best cheap synthesizer

10 Best Cheap Synthesizer Reviews 2020

March 18, 2020 Catchy

We are living in technologically advanced times, whereby it is now possible to get yourself an affordable synthesizer without having to compromise on its quality. This was not possible a while back when technology was not as much developed.

Our reviews focus on both analog and digital synthesizers to help you understand the ones that might be suitable for you, depending on your preferences. You will understand that analog synthesizers are really affordable and, in every way, fashionable pieces of equipment.

You will love this sound engine that will get the job done for you. You will, however, get much more when you purchase digital synthesizers as they have much to offer.

best cheap synthesizer


Top 10 Best Cheap Synthesizer List for 2020


Top 10 Best Cheap Synthesizer Reviews

Our reviews are exhaustive to cover the needs and preferences of a beginner who is out there searching for their first synth. However, we also got that sound design expert hooked up with the best synths that they could add up to their collection.

1. Best Overall -STYLOPHONE GEN X-1 Portable Analog Synthesizer

best portable cheap synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Negative 1 & 2 switch sub octaves
  • Included pulse width modulation button for creating chorus effects
  • Analog delay features for creating sound with delay time, feedback and level
  •  Resonance control
  • Quite portable
  • Comes with built-in speakers

Watch out for

  • Requires batteries to run
  • It doesn’t allow the use of all effects when you input the “line in” jack

The STYLOPHONE GEN X-1 is a portable analog synthesizer that features built-in speakers, sound strip, and keyboard, which makes it quite convenient for any producer. When it comes to playability, the sound strip, together with the keyboard, makes distinct notes, which results in a pleasant playing experience.

The portability feature of the STYLOPHONE GEN X-1 also makes this synth quite convenient since you can carry it anywhere without much hassle. Other sound features that this synthesizer comes with include an LFO with triangle and square waves, envelope, and low pass filter.

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2. Arturia MicroFreak 25 Key Budget Hybrid Synthesizer

best hrbrid cheap synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Hardware synthesizer with poly-aftertouch flat keyboard
  • Plaits wavetable oscillator with added paraphony
  • Plenty of sonic potentials
  • Quite cheap when you consider the features that it comes with
  • A fun experience when programming due to its weird oscillator modes

Watch out for

  • It takes time to get used to the sequencer

The Arturia MicroFreak 25 key hybrid synthesizer is a cheap and affordable instrument that you should also consider having. It comes with exceptional features such as a modulation matrix, arpeggiat, and analog filters.

The synth also packs a lot of power, and it also enables you to play four voices at the same time when you engage the Paraphonic button. The synthesizer also includes a single digital oscillator, which helps to generate sound. It also features a digital oscillator with 12 modes, which provide a massive potential of tones.

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3. Roland JD-XI 37 Key Budget Synthesizer

best roland cheap synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Provides impactful beats through its Pro Drum feature
  • Famous Roland SUPERNATURAL sound
  • More space for downloading new sounds
  • Build loops with the 4 separate tracks
  • Impressive effects
  • Bass tones and authentic lead
  • 129-polyphony notes

Watch out for

  • The analog filter doesn’t allow you to route digital parts

If you are looking for an affordable yet might synthesizer, then the JD XI is the right option to consider. The synth includes the popular superNATURAL sound, 37 mini-keys, an analog bass that is quite warm, as well as lead tones that enable you to tweak according to your needs since they feature adequate controls.

The Roland JD-XI also allows you to create impressive loops fast since it comes with drum kits that are built-in and a pattern sequencer.

It also comes with a crossover engine for sound, which is a unique, smooth classic analog response, and modern digital versatility as well as clarity. You can also shape the sound the way you want through its four effects, plus it also includes USB and MIDI connectivity options.

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4. Behringer Model D Analogue Synthesizer

behringer synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Features VCO triple play
  • Easy to use
  • Provides users with you full control
  • 5 variable oscillator shapes
  • A semi-modular design which makes it quite convenient
  • Comes with control and connectivity options

Watch out for

  • It doesn’t have any presets

The Behringer Model D is an analog synthesizer that is quite legendary. It features a Triple VCO design that enables you to create excellent music.

The synth was developed back the ’70s. It includes the “D Type” circuitry, ultra-high precision, JFETs, and transistors. Due to all these and other amazing features, they’ve been able to make the Behringer Model D a flexible and suitable synth as it has the capability of shaping sound.

The synth is also very unique since it produces big fat tones, which help to provide an exciting playing experience. The VCO triple play in the synth features three controlled oscillators with high voltage and highly flexible.

You will have a fascinating experience with this synthesizer, which will allow you to have fun as you produce high-quality work. It is incredible to note that you do not have to empty your pockets in order to own this masterpiece equipment.

