphone to record “mixtapes” on these.

If budget is an issue, and you are not sure how good you will sound as a rapper, try learning more about this microphone.

Everyone and their moms use Shure for all kinds of live performances anyways. I believe it’s the top selling microphone of all time. So you will still be in good hands. As far as live performances go, the Shure SM58 is considered one of the top vocal mics for rap.


Blue Spark Condenser Microphone – Best Blue Mic For Rap Vocals

Blue Spark Blackout SL XLR Condenser Mic for Pro Recording and Streaming (137)
  • XLR connection integrated perfectly with USB audio interfaces and mixers
  • Custom, large-diaphragm cardioid condenser capsule for superbly detailed, focused sound
  • Blue’s Class-A JFET electronics deliver rich harmonic audio
  • 100Hz low cut filter increases clarity, reducing rumble from your room or desk

First and foremost, don’t get it twisted . . . this is not the Blue Yeti like all these amateurs keep talking about on Youtube. That Blue Yeti is USB mic. You don’t record professional tracks on a USB mic.

That said, the Blue mics are actually quite good but like I said, get an XLR version

This Blue Spark is the XLR version.

I wanted to add this just so I can give you guys another option. It comes with it’s own pop filter but I recommend you use an additional one (A proper one).

So can you rap on a Blue Yeti mic?

From what I hear, this is a great mic for recording rap music as well and still better than the Rode NT1A for rapping.

Just don’t get a multi pattern condenser mic (USB powered or not) as they good for recording instruments more than a single person’s voice.

Blue makes a couple of other great condenser mics like:

  1. The Blue Bluebird Mic (Amazon Link)
  2. Blue Snowball Mic (Amzon Link) – Great for spitting raps but not for professional recording as it’s USB powered. Feel free to record mixtapes on these though.

Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone

Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone, Nickel
  • Large-diaphragm microphone with cardioid directional characteristic (pressure gradient transducer)
  • Compact Neumann design
  • Very high maximum sound pressure level (144 dB)
  • Slight presence boost above 6 kHz helps vocals to shine in the mix

I wanted to feature this microphone here because I’ve heard this is what a lot of the popular rappers use including Chief Keef. Once you make it, recording professional rap music with the Neumann becomes the norm.

This is the one I would love to try in the near future as well.

Like when I decide to release a song and if it goes big or what not, than I will definitely look into this.

That said, when this track goes big and I’m still using AT2020, I’m not sure if I’ll ever change my mic. Why take a chance when things are already working right?

The Numann TLM 102 condenser microphone still is definitely worth trying it out though.

One thing I always say is if the professionals are using it, you should at least try it once.

One of the most high end microphones around for sure and considered one of the best condenser mics for rapping.


How To Make Rap Vocals Sound Professional

You know how most people on the internet say “Oh it’s not the mic, it’s how you EQ or how you mix. That’s what makes the difference bla bla bla . . .”.

Well that is completely false.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that it was probably someone on Youtube who made that statement.

As I always say, which also happens to be one of the core values of this site:

“Only Learn From Professionals!”

Basically, only take advice from people who have the results you want.

Everything else is just opinions of people who never so called “made it”.

How can someone give you something they don’t have? Seriously think about this . . .

Not just when it comes to making music but life in general.

No judgments but if that’s what you want to be? That’s fine.

However, if your goal is to be a professional rapper, simply use the same equipment as they do.

Common sense right?

If you can’t afford it than start putting a certain amount of money aside every month while you develop your rap voice. Do whatever it takes so even if you never make it, you can hold your head up high and say “At least I gave it my best shot!”

Anyways, so I recently discovered “EQ-ing” isn’t everything and needless to say, I was quite upset. Especially when you think about all the years wasted, it doesn’t really make you feel good. That said, I’m glad I did. Better late than never.

Let’s keep it moving . . .

So there is recording rap vocals (Microphones mentioned above) and then there is recording “professional” rap vocals.

The difference is professional quality vocals is what you hear when you stream your favorite artist on Spotify, etc. It’s the vocals you hear on your TV or any other place where commercial rap songs or trap music is played.

My guess is eventually, you would want your work to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Right?

So how do you record professional quality vocals?

You use one of these two microphones.

In fact, my studio monitors are from Neumann too.

Almost all the rap songs that you and I ever heard or will hear on the radio, streaming services, etc were recorded on one of these two main professional recording microphones (At least the majority of professional rappers do).

It’s either the Neumann U87 or the Sony C800g. In particular, it would be the Neumann u87 as the preferred choice.

A lot of the new rappers today may use the Nuemann TLM 103 every now and then (Usually when recording on the road) but in the studio, it’s almost always the Neumann U87.

If you look at this percentage wise, 80 percent of rappers use U87. The other use the Sony C880g. Of course it’s a fairly broad guess  but you get the idea.

