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The Best Microphones For Recording Rap Vocals

Exploring the Top Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals: Unveiling Clarity and Character

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the best microphones for recording rap vocals.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll cover the most expensive options first, and then move into the budget category towards the end.

Definitely bookmark it and check back often as I add to and/or take away from the list.

With that, let’s roll!

Introduction

In the world of music production, capturing the raw essence and energy of a rap performance is of paramount importance.

The right microphone can make all the difference in ensuring that every nuanced word, rhythm, and emotion is accurately recorded.

This article delves into the realm of rap vocal recording and presents a comprehensive overview of the best microphones available for this specific genre.

From classic industry standards to innovative newcomers, we will explore a range of options that promise to elevate your rap vocals to new heights.

Before delving into the specifics of individual microphones, it’s crucial to understand the two primary microphone types commonly used for recording rap vocals: dynamic and condenser microphones.

Dynamic Microphones

Shure SM57 Review

Dynamic microphones are known for their durability, versatility, and resistance to high sound pressure levels.

These microphones are ideal for capturing rap vocals with intense energy and projection.

The design of dynamic microphones includes a diaphragm attached to a coil of wire placed within the magnetic field of a magnet. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it moves within the magnetic field, inducing an electrical current that represents the sound signal.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are known for their exceptional sensitivity, capturing intricate details and nuances of rap vocal performances.

They require a power source (phantom power) to maintain a constant charge across the diaphragm.

Condenser microphones are especially well-suited for capturing the subtleties in rap vocals, making them a preferred choice for many recording studios.

With that, let’s dive in.

#16

Neumann U87

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!

Specifications

  • Type: Large-diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Polar Patterns: Omnidirectional, Cardioid, and Figure-8 (bidirectional)
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 20 mV/Pa at 1 kHz into 1 kΩ load
  • Max SPL (Sound Pressure Level): 117 dB for 0.5% THD, 127 dB for 0.5% THD with pre-attenuation
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 74 dB (A-weighted)
  • Equivalent Noise Level: 10 dB (A-weighted)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Recommended Load Impedance: 1 kΩ
  • Power Supply: 48V phantom power
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Dimensions: 56 mm diameter, 200 mm length
  • Weight: 500 g
  • Included Accessories: Wooden box, shock mount, windscreen (foam cover)

For artists and producers seeking a touch of luxury in their rap vocal recordings, the Neumann U87 stands as a pinnacle of excellence.

Revered for its pristine audio quality and unparalleled craftsmanship, the U87 is a condenser microphone that offers exceptional detail and warmth.

Its three selectable polar patterns—cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight—grant engineers the flexibility to experiment with different room acoustics and recording techniques.

The U87’s extended frequency response captures every subtle inflection and texture in a rap performance, making it an ideal choice for artists who want their lyrics and emotions to be conveyed with utmost precision.

While it might be considered an investment, the Neumann U87 delivers a level of sophistication that can truly elevate rap vocal recordings.

#15

Neumann TLM 103

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!

Specifications

In the realm of high-end professional recording, the Neumann TLM 103 stands as a testament to precision engineering and sonic excellence.

As a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the TLM 103 has earned its reputation as a go-to choice for capturing rap vocals with uncompromising clarity and detail.

The microphone’s cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound capture, effectively isolating rap vocals from unwanted background noise and room reflections.

The TLM 103’s extended frequency response captures the full spectrum of vocal nuances, from the subtlest whispers to the most powerful shouts, with exceptional accuracy.

Neumann’s commitment to craftsmanship and sonic quality is evident in the TLM 103’s transparent and uncolored sound reproduction.

Its low self-noise and high dynamic range contribute to its ability to faithfully capture the dynamic and emotional range of rap performances.

Whether used for capturing intimate vocal moments or high-energy rap deliveries, the TLM 103’s precision and sophistication make it a favored choice among professional rap artists and producers.

With a legacy of delivering pristine sound quality across a wide range of recording applications, the TLM 103 continues to be a sought-after tool for artists and producers who demand the utmost accuracy and fidelity in their rap vocal recordings.

