Synthesizers are great devices for music freaks who are looking for an instrument that renders fat bass and the best sound. With a digital or analog synth, it is possible to create and route new circuits and knobs to generate great music and discover new sounds. We have gathered the top 5 best budget synths under $500 here. Our product recommendations appeal to both beginners and experienced musicians and will help you in your endeavor of creating the best music.
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Table of Contents
- Top 5 Best Budget Synthesizers Under $500
- #1. Arturia MicrooFreak Hybrid Synthesizer – Best Overall
- #2. Behringer MS1BK Synthesizer – Runner Up
- #3. Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer – Ideal for Learners
- #4. Novation Bass Station II NOVSYNTH03 Mono-Synth – Great Choice Under $500
- #5. Roland TB-03 Bassline Boutique Synthesizer – Alternative Under $500
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Keyboard Synth for Under $500
- Final Words
Top 5 Best Budget Synthesizers Under $500
#1. Arturia MicrooFreak Hybrid Synthesizer – Best Overall
|Performance and sounds||9.3|
|Easy to Use||9.1|
|Value for money||9.5|
This is an excellent budget synthesizer that is available at an affordable cost. People love its touch keyboard and its oscillator modes and this synth is capable of storing about 192 presets. It also features a variable analog filter to create some of the best music synths. This is an excellent instrument for the curious musician and it is capable of blending its digital oscillators with its analog filters. The best feature of this synth is its unique after-touch flat keyboard, which is capable of adding a lot of controlled randomness to the music sequences.
The versatile digital oscillator of this mini music machine helps in creating interesting and rare sounds with ease. It also features many modes such as superwave, Harmonic OSC, Texture, etc, offering adventurous musicians to explore unheard music possibilities. Though it looks small and compact, it is possible to have dozens of synths in just this one instrument, appealing to both novice and professional musicians.
The other best features of this synth are its virtual analog feature, physical modeling, wavetable synthesis, four Arturia engines, etc., and it is hard to believe that so much is available at this small and compact synth. You can put your creativity to complete test with its diverse and large sound palette. Its music filter is extremely variable and is capable of auto-oscillating as well.
What’s best in Arturia MicrooFreak Hybrid Synthesizer?
- It is possible to record up to four automation, edit notes step-wise and inculcate sequencer functions.
- It has midi in and out feature and the audio can be sent to a mixer as well.
- This machine is indeed a digital polysynth with analog filters.
- This synth is a great-sounding, multi-engine, polyphonic, and innovative synth.
What’s Lacking in Arturia MicrooFreak Hybrid Synthesizer?
- The Microfreak comes with dual midi adapter plugs, and there are no other audio cables included.
Also Check: The Best Synths Under $1000 Rated by Experts
#2. Behringer MS1BK Synthesizer – Runner Up
|Performance and sounds||9.1|
|Easy to Use||8.7|
|Value for money||9.2|
This is an excellent synthesizer that features authentic 3340 analog oscillators for creating some exceptional music. Its pure analog signal path is based on the legendary VCF and the VCA designs and helps to recreate the classic sound performance. This synth features an oscillator with four simultaneously mixable waveforms such as saw, triangle, square, and octave divided square sub-oscillators. Its resonant VCF can be modulated with LFO and ADSR keyboard tracking and bender controller.
The Behringer analog synthesizer features 32 full-size keys with four simultaneous waveforms and a 32-step sequencer, a live performance kit, and the arpeggiator. The MS- 101 is very flexible when it comes to sound shaping features and it covers everything from super-fat bass and leads tones to stunning effects. This synth helps to recreate all the magic that is incredibly fast and helps create original sounds in one’s way.
Its authentic 3340 voltage-controlled oscillator renders an incredible range of simultaneous mixable waveforms for sculpting the perfect sound. The heart of the MS- 101 is its highly flexible voltage control filter that includes faders for cutoff frequency, resonance, and modulation depth for creating a perfect sound.
