Before we discuss our listing of the Best Synthesizers together with you, let us take a peek at precisely what it is that synthesizers do. These digital musical instruments can produce quite a few sounds, and they do this by blending and creating signals of various frequencies.
Synthesizers are, for the most part, operated using a keyboard. These digital musical instruments can be found in two distinct forms, digital and analog.
If you are new to the synthesizer area, be ready to be confronted with plenty of selection and a possible information overload. Fidlar has distilled the fundamentals for you, beginning with a number of the vital variables to consider before you go and purchase a synthesizer.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Select The Best Synths?
- 2 Best Synthesizers
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
How To Select The Best Synths?
The very first thing to do is determine what type of audio you’re searching for. Synths are effective at producing digital sounds and may imitate several tools, and therefore you have to understand what device is dominant in your music.
Then comes the question of going digital or analog. The difference is mainly in the production of this noise. It’s possible to get quality noises out of. Study them to see which suits your personality best.
It would help if you also considered other variables like MIDI controller execution, computer service, and above all, cost.
Establish your budget, then locate the best one that you can afford. Many high-quality synths have innovative features that may cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Some manufacturers are more popular than many others, such as Yamaha or Korg, which means that you may be sure about audio and flexibility quality. Reading different musicians’ testimonials is essential for studying the standard of play and sound. You may even hear samples on the product’s site or check them on YouTube to find a better idea.
Some vital functions to notice if you are seriously interested in purchasing a synthesizer.
The amount of listeners that you need from a synthesizer is a significant consideration. You will find a few with monophonic voices along with many others with polyphonic voices.
Analog or electronic:
This is ultimately a question of personal preference if you want digital or analog synths.
Considering using your synthesizer using a pc? Are you currently recording and saving your synth compositions? Ensure that your synth has MIDI capabilities.
Whether you would like drum sounds from your synthesizer or not entirely depends upon your personal. A number of the newer versions out there are outfitted with drum noises and are comparatively inexpensive.
The synthesizer is an excellent device for any musician. With technology improving daily, they’ve just gotten better. Its power and convenience have turned into a significant part of a studio.
These days, there are various alternatives before you, and locating the proper thing could be challenging. This is the thing to know before buying yourself a synthesizer.
1. Sequential Prophet X
In case you have any expertise with synths in any way, you’ll be knowledgeable about mythical synth builder Dave Smith. This business was previously called Dave Smith Instruments but adhered to its original title (Sequential) if Yamaha returned the signature to Dave Smith (fun fact).
The Prophet X is similar to the other Prophet synths in your mind using a remarkably strong analog synth engine. Where the Prophet X comes into its own is in its partnership with profound sampling pros 8dio.
That venture sees Sequential unite its own tried and tested synth engine using elastic sample-based synthesis. The outcome is a brand new sound engine, powering two 16-bit, 48 kHz sample-based tools. Additionally, it features two high-resolution electronic oscillators, all running via stereo analog filters.
Sequential has evolved (using 8dio) a 150 GB sample library, which includes magnificent acoustic/electronic tools and ambient effects. The Prophet X also includes 50 GB of additional storage to home your samples and libraries. If this is not sufficient, there’s a Prophet T8 add-on package with over 3800 models.
The synth engine provides the anticipated sine, saw, and pulse waveforms, but with much more flexibility than preceding Prophet models. There are numerous LFOs, Loopable envelope generators, and a 16-slot mod matrix to add texture to some patches.
To increase the huge sound collection accessible, Sequential has included a reasonably sophisticated poly step-sequencer. It permits 6-notes for each measure up to 64 steps. It is as seen the very best analog synthesizer.
- Comes from a long line of desired Prophet synths.
- A Great Deal of connectivity.
- Massive double effects engine.
- Poly step sequencer.
- 150 GB of all 8dio sample material.
- 3 OLED displays.
- A lot of modulation sources.
- Amazing build quality.
- Everything comes at a considerable cost.
