8 Best Analog Synth Reviews for 2020
The generic word synthesize implies the production of something new from existing or previous things. A synthesizer is an electronic keyboard that can create or almost replicate any kind of sound. This enables it to imitate the sound of conventional musical instruments such as piano or violin, or produce uncommon and rare sounds – like the sound of the ocean waves or the mechanical noise of turbines in operation.
Analog synthesizes, which are capable of influencing the sounds from instruments, often appear small and look more like ordinary electronic pianos. They seem to be imagined as the most versatile musical instrument. Since its introduction in the early 1970s, synthesizers have drastically altered how most music is produced – barely would any music be recorded without including an electronic keyboard.
So, what is the best analog synthesizer on the market?
Top 8 Best Analog Synth On the Market
Top 8 Best Analog Synth Reviews
We’ve selected 8 analog synths on the market for you to choose from. Let’s see them in depth.
- Powerful oscillator mixer
- Multiple connectivity ports for different devices
- Relatively cheap
- Compact size and is portable
- Produces music sound of high quality
Watch out for
- The connectivity options do not support wireless connection
The Arturia MicroBrute synthesizer is one of the most cost-effective synthesizers. It is designed with a completely analog audio signal path that enables you to control and tweak the electronic knobs for the desired sound output.
Additionally, it also has the Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter feature that functions as a resonant low-pass (LP) filter, band-pass (BP), and a high-pass (HP) filter. This feature also allows the Arturia MicroBrute synth to perform self-oscillation.
This analog synth also comes with a voltage-controlled oscillator that includes the new overtone Sub-oscillator and the Oscillator Mixer. The oscillator mixer has four different parts; the sub, sawtooth, square and triangle.
Another feature of this analog synth is the ultra-saw generating shimmering sawtooth waveforms that improves the sound quality of the synth.
The Arturia MicroBrute is equipped with multiple connectivity ports that include the MIDI in with 5-Pin DIN connector, USB MIDI in and out, ¼ Audio output and, 1/8 inch headphone output. This analog brute also has the step sequencer feature
- Powerful 16-step sequencer
- Very versatile
- Quality sounds with three different sound layers
- Connectivity ports for USB-MIDI, Standard MIDI, and USE-Audio
Watch out for
- No aftertouch function
- No vocoder
The Roland SE-02 functions with precise and discrete analog circuitry that enables the synthesizer to produce a unique vintage sound and vast programming options.
This analog synth comes with a high-quality knobs-per-function interface, switches, and an amazing onboard sequencer; this enables the SE-02 to generate incredible tones and the hand-on control gives an expressive texture. It also has the feature of three voltage-controlled oscillators with six waveforms.
The Roland SE-02 analog synth has the oscillators that help maintain the temperature of the synth and these oscillators have an automatic tuning. With the SE-02 synth, you can record, save and recall sounds with 128 user locations and 384 preset locations.
Amplifying sounds is another feature of this analog synth, this is done using the 24 DB low-pass filter and the dual gain-stage amplifier. It also features a sequencer with song mode of a musical and in-built configuration. The chained mode of this analog synth allows you to create polyphonic synth by connecting two or more SE-02s through a MIDI output. Three types of cross modulation (XMOD) is also available on this synth, as well as the noise generator and feedback loop. Plus trigger in and out, gate inputs, VCF CV and CV ports are also available.
- The 4-voice analog modeling synth engine
- 8-band vocoder
- Six types of arpeggio patterns
- Compatible with different operating systems such as Mac OS, Windows XP, and Mac OSX10.68
- External audio processor
- Portable and compact
Watch out for
- The external power source (AA batteries) does not come with the synth
This model of Analog synthesizer is designed with a velocity sensing 37 mini-keys. It has the 4-voice analog modelling synthesizer engine that improves the quality of sound generated.
The Korg MicroKorg is equipped with 128 fully writable presets for saving and recalling recorded sounds and tones. You can designate tweak functions on this analog synth through the 5 real-time knobs. It also has a gooseneck microphone feature that is equipped with an 8-band vocoder. This analog synthesizer also has the vocoder formant shift and formant hold feature.
There are three sound effects available on this analog synthesizer, the ensemble, the phaser, and the chorus or flanger. It also an engaging arpeggiator that is capable of selecting steps. The Arpeggiator helps keyboard players to flow through a sequence of notes automatically, depending on the input of the players, usually from a keyboard MIDI controller. The Arpeggiator in the analog synth are 6 different types, it has outputs for L/MONO and headphones. The Korg MicroKorg also has 3 delay mode features and a 2-band Equalizer.
