While in the market shopping for the best synthesizer, you are likely to come across many synthesizer brands that claim to be the best. This could make your shopping experience difficult, especially when you don’t know what to look for in a synthesizer. To get a great synth, ensure that the one you settle on combines unlimited playability, quality sounds, tones, and above all, is fun to play.
However, choosing the best one for your needs can be a bit challenging. For this reason, we have researched and rounded up 10 best synthesizers that you could consider buying. To begin with, however, let’s see what synths are and how you can choose the best for your needs.
Synthesizers are electronic instruments that have several modules that work together to generate a synthesized sound. These modules may include filters, envelope generators, oscillators, or modulation sources. You can control these modules using input devices such as sequencers, fingerboards, electronic drums, or wind controllers.
You can also use some techniques to generate sound waves in synthesizers. These techniques may include wavetable synthesis, additive synthesis, physical modulation synthesis, and phase distortion synthesis.
The difference between these two is akin to the difference between analog and digital devices. In the analog type, different modules work in harmony to produce sounds while in digital, production of the same is done via digital signal processing. In the place of modules, algorithms work to twist oscillations and to produce different sounds that mimic musical devices.
Digital synths are more popular today among musicians because they are versatile, which makes them more reliable. They can easily tweak the sound to generate a variety of distinct sounds. On the other hand, the analog synths have their classic charm that most musicians look for. As such, there cannot be a definite winner between the two. In the end, it is more of a personal choice than the performance and quality of sound produced that determines a buyer’s choice.
Choosing your best synthesizer is just like buying any gadget or item from the stores. You have to think about your budget and the purpose of your device. For instance, think about how and where you intend to use your instrument.
If you intend to use your synth for performing and producing, then all you will need is the sound you can get. As such, focus on one that can deliver you the perfect sound you want. Bear in mind that you can get high-quality sound without necessarily understanding the complexities of mod source and oscillations.
If you intend to have total control of creating your signature sound from scratch, then you have to dig deeper to get the instrument that can truly deliver that.
Many features will decide the type of synth you want. Synths produce electronic sounds and can mimic several instruments. As such, you need to decide what musical instruments you want to dominate in your music.
As mentioned above, the main difference between analog and digital synth is the sound they produce. So, regardless of the type you pick, you can be sure to get quality sound. As such, study both of them extensively before settling on the model that perfectly suits your style.
If you intend to use your synth with a computer to record and store synth creations, then make sure the synth you choose has MIDI capabilities.
Whether you want drum sounds in your synth or not depends entirely on your interest. Nonetheless, there are newer synth models in the market that come with drum sounds and are still affordable.
This is one of the most important features to look for in a synth. Polyphony refers to the number of voices on a synth. In general language, the different notes on the keyboard are what are referred to as voices in the synth. A standard piano comes with 88 types of voices that you can combine to create diverse notes.
Most synths are monophonic, meaning that they can only play one voice at ago. Nonetheless, there are polyphonic versions that often have more complicated circuits inside. It is imperative to note, however, that polyphonic synths are more expensive as compared to monophonic synths.
This feature is also one of the most important features when it comes to computer connectivity considerations. For most musicians, a computer is essential because it helps them manage everything from a central place. With it, you have the option of storing your synth sounds and plan the recording process of your music. As such, some synths require MIDI and memory. The good news is that most synths come with some kind of computer support. Digital synths are undoubtedly more compatible with computers since they rely on software.
Just as you budget for items you get from the stores, you should also set a budget before you start shopping for a synth. The prices, however, vary depending on the brand and model of a synth. That notwithstanding, you will get a good quality synth for $300.
Even with as little as $100, you can still get a small synth that has fewer voices. As such, you cannot underrate the importance of the price factor when it comes to buying your synth. If your budget is flexible, however, you can spend more to get a high-quality synth.
The synth is undeniably one of the best devices for any musician to have. And with technological advancements, the synths have only gotten better. Convenience and reliability have turned them into essential devices for any studio. Here are 10 of the best synthesizers you can consider choosing for your music ventures.
If you are looking for an affordable synth, the Arturia MicroFreak Hybrid is the best pick. It features a powerful digital oscillator that comes with a palette of unique modes. Some of these modes are KarplusStrong, Superwave, and Harmonic OSC that enable both newbies and experienced synthesists to explore new sonic frontiers.
