- 1 Best Rap Microphone: Guide to finding the rapping mic that works for you
- 2 Rode NT1 Rap Mic
- 3 Check Out The Best USB Mic For Rap Vocals Reviewed Here
Best Rap Microphone: Guide to finding the rapping mic that works for you
So you have a kick ass beat written up in your DAW and are ready to spit out some riffs?… Forget something? Oh that’s right, you let your friend borrow the only mic you had and he forgot it at a show after he got stoned!
That was a true story that happened to me a few years ago, a lot has changed since then. My name is Joe and I help to run Review Music Products, a website based on helping people find the best music products around.
I also work at a recording studio which is where I get to try out a lot of awesome gear, as well as continue to build up my music knowledge and experience.
Today I am writing a review on some of the best rap microphones for recording. I will cover a range of condensor microphones and give you some good options to choose from that will make your voice stand out and sound awesome.
After spending days in the studio recording many rap vocalists, you get to know what works and what doesn’t for a particular style of music. I get rappers coming in all the time asking me what I recommend as being the best microphone for rap. That is why I finally got round to writing this review because there are so many to choose from.
More often than not we would test out a bunch of mics to listen to the style of their voice and how each microphone picks up different elements. I must have tried well over 100 mics on a range of rappers both male and female.
One thing that you need to think about is where it will be used. Will it be on stage at a live show? In a pro recording studio? – if they are really a professional studio they should have their own mics!
You may even want one for home recordings and demo tracks, or are building your own studio. There are so many different needs and uses for mics which is why I have put together some things to think about when buying a mic for rapping.
Things to consider when buying a mic for recording rap
For live vocals, you have to think about background noise, room size and a range of other factors. Are they using a microphone stand? or are they holding the mic?
You will also want to ensure that the sound quality is going to be good enough while keeping in mind that your price ranges are not too expensive incase the mic gets damaged or stolen.
Smart rappers are also paying attention to the way they hold the mic and ensure that they have good vocal technique for recording vocals in a live environment. They are aware of the cardioid polar pattern and know how to best utlize it for their vocal performance.
Of course, not every hip hop artist or rapper is smart… And sometimes you are just going to have to make up for that with good mixing and editing skills.
when looking for a quality studio microphone, you will probably want to go for a bit more of an expensive one.
A lot of buying guides will tell you that you need to spend thousands on a good studio mic, and while I agree, you can also get away with having a budget microphone in the studio. Most microphones for recording rap are pretty goot at working in the studio.
You might also want to look at other factors that go into the signal chain such as mic preamps, power supply, acoustic treatment are all very important.
A good mic will suffer if you have a shitty worn out xlr cable plugged into your mic and your audio interface is buzzing, then you won’t get very good results.
Having a good audio interface like most Focusrite Scarlett interfaces or something more advanced – possibly even analogue with some good mic preamps will dramatically increase the sound quality of your studio microphone.
Also, if you are after a budget mic for your basic home studio then keep reading because the mics in this review will be great for you.
Rode NT1 Rap Mic
My goal with choosing the Rode NT1 is a mic that is affordable and sounds great on a range of rap styles. I also wanted it to be of good enough quality to last a long time. And boy does this mic deliver! The sounds from this mic are superb for an affordable mic.
For most people, this may be their first ever semi-pro rap mic and you will really enjoy the quality and sound of this mic should you decide to purchase it. Continue reading below…
We recently purchased the Rode NT1 after one of the rappers we were recording brought it in to lay his vocals down with.
At first I tried not to laugh at the fact that we were about to replace a $5,000 mic with his what I first called “toy mic”. I really did not want to use it in the beginning, but I let him have his way otherwise he probably wouldn’t be coming back.
We pluged it in and got the levels right, and once he started doing a few takes I was hooked. Although not as good as the previous mic we had set up, which is understandable since it was really expensive. For a mic like this to keep up is very impressive.
That was one of the reasons I decided to buy one myself. You don’t always need to have an expensive mic to get good results. You just need to find the right one for the job. The other reason I bought it was that the boss was away on tour so I decided to spend up some of the studio budget while he was gone! – I’m sure he will be too hungover when he gets back to notice.
So upon opening the surprisingly difficult to get into packaging, I am presented with the NT1 microphone all neatly packaged up, below it included a promo sticker with “I love my NT1” written on it, A manual as you might expect but an extra addition is a nice quality dust proof case for easy travel.
