4 of the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals on a Budget

Article Written By: Darius Burgan
4 of the best microphones for rap vocals when on a budget

Table of Contents

I want to talk to you about what I think is 4 of the best microphones for recording rap vocals when on a budget. If you’ve read the article I recently published about creating your home recording studio, you know how strongly I feel about upcoming hip-hop artists creating their own home studio. Not only does it help improve your craft but it allows you to focus on artist development & save money in the process – which is usually a good thing when you’re on the come up.

The microphones listed are relatively cheap. Each microphone can be purchased brand-new for less than $300. I could have filled this list with microphones that you can purchase for less than $100. However, a lot of sub $100 microphones tend to be USB microphones. And, USB microphones are not known for producing the quality of work that I’d recommend – even if you’re on a budget.

Before we jump into the microphones, for the sake of honesty and transparency, I’d like to let you know that the links on this page are affiliate links. What this means is, if you purchase one of the microphones from this page, Artist Shortcut will receive a commission (but it won’t cost you anything extra). We were not paid to recommend any of the microphones and have only recommended what we have experience with.

So, if you like the content we post and support us, we’d appreciate it if you purchased using the links on this page. If not, feel free to go straight to Amazon to purchase them.

Now, let’s begin…

AT 2020

1. Audio-Technica 2020

The first microphone we’re going to be discussing is the Audio Technica 2020. While this microphone can be purchased in its USB form, we’re going to focus on the XLR version.

Audio Technica’s 2020 is very affordable for rap vocals and when EQ’d correctly, can produce high-quality work. Now, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that you can expect radio ready sound quality from this microphone. However, if you’re looking to record rough versions of your music at home and then go to the studio to record the final version, this microphone will be great for that.

Where To Buy The AT2020: http://amzn.to/2o5cI3K


2. MXL 990 Condenser

The second microphone for rappers on a budget is the MXL 990 Condenser. The MXL 990 microphone is probably one of my favorite budget microphones (mainly due to its clean look). This inexpensive microphone can produce a good-quality sound, without killing your pockets.

Now, I’m not going to do an in-depth comparison between this and the AT2020, but there doesn’t seem to be a big different in sound quality from either one of them. Sometimes I liked the AT2020 and other times I liked the MXL 990. It will depend on your ear and sound you’re going for.

Where To Buy MXL 990: http://amzn.to/2o52MXU


3. Rode NT1-A

Next up on our list is the Rode NT1-A. This Rode microphone is definitely a step up from the AT2020 and MXL 990 when it comes to quality. Vocals tend to come out with a clean and bright sound before doing any EQ. On rare occasions, I’ve noticed that the microphone can give off a harsh sound on the higher frequencies, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

The Rode NT1-A can currently be purchased inside the Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package. It does cost more than the MXL 990 – but is a much superior microphone.

Where To Buy Rode NT1-A: http://amzn.to/2nG60ho


4. Audio-Technica AT4040

Back on our list is Audio Technica. This time, we’re going to be talking about the AT2020’s big brother, the AT4040. This microphone is great for when you’re on a budget but need your music to sound like you’re not. This microphone is priced higher than the Rode NT1-A

So, you’re probably wondering how does the NT1-A & AT4040 compare. In all honesty, they don’t sound much different to me as far as vocals. And because of that, I’d recommend getting the Rode NT1-A over the AT4040. That way, you can save money while still getting a high-quality sound.

Where To Buy Audio Technica AT4040: http://amzn.to/2oKMiCJ

You’re going to need a phantom powered microphone pre-amp in order to use these microphones. We’re currently working on a list of pre-amps worth buying if you’re on a budget. However, for now, I’d suggest you pick up a Focusrite Scarlett Solo or Focusrite 2i2. This preamp will work well with the mics listed above.

Where to Buy Focusrite Scarlett Preamp: Focusrite Scarlett Preamp

Which Microphone Are You Feeling?

Any Questions or Suggestions?

So, those are the four microphones that I would recommend an upcoming you pick up if you’re on a budget. If you have any questions about your home studio or your microphone setup, leave me a comment below.

If you have any microphone suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’m not a microphone expert or anything, so I’m open to improving this list if you have any suggestions.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Augie Lopez
    September 5, 2016 Reply

    I got the XML 990 any tips on how to produce and EQ the vocals right and add compression? I'm still learning my voice is great but I need got production

    • Augie Lopez
      September 5, 2016 Reply

      MXL ***

    • Darius Burgan
      September 8, 2016 Reply

      I'd recommend watching YouTube videos on how to mix vocals. YouTube is full of tips from more experienced engineers than myself.

  • Andre
    August 14, 2016 Reply

    I have an AKG perception 120

    • Darius Burgan
      August 14, 2016 Reply

      How do you like it?

      • ONIKZ
        November 30, 2016 Reply

        I have an AKG Perception 120 too and its great, so clear and is good for all round vocals. works really nicely but use two pop filters in front of it haha

        • ONIKZ
          November 30, 2016 Reply

          Oh yeah its discontinued now :( they have a second version I think but I have not got any experience with that. looking at getting a Neumann TLM 102