Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Live Performance

When it comes to listening to high-quality music, the synths from the perfect tunes and mesmerizing music can combine the tunes from different musical instruments and offer them as one great piece of music. Though there are a good number and categories of software synths available, there is nothing great like getting them done on a proper hardware instrument at home or right at our music studio. 

Here are the Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Live Performances

Also Check: Best Budget Synths Under $500

Top 5 Best Synthesizer Keyboards for Live Performance

Synthesizers have been in use since they were created in the year 1970s. They have been creating some high-quality music for live performances. Here are the top best synthesizer keyboards for live performances from the top best brands of the world. These synthesizers are extremely lightweight, they are easy to program and feature a lot of pre-sets and they also sound great. They are extremely versatile and are great for live stage shows and performances.

Best Overall – Roland JD-XI 37-key Analog Synthesizer

Roland JD-XI 37-key Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9.2/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.4
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.7
Value for money9.6

This is an excellent digital synthesizer in its black color and is known for its warm and rich analog sounds, crystal clear digital timbres, and effective and easy programming. This is a powerful and compact synth with an onboard sequencer and vocal FX. The synthesizer is mighty, tiny, and affordable and features a truly analog sound engine and the supernatural synth sounds from Roland. The synthesizer also has several creative tools under one hood and is equipped with about 37 mini keys. 

Connectivity Features of Roland JD-XI
Credit: Roland

Though this is a small and compact instrument, it is capable of delivering fast and warm lead tones and analog bass with ample controls for hands-on tweaking and poly-phonic sounds such as strings, brass, pads, and a lot more. With this synthesizer at your fingertip, it is possible to create impressive loops in a flash and also explore expressive vocal textures with its vocoder, auto pitch, and gooseneck mic. The synthesizer is extremely versatile, though it is small in size. 

As it features a unique and exceptional sound engine, it offers the best of both worlds. We can enjoy the warm and smooth response of a classic analog along with the clarity and the versatility of the modern digital sounds. Its newly developed monophonic analog synth section features different waveforms along with pulse-width modulation and an analog filter. There is also an independent oscillator for low-end power

What’s Best in Roland JD-XI Synthesizer?

  • The JD- Xi is all about big sounds and great fun.
  • Its build loops with a four-track pattern sequencer are great for live performances
  • Musicians love its pro drum kits to offer high impact beats
  • It is possible to shape sounds with impressive effects in this synthesizer.

What’s Lacking in Roland JD-XI Synthesizer?

  • The menus are complex and are tough to use.
  • The keys are very small.

Runner Up – Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer

Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.2
Connectivity8.8
Build Quality9.1
Easy to Use8.8
Value for money9.1

The Moog matriarch semi-modular analog synthesizer is a sound design powerhouse and features paraphonic playability features and an impressive 90 modular patch points. This small music giant packs everything that players love, such as rich oscillators, dual ladder filters, sequencers, exceptional arpeggiation, and even a stereo analog delay. Renders exceptional creative potential for true performers in their live stage performances.

Connectivity features of Moog Matriarch
Credit: Moog music

Its modular patch points help to connect through MIDI and render endless possibilities when it has to integrate with other drum machines and synths. It also possesses Eurorack level audio outputs in tune with line-level outputs, making it easy to interfere with the Eurorack, without having to compromise on the audio quality. As this is a semi-modular synth, there is no need to patch up with anything to get started.

This features a semi-modular analog synth with a 49-key Fatar key bed and exceptional c. It also features a stereo analog delay with up to 700ms of delay. Its 256-step sequencer also helps to support up to four notes per step. It is possible to save up to 12 sequencer patterns for an instant recall. Its Arpeggiator features forward, backward, and also reverse playback modes.

What’s Best in Moog Matriarch Synthesizer?

  • It features 90 modular patch points to render astounding creative potential.
  • There are 4 analog oscillators with multiple waveforms and hard-sync capabilities.
  • There are dual analog filters with three modes.

