The best microphones to buy in 2024: 11 of the best microphones for rappers and MCs

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Musician recording vocals in a studio, photo by wundervisuals via Getty Images

Musician recording vocals in a studio. Image: wundervisuals via Getty Images

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Most microphones will do a decent job at recording spoken word vocals. But, depending on whether your delivery is laid-back or all-out, the type of microphone you’ll want to use could be very different.

Vocal microphones tend to fall into these two major categories. Dynamics are hard-wearing and generally more adept at handling high sound pressure levels (SPL), making them ideal for loud vocalists and for live use. Being less sensitive, you need to work close to the mic, and as a result they’re handy for avoiding room reflections (and unwanted noise) in an untreated domestic room. A more even dynamic range off the bat is another advantage; dynamics make total sense as the go-to type when starting out at home.

Condensers, on the other hand, tend to be more sensitive and offer excellent detail, particularly in the high-frequency range. In the case of most vocal recording sessions, most professional engineers will reach for a large-diaphragm condenser, because it’s a safe bet that’s tuned to help vocals cut through the mix.

Here we’ve picked out a list of the best microphones for rappers and MCs – which also include some artist favourites for good measure.

11 of the best microphones for rappers and MCs

  • RØDE PodMic USB
  • Audio-Technica AT4033a
  • RØDE NT1 Signature
  • Shure SM7dB
  • Sony C-800G
  • Lauten Audio LA320 v2
  • Sony C80
  • Shure SM58
  • Neumann U 87 Ai
  • SE Electronics V7
  • Universal Audio SC-1

RØDE PodMic USB


As suggested by its name, the RØDE PodMic USB is designed with podcasters in mind – but being optimised for speech makes it just as suitable for rap. This model offers dual XLR/USB operation, making it far more attractive than its (non-USB) PodMic forerunner as an all-in-one recording solution.

This microphone features a pleasing tonality with just the right amount of push in the high-mid range that makes capturing great vocal tracks simple, even without much processing. Its outstanding off-axis rejection and included pop filter also help your recording stay focused on its source, and with fewer plosives to deal with in post.

In USB mode, versatile on-board DSP adds EQ sparkle, flattering compression and gates out unwanted noises, making you production-ready with a few clicks. Just plug the mic into your device with the USB-C cable, plug your headphones into the mic and you’re all set with a system that gets close to an SM7B and audio interface, at far less cost.

Price: £189
Type: Dynamic; XLR/USB operation
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: No
Other features: Onboard DSP (noise gate, EQ, compressor, exciter); audio interface/headphone amp; foam windshield

Audio-Technica AT4033a


The Audio-Technica AT4033a is a versatile condenser that can be used on a variety of sources, from voice to acoustic guitar and even drum overheads. In the realms of rap, this is also the most current version of the microphone which MF DOOM used to record 2004’s Madvillain.

The switchable high-pass filter at 80 Hz is especially handy if you intend to close-mic your talent. This helps curb the unwanted low-mid boost that comes from being too close to the microphone, known as the proximity effect, and there’s also a sensitivity pad that can be put to use if the rap gets shouty.

Price: £359
Type: Large diaphragm condenser
Polar pattern: 20Hz – 20kHz
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: Yes
Other features: High pass filter; -10 dB pad; shock mount included

RØDE NT1 Signature

Artist in the studio using the RØDE NT1 Signature
Artist in the studio using the RØDE NT1 Signature

RØDE’s NT1 has been a staple in the home and project studio sphere for countless years, famed for its pleasing U87-inspired voicing and competitive price. It has a simple configuration with a fixed cardioid polar pattern and no high-pass or pad switches, so you’ll need to use an audio interface or preamp with a pad if you’re spitting super-loud bars.

The latest, Signature edition includes voicing tweaks taken from the preceding NT1 5th Gen (XLR/USB) release and comes in a range of fresh-looking body colours.

Price: £139 black / £165 for limited edition colours
Type: Large diaphragm condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: Yes
Other features: Shock mount and pop shield included

Read our review of the RØDE NT1 Signature here.

Shure SM7dB


An update to one of the most popular options in the market for all forms of vocal recording, the Shure SM7dB is a dynamic microphone that’s incredibly well suited for spoken word performances, podcasting and singing alike. It’s pretty much unrivalled, sound wise in its class, as this quirky spoken voice short from Podcastage demonstrates.

The latest DB variant overcomes the historic issue of the SM7B being a low sensitivity mic that requires excessive gain by including an internal booster preamp. For this reason, it does require phantom power.

The SM7dB also features an in-built windscreen to cut down on plosives (a thicker foam windscreen is also included) as well as both a bass roll-off and presence boost switches.

