I know what you’re thinking, “What does this white guy know about rap songs?” Well, I’m no Eminem, but I do know my music, and I’ve been home recording for years. I’ll say this, my buddies and I have always been imaginative.
Even when we were in college, my roommate (who later turned into my bandmate) have always enjoyed experimenting with different kinds of music. It’s one of the joys of being young, every day is an adventure. Plus, rapping provides the ultimate raw experience that you might not find anywhere else. And that’s why I thoroughly recommend just about anybody to explore their horizons and branch out to new music genres. But this guide isn’t about diversifying your musical abilities, it’s about buying the right equipment to build a successful rapper career for yourself.
But alas, investing in the best mics can be quite a challenge. It most definitely was for me when I was first starting off. And that’s primarily why I don’t want others to make the same mistakes as I. In this guide, I’ll be including a selection of some of my favorite rapping mics. While the fundamentals of buying the right gear stay the same, I’m sure this detailed guide will help you in making a much more informed decision.
Here Are The Best Rapping Microphones
Buying the wrong equipment can end up being very pricy (I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes!). Doing thorough research is immensely important if you don’t want money to go down the drain. Anyway, here is a list of some of my favorite picks:
1. Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The Audio Technica AT4040 is one of my favorite microphones to work with. Its exceptional quality makes it incredibly durable hence you can expect it to last for a couple of years. Plus, the brand had worked very hard to maintain quality audio standards. Anyway, coming back to the actual product, the AT4040 is a budget-friendly mic that offers a great value for money.
I have used it for some of our rapping sessions, and we’ve found that it can work with practically anything you throw at it. Additionally, its fast response makes it a spectacular fit for rappers. I personally liked how the mic came with a nice carry case along with a velvet cover. You’ll also get a spidery shock mount that’ll help you maintain a firm grip. Aside from recording rap vocals, I have found that it is quite versatile and can also be used for drums and vocals. The pop filter also does justice to the sound and works quite well. (We’ve mentioned some great tips on how to reduce echo here).
I was very impressed by the sound quality since the mic is quite adaptable, it is quite easy to work with in regards to overhead placement. If you’re not satisfied with the output, I’d suggest you adjust the mic or switch on the filter – that’s sure to make a notable improvement.
Some notable features of the Audio-Technica AT4040 include:
- A large diaphragm that offers smooth results
- High SPL capability, making the mic incredibly versatile
- Transformerless circuitry that reduces problems such as low-frequency distortion
- Offers a variety of studio applications
2. Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
Now, I’ve always been a fan of bundles. Not only do you save up on cash but you’re also able to save time in the long run. Anyway, if you’re like me and would like to invest in a bundle, the Rode NT1-A is a great choice. This beauty of a cardioid condenser microphone offers an incredibly dynamic range. It is considered as one of the best (and also one of the most expensive) mics in town. But that’s only because the brand has an amazing reputation for manufacturing quality products.
Aside from its brilliant performance, the nickel plated body is stunning to work with. This pretty much enhances user experience. What I truly liked about this bundle is that it has everything you couple possibly need to get started: a shock mount, dust cover, 20-inch microphone cable, pop shield along with a NT1-A Studio Secrets DVD. The DVD includes a couple of tips and tricks for recording. I’ll be honest, I mostly skimmed through it, but it could prove to be quite helpful for beginners.
I’ve also found that this mic creates very little noise on its own, making it create for recording rap songs that heavily revolve around singing instead of beats.
Above all, Rode has been in the industry since the 1990s and has been able to earn quite a reputation for itself. It is definitely a brand you should invest in if you’re particular about quality and want to work with world-class standard equipment. This is undoubtedly one of my go-to microphones, it also comes with a 10-year warranty, so you know you’ve made a secure purchase.
Some notable features that I liked about this product:
- 5dB (A) self-noise resulting in smooth and flawless recording
- Cardioid polar pattern which further makes the mic great for rap vocals
- 10-year extended warranty
- Transformerless surface mount
3. MXL Genesis Flagship Tube Condenser Rap Microphone
Now you’ve probably already heard of this awesome mic. It certainly doesn’t fall in your usual ‘budget-friendly’ category, but you get what you pay for, right? I bought this when I was finally ready to take a leap with my home-recording journey. You see, it’s perfectly fine to buy cheap gear when you’re just a beginner but if you’re planning to make a living out of this, you’ll have to buckle up.
The MXL Genesis may seem expensive at first glance but it actually performs better than mics that are priced at a much higher rate. With the Genesis, you can expect clean highs and warm mids, making it an excellent choice for serious recording professionals. Retaining its spot as the flagship of the MXL family, I’d say I was pretty impressed by this product.
