Learn Music and Audio Production | iZotope Tips and Tutorials
How to Rap over a Beat in Spire Studio
Check out this article’s session file to explore a rap over a beat in the Spire app.
Spire Studio is the ideal companion for any rapper. With an easy import function, uploading beats into Spire only takes a few taps. Simply plug a mic into an XLR channel on the back of the Spire Studio, and press record; no-frills, no big setup, just top-quality audio production at your fingertips.
With Spire Studio’s selection of recording effects, creating a unique recording is easy. From the dynamic selection of vocal effects to the analog simulators, the breadth of Spire Studio’s sound design is sweeping and robust—try dirtying up your vocals with the crunch of the Rowdy effect, or soften and swirl a synthesizer with the Purple Phaze pedal. Mix and match effects and sound sources for endless creative possibilities.
Note: Spire is always being updated, and we’ve recently introduced two hip-hop-inspired vocal effects! Try Encore for space and saturation or Monster Heat for distortion and warmth.
Our version of the track
We’ve partnered with New York City rapper Akil B. Strange to track a rap hook and verse over a beat to demonstrate the professional quality you can achieve with Spire Studio.
If you own Spire Studio or the iOS app, we invite you to take part in our session by downloading the Spire project here and creating your own hook and verse to share with the iZotope community.
Here are a few things to note before getting started on your own version:
- The track tempo is 72 BPM
- The track starts with an 8-bar chorus, then a 16-bar verse, then back to an 8-bar chorus
- All creative production choices are welcome
Akil B. Strange
Import the beat
If you’re using your own Spire app, open this Spire project. If you’re reading this on your phone, click “Open Project in Spire”—the Spire app will automatically import the project into a new session. If you’re reading this on your computer, open the menu and select “Open in Spire,” then scan the QR code on your phone.
If you were importing your own beat, you’d simply click “Import” on the home projects screen in the Spire app, then select “Browse.” Locate your beat from the various cloud options. Once you find it, give it a click and it will load into a new Spire session.
Once you have your session ready, set the tempo—in the case of our session, it’s automatically set to 72 BPM. The click track will come in handy for giving you a lead-in to start recording, and will keep you in-time when the drum track is muted.
Once your session is set up, nothing is stopping you—start tracking! There’s no need to waste time manually setting your levels and EQ. In seconds, Spire’s Soundcheck detects your voice or instrument, automatically sets your input level, and sculpts your tone.
At this stage, you can also pick a recording effect for your vocals. We recorded Akil’s lead vocals dry, but used the Big Air effects pedal to add a touch of chorus and slap delay on his overdubs in the verse. Crunchy effects like the Rowdy vocal effect and the Capratone effects pedal are also great options for a grittier overdub. Try using Warm Voice or Acoustic Shaper for reverb, or Purple Phaze or Revolver for a warbly flange sound. Remember, nothing is off-limits here.
With the imported beat occupying the first track in the project, you’re left with seven open tracks to work with. Try using three or four tracks to capture your lead vocal with a double- or triple-take, and the remaining tracks for overdubs. Again, the world is your oyster here—use the tracks however you wish.
Mix your project
Now the fun begins. Creating a mix with all of your freshly recorded tracks is like painting a portrait; move the color-coded tracks around the Visual Mixer until you’ve found a blend that sounds right.
Note that you’ll be mixing vocals exclusively in this stage—all of the instruments in the beat are contained on one track. Your lead vocal should be significantly louder than your overdubs; simply tap and drag your lead vocal up in the Visual Mixer for a volume boost. Try panning your overdubs to the left and right sides of the stereo field and keeping them at a lower volume to create a cushioned vocal mix and give your vocal some depth.
In our project, Akil’s verse vocals are the loudest, while the verse overdubs are the quietest and panned wide. The two vocal tracks in the hook are just below the verse vocal and panned slightly left and right for a stereo effect. To create a balanced mix, we kept the beat track—with all instruments—directly in the center of the stereo field. Any panning we do here would pan all instruments in the beat.
We’re excited to hear your rap tracks over our beat in Spire Studio! Start by downloading the session at the top of the page and importing into Spire Studio. Then, track and mix your raps and upload them to social media, and tag us with #madewithspire so we can check them out!