A synthesizer refers to an electronic instrument that consists of different modules that work together to generate a synthesized sound. Today, there is a growing interest in synthesizers.
The reason for this is because electronic music is increasingly becoming popular. Also, improvement in technology, as well as technology, has made the prices of synthesizers to go down, making the equipment affordable for casual musicians. If you are looking for the best synth under 300 then you are in the right place.
What is the Best Synth Under 300 Dollars?
- 100% Analog Audio Signal Path
- Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter (LP, BP, HP)
- Voltage Controlled Oscillator with new Overtone Sub-Osc, Oscillator Mixer (Sub, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle)
- Ultrasaw generating shimmering sawtooth waveforms
- MIDI Inwith 5-Pin DIN connector, USB MIDI In/Out, 1/4-Inch Audio Output and 1/8-Inch Headphone Output
Best Synth Under 300 Buying Guide
Synths have the capability of producing electronic sounds and can mimic many musical instruments. Today, many brands sell synths but not all of them offer the same quality. If you are looking for the best synth under 300 you need to pay attention to the following factors.
Size and Portability
The first thing to look at while buying the best synth under 300 is the size. While looking at the size of the synth, you need to first know where you will use it. A small and compact synth that has less than 49 keys is ideal for limited space. Also, these synths are easier to carry for live performances. It is important you also pay attention to the portability of the synthesizer.
Controls and Interface
Synthesizers have a wide variety of controls and interfaces yet they function in the same way because they follow a basic signal path: filter, oscillator, and amplifier. You should get a synth that offers a straightforward layout of knobs, buttons, and sliders without the need to look through menus.
Polyphony is another important factor to consider while purchasing the best synth under 300. This refers to the number of voices on a synthesizer. By voices, we mean the different notes on a keyboard. Most synthesizers that are sold on the market are monophonic which means that they play one voice at any single time.
However, you can find synths that are polyphonic and have complex circuits inside them. However, you have to spend more money to buy a polyphonic synthesizer compared to a monophonic synth.
MIDI Implementation and Memory
Computer connectivity is a great feature to consider while looking for a synth. A computer is vital for musicians as they allow you to manage everything from that device.
You need to know the music you plan to record and what you need to store on your synthesizer. This is why you must look at whether the synthesizer has memory and MIDI.
Pricing / Value
Make sure you set a budget for yourself before you spend money buying a synth. The price of a synthesizer varies depending on the product itself as well as the brand. You can easily find a high-quality synthesizer that cost less than $300. If you are on a tight budget, you can buy a small synth that costs less than $100.
Top 7 Best Synths Under $300 On the Market
7 Best Synth Under $300 Reviews
1. Arturia MicroFreak Hybrid Synthesizer
- Has sonic potential considering its price range
- Flexible modulation matrix
- Fun and easy to program
- Great value for money
- Comes with weird oscillator modes
Watch out for
- Sequencer requires time to get used to
Arturia MicroFreak Hybrid Synth has a great price-performance ratio. MicroFreak has a wide variety of digital oscillators, including oscillators that rely on the Mutable Instruments’ Plaits module. The oscillator is the driving force of this synthesizer as it gives it its powerful sound.
Arturia MicroFreak Hybrid Synthesizer combines analog state variable filters with a polyphonic digital synth engine. The arpeggiator comes with different modes as well as up to 4 octaves which can be synced to global tempo. What we like about this hybrid synthesizer is that it is easy to use thanks to plenty of hands-on control which comes with one knob per function on the envelopes and oscillator.
2. Korg Digital FM Synthesizer
- Powerful, portable FM synthesizer
- The sequencer comes with pattern chains as well as motion recording
- Polyphonic and tweakable
- Great motion sequencing
- Easy to use and edit sound
- It can import DX7 patches
Watch out for
- Needs a better manual
- Low voice count
The Volca series has gained a reputation for linking classic sound engines from the past with today’s modern music. When it comes to classic FM synths for the modern age, nothing beats Korg Digital FM Synthesizer. This Volca FM has 3 voice polyphonic system which allows it to replicate the sound that you get from a classic FM synth.
