There are a lot of synthesizers out there, but here’s the list of the best ones to buy in 2022.
A synthesizer, often known as a synthesizer, is an electrical device that accepts electric signals from an external audio source and transforms them to sound through instrument amplifiers and output devices like loudspeakers or headphones.
Most synthesizers come with a musical keyboard, although electronic drums, fingerboards, instrument controllers, music sequences, and other input controllers are not uncommon. In addition, instrumental sounds, such as flute, singing, piano, natural sounds, and so on, maybe reproduce or generate new electronic tones.
Analog and Digital Synthesizers: What’s the Difference?
Analog synthesizers made a significant reappearance a few years ago. A top-of-the-line, true analog synth is a sensitive spot for any old-school fan. Digital versions, on the other hand, are less expensive and more popular among beginners.
For sound generation and manipulation, analog synths use only electronics, while the digital versions use software specially written for their DSP-based CPUs.
When it comes to creating waveforms using oscillators, analog circuitry is less versatile than digital technology. It can generate some fundamental and uncomplicated waveforms, but more complex waveforms need more sophisticated electronics. The oscillators of digital synthesizers, on the other hand, may create any waveform conceivable.
Filters are used in synthesizers to process audio signals and modify the sound. Because the analog filters have predefined functions, users have minimal influence over them. Digital filters, on the other hand, are more versatile and capable of performing a wide range of jobs.
However, the actual difference between the two versions is subjective since many individuals find the analog circuitry’s distortion, noise, and nonlinearity pleasing to the ear.
Synthesizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Synthesizers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. Let’s look at a handful of the main varieties. However, many hybrid synthesizers combine many distinct types:
All-In-One vs. Modular
Modular synthesizers have circuitry that separates all of the components. You may physically move these components around to create the arrangement you want. However, because you must physically connect each of your essential modules to others via patch cables, they are best suited for experienced users.
On the other hand, all-in-one synthesizers have all of the components incorporated into their housing. As a result, they are versatile in that you may choose a preset setup and see precisely where your signal is traveling.
Digital vs. Analog
Analog synthesizers use an analog circuit to produce and manipulate audio signals. They do, however, provide limited possibilities for modifying waveforms and filtering.
Digital synthesizers work like a bit of a computer, allowing you to adjust the sound in various ways without changing the hardware.
Monophonic and polyphonic music are two types of music.
Monosynths can only play one note simultaneously, but polysynths can play two or more notes at once. When you hit two or more keys simultaneously, various monosynths behave differently. They either put a lot of emphasis on the high note, the low tone, or the final message that was played.
Software vs. Hardware
Software synthesizers function by putting a program onto the computer and utilizing the synth interface from the screen, while hardware synths include actual electrical equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out some of the most common inquiries consumers have while shopping for a synth:
When did the first synthesizer appear on the scene?
An electrician named Robert Moog devised a way to use an electrical signal to make the sound. He designed and constructed the first Moog Modular synthesizer in 1963. The device became hugely popular, and many companies were in the business of creating and selling synthesizers by the early 1980s.
The Moog is a kind of synthesizer.
It’s a kind of analog synth created by Robert Moog and produced by Moog Music. It’s also a catch-all word for vintage analog synthesizers.
Which synthesizer is superior? Is it better to go analog or digital?
Both have their advantages. You should choose one depending on the sound effects you wish to achieve. Analog versions are best if you want high-quality but restricted output, such as bass, vox, or flat-only synthesizers. Digital versions, on the other hand, are ideal for novices and people who like to have more alternatives.
Is it necessary for me to have a synth that can be customized?
No, if you’re a beginner who wants to use the synth immediately after unpacking it. If you’re going to compose your patches and utilize Features Not Included, like modulation and FX, choose one with MIDI controllers or other customization options.
Are low-cost synthesizers any good?
True, the synth’s quality will be determined by the amount of money you spend on it. But, on the other hand, Budget synthesizers are OK if you’re not planning on using them in a professional studio.
The Most Important Characteristics of a Synthesizer
The oscillator, which can produce waveform and frequency, is the sound source. It can cycle at frequencies higher than the human frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. An oscillator in digital electronics may generate different sorts of waveforms.
The fundamental frequency of a signal, which we might call a pitch in other terms, can be changed using the frequency control on an oscillator.
On the other hand, the filter may convert the incoming signals into numerous forms of sounds. The cut-off frequency of a filter influences harmonics and the timbre of a sound.
Modern synthesizers resemble miniature pianos, but they have more knobs and buttons. A piano-like keyboard control panel with a separate interface for various controller knobs and buttons is typical on high-end equipment. On the other hand, some inexpensive solutions include simply one control panel with a piano design and a few controller switches and knobs.
Many early synthesizers lacked a keyboard, and many current synths lacked one, thanks to other controllers such as MIDI, wind controllers, fingerboards, drum pads, guitar-style interfaces, and more.
Top-of-the-line items are usually long-lasting and reliable. It may use metal or a combination of metal and plastic. However, most inexpensive synthesizers are built of plastic.
The high-quality items are well-made, and the controllers aren’t cheap. But instead, they work with a lot of ease.