How Did I Discover This Holy Grail Of Professional Microphones?

Well I was in the process of getting an AT2020 XLR version (As I mentioned earlier) but decided to do just a little bit more research. I was like “Man I want that professional crisp sound. I love the AT2020 but I have a bigger budget now, maybe I should stop being so cheap and invest more?”.

One thing led to another and it turns out the Neumann TLM 102 (Although used by a lot of rappers) is more of a back up for these famous rappers. I even saw Lil Pump’s producer holding the TLM 102 mic (Apparently Essketit was recorded on it).

However, it’s the Neumann U87 that takes the cake.

Think about it guys . . . If professional quality rap vocals could be recorded on other microphones, why would these super established companies continue to make them and why would you find a Neumann U87 in every established professional music studio around?

Especially studios that have worked with famous rappers.

Sometimes you just have to exercise your common sense.

Anyways, I wanted to confirm this with real data.

I contacted a few of the local recording studios in my own city and sent them the following email:

Professional Recording Microphones Used In Studios


These are the responses:

Neumann U87 used in professional studios.


My rap session in a professional music studio


I also did some additional research:

Rappers That Use Neumann U87 Microphone


I also found similar support for the Sony C800 but it seems like it’s more of a personal preference.

Soulja Boy uses Neumann U67 and Sony C800

Just so you know, the U67 Soulja Boy is referring to is also a Neumann| Amazon Link.


Sony C800 is also used as a professional microphone.


That’s all the evidence I needed.

So if you want to rap, rap as much as you want but if you want to do it at a professional level, get what the pros have.

You just have to ask yourself one thing, are you in it just for fun, or do you want to take it to the next level as well?

The worst that could happen is you’ll figure out if rapping is a good career choice for you or not.

If it ain’t, well at least you gave it your best shot and that’s something to be proud of.

It will also help you move to the next stage of your life, whatever that may be. Sometimes, you have to put some skin in the game and get out of your comfort zone.

Choosing A Professional Microphone

Doing all this research also gave me a genius idea.

To find the best mic for your voice, all you need to do is get in a professional studio and record some raps.

Don’t waste your time on Youtube listening to people who are more interested in acting “funny” and have no real results in the music world.

None whatsoever.

They guys are the “almost” successful people.

If you follow them, you’ll become an “almost” successful person too.

If that’s your goal, great but if you want to be a real successful rapper, learn from people who are doing it.

There is a difference between being a rapper and social media clout chaser. Nothing wrong with either of them (Whatever works for you) but if you want to be a professional, go find a professional and learn from them.

So the best way to find the best professional microphone for your voice is:

  1. Go to a professional recording studio.
  2. Pay them a few hundred bucks.
  3. Try out different professional microphones and get their expert opinion.
  4. Keep rapping (One of the microphones before the Neumann and Sony C800) and start saving up for the mic that sounded the best.
  5. That’s it!

It’s better to spend a few hundred bucks at a studio than waste years of your life trying to figure out why you don’t sound professional. Which will eventually get you frustrated and you might even quit without giving your goal a proper shot.

At least this way you would know what mic is right for your voice and finally discover that missing piece to your rapping journey.

It may also be that rap might not be your thing and it’s best to find something else. At least you had the guts to go all the way with it.

Some people are delusional and spend their whole lives chasing something they shouldn’t. There is probably something even more amazing for you out there that was waiting to reveal it self but only until you took the step to go all they way with this music bug you have.

Either way, you win.

Kind of like when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got injured in football (Which was his true passion) but the universe turned him towards wrestling. Now he’s one of the most popular and successful movie stars of all time.

Point is it’s not whether you achieve your dreams, it’s having the guts to move towards them in the first place.

If anything, it will lead you to something new for sure. The rest will sort it self out.

Work hard and be kind (Most important) and good things will happen.

By the way, I’m in the process of setting up a session in a professional music studio and I will let you know what mic worked for me.

UPDATE: October 14th, 2018.

I finally got a chance to record at a professional studio, this is what happened.


After Recording Vocals At A Professional Music Studio

WARNING: What you are about to read will shock you but it’s the absolute truth on finding the best PROFESSIONAL microphone for your voice.

So just to be clear, a professional microphone is something professionals use to record vocals that you hear on tracks today.

If you are listening to a song on Spotify, on the radio or wherever professional music is played, it was recorded on a professional mic?

Are we clear?

Okay let’s keep it moving . . .

When you read about a good rap microphone online, all you see is the same old re-hashed information about getting a Shure, a Rode NT1A or a Neumann, etc.

What if I tell you that’s it’s all false!.

Recently, I had the pleasure of recording rap vocals at a studio that is owned by Bryan Adams called The Warehouse Studio.

He’s a Canadian rock legend and man if I may, his studio is absolutely amazing.