2. Waldorf Quantum
Waldorf are true leaders of this synth world, pushing the bounds of what is possible for a long time. Their most recent flagship synth, the Waldorf Quantum, is a hybrid polysynth monster. This 61-key monster sport a superior Fatar TP8 key bed; among the best that you can play any synth.
The Quantum is an eight-voice synth; every voice has three oscillators and two filters. This indicates you’ve got a joint of 24 oscillators using 16 analog filters. Agents can be layered or split, and also, a set of AUX audio outputs can be bought, especially for multitimbral mode.
Every one of those stereo oscillators contains four synthesis algorithms accessible; wavetable, classical, granular sampler, and resonator. Additionally, there are six LFOs and six Loopable envelopes using multistage modulation. The Quantum is intended to inspire creativity and space for as many as 10,000 preset voices. The options are infinite.
Adding into the sonic chances are a few fantastic master effects, such as reverb, flanger, and push. Every product has another part for each timbre. The built-in arpeggiator includes seven algorithms and multiple sort orders, which can be fantastic for producing random patterns. As a sequencer, Quantum is effective at measure recording, scale-based pitch quantization, and parameter automation.
- Incredible great-sounding design capability.
- Spectacular analog filters.
- Much more oscillators than you need.
- An explicit port using LED-lit knobs.
- Stunning touchscreen.
- A couple of items about the touchscreen are somewhat small.
- A complete music production package with hybrid MIDI keyboard/pad performance and production controller and Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite (both included)
- 32 velocity- and pressure-sensitive, RGB LED pads in a unique, staggered layout; intuitive for keyboard players and step sequencer fans
- Context-sensitive screen displays valuable parameter information including CC assignments, swing, and much more
- Eight endless rotary encoders can be easily configured to control nearly any software parameter
- Deep integration with Studio One’s Pattern editor for intuitive step sequencer programming
3. Arturia MatrixBrute
Arturia has a knack for taking the gist of classic audio and bringing it in a new package. That is precisely what the Arturia MatrixBrute does.
The MatrixBrute is a 49-key synth using velocity-sensitive keys and aftertouch. It’s the blend of Arturia’s Brute series analog electricity plus a fairly innovative routing and sequencing matrix.
Among the most obvious things on the top board is the vast selection of buttons. These buttons allow you easily track the signal, immediately remember presets, and setup sequences.
The front panel is very active, comparatively speaking. However, it makes for easy, hands-on navigation with no menus or changes in functions. What provides this synth its Brute audio is a set of VCOs with Arturia’s sought-after Metalizer and Ultrasaw. The audio is then shaped through the Steiner-Parker or scale filters that provide a wide assortment of tonal personality.
You can be as expressive as you enjoy; the MatrixBrute works in monophonic and phonic modes. There’s a built-in 64-step sequencer that provides movement to your patches and may create some rather complex rhythms. Those features are covered for the studio and stage, and there’s MIDI and CV/Gate connectivity to hook around the rest of your gear.
- Good sequencer.
- Good sounding.
- Multiple playing styles.
- Simple navigation and navigation.
- Steiner-Parker filter could be an acquired taste.
4. Moog Grandmother
Can we even consider placing our listing together with no Moog synth? Not! We’ve gone with the latest of the lot, the Moog Grandmother, possibly a surprising option for some. However, the mixture of quality and affordability is the reason why we chose it out. And of course, it is among the best portable synthesizer accessible under $1000.
The Grandmother is a semi-modular analog synth using a 32-note Fatar key bed. The first thing you’ll see is the vibrant interface, and it is not just for display, but it makes the port much simpler to navigate.
There are two analog oscillators with triangle, square, and watched waveshapes. The usefulness phase features a sinus attenuator plus a patchable 1-pole high filter.
Moog’s classic 4-pole scale filter includes a key-tracking switch and oversize controls, which are easy to locate even on a dark stage. Modulation choices include the analog LFO and ADSR envelope generator. It usually follows a generally Moog routine, but the inclusion of a dedicated envelope maintains fader is a beautiful touch.
There’s no patching required as a semi-modular synth; however, you will find 41 patch factors. Thus, it’s prepared to integrate readily with your Eurorack equipment.