Price: £449
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: Yes – required to use the preamp
Other features: High-pass filter; presence boost; standard and big foam windscreens included

Sony C-800G


Well-known as being the microphone of choice amongst artists the likes of Eminem, Dr. Dre and the late Mac Miller, the Sony C-800G is a condenser microphone that combines flattering tube saturation with crystal-clear high frequencies – seemingly, the perfect combination for making rap recordings punchy and intelligible.

Granted, the C-800G is a really expensive microphone. As such, it’s probably more suited for professional environments rather than project studios. Part of the big price tag comes from an integral cooling system designed to keep the microphone working at the correct temperature.

Price: £11,500
Type: Large diaphragm tube condenser
Polar patterns: Cardioid; omnidirectional
Requires phantom power: No, but uses the included power supply
Additional features: Windscreen and shock mount included

Lauten Audio LA320 v2


To enjoy tasty tube saturation without a prohibitive price tag, Lauten Audio’s improved LA320 v2 is well worth a look and listen.

The LA320 has a fixed cardioid polar pattern and a switchable high-pass filter, but more unusually, a low-pass filter too, giving the option at source for either a bright, modern sound or a more rounded vintage sound. Check out the mic in action with Carl Moore Music’s soulful singing and read our review of the original LA320 here.

Price: £611
Type: Large diaphragm tube condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: No, but uses the included power supply
Additional features: High-pass and low-pass filters; shock mount included

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Sony C-80


The almost-pocket-sized Sony C-80 offers the same high frequency detail as the flagship C-800G (and even shares components with the larger sibling) at a relatively modest price point.

Vocal lines come across clear and with great tonal balance, meaning tracking is a pleasurable experience for talent as they can monitor their live signal with decent clarity on headphones. Down the line, you won’t need to do lots of EQ shaping to fit the tracks into the mix either.

Switches for a high-pass filter and sensitivity pad help shape the sound at source and handily, a shock mount is included in the box.

Price: £425
Type: Medium diaphragm condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: Yes
Additional features: High-pass filter; sensitivity pad; shock mount included

Read our review of the Sony C-80 here

Shure SM58

SM58
Image: Shure

The SM58 (and the very-similar SM57) earns its status as the most ubiquitous microphone in the world because of the sheer reliability it provides at a really reasonable price. Whether you’re at a world-class theatre or even the dingiest of dives, you’re likely going to find at least a couple of these around.

It’s hard to argue against the SM58, its pokey high-mid range offering just the right emphasis to vocal lines, while its internal shock absorber works to minimise handling noise when placed in your hand. Oh, and it’s practically indestructible.

Price: £105
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: No

Neumann U 87 Ai


Lauded for its versatility in the studio, the Neumann U87 could be said to represent an industry gold standard for recording all types of vocals including rap. It has a perfect balance of mid-forward tonality and subtle saturation from the onboard transformer, both of which help voice parts command the mix.

This large diaphragm condenser offers three polar patterns (cardioid, omni and figure-8), a sensitivity pad for recording loud sources and a high-pass to avoid boomy proximity when working close to the mic with either of the directional pickup patterns.

Price: £2,449
Type: Large diaphragm condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid; omnidirectional; figure-8
Requires phantom power: Yes
Additional features:
High-pass filter; sensitivity pad; shock mount included

SE Electronics V7


SE’s V7 is a handheld dynamic mic that gives the SM58 a serious run for its money for a lesser chunk of change. It has a fixed supercardioid pattern to bring an incredibly focused capture of sounds in front of the mic.

It’s smoother in the mid range than the ’58, getting you into the ballpark of the highly desirable SM7B sound for a budget price.

Price: £75
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Super-cardioid
Requires phantom power: No

Read our review of the SE Electronics V7 here

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Universal Audio SC-1

Universal Audio SC-1 in use
Universal Audio SC-1 in use

Why spend ages choosing between the high-end, dashing duo of the C-800G and the U 87 when you can have both of them (and more) inside a single mic? What’s this witchcraft, I hear you ask..?

Universal Audio’s SC-1 is a large diaphragm cardioid condenser mic with a difference. Its bundled Hemisphere plugin is used to emulate eight iconic microphones including those mentioned above plus the U 47, U 67 and TLM103 from Neumann, and two AKG greats (C414 and C-12). It’s a more affordable way into mic emulation from UA, coming off the back of its Sphere L22 microphone release in 2022.

Price: £475
Type: Large diaphragm condenser with mic modelling plugin
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Requires phantom power: Yes
Additional features: Hemisphere plugin to emulate 8 famous studio condensers including the holy-grail Sony C-800G

Read our review of the Universal Audio SC-1 here 

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