For hip hop and rap music production, choosing the best studio monitors is vitally important. If you use sub-par monitors, it will be much more difficult to accurately mix your music.
The explosion of digital music production has lead to a vast array of monitors being produced. This has its benefits, but it also makes it harder to separate the good studio monitors from the bad ones.
In this guide, you’ll find the very best monitors for making rap and hip hop music.
The Best Hip Hop & Rap Studio Monitors
Over the past decade, JBL has emerged as a leading manufacturer of studio monitors. They are perhaps more famous for their comprehensive selection of Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
The 305P MkII monitors are affordable, and highly reliable. If you’re serious about creating the best possible hip-hop mixes, these nearfield monitors will take your productions to the next level.
Designed with several advanced features based on the successful JBL 7 series, the 305p monitors perform to a level that transcends their modest price tag.
One of the most noteworthy features is the innovative Image Control Waveguide. By utilizing refined transducers, results in a wide, highly-dimensional stereo image that enhances the accuracy of your mixing.
The amount of power that these JBL monitors produce in the bass frequencies is a pleasant surprise. This allows you to adjust the frequencies of your subs and 808 basslines with precision.
Finally, the ported design of the 305p MkII studio monitors promotes greater attention to detail, at lower volumes. This protects your ears, whilst still allowing you to hear the full spread of textures in your hip hop and rap beats.
The LP-6s by Kali Audio is part of the company’s revered Lone Pine Series. Offering startling detail and accuracy, these studio monitors are ideally suited to the fluid nature of hip-hop production.
When making rap music, one of the main things that you’ll require from studio monitors is honesty. By this, I am referring to their ability to project your music without overly coloring the tone, as this can lead to inconsistencies across different speakers.
Kali Audio has focused most of its attention on ensuring absolute accuracy when designing the LP-6 monitors. This includes the completely flat frequency response and a cutting-edge waveguide design.
Although the 6.5-inch speaker isn’t as powerful as some larger options, it still manages to retain its clarity when pushed to its dynamic limits. The low-end extension is impressive, and distortion is kept to a minimum.
The LP-6s also include an integrated Class D power amp, balanced XLR, and TRS inputs, and an unbalanced RCA input to facilitate all connectivity possibilities. The boundary compensation EQ ensures that these monitors perform in any environment.
ADAM Audio’s T7V studio monitors are sleek, stylish, and dependable. Featuring a 7-inch polypropylene low-frequency driver, they deliver crisp bass down to 39 Hz, which is perfect for hip-hop subs and 808s.
The high-end frequencies produced by these monitors are also highly accurate. This is largely due to ADAM Audio’s patented U-Art accelerate ribbon tweeter, which projects pristine treble up to 25 kHz.
With a sophisticated uniform dispersion pattern that is assisted by a precise waveguide, the tweeter’s boast a broad sweet spot that makes them well suited to most acoustic environments.
On the backside of the monitors, ADAM has installed a rear-facing bass reflex port for further taming the low-end frequencies. A strong metal backplate houses analog input connections, DSP crossovers, and EQ settings.
The woofer included with the TV7s has a 50 watt, Class D amplifier, combined with a 20-watt class D tweeter amp. This results in an impressive maximum SPL of 110db, and minimal coloration or unwanted distortion at high volumes.
4. Yamaha HS8
Yamaha’s expertise in the field of studio monitors is unquestionable, and their devices can be found in many of the top-end recording studios around the globe. The HS8 active monitors are amongst their best offerings.
Featuring the iconic white-coned woofer design, these nearfield monitors are the result of constant improvements made from the original NS-10s that were produced by Yamaha in the late 1970s.
A large factor in the pristine sound of the HS8 monitors is their high-performance drivers. Enhanced by a sophisticated mounting system, the speakers can resonate freely without any unwanted coloration.
These monitors allow you to hear the full frequency range of your hip hop productions, from pumping kick drums to treble-heavy piano melodies. The accuracy of the high-frequencies is quite stunning.
All of the monitors in Yamaha’s celebrated HS series use extra large magnets. This helps them to deliver a solid, tight, and responsive flux field that facilitates a smooth response over a widened frequency range.
To ensure that the HS8 studio monitors sound great in any acoustic environment, Yamaha has installed room control and high-trim response capabilities.
The Eris studio monitors by PreSonus prove that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to enjoy exceptional audio quality. Perfectly suited to the intricacies of rap and hip hop, these monitors are filled with interesting features.
With woven composite woofers that produce brilliantly accurate low-frequencies, you’ll have no problem mixing your hip-hop basslines. Even when the volume is turned up, there is no unwanted distortion present in the output.
The silk-dome tweeters deliver balanced, immersive highs which complement the solid bass frequencies. This overall consistency means you can be confident that your mixes will translate to other speakers and monitors.
Another great feature installed by PreSonus is the onboard acoustic tuning controls. This allows you to tailor the frequency response of the monitors to suit the room that you are producing your hip-hop or rap songs in.
Finally, the connection options offered by the Eris monitors are extensive. They allow for unbalanced RCA and balanced TRS inputs and also have an auxiliary input for connecting external devices.
6. KRK Rokit 5
KRK’s Rokit monitors are synonymous with home recording studios. Their black and yellow aesthetic is instantly recognizable, and they are especially popular amongst hip-hop beatmakers.
The latest generation of the highly-respected Rokits features low-distortion Kevlar drivers, which are powered by a Class D power amp. A brickwall limiter is installed in the amp to keep the dynamics as consistent as possible.
One of the reasons that these KRK monitors have sustained such an impressive level of popularity over the years, is their extensive stereo imaging. With a high-frequency waveguide installed, they have a wide, dynamic sweet spot.
Another update made by KRK is the compatibility of the Rokit 5s with the KRK app. This incredibly useful tool allows you to monitor the frequency output using a graphic EQ, and to optimize the position of the monitors to suit the acoustic environment.
The Vital Requirements for Hip Hop Monitors
When deciding on the best studio monitors for your rap and hip hop productions, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Tweeters & Woofers
Hip hop is considered to be a bass-heavy genre, with deep subs, powerful kicks and boomy 808s often featured. Therefore, choosing monitors that have a capable woofer is essential.
The high-end frequencies, which include hi-hats, pianos, synthesizers, and vocals, require a clean-sounding tweeter. Generally, as long as the monitors have a frequency response of around 40Hz-30kHz, this will suffice.
Power Amps & DSPs
The vast majority of studio monitors are classed as “active” devices, which means they require a power amplifier to be built into the speaker cabinet. Choosing monitors that have individual power amps for the woofer and tweeter will get the best results.
DSP stands for Digital Signal Processing. The better the DSP, the quicker the studio monitors will be able to process digital signals, resulting in a smoother, more reliable performance.
Creating hip hop and rap music requires keen attention to detail. You need to be able to hear every frequency in your mixes, so choosing capable studio monitors like the ones featured in this guide is essential.