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As a longtime singer, I have recorded different music genres like pop, jazz, blues, classical, country, and electronic, hip hop, and many more, and I observed that specific music genres more often necessitate different types of monitoring and mixing. So, if you want to record, for example, hip-hop music, you need to use the monitors that best suit hip-hop music.
For example, hip-hop music is characterized by MCing/rapping, break dancing, DJing/scratching with turntables, and graffiti writing. It also includes other elements like sampling beats or bass lines from records or synthesized beats and sounds, as well as rhythmic beatboxing. All these elements make hip-hop distinct, and for this reason, you need to use a set of monitors that is responsive to this type of music.
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider When Selecting Studio Monitors for Hip-hop Music
If you are an established hip-hop producer or an aspiring one, investing in the best hip-hop monitors is a worthwhile investment. Yet, given the myriads of monitors in the market today, you may get confused about which monitors to choose. To facilitate the choosing process for you, you would need to know the following important factors to consider when selecting studio monitors for hip-hop music:
Studio Monitors Performance
Studio monitors have already evolved much at a rapid clip since the first studio monitors were invented. Good studio monitors for hip hop recording must ensure that you hear your music’s nuances and details. You would need something that offers the flattest audible frequency while not favoring one frequency over another. Consumer speakers add a lot of prominent sound and bass. Yet, if you are recording or mixing hip-hop music, you need something that gives you an in-your-face sound.
Best Speaker Size for Hip Hop Music
When recording hip-hop music, you don’t settle for the most extensive set of monitors. You would need something that fits your room well and the music that you would like to produce. For hip-hop music recording, you would like something with a 5 to 8 inches size. Make sure that you position the monitors at equal distances from one another and your head. With the proper size and distancing, you can get the most accurate frequency for a clean stereo response.
Brands are significant when choosing studio monitors for hip-hop recording. Some brands are known for producing excellent monitors, while others are still in the experimental process of production. Therefore, it will be useful to stick to brands that are known for quality products, for these brands ensure that their reputation in this industry is well-protected. So, if you are unsure, stick to the brands with excellent reputations.
Go for Monitors that Offer Excellent Bass
Fat bass and strong kicks typify hip-hop music. Most hip-hop sounds come with filtered fat-sub-kick and heavy bass lines. It will help if you go for monitors that bring you a wide range down to 45Hz (Frequency Response) and up to 22kHz.
Visit Jems Mann’s article on the best studio monitor amplifiers.
Most Recommended Studio Monitors for Hip Hop
Hip-hop recording requires a type of monitor that offers proper functionality levels, high accuracy, broad frequency range, and excellent low ends to let you edit well the drum loops and basslines, all of which are the very foundations of hip-hop beats. Below are the most recommended monitors for recording and mixing hip-hop music:
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1) Focal: Alpha 80 Professional Monitoring Loudspeaker
The Focal: Alpha 80 monitors are perfect for hip-hop music recording, and music producers and sound engineers use these monitors. With these monitors, you can listen and examine your mixes and their details with clarity. You can also pinpoint the imperfection and noise on every track.
These monitors provide excellent and real sounds. With these monitors, you would surely enjoy editing and mixing because you could clearly hear the sound details and can figure out what needs to be improved. You can efficiently work with the low ends because these monitors provide excellent bass depth without needing a subwoofer.
If you are a bass addict, you’ll get to enjoy this set of monitors. It also offers neutral sound with almost no distortion for crucial mixing and monitoring. Moreover, you can connect it up to 2 audio sources via XLR or RCA.
- The Focal: Alpha 80 Professional Monitoring Loudspeaker provides very accurate and detailed monitoring for its users. It offers better overall bass. It allows you to mix at low volume with great results and less ear fatigue. It also provides neutral sound sans distortion when you are engaged in crucial monitoring and mixing. So, it is perfect for hip-hop music recording.
- It has a comprehensive frequency response of 35Hz to 22kHz, which gives you a very detailed monitoring experience. In fact, you might not be needing a subwoofer for this set of speakers.
- If you are looking for something with an extended low range, the Focal: Alpha 80 is definitely a shoo-in. Moreover, it is pretty much affordable as compared to other sets of monitors.
- If you are looking for a set of monitors with gain control, you should look elsewhere, for this set of monitors doesn’t have one.
- These monitors, of course, are pretty heavy, being equipped with A/B amps.
- The only complaint about this studio monitor is its standby mode. So, if you have a quiet and idle time (inactivity) for thirty minutes or more, this studio monitor automatically shuts off, and there is no way you can disable this.
2) Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor
Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor consists of an 8-inch cone woofer and a 1-inch dome tweeter. It provides low distortion sound, which is critical to a good recording and mixing of hip-hop music. It also offers at any output level a well-defined bottom end.
It comes with a wide range of 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response with a power consumption of 60 watts.
If you intend to go bigger with your monitors, the Yamaha HS8 is an excellent choice. With this monitor, you can achieve a flat response, and it offers an honest sound. Nevertheless, despite its size, it is very much affordable. Plus, you can connect it via XLR or TRS phone jack inputs.
