Best Synthesizers for Beginners

Best Synthesizers for Beginners

In recent years we have witnessed the arrival of a new generation of very powerful synthesizers, small in size and at a much cheaper price compared to the analog synthesizers of yesteryear.

If you are a music producer and you are interested in acquiring one, I invite you to read the article we have prepared to shed light on the subject, so you can make the best purchase decision.

We will tell you all the essential features to get the synthesizer that meets your needs at the best price.

In case you are not very familiar with it, a synthesizer is an electronic device, which by means of an intricate system of internal circuits, is able to convert electrical energy into acoustic or sound energy.

That is to say, in simpler terms, the synthesizer is a device that allows you to create sounds, melodies and even, depending on the model, gives you the possibility of imitating musical instruments. 

It owes its name to the peculiar process of sound synthesis, which is obtained by means of voltage variations that allow the emulation of sound waves with rhythm.

Most synthesizers come with a musical keyboard but some other input controllers such as electronic drums, tuning forks, instrument controllers, musical sequences, etc. 

These devices can reproduce instrumental sounds such as flute, vocals, piano, natural sounds, etc. or generate new electronic tones.


Differences between analog and digital synthesizers

Analog synthesizers have made a big comeback a couple of years ago. 

Every old-school purist has a soft corner for a real top-of-the-line analog synthesizer. 

However, digital versions are cheaper and more popular with beginners.

For sound generation and manipulation, analog synths use only electronics while digital versions use software, which is written especially for their DSP-based CPUs.

Analog circuits are less flexible than digital circuits in terms of generating waves through an oscillator. 

It is capable of producing some relatively simple and straightforward waveform types, but more complex ones require more complex circuitry. 

On the other hand, the oscillators in digital synthesizers are capable of producing any waveform imaginable.

Synthesizers have some filters that process the audio signals and shape the sound. 

Users have little control over analog filters as they have preset functions. 

However, digital filters are more flexible and are capable of performing a variety of tasks.

The actual difference between the two versions is quite subjective as many people find the distortion, noise, distortion and nonlinearity elements in analog circuits pleasing to the ear.

Types of synthesizers

Synthesizers are available in many different shapes and sizes. 

Let’s take a look at some of the types, although you will find many hybrid synths that are a combination of a couple of different types:

Modular vs. All-in-one

Modular synthesizers have a circuit where all the components are separate. 

You can physically move these modules around to create your preferred layout. They are suitable for experienced users as you have to manually connect each of the required modules to each other with connecting cables.

In contrast, all-in-one synthesizers have all the components built into their housing. 

They are flexible as you can choose a preset configuration and see where exactly your signal is going.

Analog vs. Digital

Analog synthesizers use analog circuitry, and generate and modify audio signals through electronics. 

However, they have limited options in terms of waveform modification and filtering options.

Digital synthesizers work like a small computer and allow you to modify the sound in various configurations without making any changes to the circuitry.

Monophonic vs. Polyphonic

Monosynths can only play one note at a time, while polysynths are capable of playing two or more notes simultaneously. 

Different monosynths act differently when two or more keys are pressed at the same time. They either emphasize the high note, the low note, or the last note played.

Hardware vs. Software

Hardware synthesizers refer to versions that have physical electronic devices while software synthesizers work by loading a program on the computer and using the synthesizer interface from the screen.

Which synthesizer is better: analog or digital?

Both have their advantages. 

You should choose one based on the types of sounds you want to create. 

Analog versions are better if you are looking for high quality but limited output, such as bass, vox or bass-only synthesizers. 

However, digital versions are better for beginners and those who like to have unlimited options.

Do I need a synthesizer that can be customized?

Not if you are a beginner and want to use the synthesizer right out of the box. 

However, if you can create your own patches and use different features like modulation and FX, buy one that comes with MIDI controllers or some other customization features.

Are cheap synthesizers any good?

It is true that the quality of the synthesizer will depend on the amount of money spent on it. 

However, today it is possible to find very good quality synthesizers with many options at great prices.

Key features of a synthesizer

Audio performance

The source of the sound is the oscillator, which is capable of producing the waveform and frequency. It can go beyond the human frequency range, which is between 20Hz and 20kHz. 

An oscillator in a digital circuit is capable of producing different types of waveforms.

The frequency control of an oscillator can change the fundamental frequency of the signal, what we can call a tone in other words.

On the other hand, the filter can modify the received signals and change them to different types of sounds. 

The cutoff frequency control of a filter alters the harmonics and affects the timbre of a sound.


Modern synthesizers often look like small pianos, but with extra knob and button controls. 

High-end products usually have a piano-like keyboard control panel and a separate interface for other knobs and buttons. 

However, some inexpensive options come with a single control panel with a piano-like layout with few switches and control dials.

In many early synthesizers there was no keyboard, while many modern synthesizers have this as well, as they feature different types of controllers such as MIDI, wind controllers, fretboards, drum pads, guitar style interfaces and more.


Top of the line products tend to be durable and provide service for a long time. 

