Rappers: Here’s Why You Should NEVER Underestimate Your Mic

February 8, 2023 0

pexels-harrison-haines-3165428-500x334 Rappers: Here’s Why You Should NEVER Underestimate Your Mic

As a rapper, your voice is your instrument.

However, it’s not quite as simple as that. Because the way your voice is recorded is what really determines how you’re heard. You can spray every bar to perfection in the booth, but if your mic’s a pile of trash, all that effort (& talent) will go to waste!!

So while you may appear to be the star of the show, it’s important to not underestimate the importance of your mic – every rapper owes their mic major props!

Don’t forget: it’s your mic that determines the overall quality of your audio signal & the amount of potential your producer can squeeze out of each recording. So really, without a quality mic, you’d be unable to live up to your full potential. Most likely the reason why some of the most professional MCs on the planet, don’t cheap out when it comes to rap mics.

In fact, a fair few spend more on their rap mic than they do their chain. So to help you understand why a quality rap mic is such a wise investment as a rapper, here’s our speedy guide on how to spot a worthy rap mic

Types of rap mics explained

While microphones come in various forms – nowadays, there’s over 4 breeds of rap microphones out there – the two that you as an MC need to focus on are the following…

  • Condenser mics – These are some of the most receptive rap mics you can buy. Condenser mics are designed specifically for recording high quality audio in the booth, which is why you’ll see the majority of them being shielded with a pop filter to reduce excessive plosives. Also, due to their design & sensitivity, they’re also some of the most expensive;  a half-decent condenser mic can set you back over $400. Some boutique condensers even retail into the thousands!!

pexels-kaique-rocha-122635-500x281 Rappers: Here’s Why You Should NEVER Underestimate Your Mic

  • Dynamic mics – If you’re performing onstage, dynamic mics are what you need. Unlike condensers, dynamic mics are significantly less sensitive, which is a major plus when performing onstage. Using a dynamic mic enables you to eliminate the majority of crowd noise & move far more freely with the mic, as dynamics are usually battery powered – they don’t require an XLR cable or audio interface to work. Due to their design, they’re also far more durable & cheaper to buy too, which has led to them being referred to as the workhorse of rap mics. If you’re looking to do a mic drop, then a dynamic mic is 100% the way to go!

What qualities should you look for in a rap mic?

There’s a serious amount of rap mics out there, however that’s not to say that every MC should consider them all. In fact, depending on how you record/ perform, there’s a few that you’d be even wise to avoid. So to help you track down the best rap mic fast, here’s a couple of characteristics you’d be wise to pay attention to…

Things to pay attention to when buying a dynamic rap mic…

  • Durability/ dependability – Dynamic mics are your workhorse (especially on tour), so the last thing you need is a mic that glitches out onstage or can’t withstand an enthusiastic mic drop. End up buying such a mic & your show could be over part way through, simply because of a technical hiccup. Hardly ideal, especially if it equates to you having to refund all your fans!!
  • A reliable brand – As much as it sounds snobby, in the world of rap mics, a reliable brand can go a long way. With manufacturing in regions like China becoming cheaper by the day, it’s not rare to come across Chinese equivalents that claim to do the same for half the price. However, in our experience, the electronics of Asian mics can be a major let down. Go for a reputable rap mic brand like Rode & Shure & you can take to the stage reassured of their quality.
  • Battery life – Often overlooked, yet arguably the most important characteristic of any dynamic mic is its battery life. Fail to take this into account & you could end up with your mic running out of juice mid performance. Not the ideal situation, especially when your fans have paid for a full show. Exactly why any pro MC will always have a backup.

Things to pay attention to when buying a condenser mic for rapping…

  • Character of the sound – When choosing a condenser mic as a rapper, you need to take its overall character into consideration. By this we’re getting at how it records your voice; some condensers can be quite bassy, while others can be that bit more perceptive to harsh plosives. All things you’d be wise to consider, as it’s this combo of the mic & the unique tone of your voice, which enables MCs to achieve the best possible rap voice.
  • Clarity – Another area where you’d be wise to critique rap mics, is clarity. Some condensers, particularly cheap mics, have a very poor dynamic range, which means that the spectrum of sound which they record is smaller. Something that can easily result in your voice sounding flat, or even a slight muddiness should you go too low or too high.
  • Sensitivity – Arguably the most important characteristic of any rap mic is its sensitivity. It’s here where you need a mic that’s well balanced. Get a rap mic that’s too sensitive & your vocals may come across as overly sharp – i.e. have that annoying hiss, which is a real pain to get rid of in post production. Yet a mic that’s not sensitive enough, will mean you’ll lose clarity; your voice will become less 3 dimensional. Something that could cause your song to lose depth!!

So what microphones are used by famous rappers?

If you’re struggling in your search for a rap microphone – especially one that suits your tone of voice – then taking a look at the music gear professional rappers use may serve as a good guide. Here’s a list of the few most famous MCs on the planet + the mics they’ve been spotted using…

  • Tory Lanez  – As a Hip Hop/ RnB singer, Tory uses a mic that can accentuate his highs & has a slight airy feel to it. Tory’s go-to microphone for rapping is said to be the Aston Spirit, which retaisl for around $400-500
  • Drake/ Eminem – Despite Drizzy & Slim Shady being at two very different ends of the rap spectrum, botb are after rap mics that have a distinct clarity & a strong bass. Hence why both have been spotted spitting into the Sony C800G – a rap mic which retails for over $10k!!
  • Lil Wayne – As one of the most lyrical rappers in the game, it only makes sense that LKil Wayne would choose a mic that highlights this. This is why Wayne’s been spotted spraying bars into the diaphragm of the CAD Audio Equitek e60 – a vocal mic praised for its clarity & detail. In terms of price, it’s also the most affordable; the Equitek 60 will only set you back around $300.


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