The majority of reputable manufacturers provide at least a one-year guarantee on their goods. Some even give a longer warranty duration, persuading purchasers to have greater faith in their interests.
Features Not Included
The extra features allow a synth to have more functions, offering more flexibility when producing a Performance Audio.
A MIDI controller is a device that enables you to transfer data about a note’s pitch, velocity, and duration to the synth to trigger music. This controller and the low-frequency oscillation (LFO) for producing a rhythmic pulse or sweep that modulates synthesizers to generate effects are available on many synths.
Users of high-quality synthesizers have greater control over which I/O port and channel to utilize, how to integrate MIDI streams with the data created by the synth, and how to filter the output data.
In 2022, Top 15 Best Synthesizers
1. Moog LPSSUB001 Sub Phatty
The Moog LPSSUB001 Sub Phatty is at the top of our list because it’s a Moog and because it has secret depths that none of its predecessors or rivals can ever imagine! So here’s a rundown of the most outstanding piano keyboards for this synth.
The name Moog refers to the company’s unwavering devotion to its devoted fan base. However, even when viewed from a practical standpoint, the 25-key analog synthesizer outperforms the competition because of its superior sound quality and extensive feature set. Of course, it’s more expensive than the others on the list, but if you’re looking for a less-than-grand synth (that also happens to be a Moog) that can produce an extreme bassy vibe and sound, this is it!
The Moog Sub Phatty has two oscillators that can generate a variety of waveforms, such as pulse, square, saw, and triangle waves. The second oscillator may even be tuned independently. As a result, the sound is crisp and effectively fills the room. Furthermore, all of the waves seem to be in their proper places and interact appropriately.
A low-frequency oscillator (LFO) provides the modulation, including all primary forms, including square, triangle, saw, and ramp.
The synth is strong because its multi-drive can snarl and scream, adding an aggressive edge to your song. Furthermore, the synth’s strong low-pass filter allows it to access frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to a sky-scraping 20 kHz.
The Moog Sub Phatty has a 25-note keyboard, two modulation wheels, and a knobby control panel, and it looks like a traditional analog synth. All of the required components for mono synthesis are visible, including oscillators, filters, LFOs, noise, etc. It looks and works like a classic synthesizer.
The synth is smaller and lighter than its rivals, making it more portable. In addition, its panel is rather minimalistic and transparent, making it less complicated for newbies. However, it provides at least 51 secret parameters if you want to go further. As a result, its design is appropriate for both novice and experienced users.
The Sub Phatty seems to be rather substantial and well-made. Its buttons are securely fastened to the panel, and the pots do not shake.
Any Moog product comes with a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. You may, however, extend the contract for another three years at any point during the first year of coverage.
Features Not Included
In addition to the full-sized keys, the Sub Phatty has at least 51 private settings. There are 16 presets included and a Ladder Filter for generating a big, thick sound, a Noise Generator, and MIDI DIN I/O. Aside from that, there are choices for a pitch-bend range up and down and CV/Gate Inputs. You can also utilize the Shift Mode to program the whole parameter set and play it back on the two-octave keyboard in a restricted way.
- The control panel is uncomplicated and straightforward, ideal for beginning users.
- Two oscillators that can work independently
- There are 51 hidden parameters.
The ArturiaMicroBrutehas all of the characteristics that make it the logical replacement for the Sub Phatty. Both feature a two-octave keyboard, are bass synthesis-oriented, and sound fantastic. Despite being more than twice the price of the MicroBrute, the Sub Phatty is at the top of the list because it’s a real Moog and its sound is significantly superior to any synth costing less than a thousand dollars.
The MicroBrute is tiny, inexpensive, and doesn’t sound exactly like a vintage synth, but it nevertheless packs a punch with a user-friendly interface, MIDI in/out, a variety of sound selections, and lots of customization possibilities.
Considering the tiny size, the MicroBrute offers a surprisingly high-quality Performance Audio, capable of producing everything in between massive and gentle ranges of sounds with perfection.
The MicroBrute oscillator is unusually large, and apart from the Moog 901, there isn’t any analog synth that can concurrently create the equivalents of the 16′, 8′, and 52/3′ pitches, all with numerous waveshaping flavors.
However, don’t expect it to sound exactly like a vintage Moog or ARP, but it’s fantastic within its limitations.
The Metalizer on the synth generates darker and less appealing timbres than a MiniBrute, but it will wow you with its bass sound.
The MicroBrute is about the size of a sheet of paper, with a two-octave mini-keyboard and an ‘adult size’ control panel. The number of knobs and switches has been cut in half compared to the MiniBrute, and the space between them has been decreased as well.
Both MIDI and USB interfaces are available on the synth, allowing it to send and receive signals. Using the ‘MicroBrute Connection’ program, you may connect to a Mac or Windows computer through USB. Its keyboard, unlike the MiniBrute, does not support aftertouch or velocity.
Except for the metal bottom plate, the synth is composed of plastic. With solid knobs and sturdy mod and pitch wheels, it seems substantial despite its tiny size. Some keys, on the other hand, are very small and seem like they were plucked from a cheap toy keyboard designed for children. Nonetheless, they do not believe they will be easily broken.