Also, the Mullard 12AT7 is deemed as one of the best in the world. And finally, I really liked the look of the microphone. Everything else I own is mostly grey, black or blue (this has nothing to do with fragile masculinity!) and then here’s this stunning beauty. The gold sputtered diaphragm will take your breath away – this is also one of my girlfriend’s favorite mics! So, if you’re looking for a high-end mic that’s also incredibly versatile, I believe that you’ve found the perfect fit.
Some notable features of this product include:
- Spectacular diaphragm for clear-cut recording, perfect for rap vocals
- Offers frequency response of about 20Hz to 20kHz
- Mic offers a rich vintage sound that’s great for vocals
- Mogami cable that leads to excellent sound fidelity
4. Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
The Shure PGA48-XLR is another one of my favorites. It’s a relatively budget-friendly mic that is designed to increase the frequency range of speech. It includes an adapter that can be used for mounting the mic to the stand. I also loved that it came with a zipper pouch which is quite convenient to use, plus it makes storage much easier, especially if you’re traveling.
What I loved about this purchase is that that the mic seemed to perform great practically everywhere I’d go. This was quite impressive considering that this is a budget-friendly piece of equipment. I have used it for recording a couple of rap songs from time to time and I’ve found that the design itself is designed to reduce background noise. Additionally, the PG Alta also does a spectacular job when it comes to increasing reliability, making it high-quality gear.
Best of all, this beauty is designed to tailor frequency according to vocals. I have personally found that the frequency range is between 70 and 15,000Hz. Plus, with the awesome cardioid polar pattern, the Shure PGA48-XLR does a pretty fine job when it comes to detecting rap vocals while eliminating all kinds of distortions. My band and I have used this particular model in a number of different settings but we’ve found that is handles high volume quite well and does not pick up much feedback in a noisy setting.
This is all thanks to the rugged coil that is designed to handle extreme levels of volume. Not to mention, the metal construction further does a fine job in terms of increased durability.
Some other specs that I thoroughly liked about the Shure PGA48-XLR included:
- Innovative tailored microphone cartridge. This makes it possible for the mic to adjust itself according to vocals
- Cardioid polar pattern that does a brilliant job in picking up audio while avoiding distortions
- On/off switch that makes it easier for users to operate the microphone
- Includes zipper pouch for storage and easy transportation
5. AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Vocal Condenser Microphone
You have to admit, the AKG Pro looks as stunning as ever with its golden capsule that instantly catches one’s eyes. What I loved most about this particular model is that it includes a whopping number of nine polar patterns which results in the best sonic capture. The peak hold LED does a fantastic job and displays even the shortest overload peaks. So if you have the budget to afford this beauty, I’d say you should definitely go ahead with the purchase.
Aside from recording rap vocals, I’ve also used this mic for numerous other settings, in other words, it is thoroughly versatile. This model also offers a more drastic peak that results in better transparency.
Till this date, the AKG proves to be one of my favorites, mainly because of its superior high-end clarity. I’ve also managed to achieve crisp audio when recording a bunch of instruments. The incredibly high 158dB SPL enables folks to use the mic to record guitars and drums too. I’d say that this is a great mic for professionals who are serious about their careers and are looking to make an investment of a lifetime.
Yes, the price is pretty steep but buying the wrong equipment can be costly in the long run too, don’t you think?
Here are a couple of features that helps this product stand out:
- Excellent audio reproduction feature
- Multiple pickup patterns to choose from according to your needs
- Amazing locking feature that locks up the pickup pattern
- Smooth highs, making it an excellent fit for recording rap songs
6. Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone
Now, this is another expensive mic that I was compelled to put on this list. I know it’s quite costly, but if you’re a professional who doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars, this is it. The TLM 102 MT is a state of the art condenser mic that performs exceptionally well, producing clear and detailed sound. I believe this product is great for rap vocals since it offers just the right transparency and presence of frequency. Owing to its insanely attractive design, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t mind adding this gear to your home-recording studio.
What really attracted my attention towards this model was its relatively small size. I actually needed a travel-friendly condenser mic, and this one proved to be the best according to my budget. It features nickel and satin black finishes, making the quality insanely top-notch. I also loved that the Neumann TLM 102 MT comes with an integrated pop filter which does a good job in avoiding damage to the equipment.
While I’ve used this mic for various gigs, I’d say it works best for vocals but you can of course experiment with acoustic guitars and other instruments if you want.
