While we are looking for the best preamp for rap vocals, I have to be honest with you guys and say that I am not exactly someone who is known for dropping mad rhymes. Funny story though, back in high-school me and my two best buddies did try and do our own rap songs on his old ass Packard Bell computer. Anyway, while we have done many preamp reviews today we are looking at ones that are designed with vocals in mind. So, if you do like to have fun making your own tracks a decent preamp can make all the difference in the world.

Do I Really Need One?

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Black, Ideal for Project/Home Studio Applications

The short answer is yes. Let’s say you have a decent mic like this Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone. Yes, you probably could straight connect this to your computer or whatever. But you need it to be brought up to line level. Just like many turntables need a preamp to do this, so do microphones. If you want your vocals to be as clear and high-quality as possible a decent preamp is an absolute must. 

A Little Studio Engineering

What made me decide to write this article today was something I read online. I read a post from a gentleman who was talking about how he had a decent microphone and he already had a preamp, but he was not happy with the sound quality of his vocals. The reason for this was that he was not doing anything at all to the recordings. If you do want to make your own music, you have to also be willing to do some post-production work where you tinker with the sound. I am sure, some people will not bother with this and be cool with it, but I do feel it is something to consider.

The Best Preamp For Rap Vocals Reviews

As I said I am not a rapper (I tried and I sucked) however I am a rap connoisseur, especially 80s and 90s stuff so I feel I have a good ear. Anyway, I can say for sure that I know a good preamp when I see one and these are a few of the more popular ones that are out there right now. As we are talking about rap here, along with giving my views on each of the preamps, I am also going to suggest a rap album that you need to have in your collection too.

1: Rolls DU30b Mic-Preamp/Audio Ducker

2: sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite

3: Focusrite Scarlett 4i4

4: Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box

5: Mackie VLZ4 Series

Rolls DU30b Mic-Preamp/Audio Ducker

Rolls DU30b Mic-Preamp/Audio Ducker

Ok, so I know that the duck on this Rolls DU30b Mic-Preamp/Audio Ducker is butt ugly. However, at 80 bucks I feel this is great value for money. While we are looking at the best preamp for rap vocals today and this certainly offers you that in order to bring your mic sound levels up. However, it is the fact that this also has a ducker in it as well. This means that you could use this for live performances as well as recording in your home studio. The ducker allows you to come in and out and that is pretty cool.

This little device is very easy to use. You have your mic input on the top. You also have an aux and line input on the top and your output too. On the bottom of the device, you have your mic level and your duck sensitivity too. They have made this as easy to use as possible and for the price, I am sure it will offer you a great way to get some high-quality vocals recorded.

What Other People Are Saying

I came across this awesome video review on YouTube that is well worth checking out. What I like about this is that it shows you how it works as a mic preamp as well as how the ducker functionality works too. It has a fantastic set of customer reviews on Amazon with 88 percent of them being positive and from what I read; most people seem very happy with it. The few negative reviews I came across were from those that got sent a defective unit.

Rap Recommendation

Mama Said Knock You Out

I know we are looking for the best preamp for rap vocals, but I thought this would be fun too. The first album you need to have in your collection is Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J. It is awesome that this dude is still doing his thing to this day, but this 80s album has aged like a fine wine and for me, it is still the best work that he ever did! If you like rap music and you do not have this in your collection, you need to stop reading this right now and go get it.

I think that the asking price for this Rolls DU30b Mic-Preamp/Audio Ducker really is great. It takes up very little space, it is easy to use and it is way higher quality than the under 100 bucks price tag suggests. You also have the added bonus of this being a ducker too which I am sure for the right person would make this the perfect preamp for their rap career.

Pros:

  • It is very affordable
  • The quality is solid
  • It also works as a ducker
  • It does not take up a ton of space

Cons:

  • The duck on it is dumb!
  • A couple of reviews did say they were sent a defective unit

sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite

sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite 1-Channel Active Inline Preamp

I have reviewed many preamps including those for microphones and I have always wanted to talk about the sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite. This costs around the 100 bucks mark and it is probably the most eye-catching device I have ever seen. It literally looks like a stick of dynamite which I think is really cool. It is designed to be easy to use with a plug at each end. There is an image of a boom mic on Amazon and you get an idea of how this is supposed to work.

