Hip hop is synths, combined with enticing bass lines and thunderous drumming. Synthesizers travel with subgenres like trap, gangsta, g-funk, west coast, pop rap, and more.
Hip hop is now thought of as being synonymous with an analog rhythm machine. But things weren’t always like that. Synth-pop dominated in the 1980s, the early years of the beat machine. Although hip hop producers like Afrika Bambaataa experimented with the technology, the sound of synth-pop permeated everything, whether you were spinning Cars in your car or watching slick-talking Axel Foley get out of jail to Harold Faltermeyer’s tracks.
Fortunately for hip-hop fans, the synthesizer’s dynamic powers quickly spread to other genres. However, what began with Bambaataa and gained traction with Dr. Dre has blossomed into a new wave of Hip Hop, with both professional and amateur producers pushing the sounds of the synths to new heights. Today, 80s synth-pop and your parents’ old haircuts are gone.
But which synthesizer keyboards are ideal for hip-hop? We’ll help you find the answer to that query in this post so you can make an informed purchasing decision. Additionally, for your benefit, feel free to use the interactive table below, which allows you to contrast the best synthesizer keyboards head-to-head.
Table of Contents
Roland Rhythm Composer TR-08
- Ultra-compact recreation of the legendary TR-808 drum machine
- Retains the sound, character, and user interface of the original TR-808
- Hands-on control including tone, level, tuning, and decay
The most well-known drum machine ever created, the TR-808, is reproduced in miniature on the Roland Rhythm Composer TR-08. Therefore, this one is for you if you’re seeking for that Grammy-winning, ear-bending vintage hip hop sound in an inexpensive backpackable physical factor.
Hip-hop fans, unite. The Roland Rhythm Composer TR-08 has brought the boom-bap back and made it here to stay. You can receive the authentic, detailed classic analog sound you grew up enjoying in a contemporary digital format with this incredibly small reproduction of the vintage TR-808.
This programmed monster will provide meticulous producers with all the tools they could possibly need. It includes physical controls for tone, level, tuning, and decay as well as an additional compressor, gain, tune, and pan for certain instruments. This item includes contemporary characteristics that producers have come to adore in addition to just copying a classic.
When purchasing this, keep in mind that it’s a modernized digital copy rather than the original 808 or an analog beat machine. Considering that the original 808 can be purchased for around $10,000 on eBay, this device is for you if you want the similar sound and feel at a generally affordable price. This is the Best Synth for Hip Hop in 2023.
AKAI Professional FORCE
- Play, Perform, Produce - Standalone music production / DJ performance system featuring 7" full color capacitive multitouch display and 8x8 clip launch...
- The Ins and Outs - Record audio with (2) XLR / ¼-inch combo inputs with phantom power, switchable to line/instrument level; route your audio to two...
- Hook up all your Studio Equipment - 4 configurable CV/Gate outputs and MIDI In / Out / Thru with MIDI multi capability seamlessly integrates with your...
This digital audio workstation includes all the tools necessary for independent music composition, including synth engines, MIDI functionality, and more. Do everything—record audio, connect studio gear, add media. You may play, perform, and create any hip-hop beat you can think of using this system.
A hardware DAW for the serious beatmaker seeking versatility and control is AKAI’s Professional Force. With a full range of tactile controllers, 10GB of preloaded sounds, and a multi-touch display, this device includes a synth, a sequencer, and anything else you’d want. From the very first day, you can jump right into your workflow with this thing. Given that this is a whole recording studio in one package and a real standalone music production machine, the value you get for the money is unbeatable.
When buying this product, bear a few things in mind. First of all, if you’re new to composing music, you might find this one a little challenging. There will be a little learning curve, even for experienced producers. Second, it weighs 10 pounds, which is a lot.
Korg minilogue XD 4-voice Analog Synthesizer
- 4-voice Analog/Digital Synthesizer with 2 VCOs per Voice
- 16-step Polyphonic Sequencer
- Digital Multi-engine
KORG is one of the most well-known brands in the market when it comes to synthesizers, electric pianos, and digital pianos. The Minilogue XD is one of their best analog synthesizers, with a number of keyboards available in various price ranges and quality levels.
The XD version of the Minilogue, an influential polyphonic analog synthesizer, is small, yet strong thanks to its metal casing. Although it has a flexible interface for making melodies and beats. A joystick that can regulate modulation depth, pitch bend, and other things is one of them. In contrast, microtuning lets you choose from 23 pre-set tunings or modify the pitch of each key.
The Minilogue XD offers a wide range of musical possibilities, and one of its standout features is the 16-step polyphonic key sequencer. The 16 VPM (Variable Phase Modulation) and user oscillators, combined with four noise generators, simply broaden the possibilities for Minilogue XD, enabling it to produce everything from classical strings to sharp metallic sounds. Additionally, it has 500 voices and a variety of effects programmed into it (reverb, delay, phaser, chorus, and more).
Overall, the synthesizer keyboard is easy to use, adaptable, and versatile.
Behringer TD-3-AM Analog Bass Line Synthesizer
- Amazing Bass Line synthesizer with true analog circuitry for bass and groove sounds
- Authentic reproduction of original circuitry with matched transistors
- Pure analog signal path based on legendary VCO, VCF, and VCA designs
The Behringer TD-3-SR is a cost-effective, ready-to-use synth for beatmakers seeking the best value for their money. You may go as deeply into the beats as you like with this machine thanks to its wonderful 4-pole low-pass resonant filter and incredible analog sawtooth and square waveform VCO with transistor wave-shaping circuitry that produce traditional analog sounds.
You’ll also appreciate the sequencer, signal routing, and emphasis on bass, in our opinion. This machine is capable of creating and keeping every rhythm your hip hop head can think of straight out of the box thanks to its onboard 16 note, 250 full pattern memory sequencer, already preset default signal routing, total focus, and bass. Remember that this item’s low cost translates to a slightly subpar build quality. It will accomplish your goals, although it can seem a little flimsy.
The Behringer TD-3-SR is a versatile synthesizer that is reasonably priced. This machine will lay classic-sounding hip-hop beats with ease thanks to its true analog design and superb bass-forward focus.