Have you tried spitting bars using a regular mic? You’d agree it oftentimes doesn’t come out as spitting bars, more like flinging bars. It just doesn’t come out great. Hence the reason you’re here looking for the best microphones for recording rap vocals.
The truth is that regular mics are not built to handle the rapper’s movement. They are built for singers. So, it follows that if you’re going to be recording or even performing live as a rapper, you get a mic for rappers.
These mics are usually designed such that they can effectively handle all the aggressiveness that often comes with rapping.
And today, we are going to be reviewing 8 of our absolute favorite ones. Now, if you’re new to this whole shebang, there’s a buying guide section just below the reviews. It should set you straight on all you need to know before making the choice of a mic for rap vocals.
But before then, run through this quick comparison table…
Quick Comparison Table
|Rode NT1A||MXL Genesis||Audio-Technica AT2020||AKG C214||Rode NTK||Neumann TLM 102||MXL 770||CAD GXL2200SP|
|Frequency Range||20HZ – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||30Hz – 20kHz||Not specified|
|Max SPL||137dB||130dB||144dB||136dB||158dB||144dB||137dB||Not specified|
|Power Requirement||24V phantom power, 48V phantom power||Power supply included||48V DC phantom power||+12V to +52V phantom power||Power supply included||48V||48V phantom power||48V phantom power|
|Dimensions||187 x 50 x 50 millimeters||59 x 240 millimeters||9.6 x 9.6 x 2.6 inches||11.3 x 8.6 x 3.9 inches||26 x 6 x 13 inches||52 x 116 millimeters||59 x 158 millimeters||8.5 x 6 x 15.8 inches|
The manufacturers have labeled the NT1A the World’s Quietest Studio Microphone? But just how well does it perform? Let’s check out its features.
Firstly, we’ve got to say that the build quality of this mic is superior – full metal construction for the body plus a metal grill. However, this remains a condenser mic, so we still suggest that you handle with care.
The shock mount here is also made of metal and feels like something the makers carefully built. Plus, it does its job well too. The included pop filter also excels at warding off the plosives while you rap.
The NT1A is a fixed cardioid mic with a wide frequency response of 20 to 20Khz. So, it covers more grounds than its predecessor, the NT1. Plus, with its presence peak, this mic has a real nice transparency to it.
We love the weightiness and naturalness of the audio the NT1A gives, especially its depth and nuances. But one thing that really stands out for us is that for a mic that does not use a transformer, this shunts noise so well. In fact, it has one of the highest signal-to-noise ratio in its class, which is quite impressive.
This will pick up all the subtle details of your rap really well and easily too. And since you need people hearing you clearly so all those painstakingly crafted punchlines don’t go to waste, you’re definitely going to love the Rode NT1A.
Again, the mids and the lows complement each other nicely here. And thanks to the well crafted presence curve, you’re going to find it really easy to EQ your final recording.
Lastly, the NT1A works for all kinds of voices. But not just vocals alone, this mic is also great for recording instruments as well!
We only needed to see this to fall in love. It looks beautiful which grabs your attention immediately. And since we are talking about the externals, this is a pretty large mic. It measures at 59 millimeters in diameter and about 240 millimeters in length. So, it’s quite large as you can see.
We love the finish here but we also understand that tastes differ. So, we’d leave you to decide if you’re impressed with the looks of this or not. It comes with a red body and a gold-plated finish, a beautiful combo in our opinion.
Alright now to performance…
The MXL Genesis delivers a natural-sounding vocal which balances the low-end warmth with an appreciable level of clarity. It also brings a bit of density to the vocals as well. And with the tube, this mic also brings some warmth to your vocals.
We love the wide frequency range here which tells us that this will cover a lot of ground. From the highs to the lows, this picks your sounds in a crisp, clear quality with all the nuances.
We’re not 100% sure, though, how this will do with female voices because as you know, when it comes to female voices, it’s a bit trickier to match with a microphone. Unlike with male voices which just need a little EQ and you’re set.
On frequency response, this mic comes out nearly flat but the mic still gives this level of brightness and warmth. So, if you need something that cuts through the mix and stands out, this makes a good choice.
The MXL Genesis is not just a great choice for rappers. It also works for any musician who needs a good all-rounder tube mic that doesn’t cost a bajillion dollars.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 comes in a simple and elegant design. With its black, glossy finish, this mic looks really luxurious. But beyond the pretty face is a solid mic with a high quality build. There’s no doubt that this mic will last really long.
We also love the fact that this comes with a pivoting stand mount. It’s compatible with nearly microphone stand so it does save you some money if you already have a stand.
But wait, there’s more. The Audio-Technica AT2020 package also includes a pop filter which protects your mic and also enhances durability.
Furthermore, this is a cardioid mic which means that your mic will be super sensitive in front but not at the back. So, it isolates all the unwanted sound and gives a pretty good resistance to any kind of feedback much better than an omnidirectional mic would.
As for performance, this is Audio-Technica’s most basic offering but that doesn’t mean that this mic is bad in any way. It does give a great bang for the buck.
