Home Recording Essentials For Hip Hop and Rap Artists


For most up and coming Hip Hop artists finding the money to rent a major studio to record vocals can be a daunting task. Many professional studios are extremely expensive and insist on a booking to be made months in advance, as well as a cash deposit up front. This explains why Home Recording is a growing trend gaining increased momentum in the Rap and Hip Hop industry.

Home Recording is not only affordable but artists are more relaxed, and comfortable in their own environment. They have the luxury of recording at their convenience and if they use their money wisely on equipment and the appropriate design of the room, then they can find themselves profiting from renting their own home studio.

These tips and suggestions will help Hip Hop and Rap artists achieve the highest quality recording from their home studio.

The Room

The number one factor in producing high quality sound at home is the room. A blanket or thick curtain hanging over a wall or tall bookshelf is a simple and affordable way to ensure high quality vocals. Carpets should be used to cover tiles as these help to dampen the reflective noise and improve sound quality. It is important to avoid hard surfaces such as hardwood floors and concrete walls. Also, closets make great vocal booths, they are usually carpeted and the clothes can be used to absorb sound, lessening the likelihood of an echo.

Mic Positioning

Microphones should not be close to the wall but not in the middle of the room. This might sound a bit complex but the mic position in the room affects the buildup of frequencies. If there are thick bass frequencies it will produce highly defective audio recordings.

This is an instrumental aspect of home recording particularly for Rap and Hip Hop artists. Rap requires a lot of words being said at one time, so in order for words to be understood fluently, compression is very important. Compression is in charge of the dynamics of a signal; it reduces the pinnacle of a specific audio signal during volume peaks, creating more consistent output volume so that the range of vocal execution is reduced. For Rap and Hip Hop artists, listeners need to be able to follow and understand the lyrics of the artists and compression helps to achieve fluidity and clarity of vocals.

Proper Mic Techniques

First, things first, make sure background noise is minimal or nonexistent. Ensure that the vocalist is relaxed when recording. No snapping of the fingers, jumping or clapping. Turn off all noise making electronic devices. Eliminating background noise helps keep volume levels steady and maintain the same orientation towards the mic form start to finish. Depending on your tone, you may need to figure out your specific distance from the mic. Trained vocalists are good at knowing when to move closer to the mic and when to move further away. Volume levels on your headphones are also very important for Rap and Hip Hop artists. If headphone volume is too low it may lead to overcompensation with gain.

Pop Filters
These can be used to catch the burst of air that distort the recordings. For less experienced singers, keep them at a far distance from the mic to lengthen proximity. Pop Filters are effective if vocals are angled to the side of the microphone to decrease the burst of air from the most impressionable part of the microphone.

Recording vocals at home, if done accurately can produce high quality and professional vocals that can rival any major studio sound.