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Looking for the best microphone for recording rap? In this guide, we’ll do a deep dive into the finest microphones for rappers ever made.
As a rapper, do you really need specialized microphones for your home studio?
Yes and no.
Yes, in that rapping has fast vocal movements and requires a microphone that can respond swiftly enough to the changes in cadence.
No, in that any microphone will help you rap – just that some will fare better at it than others.
Since here at MIDINation, we want to help you create the best-possible home studio experience (on a budget, of course), we’ll focus on microphones that can capture the rapid rhythmics and dynamic range of rap vocals.
Below, we’ll share our picks of the best microphones for recording rap. We’ll look at our favorite gear for untreated rooms, pro-studios, and even rappers starting out on the tiniest of budgets.
Let’s get started!
Shure SM7B – Best For Untreated Rooms
- 150 Ohms Mic Connections
- 2.7 pounds of weight
- XLR Connector
Are you a rapper using an untreated room? Then you have to know that not all microphones will serve your needs. You need a special type of microphone, and that is what you get with the Shure SM7B. It is an excellent microphone that is made by Shure. Shure is a giant in the music equipment industry. The company is known for the sheer number of instruments it makes and the high-quality performance that accompanies such products. The Shure SM7B is certainly no exception. It offers features that make it one of the best mics for recording rap and use in an untreated room.
The Shure SM7B comes as a newer and better version of the SM7 from Shure. The SM7 is an iconic microphone that has been one of the best options, even in recent times. Well, the Shure SM7B takes what is good about the SM7 and builds on it. Since its introduction back in 2001, the Shure SM7B has steadily risen in the ranks of the best microphones on the market.
Apart from being among the best microphones for rapping, it also offers a pleasant performance for other uses. Therefore, you have a model that can be used with amps, instruments, vocals, and more.
Another notable feature is the emphasis on mid-range and bass. Thus, if you are looking for a model for podcasting, commentary, and of course, rapping, then the lovely tone you get from the Shure SM7B makes for an excellent model.
Apart from the hardware and design features, the Shure SM7B also excels to a good extent in terms of sound and overall performance.
During testing, it was observed that the Shure SM7B gives a clean sound that makes it good for rapping. The proximity effect is the only downside of the v because if you are using low frequencies, the unit will not readily pick these up.
Aside from that though, almost every other thing is great.
Overall, as far as we are concerned, the Shure SM7B is one to beat. You can use it for several things, but it particularly excels when used as a vocal tool.
What We Didn't Like
While performance is generally acceptable, there are some downsides to the unit. For one, it requires plenty of gains before you can get appreciable performance.
The Shure SM7B is the best model for untreated rooms. Therefore, if you are a rapper working out from such a location, you will love the performance that Shure SM7B offers.
- Good frequency range
- Impressive pop filter
- No mechanical noise
- Low signal level
- Receptive to ambient audio
Rode NT2A – Most Versatile Microphone For Recording
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
- 1″ Capsule
- SM6 Shock Mount
Although the Shure model reviewed above offered a decent amount of versatility, it isn't the most versatile available. The Rode NT2A wears the crown of being the most versatile microphone for rappers on this roundup. The brand it comes from, Rode, is not as popular as Shure but is certainly is known among microphone aficionados. The company focuses on making microphones and has succeeded in being the brand of choice of several professionals and amateurs alike. This Australian brand was established over 40 years ago. Therefore, it has plenty of experience in knowing what works and what doesn't work. No wonder, then, that the audio equipment from the brand is created to offer excellent quality and performance.
At first glance, it is clear that this isn't your regular microphone. For one, it comes as a large capsule studio microphone that looks good. Inside this attractive body is a pressure gradient transducer. This feature serves several functions, but arguably the best function is that it makes the microphone more receptive than other microphones that do not have the feature.
Aside from that, the model boasts of a trio of pick-up patterns that you can toggle to change how you wish to talk into the microphone. Although the Shure above comes with a cardioid design, the Rode NT2A surpasses that because you can choose between the cardioid to a figure 8 and an omnidirectional pattern. This is one of the main reasons why we believe the Rode NT2A is the most versatile option on this list.