List of microphones

Some real professional musicians have recorded here for years including rockstars, rappers and the list goes on.

So needless to say, I was finally at the right spot and about to discover the best mic for my voice.

Anyways, so I booked a session with a music producer (Matt. H) there. These guys are so cool that they actually connected me with someone who ‘specializes’ in trap music. Young dude who’s knowledge about recording music just blew me away. After getting there, he helped me try out three different kinds of mics.

First it was the Neumann that you keep hearing about. Well guess what, it wasn’t right for ‘my voice’.

Next he put on a (Take a deep breath), a twenty thousand dollar mic. Yes that’s correct! Heck he pulled it out from a case that looked like it belonged to James Bond or something.

Professional records are not recorded on microphones that are really common online, they are recorded on professional microphones that you and I haven’t even heard off.

So the twenty thousand mic was slightly better for my voice but than he puts on another popular mic by Manley (Bet you never heard of them before either) and that seemed to do the job just right.

I was actually surprised to find the Manley Gold mic on Amazon too. This was the exact mic I recorded on.

Manley REFGOLD Condenser Microphone, Multipattern
  • Capsule hand-built in Northern California to reference-quality standards
  • Custom-wound Manley output transformer for that big MANLEY sound!
  • Continuously variable pattern selector makes it possible to fine-tune the polar pattern to find the desired sonic character
  • Rugged, high-quality outboard power supply

So did it make a difference?

To be honest, the clarity with these mics is absolutely insane. There is a reason why these microphones are on a whole another level and why professional music studios carry them.

Vocal Tips Shared By A Professional Music Engineer / Producer

I learned that vocals can be “dark” or “bright”.

Matt also shared some tips on how I can improve my “nasal” voice.

As far as which microphone is the best, he said something that is echoed pretty much everywhere. It doesn’t matter what mic you use when you are starting out, the point is are you good?

Are you giving it your all?

Are you taking it seriously or rapping just to “feel” like a rapper?

For example, Matt mentioned that the late famous rapper xxxtentacion started off on USB mics (Not even XLR). Heck even his tracks that got him signed, etc were made on USB.

So it doesn’t matter what you start on the point is you start.

If you are good and consistent and keep putting your work out there, eventually it will catch someone’s attention sooner or later.

Point is keep going and if you really want to stop wasting time on which rap microphone is right for you (At a professional level), go to a professional studio. So you can get the right advice that’s right for your voice.

As I said earlier, don’t waste your time on silly forums and listening to people on Youtube who have ZERO clue on recording rap vocals.

If they were successful producers or rappers themselves, they would be busy producing not making silly Youtube videos.

How many Youtube videos Metro Boomin have put out? What about Dr. Dre? They might do interviews but that’s it.

Remember this incredible thing that I got from my current mentor Dan Lok (Super successful business guy) . . .

“If you take their advice, you take their life”.

Remember that.


How to hold a mic when rapping?

I haven’t performed live in front of an audience with a mic yet (Unless you count doing karaoke) so I can’t give you proper advice on this.

That said, when rapping, it’s always smart to have about 2-3 inches of space between the diaphragm of the mic and your mouth. It’s actually one of the most common mic techniques for rapping.

If you have a loud voice, just increase that distance or the opposite if it’s softer. Once you start recording /  performing often, you’ll develop better mic control naturally. Needless to say, proper mic placement for rap vocals or any vocals is essential.


What is the best usb microphone for rapping?

Well have you heard of the phrase “You’re asking the wrong questions?”, this is one of them.

You don’t rap on USB microphones. Is there something like the best usb mic for recording rap? Sure. I’ll go with the AT2020 USB version. That said, they are more of a backup or to record ideas when a real mic (Xlr mic) is not around. In fact the XLR version is considered on of the best 100 rapping mics and definitely in the top 10 mics for rap vocals around.

Okay if you’re practicing or in the process of releasing mixtapes / just random recordings I get that. Basically if you’re at a beginner level than why not. I can forgive that.

However, if you are planning to release a real track on Soundcloud or Youtube, get yourself an xlr microphone. The Blue baby bottle mic seems like a popular choice for recording rap vocals as well. I’ve personally haven’t tried it so I can’t recommend it.

Seen lots of people use it though so it I would say it’s definitely a good rapping mic.

However, they are mostly just Youtubers so that doesn’t really help now does it?

As far as USB microphones for rapping go that I’ve actually used, the AT2020 is a great choice.


What is the disc in front of a rap microphone?

The “disc” you are referring to is called a pop filter. It actually comes in various shapes but the most common one it’s the circular pop filter.

The objective of a pop filter is to stop any “pops” or “spit” sounds to sneak into your recording. A pop filter also dramatically reduces noise or background noise that may sneak into your microphone while rapping. The whole idea is to get a nice clean Vocal Track. Overall, it’s a must-have.


