Best Synthesizers Under $500

Korg MicroKORG XL+

Korg MicroKORG XL+

MicroKORG XL+ is a modernized version of enormously well-liked synth MicroKORG XL. This new synthesizer now comes with 17 amazing KAOSS effects and around 128 different sounds from thick to fat leads as well as bass. It has 37- tiny simply accessible keys. The simplified knobs allow you to brows by the type of instrument. The patch calling and settings are now easy because of its efficient LCD Display.

The effective Hardware sequencer Arpeggiator, Vocoding and USB connectivity and sound engine “Radius” are some special features of this new MicroKORG XL+.



User Reviews

Many customers are happy after using MicroKorg XL+ and gave it ten out of ten ratings. They found this synth incredibly flexible as they wanted. The synth can go to the digital method and be able to produce extra fat sound. Lots of users say it is so easy to operate and they love its outcome of effective sound.

The vocoder makes it possible to adjust the sound and create, it also includes a creative detachable microphone that can be used to perform with vocoded lyrics. An External device can be connected through its in and out ports. It is small in size so it can be easily fitted on their small desks and easy to carry also. Users found it a compact instrument in a really affordable range.

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A Good Beginner Synth Keyboard.

Features

This best all around synthesizer has a massive range of simplified features. The LCD display makes it possible to easily adjust settings of LFO and AMP, explore complete edit modes, sound equalization and add other effects. A Library editor gives the facility to edit sounds and also you can efficiently organize and navigate them. The USB MIDI connectivity make possible to interact with other devices like PC.

MicroKorg XL+ comes with these important features:

  • It has small 37 waterfall keys with “natural touch”.
  • As MicroKorg XL’s big brother, it comes with 16-band vocoder and 8 different voices.
  • 128 fine sounds (plus additional 640 sounds) with 17 effects.
  • Backlit “easy to read” LCD display.
  • MMT-engine (like as R3 and Radius).
  • MIDI-clock syncable delays.
  • It is attuned with MicroKorg and MS2000 programs through editing software.
  • KAOSS driven two master effects.
  • Buttons for Formant shift and Formant Hold.
  • It includes Gooseneck Microphone.
  • Individually adaptable Pan and Level.
  • It comes with USB connection and Editor.

Conclusion

MicroKorg XL+ has the ability to achieve the premium spot in synth world. The perfect built quality and compact size make it more durable. It can also work on batteries that provide an option to take it out anywhere. It can be considered as a versatile synth that comes in two color schemes. It covers the Basses from trance parps and techno bleeps.

Many other audios are now discoverable with MicroKorg XL+’s sound effects and filters with external sound input facility. With an attractive “retro” design and elegant back panel, this product outclasses other musical equipments in its region and increases your thrill to play more.


Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth

Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-SynthNovation Bass II is a top Novation analog monophonic synthesizer with 25 keys and is an amazing product with gut-grabbing effects of bass. It strongly reminds the synth proficiency of Novation’s bequest.

A portable and small synth keyboard that is engaged with 2 oscillators with a sub-oscillator that provides bass-shivering Sonics. With a large amount of sound effects and controllers, filters and a step-sequencer to supply immense sound, it will surely prove its ability in powerful synths.

User Reviews

Many users are satisfied with this product and gave it 5 star ratings, also many perceive this device as a good starter synth keyboard. They are happy with its sound quality and features. Customers says that it is very easy to program and the huge number of knobs and control provides the sound effects according to their requirements.

The modulation facility and filters makes it possible to play different sound with mixing. The mod-wheel and pitch comes with smooth grip that makes it possible to act quickly. Costumers are fully satisfied with its plug-ins facility and deeper bass effects as well as it comes in a stunning look

Customers state that it is available in a really affordable range and the size of synth is small so they can easily carry it when going out. They found this instrument, inspirational for them.

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Features

The Bass II mono-phonic synth is able to offer a wide range of effects, leads, pads, bass ect. You can also play your own patterns in it. It has lots of new and advance features.

Some important features are:

  • It is a 25-key Bass II mono-phonic analog synth.
  • It comes with two distinct filters- ‘Acid’ and ‘Classic’ that provides two separate ways to generate sounds.
  • The two oscillators are synced very well for a punchier-hard bass.
  • Aftertouch helps in user-programmed sound effects, dedicated faders and knobs allow an expressive outcome.
  • It comes with built-in hardware min step sequencer and Arpeggiator with 32 dissimilar sound patterns.
  • LFO waveforms can be distorted by its ‘LFO slew’ attribute provides additional modulation potential.
  • It comes with 64 user slots and 64 presets.
  • Oscillator provides many analog synth waveforms (sine, square and narrow pulse width) for rich sound.
  • It provides external input facility to process ‘line-level’ signals of sound.
  • It runs on AC power or USB Bus.
  • Comes in a eye- catching look with lots of controls and knobs.

Conclusion

The Base II synth can easily satisfies the features and needs of an original analog synthesizer. Sometimes it seems too short for a range of responsibilities as it has only 25 keys. The response of analog synth aftertouch is good enough and controls work very well.

The functions are fully programmable. With MIDI and USB in and out facility, you can play other sounds as well as save sounds on other devices like your computer. The keyboard midi interface is effective and the product price is under the line.

The product is such a pleasure to run and play enormous melodies for all the music lovers.


Moog TBP002 Minitaur Bass Table

Moog TBP002 Minitaur Bass Table

Moog Minitaur is a compact and powerful tabletop analog synth module that serves total convenience of both controls CV and MIDI. It is a piece of the Taurus group that is small in size and provides one knob for each function. 

It comes with square and sawtooth waveforms along with 2 oscillators that give the facility to regenerate the original Taurus sound. MIDI functions are provided for further controls and external sound input feature gives you the ability to process and mix other audios for various Bass combinations.

