Gone were the days when synths were viewed as avant-garde. At present, the market is flooded with affordable synthesizers, especially in the monophonic (mono synth) synthesizer category, which has seen a spike in mono synths availability at an affordable price. Of course, the mono synth differentiates itself from polyphonic synthesizers because it can only play a single note at a time.
The mono synth may be fraught with many limitations, but it remains the most popular of the different synthesizer types. Of course, the mono synth’s popularity is not based on its limitations, but on what it can do, such as its ability to create thick sounding bass, incredible acid lines, and remarkable percussive and drum textures. Below is a list of the best mono synths of all time:
Here are some of the best new ones out there that you should check out:
Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1) Sequential Pro 3 Multi-filter Mono Synth
An in-depth look at the Sequential Pro 3 Multi-filter Mono Synth would reveal that it is undoubtedly one of the best analog mono synths ever made. It was the higher evolution of the classic Pro-One, but it improves on the original in every direction. Of course, it retains the beefy sound of the original, and its hands-on tweakability is commendable.
It features a hybrid and multi-filter synth that comes with a premium Fatar 37-note semi-weighted keyboard. It also features three oscillators and three classic analog filters. Moreover, it comes with a powerful 16-track sequencer and can connect with any modular synth via the ins and outs of its 4 control voltage.
\The Sequential Pro 3 boasts not only of one but three awesome classic filter types. It also comes with additional features like four envelopes, three LFOs, an arpeggiator, hard sync, dual digital effects, Oscillator Slop, and per oscillator glide. Plus, it comes with a three-voice paraphonic mode along with a per oscillator’s individually-gated envelopes.
These features imply that you can play on mono synth triads. It also comes with a 32-slot mod matrix along with digital effects engines (dual). Moreover, it comes with tuned feedback along with analog distortion, which makes this mono synth a real beast with incredible capabilities.
2) The Moog Subsequent 25 Analog Synthesizer
The Moog Subsequent 25 Analog Synthesizer is another great mono synth that lets mono or dual-mode playing. It is undoubtedly a versatile instrument capable of expanded creative expression. It features a streamlined interface with dynamic sonic flexibility. Moreover, it creates an excellent connection between machine and human, engendering portals for novel musical experiences.
The Moog’s Subsequent 25 shows a substantial control reduction compared to the Subsequent 37. Thus, it looks more simplistic compared to the Subsequent 37. Nevertheless, Moog was able to transfer the very essence of Subsequent 37 into Subsequent 25’s cutting edge anatomy.
You will see that a decent feature of the Subsequent 37 has now been hidden behind those keyboard presses and button sequences. The Subsequent 25 is also sonically excellent with its smooth analog basses and effortless leads. With the Subsequent 25 at hand, the Sub Phatty’s days might be over.
The Subsequent 25 has built on the Sub Phatty legacy, incorporating users’ feedback into its evolution. The Subsequent 25, of course, is setting a new standard when it comes to compact analog synthesizers because of its more improved features.
3) Dave Smith Instruments Mopho
Since the Dave Smith Instruments released Mopho, it has already garnered a considerable following among mono synth enthusiasts. Although this one takes a significant space of your desk, you will be more than happy, however, with its concomitant benefits. It comes with the apparent 32-note keyboard along with modulation wheels and pitch bend features. It also sports a more intuitive interface as compared to the module.
The Dave Smith Instruments Mopho, of course, is a quality keyboard housed in a tough and durable steel enclosure. This 2-1/2 octave keyboard is also well-built with an excellent finish. Besides, it is very compact. Its notable feature includes the Curtis chip in the circuitry of its Mopho’s low pass filter.
Mopho features dual oscillators patterned after the Prophet ’08. These dual oscillators are equipped each with a sub-octave generator. These sub-octave generators let you control its incredible bass tones. Moreover, you can plug a guitar or any external audio source onto it to maximize its circuitry. You can also route its audio back onto itself to get a classic pre-filter feedback drive.