Here are some features that allow the Neumann TLM 102 MT to stand out:
- Large-diaphragm microphone with cardioid directional pickup
- Choose from Matte black or nickel finish (I bought the black one)
- High sound pressure level for a great output
- Small, compact design, great for traveling
7. CAD Audio U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone
When it comes to mics, professionals tend to stay away from the USB kind, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The CAD Audio U37 is an exceptional quality microphone that offers warm sounds for rich recordings. I bought this model when I was in need of a fuss-free mic for my home recording sessions. And as much as I like all of my high-end gear, I was quite impressed by how well this product performed, considering its low price tag.
As far as the specifications are concerned, the cardioid pickup pattern is designed to minimize background noise. Plus, the bass-reduction switch also reduces noise which further prevents the mic from picking up feedback from noisy surroundings. I also liked how I didn’t have to install anything on my computer when working with the U37. The mic is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh hence that will also steer away minor inconveniences.
Overall, I really liked the results of this mic and I’m sure you will too (if you’re in need of budget-friendly equipment). Despite the low price, the extended frequency response is worth raving about. I’ve also found that this product does a decent job when it comes to recording instruments. Aside from this, the customer service provided by CAD is pretty amazing. If you experience any problems, you can reach out to them.
Here are some other features that I’d like highlight:
- Large condenser microphone that performs well
- -10dB overload protection which drastically minimizes distortion
- Features a 10-foot USB cable that makes mic placement rather easy
- Includes a desktop mic stand
8. Pyle Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal Microphone
This Pyle Classic Retro might as well become your favorite if you’re a fan of vintage equipment. I personally loved the look of this old school edition, owing to its stunning design. Apart from its darn good looks, the mic offers great voice clarity thanks to its high signal output. The built-in acoustic pop filter that further improves sound output.
As far as the price is concerned, this is a pretty budget-friendly mic that won’t break the bank. I especially liked how the feel of the product is sturdy and not flimsy. This can usually become the case if you purchase a low-priced product. Your purchase will also include a 16-feet XLR cable that makes connecting the mic to other equipment rather easily. I’ve found that this model does a decent job when recording rap songs and has a unidirectional polar pattern. The mic also includes a built-in mic stand adapter that makes the Pyle Classic incredibly convenient to use. My friends and I have also used it for karaoke a couple of times and it did a pretty good job.
While the design might look retro and old fashioned, its internal technology is on par with current standards. The moving coil elements and polar patterns ensure the sound quality turns out decent. Additionally, I was also impressed by the frequency response rate. I also liked how this mic is compatible with just about any mica stand in the market. This will allow you to adjust the angle practically any way you want according to your convenience.
Here are some notable features of this iconic mic that you ought to know about:
- Studio-tested designed for best results
- Intense steel mesh grill and rugged construction
- High signal output that ultimately results in better voice clarity
Factors to Consider When Buying The Right Mic
Well, high-quality mics don’t usually come cheap so you probably don’t want your money to go to waste. In my experience, here are some factors you should thoroughly consider when purchasing a microphone:
Types of Mic
When purchasing gear for recording rap vocals, you’re better off investing in a condenser mic. While some dynamic mics may perform well, I suggest you try your best bet with some of top picks mentioned in this detailed guide.
Now this is something that you shouldn’t rule out at all. I hate flimsy mics that not only look cheap but don’t perform as well. Always invest in good quality products, even if you have to save up a bit more to increase your budget. It’s also worth keeping mind that not all high-quality gear is likely to be expensive. If you do thorough research, you should be able to find some pretty good stuff even if you don’t have an extravagant budget.
Product warranty is a display of how committed a company is to its customers. And let’s admit, who wouldn’t want a chance to redeem a new product in case something goes wrong with their old purchase. Invest in a brand that’s determined to look out for its customers and go the extra mile. Good customer service can significantly improve your user experience.
Are you only looking for a mic or do you want the whole deal? Added accessories, even if it’s just a dust cover can significantly increase the value of your purchase. However, it’s worth mentioning that most mics that include accessories typically end up costing more so be prepared to splurge if you have to.
I don’t mean to sound stingy here but budget (along with the quality of the product) is usually my prime factor when purchasing equipment. If you’re a beginner, you will probably do fine with a conventional USB mic but if you’re actually trying to a living out of this then you might have to reconsider your options. Buying a pre-loved or used mic may also be a good option if you don’t want to comprise on quality. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to avail benefits such as warranties.
Either way, keep a budget in mind when selecting a mic for yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my detailed guide on picking the right equipment for recording rap music. I’m sure this information will come in handy for you one way or the other if you’re buying a new mic for rapping.
Is there something you’d like to add? Tell me in the comment’s section below! I’d love to learn more about your personal reviews for these products.