Moreover, the frequency response here is flat but there are slight cuts here and there between the 70 to 80Hz. However, the high ends still come with a great boost to give your audio better clarity.
Now, do remember that, though this gives good noise isolation, it’s still a condenser mic. So, if you’ve got a lot of natural sound around you, this might not be great. Condenser mics tend to pick up even the tiny details pretty easily.
Even more, this mic from Audio-Technica is a workhouse. It is a multipurpose tool that doesn’t just work for recording rap. You’ll be able to use this for recording all kinds of instruments, and even other purposes such as podcasting, recording for YouTube, commentary, etc.
Looking to step up from the low end, budget condenser mics to something slightly higher end? Then check out the AKG C214. It’s a great mic for recording mic and the best part is that people can easily tell when they hear the recording done with this mic.
Now, most condenser mics come with a flat response which we agree has its pros. But this comes with a touch of warmth which accentuate your vocals. The sound comes out really bright and clear without being unbearably harsh or adding all the muddiness the low end mics give.
And now to construction… You can be confident of the quality here. It is not made in China but in Vienna, Austria. So, this is solid, sturdy, and durable.
The mic also comes with an integrated capsule suspension. What does this do? In simple English, it reduces resonance and mechanical noise which gives the mic a greater level of sonic accuracy.
The metal grille here comes as a double mesh, all-metal object that protects the capsule of the mic. It also ensures a high RF immunity. However, it does this without negatively impacting on the mic’s acoustics.
If you’re a producer that travels a lot, you’re going to love this mic because the metal grille is dent and scratch resistant.
Like most of our mics on review, this works great both for vocals and instrument. With the 20dB switch, you can either record or far away depending on your rap personality. And when recording up close, this mic can record in high sound fields (it comes with a max SPL of 156dB).
PS: It’s also great for recording female vocals.
The Rode NTK is one of the most expensive microphones on Rode’s product list, although, overall, this still comes in moderate price range. Let’s check out the features of this mic beginning with the looks and build of the mic.
The Rode NTK comes in an eye-catching design. And although, Rode employed some cost-saving steps to make this, the microphone still comes out bold, beautiful, and functional.
The makers designed the interior to protect the diaphragm from low-frequency vibrations. And altogether, the mic feels pretty substantial when you hold it. In fact, if you ever need to, this mic comes pretty easy to disassemble. Plus, you can even switch out the parts as well as the tube.
Also to maintain the build quality of this product, Rode threw in a great flight case. Moreover, you don’t need phantom power for this mic since it comes with its own power. However, you’d have to get your own shocking mount separately.
And now to performance, this comes with a signal-to-noise ratio is 82dB which is pretty impressive for a tube condenser. The audio quality here is also quite stable however you like to rap. It is also quite energetic as well, thanks to the presence peak of this mic.
What we love the most about this mic is its response to compression. It does not give any noticeable coloration. So, in the end, when mixing your tracks, you will require less EQing to set your sound straight.
Plus, the vibrance here is quite impressive allowing your vocals and lyrics not to get lost in the recording. With an SPL of 158dB, this can take a significant level of loud screaming while maintaining its audio integrity.
Altogether, this makes a fantastic mic for the price.
Alright, this is one of the more expensive microphones on our reviews. Even though this mic enters into the high end range, one thing is sure. If you can spare the cash to get this, you’ll be getting amazing value for money here.
That said, it’s not for everybody, and if this is too expensive for you, there are other less expensive options on our list. Alright, let’s get to the features of this microphone…
The Neumann TLM 102 is the real deal when it comes to a vocal mic. Audio replication is clean and detailed. And for rap, this comes with just the right amount of presence as well as transparency that makes your vocals stand out.
In looks, the TLM 102 comes in a unique and attractively small size. It might be a condenser mic, but you totally can make this a part of your travel gear as it is so compact.
You’ll also love the looks of this with its satin black and nickel finish.
Altogether, build quality is excellent, but you should still be careful this being a condenser mic and all. It does come with its own pop filter already integrated, though. But even at that, think of getting another one, you know, to avoid plosives and damage.
Alright, now to performance…
This comes with a large diaphragm, plus, it’s a condenser mic, and its max pressure level is 144dB SPL.
Now, this works for instruments too, but it’s actually best for vocals. Its frequency response peaks around the 6 kHz. So, it lends a level of clarity and strength to your voice. Plus, the response here also ensures that your mic catches all the lyrics, making them sound exciting too.
This is another great all-rounder. But especially for rap vocals, the MXL 770 has many benefits for the rapper. There’s the solid bass, the bright highs, as well as the best part which is the price.
This mic already looks good from here. And if you’re a musician looking for an entry-level, multipurpose mic, you really should read this review. You’re going to love this mic.
Alright, first, the looks…
The MXL 770 comes in a beautiful black finish with a gold line and gold logo. And then there’s also the bass cut button as well as the 10dB attenuator. They are also easy to find and also easy to manipulate as well.
