Recommended Gear

After going through the last 4 years of comments, posts and threads on as many hip hop and rap forums as I could. These are the most recommended pieces of gear for getting started on a better quality sound for your music.

Start light then build as you go.
The best advice anyone can give is to just start. If you’re thinking about buying gear, by the damn gear.
— MeinThrowAwayAcc

Top 3 Microphones for recording rap vocals

#1. AT2020 XLR Mic

The #1 Microphone recommended for rap vocals on Reddit r/makinghiphop. Here are some of the things people are saying about this mic for rap.

“I have an AT2020 and I think it's doing a great job considering the low price. I have had no problems with it, so I can recommend it if you're leaning towards that one.”

#2. Rode NT1A

I have a Rode NT1-A and an Aston Origin. I like both, though I end up recording more of my verses into the NT1-A. Personally, I think one of the best deals for someone just starting a home studio setup is grabbing the $200 rode nt1-a anniversary edition pack + a Scarlett 2i2 or 2i4 :)

Especially for hip hop this is probably your best bet, you generally always want a large diaphragm condensor mic for vocals. The NT1a is dead silent with any decent preamp and and very versatile, one of my favorite sub $300 mics I've ever used. The build quality and warranty are both excellent. Also, if you want to consider moving slightly up in price the NT2A is similar but with switchable polar patterns which makes it even more versatile.


#3.  Shure SM7B

I went from a yeti to a shure sm7b. i was in your shoes. looked at the price of the mic, the cloud lifter, and a focusrite solo and was like damn do i really want this shit that bad

i ended up eventually buying it all. and man.. i will never need another mic no lie. if i had to save one thing from a fire its the mic. im banking on the mic to be the difference maker between me and the next artist no lie its that amazing

i record in rooms with fans, garages, i record with cars going by outside, my jacket rustling while i deliver, i record while my dog is walking around. i record without a pop filter, lifting and placing my foot down on a wooden second story floor as i move the mic stand around and bump into it as i record.

and none of that matters because what little noise the mic lets in, is let in so cleanly that it just becomes texture.

im no pro audio engineer, i wouldnt be able to tell you about any other mics except the blue and the shure, but i can tell you that m 1000000% satisfied with my decision to just go for it.


#4.  Bonus Budget Option: MXL 770  

MXL 770. It was either that for me or the AT 2020 but a friend of mine strongly suggested this one so I went with it. A little thicker and heavier than an AT 2020 for sure.


BEST Audio Interface

Scarlett 2i2

“I have the 2020 amazing starter mic. If you get the XLR then your gonna need an interface.

Scarlett focusrite are the king of the interfaces imo. I have the 2i2 and have basically studio quality recording.

Make sure you get a stand and a pop filter for your mic, and spend the rest of that money on some music theory lessons :D”

Mic Stand

Table Mic Stand *Recommended* - On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand, Black

Mic Stand - On Stage Stands MS7701 Tripod Boom Microphone Stand

Pop Filter

Neewer NW(B-3) 6 inch Studio Microphone Mic Round Shape Wind Pop Filter Mask Shield with Stand Clip (Black Filter)

Room Treatment

Arrowzoom New 24 Pieces of (25 X 25 X 5 cm) Soundproofing Insulation Wedge Acoustic Wall Foam Padding Studio Foam Tiles AZ1134 (Black & RED)

"Bad Room Acoustics"

What good would investing thousands of dollars on mics and pres do if you're room sound like doodoo. Here's a general rule when treating rooms, the smaller it is, the deader you want it (because Reverb will be really bad in these small rooms, and you want to minimize that). You can always add reverb later. If it's a larger room, less acoustic treatment would suffice (unless you're using a specific corner or area). Mattresses or duvets would help on low budgets, but overdoing will only target higher frequencies (depending on material) and will make your vocals sound bad. A good idea would be to use a well carpeted room (living room maybe?) that's nice, open, and has many things that will absorb the sound if you can't afford immediate treatment in your recording area. You should stay away from corners unless the mic faces the corner with the corner well treated.


Books & Courses

How To Rap by Paul Edwards

How To Rap 2 by Paul Edwards

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

Mixing & Mastering

Pro Mix Academy - Mixing HipHop with Ariel Chobaz

We’re excited to present ‘Mixing HipHop’ with Grammy nominated and multi-platinum selling mixing engineer Ariel Chobaz.

Ariel mixed and recorded over 40 GRAMMY winning or GRAMMY nominated HipHop and R&B artists including Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Rihanna, Drake, Snoop Dogg and more. If you haven’t checked out is resumé yet you can do so here, it’s insane!

In this 4 + hour course, you’ll learn techniques, tips, and tricks that big-time mixers use to craft massive hits. Ariel takes you through you through his entire mixing process from start to finish – And explains his thought process and the mixing techniques he uses in real time.

You’ll be able to skip years of painful trial and error by learning from an experienced engineer who has worked with the biggest artists and mixing engineers for over a decade!