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Recording Rap Vocals – Tips for Getting A Professional Sounding Vocal Recording!

Recording rap vocals is a lot like anything else in life… The more you practice, the better you get at it. While vocal training has been proven to pay off in countless ways and modify the acoustic parameters of the voice, in the end, your ability can only get you so far. There are a few factors you need to be aware of before recording your vocals, that can have a negative effect on your sound quality when not tended to properly. Without a basic understanding of important factors like microphone positioning, background noises, sibilance, and mouth noises and clicks, (to name a few) the sound quality of your vocal recording could still end up suffering.

If you give me a minute of your time, I will share some tips with you that will help you gain more control over the quality of your rap vocals, so that you can keep your lyrics sounding as good as possible when it comes time to record your next project!

Factors That Can Negatively Affect Your Vocal Sound Quality

Again, recording rap vocals isn’t rocket science. But there are some things you could be doing that could drastically improve the quality of your recordings. 

Here are some negative factors that can play against you if you’re not careful:

  • Sibilance
  • Lip Noises
  • Background Noise
  • Microphone Positioning 
  • Throat Temperature 
  • Head and Chest Resonances
  • Echos that Occur Around the Mic
  • Mouth Noise and Mouth Clicks /Popping

Tips for Recording Rap Vocals

Gaining a better control over your vocal recordings will make your mixing job easier, and give you more confidence in your skills as a performer. Here are some tips that will help you improve your vocals almost instantaneously:

  • Use a Quality Condenser Microphone – Producers of every skill level agree that using a quality condenser mic can make a big difference in quality, and add elements to your sound that you won’t want to miss. You can get a used RODE NT1-A on eBay for like a $150 that will get you some very clean sounding vocals for the price. Many rappers also prefer and swear by the Shure SM58, which is a  popular dynamic mic used by a lot of professional rappers, DJs and singers. However, if you have the money for it, a Neumann U87 mic paired with an Avalon VT-737sp preamp is arguably the best sound for hip-hop vocals hands down. 
  • Use a Pop Filter – Pop filters cost about 6 bucks on eBay, and they are used to reduce the popping sounds caused by the fast-moving air impacting the microphone when you’re spitting your verses. A pop filter can protect your microphone from salts that are in human saliva, thereby extending the lifespan of your microphone.
  • Minimize Reflection –You can use foam, moving blankets, soundproofing acoustic gear, etc. to minimize reflection and soundproof room if you are working from home and you’re on a tight budget.
  • Get Rid of Background Noise – To eliminate background noise, turn off anything buzzing, humming, or vibrating, close your windows, etc. The cleaner you can get your vocals the better.
  • Controlling Sibilance – Another thing rappers face is sibilance. That’s mainly your “S” and “F” sounds creating a high-frequency whistling sound when you are forming your words.  Sibilance is caused by the wind whistling through your teeth and is typically focused on the horizontal plane of the mouth, so the problem will usually worsen if the vocal mic is positioned right in front of your mouth. A lot of producers use compressors or gates to address this issue, but if you don’t have any money or experience with that, here is a pencil trick that you can use to reduce a lot of the sibilance.

We will be going over each of these topics more in depth in the near future, but for now, just making yourself aware of them and spending a little extra time preparing yourself and your recording space can make a world of difference…

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Tips for Recording Rap Vocals – Final Thoughts

We hope that this information helps you get the best vocal recordings from here on out. I know the first time I heard the same tips, I was relieved, because I had no idea what to do. If you had told me anything about reflection, or proximity effect, I would have been lost. All I took in terms of training before I started writing notebooks full of lyrics, was honor chorus in high school, and they don’t even give you mics for that. Not to mention that the chorus singing voice is a lot different than spitting bars. LOLAnyway, be sure and subscribe to our blog below, and we will send you topics once a month so that you don’t miss any of the ones that would really benefit you!


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Take care!

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