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5 Best Digital Synthesizer Reviews for 2020

April 9, 2020 Catchy

If you are involved in making electronic music, you need to have the best digital synthesizer. In fact, the synthesizer offers a lot, and that explains why the instrument is quite popular. It is not only popular with making electronic music, but it can also be used across all music genres. In this guide, you will get the top recommendations of digital synths and learn how to buy the right one.

 

5 Best Digital Synths On The Market

 

5 Best Digital Synth Reviews

We’ve selected five best digital synths on the market for you to choose from.

#1. Korg Digital FM Synthesizer

korg digital synthesizer

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You should note that this is a three-voice FM synth that is designed to reproduce the sound engine of a class FM synth. Moreover, it offers compatibility, as well. Its unique interface means it is easy to manipulate distinctive FM sounds, even when you are not familiar with the complexities of the FM synthesis.

Moreover, its 16-step sequencer is an important feature that offers new functions, such as pattern chin and warps active steps that produce powerful rhythm patterns.

Key Features 

1. 3-Voice Polyphonic Synth

You should note that this volca FM reproduces the sound engine of classic synthesizers that have made the world know FM synthesis. It has 32 algorithms and six operators that offer complete compatibility and even load the files in the right format.

2. Easy Sound Editing

This synth makes sound editing super easy thanks to the modulator/carrier knobs. These knobs are mapped to the different parameters for easy-to-understand sound changes. In addition, the FM enthusiasts can dive into full parameter edits.

3. Volca Beats

It follows footsteps of monotribe, monotron, and other mini synths to provide distinctive beats.

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#2. Elektron Digitone 37 Key Digital Synth

37 key digital synthesizer

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The Digital Synth is an eight-voice polyphonic synthesizer keyboard whose performance can usher in worlds that have been out of reach and soundscapes of distant dreams.

Key Features

1. Powerful Sound Engine 

With the ready-to-go performance, you can get all the curiosity you need. In fact, you have a powerful sound engine that provides intuitive sound crafting, eight-voice polyphony, dedicated outputs, 37 keys, and customizable controls. It allows you to configure and assign sounds per each region and triggers patterns or sounds with an only snap of key.

2. Sculpt Your Sound

With the easy to use and powerful FM engine, you have the right keyboard for making music. Ideally, you have a wide range of features that deliver power to your fingertips. You can easily choose the right function you want. Also, you can switch between serene and tempestuous landscapes.

3. Get Connected 

Remember that with this digital synthesizer, you have separate outputs for your tracks. Also, it is now easier to connect external effects pedals and mixers, modulation sources, and pedals.

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#3. Roland JD-Xi

roland digital synth

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The Roland JD-Xi is a powerful, portable synth with a vocal FX and onboard sequencer. Ideally, you get a true analogy synthesizer engine, supernatural sounds, and a lot of creative features with a single tool.

This synth has 37 mini keys, and it delivers fast analog bass and provides ample control tools for easy tweaking and other PCM essentials, such as strings, brass, pads, and more.

Key Features 

1. Four-track pattern sequencer 

With this feature, you can build loops. Thus, with the huge selection of onboard sounds and intuitive pattern sequencer, you can perform and make sophisticated music. In fact, this sequencer provides four separate tracks, allowing you to create rich-sounding loops for any given genre.

2. Pro Drum Kits 

The unit is backed with different drum kits. In fact, it delivers quality rhythm tones that suit everyone. You will find different types of acoustic and electronic kits. Moreover, you can personalize kits for music by adjusting the envelope pitch and filter.

3. Gooseneck Mic

This digital synth comes with a quality gooseneck mic that delivers a lot of fun to your party. With the Vocoder, you are free to sing into the mic and control the pitch and tone through sounds that are played on your keyboard.

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#4. Elektron Digitone FM Digital Synth

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The Elektron Digitone FM Digital Synth combines deep FM synthesis with subtractive synthesis signal flow. In fact, it is a powerful 8-voice synth and features sequencing onboard. That means your creative potential is unlimited.

With Digitone, you can create independent synth tracks that feature varying FM algorithms. This synth allows you to integrate it with sequencer into your DAW and routes audio to and from the hardware through a single USB cable. Moreover, you have got a graphic user interface that can help control each aspect of the synth. For instance, it offers support for micro timing.

Key Features 

1. Great Sounds 

The truth is that this digital synth offers a unique way of how FM synthesis can be modernized and revitalized. You can combine the FM sound generation with a subtractive synthesis signal.

2. Ultra-Digital 

You can easily choose from different FM algorithms that feature selected parameters. In this way, you can shape tones with powerful filters. In this way, you can enjoy spectacular sounds you can only imagine.

3. Factory Presets 

This synth comes with grade-A factory content that is meant to be a perfect starting place for discovering the FM universe. It features 512 sounds that range from FM classics to extraordinary and wild soundscapes.

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#5. Korg NTS-1 DIY Digital Synthesizer

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The Korg NTS-1 DIY Digital Synthesizer is simply a pocket-sized synth that you will find to be fun to program and easy to build. Its expandability and flexibility make it be a great synth. You can think of it as more of a Monotron as compared to Volca, especially in appearance. However, it is really a standalone instrument.

