Synthesizer – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
Acquiring a versatile synthesizer to make music recordings, rehearse with your band or play live could be a difficult task, since there are many models on the Internet. However, this time we present several of the most outstanding synthesizers, such as the Moog Sub 37, which has various configuration sections, among them you will find filters, envelopes and oscillators. On the other hand, we recommend the IK Multimedia Uno Synth, which, although it has a compact design, is a monophonic unit with 40 controls and offers the possibility of adjusting the effects of each note, including its tuning.
The 8 Best Synthesizers – Opinions 2022
Each synthesizer has a different design, in addition, the sound qualities, effects and controls vary, depending on the model. For that reason, choosing a product of this type may be a complicated task for you. However, we want to help you find the one you need, so we present you with a list of some of the best synthesizers of 2022.
1. Moog Subsequent 37
This is an analog Moog synthesizer with which you can make one or even two notes at the same time. In addition, it has a 3-octave keyboard in which you can make the melodies you want for your songs.
Being analog, it offers several rotary knobs to configure the synthesized sound to your liking. Maybe if you like to experiment with new sounds, this is the one for you.
You can find various modules in this synthesizer, among which Filter, Oscillators, Envelope Generators, etc. stand out. With the latter you can add Decay, Sustain, Release and Attack, according to the needs of the moment.
Also, note that this instrument has two independent octaves in the Oscillators module. With them you can achieve very striking effects for electronic music.
Another quality that we mentioned about the Moog Sub 37 is its headphone output, which is located on the main panel, to better monitor what you are playing.
If you are looking for a synthesizer with a sequencer, the pros and cons of the Moog Subsequent 37 that we show you below may help you.
Modules: Among the modules offered by this synthesizer are Filters and Oscillators. With them you can create the analog sound you are looking for for your songs.
Octaves: It comes with 3 octaves, so you can make different riffs, solos or varied musical arrangements.
Size: It is not very big, so you can mount it next to other electronic instruments without problems to play live.
Weight: This product weighs 11.7 Kg, so it may be a bit uncomfortable for some people to transport.
2. Ik Multimedia UNO Synth USB Analog Synthesizer LED Display
If you don’t know which is the best synthesizer to do dubstep, trap, rock, trance, etc., we invite you to review this IK Multimedia brand model, since it has 27 note pads, which are also used to activate sequences or electronic music arpeggios. Also, the order of the pads is similar to the keys on a conventional piano, so it will be easier for many musicians to play.
Thanks to its Attack, Release, Pitch or Drive controls you will be able to create your own sound and perform newer riffs, solos or leads. Also, this synth has buttons that make it easy to perform live effects, including Dive, Wah, Trem, and Vibr. The first offers a change in frequency, reaching a semitone above the note you are playing. For its part, the last button adds adds vibrato to the sound.
IK Multimedia might be the best synthesizer brand as it is specialized in making accessories and musical instruments. This is one of their most outstanding products.
Controls: It has 40 controls through which you can vary the sound of the notes according to your preferences.
LFO: This synthesizer has a low frequency oscillator, to adjust the sounds that are below 20 Hz.
Portability: It is portable, so taking it to rehearsals, concerts or recordings will be a simple and comfortable task.
Size: It only brings 2 octaves, although this is compensated by the possibility of changing the height of the notes.
3. Korg Monotron Delay Synthesizers
It is important to have the necessary equipment to play electronic music, so check out the qualities of the Korg Monotron Delay synthesizer. This compact model offers excellent analog sound for creating novel effects in electronic music and other similar genres.
Also, its analog Delay effect makes the sound longer, like an echo. Therefore, you can combine it with electronic drum machines to generate party atmospheres wherever you go.
Likewise, we inform you that it offers an LFO effect, to adjust to give a little noise to the bass drum. Also, it should be noted that it has 16 keys that make up a little more than the eighth. And, if you are very interested in the Delay effect, you should know that it has two controls to use it, Time and Feedback. You can adjust each button to your liking, depending on the song you are playing or the sound you are looking for.
