In the past, buying a synthesizer would’ve been an expensive proposition for most people. Even buying a lower-end model could easily run the average person thousands of dollars and top end models could cost even more. Nowadays, circumstances have changed a bit. That’s because they have not only become cheaper but have also become more powerful. Which makes these instruments an indispensable piece of equipment for any musician.
Having stated that simple fact, there are a few things that need to be considered before running out and buying a synth for yourself. There is not only the price of the unit to consider, but it’s also important to consider the features that can be found on the device. Below are just some of the top models worth considering.
Our Top Picks for the Best Synthesizers
#1 Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synth
Priced far cheaper than many other Moog Models, the Sub Phatty is a synth that allows just about anyone to enjoy its power and a wide range of features. It has 25 semi-weighted keys, has 13 switches and 31 knobs which control specific functions of the device and gives the user the kind of control they’ve always dreamed over their sound. This tool has a 100% analog signal path, has 2 stable variable waveshape oscillators and has a square wave sub oscillator located in the mixer section. And since this synth uses a reactive drive system, the user can sweep their sound any way they want.
#2 Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synth
Utilizing an analog audio signal path and equipped with 25 mini-keys, this monophonic analog synthesizer is ready for some serious audio work. It’s equipped with 3 waveform VCM, a Steiner-Parker filter, a modulation matrix, overtone generator, and a step sequencer. It also has a MISI in that has a 5-pin DIN connector, has a 1/4-inch audio output and a 1/8-inch headphone output, plus USB MIDI in and out features. Not only is this synth capable of producing some truly beautiful sounds but it’s also extremely powerful. And the whole device is built with the high-quality components one would expect out of a much more expensive synth.
#3 Korg 16-Key Volca Beats
The 16-key Volca Beats system is one that’s designed to deliver six different traditional analog sounds. These sounds include Hi-Tom, Low Tom, Snare, Kick, Open Hi-Hat, and Closed Hi-Hat. Each of these analog parts is easily editable using one knob for each function. This unit also features 8 memory patches, has Sync In & Sync out for clock syncing several different instruments and has to stutter for delay effects. It also has a MIDI in for note entry and it can be literally played anywhere thanks to its built-in speaker. All things considered, it’s a great device for editing sound.
#4 Korg Monotron Delay Ribbon Synth
The Korg Monotron Delay is a tool that’s designed to take ordinary sound and make it extraordinary. It features VCO with pitch control, has a handy built-in speaker for transmitting sound and is battery powered. This unit also offers a 4-octave range, and it has a design that allows the sound’s pitch to be dynamically and very aggressively manipulated. All of which makes it a great instrument for any DJ to have with their kit. This unit is also equipped with a headphone jack, so if the user wants some privacy, then they can have it quite easily while they play.
#5 Yamaha Reface CS Portable Analog Synth
The Yamaha Reface CS is a synth that has labeled itself as delivering legendary sound but having a compact size, which is pretty much true. This synth is capable of producing a nice, rich sound but it is small enough to take just about anywhere. It features an 8-note polyphony, has an integrated phrase looper and has 37 mini-size keys. It also has a built-in speaker that reproduces sound very well. Whenever the player needs a tool that can deliver fast and accurate playing, this tool is ready to give them what they need. And its dual line 1/4-inch line outputs can be connected to a variety of devices for capturing or for mixing.
#6 Yamaha Reface DX Portable FM Synth
Anyone looking to create a large sound will find the Yamaha a most appropriate tool. It has a 4-operator FM sound engine that delivers expressive and dynamic synthesis to anyone’s play. It features 32 voice memory locations, integrated phrase looper capabilities and has 37 mini-keys. This tool also has a built-in speaker system that delivers clear sound no matter where it’s used. Powered by only 6 AA batteries, this tool can deliver up to five hours of playing time. And it’s easily connected to any iOS device or computer by using a USB cable. All of which makes it a great device for anyone looking for a synth they can take on the go.
#7 Novation Ultranova Nova Series
Equipped with 37 full-size keys for playing convenience and with an updated Supernova synth engine, this synthesizer is ready to provide the sound the player needs. It has a 2-in and 4-out USB audio interface, and it’s more than capable of being bus powered. This tool also has touch-sense controls that enable the player to shape their sound according to their personal preferences. Also included with this instrument is a software plug-in editor that allows the operator to edit their sound according to their needs. Overall, it’s a powerful tool worth taking a look at and one that will satisfy the synth needs of most players.
#8 Nektar Impact LX25+
The Nektar Impact LX25+ has 25 synth-action keys, 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads and is equipped with pitch bend and modulation wheels. An interesting feature found on this synth is it 2-octave buttons and its 2 transpose buttons. These buttons allow for adjustments on the fly, even when the player is playing it. With the press of a button, this unit’s pots are assigned to 8 channels on the Daw’s mixer. There is also a fader that’s conveniently located, so the player always knows how to immediately find it. And finally, this tool has a price tag that’s easy on most people’s budgets.
#9 Arturia Mini Brute Analog
Although the Mini Brute is somewhat intimidating to behold at first when this synth is properly wielded it can be an extremely powerful tool. This product uses a pure analog signal path, and it sets a high bar for how a synth should operate. This tool features a Steiner-Parker multimode filter, analog innovations include Ultrasaw and Metalizer and have a VCO wave mixer. It also features a 25-note keyboard with aftertouch and has dials for both pitch and modulation. And since it has MIDI, USB, and CV connectivity, this model allows the operator to record their sounds anyway they see fit.
#10 Korg Koassilator Pro+
This synthesizer is unlike most of the models on the market today. That’s because it doesn’t use a keyboard like some other models but instead uses a touchpad. Just by rubbing or stroking or tapping this touchpad, the operator can control tone, pitch, and modulation. This unit also has 25- sound programs that cover a wide range of musical styles. Also equipped with loop recording, this model allows the musician to play their music intuitively and then record it for later manipulation. And since this unit comes with dedicated editor software, it’s easier than ever for musicians to edit their notes and sounds.