They can be made of metal or a mix of metal and plastic, while most inexpensive synths are made of plastic materials.

High-quality products are solidly built, and their drivers are not flimsy. 

Rather, they feel very smooth to operate.

Reputable manufacturers offer at least a one-year warranty on their products. 

Some even offer a longer warranty period, convincing buyers to put more trust in those products.

Additional features

Additional features allow a synthesizer to have more functions, thus offering more flexibility when producing an audio performance.

A MIDI controller is an option that allows you to send pitch, velocity and note duration data to trigger the sound from the synthesizer. 

Many synthesizers have this controller option, as well as low frequency oscillation (LFO) to create a rhythmic pulse or sweep that modulates the synthesizers to create effects.

High-end synthesizers allow users to have more control over which IO port and channel to use, how to merge MIDI streams with the data produced by the synthesizer, and the output data filtering option.

Ik Multimedia UNO Synth

The Ik Multimedia UNO Synth is an analog synthesizer, which has two sound amplifiers and a resonant filter, so the quality of the melody created is one of the best in this price range.

It has a moderate size and has more than 40 controls, which can be operated by touch buttons, making it one of the easiest to use.

Its operation requires four AA batteries or through its USB port, and a port for the use of headphones.

2-oscillator monophonic synthesizer with all-analog audio path

2 independent VCOs with Saw, Triangle, and Pulse waveforms

2-pole multi-mode filter with low-pass, high-pass and band-pass filtering

100 onboard presets (20 factory, 80 user-assignable)

Arpeggiator and real-time / step sequencer


  • The inclusion of more than 27 sound notes.
  • The possibility of its dual use, either battery or AC powered, thanks to the USB cable.


  • Requires software installation, in order to use it via USB connection.
  • Few connections available.

Korg Volca Beats

The Korg Volca Beats is a jewel of the renowned Japanese brand of electronic musical instruments.

It offers three in one, as it has fully analog synthesizers, this equipment has the possibility of being used under a battery performance (it is necessary to use 6 AA batteries).

The creation of analog sounds is really unique, since according to tested studies, it has the best emitted frequency compared to rhythm machines.

It has 16 programmers (or sequencers), including eight memory patches to store the different melodies you create.

The size of this model is between 12 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters long, so it is a lightweight version (just 400 grams), and compact that is very easy to move, also includes a speaker, which makes the sounds created can be enjoyed instantly.


  • Tactile keys, which facilitates the handling of the same.
  • It has a sound recorder, so any musical creation will be stored.


  • It does not have a charger, so you must renew the batteries every time they run out.
  • It has no usb port, so goodbye to the idea of being able to charge it or synchronize it with your laptop or mobile device.

Korg Monotron Duo

The Korg Monotron Duo is a compact synthesizer capable of generating true sonic wonders.

It has 5 controls, plus a switch, which makes it very easy to use.

It includes a speaker for the emission and enjoyment of the sounds, and in case you want to listen to it in private.

It has a port for the inclusion of headphones.

The operation and performance is through the use of batteries, its two analog devices, allow the expeditious creation of sound.

Each of these has its own individual calibrator.


  • Delay effect.
  • Own oscillator.
  • Exceptional loudspeaker, which leaves anyone amazed, despite its compact size.
  • Large amount of distorters and nuances, allowing the creation of a wide range of sounds.


  • Exclusively battery-powered, which may not be optimal for many.
  • Its keys are small, which can be uncomfortable for sound creation.

Teenage Engineering OP-1

Teenage Engineering, a brand that had gone out of circulation, but has returned to the world of music with very interesting proposals at a good price.

This model is designed to please the most demanding music producers.

The Teenage Engineering OP-1 is a lightweight model, 14 centimeters wide by 34 centimeters long, with LCD screen, as well as ports for audio input and output, it also has a USB port.

Its sound recorder has the active capacity to record for more than 25 minutes, depending on the performance of the equipment and its operation.


  • Easy handling and use, even for those who are amateurs in the world of music.
  • Its size is ideal for travel.
  • It has synthesizer functions, conjugated with functions of an equalizer, making it perfect for the most creative.


  • Low-power speakers, so the optimal way to best appreciate the sounds is through headphones.
  • The mixing capacity is moderate, so it can be a limitation for professional composers who require a more advanced level synthesizer.
  • High price tag.

Aspects to consider when buying a synthesizer

Remember that, despite all its features, this is nothing more than a simple device with which you can create music, so everything depends on your creative abilities.

In any case, keep in mind:

Value for money

You should always consult your personal finances, and adjust to them, which will allow you to acquire a good synthesizer at a low cost.

The use of the synthesizer

If you need it to record, you should choose a model that has memory, if you need it to compose, you need a model whose technical characteristics make it comfortable and easy to use. 

comfortable and easy to use.

Find the right choice for you

That is to say, if you do not know much about music, or if you simply want to start with your own mixes, do not go for the first model you like.

Ideally, you should check out all the alternatives on the market.


Take into account its dimensions, its buttons, the appearance of the keys, and most importantly the connections or ports that it allows you to make.

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