Next, we will briefly show you the most important qualities of the Korg Monotron Delay, perhaps they will help you make a suitable purchase.
Effects: Its control panel offers several buttons, including LFO and Delay, which, if you combine them, you will get new striking sounds.
Portability: It is one of the most portable synthesizers, since you can also use it with batteries and it fits in any backpack.
Shape: With the Standby button you can change the waveform between square and triangular, to adjust the effect to each song.
Keys: The keys are very small, so they can be a bit awkward to touch.
This is perhaps the best value for money synthesizer, because, although it is one of the cheapest on the market, it has 40 colored pads, which are used to assign effects, samples or loops. It also comes with 25 mini keys and 8 rotary buttons, so you can play various melodies, activate effects and even control the volume of sounds.
In the same way, we mention that this synthesizer keyboard has the Shift button, which will be used to use the buttons that fulfill more than one function. For example, you can make the same button work for Solo and Mute.
On the other hand, it has the Sustain button, which lengthens the notes you are playing on the keyboard. In this sense, if you make the chord of C Major and you want the sound to be sustained for 4 bars, press this button.
This is one of the cheapest synthesizer keyboards, so perhaps this section will help you in which we will talk about its pros and cons.
Practicality: With it you will be able to control the main functions of DAW programs, especially Ableton Live, thus making music production easier.
Octaves: It is a small keyboard with 25 keys; however, it also has special buttons for octave up and down.
USB: You can connect this product to your computer and enjoy many virtual synthesizers to play live or record.
Controller: Because it is a MIDI controller, it does not have its own sounds, so it will only sound when connected to the computer.
If you are looking for a musical instrument to play melodies and at the same time fuse them with flashy rhythms, this Korg synthesizer may be the best option. This is because the manufacturer offers various models of the Volca series, for example Beats, Keys and Bass.
Regarding the Volca Beats we can say that it is an instrument specially designed to create electronic rhythms, since it has Kick, Snare, Tom and Hat. Likewise, these drum parts have parameters for you to create your own sound, Pitch, Decay, Click, Snappy, among others.
Another aspect that we can highlight about the Korg Volca Beats is its ability to adjust the tempo from a rotary button, as this makes musical composition, recording or live performances much easier. In addition, it is an instrument that will work with a 9 V adapter or 6 AA alkaline batteries.
Normally, many professional bands or soloists need a synthesizer with a drum machine to give more energy or life to the songs, so we present you this model, which is one of the most outstanding today.
Pads: This synthesizer has 16 sequence pads, through which you can create rhythms according to your musical talent and imagination.
Sound: The sounds emitted by the Korg Volca Beats are analog and have been recorded from real rhythm machines.
Portability: It’s small and can run on 6 AA alkaline batteries, so you can play anywhere, anytime.
MIDI: It does not have MIDI output, but input, so you will not be able to connect it to computers.
For those looking for an instrument with a retro sound, this Roland synthesizer may be the best option, since it has extensive programming options and sounds that will remind you of the 70s and 80s.
It features oscillators, delay, filters, LFO controls, and other configuration buttons. For that reason, it is a synthesizer that you can connect to external keyboards to create electronic music such as EDM, Chillstep, Dance pop, techno, trance, etc.
Another aspect that stands out about the Roland synthesizer is that with it you can create sequences and vary their speed, which is very useful when playing live, especially if you’re a DJ and you need to invite the audience to dance. In total it brings 16 pads for the sequences, being enough to create many types of electronic rhythms. In addition, this product comes with 384 classic and modern sound presets, so you can use them in your songs.
It is worth recommending this synthesizer made by Roland and Estudio Electronics, as it has advantages that could meet your expectations.
Sound: Its basses are deep and the treble is quite clear, in addition, you can edit the sounds according to your preferences, thanks to the different controls it has.
Memory: It has a built-in memory to store up to 128 sequence patterns and 16 songs.
Efficiency: It has an efficient LFO module with tempo sync and 9 different waveforms, noise generator, oscillator sync and many more programming options.
Buttons: Some buttons are hard to turn, but this does not affect their operation.