In fact, a friend of mine who rapped on a lot of my beats used and swore by a TLM103. All of his recordings came out incredible.

In addition to that,

he ran a business selling studio time and the TLM103 was at the forefront of the operation. He was able to get away with charging higher prices because of just how good the mic is.

The air and sparkle that it can add to the human voice are delicate yet extremely detailed.

Furthermore, because of its superb frequency response, you won’t need to EQ nearly as much as it’s a bit easier to get a good take.

#14

AKG C414

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!

Specifications

Recognized as a versatile workhorse, the AKG C414 is a multipattern condenser microphone that has found favor in a wide range of recording scenarios, including rap vocals.

Word on the street is that rapper Ice Cube actually used one of these back in the day. Don’t quote me on that, but I read it on the internet a while ago, so it must be true. xD

Its nine selectable polar patterns allow engineers to fine-tune the microphone’s sensitivity and directionality, enabling them to adapt to various vocal styles and recording environments.

The C414’s transparent and detailed sound reproduction captures the nuances of rap performances with exceptional accuracy.

It boasts a wide dynamic range and low self-noise, ensuring that even the quietest ad-libs and the loudest shouts are captured without compromise.

The AKG C414’s ability to capture rap vocals with clarity and depth has made it a popular choice among professional producers and recording artists alike.

#13

Shure SM7B

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: -59 dBV/Pa (1.12 mV/Pa) at 1 kHz, typical
  • Impedance: 150 ohms nominal
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Open Circuit Sensitivity (at 1 kHz): -54.5 dBV/Pa (2.0 mV)
  • Electromagnetic Hum Sensitivity: 60 Hz: 33 dB, 120 Hz: 20 dB
  • Switches: Bass roll off and midrange emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic markings, flat response setting marked
  • Effective Output Level: -59.0 dBV/Pa (1.12 mV)
  • Connector Type: 3-pin XLR
  • Weight: 1.69 lbs (0.76 kg)
  • Dimensions: Length: 7.5 inches (190mm), Width: 3.75 inches (96mm), Depth: 2.75 inches (70mm)
  • Case: Dark gray enamel aluminum and steel case with dark gray foam windscreen
  • Mounting: Standard 5/8″-27 thread swivel mount, or supplied adjustable mounting bracket

When it comes to recording rap vocals, the Shure SM7B is often regarded as a staple within the music production community.

With a reputation for versatility and ruggedness, the SM7B has graced countless studios and stages for decades.

You may or may not know that Michael Jackson used the original SM7 for his 1982 hit album Thriller.

This makes sense when you consider its ability to handle high sound pressure levels (SPL) because as we all know, Jackson was quite the belter.

Because of this, the 7B is also a suitable choice for capturing powerful rap performances without distortion.

The SM7B’s flat, wide-range frequency response ensures that it accurately captures the full spectrum of rap vocals, from booming lows to crisp highs.

Moreover, the SM7B’s built-in air suspension shock isolation system minimizes handling noise, allowing artists to move freely and expressively during recording sessions.

This microphone’s consistent performance and iconic presence in the industry have solidified its place as a top choice for rap vocal recording.

#12

Electro-Voice RE20

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

Specifications

  1. Type: Dynamic
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (unidirectional)
  3. Frequency Response: 45 Hz – 18 kHz
  4. Impedance: 150 ohms
  5. Sensitivity: 1.5 mV/Pascal @ 1 kHz
  6. Output Connector: 3-pin XLR
  7. Dimensions: 216.7 mm (length) x 54.5 mm (diameter)
  8. Weight: 26.5 oz (0.75 kg)
  9. Accessories: Comes with a stand mount and a durable zippered storage bag.

The Electro-Voice RE20 is a dynamic microphone that has found favor not only in broadcasting but also in music production, including rap vocals.

Its unique Variable-D design minimizes proximity effect, making it well-suited for recording rap artists who move close to the microphone during performances.

The RE20’s smooth and flat frequency response captures rap vocals with a balanced and natural sound.

Its exceptional off-axis rejection reduces ambient noise and minimizes unwanted room reflections, resulting in focused and clean recordings.

The durability and reliability of the Electro-Voice RE20 make it a trusted tool for capturing impactful rap vocal performances.

