Synthesizers are hip hop—along with catchy bass-lines and banging drums. Sub-genres such as Trap, gangsta, g-funk, west coast, pop rap and more have synthesizers as their passenger.

Check out our picks for the Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Hip Hop

But what are the best synthesizer keyboards for hip-hop?  In this article, we’ll help answer that question so you can make an informed buying choice.  And, to better help you, please use our interactive table below, where you can directly compare the top synthesizer keyboards against one another.

PhotoModelKeysPriceFeatures
61FqEtRBhfL._SL1000_Moog Sub Phatty25$$Polyphony: Monophonic
Moog Sub 37Moog Sub 3737$$$Polyphony: Selectable Monophonic or Paraphonic
Korg MinilogueKorg Minilogue37$$16-Step Polyphonic Step & Motion Sequencer
Korg Monologue25$2 VCO (Square Wave, Triangle Wave, Sawtooth Wave)
yamaha-montage8Yamaha Montage888$$$Balanced Hammer Effect Keyboard
Yamaha MODX888$$$83-Key Synthesizer
Korg Krome88$$$800 x 480 pixel TouchView Color Display
korg-kronos-73
Korg Kronos 273$$$SGX-2 Grand Piano Sound Engine
roland-fa-08Roland FA-0888$$$16-Track Sequencer w/Non-Stop Loop Recording
yamaha-mx61Yamaha MX6161$$27 Demo Songs
kawai-vpc-1Kawai VPC 188$$$RM3 Grand II Keyboard Action
yamaha-moxf8Yamaha MOXF888$$$GHS Keyboard (Initial Touch)
korg-ms20-miniKorg MS20 Mini37$USB MIDI Plus 5-Pin MIDI

1) Moog Sub Phatty

Based on first impressions, the Moog Sub Phatty is a classic. The 25 note velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys lets you add emotion to the playing field. It includes a controller that includes a pitch bend and mod wheel. The Multidrive control it includes allows you to add from low subtle grit to over exaggerate distortion. Bringing a vintage element to the modern soundscape. 

The Moog Sub Phatty contains a MIDI In/Out and a USB for a network connection with a DAW of your choice. Keyboard gate inputs and control voltage permits you to connect your new Moog with your vintage or any other that has a CV/gate connectivity. The keyboard control metrics (Filter CV, Pitch CV, and Volume CV) puts you in the driver’s wheel for success.  Weighing in at 16 lbs., this is an ideal piece of equipment for your collection.

Overview:

  • CV/Gate Inputs
  • Noise Generator
  • Two-Variable Waveshape Oscillators
  • One Pink Noise Generator
  • Ladder Filter
  • 25 Semi-weighted Keys (Analog Monophonic Synthesizer with 2 Oscillators)

2) Yamaha Reface CP

The Yamaha Reface CP power supply is 12V DC. It can operate on 6 AA batteries for up to 5 hours for portability.  An assortment of effects (Tremolo, chorus, reverb, phaser, delay) is included. The Reface CP takes notes from the Yamaha CP80’s electric grand piano, in a smaller revolutionary packed sizing.

Weighing in a 4 lbs. and 3oz., transporting this from location to place is not an issue. Including 6 vintage electric pianos like the Tine, Reed, Clavi, and Toy. It comes with 5 stompbox-style effects with direct control. Running the Reface CP through pedals like years ago is a thing of the past. Get your rock n roll on with a Yamaha Reface CP.

Weighing in a 4 lbs. and 3oz., transporting this from location to place is not an issue. Including 6 vintage electric pianos like the Tine, Reed, Clavi, and Toy. It comes with 5 stompbox-style effects with direct control. Running the Reface CP through pedals like years ago is a thing of the past. Get your rock n roll on with a Yamaha Reface CP.

Overview:

  • Stompbox-style effects with direct control
  • 128-note polyphony ensures dropout-free performance
  • HQ mini keyboard allows fast, natural performance with premium feel and response
  • Continuous sustain pedal input for half-damper effect and increasing sustain as you depress the pedal
  • Stereo speaker system lets you take your sounds anywhere

3.) Yamaha Montage8

This keyboard comes with sound engine Motion Control Synthesis, AWM2, and FM-X as an addiction. Synthesizers can be addictive, this one meets the quota. A Super Knob included lets you execute one-hand modifications, controlling multiple parameters at once from soft to extreme. It can be assigned to a foot controller. Ambiance can be added to an instrument, from the deep abyss of the ocean to in-your-face. 

Overview:

  • Aftertouch-enabled Balanced Hammer Action Keybed
  • DSP Effects
  • Envelope Follower: Use any audio as a modulator for any synth parameter
  • Control Matrix
  • AWM2 and FM-X Synthesis Engines
  • Tempo-sync control sequences, assignment to any parameter
  • USB: 1 x USB Type A, 1 x USB Type B (6 x 32)
  • Envelope Follower
  • Check out our Yamaha Montage 8 review here.

