Top 5 Best Synths for Ambient Music

For all the music producers and music enthusiasts, who are looking forward to producing ambient music, it is important to look for a synthesizer with great sound effects and decent sound sources, and a lot of reverbs. Finding the right synth for ambient soundscapes is not an easy task and you may have to evaluate several features before hitting at the right synth. 

The great synth will help create ambient soundscapes and we have done our research in bringing to you the best synth that will render a variety of sonic material and will allow for excellent audio import for maximum value. It is possible to customize the sounds while producing music with thee synths and add a lot of effects to ensure the originality of the music. So, let’s check out the top 5 best synths for ambient music.

Quick Summary: Best Synths for Creating Ambient Music

Also Check: Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Live Performance

Top 5 Best Synths for Ambient Music

#1. Korg MicroKorg 37-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer – Best Overall

Korg MicroKorg 37-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.1/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.5
Connectivity9.3
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.5
Value for money9.3

This is an excellent Analog modeling synthesizer system that has multi-timbral modes, four voices, and works on a 9V DC power supply. The synth can also work with alkaline batteries that are sold separately. It features 6 types of Arpeggiators and is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP, and Mac OS. This synthesizer is an excellent option for ambient music-making. It has mini-keys, simple to use interface, and an exceptional sound-making system, that comes at an attractive price.

This is an excellent vocoder that appeals to every musician. It features a built-in vocoder, and a selectable step arpeggiator and adds a new dimension to recording and performing, without having to add new technologies. External sounds from this synthesizer can be processed with the help of its microKorg filter. There are dedicated knobs to edit different parameters, right at the front panel and the microKorg allows its users to explore the inherent joys of exceptional sound creation.

The microKorg analog modeling synthesizer is one of the bestselling synths and features 37 mini-keys with velocity sensing features. There is also a four-voice analog modeling synth engine with 128 editable presents. There are also five assignable real-time edit knobs this is an 8 band vocoder with the interactive arpeggiator. Its external audio processions system renders three effects, namely chorus, phaser, and ensemble.

What’s Best in Korg MicroKorg?

  • With its compact design, it is highly portable and is easy to carry and set up as well.
  • There are six types of arpeggio patterns that are built-in 
  • The length and resolution of the arpeggiator notes are customizable, helping to produce cool patterns easily.
  • Offers a retro design with its beige gold body color and wooden side panels.

What’s Lacking in Korg MicroKorg?

  • Requires a special interface to record an analog level signal to a computer. 
  • The synth is not much intuitive for non-keyboardist.

Important: Korg MicroKorg also features in our list of Best Synths for Hip Hop.

#2. Novation AMS-MiniNova Analog Synthesizer – Runner Up

Novation AMS-MiniNova Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.1
Connectivity8.8
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.7
Value for money9.3

This is an excellent analog synthesizer with a heavily powered mini-synth Nova sound engine. This is an excellent vocoder with a unique VocalTune and a pitch correcting effect. With the help of this synth in hand, it is possible to tweak and warp the sounds in real-time. This analog modeling synthesizer possesses about 256 awesome sounds with an additional free sound pack that we can download upon registration. This also includes about 30 Giorgio Moroder-inspired patches. In this synth, it is possible to layer up to 5 effects per voice and it comes with a three-year warranty from Novation.

Its 256 voices can be controlled easily with its 5 knobs and warp them completely with its 8 animate buttons. Its onboard VocalTune effect helps to recreate iconic vocal sounds from different genres such as hip hop, electronic music, urban, etc. Though the synth has a small footprint, it holds the same incredible and powerful sound engine and synth effects as the UltraNova. The instrument has about 37-mini keys, a USB port, and a MIDI controller that hooks up with the laptop to control the music software and connects seamlessly with other keyboards and sound modules.

The Mininova undoubtedly possesses the best sound engine and synth effects, making it an ideal synth to help with ambient music. It has about 14 waveforms to choose from and its three oscillators help in adding density to the sound and adapt to the music style required. There are about 14 filters, 6 envelop generators, 20 modulation slots, and 3 LFPs in this synth and it can add about 5 effects to each of the sounds such as distortion, reverb, chorus, delay, and compressor.

What’s Best in Novation AMS-MiniNova?

  • This is an excellent synth to enjoy high-quality music and it is a compact and super cool synth that mimics the qualities of the UltraNova.
  • The synth allows for instant editing and performance control by switching between its 6 positions.
  • Features a 37-key keyboard with MIDI
  • The live synth feature helps to tweak and warp sounds in real-time.

What’s Lacking in Novation AMS-MiniNova?

  • The keys are very small
  • There is no sequencer onboard

Important: Novation AMS-MiniNova also features in our list of Best Synths Under $1000.

#3. Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer – Editor’s Choice

Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.2/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.5
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality9.4
Easy to Use8.4
Value for money9.5

The Roland GAIA SH-01 synthesizer features three virtual sound engines onboard and features a dedicated oscillator, amplifier, filter, and sound envelope. This is an excellent synth to create high-quality music and it helps musicians to layer up to 12 simultaneous effects, that includes distortion, delay, reverb, flanger, low boost, and a lot more. The synth also features a 64 note polyphony and a hands-on control panel, all housed in its compact and lightweight body. There are also USB ports in the device to connect flash drives and to establish MIDI and audio connections to the computers.

This synthesizer has a massive sound and is flexible for the hand, and is available at an affordable cost. The control panel is easy and inviting, helping first-timers with great quality sound and music. The signal flow in this synthesizer is easy to grasp and it holds logically arranged knobs, buttons, and sliders. It connects with the computer with a single USB cable and helps in streaming audio directly to the software of choice.