The design of this synthesizer is very portable and has plug-in ports that help you play your preferred sound samples and instrument. Another feature of the Volca is the 16 step sequencer which provides new functions like Pattern Chain and Warp Active Step which lets you make powerful rhythm patterns.
3. Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer
- 100% analog signal path
- Comes with many connectivity options
- Flexible sequencer section
- Easy to use and has a lot of functions
- Light, sturdy and robust
- Great potential for live performances
Watch out for
- Knobs and keys are a bit small
- No battery power options
Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer is a flexible and fine-sounding analog synth that is available in a small but useable package. This analog synthesizer has a sequencer that is very easy to program and fun to use. Its internal memory allows musicians to store 8 custom sequences with 64 steps per sequence.
MicroBrute has a mod matrix that allows you to override the default modulation setup and use the ADSR and LFO envelope to modulate the saw waveform’s “ultrasaw” setting, filter’s cutoff frequency, and pulse wave’s pulse width. The analog synth comes with MIDI In and USB ports that provide MicroBrute Connection software on a Windows or Mac computer. When you purchase the MicroBrute, you will get a power cable that connects the external DC unit to the power outlet and a user guide.
4. Korg NTS-1 Digital DIY Synthesizer
- Has great effects that can be used to process external sounds
- The synth is easy to use
- A DIY synthesizer which is easy to build
- Flexible and expandable with custom effects and oscillators
Watch out for
- You may need to look at the manual to learn certain features
- Not the sturdiest of digital synths
Korg is always experimenting with new and fun ways to make music. The Korg NTS-1 Digital DIY Synth is very flexible, powerful, and fun to explore synthesizer. Its DIY style means that digital synth is highly customizable.
The oscillator produce triangle, square, sawtooth, and VPM waveforms, and loads custom oscillators which are created from Korg log SDK, meaning that it supports minilogue and prologue xd. Other features include envelope generator, three LFOs, multimode filter, an arpeggiator, and 3 stereo effect processors. The NTS-1 synth is unique and easy to assemble with no soldering needed.
5. BEHRINGER MODELD Analog Synthesizer
- Very important to make it Eurorack compatible
- Might be small but the hardware feels positive and firm
- Great for exploring
- It responds to MIDI modulation
- You get value for money
Watch out for
- The MIDI implementation is quite basic while the SysEx implementation is not up to scratch
Weighing less than 2 kilos, the Behringer Model D Analog Synthesizer is quite light and small. When it comes to convenience and protection, the synthesizer lets users virtually create any monophonic sound possible with incredible ease and finesse. The 24 dB Ladder Filter and VCA lets you experiment with Contour, Emphasis, and Cutoff Frequency so that you can dial the perfect sound.
Just like the Minimoog Model D, the oscillator produces the same 6 waveforms namely shark’s tooth, ramp, 3 flavors of pulse for OSC 1 as well as OSC 2 while OSC 3 uses sawtooth wave instead of shark’s tooth.
6. Korg Volca Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
- Has connectivity with other modular equipment
- Creative and experimental sequencing tools
- Good quality sounds
- The synth is battery powered
Watch out for
- More complex and less intuitive compared to other Volcas
- No MIDI Output
- Limited modular connectivity
Korg Volca Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer is the world’s first battery-powered semi-modular analog synthesizer which is based on West Coast synthesis. The compact body of this synth comes with 50 patch points as well as 8 modules. This analog synthesizer comes with Low Pass Gates (LPG) which is similar to conventional VCFs but combines VCA in a circuit that comes with unique sonic characteristics.
Additionally, the Split module which provides a pair of passive signal splitters creates mults of control or audio signals. When it comes to sound, Korg Volca Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer prevails in brash, obscure, and raucous, including other tones and drones.
7. Behringer CRAVE Synthesizer
- Built-in sequencer with 32 steps as well as 64 memory slots
- Has a thick analog sound
- The build quality is top quality
- Lightweight and portable which makes it easy to carry from place to place
- Comes with touch-sensitive keys
Watch out for
- Has a short wall wart cord
- The user guide has poor instructions、
Behringer CRAVE Synthesizer has all the features of the original, including a 32 step sequencer as well as an arpeggiator. A lot of care has been taken to make the original analog circuitry, VCA, VCO, and VCF designs all of which combine to recreate classic sound performance.