The Grandmother includes built-in spring reverb, not an emulation, a real analog spring reverb. It is something which Moog had not ever completed previously, and like some emulations are, there’s not any comparison to the whole thing.
- Great interface.
- Actual analog spring reverb.
- Fatar key bed.
- 41 patch points.
- Traditional Moog sound and design.
- Inexpensive to get a Moog.
- The power supply jack feels cheap.
- Music Production and Beat Maker Essential – USB powered MIDI controller with 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys for studio production, virtual synthesizer control and beat production
- Total Control of your Production - Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes
- The MPC Experience - 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style MIDI beat pads with Note Repeat & Full Level for programming drums, triggering samples and controlling virtual synthesizer / DAW controls
- Complete Command of your Virtual Instruments and FX - 8 360-degree knobs assign to all your music studio plugins for mixing, tweaking synth controls and more
- 1500+ Sounds and Everything You Need for Pro Production – Complete Music Production Starter Kit including MPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments and 2GB of sound content
5. Novation Peak
Novation is one of the best keyboard synthesizers for producing beginner-friendly and budget-friendly equipment. Thus, it might come as a surprise for some people. They are experts at the powerful synth Earth.
The Synth is an eight-voice polyphonic desktop synth with astounding creative ability. It is famous for its warm analog audio that arrives out of three New Oxford Oscillators per voice.
Each oscillator uses the conventional waveshapes in addition to 60 digital wavetables. The numerically controlled New Oxford Oscillators provide a wealth of alternatives to run via the stunning analog multimode filter.
Modulation is vital using the Peak; it is possible to assign 16 direct modulation cases to produce your patch more intriguing. In addition to this, you get a 16-slot modulation matrix to use in plenty of imaginative ways. You may use aftertouch to command the wave shape of a specific oscillator by way of instance.
The onboard effects include high-quality flaws, reverb, and chorus. Distortion may be applied pre or pole filter per voice, making it more flexible than the average distortion. There’s also a master distortion is effective independently.
The most recent firmware upgrade for your Novation Peak has come with some critical improvements. Envelopes now contain a gripping stage (around 500 ms) and can loop the assault and delay phases. Additionally, it includes many fresh preset sounds that showcase the Peak’s ability and the most recent firmware.
- A lot of modulation choices.
- The distinct sound.
- Great hands-on design.
- Smooth ion filter.
- Not rack-mountable.
- No computer keyboard (in case that matters to you).
6. Nord Lead A1
Whichever Nord tool you’re discussing, it is always considered to be one of the very best in its category. The Nord Lead A1 is no exception, and maybe their intuitive synth up to now.
The Nord Lead A1 is an analog modeling synth that provides authentic analog heat in an electronic machine. The Lead A1 includes a 49-note Fatar key bed (24-note polyphony), which is very playable.
The most remarkable thing about Fight A1 is your workflow. It’s purpose-built for creating, choosing, and loading stains as fast as possible. Among the easy but powerful features that enable you to do this is your like’ record that stores your enjoyed patches. Nord’s unique eight setup oscillator block makes forming your audio a breeze.
From swirling pads, hammering synth bass to 80s synth brass, and soaring leads, the A1 does everything. In addition to a keyboard split function, the A1 is 4-part multi-timbral, which means that you can create some stunning layered stains. Onboard effects like chorus, phaser, and induce can be found separately per section.
Unison Mode and Extra Fat Unison Mode thicken up any noise, making some crazy voices. An LFO with five waveforms can be obtained, in addition to low-pass, high-pass, and band filters.
Rounding off the filters are both transistor and diode ladder filter emulations of both Mini and TB-303. If you’re still stuck for inspiration, then the Mutator function enables you to adjust your patch’s specific components by set proportions to produce short variants.
- Streamlined interface.
- Versatile consequences.
- A broad array of sounds.
- Feels excellent to perform with.
- Tweaking/Shaping does not go deep enough.
