Best Synths for Hip Hop: Top 5 Picks

When it comes to music, there can’t be any hater for hip-hop music. The music sounds divine for the ears and helps us jump into the party mood instantly. But a lot goes into the creation of hip-hop sounds. Instruments such as synthesizers help in creating flawless hip hop music, anytime and anywhere and it is these synths that have made the hip hop music genre more popular, especially among young and music enthusiasts.  So, let’s check out the top 5 best synths for hip hop.

Quick Summary: Best Synthesizers for Hip Hop

Also check: Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Live Performance

Top 5 Best Synths for Hip Hop

There are excellent synthesizers that are available for different types of hip hop music and understanding the differences between each of the synth brands helps you in identifying the perfect instrument that complements your music journey. Choosing the right synth is not an easy task and we have done our research to help you find your perfect synth instrument. The top five best synths to create flawless hip hop music are as follows

#1. Korg MicroKorg 37-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer – Best Overall

Korg MicroKorg 37-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.1/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.5
Connectivity9.3
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.5
Value for money9.3

This is an excellent analog modeling synthesis system that is capable of generating the best sound for hip-hop dance sequences. There are four voices in this system and have a power supply of 9V DC or six AA alkaline batteries that are sold separately. There are three types of arpeggiators with ample output options. The synthesizer is compatible with windows 98, Mac OS, and other applications. 

The Korg synthesizer vocoder has the best features for ample music-making. It has a combination of mini-keys, simple to use interface, battery power, and a phenomenal sound at an attractive price. MicroKorg gets this synthesizer makes music available to every single musician.

Its built-in vocoder and its arpeggiator adds a new dimension to recording and performing music, without the need to master new technologies. External sounds can also be processed by the filter of the microKorg. There are dedicated knobs and many editable parameters in these synths right on the front panel and helps hip-hop music players to explore the joy of electronic sound creation.

This synthesizer features a compact design and is easy to carry around and set up. There are no complex menu structure and all its parameters are right on the panel for easy access to any function. There are six types of arpeggio patterns that are built-in and we can switch them to get some cool patterns of music. We can also connect a mic to the Audio In jack and use it for a powerful vocoder that applies the tonal character of a vocal input. 

What’s Best in Korg MicroKorg Synthesizer?

  • This synthesizer features 37 mini-keys with velocity sensing features.
  • Features four-voice modeling synth engine.
  • There are 128 completely editable presets with five assignable real-time edit knobs.
  • Its beige gold bold color and wooden side panels get a retro design on the synthesizer.

What’s Lacking in Korg MicroKorg Synthesizer?

  • The microkorg XL has more sounds and an LCD than the mircoKorg
  • The keys are not satisfactory.

Check out: Best Budget Synths Under $500

#2. Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synthesizer – Runner Up

Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.1/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.4
Connectivity9.1
Build Quality8.9
Easy to Use8.7
Value for money9.5

This is an excellent analog synthesizer that is available at an attractive cost. It features 25-semi weighted keys and a 100% analog signal path. There are about 31 knobs and 13 switches that we have in this synthesizer to get immediate control. There are two ultra-stable and variable waveshape oscillators with a square wave sub-oscillator in the mixer section of this analog synthesizer.

This is perhaps the first and analog synth device that features Moog’s transformative new multidrive section at low settings. The multidrive helps add warmth and girth and it also delivers a screaming snarl that is reactive to resonance. The mixer section is open for innovations and it includes a sub-oscillator that offers depth in the music and music customizations. There is also a noise generator at the mixer section to deliver low-frequency content that is rich in punch and body.

The Moog Sub Phatty features a range of parameters and features that are easily accessible from the front panel of the instrument. There are also select filter poles to assign wave mod destination and also to specify the amount of pitch bend etc. The instrument features a streamlined interface, dynamic sound design flexibility, and an unparalleled connection between the player and the machine. 

What’s Best in Moog Sub Phatty Synthesizer?

