Rap Vox - get me started

Discussion in 'Vocalists' started by MMazurek, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. MMazurek

    MMazurek Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Anyone have any starting point tips for rap vocals (mics, placement, signal chain, techniques, etc...).

    Trackin' a guy next week. We'll probably experiment a little with a few pre's, comps, & mics, but if anyone has any good ideas or suggestions....let em fly.

    My mics: Lawson L47-MP, Blueberry, 414B-ULS, 57's, sm81's, blah blah.

    Pre's: Amek 9098's, Manley 40db's, Avalon 737sp, TLAudio pre/eq's, Mackie's.

    Probably use a Distressor (unless the Avalon comp sounds real good).
  2. mixfactory

    mixfactory Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Your mic choice depends on the vocal and also the style. The most common "rap" vocal mic would be a Neumann U87. I've recorded a lot of different rappers in the past(Guru,KRS-One,Nas and others). The mics I remember using were:U47,U47FET,U87,and maybe a U67. The preamps were either Neves or Focusrites. I've had a lot of luck with the 737 at times(a lot of rappers use this preamp, but not my favorite). The compressor of choice depends on what's around. A lot of rappers actually like the compressor in an SSL console(a DBX160x I think). Also an LA2A and a LA3A worked well with the SSL channel compressor. Is there smoking allowed in your vocal booth(I'm talking pot not just cigarettes) alot of rappers liked to get "hyped up" before they record, so that's another issue to deal with. Also let them stand were ever they feel comfortable, even if it is to far away or the mic is too low, that is how a lot of the vocalists feel comfortable, and in the end that is the most important aspect of recording rap, not just getting a good recording but getting a great performance. I hope this helps.
  3. Punchmo

    Punchmo Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    I've not recorded any big name rappers...just rappers. When I do record one it is with a U87 or SM58. Depends if they want to hold the mic and move around or not. Sometimes the 58 just sounds better regardless. I'll send one of those to either a Manley Dual mono, Avalon or Neve pre to a Manley Vari-Mu or ADL then an 1176 to tape. Everybody is happy and smiles.

    Your Lawson or Shure thru the Manley or Neve to the Distressor should be a happenin' path.
  4. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    I record a lot of rappers, and would suggest starting with an 87 (probably with the pad ON) into the 737sp. Turn the filter on the 737 on, as lot of guys like to bounce around & make rumble noise. And make sure you got a 1/4 note delay ready, and maybe a couple other effects.
  5. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    Originally posted by MMazurek:
    Trackin' a guy next week. We'll probably experiment a little with a few pre's, comps, & mics

    Always the best idea...

    My mics: Lawson L47-MP, Blueberry

    Probably one of these depending on the voice. See what sounds best without the compressor first.

    Pre's: Manley 40db's, Avalon 737sp

    Again, IMO one of these would work great. A little different sound...What did you track the music through (from sequencer to tape)...I always go out of the Akai MPC2000 with the 8XL outs into different pre/compressor combinations.

    Probably use a Distressor (unless the Avalon comp sounds real good).

    You might also want to consider compressing in series, with both doing light duty. You are going to need a fast attack (around 3-5 on the distressor) and a fast release for hip hop...these guys are extremely dynamic and of course it is basically spoken word. Try outputting your distressor into the El-Op. The Distressor distortions sound great used really agressively for this application...try dist 3 with link on and off, especially if you are going to digital. Don't be afraid to commit to tape, especially if you are limited (no pun intended) with the amount of compressors you have at your disposal. Good Luck I hope this helped. :cool:

    Best Regards,
    Nathan Eldred
    Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.
  6. MMazurek

    MMazurek Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    You guys rule!

    By the way, lyrics are all 'gospel rap' type of stuff. Need lots o punch & keep it very intelligible. (this guy likes vox effects too... wants PHAT hip hop vox sounds, ala double trackin/delays maybe/maybe get into that WaveMechanics bundle pretty deep)

    ...anyone else???
  7. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Rap is no different than any other vocal recording, in that your mic/pre/comp/eq/etc. decision will be affected by the song/voice/room/etc...

    That said, I've recorded rappers with all kinds of mics. Sometimes even if you have a closet full of Neumanns, the best mic for the job is a sm58 or 414. YMMVG.
  8. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    I had great luck today with a U87 through a Manley VoxBox. I used the VoxBox compressor (which I am told is very LA2A like) and ended up compressing a lot. With the track he was fairly loud and the VU kept bouncing to the left. There was a bit of harmonic distortion, but that worked too. Double everything! Many Rappers don't like effects, but a double seems to be a must. And don't forget the Ad-libs. These are the added bits and pieces of the main vox, performed by the same guy, to emphasize certain things. I ended up panning these slightly off center, with the main and doubles right up the middle.

    Good Luck and Have Fun!
  9. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Well? How did it work out?
  10. MMazurek

    MMazurek Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Sorry, the session has been delayed. I'm only doing the vox & mixdown. The music needs to be re-done for me to import in to my PT rig.

    The vocalist 'mixed' it. It sounds like someone has their car blasting on 11 with the bass turned up to 15!!! Very broken up & distorted. I suggested letting ME get the bass as loud as he thinks he wants it.

    The fine young man is livin & learnin.

    "...but it sounded great on my computer speakers."
  11. Originally posted by MMazurek:
    It sounds like someone has their car blasting on 11 with the bass turned up to 15!!! Very broken up & distorted.

    And that would be different from any other Hip Hop tune how? <bg>

    Remember it's important to be in the same headspace as your client, so copious amounts of THC intake is often nessecary. <ggg>

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