- Standalone Piano Style Keyboard – Portable mini keyboard and USB MIDI controller with 25 velocity-sensitive synthesizer action keys, pitch/mod joystick control, plus 128 sounds and 10 drum kits
- Play Anywhere – Built in speaker, 1/8-inch headphone output and battery powered specification (3 x AA batteries – not included) for performing and producing on the go
- Beat Maker Essential – Two banks of eight ultra-responsive backlit MIDI drum pads with Note Repeat and Full Level functions for drum machine style performance and music production
- Tweak, Customize – Two banks of four knobs (eight total) to tweak internal sounds or software parameters; in standalone mode control chorus, reverb, filter, EQ and envelope controls
- The MPC Production Experience - Includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series
7. Korg Minilogue XD
This brand new version slots into the Logue array between the first Minilogue along with the Prologue 8. When we had to pick between this and the first Minilogue.
It would be the XD because of its stronger sequencer, prolonged general flexibility, user-customizable Multi-Engine/effects, the joystick for real-time management, consumer scales/tunings, more inspirational vibe, and exceptional motion-sequenceable stereo effects/output.
Together with the brand new damper pedal port and dual-CV inputs (to port with modular equipment ), the XD is a well various flavor of Minilogue, and its distinctive character is a very welcome addition to the scope as a whole.
- CV connectivity
- Good build quality
- Just One filter rod alternative onboard
- No low-cut/high-pass filter change or dial
8. Behringer Neutron
Behringer’s synth arm may be best known for its controversy-courting ‘ tributes,’ but the German manufacturer also includes a few excellent original tools under its belt. Following in the steps of last year’s Deepmind, Neutron is an analog semi-modular that packs in a great deal of flexibility because of its affordable price point.
The Neutron has a couple of flaws, and there are some annoying layout difficulties, but it will seem excellent, and concerning bang-for-your-buck, you can not beat it. While it does an excellent job of producing more realistic sounds, it also excels in the bizarre and fantastic.
- Good value for money
- 3340 VCO a replica of the mythical CEM3340 seen in analog classics of the late ’70s and early’80s
- Adaptive patch bay
- Too Simple to saturate the filter segment
- PLAYABILITY: Two ways to make sounds with the stylus. The keyboard to make distinct notes and the sound strip above the keyboard to slide between notes on a scale.
- PORTABILITY: Take this synth anywhere. Battery operated with built in speaker. Audio line out for headphones and/or external speaker. Audio in to use as an effects unit.
- ENRICH THAT SOUND: New features include, LFO (with square and triangle waves), Low pass filter (cutoff/resonance), Envelope (attack/decay).
- ANALOG DELAY FEATURE: Add space to your sound with delay time, feedback and level.
- ADDED FEATURES: Sub octaves -1 & -2 switch, this enriches your sound by adding a second frequency below your source sound. AND a Pulse Width Modulation button which can be used to create a chorus effect.
9. Korg Volca FM
The Volca FM is a streamlined, battery-powerable tool, housed in a plastic chassis using a design that provides a glowing stylistic nod to the Yamaha DX7 where it takes its sonic cues. It is outfitted with a ribbon-style keyboard-come-sequencer, built-in speaker, MIDI input, and 3.5millimeter sync in/out. That is easily the top of this Volca range up to now.
The other versions have only captured the overall vibe of the tools that they took their inspiration from albeit in a delightful and reasonably priced manner the FM handles not just pinpointing the noise of its tradition but also adding a range of fresh and powerful features.
It is not without its constraints the absence of polyphony leaves it lagging behind the original DX7, Yamaha’s Reface DX, and the many FM plugins on the market but the noise of these dark, percussive basses, frosty mallets, and ’80s-style chunks is bang on. If you begin to push the wearable, hands-on small synth capabilities, you will find it is capable of some exceptional tricks.
- Fantastic FM Sound
- More flexible than it initially seems
- Just three voices
10. Waldorf Quantum
At its core, the Quantum is an 8-voice, bi-timbral (2-part) synth, using exceptionally high-resolution stereo oscillators routed through double resonant analog (or electronic ) filters. Sounds can be layered, split, and voices could be allocated between layers; every layer can also have its output for separate processing.