Features Not Included
The synth has a one-of-a-kind effect dubbed “Brute Factor,” which may introduce a lot of granular grit to your patches. Its filter also contains KBD Tracking and ENV Amt choices, as well as a handful of slider options under the Envelope function.
Aside from that, the synth features MIDI I/O, USB, and a variety of CV/Gate connections. It’s a great partner for DJ/PA live performances because of the separate main output and headphone volume settings, as well as the delicate tuning knobs.
- The small size is ideal for transportation.
- Construction is tough.
- Waveforms come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- A powerful oscillator
- The signal route is entirely analog.
- Some keys are too tiny to be easily handled.
- There is no MIDI output.
- There is no noise generator.
- There is no choice for battery power.
3. Roland’s vintage analog synthesizers
Roland’s vintage analog synthesizers have a particular place in the hearts of synthesizer fans. Since their initial synth in 1997, Roland hasn’t saturated the market, and the Gaia SH-01 is undoubtedly the finest of the bunch, thanks to its compact size, simple interface, and outstanding polyphony.
This black-and-white synth is sure to entice newcomers, seasoned musicians, and live performers alike, thanks to its ability to operate as your computer’s audio interface, more functionalities than its rivals, and a fair price.
There are three virtual analog engines aboard the Gaia SH-01, each with its own oscillator, envelope, amplifier, filter, and LFO. The oscillators have a wide choice of waveforms to choose from, with three variations for each kind. The LFO tool doesn’t have a lot of possibilities, but it might help you tone down your sounds.
Play in any mode, and the filter, in conjunction with the ADSR envelope, will provide a variety of dynamic shaping options to help you shape your sound properly. The effects are also plentiful, allowing for a large amount of patch improvement.
Overall, the Gaia SH-01 produces clear and crisp music with a pleasingly rich and powerful tone, with no obvious frequency range limitations.
The Gaia SH-01 is an analog-style digital synthesizer. There is no LCD screen; instead, each function is controlled by specialized knobs and faders in the old-school method. It has a black-and-white color scheme that looks classy and gives it a more modern feel.
The synth includes visual feedback for practically every setting, thus the lack of an LCD screen is hardly noticeable. The architecture is so simple that any beginner-level user may start playing and customizing the second the synth is plugged in, despite the fact that it has a sophisticated control system with numerous hidden capabilities.
The Gaia SH-01’s plastic housing makes it lightweight, making it easy to move about. The plastic, on the other hand, is of excellent quality and ideal for use in live performances.
This synth comes with a one-year parts guarantee and a 90-day labor warranty from Roland.
Features Not Included
The Gaia SH-01 features USB memory, and the MIDI In/Out and USB connector allow it to be connected to a computer directly.
Its arpeggio has 64 patterns, and the patch storage has 64 user patches in addition to 64 factories presets.
- An in-depth control system having capabilities that aren’t readily apparent
- Onboard are three simulated analog engines.
- There are 64 patterns in Arpeggiator.
- There is no LCD screen on this device.
- Aftertouch is not detected by keys.
Korg is a well-known brand, and they’ve created a reputation for themselves by making synthesizers with vocoders (think Daft Punk and their robotic voices). The microKorg is a digital synthesizer featuring 37 keys, two oscillators for each sound, 128 programs, six kinds of arpeggios, and the ability to import external audio. It was released in 2002.
The microKorg’s incredibly smooth sound and Affordable pricing will have you coming back. For a few dollars more, you can get the microKorg XL.
The strong sound of the 37-key microKorg will astound you, something you wouldn’t anticipate from a digital synth of that size (26 x 6 x 12 inches dimensions). The polyphonic variant allows you to play four notes at once, which is remarkable for such a tiny keyboard.
It has a dual-oscillator DSP synthesis engine that can generate a wide range of waveforms. Seventy-one waveforms are included in Oscillator 1, including the classic analog waves like pulse, noise, sine, and saw, as well as some unusual options like a cross wave and Vox wave.
It can imitate a wide range of sounds, including electronic pianos, bells, guitars, and so on. You may use the modulation tools in Oscillator 2 to produce even more complex timbres.
Four filter modes, two MIDI-compatible LFOs, and two traditional ADSR envelope generators give you complete control over the sounds. You may also use the arpeggiator to manipulate note sequences and tempo to further alter your sounds.
Because there is lettering all over the control panel, it may look to be a little complicated at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, it becomes much simpler to use.
It has a retro-inspired style with a sleek beige-gold color casing. Although the keys aren’t full-size, they’re nonetheless quite playable.
The hardwood side panels of the microKorg give it a robust appearance. The control knobs are big and square, and the keyboard keys are robust yet pleasant to manipulate. Its sturdy structure and lightweight of 8.4 pounds making it ideal for outdoor use.
Customers may only get a warranty for this device if they purchase it from a Korg USA authorized dealer in the United States. Both components and labor are covered by a one-year guarantee.
Features Not Included
The microKorg offers two audio inputs and MIDI in/out for connecting to MIDI compliant devices.