- It is more significant than the HS7 because it needs to have heavy bass.
- This studio monitor is solid with heavy speaker magnets that ensure that it will last longer.
- It is pretty straightforward and easy to set up, even if you are not familiar with setting up studio monitors.
- HS8 offers a high-volume output, so you might as well not use a subwoofer unless you are in a big room.
- It delivers a tight and precise output that is perfect for a critical listening job.
- Its sound is perfect for hip-hop, critical listening, guitar performance, and keyboards.
- With its larger speaker magnets, it will be easy to induce radio and electromagnetic frequency interference. Every time you receive a text message, you’ll hear interference or distortion from this speaker.
- The mid-range can be affected due to the heavy bass emphasis.
- It is best for larger rooms and can be too much for a small room.
3) KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4
KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4 offers excellent sound quality at an affordable price. Its size is 5″, yet, it offers great bass extension, making it a perfect monitor for hip-hop mixing. It also provides a flatter sound compared to the abovementioned models with enhanced tuning options. Moreover, it comes with an app for helping novices to set it up.
Its low end, however, seems to be a bit amplified. It also comes with a matching 1″ tweeter wrought in Kevlar. Plus, it comes with a built-in efficient (Class D) power amp.
This 4th generation monitor has the KOKIT-like style but comes with a total redesign from the prior models. It also comes with a bi-amplified design. Moreover, its frequency response is from 43Hz to 40kHz, with a maximum peak of 104dB SPL level.
- It is durable with the addition of a Kevlar woofer and tweeter.
- Moreover, it has a beautiful design.
- It is perfect for monitoring hip-hop recording and mixing. It offers extended bass, which makes it an ideal option for hip-hop mixing.
- It is one of the most affordable quality options in the market today.
- You may get annoyed with the power-saving feature that automatically shuts it off even if it is playing at a lower volume.
4) ADAM Audio T7V 7 Inches Powered Studio Monitor
The ADAM Audio T7V 7 belong to the smaller entry-level monitors of the company. Of course, these monitors are impressive because they can perform well and offers value for your money. ADAM looks excellent and comes with a simplified industrial design that uses a molded plastic front baffle and a smooth exterior that looks like a satin finish.
This advanced monitor comes with a 7″ subwoofer and offers a wide frequency range with excellent details to help you pinpoint the imperfections in your recording and mixing.
It features a polypropylene (low-frequency) driver that provides bass extension down to 39Hz, while its accelerated-ribbon tweeter offers incredible highs up to 25kHz, which is remarkable for such a price.
- This monitor comes with excellent build quality with very solid and sturdy construction.
- It offers crisp and very detailed highs and mids and punchy bass. It performs well at high volumes.
- It exhibits excellent imaging capabilities and good directivity control.
- Its on-axis response isn’t as restricted as you would hope it would be for a monitor.
- It also requires tweeter-level listening because of its narrow vertical response.
5) JBL Professional 305P MkII Next-Generation 5″
JBL Professional 305P MkII continuously receives positive raves from experts and critics. This is because it offers detailed and clean sound at an affordable price. It utilizes advanced technology called Image Control Waveguard, which produces very detailed sound with rich low-end and minimal distortion.
This monitor features the next-gen JBL transducers with new Boundary EQ and a sleek design. These new design improvements bring in optimized damping for excellent transient response and incredible deep bass that comes with lower harmonic distortion.
JBL Professional 305P MkII offers new boundary EQ that restores neutral low-frequency response if the speaker is positioned on adjacent walls and the work surface. It also comes with a broad sweet spot to let you fine-tune your recording and mixes as you listen to the off-axis.
- It uses patented JBL’s Image Control Waveguide that lets the speaker have a wider sound stage compared to other studio monitors. This is perfect for a larger studio with a broader sweet spot.
- Its design is modern and sleek, and definitely attractive.
- With its adjustable volume control, you will find it convenient to use.
- This speaker features a ported case (with a hole in the case) to level out pressure between the outside and inside of this speaker. Ported boxes, however, got a tendency to be less accurate for it tends to introduce unwanted low-end resonance that may lead to a smeared bass sound.
- Sounds are not balanced, and you’ll notice a slight hiss. The inside amplifier creates this hiss.
The brands and models of monitors listed above belong to the highest-rated brands in the market today when it comes to monitors production. As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to stick to brands with a proven track record when selecting monitors. Of course, your budget will also dictate the type of monitors that you can buy. Yet, if you don’t have a budget issue, rooting for the best monitors without regard to price would be the best thing to do.
Hip-hop production, of course, requires meticulous recording and mixing, and you can achieve such a level of recording and mix with the use of the best studio monitors for hip hop. Hip-hop songs highlight the vocals and drums, and you can improve vocal tones and drum sounds with a few EQ adjustments. With an excellent set of monitors, you can deal with the high-end, mid-range, and low end, allowing the needed frequencies to shine.