- What are the Best Rap Vocal Mics?
- Rap Microphones Reviews
- Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT4050 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
- AKG C214 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Neumann TLM 103 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Medium-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Rapping Microphones Buyer’s Guide
- Dynamic vs. Condenser
- Polar Patterns
The best microphones for rapping must capture vocal tracks with precision, detail, and clarity. Rappers use a wide range of dynamics and vocal techniques, so choosing a versatile mic is essential.
The vocal mic market has become increasingly saturated in recent years, making it difficult to sift through and find the best option for your home recording studio. There are so many good mics for rapping, that narrowing them down can be an arduous task.
Below you can find the six best rapping microphones to suit all budgets so that you can ensure your recordings are of the highest standard.
What are the Best Rap Vocal Mics?
Rap Microphones Reviews
Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
Rode’s N1T-A is the best-selling condenser microphone that is ideal for recording rap vocals. In my opinion, this mic is the best in its price range. As a matter of fact, it’s so good that it can compete with microphones that sell for double its cost!
A cardioid condenser, the N1T-A captures vocal tracks with focus and precision. It can handle a maximum SPL of 137db, and therefore will have no problem recording energetic powerful rap vocals.
Additionally, this is one of the best rap mics because it is equally adept at capturing softly-spoken verses or hooks thanks to its sensitive capsule.
In this bundle, Rode has included all of the necessary accessories so that the mic is ready to start recording rap instantly.
You get a pop shield for plosive reduction, an XLR cable to hook the mix up to your audio interface, and a shock mount to minimize unwanted frequencies.
- Versatile enough to record any style of rap vocals
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Great attention to detail
- Only includes one polar pattern
Audio-Technica AT4050 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
A prolific manufacturer of condenser and dynamic microphones for recording and live performances, Audio-Technica has quickly risen to the forefront of the industry.
The AT4050 is one of their most popular vocal mics, combining sparkling recording quality and a robust and roadworthy design.
I am very impressed by the consistency that this mic delivers when recording vocals. Even the most versatile of rappers who switch up the tone of their voice can rely on the AT4050 to keep up with the tonal variations and capture all frequencies capably.
Another standout feature that makes this large-diaphragm condenser one of the best microphones for rapping is its three onboard polar patterns.
Using the onboard switch, you can choose from cardioid, omnidirectional, and fixture-8 depending on the sound you’re hoping to achieve.
- Can be used either in the studio or for live rap vocals
- Capable of both single-person or group vocal recordings
- Durable chassis and grille
- Volume and tone pots feel a little flimsy compared to the other components
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone Review
You’ve probably seen the Shure SM7B on popular podcasts and in high-end recording studios. The only dynamic microphone featured on our list, The SM7B is an anomaly as it records vocals with more clarity than the vast majority of similarly designed devices.
Boasting a wide, flat frequency response, the SM7B hones in on the finer details of a rapper’s vocals. It is exceptionally good at handling high volumes, so you won’t need to worry about clipping if you get up close to the capsule when recording.
Another thing we noticed about this popular Shure mic is its brilliant off-axis rejection, which prevents background noises from making their way into your recordings.
There’s also the useful addition of a midrange-boost switch and a low-end roll-off which can be used to instantly remove or increase frequencies of your choice.
- Prevents unwanted noise or electromagnetic hum
- Handles loud vocals very well
- Easy to mount and dismount
- Requires vocalist to get close to the capsule for clear recordings
AKG C214 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
Building upon the unprecedented success of the iconic C414, the AKG C214 allows you to enjoy the main qualities of the aforementioned mic at a more affordable cost of under $340.
If I had to use one word to summarize the performance of this vocal mic, it would be “detailed”. Its one-inch dual capsule highlights all of the slight nuances of a rapper’s voice, which in turn makes it much easier to process and mix the recordings retrospectively.
Additional features like the 20dB attenuation pad, the switchable bass-cut filter, and the 6dB octave boost make it easy to customize the microphone’s set up to suit the style of your rap vocals.
You also get a high-quality shock mount and windscreen with the mic to further improve its functionality.
- Classic AKG condenser sound
- Vintage design and durable build quality
- Easy to customize and tailor to suit your style
- Higher frequencies can become a little harsh at loud volumes
Neumann TLM 103 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
The Neumann TLM 103 is one of the best mics for recording rap. It features a unique design, with electronic circuitry being used in place of the output transformer commonly found in most condenser mics.