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5. IK Multimedia Monophonic Analog Synthesizer

best analog cheap synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Powerful sequencer and arpeggiator
  • Easy to use with powerful programming
  • Built-in MIDI in and out ports
  • 100 included presets
  • Digital convenience thanks to its signal path which is also analog
  • Compact and portable
  • Includes USB and MIDI connectivity options

Watch out for

  • Batteries only last for a few hours when you continuously play the synth
  • You cannot access some parameters from the matrix

The IK Multimedia analog synthesizer comes with exciting features that enable it to produce massive sounds. Some of the features include a dual oscillator, waveshapes, and an audio path. The synth is also designed with Soundmachines, LFO effects as well as two envelopes that enable you to shape sound most effectively according to your preferences.

A built-in sequencer has also been included in the synth to make it easier for you to compose faster, with an addition of 13 options to scale and 27 keyboard notes. Portability is also another unique factor that makes this synth ideal.

It comes with multiple connectivity options that make it stand out as a modern synthesizer for producers. It will allow you to have the power of producing high-quality sounds that will keep your standards high. Additionally, it is incredible to note that such a high-quality synthesizer will not need you to break the bank in order for you to own it.

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6. Korg Cheap Digital FM Synthesizer (VOLCAFM)

best korg cheap synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Easy to program
  • Aan excellent FM sound
  • Portable design and allows you to be creative
  • 6 operators and 32 algorithms
  • Easy connection with the other volca series unit for clone

Watch out for

  • The voice count is a bit low
  • Mostly suitable for those starting out

This Korg synthesizer features three-voice digital FM, which helps to reproduce sound similar to that of a classic FM synth. It also offers compatibility with a classic synthesizer, and it comes with a volca interface, which is unique.

Thanks to its unique features, the Korg digital FM synthesizer allows you to manipulate FM sounds that are distinct even if you are unfamiliar with all the FM synthesis complexities.

There is also a sequencer with 16 steps included in the synthesizer which offer functions like PATTERN CHAIN and also WARP ACTIVE STEP. With the two mentioned functions, you can make rhythm patterns that are quite powerful. This ensures that you produce high-quality work at the end of the day, and you are able to achieve this with an affordable synthesizer.

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7. Novation MiniNova Analog Modeling Synthesizer

modeling synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Comes with software for editing
  • A sound engine that is powerful as well as other effects
  • Multiple sound options
  • VocalTune and also classic vocoder effects have been included in the synth

Watch out for

  • The keys are a bit small
  • No aftertouch capability

The MiniNova analog synthesizer from Novation is an excellent and compact live synth that comes with a unique sound engine similar to the UltraNova synthesizer. Onboard sounds included in the MiniNova are 256 together with five knobs making it easier for you to tweak the sounds to fit your own needs or preferences.

A VocalTune effect has been included in the synth and also the classic vocoder, which allows you to make your sounds from genres like hip hop, electronic, and even urban music. Its sound engine is too potent, and the good thing is that with this synth, you can create and edit bass sounds. This adds up to your capabilities, whereby you are not limited to providing high-quality sounds.

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8. Behringer MS1BK Budget Synthesizer

Behringer budget synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Enables you to create big fat tones
  • 32 semi-weighted keys
  • 4 simultaneously-mixable waveforms
  • Comes with a versatile VCF and oscillator

Watch out for

  • The box doesn’t come with patch cables

This MONOPHONIC Synthesizer is quite fantastic, and it comes with an analog oscillator that is authentic, which enables you to create fat music. There is also a signal path which is analog and is based on VCO, VCA, as well as VCF. The oscillator comes with four waveforms, which you can simultaneously mix.

The synth also allows you to modulate VCF with ADSR, bender controller, and even keyboard tracking to come up with unusual sounds. What’s more, the Behringer Synthesizer provides a great playing experience thanks to its 32 semi-weighted keys. You will definitely love working with this synthesizer as it allows you to produce high-quality work.

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9. Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer

bass synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Great for connecting to DAWs
  • Store up to 128 presets
  • 5 new modulation sources
  • Easy to use
  • A wide variety of sounds
  • Six modulation sources

Watch out for

  • Small in size

The Moog Minitaur is the newest addition to the family analog bass synths from the Moog Taurus Company. This compact and well-designed synthesizer seamlessly integrate into any type of performance to provide the best music flow. The synth also splits analog bass most effectively.

The Moog Minitaur also comes with a steel enclosure that offers simplicity and fast access to controls as well as the crucial sound design that make this synth stand out. Not only is the Moog Minitaur synth powerful, but it is also quite flexible as it allows users to integrate DAWs seamlessly on both Mac and Windows computers. This is an advanced synth that will allow for this integration with computer operating systems, which will offer you the ability to produce high-quality work.