- A wide range of traditional tones
- High-quality sound is produced
- High power headphones can be connected
- A free software editor included
- Lots of useful tools
Watch out for
- There is no microphone feature
- Should have more sound design variation capabilities
Made from the Sub 37 design, the Moog analog synthesizer generates high-quality sound effects, with both rich low end and high sonic dimensions. It has its oscillator range calibrated between 22Hz – 6.8 kHz. The 37 note key bed of this analog synth has a quick response when pressed due to its lightweight and it gives an adaptive feel because of its texture. It also has a multi-drive circuit feature that increases the performance of the synthesizer beyond the qualities of conventional Sub 37 analog synths.
The Moog Sub 37 synth has a vast range of traditional finesse tones in mono and duo modes. The duo mode feature improves the quality of the sound produced. An extensive sequencing and advanced modulation feature are equipped with this analog synth: this includes 2 assignable mod busses, an ultra-powerful sequencer, and 2 DAHDSR looping envelopes.
The Moog Subsequent 37 analog synth is packaged with a free software editor that operates as a standalone or as a DAW plug-in. It has the feature of 256 fully editable presets.
- 49 full-size keys
- Multiengine feature
- Can produce its effects and oscillators
- 3 oscillators per voice
- Suitable for both studio and stage use
- Excellent build quality
Watch out for
- A bit expensive
Another analog synthesizer from the Korg brand. This has an 8-voice feature that contains 3 oscillators for each voice, two analog oscillators and a digital oscillator that provides frequency modulation and wavetable synthesis. It is designed with a filter that allows drive adjustable gain compensation. Plus, it also has a built-in duo effects feature.
This 49-keys analog synth is designed with different modes; the Crossfade mode, Plus split and layer mode. The Korg Prologue is crafted to produce complex and high-quality sounds. You can save and playback your sounds from the 500 program locations available on the analog synth.
- 256-step sequencer
- 2 low-frequency oscillators
- No patching is required
- It has mono, duo and 4-note paraphonic voice modes
- 90 modular patch points
Watch out for
- No microphone Feature
- Expensive compared with others
This is a 49-key analog synthesizer with semi-modular paraphony. The 49-keys are sensitive to touch and velocity. The Moog Matriarch is built with a 90 modular patch points and a stereo analog delay system.
It has a 256-step sequencer that provides recording, editing, and playback of sounds. The synth also comes with an inbuilt attenuator; 3 bipolar attenuators that are voltage regulated with ring mod potentials. The ladder filters feature is also available on this analog synth and it comprises of dual analog filters that include parallel (HP/LP) mode, series (HP/LP) mode, and the stereo (LP/LP) mode.
This analog synth is equipped with two low-frequency oscillators (LFO), each performing different functions. One is a full-range LFO with 6 waveshapes, the other modulates the filters, delay, and VCAs. The VCAs are regulated by voltage. The Arpeggiator feature has three selectable modes; random, forward or backward, and order. Plus, the Moog Matriarch also has ports for external processing of drums and guitars.
- Suitable for both studio and stage performance
- 61 full-size keys
- Dual effects section
- Two analog oscillators
- Very good quality
Watch out for
- Not that portable
This analog synthesizer is similar to the Korg 49 Prologue 49 key analog synth, nevertheless, the number of keys is a notable discrepancy. The Korg 61 key analog synth features a 16-voice synth with 3 oscillators per voice; each voice has a digital oscillator that provides wavetable synthesis and frequency modulation and two analog oscillators.
It comes with a filter that enhances the compensation of low frequency. Additionally, it also has the Arpeggiator feature. There are also dual effect sections on the Korg Prologue 61 key analog synthesizer.
- Powerful functions and features
- Great for use as a MIDI controller
- Relatively affordable
- It has a display screen for ease of control
- Compact size and portable to use
- 3-Year warranty
Watch out for
- Only a few of the vocoder patches
- Needs the software editor for creating
- Lack of FM synthesis
Designed the Nova sound engine, this is one of the most powerful mini-synthesizers. It has the Vocoder with a special vocal tune feature that allows fine-tuning pitch effect. There are 256 amazing onboard sounds, with the 30 Giorgio Morodor-motivated patches added. It also has space to store an extra 128 sounds you create. You can include extra free sound packs made accessible after registration.
