Best Synthesizer Deals On Black Friday 2020
Buying hardware synths could be incredibly expensive, but this year’s National Association of Music Merchants show, NAMM, brought plenty of affordable announcements from well-known companies. The vast majority of the below synths only cost a couple of hundred dollars, that is a steal in comparison to spotlight NAMM synth announcements from 2018 – just like the Elektron Digitone and Korg Prologue – that started at prices nearer to $1,000 and went up from there.
These picks from NAMM 2019 might (mostly) maintain a budget cost range, but that doesn’t mean they’re budget buys. Music hardware has seen a resurgence, with double-digit growth especially for analog synth sales since 2010. Folks are flocking back again to physical objects not simply as a result of the pleasing tactile experience, but because it’s become markedly cheaper to explore hardware synthesis. Below are a few of the standout synths we saw as of this year’s NAMM show.
The brand new Behringer Crave can be an original semi-modular monophonic synth that’s type of just like the company’s beefed-up undertake the Roland TB-303.
Behringer is well known for delivering highly desirable gear at a budget price. The Crave houses many iconic circuits in a single small package, it could create harmonically rich, full sounds, and it’s only $199, so that it is a straightforward, entry-level sell. The business announced Crave toward the finish of NAMM, which took the wind out of your sails for a few other exciting and charming products, nevertheless, you can’t beat mass appeal at dirt-cheap prices.
That is Behringer’s third original synth (following a DeepMind and Neutron), and it combines many popular bits from iconic synths over the decades. It includes a single oscillator, based after the fabled 3340 “Curtis” oscillator found in the Sequential Prophet 5, and a switchable high and low pass “Ladder” filter, that was invented by Moog and rich resonance and self-oscillation. There’s also an attack / decay / sustain (ADS) envelope and LFO.
It’s not absolutely all retro, though. The Crave also has a modern sequencer and arpeggiator. The step sequencer can take up to eight banks of eight sequences, and each sequence could be up to 32 steps long. It really is transposed via MIDI (there’s a five-pin and USB MIDI on the trunk), and each step can have parameters adjusted like gate length, glide time, and accent. There’s considerable control over the sequencer aswell, with reset, stop, tempo, and other options. And because of all those patch points sitting near the top of the machine, the Crave may use those to talk to Eurorack and CV-compatible gear.
Behringer hasn’t announced a release date for the Crave, nevertheless, you can observe a demo of it for the time being here.
The brand new Arturia MicroFreak is a little digital / analog hybrid baddie with a little price of $349. It’s a four-voice paraphonic synth, this means it could play multiple notes as well, but they’re all damaged by an individual filter and amp. It’d be ideal for creating hooks and leads, could easily be utilized in a live set, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another thing at this price that packs in so much power.
That is also a synth that’s for the adventurous, looking for sounds beyond your norm. It has 11 wavetable and digital oscillator modes with names like “Texturer,” “KarplusStrong,” and “Harmonic OSC.” To zap things up, they are then paired with circumstances variable analog filter for adding movement and condition to your sounds. Some could be defer by digital oscillators, but this does mean the sounds you’ll get from the MicroFreak will be very diverse, from traditional noises you’ll expect from a synth to the otherworldly.
Yes, the keyboard is flat. It’s a PCB, not three-dimensional keys that move. However the keys are pressure-sensitive and there’s polyphonic aftertouch, that allows each key being held to transmit another, independent aftertouch value. (This implies, for example, you could play a chord and get different volume values for each and every key according to how hard you press them.)
The MicroFreak includes a 5×7 modulation matrix (a bridge to hook up various areas of the synth to the other person for effects and modulation) with three user-assignable destinations. This could be managed with simply a dial, rather than needing to dig into annoying submenus. The MicroFreak also boasts an arpeggiator and 64-step sequencer. Assign up to four automation tracks per preset, edit notes per step, or throw on the “Spice” and “Dice” sequencer functions, which randomize notes you’ve played to create cool and unexpected variations. Along with everything else, there’s an abundance of inputs and outputs allowing you to connect the MicroFreak with other gear: USB, MIDI, and clock in and out, along with CV, gate, and mod out.
Teenage Engineering 400
Teenage Engineering is definitely a quirky, artsy hardware company that’s known because of its pint-sized Pocket Operators and distinctive OP-1 synth.
This year, the business is making its first foray into modular synthesis with three models called the 16, the 170, and the 400 (the yellow unit pictured below). They’re designed to be a less expensive entry way into synthesis, plus they have a distinctive feature: all three can be found in flat pack units. You need to bend the metal chassis and assemble the synths yourself.
