There have been so many good synth released over the past few years that have come in under £500 that we’ve been absolutely spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, with choice, comes choice, and choice isn’t always easy. So to help you choose, we’ve put together a shortlist of our favourite sub £500 analogue synths…
Whether you want it as a start to your own modular system, an expansion to your existing modular system, or just want a desktop box that inspires you to create sounds you wouldn’t otherwise get from any of your existing synths, the Make Noise 0-Coast is a wee cracker (as the amazing mylarmelodies demonstrates):
With its semi-modular design, the Make Noise 0-Coast can go from being its own self-contained little box of synthological wonder, to a component of a much bigger system. A bit like Krang inside the belly of that big robot thing. But for music.
You can find our thoughts on the Korg Monologue’s big brother, the Minilogue, over here, but in the under £500 bracket, the Korg Monologue offers perhaps more synth bang for your buck than perhaps anything else out there. Not only that, but you can also choose one in a colour that fits with your studio aesthetic!
The Korg Monologue gives you a pair of analogue oscillators to start the sound off right, then gives you all the tools you need to shape it into that deep bass, searing lead, esoteric ear candy or whatever it is your track needs. Seriously, I’ve been writing these blog posts for over five years now, and I can’t think of a product that offers so much, and sounds so great, at this sort of price point.
The Arturia Minibrute is perhaps the analogue synth that started the ‘hugely affordable’ analogue synth revolution. Not only that, but it does things in a way that other synths tend not to do. With its single oscillator that lets you blend in different waveshapes, the Minibrute gives you raw materials for your sound that are difficult to find elsewhere.
Combine that with the flexible Steiner-Parker filter, the growl of the ‘Brute Factor’ and the mini-patchbay on the back, the Arturia Minibrute remains a synth with a unique personality that is also enormous fun to get hands-on with and make sounds!
Okay, so, think of the Roland JD-Xi as an analogue synth, but one that also includes a free digital synth in the box! With Roland’s first analogue sound engine since the 1980s, the JD-Xi was at the vanguard of Roland’s return to analogue.
So, not only are you getting a cracking analogue synth (and the power of a couple of Gaias on the digital side), you also get a drum section and a sequencer, so the JD-Xi is not just a synth, but is effectively a groovebox with a keyboard. And a groovebox you can edit via your computer as well…
The Original Bass Station has been a classic forever, but, in my opinion at least, the Novation Bass Station II is the one you want in your studio. With enough hands-on control to let you dial in the sounds in your head quickly and easily, but not so many to complicate things, the Bass Station II combines sound with ease of use.
Perfect for the newcomer to synthesis, for someone who wants to add a first hardware synth to their studio, or for seasoned synth experts who just want another noise-making muse at their command, the Bass Station II remains a favourite!
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