The whole point of this is to give your vocals that boom they need and that is why I felt it was ideal to be on this quest looking for the best preamp for rap vocals. It appears that even though the price is low, they managed to work some magic with the tech inside of this thing as there is no hum coming out of the mic, even when you are rocking the mic at louder volumes which is really cool.

What Other People Are Saying

If you want to see this, put through its paces check out this testing video which goes into great detail about the pros and cons of what this preamp is offering. I already thought it was pretty cool, but this video made me take it much more seriously. On Amazon, as I write this there are close to 250 customer reviews and 93 percent of these reviews are for 4 or 5 stars so it has a great reputation on there.

Rap Recommendation

Doggystyle (Explicit Version)

Here we have my personal favorite rap album of all time, Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg. I love Snoop Dogg, but this first album of his is something else, man! It features awesome track after awesome track and I have been listening to this album since 1993 and I still listen to it regularly to this day.

I have to be honest and say that the sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite is cool, but it is not something I would get as the design of it is a bit out there for me. However, I am sure the design and the ease of use is probably going to be what makes this such an attractive purchase for those who do decide to take the plunge and buy this thing.

Pros:

  • It looks like a stick of dynamite
  • This is very easy to use
  • You pretty much just plug it and play
  • Great if you want something to show off while you record

Cons:

  • The design may not be to everyone’s taste
  • It does not offer much in the way of features

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First

Ok, so I know that at over 200 bucks the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 is jumping up considerably in the price department. However, I really think that those who are looking for the best preamp for rap vocals that are very serious about their music would be interested in something that is more on the high-end. The style of this is really cool. I love the red almost chrome-type thing they have going on here. It has all the inputs that you will need and if you want two mics to record at once, this allows you to do that.

On the front, each mic has its own gain which is great if you want to teak things just a little bit. There are line inputs and outputs on the back and in all, despite being aimed at those who are more serious about this thing, it is very easy to use. A nice feature is that it comes with some software that gets you up and running very quickly. I am actually pretty sure that the software you get with this is probably going to be more than enough to help you record your epic album or mixtape.

What Other People Are Saying

I found a really interesting video showcase about this preamp that shows it off very well. While the video is complimentary what I liked was the comparisons to the older model of this unit which was good to see. The reputation on Amazon for this thing is one of the best that I have ever seen for any kind of product. It has over 14 thousand… yes 14 thousand customer reviews and a phenomenal 95 percent of these reviews are positive!

Rap Recommendation

2001 [2 LP]

You know, I thought about putting The Chronic here, but that is so obvious. So, I wanted to give 2001 from Dr. Dre some love. This album is a damn masterpiece and features hit single after hit single. It has some great artists on here with Dre such as Eminem, Xzibit, and more and I honestly do not think there is a bad song on this album. I love The Chronic, but I actually think that this album while different, is every bit as good and worth having in your collection. This is the album that showed Dre was still one of the greatest around.

I think that the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 is a fantastic preamp. When it comes to the best preamp for rap vocals, I think this one will probably be on most people’s shortlists. I know that the price is a bit over the 200 bucks mark, but you are getting a device that is 100 percent going to make you say wow when you hear your voice pumping through it. You may be tempted to buy a cheap preamp, but I would actually suggest you consider saving up a bit longer and getting something like this.

Pros:

  • It looks like something you would find in a real music studio
  • All the hookups you need are here
  • I liked how you can have two mics at once connected to it
  • The software it comes with is great

Cons:

  • Some might not like the red design
  • The price is much higher than the previous two we looked at

Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box

Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box

I know that this Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box may not look all that flashy, but at 150 bucks I think this is something that is pretty awesome and well worth considering. It is a tube preamp and right on the front of the device you have a dial for tube drive as well as your standard drive dial. On the back, I thought it was really cool that as well as the mic input there is a separate input for an instrument like a guitar or something like that. The blue design I think is pretty cool, but I must admit I am not a fan of the little meter thing, it looks like this thing is trying to detect radiation and not make your vocals boom!