What’s best in Behringer MS1BK Synthesizer?
- This is an excellent synth with 32- semi-weighted full-size keys for great playability.
- It features a pure analog signal path that helps to recreate classic sound performances.
- This MS1BK allows you to conjure up any sound virtually with the help of its ease and finesse.
- Renders a pure analog signal path, authentic VCO, and mixable waveforms with filters.
What’s Lacking in Behringer MS1BK Synthesizer?
- Requires the use of a headphone or an amplifier.
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#3. Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer – Ideal for Learners
|Performance and sounds||8.9|
|Easy to Use||8.7|
|Value for money||8.9|
This is an excellent analog synthesizer that is available at an affordable cost. it features a 100% analog audio signal path and features a Steiner-Parker filter with multimode functionality. This is a voltage-controlled oscillator with a new overtone, sub-oscillator, and oscillator mixer. The synth also features a MIDI with a 5-pin connector, 1/4th inch audio output, USB Midi in/out plug, and a 1/8th inch headphone output.
The New Arturia belongs to the next-gen synthesizers of the Brute family and can be considered as the little brother of the modern classic instrument the mini Brute. The Arturia micro brute has a smaller frame, but still retains its exceptional pure analog sound, the famed Steiner Parker filter, and the multiple wave oscillators with waveshapers of the Arturia brand. The sound of the micro brute is capable of standing up to any analog synth in the market.
The Arturia encompasses a new step sequencer for generating music patterns and this easy-to-use sequencer is reminiscent of the sequencers that are found on classic sound engines such as the Oberheim DS. Its updated sub-oscillator helps to add an octave down sound, along with the ability to mix in a 5th up harmonic sound. Thus a single oscillator synth can couple with multiple oscillators and sound like a professional sound engine.
What’s best in Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer?
- This synth features shimmering sawtooth waveforms, which is great to create some quality music.
- Its Mod Matrix patch bay allows to route three modulation sources such as LFO, ENV, and Keyboard CV to any 6 modulation destinations.
- This is the smallest and the most powerful analog synth available in the market with a new standard of analog sound.
- Highly recommended for musicians who are trying to learn synths.
What’s Lacking in Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer?
- It is possible to save patterns but not sounds in this synth.
- It is not a MIDI controller.
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#4. Novation Bass Station II NOVSYNTH03 Mono-Synth – Great Choice Under $500
|Performance and sounds||8.9|
|Easy to Use||8.6|
|Value for money||9|
This is an exceptional analog mono synth that features the new acid filter with the existing collection of the classic original bass station filter. This synthesizer ships with its 64 factory patches and another 64 user slots. This is indeed a pattern-based step sequencer that comes with two oscillators and an additional sub-oscillator. It is available at an affordable cost under $500 and is available with 64 factory patches and 64-user slots.
The Novation Bass Station II includes analog distortion and filter modulation effects along with a separate filter overdrive to add crunchy and aggressive sound quality. Its versatile sound engine helps in creating crisp arpeggios and sharp music leads. This synth is capable of emulating the best elements of the original bass station in its brand new design, which has been infused with effects, filters, modulation, and a lot more. Its signal path is a pure analog along with effects and its hardware has been laid in modules with dedicated switches, ports, buttons, and sliders for all major parameters.
It is possible to store and recall patches on the Bass Station II as it comes with 64 exceptional presets and enough space to store 64 own sounds on the hardware.
This keyboard synthesizer comes with 25 full-sized keys that are velocity-sensitive and are also assignable aftertouch. All its keys are individually sprung and are light to touch and extensively responsive on the synth engine. There are two independent oscillators and a sub-oscillator that delivers the characteristic fat bass tone.
What’s best in Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth?
- Ships with a pattern-based step sequencer, two oscillators, and an additional sub-oscillator.
- There are dedicated controls for all important parameters.
- Features a synth-action keyboard where each of the keys is individually sprung.