  • The free software editor helps manage and share presets and manipulate powerful underhood parameters.
  • Explore, create and store unique sounds directly from the panel.
  • The mixer section offers innovations of its own including a sub oscillator that outputs a square wave one octave below oscillator 1.

What’s Lacking in Moog Sub Phatty Synthesizer?

  • Good synthesizer for novice players, and may not appeal to professionals.

Check out: Best Synths Under $1000

#3. Yamaha Montage8 88-Key Synthesizer – Editor’s Choice

Yamaha Montage8 88-Key Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.1/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.5
Connectivity9.1
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.5
Value for money9.3

This is an excellent synthesizer keyboard that is ideal to play the best Hip-Hop music. Its motion control synthesis engine helps unify and control two iconic sound engines. It renders the high-quality waveform and synthesis of AWM2 and the modern and pure frequency modulation synthesis of FM-X. The motion sequences are completely customizable and are tempo-synchronized. Its control sequences can be assigned virtually to any synthesizer parameter and also render incredible ways to create sound.

The montage 88-key synthesizer workstation features a professional and stereo balanced output with a pure analog circuit for optional digital to analog conversion. There are around eight rotary encoders and faders with a step ladder and the approximate note capacity in this synthesizer are about 1,30,000 notes. One good reason why the Yamaha Montage is an excellent hip-hop synthesizer is that it is loaded with practically everything from high-definition reverbs to detailed virtual circuit modeling effects. 

As this synthesizer is built on the legacy of two iconic keyboards, it features dynamic control, streamlined workflow, and a massive sound creation technology. All of these best features are combined in this powerful keyboard to inspire the creativity of the players. It adds a new level of expression with its motion control synthesis engine and helps create dynamic sound changes with its super knob. Its motion sequences are tempo-synchronized and are completely customizable.

What’s Best in Yamaha Montage8 Synthesizer?

  • The motion sequences have dedicated controls on the front panel, making them easy to manipulate and change in real-time.
  • Its envelope follower controls audio into any control source to control any synthesizer parameter.
  • The montage features a range of beautiful sounds like the grand imperial pianos.

What’s Lacking in Yamaha Montage8 Synthesizer?

  • The sliders are hard to latch on the preset levels.
  • There is no sequencer.

#4. Yamaha REFACE CP – Best Portable Synth for Hip Hop

Yamaha REFACE CP Portable Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.3
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality8.7
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money9.5

This is an excellent vintage keyboard sound engine that comprises six incredible vintage keyboard types. It renders box-style effects with direct control and its 128 note polyphony ensures dropout-free performance. The synthesizer features an HQ mini keyboard with 37 keys that helps in a fast and natural performance with a premium feel and response. The synthesizer has a built-in speaker system that allows hip-hop music players to play at any time and any place. 

This is an ideal keyboard synth for sound designers and music creators as these are reimagined interfaces of the classic Yamaha keyboards. It controls big sounds easily with its four unique synths, which are based on the legendary Yamaha Keyboards. As it has built-in speakers and battery power, this synth is free and easy to use at any place. 

The synthesizer features a vintage keyboard sound engine with six detailed vintage keyboard types. The controls on this keyboard are based on the FS action that provides premium response and feels for an accurate, fast, and natural playing experience with 128-note polyphony.

It features a stereo speaker system that allows you to play music at any time and at any place. Its specially designed bass reflex port helps in enhancing the bass response for a rich and full sound. 

What’s Best in Yamaha REFACE CP Synthesizer?

  • The social sound sharing feature helps to discover, connect and share reface voices easily. 
  • Its analog modeling synth helps with simple controls, complex sounds, and excellent sound modulation possibilities.
  • Its retro control, classic sounds, and incredible sound response are a must for creating hip-hop music.
  • It weighs extremely little and still offers a lot of vintage sounds and controls.

What’s Lacking in Yamaha REFACE CP Synthesizer?

