Best synth under £500

What's the best synth under £500?

I remember when you couldn’t give an old analog synthesizer away, manufacturers had stopped making them and Yamaha had launched its DX range and everybody and his dog wanted a Yamaha DX7. But things changed and people longed for the time when they could turn a knob to control those warm and massive sounds.

People who still had them dusted down there old analog synthesizers and those who didn’t had to pay massive second hand prices for the rare original devices.

It was only a matter of time before manufacturers gave the masses what they desired and started producing analog again. However what has surprised me is they have taken some very good ideas and made some really great new machines that will no doubt become classics in the future.

PictureNameTypeRetail £RatingReview
PictureNameTypeRetail £RatingReview
ARTURIA MINIBRUTESingle oscillator monosynth. great new features on the oscillator and a powerful filter design. £429.009.5Web2buttons
KORG MONOTRIBEAnalog synthesizer and sequencer. For the price you can't go wrong.£149.9910Web2buttons
KORG MONOTRONAmazingly priced introduction to analog synthesis.£34.999Web2buttons
KORG MS-20 MINIAuthentic recreation of the classic MS20.£480.148.5Web2buttons
KORG VOLCA KEYSVersatile sound producer. Analog and with a sequencer.£143.998Web2buttons
KORG VOLCA BASSBass machine with an uncanny resemblance to the Roland Bass Line.£113.738Web2buttons
NOVATION BASS STATION IITwo oscillator mono synth with full size two octave keyboard.£349.009Web2buttons
ARTURIA MICROBRUTEBrilliant Synthesizer with some fantastic additions to the oscillator and filter make this pretty unbeatable!£222.9010Web2buttons
The first thing to note about this synthesizer comparison is that there isn’t a bad product listed here. It comes down to what you want and how much you want to pay

. I believe that anyone of these devices can also be useful in a larger setup and even if you bought one of the cheaper machines it would still offer something different in your expanding studio.

The cheapest and smallest is the KORG MONOTRON and it is a fantastic introduction to analog synthesizers. It also contains a proper MS10/MS20 filter which is worth the price alone and because you get an audio input to it you will always have a useful external filter!

The Korg MONOTRIBE is the next logical step up with a more powerful synth and a sequencer to play around with as well.

The KORG VOLCA KEYS and the Korg Volca Bass are really aimed at more specific areas. The Keys excels in the fact that it has three oscillators and can produce a very powerful sound, while the Bass is the answer for someone wanting a Roland TB303 Bassline but the Korg Volca Bass will give you a lot more and at a lot more affordable price!

The KORG MS-20 MINI Analog is ideal if you want to get your hands on a classic Korg analog synthesizer and you get a lot of options with this machine, it will certainly keep you entertained learning about all of the possibilities.

The NOVATION BASS STATION II is also quite a traditional machine, with two oscillators and all the usual controls that come associated with a proven machine, it will do everything that the first wave of analog synths could do and more besides , not just bass and with a full sized two octave keyboard.

My favourites though are the two models from Arturia, the ARTURIA MINIBRUTE and the ARTURIA MICROBRUTE, the sound is awesome from both of these, things like ultra-saw and the metalizer give these an extra edge along with the tremendous sounding filter these are monstrous machines and excellent for interfacing with other gear. If you can afford it get the Minibrute. It's the best synth under 500 and if you can’t, go for the Microbrute. They’ve taken the analog synthesizer on to the next stage!