- This mono-synth comes with three years warranty by Novation.
What’s Lacking in Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth?
- Being a monophonic synth, it can play only one note at a time.
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#5. Roland TB-03 Bassline Boutique Synthesizer – Alternative Under $500
|Performance and sounds||8.8|
|Easy to Use||8.7|
|Value for money||9.1|
This is an excellent bass line boutique synthesizer that helps in the realistic recreation of the iconic 303 bassline synth. The new features that are built on the TB-03 are its four-digit LED display, MIDI, fine tempo control, overdrive and delay effects, and a lot of new features for pattern creation.
This boutique synthesizer is capable of retaining the sound, character, and user interface of the original TB-03 and helps with expert hands-on control over its expressive parameters such as resonance, cut off, decay, envelop mod, and accent.
This synth is extremely programmable with the help of time, pitch and Step write modes. This battery-powered TB-03 is the descent of the famous bass line TB-303 synth with its layouts and controls maintained unchanged.
It sounds just like the original and works great as well, as it is accentuated with the Roland advanced ACB technology, that recreates the hypnotic liquid grooves of the magic silver box. It also features a lot of advanced enhancements, that are not found in the original model.
What’s best in Roland TB-03 Bassline Boutique Synthesizer?
- The four-digit LED display on the synth makes programming more accurate and easier.
- Its overdrive and delay effect helps to unleash a tribal and twisted wall of sound to amaze a huge crowd.
- The TB-03 can send and control information through its MIDI and USB port.
- It can be played like a traditional synth and record patterns on the DAW.
What’s Lacking in Roland TB-03 Bassline Boutique Synthesizer?
- This is a monophonic synth and not polyphonic.
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Keyboard Synth for Under $500
Before choosing to buy your keyboard synth, make sure to perform a thorough analysis of all the existing synthesizers from leading gear retailers and choose them on par with your music requirements. But before choosing any synth look for the following parameters, so that you make the best out of the money spent.
1. Number of voices or polyphony
Polyphony is defined by the number of notes that can be played at a single time. There are two major types of voices or notes, namely polyphony, and monophony. The monophonic synthesizers will be able to play one note at a time and many synth players choose them for their full, rich, and well-pronounced sounds compared with the polyphonic synths.
They can be of much use in creating full sound lead and bass synths, that can easily jump out of the mix. Polyphonic synths on the other hand help to play multiple notes at one time. They will also have all the essential options to let the player play the leads and the chords. Choosing the number of voices is ultimately a matter of personal preference.
2. Controls and interfaces
Synthesizers feature several controls and interfaces, but all of them function similarly by following the basic signal path, such as an oscillator, filter, and amplifier. Most of the synthesizers have a basic waveform shape that is built for LFOs, ADSR sliders, and envelop generators along with controls for effects and sound enhancements.
Some synthesizers have a Mod matrix that can be used to route modulation sources easily to their destinations. It is best to get a synthesizer that offers a straightforward layout of knobs, buttons, and sliders, without having to look through the menus and having to do multiple combinations of buttons.
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3. Size of the synth
Depending on where you plan to use the synth, you should choose its size. A small and compact synthesizer with at least 49 keys is recommended for those who have limited space. They are also easier to carry for live performances and to jam with other performers. Also, portable synthesizers can work on batteries, without mandating a power supply.
Choose synthesizers with built-in sequencers if you want to write and save tunes and bass lines in the memory bank of the synthesizer. You can later retrieve and loop them while tweaking other parameters. Some synthesizers also have a stored drum sequencer and percussing unit for creating excellent beats.
Check out: Top 7 Best Synthesizers for Beginners
There are many great synthesizers available in the market with ample functions that you can factor in for your productivity and sound preference. If you are looking for a great synth without breaking your bank, then our guide will help you in picking the best fit. We hope our recommendations and our guide will help you in finding your best budget synth to complement your music journey.