What’s Lacking in Moog Matriarch Synthesizer?

  • Comes with a costly price tag.

Great for Live Performance – Moog Subsequent 37 Analog Synthesizer

Moog Subsequent 37 Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 9/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.3
Connectivity9.1
Build Quality8.9
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money9.1

This is an excellent synthesizer that features a 37-key analog synthesizer with mono and duo modes. It also features 256 presets, and aftertouch, two modulation buses, and an enhanced analog. The subsequent 37 comes with the same great analog synth but it doesn’t possess a CV routing. It features the same silky key bed with enhanced playability, high powered headphone amplifier for live monitoring, and analog signal path embellishments to expand the sonic palette. The Subsequent 37 is a serious performing synthesizer with hands-on control that you require to inject serious expressions into keyboard performances.

This synthesizer comes with 37 keys, 40 knobs, and 74 switches, just like the sub 37 tribute edition. Its dedicated controls make it easy to shape the sound in real-time while performing and its extra-large filter cutoff knobs are easy to find, even when the eyes are focused elsewhere. This Moog subsequent 37 features a double headroom and its ladder filter gain staging have been massaged to boost up signal compression and harmonic saturation. This is indeed an irresistible analog system with a punchy Moog sound and a classic fat and real-time tweakability that has been handcrafted in Asheville, NC. 

Its high-power headphone amp is great for curing up sounds in large venues during live performances. Its step sequencer and syncable arpeggiator helps musicians in getting more creative. And its legendary Moog ladder filter creates sounds that are smooth and aggressive with MultiDrive, resonance, and selectable slope.

What’s Best in Moog Subsequent 37 Synthesizer?

  • This is an excellent Moog synthesizer with mono and duo modes
  • Its enhanced mixed headroom helps in delivering the best sounds in duo mode
  • The synthesizer features a multi-drive circuit for a range of music

What’s Lacking in Moog Subsequent 37 Synthesizer?

  • The keys are very short

Also Check: Best Digital Pianos for Advanced Pianist

Awesome Pick – Behringer VC340 37-key Analog Synthesizer

Behringer VC340 37-key Analog Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 8.7/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds8.9
Connectivity8.7
Build Quality8.8
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money8.8

This is an excellent vocoder keyboard synthesizer for live performances that is available at an attractive price. There are about 37 keys in this synthesizer and its keys are full size, semi, weighted, and velocity-sensitive. It comprises both synth strings and rich synthesized choral effects that feature a compact and desk-friendly footprint. It is also extremely portable and serves as a friendly companion for diverse stage shows. You can assign its layered and split strings and choir sounds, through its analog bucket-brigade chorus and modern EDM faree.

Connectivity Features of Behringer VC340
Credit: Behringer

The VC340 rewards its players with exceptional Moroder and daft punks vocoder effects and creative modulation over analog signals. Its 37-keys size helps in playing easy and its wooden panels and hands-on control make it the all-time favorite synthesizer with retro synth. This string machine offers a tremendous musical experience and is a must to use in large stage shows and live performances.

Its analog strings are featured with rich choral effects. It takes over the beloved strong machine of the 70s and the 80s. The synthesizer is capable of modulating voices and audio signals and features easy and simple to use hands-on controls. Its 37-key footprint is great for stage shows and music desks and its pedal inputs help to connect the VC 340 to its modular systems.

What’s Best in Behringer VC340 Synthesizer?

  • This robust synthesizer features solid and fat string tones to create pure music.
  • Its vocoder is awesome and this synthesizer keyboard is solidly built
  • The vocal choir sounds and the retro strings sounds of this synthesizer are tremendous.
  • Its controls are great and easy to use.

What’s Lacking in Behringer VC340 Synthesizer?

  • Its sounds are huge and gorgeous but not very original.

