How to Hold a Microphone When Singing or Rapping

(Last Updated On: April 27, 2021)
Singer holding mic firmly when singing on stage.

Professional singers and rappers do not just hold a mic according to their whims and fancies. They hold the mic in such a way that it will sound best. The Microphone, of course, is an excellent instrument for amplifying your voice while performing. But the way you hold it may either work in your favor or not when singing or rapping. How you hold the mic will affect how your voice will come out of the PA system. So, if you know exactly how to utilize the mic in your favor, you will indeed benefit much from using it. 

Of course, many factors may determine the manner you hold the mic when singing. For example, your level of nervousness may make you grip the mic in the wrong way. Yet, if you know how to hold a microphone the right way, you can always correct your grip quickly.

Techniques on Holding the Mic While Singing

There are some factors to consider when using a mic for singing or rapping. Knowing these factors can help you maximize the the sound quality of your microphone. Here are these essential factors that you need to consider:

Different Hand Positions You Can Use

Most microphones you will use as a singer or rapper are handheld microphones. So, it will be best to know the different hand positions when holding a handheld mic. Of course, you can hold the mic around the handle or grab it around the grid (any part in-between). 

When it comes to holding the mic, you can hold it by the handle. As you hold it there, you will notice that minimal coloration occurs. If you hold the mic’s head with one or both hands (cupping), you will see changes in how the mic captures your voice, and there is a more likelihood of feedback. 

Additionally, the way you hold the mic may affect the frequency response of the mic. Some of the most common methods of holding the mic include holding the mic beneath the ball of the mic. In this way, you will not touch the mic’s ball. You can also hold the mic beneath the ring, which sits on the mic’s ball. Rappers often do this way of holding the mic. 

You can prevent the mic from moving too far away from your mouth by positioning your thumb on your chin. However, your hand is not the only factor that can influence how the mic picks up sounds. Your head’s position will also be a factor. Moreover, the mic’s design and its polar patterns will determine how the mic will capture your voice. 

Consistency in Mic Distances & Directions

One factor that contribute to better mic output is consistency. Consistency will not only refer to your voice’s consistency. But it should also refer to the consistency of the distance of the mic from your mouth. 

If you are using a directional microphone, the mic will fail to capture the totality of your vocal output if you turn it away from your mouth. Yet, some artists use this technique for effect. They move away from the mic from their mouth once they sing louder. 

Although this technique deviates from the rule of consistency, artists nevertheless employ them to create a great effect. Artists also usually move the mic away when they belt their last note to produce that fading-out effect. They may also shake back and forth their head to create a vibrato effect.

Proper Grip

Besides consistency, you also need to know the proper grips when holding the mic while singing or rapping. It will help if you grip the mic well to enable you to perform well. It will not help to hold the mic too loosely or too tightly. A medium grip is preferable for optimum performance. 

You can squeeze on the mic, of course, when you roll over powerful vocal passages. Nevertheless, you should refrain from gripping the mic too tightly as if you are too nervous. Such a grip will affect your body, including your shoulders, arms, neck, and voice.

Firmly Squeeze the Mic

There are instances when you need to squeeze the mic firmly. Firmly squeezing the mic has its good side effect on your body. But don’t squeeze the mic too hard, for this can create a build-up of tension in your shoulder, wrist, hand, and voice. 

If you press the mic firmly enough, your breathing becomes more controllable. Moreover, the mic will move much if you don’t grip it well, and such movements may get amplified and may interfere with your vocal rendition.

Wrap with your Fingers the Microphone!

The correct way of holding the mic entails wrapping your fingers around it. In this way, the mic will remain steady and will not move much. It will also help use all your fingers to hold the mic to ensure that it does not wobble or move around. It will also help to relax your wrist while you hold the mic to appear confident to your audience.

Hold the Microphone at the Correct Angle (45° Angle).

You should ensure that the grille’s center is directly in your front at a 45° Angle to your mouth. Such an angle promotes breathing and expansion of your ribs. On the contrary, you should refrain from holding the mic vertically as if it is an ice cream cone. This position will never enhance your voice. 

It will help to check the best angle for the optimization of your mic’s pickup. But the most recommended angle is at 45° angle. Moreover, you can shift the mic’s position once you hear that you sound breathy when you sing.

Determine the Right Mic Distance

Although there is no rule about how far you should situate the mic from your mouth, experts have their best opinions on this matter. Experts recommend that you keep the mic around 3-5-cm away from your mouth. You should also be mindful of the sweet spot, which may differ on many occasions. So, before you sing, you can measure the distance you want to set for your mic. 

As you become an expert in handling the mic, you will figure out with ease where the sweet spot lies. Once you’ve figured out the sweet spot, you can keep the mic in that location more often. Be mindful of the proper angle in holding the mic, for, with the appropriate angle and the sweet spot, you can indeed optimize the use of your mic.


How To Hold the Microphone When Rapping

Directional microphones are productive of the proximity effect when they are used too close to the mouth. The proximity effect happens when the mic is too close to your mouth or sound source. When such an effect occurs, the mic produces more bass response. 

Of course, if you are a radio announcer, you will benefit from such an effect to keep your voice low-toned. But if you are a singer, you can utilize this effect to make your voice sound full and voluminous. 

Nevertheless, if you are a bass singer, you better refrain from putting the mic too close to your mouth to create that proximity effect, for you indeed do not have any need for that effect.


Things You Need to Avoid When Holding the Mic

To maximize the use of the Microphone as a singer or rapper, you also need to know the following caveats or things that you should avoid when holding the mic:

  • It will help to refrain from pointing the mic directly at the foldback monitors.
  • Refrain from positioning the mic toward the front-house loudspeakers. 
  • Avoid cupping the mic’s grille or head, for it will reduce the directionality of the mic.
  • Moreover, Moreover, it will lead to the Microphone capturing more sounds from the loudspeakers and monitors. 
  • Avoid turning the gain too high on your microphone channel.

Conclusion

The handheld microphone is like other microphones, but the way you hold and grip this mic will have a bearing on the sound it produces. For this reason, it will help to know the proper way of handling such a mic. Problems may ensue if you do not hold this mic correctly. So, to avoid such issues, you need to know how to handle directional mics. 

Of course, you may say that you have seen different artists handle their mics without regard to any established rules in handling a mic, and they got by with their performances pretty well. Hence, you concluded that it does not matter how you hold the mic. As long as it projects your voice well, then it is okay. But such an idea may not work well in your favor. It will help if you listen to the experts and hear what they have to say about the proper way of holding the mic.

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1 thought on “How to Hold a Microphone When Singing or Rapping”

  1. One point that was not made is regarding wireless mic transmitters. When holding these mics, don’t hold the mic by the bottom where there the antenna is located. If that is covered, signal loss / audio dropout may occur .

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