#11

Heil Sound PR 40

Price: Check Amazon! | Check eBay!

Specifications

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (unidirectional)
  • Frequency Response: 28 Hz – 18 kHz
  • Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
  • Sensitivity: -53 dB @ 1 kHz
  • Output Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Dimensions: 197 mm (length) x 51 mm (diameter)
  • Weight: 13.5 oz (0.38 kg)

The Heil Sound PR 40 is a dynamic microphone that has garnered attention for its versatility and impressive sound quality.

Equipped with a large diaphragm and a unique humbucking coil, the PR 40 is designed to capture clear and natural sound while minimizing electromagnetic interference.

The Humbucking Coil

A humbucking coil, often referred to simply as a humbucker, is a type of electromagnetic coil used in microphones and electric guitars to reduce or eliminate electromagnetic interference and noise, particularly the 60 Hz hum that is common in electronic equipment and electrical systems.

It’s designed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and produce cleaner audio.

In the context of microphones, a humbucking coil is typically used in dynamic microphones to counteract the effects of electromagnetic interference from power lines, lighting systems, and other electronic devices.

This interference can introduce unwanted noise into the microphone signal, degrading the audio quality.

In any event,

The microphone’s wide frequency response and smooth transient response make it well-suited for recording rap vocals with accuracy and depth.

Its cardioid polar pattern helps isolate vocals while reducing background noise, ensuring that rap performances are captured with precision.

The Heil Sound PR 40’s distinctive design and commitment to sonic excellence make it a valuable tool for rap artists and producers aiming to achieve high-quality vocal recordings.

#10

Warm Audio WA-87

Price: Check Amazon!

Specifications

  1. Type: Large-diaphragm Condenser
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Figure-8, Omnidirectional (selectable via switch)
  3. Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  4. Sensitivity: 10 mV/Pa at 1 kHz (1 Pa = 94 dB SPL)
  5. Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  6. Maximum SPL: 125 dB for 0.5% THD
  7. Self-Noise: 9 dBA
  8. Equivalent Noise Level: 16 dBA
  9. Dynamic Range: 116 dB
  10. S/N Ratio: 78 dB
  11. Power Requirement: +48V Phantom Power
  12. Connector: 3-pin XLR
  13. Dimensions: 245.5 mm (length) x 46.2 mm (diameter)
  14. Weight: 1.04 lb (470 g)

Drawing inspiration from the classic Neumann U87, the Warm Audio WA-87 offers a modern take on a legendary microphone design at a more accessible price point.

This condenser microphone aims to replicate the sonic characteristics of its predecessor while adding its own touch of warmth and character.

The WA-87’s vintage-inspired design, coupled with its exceptional sound quality, makes it an attractive option for recording rap vocals.

Its three selectable polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight) provide versatility, allowing artists and engineers to experiment with different recording techniques.

The WA-87’s ability to impart a classic analog vibe to rap vocal recordings makes it a valuable addition to any studio setup.

#9

Beyerdynamic M88 TG

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!

Specifications

  1. Type: Dynamic
  2. Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid
  3. Frequency Response: 30 Hz – 20 kHz
  4. Sensitivity: 2.9 mV/Pa
  5. Nominal Impedance: 200 ohms
  6. Min. Terminating Impedance: 1000 ohms
  7. Maximum SPL: 163 dB (at 1 kHz)
  8. Connector: 3-pin XLR
  9. Dimensions: 47 mm (diameter), 169 mm (length)
  10. Weight: 320 g

The Beyerdynamic M88 TG is a dynamic microphone that has gained popularity for its ability to capture rap vocals with a distinct and vibrant character.

Its tight polar pattern and extended frequency response make it well-suited for isolating rap vocals and rejecting off-axis noise.

The M88 TG’s unique design and construction contribute to its unique sonic signature, which can add a touch of color and warmth to rap vocal recordings.

Its handling of transient details and its capability to handle high SPLs make it an appealing choice for rap artists who deliver dynamic and energetic performances.

With an iconic appearance and sonic personality, the Beyerdynamic M88 TG can bring a new level of character to rap vocal recordings.