What is the best microphone for recording rap vocals?

This actually depends on your voice or what type of voice do you want to portray as a rapper. Are you interested in using autotune, do you want to use some other effects or just do it raw and add minor common adjustments like EQ, general mic setting and things like that to it.

So first you have to decide is what kind of rap voice do you want or what is your rap voice. This is very important when you are just starting to rap for the first time. If you really want to be a success or at least stand out in the rap game than a unique voice or style will only help. Like when you hear the rapper 6ixty9ine, you know it’s 6ixty9ine when you hear DMX you know it’s DMX when you hear Future,  you definitely know it’s future right so play around with what kind of sound works for you.

So keep rapping in different styles until it’s comfortable for you and sounds cool as well.

However if you’re just looking for a general mic to get started and something that is really common in the industry, I do have a few suggestions:

If you don’t have a manly voice, the the AT2020 or anything by Shure microphones.

If you have that typical rap voice strong manly Alpha voice then go with the play around with the rode nt1a. it’s super clear and these days they’re putting out so amazing packages especially for students or beginners.

A good tip here’s to look at the ‘frequency chart’ of each microphone.

Rode NT1 A Frequency Chart

 

So what’s the best mic for rap?

Rule of thumb, find a microphone that first captures your natural voice in the closest way possible and then add any kind of special effects or what not that you feel like. Reason for this is if you do put out a hit or two and when it comes time to perform it live, you want to make sure that you sound close enough to your original recording as possible.


What mic does Yo Gotti raps on?

It seems like Yo Gotti raps with the Rode. Not sure which model but his video with Wacka Flocka in the studio shows he’s recording on a Rode. Also to get that Yo Gotti voice, you need to add a bunch of effects.

There is no such thing as a ‘voice changing’ mic. The ‘changing’ part occurs with mixing, eq-ing, etc.

You need to play around in the studio to create that ‘rugged’ voice etc.


Is the BM700 a good mic?

If you look at the price range, most likely not but if you get an xlr version of the BM700 mic, than you’ll get better results. The BM700 is a good starter mic or a beginner mic but not meant for professional recording. Kind of like the Samson Meteor.

Get a decent mic from the beginning so you can finally figure out how you want to sound like a rapper without wasting much time. If you’re rapping for fun, go for it. Heck you can use an earphone mic for fun lol. However, if you’re gut is hell-bent turning you into a pro rapper, get a better mic.

I would like you to make an informed decision so do your own research as well.

Samson Meteor on Amazon

Is the SM7 Mic Good?

Well this mic seems to show up in pretty much all professional rap studios. Known as a “workhorse”, the SM7 is great for rappers and singers alike. If you can get your hands on on of these bad boys, you’re pretty much on your way. This may be my next upgrade.

SM7 on Amazon


Anatomy of a Rap Microphone

When selecting a microphone for rapping, you need to take the following in consideration:

Anatomy of a Rap Microphone

 

Windscreen:
This is the outside of the mic (The silver casing). A windscreen is usually divided into two parts. Top and bottom. It’s designed to protect everything inside your mic and help channel your voice properly through it.

Diaphragm:
Now you don’t really see it in this diagram but a diaphragm is inside a mic. A windscreen job is to protect the diaphragm which is the heart of every mic. Every mic model has it’s own unique diaphragm. That’s what makes it different from others. Condenser diaphragms are different from dynamic and so on.

Rule of thumb is the less ‘gangsta’ your voice is, the bigger of a diaphragm you will need. So if your voice is like mine (Sound like a little boy rapping), you need a mic with a larger diaphragm.

USB / XLR Connector:
At the bottom of the mic is usually where you connect a power source. It’s either a USB cable or a XLR output. As mentioned a few times, if you are recording tracks, use and XLR output. XLR will eliminate any background noise (Considering you did do a good job eq-ing and setting it up properly) and than you can record like the professionals.


How to rap into a microphone?

Let`s first pretend that you actually have a good quality rap mic, to begin with. First, you have to establish proper distance.

Practice rapping at 4 inches. It seems to be the ideal distance for most rappers. After recording a few bars, if you still don’t sound as good as you want to, then it’s time to change the distance first.

If you rap like Snoop Dogg (Have a soft voice) or like 21 Savage, then try rapping much closer to the microphone. If you have a typical ‘gangsta’ rap voice, then try creating more than 4 inches of distance.

Also remember that since you are going to be making a lot of tracks, you need to find your ‘natural’ style of rapping first. Don’t pretend to be ‘hard’ on the mic if you normally don’t rap. Or you’ll burn yourself out fairly quick (Probably won’t sound good either).

Peter Thomas
Peter is a well-known guitar teacher in Ealing. He’s taught hundreds of guitarists of all levels, covering everything from rock and pop to jazz and classical.Have a question, need some help, or want to give your opinion? Drop us a comment below!