Hip Hop Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by joe81273, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. joe81273

    joe81273 Guest

    Im trying to learn how to record hip hop vocals. Im new at this so can someone please help me.
    I have a G4 computer and a digi001. I dont have that many plugins in my computer so Im using a Korg D16 for the effects.{you know one of those little workstations} I connect the mic to the D16 and run straight through the digi001. I can't get the right sound. Can someone tell me what and how to apply the effects. Oh by the way Im using a AT4033 Audio Technica microphone.

    I'll apreciate your help
  2. I think I know what u mean.
    Rap vocals sounds somewhat differents than i.e Pop vocals.
    This may be due to the fact that a lot of the recordings probably were done with a SM58 or something close to it.

    Ofcourse this is not always the case but I think that this was how the first and classic albums were made - and producers seem to compare their mixes to what has come before them and to obtain a certain sound.

    As far as FXs goes hiphop vocals rarely use extensive Reverbs and if you pay attention to what delays/echos being used on the vocals you might notice that a lot of the time it´s actually the same rapper imitating an echo instead of a real delayunit.
    Producers like Dr.dre (the maestro of ´em all - in my opinion) uses this technique A LOT of the time .
    A very musically approach to producing I think :)

    As far as EQ I´ll let you in on a little trick I´ve been using a lot :
    You might be aware of the plugin "Freefilter" from Steinberg (and more recently the Assimilator for Powercore users).
    This can apply the charateristics of one recording (the source) to another (the destination).

    If you look closely enough you´ll be able to find accapella´s on the net with just the vocal part of rap tracks.

    Use one of these (prefferably one you like - ofcourse) to imitate the sound u want .

    It may not be what u actually would use for your final mix but it can provide you a hint of whats missing from your own vocal EQ .

    Hope this helps you.

    Ohh ya - and by the way u´ll need to smoke a lot of weed too - ofcourse ;)
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    "I'm trying to learn how to record hip hop vocals. I'm new at this so can someone please help me?" joe81273 ....
    Anyone have any answers for this? Fats
  4. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Okay... *cracks knuckles*

    First off, the AT mics (ALL OF THEM) teabag a gorilla's nutsack in their mouths on rap vocals (love them on other stuff)... If you must record with one, use the Antares Mid Modeler
    plug in. The Sony 800G and U47, and sommmmmetimes the U87 work great on this plug in. They won't make it sound exactly like the mic's, but it will take off the brittle sibilance you get from the AT's on rap vocals. I usually use a 2-3 inch proximity effect. If you think a certain mic preset sounds too dark, don't move to another until you turn the drive up a bit.
    Second, I can't really say anything about the Korg as a mic pre because I've never used one so here's the way I typically record rappers (this is only a starting point)... Sony 800G or U87 -> Avalon 737 or Neve 1073 into a Distressor into a GML8200 -> Tape/Daw... Compression is very important in hip hop vocals because it helps the rapper sound like they have better breath control than they actually do. I compress hard, 8:1 ratio, and shave off enough db were the vocalist sits nicely in the track. ALWAYS check your compression while the track is playing. If the guy raps accapella and you get your settings, they might suck when you play the track.
    3rd, I usually track a Lead track, A double which is exactly the same (aka "Tupacin' it"), and a 3rd Ad Lib track. This all depends on the skill of the rapper. A lot of the time the ad lib track gets sent to an analog style delay like an Echoplex or some type of modulating delay.
    4th, When you mix, use the McDsp plug ins. If you don't have them, buy them now. They will increase the value of your DAW triple fold. With COMPRESSORBANK, start with one of the presets that you are stylistically looking for. The LA2Eh is a good starting point. Depending on how the vocals are tracked, make sure your vocal sounds like the most important thing going on in the track. This is important because when you do drops (mutes of instruments) the vocal should be able to stand by itself no prob. Then, post compressor, slap the FILTERBANK plug in on. (male vocals) Roll off everything below 100 htz. I sometimes roll off up to 200 then give a little bump up about 2 db at 300 htz to make the vocals a little more ballsey. Sweep up and down the frequencies listening for the crappiest sound, then dip that out to taste. Use a really tight Q and sweep from 800 to 4K and you should find a nice spot that needs a little more spotlight. I do things a little different since I'm on TDM's all the time, usually, but in general this should get you started.
  5. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    Ok, im not a pro at mastering or whatever but i'll tell you what i do.