Alternative Choice – Dave Smith DSI-2300 Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer

Dave Smith Instruments DSI-2300 Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer
Overall Editor Rating: 8.7/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds8.8
Connectivity8.7
Build Quality8.9
Easy to Use8.6
Value for money8.7

This is an excellent synthesizer that has been built with 35 years of master synth building. There are about 12 voices in this synthesizer along with the highest polyphony of any instrument and has been designed by Dave Smith. It features an excellent knob per face interface, that makes this sound engine easy and there is not much need to dig through its menus. There are four oscillators per voice, along with sub-oscillators and its unique character section helps in shaping sound for great music. 

Connectivity features of Dave Smith DSI-2300 Prophet 12
Credit: Dave Smith Instruments / Sequential

It encompasses 35 years of expertise of the company in building synths, and this is considered the best synthesizer keyboard that has been built by Dave smith. They combine the best qualities of the poly evolver and the prophet 08 keyboards and also add a lot of features to this system. The unit comprises a knob per function interface and allows the players to design sounds immediately, without having to dive through pages of complex and confusing menus. 

There are about 12 voices and the prophet 12 brags on its highest polyphony among any devices that have been designed by Dave Smith. There are four oscillators with each of the voices and they are capable of generating complex and classic waveforms along with analog low and high pass filters and analog VCAs. The new character section of this synthesizer helps to add a variety of sound sculpting options along with waveshaping options.

What’s Best in Dave Smith DSI-2300 Prophet 12 Synthesizer?

  • This synthesizer features a tuned feedback path, a four tap stereo delay per voice, deep modulation capabilities, and a timbral option
  • It is possible to sync its LFOs, arpeggiator, and delays to an external MIDI device
  • There are two programmable positions and pressure-sensitive touch sliders to take the performance controls beyond the standard pitch.

What’s Lacking in Dave Smith DSI-2300 Prophet 12 Synthesizer?

  • The string sounds are not of high quality.
  • Some programs start jumping past settings.

Also Check: The Best Synths Under $1000 Rated by Experts

How to Choose a Keyboard Synthesizer (Buying Guide)

The Synthesizer keyboard is the best friend of the musician and it includes a range of products that starts from simple MIDI controllers and digital pianos to grand keyboard work stations. But before buying a keyboard synthesizer, it is important to look for several options that it should possess so that you can be sure that you are getting the best bet for the money spent on them.

1. Type of synthesis:

The keyboard workstations render an excellent palette for creating original sounds and effects than the professional keyboards. These workstations offer different types and methods of sound generation such as analog modeling and sample playback to offer realistic renditions of acoustic instruments. There are synthesizer keyboards that render complete sampling functionality and it is possible to record any sound and reproduce it in different pitches across the keyboard. A top-of-line workstation that employs multiple synth engines should be your choice to modulate hundredths of presets and to cover all bases to shape your sounds.

2. Sequencing and audio recording features:

No matter if you are performing live or creating high-quality music, the MIDI sequencing in the synthesizer keyboard is a valuable tool. With the push of a simple button, it is possible to record several accompaniments on the keyboard. You can play high-quality music live along with its sequenced backing track. Some of the synthesizer keyboards have a mic line input to record audio from vocals and guitars and incorporate them in the sequenced track. If you want to play authentic covers on stage, then choose workstations that render music options such as pre-programmed MIDI files, to reproduce more accurate music.

3. Ability to process effects:

Even an ordinary audio track can turn extraordinary by applying effects to it. All synthesizer keyboards include a lot of onboard effect processors that can be applied to individual tracks and also use master effects. Use workstations that include audio recording capability with the help of appropriate sound-shaping tools such as EQ and dynamics processing. Such effects will help in gaining more control over the final sound that is produced in the workstation.

Also Read: Digital Piano vs. Keyboard vs. Synthesizer: Complete Comparison

Bottom Line

Whether you are playing live on the stage or are creating high-quality music, MIDI sequencing is a valuable tool. Yet another cool thing about these workstations is their ability to generate a huge array of sounds simultaneously. We hope our buying guide helps you in choosing the best synthesizer keyboard for your music journey.

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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