Best Rapping Microphones for Rappers on a Budget

In this buying guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best rapping microphones out there. For an aspiring rapper, which mic you use may be one of the most important decisions you’ll make when it comes to studio and live performance gear. Cheap condenser mics are everywhere! Without a reliable, clean-sounding mic that fits the tone of your voice, and one that’s geared towards recording vocals, your records and mixes will just be sub-par – and there is no room for that in the highly-competitive music industry.

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Last Updated: January 27th, 2020

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3

7 of the Best Rapping Microphones for Rappers on a Budget

Audio-Technica AT2020

Audio-Technica AT2020
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Black
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The AT2020 and AT2035 are widely considered some of the best value studio condenser mics out there. The cardioid polar pattern is most sensitive from the front, and rejects sound from behind. This enables it to hone in on a single source like a rapper’s voice.

This would be a great rapping microphone for someone who wants a mic with a flatter frequency response and a more neutral sound. The AT2020 is a simple mic. There are no added features like pads or filters. But if you’re just recording rap vocals, it will get the job done, and it will do it well.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Condenser
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Self-noise: 20 dB SPL
♦ Designed for studio use
♦ Neutral sound
Additional specs

Cons
  • No added features
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Great starter mic
  • Excellent value

Shure SM58

Shure SM58
Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The Shure SM58 is a highly-regarded vocal mic that is used for live performances around the world. Some artists like it so much that they will choose it over a condenser during recording sessions. Unlike the previous condenser mics we covered, the SM58 is a dynamic mic. It’s received much praise for its reliability, durability, and ruggedness alongside its wonderful tone.

The SM58 has a frequency response that is designed to mesh perfectly with the human voice, male or female. It’s frequency response range is also designed to filter out any sound that is higher than the voice, such as crowd noise during a live performance. This mic also has a cardioid pattern like most of the others on this list, making it even more ideal for vocals.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Dynamic
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 50 Hz – 15 kHz
♦ Live or studio use
♦ Brighter sound
Additional specs

Cons
  • Less versatile (it’s a vocal mic)
Pros
  • Rugged & durable
  • Excellent for live vocals

Rode NT1-A

Rode NT1-A
Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

When it comes to self-noise, the Rode NT1 and NT1-A have the lowest at their price point. This alone makes them both great studio mics. The NT1 and NT1-A differ, however, in their frequency response. The NT1 is more of an honest mic, with a flat and neutral response up until around 4 kHz. The NT1-A is a warmer mic since it has a boost in response between 100 and 240 Hz. This means the NT1-A will be a good rapping microphone for a male rapper with a much deeper voice. That low-end bump will really accentuate those lower harmonics.

The NT1-A kit comes with much of what you’d need to record professional-sounding rap vocals. It includes a shock mount, pop filter, 20 ft XLR cable, and dust cover to keep the mic in good shape during long term storage. While it is slightly more expensive than others on the list, the specs don’t lie – it’s an awesome vocal mic. Only downsides are the lack of other feature like filters and pads. But if you’ll be using this mostly for rap vocals, that shouldn’t be a concern.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Condenser
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Self-noise: 5 dB A
♦ Studio use
♦ Warmer sound
Additional specs

Cons
  • Some report reliability issues
Pros
  • Very low self-noise
  • Great for deeper male vocals
  • Comes with additional gear

AKG D5

AKG D5
AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The AKG D5 is another contender in the live rapping microphone category. This mic is a big competitor of the Shure SM58 for live rap vocals. Like the SM58, it has a frequency response that is designed to sound great with male and female vocals.

The D5 differs from the SM58 in the polar pattern department. The D5 has a supercardiod pattern, meaning it is even more focused on sounds coming from the top. There is a tradeoff though – it is slightly more sensitive from the bottom. The handle covers the bottom up so this won’t be as much of an issue, but it’s still something to consider.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Dynamic
♦ Polar pattern: Supercardioid
♦ Frequency response: 70 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Live use
♦ Brighter sound
Additional specs

Cons
  • Designed mainly for vocals (less versatile)
Pros
  • Rugged build
  • Great for live vocals
  • High gain before feedback

Sennheiser E835

Sennheiser E835
Sennheiser E835 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

If you’re a headphone fanatic, Sennheiser should be a household name. They make some excellent monitoring headphones. The E835 dynamic vocal mic holds the same quality and value you can expect from the German audio giant, and at a competitive price. It’s in direct competition with the AKG D5 and the Shure SM58 for the top spot as a live vocal mic. Some even say it’s better than the SM58. This is subjective, of course. But that’s a pretty big statement considering the SM58’s reputation as top dog.