It has a vocoder capability that can turn a vocal sound into a robotic voice. It may also make a voice seem like it belongs to a man, a woman, or a kid!
The synth is powered by AA batteries and features a 9V power source.
- Design with a vintage feel
- Keyboard with 37 keys
- Sound engine with two oscillators
- A vocoder with eight bands.
- The keyboard has a cheap feel to it.
- The number of buttons on the device is smaller than the number of functionalities.
5. Korg MS20 Mini
Many well-known manufacturers have launched modernized versions of their classic synthesizers, but only a handful have managed to capture the hearts of the music community. Korg is one of the select few! Check out the finest audio interfaces for your synth on this list.
The MS20 Mini is an exact clone of Korg’s much-loved MS20, and it comes at an unbelievable price! It’s smaller than the original, but it looks and sounds the same.
The MS20 Mini has the same punchy sound as the original MS20, with everything from deep basses to sharp leads covered. You can’t anticipate Moog sound purity, but it can recreate subs, shrieks, snares, kicks, and deep basses with ease.
The oscillators have a similar sound to the original. White noise and waves such as saw, pulse, tri, and square may be generated with the Oscillator 1. Pulse saw the ring and square modulation are all available on the Oscillator 2. The pitch range is good, with settings as low as 32′ and as high as 2′.
There are additional high-pass and low-pass filters, as well as envelopes and a modulation section, on the synth.
The Mini is over 86 percent smaller than the original MS20, and the keyboard and patch cables/plugs have been shrunk as well. It has the same appearance and feels like the original, but its smaller size and lighter weight make it simpler to transport.
Because of their sideward location, the smaller dials might be difficult to set. If you’re cautious while modifying, it won’t affect you too much. Besides, even persons with large fingers will find the keys to be comfortable.
The Korg MS20 Mini is built solidly with a metal chassis and tough plastic ends. Its panel includes a number of ports and knobs, but the interface is neat, with enough space between the dials and switches.
The original MS20 had a clumsy keyboard, but the Mini’s keyboard looks to be of higher quality and is well balanced.
A one-year guarantee covers both components and labor from Korg. You must purchase the device from a Korg USA-approved dealer and have a valid serial number to get such assistance.
Features Not Included
A versatile patching mechanism and an external signal processor are included with the MS20 Mini (ESP). However, the fact that it features a MIDI In connection and MIDI over USB, which enables it to accept and send note signals from an external device, is its largest benefit over the original synth.
- The size is small and compact.
- Almost every portion is identical to the original MS20.
- MIDI in and out, as well as MIDI over USB
- The small dials spin in a sideways motion.
6. Roland JD-‘SuperNatural’ Xi’s
Roland has been uninterested in analog synthesizers until recently when analog synths are gaining popularity. Rather than pursuing a traditional analog version, Roland opts for a ‘crossover’ synth, in which the monophonic analog framework is combined with Roland’s characteristic ‘SuperNatural’ digital synth engine.
Because of its adaptability and sound variation, the JD-Xi is a polyphonic powerhouse with few competitors at this price range.
The JD-‘SuperNatural’ Xi’s sound engine is divided into two digital portions, a monophonic analog section, and a drum section. In addition, there are dedicated MIDI channels and sequence tracks for each of the four parts.
The two digital parts offer 64-note polyphony, and the ‘SuperNatural’ engine has a wide variety of editing options that are uncommon for a synth at this price point. Each digital component is strong and capable of delivering captivating, hi-fi sound that is typical of Roland’s higher-priced product lines. There are two sounds per key in the drum component, and each key may have its own volume, pitch, effect, envelopes, and filter.
Two oscillators, one DCO analog oscillator, one sub-oscillator, one amplifier, and one filter make up the analog component. The analog engine’s sound quality is Roland-like, with accurate, rich, and powerful saw, triangle, and pulse waves.
The JD-Xi has a sophisticated appearance with a glossy front panel and red plastic sides. Moreover, it has a really appealing black and white color pattern with red accents.
The synth is tiny and portable, having a 3-octave miniature keyboard and 37 minuscule keys and a small control panel. There is no aftertouch on the keys, but they are responsive to velocity. The pitch and mod wheels are small, but the knobs are ideally located for quick access to the effects, filter, and LFO.
Knobs, selectable buttons, a microphone for the vocoder option, and a tiny LDC screen for viewing the onboard settings are all on the control panel.
JD-control Xi’s panel seems to be essential at first sight, yet it has hidden capabilities such as changeable settings allocated to menus and submenus.
The JD-Xi seems and feels solid despite the plastic case and modest knobs and buttons. The rubber buttons and plastic knobs are both well-made. Furthermore, since it is tiny and lightweight, you can move it fast.
The JD-Xi comes with a one-year parts guarantee and a 90-day labor warranty.
Features Not Included
The headphone output, MIDI I/O, and USB port link the JD-Xi to your audio interface, headphones, and computer. You may play with your sounds with the XLR gooseneck microphone and the integrated vocoder.
You may explore and adjust the voice inputs using the Auto Note and AutoPitch modes, which are compatible with mic, guitar, and line-in inputs.