Aside from that feature, you also discover that the HPF here will let you remove unwanted frequencies.
With the Rode NT2A, you have a microphone that doesn't have a hard time picking up vocals without any distortion. The wide frequency response will give you plenty of frequencies to select from.
Now to the sound and performance. While the specifications are nice, how does the Rode NT2A perform in real-time use? Well, we are glad that it offers high-quality performance and will record your rapping. It will enhance the clarity of your voice.
Overall, Rode NT2A is a quintessential condenser microphone that offers the best versatility.
What We Didn't Like
While there aren't plenty of things to complain about here, we did not appreciate the poor quality case for the mic.
This is for all rappers as it is very versatile. You can rap from any direction and the microphone will still catch your voice.
- Beautiful design
- Excellent performance
- Good value for money
- Catches your voice from different directions
- Highly versatile
- Low-quality carrying case
Audio-Technica AT404 – Warmest Sound
- 3.02 pounds
- Unidirectional Polar Pattern
- Capsule design
Audio-Technica AT404 is a wonderful microphone from the Audio-Technica brand. As a musically inclined person, we believe that you must have heard of this brand. The brand is focused on making not just microphones but is also involved in making other musical equipment. The Audio-Technica headphones remain some of the best headphones that we have used.
Well, the brand has carried over the high-quality construction and performance of its other equipment to the Audio-Technica AT404. This unit is the second in the line of microphones from the brand, with the Audio-Technica AT4050 coming as the bigger and more expensive sibling. Although this unit is not as expensive as its counterpart, it offers similarly impressive performance. In fact, in our opinion, the Audio-Technica AT404 offers better value for money.
It has accessories included in the package, with the favorite being the insulated shock mount that will last and serve for a long time.
Right out of the box, it is easy to fall in love with the silver, capsule design of this model. It is a cardioid, which is excellent if you are a rapper. Several other features make it stand apart from many of the microphones that you will find on the market.
In creating this list, we checked out the frequency graph response of the model. Although it peaks around certain frequencies, it certainly does not sound harsh to the ears.
Talking and recording are easy. And playback revealed that the Audio-Technica AT404 gives your voice a clear, crisp sound that is what all rappers certainly want.
It is no secret that some mics are more attuned to male or female voices. Thus, it was great that there is no such bias with this model. Whether you are rapping as male or female, you will enjoy good audio performance.
While this review concerns how well it works as a vocal microphone, we also tried it with other sounds. When used with drums, it also gives a decent performance, although the mid-range sounded a bit muddled.
What We Didn't Like
There isn't a lot to dislike about the Audio-Technica AT404. It offers all-round great performance concerning vocals. However, we observed that there is a high level of subsonic output because of vibration.
As a rapper that wants a warm sound from the microphone, this model is exactly what you need.
- Great output
- Beautiful design
- Handy shock mount
- Output from vibration
Neumann U 87 – Best For Studios
- 5.4 pounds
- Three directional patterns
- 200 Ohms Impedance
- 20Hz – 20 kHz frequency
Neumann U87 is arguably the best model for studio use. The microphone is from the Neumann brand which, like all of the brands we have reviewed so far on this roundup, is a popular brand in the world of microphones.
Just like the Rode NT2A that we reviewed above, this unit is also highly versatile. For one, it is multi-directional. As a cardioid with this feature, you have a unit that you can use in a plethora of situations. You can use it as a cardioid, figure 8, and an omnidirectional option for all studios. With all this, you can enjoy your rapping as much as you desire.
If you have been searching for microphones factored by professionals and beginners alike, then chances are pretty high that you have heard about the Neumann U87. It comes as an upgrade on an older model from the manufacturer. The original version took the industry by storm, and while this upgrade will not have that sort of effect on the industry, it is still an excellent option that compares favorably with more expensive models.
As we earlier said, the versatility is superb on this unit. Whether for singing or talking, or even playing an instrument, the design of the model ensures that every note is captured and reproduced as accurately as possible.
As a microphone, the sound must be impeccable, and that is what you get with the Neumann U87. The unique sound of this microphone is rich and sounds nice on the ears. And while the microphone has a ‘personality', this doesn't overwhelm the quality of your voice or the instrument.