Just like the others, the E835 is a dynamic mic. It can take a real beating on stage. It has a cardioid pickup pattern to focus in on a single sound source. Like the SM58, it’s frequency response is capped off at 16 kHz to help reduce ambient crowd noise during a captivating performance. Overall, it’s a solid rapping microphone from a trusted brand name in professional audio gear.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Dynamic
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 40 Hz – 16 kHz
♦ Live or studio use
Additional specs

Cons
  • Designed mainly for vocals (less versatile)
Pros
  • Rugged build
  • Great as a live stage mic
  • 16 kHz max frequency for reduced noise

MXL 770

MXL 770
MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The MXL 770 is up next on our list and it’s quite possibly the best value mic you’ll find at this price point. The MXL 770 has a few features that add to it’s versatility. The -10 dB pad switch will allow you to record louder sounds, and the bass roll-off filter switch can help cut back on excessive bass, especially when close-miking.

If you buy the recording kit, you also get a carrying/storage case and a shock mount. The shock mount helps to cut back on vibration that can travel up the mic stand. Features and accessories aside, this mic sound very good on vocals. Check out our full review of the MXL 770 for more details.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Condenser
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 30 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Self-noise: 20 dB (A-weighted)
♦ Designed for studio use
♦ Bright sound
Additional specs

Cons
  • Relatively high noise
Pros
  • Very inexpensive
  • Great starter mic
  • Has a pad and filter

MXL 990

MXL 990
MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The MXL 990 is up next on our list of the best rapping microphones in the budget category. The 990 has a distinct bump in frequency response between 5 kHz and 15 kHz, which will add to vocal presence. This mic may be better suited for female rappers since testing has shown it can be a little muddy with deeper sounds and voices.

The MXL 990 also comes in several varieties such as the Blizzard Edition and Blaze Edition, which can add a decorative look to your studio. In comparison to the MXL 770, the 990 sounds a little bit muddier and slightly less clear. But nonetheless, it’s still a great mic for what it costs. Check out our full review of the MXL 990 for more details.

Features & Specs

♦ Type: Condenser
♦ Polar pattern: Cardioid
♦ Frequency response: 30 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Self-noise: 20 dB (A-weighted)
♦ Studio use
Additional specs

Cons
  • Can be harsh and somewhat muddy
  • No added features
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Better for female vocals
  • Great value

How to Pick the Best Rapping Microphones

With so many mics out there, it can be hard to make a good choice. On top of that, each individual rapper will have slightly different requirements due to the differences in the way the mic will be used and their rapping style and tone of voice. Here are some things to consider when buying the best rapping microphone for your specific needs.

Stage vs. Studio Use

A mic used in a live situation will have different design features when compared to a mic used in the studio. Many stage mics are dynamic microphones, and many studio mics are condenser microphones. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find some of both in each situation. Some artists and singers prefer to use dynamic stage mics in the studio.

best rapping microphones recording studio

The control room of a large recording studio.

Microphones for live performances are designed to be dropped, thrown, and swung around on stage. They are made to withstand the abuse. Studio condenser mics, however, are not as rugged. You’ll need to think about where you’ll use your rapping microphone most and make the right choice when it comes to microphone type.

Polar Patterns for the Best Rapping Microphones

For rappers, a mic with a cardioid polar pattern will be the best. A cardioid mic is one that is most sensitive to sound from the front. This means it is able to focus in on a single sound source while rejecting any sound from the back and reducing sound from the sides of the mic.

There are some variants of the cardioid pattern you should also be aware of. While these are still good for rap vocals, they’re less ideal than the cardioid pattern due to their increased sensitivity from behind. The patterns we’re referring to here are the supercardioid and hypercardioid patterns.

Polar pattern cardioid

A typical cardioid polar pattern. Mics with this polar pattern would be most sensitive from the top.

Frequency Response

Frequency response refers to how the microphone changes the tone of original sound source. All electronic components that transfer audio have their own frequency response curve. Some mics sound brighter than others – meaning there is an emphasis on higher frequencies in the treble range. Some mics sound warmer – meaning they have an emphasis on lower and middle frequencies. And some are flat or neutral – meaning no emphasis in any region.

For male rappers, a warmer mic may be ideal since it puts emphasis on lower vocal frequencies. And for female rappers, a brighter mic may be the better choice since the female voice has a higher pitch.

But the bottom line is that not everyone’s voice is the same and different mics will sound better with different people. There is no objective standard for the “best-sounding” rapping microphone. To get around the problem of buying mics online without being able to hear how your rap vocals sound before a purchase, you can always use a neutral, flat mic. Apply EQ and processing as needed after the recording is done.

Best Rapping Microphones: Wrap Up

If you’re looking for the best rapping microphone for your specific situation, you should consider how you’ll use the mic, it’s polar pattern, and how it’s frequency response will effect the way your voice sounds.

  • For live settings, go with a rugged dynamic mic that has a good track record.
  • For vocals, a cardioid or supercardiod mic will work well as it is able to focus on one sound source – your voice.
  • Make sure you consider the frequency response curve, which can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website. Go with a curve that will enhance the natural characteristics of your voice.

That’s all for this buying guide. I hope this helps you make a great decision in your search for the best rapping microphone for your situation.

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