    Im recording (and pre-mastering) my 3rd hip-hop album right now and i'll tell you what i do for the vocals.

    1. Listen to what e-cue said. It's a good starting point.
    2.I do a lot of compression on the vocals. I compress it a lot but be sure that it doesnt sound squashed or distorted.
    I know a lot of peoples double the vocals but i never do that. I think it sounds too much 90's west coast type of sound (old tupac stuff). Maybe thats what you want. Its perfect for the chorus...
    I usually double the vocals only on some parts to make it flow more or to add presence on some phrases.
    I put a little delay (i like wave's super tap delay plugin) and reverb on the vocals. I mean a little that its almost impossible to tell that there is some effects on the vocal. It helps sometimes to fill some spaces where you make some punch-in.... Just a little bit.

    Then i use a ad-lib track. On this one, i use a lot of delay and some spatial enhancer plugin. (the s1 shuffle from wave is cool.) You can double the track and hard pan left and right both tracks if you want...

    For the eq, listen to what e-cue said and play with it. Be sure to eq it comparing it to the beat. The EQ should be different depending on the type of beat you are rapping on. The voice should be on top of the beat. Go on google.com and make some searches on 'how to eq rap vocals'

    As far as mic goes... At home i have a sm-58 that use to pre record every track before i go to the studio so i dont waste time. Its really important. I like the sm-58 because it sounds 'live' and its sounds dirty but i dont like it for a final track that will go on the album. Its cool to record it clean and its easier to make it sounds more trash if thats the effect you want...

    I did some songs with a sm57 and it wasnt that bad. I recorded last week on a rhode nt1000 and it was cool. It sounded nice but not all that.
    The best mic for hip-hop vocals i think are the u87 and u47... Its hard to tell.
    You can peep this to see what dr. dre uses:

    Have fun and dont make all vocal tracks of your songs sounds alike.

    Hope it helps...

    And now... My question:

    I need to buy a new mic so i can record everything at home (vocals). Something better than my sm58 and i dont have enough money to buy a u87. I have 1300$ right now for a new mic. Any ideas? A good mic for hip-hop vocals for 1000$ ?

    Thanks a lot!

    Last time
  6. Tungstengruvsten

    Tungstengruvsten Active Member

    Sep 10, 2001
    Guelph, Ontario
    Hey Metroman-

    I've used a SP C3 with good results on hiphop vocals, but my main contenders are either a 441, RE20, SM7 dynamics for power and a MGu70 for the golden voice...whereabouts in PQ are you? I used to live near Morin Heights...

  7. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    Thanks for your response Eric,

    I have checked infos and the prices on the mic you suggested and it sounds cool.
    The only mic i dont see any info on is the MGu70... Who does that mic?

    To your question, I live in quebec city but i spend most of my time between Quebec and montreal.
    Your from guelph, right? Are you down with Noah 23 and the plague Language crew? Its the only ones out there that i know...

    Somebody got a comment to tell me on the nt1000? I tried it and i friend bought one... its kinda cheap for a mic like this. Is it good? Any comments?


  8. lefty

    lefty Guest

    I use to use AT4033 but it was too bright; so I use to use an expander gate to get rid of room noise and sound . I ran it hard thru a compressor 4:1 with a threshold of around 26 to 36 without it sounding too dull, then I pulled up the Mic modeler and selected the U87 with a close proximity effect and some tube saturation. This worked for me but the key is to get rid of the room and have the vocals dry as possible . I hope this helps ..(I have now switched to Studio Projects C1)
  9. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    the AT4033 seems to cost twice the price of the c1... An you like better the sound of the c1?
    300$ for mic is really affordable. I dont need to record nothing but vocals with it anyway.

    anyone wanna share if they had good or bad result with this mic?

  10. lefty

    lefty Guest

    Well .., when it comes to mikes I dont go by price , I go by results.. the C1 won me over hands down I also use the NTK but the C1 give me a sound that can be used for nearly every vocal application
  11. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    The Shure KSM44 is a great mic on rap vocals. I like the way the mic "pops" when rappers get too close on purpose.