The 16 is a musical keyboard controller with sequencer and individual tuning option for $149. The 170 is a monophonic analog synthesizer with an integral keyboard, a programmable sequencer, speaker box, and battery power for $349. The largest option, the 400, can be an analog modular synth with three oscillators, a 16-step sequencer, filter, LFO, two envelopes, noise, random generator, two VCAs, a mixer, speaker box, and power pack. That’s coming in at $499.
The 400 and 170 include patch cables, and all of the units could be incorporated into a preexisting Eurorack setup. To assist beginners, each includes a 70-page manual that’s filled with big, simple graphics showing you how exactly to set things up and come up with some sample patches. The descriptions for each and every module are also written in ways that’s very simple to understand.
All this makes the 400 an excellent entry for beginners in synthesis. It offers you a far more vanilla sound with nothing crazy and unexpected. It’s straightforward to use basically, produces a range of straightforward sounds. And the thoughtfully made manual makes everything quickly accessible. On a side note, the knobs are Lego-compatible, which is quite adorable.
They’re open to buy now, although the 400 happens to be sold-out. Teenage Engineering also plans release a individual modules down the road in the entire year for less than $29 each.
Korg Minilogue XD
The Korg Minilogue XD may be the priciest in the bunch, with a cost tag of $650. But, it’s also the only polyphonic option out of your group. The Minilogue XD is Korg’s follow-up to the Minilogue, that was introduced in 2016, and it offers big, poly sounds at a minimal price.
The brand new edition is a four-voice polyphonic analog synth which has the same oscillators as the initial, nonetheless it tacks on a third user-programmable digital oscillator. In addition, it introduces other improvements such as a joystick for controlling parameters, replacing the Minilogue’s pitch slider.
For the purchase price point, this is a good do-it-all keyboard that nicely dovetails digital and analog. You get the very best of both worlds and really should manage to make sounds over the spectrum, particularly if you employ its customizable slots.
In the centre of the Minilogue XD is a multiengine that’s provided as a third digital oscillator as well as the two analog oscillators. The 3rd oscillator features variable phrase modulation, noise, and 16 user slots you can fill with custom-made creations. Out of your box, the Minilogue XD includes 200 presets and will hold a complete of 500 programs.
There are various options for changing the sound appearing out of both analog oscillators, like wave shaping, sync and ring mod switches, a drive switch for adding thickness, cross modulation, a two-pole filter, LFO, and more. It’s with the capacity of making squelchy, Prodigy-like leads and thick, electro bass or blissed-out and plush pads.
Effects include modulation, reverb, and delay, most of which is often varied with chorus, ensemble, warm tape delay, and a variety of several types of reverb. Here, there’s also a user slot for loading within your own effect programs. In addition, it includes a 16-step polyphonic sequencer and adequate inputs and outputs, including a stereo output, sync in and out, two CV ins, MIDI in and out, USB-B, and damper pedal.
There are loads more to dive into with this feature-packed synth. Visit Korg’s site for videos and a SoundCloud playlist that presents off various sounds the synth is with the capacity of making. The Korg Minilogue XD isn’t available at this time, but it could be preordered now.
Korg Volca Modular
Here’s another entry from Korg, but it’s very different. This compact little battery-powered synth is Korg’s eighth addition to the Volca series, and it’s the line’s first modular unit. The Volca Modular is a semi-modular synthesizer with eight modules which can be linked together via 50 patch points with jumper wires.
It’s a “West Coast-style” synth, and synths under this umbrella have a tendency to buck tradition and create more interesting, sometimes abrasive sounds. With West Coast-style synths, you focus on a source sound and add harmonics to it, which will make them hard to predict and somewhat experimental.
It includes analog synth modules, digital effects, and a sequencer, which were purposefully picked by Korg for “stand-alone completeness.” These modules are internally linked so it could make sound without patching anything, and drawn-out lines on the top of Volca Modular demonstrate routing.
So, what exactly are those eight modules? A source with a triangle oscillator, that may then be frequency modulated or refolded to create a more technical tone, a random signal generator that uses pink noise as its source, two low-pass gate circuits that package a filter with an amp, a spacey reverb-like effect, a split for combining or separating inputs, a computer program for mixing and controlling signals, two envelope generators, and the sequencer.
That sequencer has 16 steps and can be utilised to execute step input or real-time recording. Up to 16 sequences could be linked with up to 256 steps, or more to 16 sequence patterns and sounds could be saved within the machine. Various options for adjusting time signature, steps, and randomization enable creating unique irregularities and polyrhythms. It’s not merely about creating wacky loops, though. There’s also the opportunity to select from 14 several types of scale and the choice to micro-tune for adjusting the pitch of every note.
That is a unit that both leans in to the unknown and provides you control over it. If you’re looking for something atypical that encourages learning from your errors