7. KORG Nu:Tekt NTS-1 Digital Sync Kit
If you are looking for a pocket synthesizer, this could meet your requirements as it is quite compact and light. It is made with a simple but effective card, which allows to emit varied effects, the most classic of the analog world. For example, it has OSC and MOD, which means oscillator and modulator respectively.
It is possible to activate or deactivate the effects as you like, since each one has its own button. And with the rotary knobs A and B you can vary the intensity of the mix.
Other effects that this little synthesizer has are Reverb and Arp. The first generates reverberation, that is, it will sound if you are in a church with a lot of echo. And the other one serves as an arpeggiator, so it creates melodies, even if you play a single key.
In the following section we summarize the main advantages and disadvantages of the Korg Nu: Tekt NTS-1, so you can check whether or not it meets your needs.
Effects: Among the effects it has, we mention OSC, Delay and Reverb, which combined can generate many new sounds.
Screen: It has an LED screen, which tells you the effect you have selected and other configuration parameters.
Portability: It is a very small synthesizer that you can take anywhere without complications.
Keyboard: The keyboard is very small, so it will be difficult to play main melodies in the songs.
8. Akai Professional MPK MINI MKII MIDI Controller Keyboard
This is a MIDI synthesizer with 1400 preset sounds, which you can find in the Hybrid 3, SONiVOX Wobble and MPC Essentials virtual synthesizers. You simply have to enter the page and download the applications to be able to enjoy them and create a lot of music. For example, with the SONiVOX Wobble you can make EDM music, which is a fusion of various electronic genres such as house, dubstep, disco, etc.
Likewise, this instrument offers the VIP 3.1 application, through which you can access your library of effects and virtual instruments and make them sound with your band or other live DJ equipment.
On the other hand, it has a design that will work for traveling musicians or those who want a compact MIDI synthesizer in their recording studios. However, it has 8 configurable rotary knobs, 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 pads, among other important qualities.
If you still don’t know which synthesizer to buy, we recommend this model, so check the features that we explain below.
Sounds: It brings 1400 synthesizer sounds, which you can adjust to your liking according to the needs of the moment.
Connection: It is powered through the USB port, you simply have to connect it to a computer.
Applications: You can freely download various applications such as Air Hybrid 3, VIP 3.1 or SONiVOX Wobble.
Instructions: The user manual does not explain how to use the applications, although you can learn in a short time, since they have a simple user interface.
It is not easy to choose a synthesizer, because on the Internet there are many models, with different sizes, keys, buttons, etc. Therefore, this time we present you a guide to buy the best synthesizer. Our goal is for you to know the aspects that this type of electronic instrument should have.
types of synthesizers
Some synthesizers provide electrical signals that are later transformed into audible sounds for the human being, but they do not bring predetermined sound banks, but you must program your own sounds in them, according to your musical ear or personal interest. In this sense, we are talking about analog and modular synthesizers, with which you can vary the type of wave, amount of noise or note modulations.
Of course, not all people use these synthesizers, as that will depend on the genre of music they play. In this way, there are other options on the market, for example, digital synthesizers, which do not require the creation of sounds, but incorporate hundreds of them, even more than 1000.
However, many digital synthesizers offer the ability to edit their default sounds. In other words, in these models you will be able to change the type of wave or effect of the notes.
Similarly, there are MIDI synthesizers, which you can connect to a computer or external equipment to emit sounds. These synthesizers output signals to DAW applications or virtual instruments. Also, some of them do not have sounds within the hardware, but through a computer application. If you buy this synthesizer model, make sure it comes with an installation CD or the possibility of downloading the applications over the Internet.
In a comparison of synthesizers, this aspect cannot be missing, since with the configuration buttons it will be possible to create sounds or edit existing ones. In this section we will mention some of the most outstanding, sustain, oscillator, drive and filter.
Regarding sustain, we inform you that by activating this button the duration of the notes will be longer. In other words, it does the same thing as the sustain pedal on a keyboard, in that it sustains the sound until you stop using it. For its part, the oscillator is used to make changes in pitch and waveform, square, triangular or sawtooth.
