How To Find The Best Mic For Rap Vocals

Rapping is a form of art that’s expressed in music. It’s no different from what other genres like rock, pop, and jazz try to communicate. Similarly, any artist or amateur engaging in rap would need the right mic for recording a song at its best quality.

Microphones aren’t simply devices that amplify your voice. There are different variations of it with a lot of unique features and benefits. One of these advantages includes audio clarity, toning, and noise reduction.

Finding the best mic for rap vocals would give you a headstart in recording your favorite rap song.

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Top 5 Best Mic For Rap Vocals 2017


#1 AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

Get it via Amazon.com

The AKG Pro C214 comes with ultra-low noise features and great dynamic range. You can do recordings of high output sources up to 156 dB SPL. One of the significant characteristics from the AKG is it’s perfectly designed for rapping.

This is because of its technology that reduces unwanted noise during proximity use. The 20dB attenuator and bass-cut filter features are examples that reduce the close-up proximity effects.

The design of the AKG C214 makes it a durable microphone too. Furthermore, it increases the noise reduction and enhances the quality at the same time. The integrated capsule suspension is the main feature that increases sonic accuracy while reducing mechanical noise.


Pros:

  • Comes with widescreen, carrying case, and spider-type shock mount.
  • Uses a 1-inch dual capsule in a large diaphragm, cardioid body

Incredible 143 dB dynamic range for uncompressed transients.

  • Can be used in sound fields as high as 156 dB SPL

Perfect for up-close performances such as rapping and guitar solos

Made possible because of its attenuator and bass-cut filter.

  • Durable frame that features an all-metal die-cast material

Frame is scratch resistant and can last for several years.


Cons:

  • The sound can be quite harsh sometimes when you’re playing at the high end.
  • Price might be too high

Ranges above $300.

  • The db buttons can be a bit complicated to use at first. It might be confusing to work with.

This could affect the clarity of the microphone if not set properly.


#2 Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone

Get it via Amazon.com

The AT2020 is a great microphone for rapping. It’s in the lower price range compared to other microphones, so that gives you a great reason to consider it.

The AT2020 has good audio quality and sound clarity. You’ll further experience this if you use it with an audio interface to power things up.

It is also designed to have a low-mass diaphragm that is custom-engineered to extend the frequency response. The frequency response of the AT2020 is pretty wide. You’ll get a comprehensive response because the AT2020 handles frequencies that are perfect for rapping.

It’s a great microphone that has all the fundamentals you’ll need. Since it’s below $100, you’ll get a cheap mic with good features. However, regarding advanced technology and power, there might be better alternatives out there.


Pros:

  • Excellent condenser for rap vocals because of its frequency response

Frequency response is at an ideal 20kHz.

  • Perfect for people who are on a budget.
  • Superior transient response comes from its custom-engineered diaphragm.
  • Cardioid body improves isolation of your sound source

It also reduces noise from the sides and the rear.


Cons:

  • Works best with a phantom power supply

The AT2020 is an XLR powered microphone so you’ll need to purchase an XLR input to enjoy the benefits of its audio quality.


#3 Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package

Get it via Amazon.com

The Rode NT1A is an advanced condenser microphone that you might love for all of its benefits. Like most, it’s a cardioid mic that delivers excellent clarity with a broad dynamic range. It’s one of the most famous mics that are recommended for rap vocals.

The large 1” capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm allows this microphone to have only a 5dB self-noise. Hence, it’s one of the quieter items out there in the market.

The Rode NT1A bundle gives you a little bit of everything. You get yourself a shock mount and a studio grade pop filter. Furthermore, a dust cover, 20-feet microphone cable, and DVD instructions on recording give this product an upper hand if you’re looking for convenience.


Pros:

  • Self-noise is only down to 5dB.
  • You can avail up until a 10-year warranty by registering your microphone.
  • Cardioid polar pattern makes this product incredibly complex and unique

You can check the distribution of frequency responses in the microphone’s circuitry from the polar pattern diagram.

  • Includes a package that enhances the convenience when using this microphone.
  • Very friendly towards computers and devices.

Cons:

  • There are questions about the durability of this product

Internal parts could malfunction over time.

  • Price range may be a bit too much for some

Although it’s a bundle with many add-ons, $200 might be too expensive given the other options available.


#4 MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount

Get it via Amazon.com

The MXL 990 comes in a ¾” gold-sputtered design that gives it an attractive microphone to have. However, aesthetics isn’t the only thing that the MXL 990 has. The sleek diaphragm also allows this microphone to produce high-quality sound.

This makes the MXL 990 an excellent choice for analog and digital recording. Moreover, the capsule has a flat response at around 30Hz to 20kHz. This helps enhance the bass boost if you’re using it for close-up performances like rap recording.

This microphone can also help polish your recordings if you need definition. This is because of the subtle high-end sizzle that you get with the MXL 990.


Pros:

  • Champagne finish gives it a luxurious and sleek design.
  • Features a 130dB maximum SPL sensitivity

15MV/pa, equivalent noise: 20dB.

  • Custom shock mount included with mic stand adapter and carrying case.
  • No frills cardioid design

Includes FET preamp

No roll-off switches.


Cons:

  • Not exactly noise-resistant

Can generate a lot of self-noise or humming when it gets older.

  • Might be only good for easier tasks

Podcasting or YouTube videos would work well, but if you’re planning on more creative recordings such as rap the MLX 990 might be short on features that you should look for.


#5 BEHRINGER C-1

Get it via Amazon.com

The Behringer C-1 is a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm. This gives it a superior edge in audio quality. It has an ultra-low noise feature to go along with great sound. This is made possible thanks to its FET input that eliminates distortion from low frequencies.