Its USB ports can be of use to transmit and receive data and also help store patches and phrases to the USB memory stick. As the synth delivers exceptional hands-on control, it becomes a joy to use for music students, live performers, musicians, and songwriters. Above all these features, this synth is extremely portable and is also light and compact, to help musicians on the go.

What’s Best in Roland GAIA SH-01?

  • The synthesizer is compact and lightweight with 37 full-size keys
  • It is capable of producing huge sounds with three analog virtual engines
  • The synthesizer features 64 voice polyphony for massive sounds
  • It is possible to layer up to five simultaneous effects for ambient music production.

What’s Lacking in Roland GAIA SH-01?

  • It does not sound like a piano
  • There is no sequencer onboard

#4. Yamaha MOXF8 Music Production Workstation – Great Choice for Ambient Music

Yamaha MOXF8 Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.1/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.4
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money9.2

This synth workstation comes with an XF sound quality with expandable flash memory. The keyboard workstation features a performance mode to enhance its creativity. The synth also has an advanced computer integration system and is also very portable. The MOX series from Yamaha comes with the latest MOTIF XF technology by adding more sounds, effects, and a Flash board option slot. It is compatible with MOTIF XF, MOX data, and a huge collection of sound and sample libraries that are available instantly. The synth is portable, affordable, expandable, and is compatible with a range of other products. The instrument brings the MOTIF music production software to a range of new producers and musicians. 

The new MOTIF series has an XF sound engine and MIDI keyboard controller with extensive VST and DAW controls. The synthesizer also features a USB interfacing and audio system along with an onboard sequencing and software bundle. The instrument features a rich collection of instrument voices, that includes strings, electric pianos, wind instruments, basses, guitars, drums, and orchestral sounds. 

The MOTIF XF sound engine features a total of 741 MB of waveforms and 136 new voices that include sounds of the organs and other musical instruments. The device features an interactive Arp engine, that plays simple chords and notes to inspire one’s creativity. This sound engine has about 256 preset and helps in rendering performances in a range of music styles such as hip hop, rock, jazz, etc.

What’s Best in Yamaha MOXF8?

  • It features an exceptional MOTIF XF sound engine with a total of 741 MB waveforms.
  • There is a unique performance mode to combine multiple voices.
  • Its advanced computer integration makes the synth an ideal music production unit.
  • The synth features comprehensive controls for easy operation.

What’s Lacking in Yamaha MOXF8?

  • The synth doesn’t come with a bag
  • The keys can have a harder feel and more responsive for quick note changes

#5. Korg Minilogue XD 4-Voice Synthesizer – Amazing Alternative for Ambient Music

Korg Minilogue XD 4-Voice Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 8.9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.1
Connectivity8.7
Build Quality8.9
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money9.1

This is an excellent four-voice analog and digital synthesizer with two VCOs per voice. This is an excellent digital multi-engine that comes with a 16-step polyphonic sequencer and four-voice modes. This is a four-voice synthesizer with two analog VCOs and a customizable digital multi-engine with built-in stereo digital effects. It features a poly chain function that allows the users to connect with another XD module or minilogue keyboard, so that they can operate polysynth with a total of up to eight voices.

This synth has fine-tuned every single parameter based on the requirements of musicians and from warm pads to fat basses the Korg monologue covers every single music scenario. This sound engine is equipped with three different types of sound generators such as noise, VPM, and open-source user oscillators. It features studio-grade digital effects with a deep and powerful sound design platform. There are three effects in this synth, namely reverb, delay, and modulation effects and they can be used simultaneously as well.

 The synth is featured with a studio-grade digital effects sound engine that makes use of a 32-bit floating point. The three effect types can be used simultaneously, allowing users to choose from a range of variations such as ensemble, chorus delay, etc., from a range of other great reverb types. 

What’s Best in Korg Minilogue?

  • The synth is built on an open-source environment to render great potential beyond the limits
  • This polyphonic step sequencer has several factories present that is built for live performances.
  • It can be used in conjunction with XD series for poly assignment settings
  • Comes with loads of useful software to create exceptional music. 

What’s Lacking in Korg Minilogue?

  • The synthesizer doesn’t come with rack ears

Must Read: What to Consider While Buying a Keyboard Synthesizer?

The Secret Behind Choosing the Best Synthesizer to Create Exceptional Music

When it comes to synthesizers, there are generally two major options, namely the analog and the digital synth. Most music producers feel that analog synths create warmer music than digital synths and choosing between the two is important as the type of synthesis that is employed in the instrument has a direct influence on the sounds that it creates. It is also possible to get digital synths with analog modeling technology. Apart from choosing between the two, there are also other synthesizer options to look for.

1. Speakers

In your journey of creating high-quality ambient music, be sure to pick up a synth with a built-in speaker. Speakers are useful with synths that don’t have a mixer, monitor, or sound card to route the audio. Also, synths with speakers are more liberating than using headphones.

2. Portability

Though large and gigantic synths look cool, they will not offer easy access. Thus, if you have limited audio space, then consider buying a compact synth that is easy and ready to use at all times. If it is small enough to be carried in a bag, there are high chances to create high-quality music, even out of the home.

Check out: Best Budget Synths Under $500

3. Sequencer

Try to buy a synth with a sequencer as this will help in writing a melody or a bassline, note by note, and store in its onboard memory, to leave the hands free for resonance and to add effects.

Final Words

Another important consideration while choosing synths is the budget. If you are a novice musician then do not buy high-end synth spending loads of money, as you will only be spending hours browsing through menus, instead of making high-quality music. We hope our guide helps you in finding the best synth for ambient music.

Hi, I'm Bethelina Googenhiemer. I am an expert in synthesizers. After starting my career in music production, I always wanted to do something else in my part-time, like sharing my knowledge with others who are still growing, which I will be doing on PianoOpedia. I will be writing guides & tips with the help of my team.

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