It showcases extensive modulation controls that include four LFOs. It also features a built-in step sequencer with four banks of sixteen steps that you can preprogram using its 32-note keyboard. The addition of the noise generator dramatically expands the synthesizing possibilities of this synth. The three ADSR envelopes also aid in reshaping your sounds.
The Dave Smith Instruments Mopho allows you to save to any of its three banks (128 programs) once you are done with your sequencing or arpeggiating. You can also use some free software to give you a good grip on synth control and help you with the editing. Moreover, it comes with MDI I/O capability and USB connection capability, making this mono synth a perfect partner in your studio setup.
4) Korg MS20 Mini Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
This new analog synth from Korg is actually the mini-version of the classic Korg MS-20 monophonic synthesizer that was first released in 1978. It has the same look but smaller, just 86% of its original size. It can reproduce the same distinctive sound as the original because it has retained the Korg35 circuit.
The developers of MS-20, namely Fumio Mieda and Hiroaki Nishijima, added a USB port and MIDI input. Still, its MIDI support is limited to note data, which means that when connecting the MIDI input of the MS20 mini to DAW or the keyboard’s MIDI output, it will receive the data then produce the sound. Their goal is for users to have an appreciation of how the sound changes in real-time.
The Korg MS20 Mini Semi-Modular analog synth will enable you to create your own unique sounds from scratch. Some of it specs include a mini-keyboard with 37 notes for three octaves, two VCOs, VCO master control and VCO mixer, voltage-controlled high pass filter and low pass filter, two envelope generators, and modulation generator for several waveforms including positive/negative sawtooth, triangle, square, and wide/narrow pulse. Its features include 2 VCO with ring modulation, 2 Voice-Controlled Filter (VCF), 2 Voice-Controlled Amplifier (VCA) with less noise, 2 Envelope Generator (EG) with hold and delay, and one LFO.
5) Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth
The Bass Station II analog mono synth that is geared to produce heavy-hitting huge bass sounds comes with a new acid filter that can get squelch-like sucking sound to add to the classic filter design of the original with lowpass, highpass, and bandpass modes at 12 or 24dB slopes, which would then give two distinct sounds. It has dual primary oscillators that can be hard-synced for tighter punchy tones, sub-oscillator with sine, square, and pulse waveforms, a built-in arpeggiator with 32 rhythmic patterns and control over the octave range, and built-in step sequencer for more expressive sound creations.
The Novation Bass Station II analog mono-synth is a keyboard synth with 25 keys for synth action and Aftertouch, pitchbend and modulation wheel, 64 factory presets, and MIDI and USB connectivity.
6) Korg Synthesizer, 25 Key (MONOLOGUEBK)
Korg’s 25-key monologue synthesizer has an engine or a monophonic analog synth circuitry that is based or similar to that of the Korg Minilogue. It has two oscillators, and each has three waveforms with waveshaping control, Sync, and Ring Modulation. There are three envelope generators with attack and decay controls for sound shaping as well as LFO for shape, pitch, or filter cutoff. The built-in OLED oscilloscope provides visualization of the waveforms as they are altered or shaped in real-time. You can save up to 100 programs for easy recall.
The monologue synth is fully programmable. It has 25 slim velocity-sensitive keys from E to E, 23 dedicated controls for convenient parameter access, and a slider to control various parameters, 32 settings for microtuning, and 16-step monophonic sequencer. It has USB MIDI, MIDI, and AudioSync connectivity.
7) IK Multimedia UNO Synth Portable Monophonic Analog Synthesizer
The UNO monophonic analog synth from IK Multimedia is compact, portable, and easy to use with its simple multi-touch keyboard that has sound editing parameters including the oscillator controls to generate the sound and set the waveform for each oscillator as well as tuning each one; the filter controls to give it color with its bandpass, lowpass, and highpass modes; the envelope controls for the filter and the amplitude; and the LFO controls. There are six performance buttons for easy and instant access to modulation effects such as the dive, scoop, vibrato, wah, tremolo, and then the hold button to keep the note sound after letting go of the key.