  • The synthesizer has mini keys.
  • Has to be paired with a stand for stage shows.

#5. Korg Monologuebk – Best Budget Synth for Hip Hop

Korg Monologuebk Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.1
Connectivity8.9
Build Quality8.8
Easy to Use8.7
Value for money9.6

This is a 25 keyed synthesizer from Korg, that has been dedicated to playing Hip hop music, and it features a VCF to change poles with more bite and Drive added to exceptional leads and rich bass. The synthesizer features 16 step buttons for faster and real-time step edits and its push button and turn knob for locking parameters help with expert motion sequencing. And its LFO capabilities have higher rates and deeper modulation.

This is indeed the next-generation monophonic analog synthesizer for a vivid five-color lineup. it is completely programmable and is indeed the next-generation monophonic synthesizer that shares the spirit of an acclaimed monologue with many powerful features and a completely new voice. It contains circuits of monophonic analog synthesizers and is completely programmable by using around 100 preset locations.

The 16 step sequencer has been enhanced to deliver complex rhythms and music that are extremely easy to capture, see and edit. Its micro-tuning feature helps in creating scales freely. The ease of editing in this synthesizer helps to edit tunes easily and its 16 step keys help to enter notes intuitively while maintaining the visual confirmation of the notes. 

What’s Best in Korg Monologuebk Synthesizer?

  • Its new filters, drive, modulation, and LFO can help general sharp leads and powerful basses.
  • Being a step sequencer it can help with a more intuitive and complex editing feature.
  • Supports micro tuning feature to help set scales freely.
  • The motion sequence functions help record the knob movements, allowing to add changes to the sound.

What’s Lacking in Korg Monologuebk Synthesizer?

  • It is not possible to import samples into this synthesizer. 
  • Great synth for newbies, but professionals may however look for a better synthesizer.

How Should You Choose the Best Synthesizer for Hip-Hop Music?

Here are some important and quick points that you should keep in mind before choosing the best synthesizer for creating hip-hop music.

1. Choosing between synthesizers and VSTi

Before choosing your hip-hop synthesizer, make sure if you want to go in the software or the hardware route. The best sounds come from the hardware as they add more warmth to the analog sound and get them appealing to different musicians. Also, most musicians love to play music from an instrument, rather than getting them controlled with a computer.

A virtual instrument however renders access to a vast library of sounds with diverse audio properties within a software synth. As most of them have a huge amount of presets, it is possible to download the sounds and patches of other players as well.

2. Going for vintage instruments

Some synthesizers have increased in value since they were released in the market. Some musicians wish to play a huge sum of money for these vintage synths as the sounds that come from them can either be used as samples or be replicated on modern and new synths. Choosing an original and a classic vintage is excellent, except for the budget issues it comes with.

3. Connectivity options

Before choosing to buy a synthesizer for hip hop, it is important to concentrate on its connectivity options. These options help the synth to connect with a computer, USB, and other hardware and work great for virtual instruments as well. Connectivity between multiple devices is the key to produce modern-day music, but vintage instruments may not offer these options.

4. keys

Check the number and the size of the keys that the synth has and if it matches your requirements. Some digital synth has exceptional touch sensitivity and this will also help the keyboard with more expression. This also helps with a lot of expressions and allows the plays to play subtler and interesting notes along with many music options.

Final Words

Modern-day keyboard synths come with several extra features, that allow the players to stand out from the rest of the players. It’s additional presets, inbuilt effects, and sequencers offer users a lot of options to create new sounds and an added layer of convenience. Look for the features of the synths before opting for them and we help our buying guide will help you in picking up the best synthesizer for hip hop.   

Hi, I'm Bethelina Googenhiemer. I am an expert in synthesizers. After starting my career in music production, I always wanted to do something else in my part-time, like sharing my knowledge with others who are still growing, which I will be doing on PianoOpedia. I will be writing guides & tips with the help of my team.

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