Portable synths are easy for carrying, more flexible, and smaller than ever. In the last few decades, computers have replaced hardware synths, and it seemed that the era of hardware synths was long over.
However, their demand has picked up in the last few years. At the moment, the synth market is more innovative and open than ever. In fact, the technology continues to become less inexpensive, and you can find synths that occupy a wide range of categories.
7 Best Portable Synthesizer On the Market
Top 7 Best Portable Synthesizer Reviews
This synthesizer opens up a new stage for music-making. It combines mini-keys, simple-to-use interface, battery power, and even phenomenal sound at an attractive price. In fact, the synthesizer is available at an attractive price, and for every musician that needs it.
With its selectable-step arpeggiator and built-in vocoder, you can add a new dimension to recording and performing without having to learn new technologies. Also, external sound can be processed by the synth’s filter.
Another thing you will like about this synth is that it has dedicated knobs and editable parameters on the front panel. This allows every player to explore various opportunities that come with electronic music creation.
1. Compact Design
The compact design makes it easy to set up and carry. It does not have a complex menu structure, and all parameters are at the panel for easy access to any given function.
2. Arpeggio Patterns
The unit has six types of arpeggio patterns that are built-in. Thus, you can easily adjust the resolution and length of arpeggiated notes. Also, you can switch the steps to produce great patterns.
3. Powerful Aesthetics
The beige-gold body and wooden side panels plus retro-feeling design reflect pop sensibility. In this way, it offers a powerful visual presence.
Novation Analog Synthesizer is a powerful, compact live and studio synth with the same sound engine as the popular UltraNova. It provides 256 onboard sounds. You can easily tweak the sounds with the five knobs. Ideally, this synth provides you with 18 voices. Its classic vocoder allows you to recreate the iconic vocal sounds from urban, hip hop, and electronic music.
You should not be fooled by the size. In fact, the unit has the latest range of synths, and it has a powerful sound engine and the synth effects. Therefore, it can create and edit massive bass sounds and vintage sounds. With the MIDI I/O and USB port, you can connect it to your desktop and have control over music production.
1. Editing Software
The editing software is included as part of the product. Thus, you have the opportunity to create powerful synths without being overwhelmed. Although you can edit with the hardware, the software makes the process quite easy.
2. Lots of Sounds
This portable synth has over 256 onboard sounds. Also, it provides adequate space where you can save the other 128 sounds. You can easily get sounds depending on the style of music you make.
This is one of the new portable synths you will find on the market. You can easily warp and twist every note with the palm of your hand. Although it is compact, you will be amazed by the various features it provides.
You will love the fact that it has sub octaves 1 and 2 switches that enrich the sound by adding the sound source and pulse width modulation button that can be used to have a chorus effect.
It provides two ways of creating sounds with a stylus. Its keyboard can help make distinct notes and the sound strip above keyboard slides between notes.
Ideally, you can take this analog synth anywhere with you. That is because it is battery operated with a built-in speaker. It has an audio line out for the headphones or the external speaker.
3. Enrich that Sound
The new features include LFO with the triangle waves and square waves. Other features include envelope, low pass filter, and resonance.
4. Analog Delay Feature
You can easily add space to the sound with delay time, level, and feedback. In this way, you can create music the way you want.
The Korg 25 Key Portable Synthesizer is regarded as the next-generation synth. It is fully programmable and suitable for all players. Ideally, this synth shares the spirit of an acclaimed monologue with a new voice and excellent new features.
Some of the things you will like about this unit include new filter, drive, modulation, and LFO that generate sharp leads and powerful basses. In this way, awesome mono sounds are created. Moreover, the step sequencer has been expanded and allows more complex editing and more intuitive.
1. Analog Circuitry
The unit contains monophonic analog synth circuitry that builds on the circuitry of monologue.
2. Fully Programmable
Ideally, this monologue goes beyond the analog synths in their price range and have over 100 preset locations.
3. 16-step Sequencer
You should note that the sequencer has been enhanced to deliver complex musical rhythms. These are easy to see, capture, and edit.
4. Microtuning Capability
This is an important feature that lets you create scales. You should note that very few synths support micro tuning.
This synth uses discrete analog circuitry to create the synthesizer with vast programming options and vintage sound. It has an array of high-quality switches and creative onboard sequencer that delivers massive texture and tone with excellent hands-on control.
The engine of this synth features three voltage-controlled oscillators, low-pass filter, and dual gain-stage amplifier. In fact, oscillators have various types of waveforms with their complex and warm character associated with true analog VCOs. The VCOs are temperature stabilized to offer automatic tuning. Thus, you get all benefits without downsides.