#8

AKG C214

Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Coming Soon!

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Large-diaphragm condenser microphone.
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25mm) gold-sputtered diaphragm.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid. This means that the microphone is most sensitive to sound coming from the front and rejects sound from the sides and rear.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz. This indicates the range of frequencies the microphone is capable of capturing.
  • Sensitivity: 20 mV/Pa. This measurement indicates how responsive the microphone is to sound pressure levels.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 81 dB-A. This indicates the microphone’s ability to capture the desired signal (your sound source) while minimizing background noise.
  • Maximum SPL: 136 dB SPL. This is the maximum sound pressure level the microphone can handle before distortion occurs.
  • Pad Switch: The microphone has a -20dB pad switch, which allows you to reduce the microphone’s sensitivity for high-volume sound sources.
  • Low-Cut Filter Switch: The microphone has a switchable low-cut filter at 160Hz, which can help reduce low-frequency rumble and handling noise.
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR.
  • Phantom Power: Requires +48V phantom power.
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 55mm (6.3″ x 2.2″).
  • Weight: 280g (9.9 oz).
  • Included Accessories: The microphone typically comes with an H85 universal shock mount for reducing vibrations and a metal carrying case for protection during transport and storage.

The AKG C214 is a versatile and well-regarded large-diaphragm condenser microphone that has earned its place in the world of rap vocal recording.

Building upon the success of its predecessor, the C414, the C214 offers a more affordable alternative without compromising on sound quality.

With a cardioid polar pattern, the C214 effectively captures rap vocals while minimizing background noise and room reflections.

Its wide frequency response ensures that every vocal nuance, from the deepest lows to the highest highs, is faithfully reproduced.

The microphone’s ability to handle high SPLs makes it a reliable choice for capturing rap performances with impact and clarity.

The C214’s transparent and detailed sound reproduction allows rap artists to express themselves with authenticity and emotion.

Its robust build and reliable performance make it suitable for a range of recording environments, from professional studios to home setups.

Its ability to faithfully capture the intricacies of rap vocals, combined with its user-friendly design and durability, make it a valuable asset in the pursuit of creating rap recordings that resonate with listeners and convey the artist’s unique voice and message.

*Budget All-Stars*

The Best Microphones For Recording Rap Under $300


#7

Lewitt LCT 440 PURE

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Official Review: Coming Soon!

Specifications

  1. Type: Large-diaphragm Condenser
  2. Acoustical Operating Principle: Pressure gradient transducer
  3. Transducer: 25.4 mm, 1″
  4. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  5. Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  6. Sensitivity: 28.5 mV/Pa, -31.2 dBV/Pa
  7. Equivalent Noise Level: 7 dBA
  8. Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 87 dBA
  9. Dynamic Range: 135 dB (A-weighted)
  10. Max. SPL for 0.5% THD: 136 dB
  11. Impedance: 150 ohms
  12. Connector: 3-pin XLR
  13. Dimensions: 138 mm (length) x 52 mm (diameter)
  14. Weight: 450 g

Specifications

The Lewitt LCT 440 PURE is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that offers a clean and transparent sound reproduction, making it a valuable tool for recording rap vocals.

Its cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound capture, while its extended frequency response captures the full range of vocal nuances.

The LCT 440 PURE’s low self-noise and high dynamic range contribute to its ability to capture detailed and expressive rap performances.

Its modern and sleek design, coupled with its reliable build quality, makes it a noteworthy contender in the realm of rap vocal recording.

Whether used in professional studios or home setups, the Lewitt LCT 440 PURE stands as a reliable option for capturing the subtleties and emotions of rap vocals.

#6

Rode NT1-A

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Coming Soon!

Specifications

  • Acoustic Principle: Externally polarized 1″ condenser with gold-plated diaphragm
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound from the front and rejects sound from the rear and sides)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Output Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Sensitivity: -31.9 dB re 1V/Pa (25 mV @ 94 dB SPL) ±2 dB @ 1kHz
  • Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted): 5 dBA
  • Maximum SPL: 137 dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1k ohm load)
  • Maximum Output Voltage: +13.7dBu (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1k ohm load)
  • Dynamic Range: 132 dB (per IEC651, IEC268-15)
  • Power Requirements: P48 phantom power, 24V or 48V
  • Output Connection: 3-pin XLR
  • Weight: 326g (mic only)
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 50mm x 50mm (H x W x D)
  • Included Accessories: RM2 stand mount, ZP1 padded zip pouch

I got a chance to check this one out at my Sister’s house, and it doesn’t disappoint.