I really do think this needed to be on our best preamp for rap vocals list. It is all about giving you the clearest vocals possible and it actually has a low noise feature as well which is going to greatly help with that. It is nice and compact in its size too and it is designed with being able to be used in a rack system as well, or you could just have it sitting on your desk.

What Other People Are Saying

I know that this video review is not dealing with rap music, but I still think it is worth looking at. Here you can see the way this preamp works not just with vocals, but a guitar also. Currently, on Amazon, it does only have 98 customer reviews as I write this, but these are mostly positive as 85 percent of these reviews are rated at 4 and 5 stars.

Rap Recommendation

Greatest Hits [4 LP]

The first 2Pac album that I ever actually had was Me Against The World, but my recommendation to you guys is 2Pac: Greatest Hits. I love this album! I know there have been other compilations with unreleased songs and the like, but if I am in the mood to listen to some 2Pac this is what I put on. Also, I was today’s years old when I found out that they also released this on vinyl so you better believe I am going to pick that up.

I think that if you want to be under 200 bucks, but you want as close to music studio quality as you can get then this Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box has to be in consideration. Apart from the meter, the design is something that I think is really cool. The fact it also has an input for those who want to use an instrument as well is something that I think is really cool.

Pros:

  • The blue looks cool
  • It gives your vocals no noise or interference
  • They have made sure it is very easy to use
  • It can be used on a desk or in a rack

Cons:

  • That meter really sticks out like a sore thumb
  • You may not need a preamp with an instrument input

Mackie VLZ4 Series

Mackie VLZ4 Series, 12-channel Mixer with Ultra-wide 60dB gain range and Onyx Mic Preamps (1202VLZ4)

At $299.99 this Mackie VLZ4 Series is the most expensive item on our quest to find the best preamp for rap vocals, but I wanted to put something on here that had the wow factor. I have to say that this 100 percent is not for everyone, this is more for you guys who want an actual home recording studio. This is a full-on mixer so while it does have a preamp, it also has a ton of different ways that you can play around with the sound. I think for the average Joe just laying down some lyrics this is a bit overkill, but those who do have more of an interest in working in a studio will have a lot of fun with this.

It is also worth noting that this thing has four mic inputs and a ton of other inputs as well. It truly is like having a recording studio in your home. I do also want to mention that the version I have selected here is the 12-channel version. However, you can also get this in 4, 8, 14, 16, 24, and 32 channel formats! The 4-channel version is only 100 bucks so that could be a good way to dip your toes into the waters of being more hands-on with your music production.


What Other People Are Saying

I know that this is only a short video showcase, but this showcases all the different versions of this mixer so it could very well give you a better idea about what version is going to be best for you. Over at the good old Amazon, this has 482 reviews as of me writing this and the reception is very positive as 90 percent of the customer reviews are 5 and 4 stars.

Rap Recommendation

Life After Death (3LP)

I could not have a bunch of rap recommendations and not have Biggie Smalls on the list. He does have a greatest hits compilation, but for me, it has to be Life After Death.  While you can get this on CD for relatively cheap and that is great, it is the 3-disc vinyl that I am recommending to you guys. This is one of my all-time favorite albums and the vinyl version sounds amazing.

For those looking to do a bit of “studio engineering” I feel that any model from the Mackie VLZ4 Series is going to offer you exactly what you want. While we focused on the 12-channel version, be sure to look at the other mixers in this series to see which one suits your needs best.

Pros:

  • This can be purchased in different styles
  • It is perfect if you want more than just a mic preamp
  • The price is actually good considering all that it does
  • It looks pretty badass

Cons:

  • It might be a bit overkill for some people
  • There will probably be a learning curve with something like this

What Is The Best Preamp For Rap Vocals?

I feel that we have looked at some awesome preamps today that will help you make sure your rap vocals are as clear as possible. It is going to take your music to next level and really light a fire under you when it comes to making music. I have two choices here that I feel could be the best preamp for rap vocals. The first one is the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 which has an amazing reputation online. I also think that the Mackie VLZ4 Series needs to be in consideration as it is offering you more than just a preamp.

We hope this post has been useful in helping you to shortlist or even to make an informed choice on the best preamp for rap vocal. You might also be keen in the best preamps under $100 and the importance of a good preamp to improve your sound quality.

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Vinyl and audiophile lover

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