2. Vintage Sounds
You should note that this synth can create great vintage sounds and do much more. That is because it includes a powerful 16-step sequencer that adds dimension and motion to the sounds. Also, it can sync to the external tempo through MIDI, trigger input, per-step gate time, USB, and MIDI.
3. Modern Flexibility
This synth has 1/8 inch stereo jacks designed to reduce cable clutter and the standard MIDI jacks to connect any keyboard you want o control remotely. Also, the chain mode allows you to increase the polyphony by connecting multiple units.
4. Compact Design
This synth is built with rugged metal, and it has quality switches and knobs. Despite having control over nearly everything, it is small enough to take about anywhere.
With this synth, it is now easier to infuse your creativity with the legendary guitar synth technology. The tool is filled with over 120 ultra-responsive sounds that are distilled down into compact pedal and slides into any particular setup.
You will also like the fact that it is simple to use, and you do not require any background in synthesizer programming to use it.
1. Compact and Strong
You will find this synth to be an extremely portable and strong solution for a bassist who needs pedal that will last. That makes it perfect for live performances considering its durability and size.
2. High-Quality Pedal
Boss has a great reputation for designing quality effects pedals. Thus, you can be assured that this synth pedal will meet your synthesizer-emulation needs.
You can now get the sound of MS-20 with this new MS-20 mini. In fact, the same experts who developed the original MS-20 have reproduced its circuitry that fits into a body that is 86% less than the original body size.
This unit will amaze you with its authentic, analog synth sound. In fact, this unit has distinguished itself through the gripping lead tones, juicy basses, and warm strings and pads.
You will find the MS-20 beautifully built. Also, it has dimensions that make integration possible. Moreover, the unit retains most of the fantastic features of a first-generation analog synth.
2. Compact Design
As noted above, the size reduction is about to 86% of the original synth. However, the keyboard is restricted to 3 octaves rather than four and provides up to 37 keys.
Well, the keys are quite slim and can throw a pianist off, but when it comes to synthesizing needs, they are perfectly serviceable.
3. Versatile Controls
You can easily add any complexity to the generated sounds with miniature patch-bay. That helps newbies to navigate easily.
Best Portable Synthesizer Buying Guide
When purchasing the best portable synth for the first time, you may have discovered that there are many makes and models on the market. Although it is advantageous when you have multiple choices, it becomes quite difficult to know what you want. These are some tips to help you when buying a portable synth.
It is important that you know the features you want and have control over them. The vital functions your synth should have include memory and MIDI compatibility. Ideally, the more features you need, you should be ready to pay more money.
As you search for the best portable synth, you will realize that the pricing does vary. In addition, features have a great effect on the price. Remember that the price is dependent on the type of brand your synth has.
Also, the price ranges from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Thus, there is a need to determine the budget before purchasing. Ensure you purchase only what you can afford. If you are just starting, it is great to get a cheaper synth at the start. If the synth is what you really require, then price should not be the major determinant.
The truth is that some brands have been around for many years. Thus, some are well-known, and others seem to be new. It is advisable to consider brands that have been around for several years.
Roland is one of the major brands. The company has been around since the 1970s,’ and it is recommended by several musicians. Ideally, this Japanese company has dominated this industry for several years and can be considered to be an industry leader of electronic music.
Another popular brand is Korg. Also, it is a Japanese company that has been around since 1963. You should note that Roland and Korg have partnered to make digital synths. Korg synths are of top quality and have a lot of opportunities and functions that come with making music.
You should note that synths reviewed in this guide come with user manual. There are times when the user manual is not adequate. Thus, you will have to read tutorials, watch videos, and practice to enhance your music-making.
It is a good idea to choose a synth that provides adequate support as far as tutorials and online help are concerned.
It is advisable to consider the software of the synthesizer. In most cases, you can get the software online for free. That is nice for new players who need to preview various features.
There is a need to consider the type of sound you want. For instance, do you want futuristic or vintage sound? Some sounds can bring the warm analog vibe, whereas others offer mechanic sounds you can find in some popular brands.
Also, you will need to determine whether you want a Poly or Mono. Remember that mono allows you to play a single tone at a time, whereas with poly, you can play more tones.
In this case, it depends on how deep you want to go with it the synthesis. You can go with the basic sine, square, triangle, and saw oscillators.
3 Top Pick Portable Synthesizer On the Market
Nowadays, various home studios and professionals have synthesizers with a combination of Midi controllers and VST software. Since technology keeps growing and evolving, more and more synthesizers are coming to the market.
Thus, you can get a portable synth that you can go with it wherever you go. The above are the best portable synthesizers on the market. With any of these synths, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience as you create futuristic sounds.