With all the different brands and kinds of synthesizers available on the market today, you might find yourself at a loss on what to buy. It is highly recommended that you know what to look for in choosing the best one out there. Being able to play or create your kind of music would require having the synth that would suit your needs and preferences best. Here are the top 7 synthesizer brands along with some of their top synth models with its flagship specs and features to help you with your search.
Behringer has been known for getting that classic synth available at much cheaper prices such as the cloning work with Model D that gives you the analog synth much like the original in panel layout, features, and “D-Type” circuitry but with better Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) support and dual-mode 24dB/oct filter for the choice of lowpass or high-pass mode, also with self-oscillating capability. Poly Chaining is also possible; you can chain multiple units, as many as 16, to create polyphony. Behringer-D is compatible with Eurorack as it comes with Doepfer-style power cable.
MS-101 and Crave are the flagship synths under the Behringer brand.
Crave is a semi-modular analog synth in a convenient desktop module format that has 3340 VCO with sawtooth and pulse waveform outputs. Its step sequencer offers versatility in that it has eight sequences for each of the eight banks, and each sequence can be 32 steps long; it can be synced to MIDI because it has USB MIDI connectors. It has low pass and high pass 24dB ladder filter. It also has 18-in/14-out patch points for easy and convenient integration with other modular synths for a 16-voice Poly Chain capability.
MS-101 is a monophonic analog key-tar that comes in three colors, namely black, red, and blue. It has 3340 VCO with mixable square, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms as well as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). It is also equipped with 32 semi-weighted full-sized keys, arpeggiator, resonant Voltage-Controlled Filter and Amplifier, 32-step sequencer, and an adjustable hand grip and guitar strap that make this synth convenient for live performances. OS requirement for PC is Windows SP1 or later, and for Mac, it is OS X 10.8 or later.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional, it is ideal for keeping an eye on what is out there and seeing if it would offer something better than what you are used to or what you previously think is the best. You might have your own preferences, but do not limit yourself to that. Check out all the other synths that are available because their features and specs might surprise you.
The Moog synthesizer was the first commercial synth, and it was developed by R.A. Moog Co.’s American engineer, Robert Moog; it was first released in the early 1960s. Moog was responsible for the creation of what we know today as the analog synth. Its primary innovation was using voltage to modulate or control the pitch through the Voltage-Controlled Oscillator (VCO) as well as using various modules of different functions such as oscillators, filters, amplifiers, and envelope generators and connect them through patch cords for ease of operation of the synth.
Moog One is a polyphonic tri-timbral analog synthesizer that produces amazing synth sounds with its three dual-output analog VCO designs, two independent analog filters, dual-source noise generator, an analog amplifier, three envelope generators, and 64-step sequencer. Each oscillator can generate two waveforms at the same time, and you can mix them at your leisure. Each of the three timbres has its onboard effects, arpeggiator, and sequencer. It has extensive capabilities for digital modulation with four Low-Frequency Oscillations (LFOs) and several Frequency Modulation (FM) pathways. You will have an easy time using this with its clear layout, even with more than 200 controls to manipulate that would allow countless possibilities in creating sounds.
Korg Inc. is a Japanese multinational corporation that was founded in the early 60s as Keio Electronic Laboratories, and it manufactures electronic musical instruments, recording equipment, and audio processors. By the late 60s, they were able to come up with a programmable organ and later sold it as KORG, named after its creators, Kato and Osanai, and the last two letters stand for organ. Its first synth released in the early 70s was the miniKORG, which was a monophonic analog synth with two VCOs, three ring modulators, built-in effects, and 37 keys. It was capable of producing stable and great sounds.
They also released Korg Minilogue, which is a polyphonic analog synth with four voices, and each voice has two VCOs. It has LFO for square, triangle, and saw waveforms; 4-pole and 2-pole filter types; and digital ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) attenuator.
Korg Monologue has 25-key E to E mini-keybed with two VCOs, a VCF, envelope generator (EG), and LFO. It comes equipped with the OLED oscilloscope, which displays the waveforms as you shape your sounds. Each function has its own know knob for easy programmability, and you can save as many as 100 programs for easy and instant recall. It also has a 16-step sequencer with per step parameter locks.
Korg Prologue has 61 full-sized keys with 16 voices, four voice modes, an arpeggiator, two oscillators, FM, and wavetable synthesis, which essentially give you several creative options. You can save your sound creations in 500 program locations.
