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…

    synthesiser

    Hardware

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


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    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!”


    DSI OB-6
    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.”


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    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.”


    Software

    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.”


    iOS

    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!”


    DAW

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


    Reason
    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.”


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