The mic also includes a shock mount with a pop filter which you can attach to the shock mount. This is an awesome addition and I was really excited to try it out on someone since it had been a while since I used one.
The pop filter is very easy to attach to the shock mount, simply slot it into place and it is good to go. All you need to do next is set up the microphone into the shock mount, then attach it to a mic stand.
Upon first looks, I am very happy with the complete black finish, and although we are all about the sound, it is great to have a nice and expensive looking mic which the NT1 delivers on. It is not too flashy and I know a lot of rappers want the bling and expensive looking gear, but I am sure they will appreciate the look of this mic.
The sound is clean, clear and pristine especially for the price, it is really going to be a well-used rap mic for my rap and hip-hop recordings. This is a great mic for someone who wants to get into recording and start laying down some good sounding raps.
The pop filter works surprisingly well, most of the time mics that include pop filters are usually really bad but I am happy with this one.
One thing I usually recommend for a good rapping microphone is to go for a cardioid mic. The NT1 is a cardioid mic, meaning that it only records from the front facing direction of the mic.
This is best suited for mono or single track recordings such as one voice or instrument at a time. This isn’t really an issue as most people will want to record one voice at a time using a rap mic.
Should you get the rode nt1a or nt1? The answer is up to you but the nt1a is a more modern sounding mic while the rode nt1a is more vintage and old-school.
If you are after a mic with multiple polar patterns, you may be best to look into the Rhode NT2A.
I have been very impressed when testing out this microphone, it suits a wide range of voice types well and is a great low to midline-priced microphone for a range of rap styles. This mic is perfect for home recording and pro studios, it is very versatile and works great on a range of music genres.
I would recommend this mic to anyone who is after an affordable mic that delivers on both style and quality. Click the link below and take a look for yourself.
Rhode also have a really interesting video where they take you through their process of building the microphone from start to finish which is really worth taking a look at. It shows the amount of time and care that they put into building each microphone.
Check Out The Best USB Mic For Rap Vocals Reviewed Here
The best thing about using USB microphones for recording is that they simply plug in and work. Most will even plug directly into your iPad or iPhone as well. This is what makes them so easy to use, you don’t need a good quality computer, pre-amp or recording interface for these mics to work. Just plug them in.Perfect for small homes or home studios.
Before We Begin the Review
Hi, my name is Joe, I am a musician and have a wide extensive knowledge about music, instruments and music products. I aim to give you the best advice when it comes to my reviews to help you save some cash while purchasing quality equipment. Read below as I review the best USB mic for rap vocals, I have also reviewed some other USB rap mics that I recommend you check out as well.
Recording can be an expensive thing to get into, there are also so many things you need to think about and learn in order to get the results you want. Recording rap vocals is no different to any other voice type or instrument. It takes dedication to learn the skills needed to get a quality recording, as well as having the right tools for the job.
I’ll be completely honest here, in order to get the best possible sounding recording, a USB rap microphone is not your best option. However for someone who is just starting out with a limited budget, or someone who wants a quick and easy way to get your rap recorded, then they are a perfectly good option. Don’t get me wrong, USB microphones are nowhere near as bad as recording through your iPhone. The technology is rapidly improving and you will get a very good sounding recording. But if you want to step up to the pro level, I recommend you take a look at my article on recording rap vocals to see just what you need.
RØDE NT-USB Microphone
If you are new to microphones, RØDE is a very popular mic brand. Commonly known for their camera and video mics, RØDE is growing bigger, releasing some new and innovative ways to capture audio. The RØDE NT-USB is no different.
This is the microphone that I recommend as being the best USB microphone for rapping. Full of features such as a gain knob, which allows you to control the level of the input signal.
It also includes a headphone jack so you can plug in your headphones directly into the mic allowing for quick and easy monitoring. This is great as it allows you to hear the recording as you are making it.
There are added accessories which I like such as a custom and stylish pop filter which is almost a must-have for recording rap vocals. It helps to cut out any plosives which are the strong ‘P’s, ‘T’s & ‘B’s etc that can come out sounding harsh on some microphones.
You also get a Tripod stand so that you can sit the mic on a desk and record.
The RØDE NT-USB includes:
- Gain control knob
- Headphone input jack
- Custom pop filter
- Custom tripod stand
- Compatible with iPad
- Included storage pouch and USB cable
The RØDE NT-USB also works on both windows and Mac computers. It is compatible with any recording software including GarageBand, Audacity, Logic, Ableton, FL Studio and many more. Running it on an iPad, you can also try out the RØDE Rec App which gives you some great editing tools along with making it easier for you to record on your iPad.
