The synthesizer boom hits overdrive once again with big hitters from Korg, Sequential, Moog and a new upstart in the field. Here are the best synths available in 2020.
KORG ARP 2600 FS
This reissue includes both filters from the original’s various revisions, a new arpegiattor and sequencer and midi/USB connectivity, neither of which were invented in 1971. Does it sound like the original? Wrong question. Is it a more stable device with modern touches? Definitely.
Dave Smith updates his ‘Pro’ series with another paraphonic synth on steroids. It has two VCOs and a Wavetable oscillator with 32 sets of 16 wavetables, three filters, extensive LFOs and sequencing capabilities. It may look intimidating in fact it’s the most intuitive modern Dave Smith synth yet, and one of the best synths released in 2020.
The Hydrasynth has a knack for futuristic sounds and is riding the crest of the wavetable revival trend due to its attractive price-point, ease of use and breadth of wavetable capabilities. The new desktop version has a keypad that functions as a keyboard.
A compact update to the classic Wavestation with 1000+ times the capacity. If you want real-world sounds like brass or strings made via subtractive synthesis on hardware kit, this is among the best synths on the market. Good for preset hunters who like to tweak, it has parameter lock-style sequencing for deep, evolving sequences.
For many, the Sub Phatty was one of the best synths available and an entry point into Moog’s world. Now the company has updated it with the Subsequent 25, a small, budget Moog with two-note paraphony and an updated sound engine. The most vital knobs are on the top deck so you’ll need its software to access the deeper functions.