Like an artist needs a paintbrush and a barber needs their clippers, it’s essential for a rapper to have his or her microphone. However, it goes much deeper than that when considering what microphone you need for what application, and it can all be a little overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Sure, you could always grab a cheap microphone to get you started, but you’ll eventually want something reliable that produces a high quality sound.
You’ll also want to consider what you’ll be using the microphone for. For example, are you looking for a microphone to record crisp vocals, or a performance mic that sounds good when you hit the stage? Likely, you’ll be looking for both of these eventually. When searching for a microphone for recording, you will have to make sure you have the equipment needed to install it. When looking to perform, you’ll want something mobile that’s easy to set up and use.
If you’re a beginner, you may not even know what exactly you need or where to begin. No worries, because in this post I will go over some of the key things to consider before buying a microphone, and show you some of the best microphones on the market. Let’s begin.
Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones
Different microphones convert sound into electrical signals in different ways. The two main types of microphones fall into the categories of condenser or dynamic. In this post, I have recommended condenser microphones for the recording applications and dynamic microphones for performance.
Condenser microphones work when sound waves vibrate a thin, lightweight diaphragm to pick up sensitive and accurate noises. This makes it great for use in studio settings. Dynamic microphones are better for recording loud sounds, so when you’re on stage and you get pumped up, you can scream into the mic without a problem. They operate with a wire coil to produce electrical signals.
Budget Friendly: MXL Mics 990 XLR
This microphone has high quality operation without the high quality price. When purchased, this unit comes with a mic stand adapter, a shock mount, and a carrying case. According to the microphone’s website, this unit is great at producing sweet high-end sounds and tight, solid low- to mid-range sounds.
Mid-range: Audio-Technica AT4040
Designed to provide smooth sounds, this microphone includes an advanced large diaphragm and an externally polarized true condenser. It prevents low-frequency distortion and minimizes internal reflections. For increased stability, its acoustic element baffle is made of nickel-plated brass. This unit comes with a shock mount and a case.
Top Tier: Rode NTK
According to this microphone’s website, this unit is known for its ultra-wide dynamic range, low noise, and stunning tube warmth. It’s ideal when used to record a single instrument at once. This microphone is designed for professionals, so its price tag matches this statement.
Budget Friendly: Behringer Ultravoice XM1800
This is a simple microphone that gets the job done on the stage. It has an integrated pop filter to minimize “p” sounds and a switch to turn it on and off between musical breaks. Designed to let artists’ voice shine through, it has a high signal output and a wide frequency response.
Mid-range: Shure SM58S
The main feature when it comes to this mic is its durability. It fits comfortably in the hand and creates a more-than-desirable live sound. This unit is sure to withstand the test of time while an artist is on tour.
Top Tier: Sennhesier e945
This unit comes with a pouch for storage and a microphone clamp to secure it to a stand. It includes a hum-compensation coil and provides outstanding feedback rejection. Similar to the last microphone we mentioned, this unit has a durable construction due to its rugged metal body.
Additional Equipment You May Need
After you purchase the microphone you're going to start using, you better start to consider some of the equipment that needs to accompany it. For starters, a microphone stand is essential for holding a mic on stage or securing it during a recording session. It doesn't have to be anything fancy—this Musician's Gear Tripod shall do. Furthermore, while recording, you're going to need a pop filter that captures any hard "p" sounds, such as this one from Sterling Audio. As you book more shows, you'll need a PA System as well.
While this is definitely not a comprehensive guide of all great microphones on the market, I hope it at least taught you about the different kinds, and gave you a start down the right path to choose the best microphone for you.
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I will get a small commission if you purchase from my link with no extra cost to you :)*