This analog synthesizer comes with an editing software included, the MiniNova Editor. Tweaking and warping of sounds are possible with this analog synth through the eight (8) animate buttons, 4 editing knobs, and modulation wheels. There are 36 wavetables on this synth, 20 digital waveforms and 14 typical waveforms (sine, triangle, square, pulse, sawtooth and you can combine two or more).
The MiniNova analog synth also features 14 types of filters, 3 low-frequency modulations, and 6 envelope generators. Twenty (20) modulation slots are available in the MiniNova analog synth that allows you to connect each module in the engine of the analog synth to produce a sound of high quality.
Analog Synthesizer VS Digital Synthesizer
An electronic device that allows the production of music using analog electronics and samplers is referred to as an analog synthesizer. Analog synthesizers are developed to replay the digital recording of electric, acoustic and electronic instruments.
Producing musical sounds through the use of digital signal processing (DSP) describes how digital synthesizer functions. The sound produced by the digital synth is generated by a stream of numbers at a stable speed using algorithms that are transformed into an analog sound that we can hear.
Analog synthesizes functions using real circuits within the electronic keyboard to generate the musical sounds. On the other hand, the digital synthesizes functions by imitating the analog synthesizers, invariably; digital synthesizers are created when analog synthesizers are merged.
The sound effects and textural feel generated from analog synthesizers are similar to that of hardware. The depth, thickness and antique feeling of the sound are felt. Digital synthesizers, they produce a more refined sound due to the presets of advanced synth configurations that it contains.
When you wish to customize and produce unusual sounds, analog synths are usually a preferred option. You will be still required to perform certain tweaks to customize sounds when using a digital synthesizer. For instance, on an analog synthesizer, a knob is designed specifically to adjust the pitch and detuning of the sounds, while a digital synthesizer will still require you to search through several fine-tuning options. Hence, analog synths are an all-inclusive synth in terms of maintaining the workflow.
A more refined user interface is produced using a digital synth than an analog synth. A few knobs are required in a digital synth and you can easily go through the parameters to choose the sound effect you wish to modify. You can also assign certain sound effects to available knobs on the digital synth. However, this is not attainable on an analog synth.
Based on how well an analog synth is played, it can combine and relate various electronic elements with one another and produce peculiar sounds. Contrarily, creating such unique sounds on a digital synth is very challenging and difficult to achieve. This explains the difficulty faced by trying to digitally reproduce the human voice perfectly on a digital synth. It applies also to analog synths regardless of them producing musical sounds via electronics instead of vocal cords and strings.
What to Look For When Choosing An Analog Synthesizer?
There are varieties of analog synths available in the market; some have distinct features that distinguish them from others. Nonetheless, most analog synths capable of satisfying the requirement of the keyboardist have similar basic features.
However, when deciding on purchasing an analog synthesizer, there are salient points that should be taken into consideration.
Analog Synth with a Sequencer
A sequencer is an electronic device or a software application that can record edit and playback music. A built-in sequencer is an important feature of an analog synth that comes in handy when there is a tendency that the functions of the keyboard on the analog synth might be faulty or limited to certain features.
A sequencer allows you to record note by note a tone, bassline or melody into the memory of the analog synth. This gives your hands the freedom to tweak other functions like the resonance and cutoff or enhance the pattern loop effects.
The sound produced from different analog synthesizers is usually of varying qualities. Hence, you need to look out for analog synths that can generate high-quality sounds.
Portability and Compact Design
Big sized analog synths are appealing to the eyes; however, you are likely to experience difficulty having easy access to them. Choosing an analog synth that has a compact and portable size enables you to place it in any limited space. You can conveniently place it on a desk and use it at any time you decide.
Unlike gigantic analog synths, a compact-sized one can be packed easily in a bag for periods you will be working and producing music outside your home.
For beginners who wish to get an analog synth, it is recommended that you choose one that has a built-in speaker. However, for a professional player, you can decide to buy an analog synth that has a mixer to synchronize your sounds perfectly.
Analog synths with extra accessories are the best to choose from. The USB connectivity port, wireless Bluetooth connection, headphones, pedal system, and the MIDI output. These accessories enhance the functions of the analog synth.
Synthesizers are generally expensive electronic equipment. You should consider choosing an analog synth that has a sturdy frame and has the likelihood to last longer.
Choosing the right analog synthesizer to use can be a challenging task; however, this article serves as a guide that contains detailed information.
There are important factors you need to consider when deciding the kind of analog synthesizer to purchase, which when carefully followed, you can be certain to get the best analog synthesizer. It is also important to identify the best brands of analog synthesizers on the markets such as Korg, Yamaha, Moog, and Roland.