Best Synthesizer Review of 2021 – Analog and Keys

Dave Mostert
Written by
Last update:

If you’re looking for a synthesizer with first-rate sound and features that will take your music to new sonic heights, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in the modern analog and digital synths featured here. I also included a few software synths that plug directly into your computer, and a couple of samples and glitch-friendly beat-making devices.

While there’s plenty of cross-over appeal among these products, anyone enthusiasic about music is likely to find something musically exciting in each of these fine synths. After all, making music at home is becoming more affordable and accessible than ever before!

Let’s get started.

NameCategoryProduct
Korg, 27-Key Sound ModuleBest OverallKorg, 27-Key Sound Module
NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm StandBudget PickNEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand
Korg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop SynthesizerUpgrade PickKorg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop Synthesizer

1. Korg, 27-Key Sound Module

Our rating: 9 / 10

Korg, 27-Key Sound Module

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Low price point
  • Solid audio quality
  • Flexible MIDI connections
  • Analog audio capabilities
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Excellent sound library
  • Compact and portable

The Korg Volca Keys is a very innovative, powerful, and portable groove box that is perfect for musicians of all levels. With this device, you can make music right out of the box, as it’s ready to use right after you plug in the adapter and batteries. It allows you to utilize a wide variety of patterns and sounds, so you’ll never get bored with the instrument.

What’s even better is that this device offers a great MIDI connectivity, so you can use it with other instruments and expand your repertoire. It’s perfect for jamming, live performances, recording, and songmaking. It’s also ideal for those who are new to making music as it’s designed to be as easy as possible to use for self-loop recording and digital sound sequencing. With this device, you can easily find inspiration and add a new sound to your music library.

2. Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer

Our rating: 9 / 10

Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Wide range of controls and parameters
  • Highly portable and compact
  • Very affordable
  • Can be used with an external audio interface

The MicroBrute blows our minds because it’s something of an anomaly. Not only can it offer you amazing analog subtractive synthesis, it’s also an affordable option that’s geared toward home use.

Generally speaking, the MicroBrute is a hybrid synthesizer, which makes it a versatile option that will allow you to create everything from classic core analog sounds to complex sounds. It also helps that the entire keyboard is velocity-sensitive, which means that each key plays back differently. It’s not something that you can really experience to the fullest unless you get to play it yourself.

The MicroBrute allows you to adjust the pitch and tonal qualities you want to have in a note. It also allows you to adjust the MicroBrute’s attack, decay, and sustain levels. You’re even able to adjust the “Air”, which gives you the option of a more rounded, warmer voice.

3. Korg, 0-Key Mixer Accessory

Our rating: 9 / 10

Korg, 0-Key Mixer Accessory

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Feel like using real-life instruments
  • 12-note polyphony
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Ability to save data on a USB flash drive or via MIDI
  • Sound is very rich
  • Suitable for children
  • Can help you develop music lessons
  • Larger keys

Cons:

  • Keys and knobs are designed a little weak
  • Occasionally notes fall out

When it comes to finding the best cheap synth of 2020, you really can’t go wrong with the Korg key. This particular instrument is a high-quality digital keyboard and even comes with a pressure sensor, which allows you to mimic adding force to the keyboard with your fingertips.

This sensor can also be used when playing a guitar, so that you can make it feel as though you’re actually playing a musical instrument. This little attachment is called the 0-Key, by the way.

Because of this feature, this particular keyboard is a good choice for beginners of any age. They can learn how to play the piano with it, and they’ll learn about musical notation and the different scales and chords. It’s a great tool to start learning the piano.

4. Korg microKorg 37-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Korg microKorg 37-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • 37 mini keys opposed to 61 keys on a traditional synthesizer
  • Impressive Virtual Analog Synth engine
  • Super-Responsive Keyboards
  • Vocoder allowing you to simply control the Formant
  • Best Portable Synthesizer
  • Low price
  • Designed to be used by beginners and intermediate users
  • Versatile
  • Recording Capability
  • Multiple Inputs

Cons:

  • The vocoder effect is nothing like the original and is not very clear.

The key to this instrument is the mini keys that allow for lightweight and easy playing. Take note that the Korg microKorg is not an FM-synthesizer but rather a virtual analog synthesizer. You can still achieve a vast range of realistic synth sounds. It has a powerful performance sequencer, and the 37-key TouchView keyboard is a pleasure to play. The keys are responsive, and the sounds are great.

