Headphones are not all created equal; they have individual strengths and weaknesses. The tuning that causes one kind of music to sound awesome in a pair of headphones may cause other kinds of music sound horrible. This makes it difficult to know which pair of cans is most suitable for your favorite style of music. If you’re looking for the best headphones for hip hop though, then you’ve come to the right place.
Most headphones marketed towards rap and hip hop simply boost low frequencies hoping that you’ll ignore the music’s details. We keep you from falling in that trap by discussing important characteristics to hip hop, listing several product options, then providing a detailed analysis of our favorite products. By using our buying guide you’ll find cans that produce all-around good sound for your hip hop tunes.
Consider This Before Buying Headphones for Hip Hop
- EQ Balance. When you say you’re looking for the best headphones for hip-hop what you mean is that you want headphones with a particular sound signature.
Hip hop emphasizes midrange tones like vocals, guitars, and synthesizers just as much as it hits those notoriously low bass tones. The overall scheme is punchy bass with extended highs. It’s similar to rock but with not as many of the highs and lows.
The products we’ll look at won’t say “made for hip hop” but their sound signature definitely makes them the best headphones for hip hop.
- Style. Your headphone style plays a part in how well your music sounds. Open-back headphones have small holes in the housing that allow air and sound to escape. Closed-back headphones don’t have those holes; sound stays inside the cans.
Music listened through closed-back headphones will sound more potent, stronger, than that listened through open-back versions. Strong potent sound is a definite positive for hip hop music.
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The ATHM-50 is good for every kind of music but its versatile bass tones are what make them perfect for hip hop. And it doesn’t hurt that they are moderately priced
The low end of ATHM-50 is rich. It supports several levels of boom without becoming overwhelming or concentrating on a particular frequency. They’re punchy and clean.
If you’re looking for something akin to Beats these are not your answer. Beats amplifies the bass but loses some of the midrange needed to really enjoy hip hop. Audio-Technica’s ATHM-50 maintains a solid midrange.
Vocals are just as clear and crisp without sounding brassy. Raps and spoken verse sound profound. The bass punctuates these tones for an overall engaging musical experience.
Audio-Technica didn’t skimp on comfort either; you’ll be listening through ATHM-50’s large closed-back earcups. Ample cushioning keeps away head and ear fatigue due to extended use. They’re collapsible and super easy to transport.
Audio-Technica’s ATHM-50 is your choice when you want to enjoy all that hip-hop has to offer.
DT770 Pro by Beyerdynamic is a step up from the ATHM-50 in price and quality.
They’re considered a studio headphone appropriate for creating music as well as listening to it. DT770 Pro features lush velour earpads that go around your ear. The unit is rugged and all the parts are replaceable. Beyerdynamic expects that you’ll get lots of use from its design.
These did a pretty good job of isolating outside noise so you should be okay if you’re prone to listening at high volumes. Those around you aren’t likely to be too bothered.
Since the DT770 Pro is a studio headphone you can expect a pretty balanced overall sound. Hip hop sounds great on these because the bass is tight, and it hits hard. Vocals are smooth, crystal clear, though a bit more recessed when compared to the ATHM-50.
Beyerdynamic did an awesome job balancing bass with midtones on their DT770 Pro. They’re perfect for the casual listener who appreciates clarity in their jams.
SMS Audio teamed up with hip-hop master 50 Cent to develop Street by 50. These are indeed a real competitor to Beats by Dre.
Street by 50 are a bit smaller than Beats but built more durable. Side by side the Street is just sturdier. Their slim profile is convenient and unobtrusive.
It probably goes without saying that Street by 50 has a similar sound signature as Beats; an EQ heavily geared towards the low end. Bassheads will delight.
High notes are somewhat overpowered but upper-mids are potent enough. That means that vocals aren’t as immersive as our other options, but we’re not counting that as a negative. These headphones aren’t intended for critical listening.
SMS Audio did an excellent job meeting Beats. Street by 50 is suitable for anyone looking for that skull-rattling bass.