- The crossover sound engine gives you a lot of options.
- Onboard four-part sequencer
- The Vocoder, Auto Note, and AutoPitch functionalities have been enhanced for voice inputs.
- Routing via the analog filter is not possible with digital elements.
- The tiny keys might be challenging to work with.
- The analog synth part is disabled when you use Vocoder.
7. Novation’s MiniNova
Novation’s MiniNova is a trimmed-down version of the Ultranova. Although the microKorg influences certain aspects, the majority of its functionality and sound engine is based on the Ultranova.
MiniNova isn’t a flawless analog synth, and it seems to be a long way behind the competition. However, if you can get beyond a few flaws, the depth and sound quality will astound you, particularly considering the price tag of less than $500.
The Novation MiniNova creates fantastic sounds, enabling users to experiment with a wide spectrum of crisp leads, ripping basses, and brilliant synthesizers.
The MiniNova’s sound engine comprises three oscillators, each with its own settings for tweaking and changing virtual sync and sounds. In addition, 14 traditional waveforms, 20 digital waveforms, and 36 wavetables may be generated using the oscillators.
You’ll have plenty of possibilities to create your sounds with 14 filter types, 20 modulation slots, three LFOs, and six envelope generators. Unlike other synth models, the voice effects are so Simple to Use that you won’t have any problem utilizing the vocoding function.
The MiniNova is a stunning synth, possibly the most attractive on our list! Although the body is made of plastic, the blue control panels with black knobs, lighted rubber selection buttons, and black and white keyboard give it a striking appearance. In addition, the wood grain panels on both sides of the synth give it a more trendy appearance.
The small keyboard’s three-octave, 37-note keyboard is velocity sensitive but does not transmit aftertouch. The pitch wheels and glowing black and blue mod look adorable. The editing matrix settings are shown on the LED screen.
There’s MIDI I/O, a USB port, a headphone jack, and stereo output jacks on the synth. An XLR gooseneck microphone is also included. Unfortunately, however, there is no choice for a battery.
A plastic shell with wood grain panels on the sides characterizes the MiniNova. The performance knobs feel nice for a cheap instrument, and the build is solid. The plastic selection switches are a little clumsy, but they’re sturdy and reliable.
It’s a little synth that’s easy to carry everywhere. As a result, it may be used in both studios and live performance settings.
The MiniNova synthesizers come with a one-year guarantee from Novation. If a manufacturing problem is discovered in the product within this time, they will replace or repair it for free.
Features Not Included
To make your music-making journey simpler, Novation provides a free version of Ableton Live and a software version of BassStation. MiniNova Editor provides a visual interface to the synth engine that allows you to see what you’re doing.
Users may apply manual modifications to sounds under the Animate section. Adding audio streaming is simply because of the MIDI integration and USB connectivity.
- It seems to be appealing.
- The sounds are fantastic.
- It comes with a few pieces of software.
- For quick sound sculpting, use the Vocoder and Animate settings.
- At first, the selection switches seem to be clumsy.
8. Akai’s Timbre Wolf
Akai’s Timbre Wolf is a high-end analog synthesizer. It’s a full-size polysynth that costs less than $500 on the street. The Timbre Wolf is Akai’s trump card in the market for inexpensive analog synthesizers. It was designed mainly as a bass synth.
The Timbre Wolf’s sound engine is notable for having four monophonic synthesizers that may be utilized individually, each with its own sequences and audio output. Its 32-step sequencer allows for individual modification of each voice’s sound, which opens up a lot of sound creation options.
Furthermore, each voice may be tweaked and tuned using its own set of filter settings. The sequences may be sent through MIDI, and the multi-timbre option enables the transmission of up to four separate sequences for each of the voices.
However, there are a few drawbacks to the Timbre Wolf. The oscillators lack an octave switch, which would have given the synth’s already huge lead sounds further depth, and their tuning range is restricted. Furthermore, if the resonance is increased above sixty to seventy percent, the filter creates a thin sound.
The Timbre Wolf does not look attractive like the Roland JD-Xi or the MiniNova. Rather, it imitates a Design with a vintage feel with a heavy look. The wooden panels on the sides give it a practical look while the control panel and 25-key keyboard look straightforward and uncluttered.
The front panel contains a headphone jack, MIDI In/Out/Thru, voice outputs, the main output, USB MIDI, and gate I/O, while the back panel has a headphone jack, MIDI In/Out/Thru, voice outputs, the main output, USB MIDI, and gate I/O. It doesn’t have a mod wheel, but it does have a pitch control wheel.
Timber Wolf’s structure looks to be sturdy and substantial. Despite the metal panels and hardwood end-caps, it barely weighs 8.6 pounds. The selection switches are pleasant to the touch, and the knobs are firm and feel fantastic. A professional keyboard with 25 keys is included with the synth.
This device comes with a one-year limited guarantee from Akai.
Features Not Included
The Timbre Wolf’s MIDI connection works seamlessly with any DAW, whether as a master or slave. It allows you to send both note and sequence data.
- Individual outputs for each voice in a four-voice synth.
- The construction is sturdy.