In the beginning, you ought to build it yourself, and the digital oscillator can load custom oscillators. In fact, this feature alone is enough to get your interest.

Key Features 

1. Ribbon Keyboard 

You need to understand that the input is through the ribbon keyboard. It also means you can easily hook up the keyboard controller, and there is an audio to process the external sounds with effects.

2. USB Connectivity 

Due to its mini size, the Korg NTS-1 DIY Digital Synthesizer cannot run on batteries. Rather power is supplied by the USB. That means you can power it with your power bank or laptop. As a result, the portability of this synth is not compromised.

3. Envelope Generator 

You should note that the envelope generates the loop option that provides some glitching action, reverb, and delay effects. Thus, your sound design capabilities are unlimited.

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Analog Synth vs. Digital Synth

best digital synthesizer

Maybe you are perplexed when you hear the terms analog synth and digital synth. Here you will get a detailed yet simple comparison about them.

A digital synth utilizes digital signal transmission methods to generate sounds, whereas the analog synth produces its sounds by manipulating the electric voltages using the analog signals and circuits.

You should note that analog synths are more expensive as compared to the digital synths. As far as sound quality is concerned, both digital and analog synths deliver quality sound.

The primary difference between the analog synthesizer and digital synthesizer is that the latter uses digital signal processing (DSP) to create musical sounds. It is vital to understand that digital processing involves using a computer to create a specialized signal processor that does different signal processing operations. However, the analog synth uses analog samplers and electronics that provide digitized recordings of acoustic, electronic, and electric instruments.

The sounds get synthesized by the analog synth and send waveforms through the circuit board in various shapes. Some of the few shapes include triangle, square, sine, and saw. There is also a difference in how every sound is produced.

The raw waveform is sharp and pointy, whereas the sine wave is quite smooth. In fact, raw waveforms can be filtered on a synth. That is done in a wide range of platforms and adjusts both the resonance filters and the cut-off.

Although the real circuits are utilized by analog synthesizers to create the sound, emulation of the analog synthesizers is achieved by the digital synths. What you will like about the analog synth is its’ authenticity, and it is vintage. Ideally, it smells traditionalism.

On the other hand, digital synths feature presets of synthesizer settings that make it ready to use. If your aim is to customize the sound, then you should go with an analog synth. The good thing about a digital synthesizer is that it provides a better interface.

If you are inclined towards adjustability or customizability, then you should get an analog synth. A digital synth looks like a PC with an LCD display and a piano keyboard.

 

Best Digital Synthesizer Buying Guide

synthesizer vs keyboard

If you are buying the right synthesizer for the first time, you may have realized that there are many models and makes on the market. Though you should not be complaining when it comes to varied choices, it may become a bit difficult to exactly know what you need. The following are some of the things you have to look for when buying a digital synth.

  • Features

It is vital that you have control over the features your digital synthesizer should have. The two main functions it ought to have include MIDI implementation and memory. Remember that the more features you require, the more amount of money you are going to spend.

  • Price

When you look at the prices of digital synthesizers, then you will discover that the pricing varies a lot. Moreover, features, among other things, have a huge impact on the price. Also, the price is dependent on the type and brand of the digital synthesizer.

In most cases, the price can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Therefore, you need to determine your budget before buying. Ensure you only buy what you can afford. If you are only starting, it is wise to get an instrument that is cheaper. However, if the synthesizer is what you really need, then price should not be the main thing to consider.

  • Brands

Being in the industry for many years, it means I have seen a lot of brands. Some of the brands are well-known, while others seem not to even exist. These are the brands that have been around for many years.

Roland – the brand has been around since 1972, and it is well-known by many musicians. This is a Japanese company that has dominated the music industry for many years and has been the leader of electronic music. Since the manufacture of their best synthesizer, Roland now sells some of the best digital synthesizers. In fact, their instruments are of great quality.

Korg – Like Roland, Korg is a Japanese brand that has been around since 1963. You may also realize that Korg and Roland have partnered to make some of the best digital synthesizers currently on the market. The good thing about Korg synthesizers is that they are of top quality, have a lot of functions, and offer a lot of opportunities when it comes to creating music. Also, their prices are quite low.

  • Instructions/Help

Most digital synthesizers reviewed in this guide come with a user manual. However, sometimes a user manual is not enough. You need to watch videos, tutorials, and much more if you want to enhance your electronic music-making. Therefore, ensure you choose a synthesizer that offers you adequate support in terms of tutorials and even online help.

  • Software

You may also need to consider the software of your digital synth. Nowadays, you can find that you can download the software free online. That is great for new players who want to preview different features. In fact, you can even get high-quality emulations of vintage synths.

 

Conclusion

Nowadays, most professional and home studios have digital synthesizers with a combination of VST software and Midi Controllers. As the technology keeps evolving and growing, more and more digital synths are coming into the market to replace the analog ones.

In fact, the sound and feel of an analog synth can now be replicated by a digital synth. The above are simply the best digital synthesizers currently on the market. You cannot get it wrong with any of the above synths. With any of these, you can enjoy the experience of creating futuristic sounds.