This condenser is perfect as a studio tool as well. It has a sturdy die-cast body that makes it an ideal long-term microphone. Moreover, it’s portable if you’re planning on using a mic outside. It has a foam carrying case to protect it further.

Furthermore, the Behringer C-1 is designed to have a cardioid frame. This design enables it to pick up source signals while denying off-axis sounds. These sounds are one of the main culprits in distorting the audio.

Lastly, it comes with a shock mounted transducer that’s also pressure-gradient. These features further give the C-1 noise-free performance. It also allows it to be neutral in sound that would work well for rapping.


Pros:

  • Technology of the C-1 reduces noise and distortion to almost 0%

Denies off-axis sounds

Shock-mounted and pressure-gradient transducer.

  • Flat frequency response and ultra-high sound.
  • Gold-plated XLR output

Gives this microphone high signals.

  • Transport case and swivel stand mount included.

Cons:

  • Not ideal if you’re reliant on using a computer with a microphone

You’ll need to buy more equipment because it can’t connect to a computer by itself.

  • Not very clean-sounding when you use it at higher volumes.
  • Noise-free features can malfunction over time.

What Mic Should You Buy?

There are different kinds of microphones such as bass, USB, multi-Pattern, and ribbon, among others. To help you not get confused, you should note that microphones can be classified into two major categories. These are the dynamic and condenser microphones.

There’s a lot of technicalities behind these two categories, and we’re not discussing them in detail. But to help you get a clearer vision of what mic to buy, it’s best to know their distinct characteristics.

Foremost, if we’re talking about frequency response, condenser mics are better used for higher frequencies. Examples of these applications are digital pianos, cymbals, xylophones, and acoustic guitars.

On the other hand, dynamic mics work better when used with low frequencies such as drums and bass guitars. Of course, experts would say that this isn’t highly accurate. But because you’re only looking to record your rap performance, it’s still a good argument to know.

Also, check this video for a more in-depth discussion on the dynamic mic vs. the condenser mic.

Size of Diaphragms

The reason why condensers work better with high frequencies is they have a smaller diaphragm. Hence, a smaller body would require lesser energy.

Meanwhile, a larger diaphragm from the dynamic mic generates sufficient power. This allows the mic to power itself through high voltage from movement. A smaller body can’t do this, which is why condensers need a phantom power to amplify.

Having this can be beneficial for your performance. Phantom power with your mic can enhance it more. You can achieve higher gain and record more sweet sounds.

Check this link for the standard sizes of a diaphragm.

Durability

For durability, it’s quite easy to figure that a bigger frame means stronger resistance to pressure. And this is the case for the dynamic mic. There’s a better chance of dropping this mic and staying intact and functional. Meanwhile, a condenser can break instantly if you drop it from a considerable height.

This is why dynamic mics are more frequently used in live performances on-stage. Although condenser mics are famous for studios and home recordings, you should take note that dynamic mics can work just as well too. It’s just a matter of what you’ll use it for.

After making a run down through these areas, we’ll be sticking with condenser mics. The reason for this is because of that phantom power feature. It gives you better sound quality while being better at noise reduction.


What To Look For When Buying

There are many areas to consider when purchasing a mic. Since we’re going with the condenser mics here, we’ll tackle its key components and functions.

Noise-reduction

One of your priorities when buying a condenser is if it’s good at reducing noise. Typically, there’s background or feedback when you use low-quality mics. Even worse, there’s hissing and humming present if you’ve struck a bad deal.

Make sure to check if your condenser will have an ultra-low noise feature. This can be measured by how low its decibel is.

Durability

Just a while ago we talked about the fragility of a condenser. Having an extra layer of protection will go a long way if you’re planning to buy one. You'd want a carrying case with foam to cover it. This is for storage purposes, especially if your studio or room will have plenty of people coming along.

The diaphragm of the microphone is also essential. Make sure it’s made with high-grade material, preferably made from the die-cast material. Take note that a sturdier and better core of your mic will also equate to better performance and reduction of self-noise.

Maintenance and cleaning play a fundamental role in your microphone’s durability too. Here’s a tutorial on how to clean a condenser mic.

Range

Finally, we have the range. This means the reach of your mic when it comes to audio signals. This is measured in Hertz.

Rapping doesn’t commonly require a microphone that demands a range that works well with extreme frequencies. However, it’s still better to have a microphone that has a wide and dynamic range.

Versatility is always a good feature to have. Remember, rapping isn’t the only thing that you might use it for in the future!


The Verdict

The best condenser microphone is always the product that’s durable, high in audio sound, very clear and noise-free. If you’re purchasing a microphone because of you want to record your rap, then these features must be met.

That’s especially the case for sound quality. This is because rap is a fast style that will require clarity and noise reduction.Furthermore, choosing a condenser by a large performance close-up will be the best for you.

With that said, the AKG Pro C214 beats its competitors. There’s a lot of advanced features that this product has. Moreover, the main reason why it’s probably the best option out there is its proximity performance.

That along with its wide dynamic range, durability, and ultra-low noise feature makes it the best microphone for rap vocals. However, if you’re tight on the budget, the AT2020 is a good alternative to choose. Just remember that you won’t be getting the same benefits and convenience.

Briana Renee
 

I am Briana Renee from Amsterdam. Currently, I am living in Los Angeles and has a recording studio. This site showcases of my skills. Furthermore, I am hoping that through this, I can help fellow musicians and enthusiasts like me to get the right audio components they need! Feel free to ask anything! I am just right here!

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