Our Top 5 Synths of 2016 (so far!)…
Gorgeous analogue sounds and sequencing capabilities
2016 has been an exciting year for analogue synth lovers, with the announcement and eventual release of some extremely coveted synthesizers from the likes of Korg, Moog and Arturia to name but a few. Now these aren’t just any type of synth, these are the crème of the crop, so we’re looking at our 5 top synths for 2016 (so far) and why they should be on your list to try out!
The Korg Minilogue has been one of the hottest items for 2016 and it’s easy to see why. It’s packed full of analogue circuitry and the ability to connect with any vintage or modern workflow providing the modern musician with a vintage style sound with up to date capabilities.
You have the ability to produce up to 4 voices of polyphony using 2VCO, 1VCF, 2EG, 1VCA, and 1LFO structure and this absolute beast also boasts 41 real-time dedicated controllers that allows you to really get to grips with your sound. The 16 step polyphonic sequencer offers a gorgeous array of different options and the 200 preset locations make sure you have enough sounds to play with. The on board tape-style delay provides an even greater array of options whilst the arpeggiator is so much fun to play with. For professional musicians who favour an analogue sound – the Korg Minilogue is an absolute must have. Watch the video below and see why everyone is shouting about this synth.
Since its introduction in 1981, the Moog Minimoog Model D has been an extremely coveted piece of kit that the likes of Trent Reznor, Gary Numan, Dr. Dre, Keith Emerson and Herbie Hancock have used to help carve out their own unique sound. Up until now, these have been extremely difficult to come by, but the good people at Moog have decided to reintroduce this incredibly versatile analogue synthesizer with a few extras thrown in to bring it up to date for the modern musician.
It’s worth noting that each unit is completely handcrafted by the technicians at the Moog Factory in the USA, using locally sourced Appalachian hard-wood and partnered with a reinforced aluminium chassis. The internal circuitry has remained identical in placement to the 1970’s era Model D, so you’re getting a true vintage sound. However, even though this version of the Minimoog Model D contains the same signal path as the original, the premium Fatar keyboard with velocity and after pressure sensitivity, dedicated LFO with triangle and square waveshapes and the inclusion of a mixer overload add even more elements the modern musician will appreciate. This master-crafted analogue synth is extremely limited considering they only build a handful each month and is already a collectors item. There is simply nothing like the Moog Minimoog Model D Analog Synthesizer and with such limited numbers, there may never be again. Be quick.
The Arturia MatrixBrute Analogue Synthesizer takes the golden age of 70s and 80s analogue synthesis and thrusts it into the modern age with updated connectivity, an impressive amount of sounds as well as a huge degree of preset location memory banks – and that’s only touching the surface of what this gorgeous synth offers. The 100% analogue circuit audiopath is comprised of 2 exponential VCO’s, a linear VCO/LFO, audio modulation and noise generation as well as a whole host of controls that allow you to manipulate this audio path to your needs. There’s also 256 preset location memory banks to make good use of, so marking up the positions of your controls manually is no longer needed – put the felt tip marker away!
The 49 note velocity and aftertouch sensitive keyboard can be moved to a 45-degree angle should you need to do so whilst you get to grips with the 16×16 Matrix panel and enjoy creating complex sequences with the 64-step sequencer. In terms of connectivity you have full USB and MIDI connections which allows you to connect to your DAW and any modern or vintage workflow whilst the audio input will allow you to run a signal through and process it using the on-board capabilities. This is an analogue synth to be reckoned with that will encourage creativity without limits.
Delving more into the hand held world, we have the Korg Volca FM synthesizer. Although small in stature, this is by no means a toy, but an extremely versatile and professional piece of kit that offers an array of sounds to help sculpt your music. This Portable true FM synthesis creation tool features a 3-voice polyphony, onboard chorus effects, arpeggiator and Volca-style 16-step sequencing to provide you with the ability to create music instantly. This awesome piece of equipment also comes with six operators as well as 32 algorithms, and a handy parameter list so you can really focus on creating your music rather than trying to figure out how to work it! It’s completely compatible with the rest of the Volca series and can be connected to your favourite DAW or MIDI controller for further sonic capabilities. For the musician who wants to create music on the go, or create metallic, 80s inspired EDM, this is a great option that is a budget friendly, but entirely professional work horse.
The Arturia MiniBrute is the last but by no means least on our list. This Analogue synth features a fully loaded 4-mode arpeggiator that offers 4-octave control, 6 time divisions and swing control that can be synced with an incoming MIDI clock source, so performing with other musicians to a click track or drum machine is a breeze. It contains a 100% analog audio signal path that features a VCO wave mixer as well as a classic steiner-Parker multi-mode filter. However, the Metalizer and Ultrasaw as well as the Brute Factor all help to provide unbeatable saturation and beautiful harmonics.
Arturia have ensured that connectivity problems are pretty much obsolete thanks to the 5-pin MIDI I/O and USB I/O connectivity. This means you can hook it up to your favourite DAW and control other units easily. Furthermore you can even use this synth as a USB MIDI-to-CV converter thanks to the full CV I/O. The 25 note semi-weighted, full size keys with aftertouch ensures you have unrivalled expression and playability. This limited edition red model also adds a certain element of cool to the mix and is surely destined to be a collector’s item too!
Take a look at a full range of synthesizers over at the Dawsons website.