The best analog and modular music synthesizers

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In this guide we will talk about analog and modular music synthesizers. They are devices that allow you to generate audio signals independently, thanks to the management of a musician. These products are able to imitate the sound of real musical instruments or to generate particular and imperfect sounds not present in nature.

In the last period digital instruments have come to the fore, but without a shadow of a doubt the analog synthesizers still maintain an unchanged charm and have never left the market. Indeed, in the last decade they have returned to the fore and there are many brands producing analog and modular music synthesizers. And all this happened because although digital devices are excellent instruments, they cannot fully obtain the sounds of analog synthesizers.

The differences between digital and analog synthesizers are substantial. Digital devices, in fact, allow musicians to have only the computer and midi controllers with them to manage the digital instruments inserted in the computer. Analog synthesizers, on the other hand, do not require the presence of a computer, but are controlled via a keyboard similar to that of a piano. These instruments are characterized by drum machines, which allow you to imitate the sound of any percussion instrument. In this way, the musicians will be able to send the various signals to the instruments on board.

There are also modular synthesizers. They are very similar to traditional keyboard synthesizers, but they do not have the presence of the keys. These devices are able to produce irregular and particular sounds, not reproducible by other instruments. They are essential devices to possess to ensure particular and at the same time original creative impulses. The sound that can be experienced with such synthesizers is truly incredible.

In the 1970s, Robert Moog discovered that sound could be created using an electrical signal. The synthesizers, therefore, allow to unpack the sound and to address every aspect through the voltage. So, it’s as if the sound is created out of nothing. The oscillation is not generated by the touch of the guitar strings, for example, but by an electrical signal.

Analog synthesizers are made up of various parts. We list the main ones. Let’s start with the oscillator, an element that favors the generation of acoustic waves and allows their shapes to be transformed. The oscillator of a voltage controlled analog music synthesizer is the VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator). The filter, on the other hand, manages to modulate the timbre by eliminating certain frequencies in the acoustic wave. The other two characteristic elements of a music synthesizer are the amplifier and the modulator. The first controls the output volume, while the second allows you to generate particular effects of a different nature.

There are a lot of analog and modular music synthesizers from different brands on the market. Choosing the most suitable product for your needs is not easy. We have tried to select some of them, highlighting their main characteristics.

Let’s now analyze the 10 best analog and modular music synthesizer microphones currently on the market.

Top 10 Analog and Modular Music Synthesizers:

Korg Volca Keys – See price or buy

Korg is one of the best brands on the market for this kind of products. This analog synthesizer allows you to generate rich and particularly expressive sounds, which is ideal for music professionals. The product has a compact shape and features a 3-note analog synthesis, each of which has a different knob available. It is therefore a very easy tool to use and ensures excellent sound quality. The detune and ring modulator are present: the latter will allow you to process sounds and create sounds with a more metallic flavor. Furthermore, the “Voicing” function makes it possible to configure the 6 different modes available for the VCOs. The product also comes with a built-in speaker. The instrument can also be synchronized with other products of the same brand.

Korg MS20 – See price or buy

This synthesizer has a compact structure and allows it to be used and transported with extreme practicality and ease. In essence, this model represents the re-proposition in smart format of the classic MS20 synthesizer from 1978, with the same original circuitry. Virtually most of the core components are the same as the original synthesizer. One difference concerns the VCO voltage-controlled keyboard amplifier, which is noticeably quieter than its predecessor. The synthesizer can be connected in a practical and functional way to any musical device, thanks to the presence of the integrated MIDI and USB ports.

Korg Monotron Duo Synthesizer – See price or buy

This Korg analog synthesizer is a compact device, easy to play and captivating also in terms of design. The “X-MOD” Cross Modulation circuit allows you to create really special sounds, from vibrato to metallic sounds. This model comes with a built-in speaker and headphone jack. On the keyboard there are buttons to select one of the 4 available scales: chromatic, major, minor, or wide. Various external audio sources, such as a guitar or mp3 player, can be connected to the synthesizer.

Gakken SX-150 MARK II – See price or buy

This analog synthesizer is one of the best models when it comes to value for money. At an all in all honest cost, you will ensure a product with many features and good quality. It is battery powered and has a built-in speaker. There is a four-octave range like many professional synthesizers. A headphone jack is also included.

Moog Werkstatt-01 – See price or buy

The model in question is a “do it yourself” synthesizer that any musician can build. It is very easy to use, since it has a design that does not require any soldering. Contains 4-pole ladder filter for traditional Moog sound. It is a product much loved by most musicians, because it allows you to assemble the various components at will. Any musician can create an analog synthesizer based on classic Moog circuits, or study analog circuits. The wide range oscillator tone ranges from 8Hz to 16kHz.

Arturia MicroBrute – See price or buy

This is one of the best value analog synthesizers on the market. The model is compact and features a structure with 25 small keys. There is a MIDI input for connecting a musical instrument and an audio input for external signal processing. It will be possible to create many special sounds. Many users are absolutely satisfied with the quality of this model. It is equipped with a Steiner-Parker Multimode filter and an Oscillator Mixer.

Novation MiniNova – See price or buy

Novation MiniNova is a very simple to use analog synthesizer with a beautiful design. Note the presence of the “Animate” controls, to modulate the sounds live, and the vocal effect “Novation VocalTune”. Interesting parameters to evaluate during the purchase phase are the editing controls and the quality of the sound offered by the Nova audio engine. The keyboard consists of 37 mini keys. There are 256 patches included, with additional room for another 128.

Korg microKorg – See price or buy

This synthesizer has a nice traditional design and has a simple to use interface. It allows you to easily create sounds and musical effects with absolute creativity and convenience, since it comes with a full range of effects (3-type modulation, 3-type delay and Equalizer). The controllers are very intuitive. All the sounds created will be generated freely in the arpeggiator with the Alternate 1 and 2, Random, Trigger and Up / Down patterns. There are 2 audio inputs, so you can creatively transform the sound of other musical instruments.

Korg MS20 – See price or buy

This analog synthesizer is a very economical product, but one that will amaze you with its high quality sound performance. It is a monophonic analog synthesizer equipped with all the main features of the inimitable and legendary MS20 of the 70s. The sound is of absolute quality. The product has a USB connector and a MIDI input for connecting a musical instrument. The price is absolutely reasonable, but the quality is very high.

Roland GAIA SH-01 – See price or buy

Roland GAIA SH-01 is a high performance analog synthesizer with a vintage look. It can produce up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, delay, flanger, bass boost and reverb. It has 3 virtual analog engines capable of producing a particular sound of absolute quality. It is powered by a battery and can be used in any situation. The product is light and compact and the interface is practical to use. Features a full-size 37-key keyboard. There are USB connectors and MIDI input. Very useful product for both beginners and more experienced users.