Also, some synthesizers have a drive button, which adds a slight distortion to the sound. Similarly, there is the filter button, to try to make the sound sound more natural and less monotonous.
Before worrying about how much a product of this type costs, it is best that you review this quality, because not all synthesizers have keys, but some models do. This is a quality that could influence the price, although with so many makes and models on the market, you may be able to find a cheap synth with keys.
If you have, they should be arranged like on the piano, C, C sharp, D, D sharp, E, F, and so on; this way you can easily play the melodies, especially if you are a pianist.
However, the number of keys varies depending on the model of the synthesizer, so take this into account before making the purchase.
If you want an electronic instrument with which you can make rhythms, we recommend a synthesizer with pads, since it is easier to assign percussion sounds such as Kick, Tom, Hat, among others, to these buttons. Similarly, there are synths where you can do rhythmic sequences, which are more versatile and efficient with pads.
However, there are synthesizers that do not have keys or pads, being useful to create sound effects for your songs and soundtracks for video games, movies, documentaries, etc. Generally, you can connect external keyboards to these instruments when you want to make melodies and chords.
The compatibility of the synthesizer is very important, especially the MIDI function, because through it you can record music on the computer. Of course, this task will be possible only with the help of DAW programs.
Also, there are synthesizers that have MIDI inputs, so you can connect external instruments to them, with which you can increase their harmonic and melodic possibilities.
On the other hand, we mention the MIDI outputs, which are for connecting one synthesizer to another or recording on the computer via USB. Likewise, thanks to the MIDI output you can pair a synthesizer keyboard with effect pedals such as Reverb, Distortion or Delay.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a synthesizer?
First, turn on the synthesizer, depending on the model it will have the ON/OFF switch on the front, side or back. However, some computers do not have a power button, but you must connect them via USB to activate them.
After turning on the synthesizer you must make the connection to the amplified speaker, professional mixer or amplifier. Normally, synthesizers have an audio output, but they are not all the same, because there are those that only send signals to the computer. In case your synthesizer is of this model, you will have to enjoy its sounds from the audio card that you have connected to the computer.
Subsequently, move the parameters of the synthesizer until you get the sound you want, for this, it is best to review the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
Q2: Who invented the synthesizer?
Robert Moog, precursor of electronic music, in 1964 created the first synthesizer and, in his honor, it was called Moog. This instrument was made in collaboration with the musician Herb Deutsch. In its origins it was characterized by having different modules, for example, filter, oscillator or controlled voltage amplifier, which allowed to create new sounds, as well as combine and modify them, managing to imitate the sound of various musical instruments such as guitar, piano, organ, etc. flute, trumpet, among others.
Q3: How to make music with a synthesizer?
Making music is not that easy, as it requires musical knowledge. Also, if you are going to do this task with a synthesizer, you should know the functions offered by this instrument and how to use them correctly.
However, after learning the basics you will be able to create unreleased songs with new synth sounds. Later, you can record your creations in DAW programs for desktop or laptop computers, since many synthesizers offer compatibility with these equipment.
Q4: How to program a synthesizer?
This will depend on the synthesizer, since there are different models and each one is programmed differently. One thing to consider before programming is that you will need to learn the manufacturer’s instructions, especially if it is a modular synthesizer, which is much more complex.
Perhaps the easiest synthesizer to program is the standard analog one, because in this one you have to change the shape of the wave according to your tastes, be it sawtooth, square, sine or triangular. You can then adjust the filters, envelope, low-frequency oscillator, and various effects until you find the sound you need for your songs or live performances.
Q5: How to connect a synthesizer to an amplifier?
Synthesizers have at least one audio output, perhaps labeled OUT, so that’s where you should plug the end of an audio cable. Subsequently, the other end of the cable must be connected to the input of the amplifier, normally called Input.
When making the connection it is recommended that the amplifier and the synthesizer are turned off, which means that you should turn on both devices only when they are correctly connected.
Q6: What is a modular synthesizer?
It is a synthesizer with various modules that are not connected to each other and that you yourself must unite according to the needs of the moment. Almost always these modules have inputs and outputs, that is, voltages that work to control the audio signals.