This instrument includes a vocoder, an amplifier simulator, a dynamic filter, and four part multi-timbral features. You get two filters and two LFOs. The user interface for the Korg microKorg is touch screen as opposed to a traditional keyboard.

5. Novation MiniNova Analog Modeling Synthesizer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Novation MiniNova Analog Modeling Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Semi-modular design
  • 2 oscillators with a sub-oscillator
  • 5-band vocoder
  • Overdrive section
  • 32 step sequencer
  • Wavetable synthesis section
  • 48 patches
  • Complete with MIDI and USB support

Cons:

  • No arpeggiator
  • Wavetables can take up a lot of CPU

The MiniNova is a Synth from the Novation family of synths. It comes with overdrive, a wavetable section for harmonic synthesis, and an analog filter. This section lets you add a lot of interest to your sounds. It also comes with over 300 different patches to get you started.

This synth comes with a novice mode that can make your sounds into something that you’ll appreciate if you’ve never used a synthesizer before.

It also comes with a sequencer and a preset bank at 48, which works well for those that want to do some start to finish work. You will also be able to do that without needing any extras. It also comes with four channels if you’re going to assign them to different sounds for different instruments.

6. Korg MS20 Mini Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Korg MS20 Mini Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Small and easy to transport
  • Versatile semi-modular analog synth
  • Available in 4 different colors
  • Connects to your computer via USB
  • Compatible with the Korg Volca series

Cons:

  • Available only in Japan
  • Expensive
  • Small library of sound presets
  • Lacks a manual

With the new Korg MS20 Mini, it finally became possible to have a portable version of the legendary MS-20. This re-issue of the classic is really small, compared to the original. The new MS20 mini is only 2.4 octaves and is 80% of the size of the original. So how could it be the same synth? The mini version has 100% of the sound and is a true analog mono synth monster.

It’s easy to get started with this synth and all you will need is a small USB cable. You can also connect it to your computer via USB and get access to the software editor. With the Korg SD DAW Control, MS20 mini can also be used as a powerful synthesizer plugin. With the MIDI IN connection, it can be used as a sound module by a sequencer or DAW and you can create patches and even perform live with the MS20.

7. NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand

Our rating: 7 / 10

NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great stand for a decent price
  • Holds up microphones very well
  • Versatile design
  • Can be used horizontally or vertically
  • Sturdy build

2-Pack.

This stand does its job at a lower price than other microphone stands.

It’s built well, it’s versatile, and can hold up microphones very well with a maximum capacity of 1kg.

8. Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer

Our rating: 7 / 10

Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • It offers a combination of analog synthesizers and digital waveform modeling
  • A wide selection of over 700 onboard sounds
  • Ultra-compact size
  • Includes over 200 different rhythm/phrase patterns
  • The intelligent and easy-to-use interface is highly intuitive
  • The unit has been updated with USB-MIDI and DINsync support

We've been slowly entering the realm of using synthesizers in our homes over the past couple of years. Considering their popularity amongst professional musicians, we can't really blame ourselves. In 2020 we will see that trend continue and the availability of new and different options continue to improve.

This year the Roland Gaia sh01 was announced and it is one of the most compact synthesizers we've ever seen. Some of its key features include a touch pad that offers both pitch and modulation, as well as a USB MIDI to connect to your computer. While we're not expecting any updates to the Gaia SH-01, we're looking forward to seeing what else Roland has in store for us this year.

9. CHUGAN Corporation Gakken SX-150 MARK II Analog Synthesizer

Our rating: 7 / 10

CHUGAN Corporation Gakken SX-150 MARK II Analog Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Guitar effects processor
  • Keyboard controller for other devices
  • Make use of the wheel
  • Excellent sounding synth
  • Great for EDM and other genres

Cons:

  • No manual
  • Taking the cover off to get to the charging port can be difficult
  • Switching between presets can also be tricky

This synthesizer is a synth that is in the range of between a little more than a hundred dollars and above 2 hundred $. Features a synthesizer that can save up to seven different presets in various modes that are able to change the sounds in real time. It is made by CHUGAN Corporation.