I like the build quality of this synth even though it has a plastic chassis and keybed that feel a bit delicate. Nonetheless, this design is matching for a synth of this price. As a lightweight synth, it comes in a compact size, which is advantageous where portability matters.
This synth is also exceptionally versatile, and whatever sound you can imagine, it delivers. It also allows fast working courtesy of its advanced features like real-time sequence creation and randomization.
Most users of synths applaud the Moog Sub Phatty’s engineers for crafting a high-performance key analog synth. Moog Sub Phatty 25 – Key Analog performs with exceptional accuracy and needs almost no warm-up time.
Being the first analog synth for Moog, it comes with a transformative new Multidrive segment. At low settings, the Multidrive adds warmth and girth. When you push it, however, you get a screaming snarl that is highly reactive to wave-shape, resonance, and oscillator level. If you experiment with the new circuit, it could help you unlock the uncharted world of vivid analog tones.
The mixer section comes with innovations of its own. In this section, you will find the sub-oscillator that outputs a square wave, one octave below Oscillator 1. You can utilize this controlling tool as a third oscillator for extra depth or construct a customized avatar of a monstrous Moog bass.
The mixer section is also a noise producer that is voiced to bring low-frequency content that is affluent with body and punch. If you like sculpting analog percussion and sound effects, this device could be the deal!
The Moog Sub Phatty also comes with a wide range of parameters that are easily accessible right from the front panel. These parameters include the select filter poles, assign wave mode destinations, and specify pitch bend amounts.
With the streamlined interface and dynamic sound design flexibility, the Moog Sub Phatty is arguably the best pick for anyone looking to venture into the unprecedented sonic exploration.
This Korg synthesizer is battery-powered and palm-sized to allow you to go anywhere with it. The monotron is a powerful and fun-to-play synth. This is because it is joined by two new siblings where each sibling is played from a ribbon controller keyboard with new extra features.
I love the fact that the monotron is simple in operation and easy to use, thus inviting hours of musical exploration. The Korg synthesizer comes with an analog oscillator, LFO, and filter. It also offers a space delay that is essential for swooping and comic sounds.
It features reversed white keys and body adornments that glow under the black light illumination to make the monotron delay ideal for delivering a striking visual impact in every aspect of fun.
This Korg synthesizer comes with a controller keyboard that features a wide, four-octave range. With this design, the control of pitch is more dynamic and aggressive, which makes the monotron delay an exceptional device. With it, a Dj will have an easier time getting people to the floor moving with alluring sound.
The Korg Prologue is a modern analog polysynth that comes with 49 full-size keys and eight voices. It also features a plus Split, Layer, and Crossfade modes. This instrument is tuned to create complex layers of sounds. Each voice supports two analog oscillators while the digital oscillator offers FM and wavetable synthesis.
If you are keen on creating your own oscillators and effects, then Korg Prologue is the right pick. It features the most customizable hardware synths that you can come across at the GearNuts.
This Korg synthesizer also comes with four voice modes, a dual effects section, an arpeggiator, and 500 program locations for saving your sonic creations. With all these, the Korg Prologue is no doubt the most powerful synth for studio and stage.
MiniNova is a super-cool compact studio that comes with a similar sound engine as UltraNova. However, this one comes with 256 excellent onboard sounds that you can jerk with the five knobs. You can also warp with the eight animated buttons.
Even though this is the latest range in the nova series, it comes with the same powerful sound engine and synth effects as the Novation UltraNova. As such, you will be able to create and edit several soaring leads, bass synth sounds, vintage synth sounds, and lush pads.
I like the fact that the device comes with editing software that gives visual access to the synth engine. The idea of using the software is to make it even easier for you to see how you are editing.
With the MiniNova synth, you can tweak and warp sound in real-time. It has eight animated buttons that will enable you to twist your favorite sounds. Other features that will come in handy are the dedicated filter knob, 4 editing knobs, the over-sized pitch, and modulation wheels.
The Roland JD-XI 37 is an interactive crossover synth that has both analog and digital sound engines. While the analog synth section offers authentic lead and bass tones, the digital section delivers SuperNATURAL synth tones.
It features a compact design that has 37 mini-keys for delivering rich, warm analog bass, and lead tone. All these are done with the help of efficient controls for the hand-on tweak and polyphonic PCM essentials like brass, string, and pads.