She and my brother-in-law use it primarily for recording acoustics, but it’s also fantastic for rap vocals due to its crystal-clear sound.

When budget considerations come into play without compromising quality, the Rode NT1-A shines as an excellent contender.

This condenser microphone offers an affordable entry point for artists and producers aiming to elevate their rap vocal recordings.

With an impressively low self-noise level, the NT1-A captures rap vocals with pristine clarity.

Its extended dynamic range and wide frequency response ensure a faithful representation of rap performances across the tonal spectrum.

The NT1-A’s affordability and performance make it an attractive option for emerging rap artists eager to create professional-grade recordings.

What really sets the Rode NT1-A apart is its transparency.

It’s like having a clean canvas for your voice – no added color or distortion. Every word, every breath, every vocal inflection comes through with remarkable clarity.

It’s like the microphone disappears, leaving only your voice to shine.

And speaking of shining, the Rode NT1-A boasts an extended frequency response. What does that mean?

Well, it captures not only the main body of your voice but also those subtle high and low frequencies that add depth and character to your rap performances.

That means your deep, powerful lows and your crisp, sharp highs are all captured faithfully.

You know how rap is all about energy, right? Well, the Rode NT1-A can handle that energy like a champ.

It’s got a wide dynamic range, which means it can capture everything from your whispered introspection to your most intense and powerful deliveries.

The Rode NT1-A is also quite solid. You can feel it as soon as you hold it in your hand.

It’s got that sturdy, robust feel that just screams professional. And trust me, when you’re in the zone, belting out your verses, you want a microphone that can keep up.

#5

Audio-Technica AT2020

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

Specifications

  • Element: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound from the front and rejects sound from the rear and sides)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Open Circuit Sensitivity: -37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
  • Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Maximum SPL: 144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% THD (for 1 kHz, 0.5% THD = 131 dB SPL)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
  • Dynamic Range: 124 dB (typical, at 1 kHz, 1% THD)
  • Phantom Power Requirements: 48V DC, 2 mA typical
  • Weight: 12.1 oz (345 g)
  • Dimensions: 6.38″ (162.0 mm) long, 2.05″ (52.0 mm) maximum body diameter
  • Output Connector: Integral 3-pin XLRM-type

For those who seek a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing quality, the Audio-Technica AT2020 offers an impressive solution for recording rap vocals.

This cardioid condenser microphone is renowned for its affordability and ability to deliver clean and accurate sound.

The AT2020’s extended frequency response, coupled with its low self-noise, makes it a solid contender for capturing rap performances that shine with clarity.

Its straightforward design and sturdy build further contribute to its appeal, making it a great entry-level microphone for aspiring rap artists and home studios.

This is another great mic in the budget range as I found my vocals to really sit well in the mix – not too bright, not too dull/veiled.

Its frequency response isn’t quite as flat as some others on this list, but I still think it’s a mic that deserves mention.

#4

Samson C01

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Official Review: Here!

Specifications

  • Transducer Type: Large diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound from the front and rejects sound from the rear and sides)
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18kHz
  • Sensitivity: -40 dB/Pa
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Equivalent Noise Level: 18 dB(A weighted)
  • Maximum SPL: 136 dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 77 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 118 dB
  • Power Requirements: 48V phantom power
  • Weight: 1.25 lb (0.57 kg)
  • Dimensions: 2.17″ x 7.09″ (55mm x 180mm)
  • Output Connector: 3-pin XLR

In the world of budget-friendly microphones, the Samson C01 has emerged as a noteworthy option for recording rap vocals without compromising on quality.

This heavy barbell, I mean large-diaphragm condenser microphone, offers a solid foundation for capturing rap performances with clarity and presence.