Significantly, you will find four different synthesis engines (over the three oscillators). It’s distinctive and effective at stunning, otherworldly, or recognizable sonic outcomes.
It may sound huge, little, slim, fat, hot, epic, cracked, or chilly, and you can emphasize your character on the sound working with the available parameters or even your examples.
For ground-up, imperial audio style, SFX for lm/TV, bizarre evolving soundscapes, straight-up analog synth emulation, FM-type seems, and very FX/atmos seems, the Quantum is unbeatable. Yes, it is expensive, but it’s well worth the investment – you will not ever get bored with this level of thickness and superb sonic outcomes.
- Built like a tank, with healthy controls
- Clear and snappy touchscreen
- Spec’d into the hilt!
- No more multimode for the analog filter (although the Digital Former constitutes for this
- 3-voice polyphonic FM synthesizer, fully compatible with classic unit
- Super-easy sound editing
- Onboard CHORUS effect
- 16-step sequencer allows to automate each parameters
- High playability
What’s a Synthesizer?
A synthesizer is an electronic device that consists of many distinct modules that work together to produce a synthesized sound. The modules comprise oscillators, filters, modulation resources, or envelope generators that perform the same tasks as traditional tools. Synthesizers imitate mechanisms or create new kinds of electric sounds based on these instruments.
They are usually controlled by many input devices such as fingerboards, sequencers, end controls, or digital drums. They use many approaches to produce sound waves, such as additive synthesis, subtractive synthesis, wavetable synthesis, phase distortion synthesis, and physiological modulation synthesis.
Synthesizers are mainly either digital or analog, and both have their pros and cons. They first hit the marketplace in the’60s and’70s and slowly gained fame, becoming a popular tool in the pop universe. It was not until the’80s and’90s that synthesizers turned into a significant part of audio production.
Ever since that time, musicians worldwide are using these to make unique tunes and experimentation with different instrumental sounds. Synthesizers also created computer keyboard workstations that are multipurpose and versatile.
How Can a Synthesizer Function?
Synthesizers can replicate a tool or produce sounds by creating sound waves of different shapes and having a couple of tones simultaneously to make a particular frequency. They are also able to alter the amount of noise to produce different ASDR envelope contours.
The oscillators have other sound waves and frequently unite those waves to create more complex locks. Throughout controlling the attack, corrosion, and preserve, the synth can replicate a specific instrument.
Let us take the case of a violin where the strings bowed or plucked to produce oscillations. The violin’s timber and its resonance, along with the lacquer’s density, provide the changes a tone.
The strain of the bow dictates that the fluctuations in quantity or timbre. The fingers holding the strings on the fingerboard produces a vibrato. On a synthesizer, an oscillator has audio.
The filter provides it a tone very similar to that of a violin. The envelope generator will offer its timbre fall or rise. And lastly, a modulation source takes out the previous action of introducing vibrato.
This is how distinct components of a synthesizer can synthetically produce a sound comparable to a different device. In an electronic synthesizer, this is accomplished through electronic signal processing.
What’s the Difference Between Analog and Digital Synthesizers?
The gap between both is pretty much exactly what the distinction between an analog and electronic apparatus is. Within an analog synth, the various modules work together to produce noises.
In an electronic synth, the same is done through digital signal processing. Rather than algorithms, modules function to tweak oscillations to create unique sounds that mimic musical tools.
The discussion about which is your best is the older one since electronic synthesizers came out. Today, many people state that analog synths have a warmer sound that is entirely accurate but depends on the synth itself rather than each analog synth that might be warm. In terms of electronic synths, many musicians favor them since they are more flexible.
It is possible to tweak the audio to produce plenty of different sounds, which is why they’re considered more reliable. But analog possesses their very own old school charm that a lot of musicians are searching for. So there isn’t any definite winner for one of these two, and it’s more of a personal choice than performance or quality.
So, as always, make your choice based on what you need versus your budget. Find the synth within your price range that ticks the most of your boxes, and have fun; these synths are insane. Fidlar’s hope that our overview can help you find the best synthesizers for live performance.
Last update on 2020-12-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API