Looking to record a quality hip hop track at home? We've got the perfect tricks and tips for you!
As a hip hop artist, when it comes to recording your own vocal tracks by yourself, doing it at home is typically where people start out before spending more money on higher quality studio time. In order to pull this off without sounding like it's your very first mixed tap, there are several steps hip hop artists can take to get the sound their looking for. Additionally, there are a ton of options for artists at every turn, so we wanted to help provide some direction when preparing to record at home. Since it can be pretty hard to figure out where to begin when it comes to recording at home, we have made a guide of things you will need in order to record yourself at home.
Here are a few things we advise in order to record your hip hop vocal tracks at home that may save you some time and improve the overall quality of your tracks:
Things we will cover:
Find a Good Space to Record
Free studio time is hard to come by, so it's important to know what to look for in a good recording area at home. Find a small room with close quarters so that sound stays direct and crisp, without echoes and empty space. When looking for a good space to record around the home, we suggest a good padded closet or storage closet. You can use foam sound blockers, and they are really cheap ($5 each) but you'll need a few. If you're in a desperate pinch, hip hop artists can use egg shell cartons as an alternative.
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Best Microphones to Record Hip Hop Vocals at Home
This is the more commonly known part of recording that many hip hop artists are already aware of. What is overlooked with microphones however, is the two different types of microphones that hip hop artists can use and what they are used for. Here is a short summary of some of the differences, plus a few options for both dynamic and condenser microphones that are out there:
This is an easy and affordable way to get started when it comes to recording for a mixtape. These microphones are typically found on stages and have a lot of durability. These microphones, however, do not generate as much clarity and quality when compared to condenser microphones.
Estimated cost: $16-160
This microphone is more sensitive, picking up much more direct sound. This is not typically found on stages because they are fairly fragile, but they are far superior to dynamic microphones when it comes to recording. While this microphone is the better choice when it comes to recording vocals on a track, it is also a bit pricier, but certainly worth the few extra bucks.
Estimated cost: $100-250
How to Choose an Interface for At-Home Recording
The simple idea boiled down: An interface properly connects your mic to your laptop/computer and maintains the highest quality sound for your hip hop tracks.
When is comes to interfaces, there are a lot of options out there and it can be a little intimidating. However, if you’re just recording hip hop vocals, just keep it simple. The price range for interfaces as a whole greatly varies, but the ones we recommend have a small range of inputs and outputs, thus a smaller price range. Here are some options when it comes to some common interfaces:
Estimated cost: $30-100
Best Recording Software for Hip Hop & Rap
There are tons of options when it comes to software and each platform functions and operates completely differently from each other. Recording software can cost anything from nothing to hundreds of dollars, not to mention even more hundreds of dollars for the right plug-ins. So here are some just some of the options when it comes to software, categorized by price range:
Estimated cost: $0 - $600
Best Microphone Cables for At-home Recording
This is the easy part. Just make sure it's a microphone cable and you're good to go. While we suggest Monster Microphone Cables, the price range in general for microphone cables is quite small and for the sake of this article, we are not going to go tot deep into various microphone cables as we are addressing the average mid-ranged cables available on the market that can be used for at-home recording,
Estimated cost: $8 - $20
Putting It All Together
Once you have your equipment properly set up, make sure that your microphone is connected to an input channel on your interface, and that your interface is connected your computer. You'll also want a pair of headphones that is connected to the interface so that you can hear the music and record your vocals without getting the playback sound in the background of your recording. Now open your recording software and test the microphone signal. If it works, you're almost there! Finally, import the beat you want to record on, directly into the software and make sure you are able to hear it through your headphones. Now you're all setup to record your vocals!
Find a Great Hip Hop Beat | High Quality Hip Hop Instrumentals
All of this will be in vein, however, without a high quality hip hop beat that has the right sound to help you get noticed. This means NO MP3 files. MP3 files are compressed audio files that render the file useless as far as being able to get a good mix that includes your vocals. You will need the original, high quality WAV file or original stems.
When it comes to creating a great beat, it would require an entirely different article (or few) to discuss the process of making a good beat. It takes years of technical experience to mix a track to sound like the stars. The best outcomes usually come from producers that have years of experience with production and artists and that have access to equipment and plug-ins that can cost tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars. They also have technical and creative ears that can help refine tracks to stand out far better than other tracks. At Chief Tone Media, we are proud to have produced tons of talented artists and are outpacing ourselves everyday, breaking the boundaries of the current hip hop industry. Check out our website for some of the best rap and hip hop beats around and contact us to start mixing your next hit today!
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