- Simple to Use
- Money well spent
- Sound selection is limited.
- There is no octave tune.
- The depth of editing tools is lacking.
- Not quite adaptable
9. Korg VolcaKeys
The Korg VolcaKeys is a little analog synthesizer that packs a punch. Following in the footsteps of the monotribe, monotron, and MS-20 Mini synthesizers, Korg launched the Volca series. All of the synthesizers in these series are easy to use and capable of producing a wide variety of fat sounds.
The Volca Keys’ cheap price (less than $200!) has made it a gem of a deal since an analog synth from a renowned company like Korg is uncommon to come by at such a low price. The synth is ideal for individuals who have lusted for the MS20 or TB303 for years but have been unable to purchase due to financial constraints.
What do you think of the Volca Keys? – Amazing! The synth’s small built-in speaker can produce strong sounds. So you can imagine how it’ll sound when connected to a studio monitor. However, since the mixer’s output is so low, you’ll need to adjust the gain to make it louder.
The synth has a hybrid construction that combines an analog engine with digital control options. Any of the six possible combinations of the three oscillators may be used. The lows generated are meaty, whilst the highs are direct and raw. In fact, you won’t find a greater sound in any other synth at this budget.
The MiniKORG700s filter and a single ADSR envelope are used in the synth. The 16-step sequencer may seem limited, but by utilizing the synth as a sound module in your computer’s DAW, you may construct larger sequences.
The Volca Keys is a little synth that isn’t much bigger than a VHS tape. It looks lovely due to its small size and black and beige color scheme. The internal components are protected by a transparent cover, which lets you see the LEDs blinking within.
The built-in keys are a standout aspect of the design. Many people would agree that they are superior to a separate keyboard since their touch sensitivity is just right – neither too much nor too little.
The translucent case of the Volca Keys is made of plastic, whereas the front panel is made of metal. It’s the ideal synth for a “go anywhere” creation because of its small size. The build quality is good, and the knobs, dials, and selection switches seem to perform better than expected for the price.
The Volca Keys come with a one-year guarantee on both parts and labor. Korg, on the other hand, will only give assistance if you buy the device through a Korg USA-approved dealer.
Features Not Included
The Volca Keys is jam-packed with features that allow you to be more creative with your sound. To make the pitch more steady, there is a self-tuning feature. You can also use the Flux and Active Step routines to make unique alterations to the sequences.
- Produces a higher-quality sound than the price tag suggests.
- The small size makes it easy to transport.
- There is no conventional MIDI output.
- A 16-step sequencer with a limited number of options
The UMA25S is good-looking and excellent audio and MIDI solution from Behringer, despite being the cheapest item in this least (less than $100). Audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, and keyboards are already available from the firm. The UMA25S is a single device that performs all of these tasks. The greatest digital pianos to utilize with this synth are listed below.
You can’t expect superior Performance Audio from such a low-priced device. However, it doesn’t mean that the sound quality of the UMA25S is crappy. Rather, its audio quality is decent with Sounds that are clear and clean and an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio.
It features two line-level in/outs with sample rates of 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz, although the audio bit is only 16 bits. More headroom and less background noise when recording would be provided by a larger audio bit rate.
The recording quality of the UMA25S might be regarded as poor yet effective. When utilized for everyday tasks like podcasting or music editing for a YouTube channel, it will provide decent results.
For Mac computers, the device is plug-and-play, however for Windows PCs, you must install the generic ASIO drivers.
With its sophisticated, sleek design and gleaming red case, the UMA25S seems to be a high-end smartphone. It features a 25-key velocity-sensitive keyboard.
It features a mic input, stereo line I/O, and a headphone out via a USB audio interface. It also has pitch and mod wheels, as well as eight MIDI-programmable buttons and eight MIDI controller knobs. The readings of the control choices are shown on a tiny screen on the front panel.
The gadget is very portable, and it comes with a shoulder strap to make it simpler to use when performing on stage.
The UMA25S’s shell, keys, and knobs don’t have a cheap feel to them. The knobs on the back of the keyboard, on the other hand, maybe a little fussy, and the black keys on the keyboard may be a little bouncy. The MIDI knobs, on the other hand, are quite smooth and solid, and the RCA inputs function well.
Only if the product is purchased via a MUSIC Group Authorized Reseller does Behringer give a one-year limited part and labor warranty.
Features Not Included
A USB audio interface is included with the UMA25S, allowing you to connect your mixing devices to your computer. It also includes energyXT2, a multi-platform DAW, and Audacity, a multi-track recording and editing audio editor. You’ll also receive access to more than 50 effect plug-ins and 100 virtual instruments.
- Attractive appearance
- Sounds that are clear and clean
- Bundle of useful applications
- Extremely cost-effective
- The keys aren’t very responsive.
- The output of headphones is readily distorted.
11. Arturia MatrixBrute
Arturia is a music hardware and software firm noted for its ability to replicate analog synthesizers in digital format. They are known for demonstrating the different advantages of contemporary technology in their products. The firm concentrated on making something larger and better to please its clients after their MiniBrute and MicroBrute products gained a lot of popularity since their inception, and the spectacular MatrixBrute was born.