The microphone’s cardioid polar pattern helps isolate rap vocals while minimizing unwanted background noise, ensuring focused recordings.

The C01’s extended frequency response captures the full range of vocal nuances, allowing rap artists to convey their emotions and expressions with authenticity.

Despite its affordability, the Samson C01 delivers a clean and transparent sound reproduction that can enhance rap vocal recordings. 

Simply put, it’s one of the best microphones I’ve ever used and the fact that it’s only around $70 seems completely bonkers.

Its simplicity and ease of use make it an attractive choice for home studios and aspiring rap artists seeking to improve the quality of their recordings without breaking the bank.

While it may not boast the prestige of higher-end options, the C01 demonstrates that quality sound reproduction can be attainable at a more affordable price point.

#3

Blue Microphones Yeti Nano

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Official Review: Here!

Blue Yeti Nano Review

Specifications

  1. Microphone Type: Condenser, Electret, Pressure Gradient
  2. Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional
  3. Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  4. Bit Depth: 24-bit
  5. Sample Rate: 48 kHz
  6. Maximum SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)
  7. Headphone Output: 3.5mm (1/8″) with volume control
  8. Controls: Mic Gain, Mute, Headphone Volume, Pickup Pattern Selection
  9. Compatibility: USB 2.0 (or newer), Windows and macOS compatible
  10. Dimensions: 4.29″ x 3.78″ x 8.31″ (109mm x 96mm x 211mm)
  11. Weight: 1.39 lbs (0.63 kg)
  12. Included Accessories: USB cable

I was using the original Blue Yeti for a long time before purchasing a Nano.

I liked how clear my vocals came out, but overall the mic lacked that meat and body found on something like the AT2020 (discussed earlier).

In short, I think the Nano improves upon the shortcomings of the original. Its overall sound is much better than the Yeti.

It sounds more professional, more refined, and less harsh in the highs.

It also doesn’t pick up nearly as much background ambiance.

In recent years, the Blue Yeti Nano has garnered attention as a popular choice among content creators, podcasters, and musicians, including rap artists, for its user-friendly design and versatile performance.

As a USB microphone, the Yeti Nano offers a convenient solution for recording rap vocals with simplicity and ease.

The Yeti Nano features two selectable pickup patterns: cardioid and omnidirectional.

The cardioid pattern focuses on capturing sound from the front, making it ideal for isolating rap vocals and minimizing background noise.

The omnidirectional pattern captures sound from all directions, making it suitable for capturing group performances or ambient room sound.

Blue Yeti Nano Review

One of the standout features of the Yeti Nano is its plug-and-play functionality.

It connects directly to a computer via USB, eliminating the need for complex setups or additional audio interfaces.

This accessibility makes it an attractive option for artists and producers who prioritize convenience without sacrificing sound quality.

The Yeti Nano’s extended frequency response captures rap vocals with clarity and accuracy, allowing you to deliver your performances with emotion and expression.

Its compact and stylish design, along with its affordability, makes it a viable choice for both beginners and experienced creators seeking a reliable microphone for recording rap vocals.

#2

Shure SM57

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

Shure SM57 Review

Specifications

  1. Microphone Type: Dynamic
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Frequency Response: 40Hz – 15kHz
  4. Sensitivity: -56.0 dBV/Pa (1.6 mV)
  5. Impedance: 150 ohms
  6. Connector: XLR
  7. Weight: 0.66 lbs (284 grams)
  8. Dimensions: 6.18″ x 1.37″
  9. Maximum SPL: 149 dB (at 1 kHz, 1% THD)
  10. Construction: Die-cast metal housing and hardened steel grille

While the Shure SM57 is renowned for its exceptional performance on instruments, it also deserves a place in the discussion of microphones for recording rap vocals.

The SM57, a dynamic microphone, has proven its versatility across various recording scenarios, making it a valuable asset in capturing rap performances.

The SM57’s cardioid polar pattern helps isolate rap vocals from unwanted background noise, ensuring focused and clear recordings.

Its robust build and ability to handle high sound pressure levels (SPL) make it suitable for capturing both energetic and nuanced rap performances.