What I love about this instrument is that I can create outstanding loops with it in a flash thanks to its pattern sequencer and built-in drum kits. In fact, you can do that while still exploring expressive vocal textures with the gooseneck mic, Vocoder, and the AutoPitch.
You can also build your loops with the four-track intuitive pattern sequencer. With the wide range of selection of onboard sounds, you can easily create and perform sophisticated synth music. You can also sing into the high-quality gooseneck mic to bring more fun to the party or performance.
Even with its compact size and versatility, the Roland JD-Xi is sure to produce brilliant sounds and assure you of having immense fun!
Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard features a careful design that offers everything you need to express your musical ideas. It is a one-stop solution for creating your music in a simple enough manner to allow even the new users to play it straight out of the box.
This instrument comes with a host of features that experienced music producers will love to use. It has an intuitive keyboard, a virtual studio to record your music ideas, and a wide array of sounds to fire up your creativity. Moreover, it has brilliant controls to fine-tune your sound.
Being a leader in the music tech world, Arturia takes up the responsibility of striking a perfect balance between powerful features, awesome sounds, a long lasting construction, and inspiring designs. The design of the controller keyboard brings together everything you need to be your best in music.
It is dynamic and sensitive enough to capture the touch of every performance, and it is tough enough to keep up with life on tour. With a streamlined and sleek format, this KeyLab Essential delivers a brilliant functionality while being available at an affordable price.
The Digital FM Synthesizer from Korg has brought forth the classic technologies by connecting classic sound engines like the groove machines and early samplers of the past with the dance music of today.
This Korg synthesizer comes with three-voice digital FM synth to reproduce the sound engine of the classic FM synth and offer compatibility. The unique VOLCA interface makes it easier for manipulation of distinct FM sounds, regardless of your familiarities with the complexity of FM synthesis.
I love the 16-step sequencer because it provides new functions like warp active step and pattern chain that allow you to make exceptional rhythm patterns. The 3-voice polyphonic FM synth reproduces the sound engine of the classic digital synth that made the world aware of FM synthesis.
With this Korg synthesizer, you can easily synchronize two units of VOLCA FM. You can do this by connecting to the other VOLCA series, the electribe, or the SQ-1 to experience the season with a synchronized sequencer playback.
The Yamaha synthesizer has the perfect keyboard to make learning, playing, and connecting to iPad EZ seamless. It allows you to play once you turn it on even if you are a novice. With 61 touch-sensitive, lighted keys and 392 built-in voices, you will get more than just play a piano. The built-in voices include those of strings, brass, guitars, drums, saxophones, and piano.
One feature I think you will love in Yamaha synthesizer is the Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S). This advanced set of helpful learning tools that come built-in to the instrument lets you learn how to play and perform. With this feature, you will master a song in an easy lesson steps.
For instance, you can call up a song from the 100 songs built-in to the electric keyboard and hit the ‘Start’ key. The electric keyboard will simply light up the correct keys and wait for you to play them.
The Yamaha synthesizer also allows you to share some of your best performances with your family and friends. The Piano Diary is a free iPhone or iPad application that allows you to not only record and store your music and performance in the cloud server but also replay it whenever and from wherever you are.
Moreover, the Yamaha synthesizer has a variety of built-in animations that respond to the pitch and velocity from your instrument. This way, it offers you a perfect way to add brilliant imagery to your performances.
The PRO-1 is an analog synth that comes with a dual VCO design to allow good music creation. It is designed to handle the rigors of life both on the road and in the studio. This is because it can easily be transferred into a standard Eurorack case for perfect integration into an already existing system.
It features a 16-note poly chain that is ready to combine with multiple synths of up to 16-voice polyphony. Moreover, it is vastly improved to give it more reliability and stability over its early predecessors.
What I like about the PRO-1 is that it comes out of the box ready to rock. Its default signal routing doesn’t need lifting even a single patch cable to create instant excellent sounds. Moreover, the semi-modular architecture allows you to easily tap into the brilliant sounds of the early 1980s and 90s progressive rock.
The above products are our 10 best synthesizers and will help you create the music you have always dreamt of. Our top pick in this category is the Arturia MicroFreak Hybrid Synthesizer.
Not only is this model the most affordable in this review, but it also comes with a host of features that cut it out of the rest. It is also versatile and capable of creating whatever sound you can imagine. MicroFreak is more than ready for the task!