This model, which is regarded as the most powerful analog monophonic synthesizer ever, might be the dream machine you’ve been seeking to produce your own exceptional soundtrack.
The MiniBrute and MicroBrute, the earlier incarnations of the device, were noted for their ability to create high-quality audio. With the MatrixBrute, Arturia has managed to accomplish the same, if not more. This analog matrix synthesizer is capable of producing a wide spectrum of sounds, from mild to massive, and everything in between.
This device’s noise generator is flexible, producing a wider range of sounds than anticipated, including red and blue noises in addition to the normal pink and white noises. Because all VCOs can produce equally well-defined organic and solid waves, you may create a broad variety of textures and tones by layering them separately or simultaneously, depending on your choice.
As you’d expect from a company like Arturia, the MatrixBrute’s design and construction quality are rather excellent. The whole gadget is gorgeous and one-of-a-kind in appearance. Everything on the machine, from the company’s emblem on the front panel to the various control knobs, exudes luxury and is built to last. The addition of two metal wheels to the control panel adds to the synthesizer’s longevity.
Features Not Included
The Brute Factor, a unique effect that enables you to unleash the beast when needed, is one of the highlights of the Arturia MatrixBrute. As previously said, this device’s noise generator is one of the most diverse on the market today, capable of producing pink, white, blue, and red sounds.
Multiple voice modes, a conventional ladder filter for thick and punchy sounds, an improved Steiner Parker filter, Audio Mod, 256 memory locations, sequencer, and arpeggiator controls, and the matrix are some of the Features Not Included in the Arturia MatrixBrute Analog Matrix Synthesizer.
- The sound is incredible.
- The layout of the control panel is well-organized.
- Build quality is excellent.
- A large number of features are available.
- Alphanumeric display on a small scale.
- The outputs might be imbalanced at times.
12. Stylophone Gen X-1 Portable Analog Synthesizer
When it comes to synthesizers, most people think of a few well-known brands. However, it is indisputable that there are smaller, lesser-known businesses that produce high-quality goods, and one such brand is Dubreq, which produces the Stylophone product. Many people preferred the previous version of the synthesizer, and the Gen X-1 is the company’s enhanced version of the same.
For a reason, the Stylophone Gen X-1 Portable Analog Synthesizer is known as a pocket-sized powerhouse. You can make sounds with the device in two ways: directly on the keyboard to generate separate audio and using the sound strip above the keyboard to glide between various notes. The sound strip may be activated with your finger or the stylus; however, the optimum output needs firm pressure.
The Gen X-1 adds additional tools including envelope, low pass filter, and LFO to let you deepen your sounds and get the outputs you want. The gadget has a line-in connection that you may use to add vocals, guitar, or other elements to your song and manipulate them for a better outcome.
When you first obtain the synthesizer, the first thing you’ll notice is how light it is; nevertheless, it’s not so light that it seems like a toy. This Portable Analog Synthesizer is pocket-sized, as the name implies, making it an excellent option for those of you seeking a synthesizer to take with you on your trips.
The Gen X-1’s style is remarkably close to that of its historical counterpart, and it is this retro ambiance that appears to appeal to many users. The device is powered by four AA batteries, which may last for many hours depending on use. In addition, the primary housing is constructed of plastic, which does not impair the product’s longevity.
Features Not Included
In addition to the previously stated additional capabilities, the Stylophone Gen X-1 now has an analog delay to provide space to your sound, Pulse Width Modulation to create a chorus effect, and a sub octaves -1 and -2 switch to enrich the sound.
- It’s really light and portable.
- Produces a powerful and deep tone.
- To work, a good strip needs additional pressure.
- The lack of rubber feet may allow the device to readily slide.
- It only works with batteries.
13. Roland System-1 Variable Synthesize
When it comes to synthesizers, Roland is one of the first names that comes to mind. Starting with the original System-100, the System series has garnered overwhelmingly good feedback and a strong reputation for the firm in this industry. The Roland System-1 Variable Synthesizer is an old-school analog synthesizer type intended and built to allow total integration in your music composition. The System-1 delivers much above anyone’s expectations, thanks to additional, useful functions to the list.
The Roland Variable Synthesizer’s retro design and control are one of its attractions. You won’t have to sift through menus or learn new settings to get started with the gadget. Instead, you have to turn a knob to get the sound you want, and the results are instantaneous and satisfying.
Analog Circuit Behavior technology enables the device to deliver completely authentic Performance Audio. Also, as there are hands-on controls for every feature, you can easily tweak your audio without thinking twice. The addition of synth effects like crusher, delay, and reverb further enhances the synthesizer’s Performance Audio.
One of Roland System-1’s most appealing aspects is its appearance. The gadget, beautifully lighted in green, is guaranteed to catch your attention. The synthesizer’s illuminated buttons, sliders, and knobs provide a rocking touch; nevertheless, this glow may not be to everyone’s taste, and some may find it excessive.
The device has no screen or display. What’s more impressive is that, in addition to being welcome, the control panel is also highly logical, with all of the sliders, knobs, and buttons properly picked and rationally distributed without taking up too much space. In addition, the whole apparatus is reasonably small and simple to move, weighing just 5.3 pounds.