While it may not be the first choice for vocal recording, the SM57’s unique tonal characteristics can add a touch of grit and character to rap vocals, making it a preferred choice for artists seeking a distinct sonic flavor.

Its affordability and performance make it a practical option for artists and producers looking to experiment with different sonic textures while maintaining the essence of their rap vocals.

I love the Shure SM57 and I’d buy another one in a heartbeat. Since I got it, I’ve accidentally knocked it over countless times, and it hasn’t a single scratch.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Simply put, the SM57 is just about as indestructible as it gets. You could probably chuck this thing across a parking lot and it would still work.

And the most exciting part?

Check out Matt’s video on how to, with the A81WS windscreen, make the SM57 sound basically identical to an SM7B.

That’s right you heard me correctly!

Video Comparison

Credit to Matt for an incredibly helpful and excellent video.

So really, you don’t need to buy an SM7B although it still deserves mention.

The SM57 is more than capable at a fraction of the price.

#1

MXL 990

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Official Review: Here!

MXL’s 990 contains a FET Preamp

Finally, we arrive at what is perhaps my most favorite-est microphone ever.

Why?

Well, BECAUSE I SAID SO!

Nah, it’s because it provides an incredibly crisp, even sound at a super low price.

Some compare its sonic qualities and overall response to the venerable Rode NT1, and indeed, the mics are pretty similar.

The frequency response is pretty much ruler flat with a boost in the treble for air and clarity. And it really works well for rap.

Why? (Another one)

Because you can get a good take very quickly. Just make sure your mouf is in the right position, adjust your gain accordingly, and you’re off to the races.

The way you rap into it ultimately depends on your own situation.

Mine is going to be a bit different, but I like to be around 5-6 inches away as the 990 actually doesn’t prefer if you were right up on it like you got some cheeseburgers.

In the world of affordable yet capable microphones, the large-diaphragm MXL 990 remains relevant because of its impressive performance and value, with a level of detail and clarity that won’t break the bank.

The microphone’s cardioid polar pattern aids in isolating rap vocals from ambient noise, and its extended frequency response captures the full range of vocal nuances, allowing rap performances to shine with authenticity.

Furthermore, its low self-noise and smooth transient response contribute to its ability to faithfully reproduce the dynamics and emotions of rap vocals.

All for super cheap.

Whether used in professional studios or home setups, the MXL 990 offers a reliable and accessible solution for capturing rap vocals with clarity, warmth, and character.

Closing Thoughts

In this comprehensive exploration of microphones for recording rap vocals, we’ve delved into a diverse range of options, each offering unique qualities suited to different artistic preferences and budgets.

From iconic classics like the Shure SM7B and Neumann U87 to budget-friendly contenders such as the Audio-Technica AT2020 and Rode NT1-A, and even innovative newcomers like Blue Yeti Nano, the microphone landscape for rap vocal recording is rich and varied.

The Samson C01 proves that quality sound doesn’t require a hefty investment, while the MXL 990 bridges affordability and performance.

The choice of the best microphone for recording rap vocals ultimately hinges on an artist’s unique style, preferences, and budget.

For those seeking a versatile, high-quality option that can deliver exceptional sound reproduction and stand the test of time, the Neumann U87 and Shure SM7B remain top-tier choices.

However, for artists and producers with tighter budgets, options like the Audio-Technica AT2020, Shure SM57, and Samson C01 provide accessible yet reliable alternatives.

We saw how you can essentially make the SM57 sound like an SM7B, so for those who enjoy that tone, you won’t have to fork over an arm and a leg for it.

Just make sure to purchase both the Fethead and the A81WS Windscreen for the full effect. More on why a Fethead is important in the official SM57 review.

Ultimately, the ideal microphone is the one that resonates with an artist’s creative vision, capturing the raw emotion, energy, and authenticity of their rap performances.

The key is to experiment, test, and find the microphone that becomes an extension of your voice and elevates your rap vocal recordings to new heights.

With that said, I think the MXL990 is a fantastic choice for most people and won’t break the bank. I have one and intend on keeping it for a long time.

Interested?

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Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive guide on the best microphones for recording rap vocals and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

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All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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