The Buyer’s Guide To A Synthesiser Setup

The part of the MusicTech Essential Guide where we choose a starter studio for a specific task or budget. This time, it’s everything you’ll need to buy yourself some decent synths…



There’s never been a better time to own a new hardware synth. Analogue or digital, we have great options for every budget…


Novation Peak
Price £1,250

We say: “Excellent and varied sounds and effects and more than enough options to synthesise, create and modulate your own. Years of fun!”

Price £2,500 (street)

We say: “Expensive, but at every turn, it inspires new riffs and complete tunes and, when all is said and done, you can’t ask for more than that.”


Roland System-8
Price £1,239

We say: “The System-8 is great to useand is a very powerful and well-equipped pro-level synthesiser.”

Korg monologue
Price £299

We say: “A cracking little mono monster and it’d be a bargain at twice the price.”


We’re talking plug-ins for Mac and PC – there are tons to choose from. Here are four we’ve recently reviewed and loved…

Softube modular
Price £69/$99

We say: “Modular is a great investment if you want an inexpensive version of modular on the move.”

Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
Price £285

We say: “It’s hard to imagine anything delivering the sheer sonic excellence as Omnisphere 2 does. Essential.”

KV331 Synthmaster
Price $129 to $379

We say: “It really does an incredible amount and in a no-nonsense, almost calm way. Truly a master of synths.”

Predator 2

Rob Papen Predator 2
Price £124 (upgrade from Predator 1 €49)

We say: “The flexibility with Predator 2 must be applauded, and certainly for mere bang for buck, there’s plenty on offer for everyone here.”


There are plenty of synths for your iPad and iPhone. Here are four excellent examples…

BeepStreet Sunrizer
Price £7.99/$9.99

We say: “Easy preset categories and a fine overall sound make this a modern classic among mobile synths.”

Yonac Magellan
Price £10.99/$14.99

We say: “One of the most fully featured and biggest-sounding synths out there. Quite superb.”

Moog Model 15
Price $29.99

We say: “Possibly the most involving synth app in our round-up – you’ll need later iMachines to run it – but it’s also the most true and real.”

Korg Gadget
Price £19.99

We say: “Probably the best music-making app on iOS. Amazing!”


If you love synths, then make sure the DAW you buy is packed with them. Here are four that have plenty…

Price £49 to £289

We say: “Now with the ability to run VSTs, Reason is perhaps the fullest synth DAW.”

Korg Gadget
Price £19.99

We say: “Want synths on an iPad? You’ve come to the right place.”

Apple Logic
Price £199

We say: “Logic comes packed with its own synths and now includes Alchemy, which is worth the asking price alone.”

Ableton Live
Price €79 to €599

We say: “Live is still the most instant cross-platform DAW on the market. Other DAW manufacturers shouldtake note.”