The analog control synthesizer has a two oscillator is equipped with a filter, a filter, a high speed modulation, a variety of LFO and 2 section (VCO and VCF) voltage controlled amplifiers. Its sound is the association of good, and its controls are pretty simple. The operating for it is also quite straightforward. This piece of synthesizer comes with MIDI in and out. It also has a USB connector for using a MIDI.

The synth comes with a wheel that you can use control various things. The wheel in the control of every aspect of the synth for various things. It also comes with a power supply. The only downside to it is that it needs a power supply.

10. Korg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop Synthesizer

Our rating: 6 / 10

Korg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop Synthesizer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Super-compact Mini-key synthesizer with on-board vocoder
  • Customizable vocoder allows you to alter vocal characteristics
  • Requires an SD card to save up to 100 composite waveforms for sound generation
  • Easy to use, plug-and-play speaker system
  • Built-in plastic stand

Cons:

  • Not suitable for professional use
  • Limited to 100 saveable synthesizer sounds

Korg is well-known for producing quality synthesizers and keyboards. This product is no exception. This product measures at just 3.2 x 7.9 x 2.8 inches, so it’s incredibly awesome it can produce sounds that can fill your whole house.

The Korg MICROKORGS is a must-have synthesizer for any beginner or intermediate player. It’s completely portable – it weighs under 4 ounces – so you can take it to a friend’s house to jam out or just to play some tunes at the office. It also features up to three octaves of high-quality piano sounds.

This incredible product also features a bass boost function that takes your music listening experience to a whole new level.

11. Moog Werkstatt 01

Our rating: 4 / 10

Moog Werkstatt 01

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable and great value
  • The best for live performances
  • 5-minute boot up time

Cons:

  • Weak percussion and sound effects
  • Gadget-like – you’re better off getting a keyboard

The Moog Werkstatt 01 is a breath of fresh air considering the array of entry-level synthesizers currently available in the market.

This synth is fun to play without being overwhelming to play, it is geared at being an entry-level synth, and capable of being put to use in different setups.

That being said, its waves are punchy, and the decay is short, making it ideal for live performances.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best synthesizer for beginners?

Most of the beginner synthesizers on the market are electronic keyboard-based combo units that perform a variety of tasks beyond common laptop processes. A standard computer may be able to create loops and record song tracks, but a synthesizer can offer additional choices to musicians of all types.

Whether you play piano better than your guitar, or you play guitar better than your piano, many of the best synthesizers on the market will be able to meet your needs. It is important, however, to understand the differences between analog synthesizers and keyboard synthesizers.

Which is the best synthesizer to buy?

With that said, it is also the best selling synth to date.

You can find cheaper entry-level synthesizers out there; they just won't have all the features of this one. In many cases, you're just paying more for the brand name and the fact that it's over-the-top. But hey, not everyone wants to start off simple. Give this to a beginner, and they'll quickly figure out that synth design is not simple!

You'll be hard pressed to find another brand that has the same reach in the synth world. Starting off with the Mini Moog back in the day, they've dominated the portable synth market for decades now. VST support is included, which is pretty rare for a portable synth, and you'll find that the synthesizer can really shine.

What is the best Behringer synth?

The X32 is a very popular option with its countless features that justify the higher price tag.

The X32 is a great choice for those who are serious about their performance. When it comes to such a large product like this, it will meet every possible need for sound, and ports are easily accessible for any musician.

What is also nice about this product is that you can plug anything you want into it, as long as you have an input.

The downside is that if you do not use the mixer, you will find the product to be a little bit too heavy.

How much is a good synthesizer?

People tend to think that expensive means better or that cheaper means worse.

The caveat to that train of thought is that some are more expensive for legitimate reasons and others are more expensive because of poor design decisions.

For this reason, we wanted to share with you some of the best synthesizers for every budget.

Conclusion

Synthesizers are used to make music from different sounds. For beginners, go for the best budget selling analog synthesizer which is perfect for making music. Other synth options which are well worth looking into include the top 10 synthesizers for a variety of options and styles.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Korg, 27-Key Sound ModuleBest OverallKorg, 27-Key Sound Module
NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm StandBudget PickNEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand
Korg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop SynthesizerUpgrade PickKorg MICROKORGS -Key Tabletop Synthesizer