How to Get Vocals Like Drake

by Andre Gonsalves

We all know Drake uses a Blackberry to write his raps (hopefully he’ll get with the times and get an iPhone) but what microphone does Drake use? And how can you get rap vocals like Drake?

Drake’s audio engineer and producer, Noah 40 Shebib let the beans out in an interview he did for Sound on Sound. As that article can get a little dense, I’ve broken down the exact recording equipment Drake uses here.

What microphones does Drake use?


Most of the recordings on Drake’s last album, Take Care, were likely done using a Sony C800G as this the mic 40 uses in his vocal booth. This is not only one of the best mics to use, but is also one of the coolest looking as it does resemble a gun (If you’re an anti-violence type person, you may not find it that cool looking). However, this mic isn’t cheap as it retails for close to $10,000. Yes TEN GRAND! You can find it here for around $5000 though.

As this will put it out of reach of most unsigned rappers, all is not lost as 40 also notes that some of the vocals on Take Care were recorded using the Shure SM57. This mic isn’t nowhere as cool looking as C800, but for only $99 it isn’t a bad mic for vocals, though it is more suited for recording instruments. You can also find this mic here for around $50-$60. I personally wouldn’t recommend this mic as your main studio mic as around this price point, you can get something a little better for rap vocals.

What pre-amps does Drake use?

To get the best sound out of your microphone, you’re going to need a good pre-amp and Drake doesn’t skimp here. Just like Kanye and Jay-Z, Drake uses the Neve 1073 pre-amp.  Released in 1970 (yes you read that right), this pre-amp has been used on some of the most famous recordings and comes costs between $1000 and $3000.


In addition, Drake will also use the Neve 1081. And much like the 1073, this pre-amp was designed in the 70’s and yet still stands up as one of the go-to pre-amps used to record some of the biggest albums. You can get one here.


What computer does Drake use to record?

40 also gave us some insight into what computers he uses to record Drake. He uses both a windows based laptop and a MacBook Pro. His laptop is a custom build with an Intel i7 3.3GHz 12-core processor. Considering Take Care was released in November 2011, it is probably a 2nd generation Intel. Even still, that CPU is very fast and I doubt 40 would have upgraded to the newer 4th generation Haswell chips as the one he has probably works just fine for him. In addition, it has 12 gigs of RAM, 3 SSD drives and cost $6500. If you have no idea what this means: just know his computer is insanely fast. 40 also mentions he does use a Mac, but doesn’t state if it is the Macbook Air or Macbook Pro, I presume its the later. In addition, 40 records using Pro Tools.


What soundcard or audio interface does Drake use?

You can’t have a $10,000 microphone and skimp on the soundcard and Drake doesn’t. According to 40, they use a RME Babyface, which is one of the top audio interfaces on the market. It also isn’t too expensive, though at $749, it maybe out of the reach of some bedroom rappers. You can get here.


How much to sound like Drake?

When you add it all up to get the same recording equipment as Drake, you’re looking at dropping over $22,000. This isn’t including all the plugins 40 has which would probably add on another $10,000. So to record like Drake it would take an investment of about $30,000. Of course, you would also need someone who knows how to use everything and can mix and master as well as 40. All in all, this wasn’t a bad investment for Drake or 40 as Drake is worth $200 million and 40 has made over a million in royalties of Drake.



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering, which he helped found in 2012. For the last 10 years, he has made it his mission to empower aspiring artists and musicians from around the world. You can see more of Andre's writings on our Blog.

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