There are 100 presets (80 0f which are rewritable), arpeggiator with 10 arpeggio modes and 4-octave range, sequencer with 20 parameters for each step, and a selection of 13 scales. It has two independent VCOs that can produce octave and pad-like interval sounds, a noise generator, resonant voltage-controlled filter, and a voltage-controlled amplifier.
The IK Multimedia UNO synth has a powerful and versatile analog sound module. It is easily integrated into DAW and other audio tools on PC/MAC computers, even without MIDI interfaces.
8) Behringer Synthesizer (TD-3-RD)
This desktop bass synth has authentic reproduction of the classic analog circuitry for groove and bass sounds. It has a single VCO with the pulse and reverse‑sawtooth waveforms modified by the 24dB/octave filter with low‑pass filter and resonance at the cutoff point. With its onboard 16-step and seven-track sequencer, you can create and program up to 250 patterns using Step mode or Keyboard mode. It also has an arpeggiator, decay control, envelope generator, and distortion effects.
Although it is monophonic, it can link or combine several synths for 16-voice polyphony. The Behringer synth (TD-3-RD) dimensions are 2.2 x 12 x 6.5 inches, 11 controls, and 28 switches to access the essential parameters. Its OS requirement for MAC is OS X 10.8.5 or later, and for PC, it is Windows 7 SP1 or later.
Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If you’re in search of the perfect mono synth for your needs, you might get a bit confused, considering that the market is awash with myriads of options at hand. To choose wisely, you need to be cognizant of the crucial considerations like its compactness, choosing a synth with a sequencer, its speakers, digital vs. analog, brands, and your budget. Knowing these critical factors and the most recommended mono synths today will bring you closer to finding the best mono synth in the market today.
Facts About The Popular Mono Synths
One of the things you should know about a synthesizer before you buy it is if it is monophonic or polyphonic. Monophonic is the simplest type of musical texture characterized by having a single melodic line without accompanying harmony or counterpoint. Polyphonic, on the other hand, is the type of musical texture with more than one independent melody occurring at the same time. This simply means that with a monosynth or monophonic synthesizer, you can only play a single note at a time. With a polysynth or polyphonic synthesizer, you can play several notes at a time.
A mono synth does not necessarily mean it only has one oscillator that generates the raw sound signal. It can have more than one such as in the case of the Minimoog that has three VCOs or Voltage Controlled Oscillators with the oscillator 3 functioning as Low-Frequency Oscillation (LFO) and for frequency modulation effects. It is monotimbral, which means that if you press a single key, it can generate only one timbre at a given pitch. This synth has a 44-note keyboard and uses analog subtractive synthesis to create a unique sound with a 24dB/oct 4-pole low pass filter and ADSD envelope generator. This is said to be the first synth that was sold in stores.
Other popular monosynths include the Roland TB-303 and the Korg Prophecy. The synth without a keyboard that was released by Roland Corporation was monotimbral. It had a single oscillator generating waveforms such as the square for a “buzzy” sound and sawtooth for a “hollow” sound. Although it failed to replicate the bass guitar that it was designed for, it became the foundation for techno, house, and other electronic dance music genre. The monotimbral Korg Prophecy has 37 keys with Aftertouch- and velocity-sensitive keyboard, and it offers physical modeling synthesis with four attenuators that lessen the power of the signal without distorting the waveform. It may be one of the earliest virtual analog synths, but it has powerful synthesis capabilities.
Although monophonic synthesizers are considerably cheaper than polysynths, it does not mean it is inferior and not worth looking at. They are great for solos or leads, and it can create thick bass lines. As technology develops, electronic musical instruments do so as well. There are many new monosynths that are revivals of the classic with improved and better quality specs and features.