Typical modules are oscillators, filters, envelopes, amplifiers, etc. Each of them with buttons for volume, waveform, Pitch, Decay, Attack or others.
Q7: What family is the synthesizer from?
It belongs to the family of electronic instruments, these being those that work with electricity and amplify their sound. The synthesizer is an instrument that creates and edits sounds for various musical genres and even movie or video game soundtracks.
In the same way, although it is electronic, it imitates very well the sounds of other acoustic instruments, such as violin, piano, guitar, cello, drums, etc. For that reason, we can say that it takes various qualities from the family of bowed and plucked strings, as well as percussion.
Q8: How to build a synthesizer?
It is possible to make a synthesizer at home, but you need to have a lot of passion for electronics and at least basic programming skills to pull it off. The materials you will need are an Arduino UNO card, both 10k Ohm and 5k Ohm resistors, 1 potentiometer, jumper cables and 1 buzzer. This last element is a transducer that produces a continuous or intermittent buzz of the same tone.
After having all the materials and connecting them to the Arduino you will have to program on your computer, making the card emit a continuous square wave that varies in tone when you turn the potentiometer.
» Review information from previous years
Moog Sub Phatty
Si buscas el mejor sintetizador pequeño, este modelo podría ser la respuesta adecuada, porque trae 25 teclas distribuidas en forma de piano, 31 controles giratorios y 13 botones comunes con retroiluminación. Con ellos puedes ajustar las oscilaciones, modulaciones, filtros y otros parámetros de sonido como Resonancia, Sustain, Multidrive, etc.
Se trata de un sintetizador Moog analógico diseñado especialmente para las frecuencias graves, así que con él puedes tocar la línea del bajo o melodías solistas en Dubstep, Future Bass, Electro House y otros géneros musicales.
Además, mencionamos que este instrumento trae salidas de audio de 1/4, las cuales son útiles al momento de tocar en directo, dado que a través de ellas puedes conectar cables de audio y enviar el sonido a mezcladoras profesionales. Igualmente, tiene puerto USB para que lo conectes a ordenadores y grabes música inédita con tu banda.
Este quizá sea el mejor sintetizador del momento, porque cuenta un tamaño compacto, pero en él puedes crear sonidos auténticos con bajos profundos para la música electrónica. Estas son algunas de sus características más importantes.
Efectos: Sirve para tocar excelentes leads y solos, gracias a sus efectos de distorsión, sustain, modulación, etc.
Practicidad: Puedes aprender a tocarlo con facilidad, ya que sus teclas están distribuidas como un piano.
Compatibilidad: Se puede conectar a pedales de efectos externos, por ejemplo, BigSky o Timeline, emitiendo así sonidos más novedosos y llamativos.
Acordes: No sirve para tocar acordes, pues se trata de un sintetizador monofónico.
Bastl Instruments Kastle 1.5 Modular Mini de sintetizador nuevo
Este es uno de los sintetizadores más pequeños del mercado, así que podrás llevarlo contigo a cualquier parte para ensayar con tu banda o tocar en directo junto a equipos de DJ.
De la misma manera, dado que es un sintetizador modular podrás crear efectos de sonido completamente novedosos para tus canciones. Este instrumento ofrece sonidos por sí mismo e, incluso, si quieres que sea mucho más completo y funcional, puedes unirlo a otros equipos como pedales analógicos, teclados u otros sintetizadores.
Sus sonidos son el resultado de diversos botones y configuraciones, por ejemplo, LFO, Rate, Osc, Timbre, Pitch, etc. De esta manera, puedes realizar oscilaciones, cambios de frecuencia en las notas, ondas cuadradas o triangulares y muchas más posibilidades.
Por otro lado, cabe destacar que este instrumento funciona con 3 pilas AA o alimentación eléctrica vía USB.
Quizá este sea el mejor sintetizador por 100 euros, pues, aunque tiene un precio bajo cuenta con diversas características que lo hacen destacar. En este apartado te presentamos las principales.