5 of the Best Hardware Synthesizers Under $500


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What should my first analog synth be?

The best synthesizers for beginners are the Korg Minilogue, Hydrasynth Explorer, Arturia Microfreak/Minifreak, Novation Bass Station II, Korg Monologue, Cre8audio East Beast/West Pest, Moog Mavis, Arturia Minibrute 2, Korg Volca Series, and Roland Aira Compact Series.

When considering the transition from software plugins to hardware synthesizers, price can often be a huge factor. So here’s a rundown on the best hardware synthesizers you can snag for less than $500.

Korg Minilogue XD

The Korg Minilogue XD consistently appears at the top of budget synthesizers, and there’s a good reason for it. This polyphonic analog synthesizer delivers an effective synthesis engine with high versatility. Its capability to create anything from lush pads, snappy basses to sparkling leads makes it an ideal choice for a variety of sonic applications.[[1]]

Behringer MS-1

The Behringer MS-1 is dubbed as a ‘monophonic beast’. It is a remake of a popular vintage synthesizer with the addition of some modern features. It delivers a raw and powerful monophonic sound capable of delivering captivating leads and rumbling basses.[[3]]

Korg Microkorg

Despite its compact size, the Korg Microkorg offers powerful synthesis with easy-to-use controls, making it an excellent choice for beginners. It provides a varied sonic palette from warm pads, aggressive leads, to punchy basses which speaks volumes of its capability.[[3]]

Novation Bass Station

As a ‘Bass Machine’, the Novation Bass Station excels at delivering rich and full-bodied bass sounds. It’s also versatile enough to create powerful leads and evolving pads, making it a good all-round choice.[[3]]

Roland JDXI

Integrating analog and digital synthesis in a single keyboard, the Roland JDXI is a practical and affordable choice for both newcomers and seasoned musicians. This synth has a simple structure with an interactive sequencer and vocoder/chord memory functionality.[[3]]

Whether you’re looking for your first hardware synth or are looking to expand your current setup, these synthesizers offer excellent value for your investment. Despite being under $500, they offer capabilities and sound which can rival many pricier models.