While this model is first and foremost made for vocals, it can also double as a spot mic. In this position, you will still enjoy the rich sound that sets Neumann U87 apart from others.
Overall, the Neumann U87 is one of the best microphones your money can buy. It comes from a trusted brand, offers incredible versatility and an overall unique function.
What We Didn't Like
In terms of specifications and performance, there is almost no reason not to get this unit. It is a costly unit. Because of the price, some might be put off and go for cheaper options.
If you are working out of a studio and want the best microphone for studio money can buy, then look no further than the Neumann U87.
- Impressive build
- Distinctive sound
- Reliable performance
Audio-Technica AT2020 – Best Budget
- Condenser Mic
- 200 dB SPL noise level
- 3-pin XLRM
Audio-Technica AT2020 is certainly a budget microphone. However, at first glance, it certainly doesn't look like that. It might be a budget model, but the build is something that you would expect to see on a more expensive unit.
This entry-level model might not have the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but when compared with the other microphones in its category, you have no choice but to stick with it. It is a powerful option that will last for a very long time before you have any cause for complaint about the build or performance.
Audio-Technica has already made an appearance on this round-up, and the Audio-Technica AT2020 comes as a cheaper option than the more expensive model that we have reviewed.
It is a highly affordable microphone for vocals, which makes it a good pick for any rapper on a budget. Now, while it offers you good vocal performance, it is still versatile enough to be used for instruments.
This versatility makes for a unit great for any beginner that doesn't have enough money to spend on different microphones. And if you decide to upgrade your rig, you will still find this to be an excellent option that will work in tandem with your other equipment.
As an entry-level microphone, it is surprisingly versatile and will do all you ask of it despite the price.
Let's consider the design of the Audio-Technica AT2020. First, it is made out of tough materials that means it can survive a couple of falls and bumps without damage.
Aside from that, the mic is a cardioid pattern microphone. It is also a condenser option. Therefore, while it might not be well-suited to stage performance, it is an excellent fit for the studio.
Sound and performance are outstanding for an entry-level microphone. When you use and playback, you would be surprised that such a cheap microphone could produce such a crisp sound.
There are accessories included in the package. These include a useful stand mount and a carrying pouch.
What We Didn't Like
The microphone is awesome for the price, but it doesn't compare with more expensive models. For one, it only offers a cardioid polar pattern.
As an entry-level microphone, it is geared towards beginners. Thus, if you are a beginner that wants a cheap microphone for rapping, then you'll enjoy the Audio-Technica AT2020.
- Clear sound
- Just a cardioid pattern
- Not great for stage work
MXL 990 – Best Rap Microphone For Beginners
- XLR connection
- FET preamp
- Champagne Finish
- Unidirectional polar pattern
Any serious person that wants to record vocals needs a condenser microphone as part of their setup. If you are just starting, you certainly do not need the absolute best option. Rather, it is better to look for a unit that is designed for beginners. Well, that is what the MXL 990 offers. It is a simple, budget condenser microphone that is designed for starters.
As this is a cheap option created for starters, it is easy to assume that it will be built shabbily. However, that is certainly not the case with this model. It looks more expensive than it is. And it feels sturdy as well.
It offers a large capsule design which helps to capture the lower frequencies more easily. With a frequency response between 30 Hz and 20,000 Hz, the MXL 990 is perfect for rapping and acoustic instruments. When used, we discovered that it makes your voice sound warmer without mudding vocals.
The sensitivity on offer is also great. This microphone works to capture the details and dynamic range so that you can have a rich, crisp sound when you playback. Although sensitivity has some cons, the mount included in the package helps to remove the vibrations that might affect the quality of your sound.
Apart from working for your vocals, this beginner level option is also cool for instruments like an acoustic guitar.
What We Didn't Like
As this is cheap and for beginners, it's no surprise that it comes with some flaws. For one, the isolation is somewhat poor. Some stray sounds around might still find their way into your recording. Another thing that we didn't like is that there is some self-noise.
This excellent option is best for rappers looking to buy their first microphone. It is a budget-friendly condenser mic that has nice features.
- Good frequency response
- Great sensitivity
- Solid build
- Poor isolation
- Possible distortion