The CRAVE’s a monophonic instrument comes with a 16-note poly chain which lets you combine different synths for up to 16 voice polyphony, and provide improved stability and reliability over its 70s and 80s predecessors. The envelope of this synthesizer features Attack, Sustain, and Decay knobs which helps musicians create amazing sounds. Another feature is an onboard sequencer that lets you program up to 32 steps notes as well as rests and then save them as a pattern.
What Makes a Good Synthesizer?
In case you are curious about synthesizers then you probably will not have a soundcard, monitors, or mixer to route your synthesizer’s audio through. If this is the case then you need to purchase a synthesizer with its speaker. It may not have a great sound but an inbuilt speaker is still better than using headphones. However, if you are in public places such as a bus, you can choose to use headphones.
Multi-Timbral refers to synthesizers that are capable of playing a wide array of sounds on different MIDI channels, which results in a synth that can create a bass line on another, a lead on one channel, and an fx on the other. This is great when you use a standalone sequencer which can sequencing of multiple channels.
Mono or Poly
A good synthesizer can either be mono or poly. A monophonic synth means that it can play one note at any single time. On the other hand, polyphonic means that it can play more than one note at any single time.
Note that you will have to spend more money to get a polyphonic synth than a monophonic synth. But if you buy a monophonic synthesizer you will feel quite limited. So, make sure you decide whether you should get a mono or poly synthesizer as your first synth.
Analog or Digital
If you are looking for the best synth under 300 then you need to choose between analog or digital synthesizers. If it is your first synthesizer, the way a synth sound is not very important.
Some people claim that analog synthesizers sound warmer than digital synthesizers but others say they do not know the difference. However, choosing between digital or analog synth is an important factor to consider because the synthesis type might have a bearing on whether to stick with the presets or make your own sounds.
What Can I Get from a Synthesizer Under 300?
If you are looking to buy a synthesizer under $300, you must know there are different kinds of synthesizers you can get. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose between a digital or analog synthesizer.
A digital synth uses digital signal processing to produce sounds while analog synthesizers analog electronic circuits. In today’s modern era, the home recording studio has made it possible to choose between software solutions over conventional hardware equivalents. This is because of the availability and quality of software which means that you can produce lots of music without the need for hardware.
So, the question on everybody’s lips is what can I get from a synthesizer under 300?
This is the first thing you will get when you purchase a synthesizer. Some of the latest models out there come equipped with drum sounds and are not very expensive.
2. Recording Feature
The second feature you will get is the recording capability of a synth. When you buy a synth under $300, make sure you check if it has sequencing capabilities in addition to recording capability. A built-in sequencer is a common feature if you want to write then save bass lines or melodies in the synth’s memory bank, as well as loop them and tweak other parameters.
The third feature you will get when you buy a synthesizer under $300 is connectivity. Many modern synths come with MIDI capability which allows you to connect computers and recording equipment. This is a great feature that allows you to record and store your synthesizer compositions.
The fourth thing you will get while purchasing a synth under $300 is speakers. A good synthesizer has speakers that produce great sound when played at normal volume. This is an important feature to consider if you have a live performance.
Fifth look at whether the synth has polyphony. Polyphony refers to the notes or tones that the synthesizer can produce at once.
The sixth feature that you will get from a synthesizer under $300 is portability. This is a great feature to look for especially if you are planning to move the synth from one place to another.
7. User Instructions
The seventh and final feature that you will get when you buy a digital synth is a user manual. Sometimes the instructions you find on a user manual are not enough.
You need to watch tutorials and online videos so that you know how to improve your electronic music-making. Therefore, make sure you choose a synth that offers support in terms of tutorials.
3 Top Recommended Synths Under $300 On the Market
Synthesizers work by generating sound waves of distinct shapes as well as producing two or more tones simultaneously to generate a specific frequency.
As technology keeps growing and evolving, expect more and more modern synths to replace the analog ones. It can be a difficult task to choose the right synth but the above article has a buyer’s guide with detailed information. Also, make sure you know the big brands that sell the best synth under 300 like Roland, Korg, Behringer, and Arturia.