While software synthesizers have risen in the music production world, nothing beats a hardware synthesizer for creating music in the studio. As a producer of any genre, having a hardware synthesizer on your studio desk is a welcomed addition to the family.
In the guide below, we will take you through some of the best hardware synthesizers available at the moment that you can add to your music studio. Any of them should be sufficient for beginner, moderate and professional users.
This little unit provides practical portability at an affordable price. The layout and controls are straightforward for new hardware synthesizer users. The overall construction of the MicroBrute feels good including the knobs and sliders.
We love this unit from Korg which can be used to create all kinds of crazy acid techno. It’s small, budget-friendly and very well made. The sequencer is absolutely fantastic too. Programming is very easy – create patches on no time. On the plus side, it can also be powered with batteries too!
Arturia MiniBrute 2
The successor to the MiniBrute, this semi-modular monosynth is one of the best value synths on the market and adds a host of features over the first edition. The patchbay and option for rackbrute extension is a great way to get into modular synths. The build quality is great on the Arturia MiniBrute 2 too!
Korg Minilogue XD
While we love the original Minilogue released in 2016, the Korg Minilogue XD is a step-up that provides great features in a compact, portable form. It can produce excellent analog and digital sounds, user programmable oscillator and sturdy build quality.
Korg MS-20 Mini
The Korg MS-20 was one of the Korg’s first successful analog synthesizers, ultimately making it one of the most popular synths – even today. This mini version of the classic synth includes many similarities, and its a hell of a fun machine to play around on.
Robert Moog released the first Moog synthesizer in 1965, and every since then they have been known for their legendary sound. The Moog Grandmother can take care of a wide variety of sounds including lead and bass, ambient pads and more. This is a fantastic addition to any music studio and is highly recommended.
While the Roland RP-8080 is a digital synth, it can often be picked up for an affordable price and shouldn’t be excluded from the list. Famous for its supersaw bass sound, the JP-8080 comes in a retro-styled 6U rackmount and has tons of knobs and sliders.
Nord Lead 4
Two decades after the initial launch, the Nord Lead 4 features many similarities with the original model with a bunch of technical upgrades. This 49-key keyboard offers plenty of analogue with sound shaping options that are fun for beginners. If you’re someone coming from a piano background or love to play the keyboard, this might be for you.
The Roland TB-303 is another popular synth for electronic dance music that gained popularity in the 80’s. It was intended to be used as a machine to replace the bass guitar, and can also produce some crazy psychedelic sounds. Only 10,000 of these units were made, and it’s incredibly hard to find them. However, if you come across one, purchase a bit of analog history!