As for iPhone or iPad Touch, well it does technically work on them, however, it will drain the batteries really quick, plus you would need an additional adapter. Although I wouldn’t recommend it be used with these devices.
This is a great microphone, although not the cheapest around if you are after something that you can rely on to give you a great sound then I highly recommend you take a look at the RØDE NT-USB.
It sounds very clear and warm and suits both male and female voice types as well as any vocal range thanks to its wide frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz. This is simply an easy to use, great sounding microphone that delivers the results you want. Check out the RØDE NT-USB here.
Below are some of my other favorite USB microphones, each of them are great and will help you get the results you are after.
Apogee MiC – Affordable Quality Rap Mic
The Apogee MiC is second on my list of USB microphones, simply because it is a great mic. There are two options to choose from for this mic depending on what devices you are planning on recording with:
- MiC for iPhone, iPad, and Mac
- MiC for Mac and Windows
The second option is cheaper if you don’t need to record to an iPad or iPhone, but if you are a solid Mac user then it could be worth going with the first option. It is a simple mic but this condenser microphone packs a great sound and again is very easy to use.
Although again not the cheapest, they are still less expensive than most studio mics and you don’t need the added expense of a recording interface. Highly recommended as my second best USB mic for rap vocals. Check out the Apogee MiC here.
See how easily you can record with thee rap mics below:
Shure are a quality brand who have put out some of the best and most popular microphones in the world. They are an industry standard brand and you can not go wrong with them. This microphone features a very flat frequency response and also has a gain control and headphone jack for monitoring. It is compatible with Mac and PC but not iPad or iPhone unfortunately. The PG-27 is a great mic and will do anyone well who is starting out recording their vocals. It also works great as an instrument mic too. Check out the Shure PG27 USB Mic here.
Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+
I have reviewed the non-USB version before, and the AT2020 USB+ microphone just as good. Again this microphone has a built-in headphone jack and gain control allowing for easy monitoring and level control to give you a great sounding recording.
You can also blend your mix with pre-recorded audio, perfect for ensuring those takes are nice, smooth and on time when doing vocal doubling. You can also get added features such as a tripod as well. This mic is compatible with Mac and PC.
What is great about this mic is that you get very little background noise, this is perfect when recording in not so ideal situations. I recommend this mic as another best choice for USB rap microphones, you will be very happy with this microphone should you choose to purchase it. Check out the Audio Technica AT2020 USB+ here.
Blue Snowball iCE
I really like Blue microphones, they have a nice characteristic about them as well as sounding great. If you are looking for something that stands out and is unique, then you should really take a look at this microphone.
A very retro-looking mic with nothing retro about its features. This microphone is also designed to work very well as a streaming mic (Skype-Certified) so if you need to make Skype calls you will get some great sounding audio.
Available in white or black, this microphone is one of my favorite looking mics. It sounds so clear and crisp, perfect for getting a highly detailed recording.
I also tried one of these on Acoustic guitar and got some great results as well. This is a high-quality microphone that can be used and sound great in a lot of situations. Compatible with both Mac and PC, Check out the Blue Snowball iCE mic here.
Samson Go Mic
The Samson Go Mic is no different. One of the more affordable options in this article, this is probably the best USB mic for rap vocals if you are on a tight budget.
Although a budget mic, it still produces a good sounding recording. This microphone works well for podcasting, singing, rapping and instrument recording. It is a small and portable mic which can also clip onto your laptop.
This makes it easy to record without needing a mic stand. I recommend this for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of cash to spend on a mic but wants a good result. Perfect for beginners starting out getting into recording on a budget. Check out the Samson Go Mic here.
Another great Samson microphone that is both great quality and affordable. Compatible with Mac and PC. This is a perfect USB microphone for those who want a great sounding rap recording without the expense. This mic is great for vocals, rapping, instruments, and podcasts.
It is very versatile and comes with additional recording software for free. The mic sounds bright and warm which allows your voice to stand out in the mix. I recommend this as a great beginner USB mic. Check out the Samson C01U Mic Here.
Anyone starting out recording will do well with one of these USB mics. It may be worth spending a bit more and going for a standard microphone instead of a USB mic. Especially if you are wanting to take your recordings more seriously.
However these are some excellent options and in my opinion, I recommend the RØDE NT-USB or the Apogee MiC. These are my choice as the best USB mics for rap vocals.