Features Not Included
There’s no disputing that Roland’s System-1 synthesizer is one of the best on the market right now, particularly given its impressive collection of features. Plug-Out technology allows you to load up other synth engines, multimode filter, inbuilt reverb and delay effects, Crusher knob for harsh distortion, tempo sync functions, and 10 scatter patterns with ten depth levels are just a few of the features.
- Technology that allows you to plug in and out.
- The panel is put out logically.
- The sound is astonishingly precise.
- The backlight shine may be too much for you.
- There are just eight settings.
14. Monotron Duo Analog Pocket Synthesizer
Korg has been a prominent brand in the synthesizer business since 1963, creating new musical experiences. The company’s pocket-sized Monotron debuted in 2010, and the Monotron Duo is part of the brand’s analog family, with a vintage synth design. This instrument, which is part of the company’s very successful Mono family of analog synthesizers, produces massive sound while fitting in your pocket. However, Korg has created something more spectacular with its portable synthesizer, meeting the diverse expectations of present and new customers alike.
The depth of tone of the Monotron Duo Analog Pocket Synthesizer is sure to wow you. The sound created by the instrument has a lot of depth, and the final result is a much-desired meaty sound that is both inspirational and astonishing. All of this is done with only one oscillator.
You can make some fantastic mono lead sounds in the dual oscillator mode; go for warmer notes by tuning one oscillator up or down, or go subtle with throbbing and pulsating. Furthermore, the auxiliary connection on the rear of the machine enables you to connect additional sound sources to the device, allowing you to use different filters and get excellent results. Finally, considering the size of this gadget, the total audio output is shockingly forceful and rich.
The Monotron Duo seems to be a palm-sized analog synthesizer, making it easy to move about with. This synthesizer from Korg is made of blue plastic and looks identical to the brand’s original Monotron; the main difference is that the Duo has an extra VCO instead of an LFO. There are five knobs on the front panel and a three-way slider switch. The device’s configuration includes an auxiliary input, a headphone output, an inbuilt speaker, a ribbon controller, and a slot for the AAA batteries.
Features Not Included
The Scale function is a standout feature of the Korg Monotron Duo Dual Oscillator Analog Pocket Synthesizer. This function lets you pick from four different scales: minor, major, chromatic, and off, which adds additional effects to your audio output. In addition, dual analog oscillators with independent tuning, a ribbon controller keyboard, an X-MOD circuit to provide an edge to the overall sound, an auxiliary input port to utilize filters, a built-in speaker, and a headphone jack are some of the Features Not Included accessible on the device.
- Very compact design
- Cross-modulation using dual oscillators is a possibility.
- The ability to choose scales.
- No LFO.
- At times, the output may be loud.
15. Yamaha Reface DX Portable FM Synthesizer
Though Yamaha has its footprint in various industries, it has an established name in the music and electronics sector. Known widely for the quality of their classic instruments, the brand has evolved significantly and now also produces miniature forms of their favorite tools, which is their Reface series.
The Yamaha Reface DX Portable FM Synthesizer is part of this series, and it’s a simplified model with miniature keyboards, built-in speakers, and plenty of battery life.
As a 4operator FM synth, the Reface DX from Yamaha is similar to other devices from the brand and can recreate several iconic FM sounds of the 80s. However, this unit’s sound quality and Performance Audio significantly surpass that of its older counterparts. Audio from the Reface DX sounds pristine, full, rich, and expansive, with no noise whatsoever.
The gadget enables you to experience more significant variation in tones with 32 voice memory locations and the option to link the operators in 12 distinct algorithms, allowing you to obtain the output you wish. Furthermore, the tiny keyboard allows for quick performance and excellent responsiveness and feel.
In terms of design, the Reface DX seems to be new and straightforward, and the gadget’s appearance suggests that it may be a user-friendly device, which it is. In addition, the gadget is designed to be durable, with just enough weight to keep it from sliding about or flipping as you play it.
The Yamaha Reface DX’s front panel boasts a bright backlit screen that shows patch information plainly. In addition, the screen is linked with a multi-touch control panel that allows for quick patch generation and editing. Overall, we found this synthesizer to be one of the most user-friendly models.
Features Not Included
The incorporated phrase looper is one of the Yamaha Reface DX’s most notable features. This function enables you to record and playback your performance, which is valuable not just for refining but also for various other purposes. In addition, the four-operator FM sound engine is meant to deliver constant changeable feedback, allowing for a broad range of good composition possibilities. Soundmondo, a social sound-sharing app, is also available on a smartphone.
- Very long-lasting.
- The sound quality is excellent.
- The keys are tiny.
- Learning FM synthesis takes time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which synthesizer is the best?
A: This is a difficult question to answer. Each synth has its unique sound and style, so it would be impossible for me to say which one is the best.
What is the most potent synthesizer?
A: The most powerful synthesizer is the Yamaha DX7. It was made in 1980 and had a frequency response of 30 Hz to 16 kHz, making it sound incredibly realistic.
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