This adjustment provides all of the benefits of a transformer-based design, with an improved ability to reject RF interference.
Another reason that we believe this transformerless design works great for rap and hip-hop mics is the impact it has on the performance of the capsule.
Inspired by the revered K 87 capsule included in the classic Neumann U67 and U68 mics, this component keeps noise to a minimum and captures the full frequency range of a vocal take with remarkable precision.
Priced at $1100, I’d recommend this as the best rap microphone to vocalists or producers who want to ensure that their vocal recordings are of a professional standard.
- Prevents interference and noise issues
- Wide, flat frequency response suits all styles of rap vocals
- Incredibly robust and roadworthy design
- Lacks a low-cut filter switch
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Medium-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review
The final rap microphone featured in our guide is the affordable and hugely popular AT2020 by Audio-Technica. At under $100, this microphone is the perfect solution for rap artists on a budget that still seek pristine vocal recordings.
The quality that impressed me the most about this workhorse condenser mic is its versatility. Budget microphones tend to be one-dimensional, but Audio-Technica has included a specially-designed low-mass diaphragm to extend the device’s sonic capabilities.
While this microphone won’t create the outstanding results that some of the more expensive options we’ve covered are able to, for the price it is definitely worth considering.
It is still able to capture a wide range of dynamics with excellent detail and is therefore the best rap mic to buy on a budget.
Also included in the package are a sturdy stand mount and a protective pouch for transportation.
- An affordable option for those shopping on a budget
- A great addition to any home recording setup
- Handles high SPL and has the extensive frequency range required for rap vocal recordings
- May produce some self-noise especially at higher gain settings
Rapping Microphones Buyer’s Guide
Due to the rhythmic and diverse nature of rap vocals, you must choose a rap microphone that is compatible with the most prominent aspects of this art form.
While most vocal mics will do a decent job, there are specific qualities you’ll need to look out for if you want to choose the best microphone for rap vocals.
In the following sections, I’ll outline the main things you need to look out for when choosing the best mic for rapping.
Dynamic vs. Condenser
Dynamic and condenser microphones offer varying qualities that make them more suitable for capturing certain sound sources. Like all audio-related topics, there is a great deal of subjectivity involved in choosing between these two mic varieties.
The main benefit to using a condenser mic for rap vocals is that they tend to capture more of the finer details of the performer’s voice.
This is because condensers such as AKG C214, Neumann TLM 103, and Audio-Technica AT2020 generally have a wider frequency response, which means they can pick up the bass, mids, and treble frequencies with equal prominence. For this reason, the condenser is considered the best microphone for recording rap.
Dynamic microphones on the other hand usually have higher SPL handling capabilities, which means they can record louder sounds without clipping or distorting.
Therefore, it’s best to choose a condenser microphone if the style of rapping you’ll be recording is quite relaxed, but if you have more of an aggressive style perhaps a dynamic mic, like the aforementioned Shure SM7B would be a better option.
When searching for your rap vocal mic, you’ll likely have come across the term “polar pattern”. This may seem a little complex if you’re new to recording, but in reality, it is a simple component that has a huge impact on the overall performance of the mic.
A polar pattern simply describes the direction that the microphone capsule can pick up sound. For example, the most common polar pattern used for the best rapping microphones is cardioid. The sound in cardioid microphones like Rode NT1-A is picked up predominantly from in front of the capsule and rejected from the sides.
Some microphones have switchable polar patterns, and can therefore include several different varieties. This is particularly useful if you are likely to use the microphone to record other sound sources in addition to rap vocals.
Most commonly, vocal microphones like the Audio-Technica AT4050 have multiple polar patterns installed will consist of cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8.
Omnidirectional polar patterns are characterized by being equally as sensitive to sound from all around the capsule. While this may be useful when recording several vocalists at once in harmony with each other, it’s unlikely that you’ll use this polar pattern for recording rap vocals too often.
Figure-8 polar patterns reject any sound coming from the sides of the capsule, and capture sound which comes from the front or back.
It’s common for manufacturers to include accessories as part of their microphone bundles. To record rap vocals, you’ll need to mount the microphone to a stand, which requires a clip that is often screwed onto the end of the stand’s arm.
Pop shields are another important accessory for vocal recordings. They are usually made from a mesh layer that is positioned over the microphone capsule so that the air pressure from the plosives doesn’t ruin the recording.
Windshields are another useful tool that may be included with the vocal microphone, and you can expect to get a carry bag or case to protect the mic when it is in transit.