4.) Korg Monologue

The Korg Monologue is a 25-key Monophonic Analog Synthesizer, with 2 VCO(s), 1 VCF, 1 EG, 1 LFO, and 16-Step Sequencer. The monologue show starts with two oscillators and a handful of waveforms, plus waveshaping, Sync, and Ring Modulation capabilities. 

The built-in OLED oscilloscope shows your sound-shaping skills. The oscillators feed into a 2-pole filter designed specifically for the monologue, optimized for mono bass and leads. Three envelope shapes and the attack and decay controls allowing you to create pads and soundscapes, in addition to rock-solid bass and lead sounds. 

The monologue is a raw monophonic synthesizer for all types of music. Filters, modulation, drive, and LFO creates passionate basses and sharp leads. The step sequencer inserted in the Korg Monologue allows more editing for a hands-on approach.

Overview:

  • Analog monophonic synthesizer with a built-in 16-step sequencer
  • Save your own presets (80 factory presets, 20 user locations)
  • VCO 1 ( Saw, Triangle, and Square waveforms/waveshaping)
  • VCO 2 (Saw, Triangle, and Random waveforms, with waveshaping, Sync, and Ring Mod)
  • Three Envelope Generator modes allow for creative sound shaping

5.) Korg MicroKorg

An 8-band vocoder and microphone make the analog modeled synthesizer a quality piece of work. The microKORG offers a wide platter of waveforms. This mini-keyboard sports 37 velocity-sensitive keys for musicians on the go. 

MIDI in/out and thru and can be powered by supply or 6 AA batteries. LED illuminated button makes program selection possible in the night time.

Overview:

  • 8-band vocoder (Capture and freeze, play it across the keyboard, or shift the formant frequency)
  • Flexible presets and audio inputs
  • Sound Generation Method: Analog Modeling Synthesis System
  • Synthesizer Program: Multi Timbral=2 (max, Normal/Dual Mode)
  • Sound Source: 2 Oscillator + Noise Generator, 
  • 4 Voices Vocoder Programs: 128 programs
  • Modulation effects (3 types) with 2-band equalizer

6.) Roland GAIA SH-01

Weighing less than 10 lbs., this synthesizer packs a mean punch. An analog synthesizer with an arpeggiator setting, this is a a 64-note polyphony keyboard. 

With the GAIA SH-01, this 37-key Virtual Analog Synthesizer has Arpeggiator, Phrase Recorder, Onboard Effects, and 64-note polyphony involved. Lovely synths in a lightweight keyboard! Virtual analog engines (oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO) make up massive tones that give you a vintage synth vibe. 

No menu, just classic analog knobs and faders. A lightweight chassis with some awesome sounds are a bonus here.

Overview:

  • It can layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including delay, flanger, bit crash, phaser, distortion, reverb, low boost, pitch shifter, and fuzz
  • 3 virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, a filter, an amplifier, an envelope, and an LFO
  • Layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
  • D Beam, arpeggiator, and phrase recorder onboard
  • 64-voice polyphony

7.) Behringer MS-101

The MS-101 from the 1980s and 1990s is a synthesizer with 32 semi-weighted full-size keys, an arpeggio, and a 32-step sequencer.  Used heavily in the 1980s and ’90s in genres such as progressive rock, wave, EDM and synth-pop music. 

Create virtually any sound with fun. A pure analog signal path, legendary 3340 VCO with 4 simultaneously mixable waveforms, and flexible VCF and VCA filters, no wonder the MS-101 is easy to be your best friend. Covering everything from super-fat bass and lead tones to stunning effects and otherworldly sounds. 

This synthesizer was used heavily in the 1980s and ’90s in genres such as progressive rock, wave, EDM and synth-pop music. Also, the VCO can be adjusted across a wide, 4-octave range. The VCF includes faders to cutoff Frequency from 10 Hz to 20 kHz, which can be modulated via the keyboard tracking, ADSR, and Bender controller. MS-101 has 57 knobs, faders, and switches. Excellence is called the Behringer MS-101.

Overview:

  • Comprehensive USB/MIDI implementation for connection to keyboard/sequencer
  • Monophonic synthesizer with authentic 3340 analog oscillator
  • Oscillator with 4 simultaneously mixable waveforms
  • Attachable handgrip included with pitch bend wheel and pitch modulation trigger
  • Guitar strap for live jamming on stage
  • External audio input for processing external sound sources

Conclusion

Thebest portable synthesizer goes to the Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Monophonic Synthesizer is the God of all Moog. A catchy sub-bass while being in a league of its own. Its gritty sine bassline is a treat for your ears. 

Subtractive synth made with voltage controlled oscillators. The Moog is for sound lovers who originate their own ideas from thin air. This is for you. Innovation at its finest. The Sub Phatty takes everything that is vintage Moog and wraps it up into a machine that is smooth. It has 25 keys, 31 knobs, and 13 switches.

Analog is what gives vintage equipment that warm feeling. Buying a used digital piano is a solution to keep in mind for a budget. Price relevancy is included, but not welcomed to the daring.

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