With the Minilogue XD hybrid synth, you can enjoy the features that you love in Korg’s monologue, Prologue, and minilogue in one synthesizer. This has the analog synth circuitry from the original that was modified or improved for maximum capability. This four-voice synth has built-in effects, powerful and efficient sequencer, variable phase modulation (VPM) and frequency modulation (FM) oscillators, four voice modes, and four types of noise.
This is an American company that was founded by the legendary instrument designer, Dave Smith, in 1974 as Sequential Circuits. He made his first music product, which was the Model 600 16-step analog sequencer for his Minimoog in 1974, and sold some of these to electronic music laboratories. It was followed by Model 800 digital sequencer and Model 700 sound programmer. In 1978, it released the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synth in the world, which is the Prophet-5. This was the first microprocessor-embedded musical instrument, and it set the standard for the polyphonic synthesizer.
With Smith at the helm, the company played a crucial role in developing the standard interface MIDI in 1982, which enabled the synchronization of various electronic musical instruments made by different manufacturers. The companies of Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, and Korg agreed to have a common interface and helped developed and refined the design specs. Dave was actually the one who coined the MIDI acronym. The first MIDI product was the Prophet 600.
Yamaha bought Sequential in 1987. Smith worked on software synthesizer concepts at the R&D Yamaha and developed Intel’s first soft synth in 1994 as well as Reality, the first professional soft synth, in 1997. He continued his work with hardware in instruments through Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) and produced Evolver analog/digital hybrid synth followed by Prophet X, Pro 2, Prophet 12, and more. Yamaha returned the Sequential trademark to Dave in 2017. Then his company DSI became Sequential in 2018.
Novation Electronic Music Systems was founded in 1992, and the company works explicitly on MIDI controllers for both analog and virtual analog synth, whether there is a keyboard or not.
Bass Station II is a pure monophonic analog synth that provides more versatility with 25 keys, two tuneable oscillators, a sub-oscillator, classic multi-mode and acid filters, noise generator, and ring modulation. This synth can give really huge bass sounds. You can make sounds that would range from something sweet and mellow to something aggressive and angry, just about anything you want.
The MiniNova might be a small 37 mini-key synth, but it is equipped with a powerful 8 polyphony synth engine. It has a VocalTune wherein you can record your voice and play with it using different effects. The synth already has 256 onboard sounds with another 128 slots available to store your sound creations. An editing software is also included.
The Novation Peak 8-voice polyphonic desktop synth has three oscillators, a noise generator, ring modulator, two LFOs, and resonant multi-mode filter for each voice. It has five voice modes, analog distortion, three types of chorus and reverb, and 17 wavetables of 5 waveforms each row.
Founded in 1998, this Swedish manufacturer and developer of musical instruments has produced a variety of synths starting with the SidStation, which is a sound module tabletop synth with one or three polyphony, three oscillators, four LFOs, and one analog filter. It is used for subtractive synthesis.
The Machinedrum is a drum synth with a 16-track sequencer and 64 patterns plus 130 more sounds that you can edit and use. It is based on five drum synthesis methods. Monomachine is a desktop synth designed for two players with one playing the keyboard and the other making the changes in the sound parameters. Elektron has also come up with hardware specs such as the Octatrack and Digitakt samplers, as well as Analog Keys & Four, Heat, Rytm, and Drive. Also, the Overbridge software was developed for the integration of Elektron analog hardware to DAW. Elektron Digitone is an eight-voice polyphonic digital synth with multiple FM algorithms, powerful filters, sequencers, and subtractive synthesis capability.
The Roland Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic instruments and software, as well as electronic musical instruments. It was founded in 1972 by Ikutaro Kakehashi. The SH‑1000 was its first compact synth released in 1973, and it was monophonic and monotimbral with a single VCO, LFO, and lowpass attenuator.
The Jupiter-8 is an analog subtractive synth with 8-voice polyphony, two timbrality, 2 VCOs per voice, and an LFO. It was followed by Jupiter-6 with built-in MIDI control; then, other fully digital Jupiter synth models were also produced. Roland released in the early 80s the Juno synths with digitally controlled oscillators (DCOs) along with other analog technology. Then, they also came up with the Roland Aira series that incorporates the Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) Technology in various Aira products to achieve that classic Roland sounds. The Roland Boutique sound modules are basically reissues of classic Roland drum machines and synths that are more compact and portable with modern controls.