    As an added bonus, it's a pretty versile mic that you should be able to use of several other apps.
  12. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    The 4033 is a great mic, just not on rap vocals. A 57 would be better. The AT mics have a really bad sibilance and something weird, like a dip, around 350htz for rap vocals that makes the rapper seem less ballsey, esspecially if they are using proximity effect. SM8's are great too, but I'd suggest you buy a bunch of pop filters because they end up smelling like blunt smoke and henn real quick.
  13. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    The Shure KSM44 is a great mic on rap vocals
    Nice. It cost a little more than the c1. I saw at 600$...
    ''A 57 would be better''
    In fact, i have recorded a whole album with a sm-57 but im looking for something a little bit better... Maybe it was the setup of the studio but it seems that it didnt catch too much subtility in the voices. I likes that its sounds rough but im looking for something a little more clear...
    Thanks a lot for your infos.

    ''SM8's are great too, but I'd suggest you buy a bunch of pop filters because they end up smelling like blunt smoke and henn real quick.''

    Mine really stinks.... fo real...


    (keep coming with mic suggestions, il love it!)
  14. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    ok. I will need to choose between one of those (thanks to your help)
    The c1 and Nt1 are my picks for now...

    And like i saw on a page for the nt1:
    ''Your board must have phantom power to use this mic; it does not come with a power supply. It works well with all my mixers and does not require cranking the preamp to get a strong usable signal. ''
    So i need a preamp.
    What do you guys suggest? Im looking for a preamp that will do the job and wont cost me too much...

    any suggestions?

  15. johnclark2

    johnclark2 Guest

    I'm with lefty on the SP C1. Great mic for not a lot of money. I used to use a B.L.U.E. Dragonfly to record vocals until I got my C1. Now I use the C1 exclusively for vocals, and especially rap vocals. It's got a nice top end.

    In fact I liked it so much, I also got a C3 (The multi pattern version of the C1). Owning these two mics has added a lot of versatility to my arsenal for a little less than $600.00.

    C1 about $250
    C3 about $350

    From what I hear the FMR RNP (Really Nice Preamp) is a pretty good buy for about $499.00. I can't tell you anything about it since I don't own one. I've been using a t.c. electronics "Gold Channel" for the past two years and for me it's been great.

    Here's the FMR website.
  16. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    I wont ask to much questions about good preamp because there is one big discussion on the subject right now.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    But they all talking about preamps that cost a little bit more than 1000$... Im looking for something a bit cheaper. between 500 and 1000$. Im checking infos about the FMR RNP and some other premamp.


    MAybe guys like lefty can tell me what type of preamp they are you using?

  17. Metroman

    Metroman Guest

    ok. Lets say i buy a C1.
    I looked on the Studio Project website and they make a preamp for their mics. The VTB1 mic preamp.
    It cost only 180$ !!!
    Its far from being one of the best preamp and i cant compare it to a Avalon 737 (around 3000$).
    Whats the difference in terms of sound quality?
    I mean, if i buy a cheap preamp like the vtb1, will i hear noise in my vocal recording?
    Is it that it cant amplify the sound enough?
    Will it distort the vocals?
    Is it a piece of crap? :)

    I mean, Norah Jones probably wont come to my appartment to record a song with my cheap preamp. But for hip-hop vocals?
    Sure I want it to sound the best it can but i know i dont need too catch all the subtility of the human voice. I need to make some compromising until i have more money to buy better equipment...

    Should i get a cheap preamp (like the VTB1 or better ) and buy a good compressor or forget the compressor, get a good preamp and do all the compression in my software?

    hmmmm. Maybe too much questions in the same post?

    Désolé pour mon anglais.
  18. View 1

    View 1 Guest

    I've been looking at the Studio Projects for some time now and I am going to pick one up here real soon, but the thing I am wondering is it worth spending the extra $$$$$$$ to get the C3???? I've read some things where they say the C1 and the C3 sound the same and others that say the C3 sounds a little bit better. Just wondering????????

    I too own an AT4033, and love this mic for females, it's been hit and miss with males.
  19. johnclark2

    johnclark2 Guest

    I think the deciding factor in purchasing a C3 would be whether you need it's multiple polar pattern capabilities or not. The C1 posseses a single cardiod polar pattern and the C3 can be configured in three different polar patterns. Those being cardiod, Omni and Figure 8. The SPL is also a little bit better on the C3 and it has a little bit better top end than the C1 does.

    IMO well worth the money and gives you a lot more flexibilty when using various micing techniques.
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