You’ll also be happy to find that there’s a shock mount in the package. And the entire package comes stored in a hard case which helps to keep your mic in tip top shape.
And now, let’s see how this performs… Quite impressively, we must say. The bass ends do justice to rap vocals.
Plus, the frequency response here is quite wide between 30Hz and 30kHz. However, though, the noise rating comes somewhat high at around 20dB. To mitigate this, simply use a good pop filter so you can avoid the plosives.
As for SPL, it comes with a rating of 137dB which is a bit lower than the average. But for a mic so priced, we really can’t complain so much.
Now, unlike most of the mics we have seen so far, this comes with a small diaphragm. But despite the size, this 6 micron diaphragm makes your vocals come out warm and wonderful.
In all, this is a clear-sounding mic and at such a decent price, the MXL 770 more than deserves a spot on our reviews.
And lastly, we check out the CAD GXL2200. It’s super affordable with decent qualities. It might not be high end but if you’re an entry-level musician and you don’t have so much to spare right now, you should totally check this out.
First, design and looks… This looks good, however, we are not so certain about the build quality. Now, although this looks solid enough, we still have reasons to think that this might be a bit fragile. Well, condenser mics are actually quite delicate but this is particularly fragile.
That said, this is quite easy to set up. And performance wise, this is decent. It should tide the beginner over till they are ready to make the upgrade.
You’ll need to purchase a power audio interface for this, a 48V Phantom, of course. But that’s about it. Your mic will be up and running after that.
In all, we will recommend this to a beginner. It gives great audio quality for the price. And although it does tend to pick up a bit of sound, understandably, it’s still a pretty good purchase by all standards.
Best Microphones For Recording Rap Vocals Buying Guide
Now, normally, the first thing you should consider when getting a mic for rap is the purpose. Why do you need the mic? Do you want to perform with it or do you want to record with it? This will determine what kind of mic you settle for. Plus, it also leads us into our next sub.
Dynamic Mics Vs Condenser Mics
You must have heard of these two mic types. These two mics can be used for recording rap although one is more preferable for recording than the other. Nevertheless, they each have their advantages. Check them out.
These are the most common microphones you see and they are mostly used for onstage performances than for recording. They have a number of benefits like:
- They are usually robust so they can handle a level of aggressiveness.
- Low end response is usually powerful.
- They are affordable.
Now because of the kind of diaphragm these mics usually have, they tend to project warmer, full-bodied sound. Hence, they are great for recording drums or bass.
They are also great for recording vocals but since they pack a huge amount of bass power, your sound could muddy up. And then you’d have to do some “EQing” to remedy when you start mixing.
Condenser mics, on the other hand, come with special sensitive capsules which give them a certain level of clarity and crispness. But then again, they are usually not as sturdy as dynamic mics. In fact, they are quite fragile. So, one must handle them with care.
However, when it comes to recording rap vocals, condense microphones are the best. Check out some of their pros:
- They pick even the minutest detail with clarity.
- More transparent than dynamic microphones.
- They carry a presence which makes them stand out on their own in a mix.
And now that we know all these, let’s check out some other factors you should consider when getting a microphone for recording rap vocals.
Condenser mics are usually brighter than dynamic mics thanks to their diaphragm which is more pressure sensitive than on dynamic microphones. So, oftentimes, you hardly find a dynamic microphone in a professional recording studio. What you find is a condenser mic.
It’s this “brightness” that makes a vocals recorded with a condenser mic stand out in a mix. That said, it is important to consider the kind of tone you’re looking to achieve when looking for a rap mic.
The choice of a deeper, rounder, brighter, clearer, or more balanced tone will affect what kind of mic you end up with. We explain that in the next sub.
First things first, there’s such a thing as a frequency graph which we can’t really go into now for time and space. However, here’s the important gist…
A mic that will deliver on deeper sound will usually emphasize the lower frequencies.
Also, on the frequency graph, mics that give a significant bump somewhere between 4 and 6kHz, will give bright, crisp vocals.
If you’re looking for a balanced tone, on the other hand, then look for a mic that gives a flat response throughout the graph.
Max Sound Pressure Level (SPL)
This is the measurement of the max amount of noise a mic can handle before it starts to distort. It’s a super important factor when discussing mics for rap since rappers tend to shout aggressively when in front of the mic.
On an average, quality mics usually have a max SPL of, at least, 140dB, oftentimes higher. But if the mic comes with a max SPL of over 150dB then it’s a really good one.
For recording purposes, just the mic is hardly enough. You’re going to need some accessories. Thankfully, some brands are kind enough to throw in a pop filter (super important) and a shock mount in with their package. Others also include carry cases, mic stands, or wire adapters.
Our best mic for recording rap vocals today goes to the Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone. Yes, it is pretty expensive, but there’s no questioning it, this is one of the best in the market, and definitely the best on our list.
As a close runner up, though, we recommend the Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package. It offers a nice balance of features. And the price just puts a pretty nice bow on the pacakge.