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10. Korg Minilogue 4-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

polyphonic analog synthesizer


Brilliant features

  • Great for beginners because of its easy knob control
  • Comes with a slider stick that you can easily program
  • A voice mode with four voices included
  • 200 program memories with 100 sounds included
  • Affordable for both beginners and experienced producers
  • Excellent build quality

Watch out for

  • Slim keys which are not suitable for people with large hands

If you are looking for a flexible and powerful synthesizer, then the Korg Minilogue is the right option to consider. The synth comes with four voices with a voice mode, which enables you to configure all of them. There are also 200 program memories included which you can full program, as well as 100 sounds.

Not only is the synth affordable, but it is also economical since it only consumes 8 watts of electricity. You will get your job done while you preserve on energy costs, which is amazing for this kind of equipment. The synth also provides a motion sequencer and a polyphonic note with 16 steps that you can automate.

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Best Budget Synthesizer Buying Guide

Choosing the best synthesizer can be quite tricky especially if you are a beginner and you do not have much knowledge about the type of synthesizer music producers use in studios.

Even in cases where you may not wish to match the exact quality that high-end music producers use, you might still be faced with the challenge of selecting a suitable synthesizer for your needs.

Conducting extensive research on the types of synthesizes that are available in the market and comparing them with each other can increase your knowledge and ensure that you select the best synthesizer.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Cheap Synthesizer?

  • Analog or Digital

You should ask yourself whether you want an analog or digital synthesizer. While some people believe analog synthesizers are much warmer and produce sounds that are almost similar to the actual acoustic equipment, others are convinced that both synthesizers offer the same quality of sounds.

Analog synthesizers have been associated with being easier to use among beginners, as some digital synthesizers are often too complicated even for advanced music producers. You can still select a digital synthesizer that is not complicated.

  • Budget

Think about the amount that you wish to spend on your synthesizer to ensure that you do not get sidetracked when you walk into a music equipment store an end up buying a synthesizer that is beyond your budget. Budgeting before going to the store can also help you check the best synthesizers that are within your budget.

  • Built-in Speakers

When choosing an affordable synthesizer, consider investing in one that has a built-in speaker especially if you are a beginner and probably do not have a mixer, monitors, or a soundcard. This will make it easy for you to use the synthesizer because you will not need to struggle with controlling the sounds.

  • Built-in FX

Most of the affordable synthesizers have at least one built-in effect. Effects are important in promoting the quality of sound that will be produced by your synthesizer as it can really add to the quality of your sounds. Adding an FX pedal to the synthesizer that you plan to use can transform the quality of sound produced by your synthesizer.

When selecting a synthesizer to ensure that you consider buying one that comes with a built-in FX because purchasing hardware separately can contribute to additional budgets that you might not be prepared for after buying the synthesizer.

  • Built-in Sequencer

A synthesizer is a device that assists you in arranging your musical notes for playback. There is a high likelihood that the keyboard on your synthesizer will have limited capabilities if you are going for a cheap synthesizer. The built-in synthesizer will allow you to write your melodies, note by note on the on-board memory and leave your hands free to operate other things.

Having a built-in sequencer will ensure that you do not invest in additional accessories to ensure that your synthesizer functions properly. This will reduce your budget significantly.

  • Portability

If you are looking for a synthesizer that you can easily carry around, you should consider a modules synthesizer, as they are better for people who do not have much space to store their synthesizers. Modules usually come with fewer knobs and do not include the keyboard part of the synthesizer, which significantly reduces their size and the amount of space they take.

Aside from that, synthesizers with keyboards or modular ones are identical to each other in terms of functionality.

  • Mono or Poly

For beginners who do not have much experience with using a synthesizer or a piano, a monophonic synthesizer might be the best option for you. It might be limited to users who are used to the polyphony sound diversity that pianos offer.


What is the Best Budget Synthesizer for Beginners?

If you’re looking for a synthesizer for beginners, then we recommend the Korg Digital FM Synthesizer.

This synthesizer comes with a Volca FM that is easier to use. It has 16 gold keys that function as both playable keys and memory locations for your sequences. These keys also give you access to other parameters like Voice Modes, metronome controls, tempo variants, and motion sequencers.

The sequencer on this synthesizer is played by pressing the main play button and them stepping through them with the memory button. It is easy to use when compared to other synthesizers in the market. Additionally, it is a sturdy and compact synthesizer and produces quality sounds.

Korg FM synthesizer comes with 32 pre-installed programs, six operators, and 32 algorithms. It comes with 9 types of arpeggiators and has a battery life of ten hours. Plus, it is lightweight as it weighs 0.36kgs. Some of the connections it comes with include a headphone outlet and a sync inlet and outlet, which are 3.5 mm jacks.

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Choosing a synthesizer should not be that complicated as there are numerous guides that will offer you detailed information about the different types of synthesizers that are in the market.

Ensure you list the features that you consider important when looking for a synthesizer to ensure that you invest in one that will suit your needs and align with your budget. Aside from that, you should also consult the music producers or salespersons that you come across in music instrument shops to get their opinions about the best synthesizers for beginners.