User Reviews

The Moog Minitaur Bass synth users have become a huge fan of the product, its effective and includes intense sound quality. They say that it is made by heavy duty material and the flat finished black surface with white prints, give it a dazzling appearance. The knobs are very well organized and easy to understand. 

Many of costumers state that it has more capabilities and functionalities with this perfect size, and also available in very affordable range. It has in and out ports that provide connectivity with external music sources so they can play and mix their melodies with its effects. They love and enjoy smooth and rich sound sonics while playing with it. It gives the result according to their requirements and satisfies all their needs for music.

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Features

Moog TBP002 Minitaur comes with a large verity of features. Its one-knob for each function facility gives tweaking sounds and the two oscillators let you produce new effects with relaxing synth music.

Here are the features of Moog Minitaur:

  • It comes with Moog filters and Dual oscillators with 2 waveforms (sawtooth and square) for each one VCO.
  • Decay knob provides the control for decay and release section.
  • MIDI over USB and DIN MIDI serves full management of its sound engine.
  • It comes with analog inputs for control of volume. Pitch and filter.
  • Analog synth waveforms allow mixing or recreating the Taurus original sound with both waveforms.
  • It comes with 1/8” output for headphones.
  • Provides external sound input facility.
  • To organize and attach Minitaur, it uses CV and EP2.
  • It comes with MIDI- syncable LFO.
  • In its internal memory, it can store around 100 presets.
  • It is a perfect tool for recordings, live performance and synth learners.

Conclusion

The Moog Minitaur is an attractive product for all music lovers with a tough material design. It comes with lots of additional facilities with their parameters. It is surely acceptable device with low-cost. It can receive data from other devices. It can play sound and give a similar result almost like the original Taurus.

Every single function is associated to a particular knob that makes it very easy to use and give access to full functionality. It is additionally probable with this Minitaur, to create a paraphonic analogue synthesizer. This equipment very well sits between the quality majors. It does its work for how it is designed.


Casio XWP1 61 Key Performance Synthesizer

Casio XWP1 61 Key Performance Synthesizer

Casio XW-P1 is a 61-keys monophonic analog synthesizer with 6 oscillators and an amazing sound providing a powrful serp. It is designed with performer’s point of view and provides the same sound quality as the original Casio synth keyboard.

It contains huge stable sounds of brass synth samples, Piano keyboard sounds, strings, basses, guitars and drums etc. It allows playing complex sound effects with its programmable and functional and hardware sequncer Arpeggiator. You can create and mix your creative synth melodies with the existing effects and tones provided in it at a reasonable price.

User Reviews

The costumers state that it comes with lots of cool features and various functionalities that gratify user’s needs so they rated it hundred out of hundred. They can make & edit their combis and tones very quickly and efficiently. Also it is lightweight and made with good plastic so it looks stylish. Many users say that, with its 4 special hybrid sound engines, it provides a large variety of system user presets with 64 voices.

It comes with 311 analog synth waveform samples and it is proficient to produce warm lead sound result that always inspires many enthusiast. The professional musicians are also getting attracted to this product due to its great performance and fantastic sound quality. Lots of costumers are pleased with its decent constructive quality and incredible outcome. Many of them found it at a great deal.

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Features

Casio XW-P1 comes with following features:

  • It comes with standard size 61 keys and provides touch response of two types.
  • It has six oscillators.
  • Contains a midi hardware step sequencer which includes 13 tracks.
  • 4 synchronized organizer knobs and modulation and pitch wheel.
  • Comes with 16 Step programmable hardware sequencer Arpeggiator.
  • 1/8” stereo line input for connecting laptop, tablets and MP3 players.
  • Line outputs of 1/4”.
  • USB and MIDI in and out ports.
  • A single sound “HexLayer” made from 6 different components to provide Gig-ready layers and splits.
  • Other playbacks and records can be played with Phrase Sequencer.
  • Around 400 PCM based totally editable sounds like guitar, electric piano, drums, stereo and vintage piano etc.
  • 4 internal/outer instrument sections provided by performance mode.
  • 9 slider Drawbar Organ mode, vibrato and modifiable speakers.
  • Runes on power supply (included) and can be operated by 6D batteries.

Conclusion

It is a product that gives bumping baselines and kicking beats. It has a simple operating mechanism and a little display that shows lots of required information. The modulation facility and pitch function provide better organization for other devices.

It provides great opportunities to erect ear pleasurable sounds by using its various waveforms and presets. The characteristics of this synth with exquisite outcomes make it worth buying, in a low-cost price. It is lightweight equipment and also runs on batteries so you can take it with you anywhere and create & enjoy immense music. It is a great product for all the beginners as well as the professionals and synthesizer enthusiasts.


Dave Smith Instruments Tetra

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra review

Dave Smith’s Tetra is a mind-blowing  polyphonic analog synth small and portable synth that produces unambiguously 100% pure analog sound. It comes with 4 amazing voices and you will get separate outcome for every voice to provide extra flexibility.

This astonishing device can be chained with multiple tetras like prophet 08 or mopho to turn into respectively 12- voice and 5- voice synth. It has a small 2-line display that shows enough necessary information.The product comes with immense built quality and it is enough sufficient for studio use as well as performances.

User Reviews

Dave’s Tetra users are quite happy with its resulted sound quality and lots of features and most of them gave it 5 star rating. They say that product is so reliable and small in size so they have no difficulties to place it at different areas.

Most of its users are totally satisfied with its feature of storing large number of combinations and presets. It has oscillators that are digitally controlled and four functional knobs that assign diverse utilities from its step sequencer. They say that it produces buttery smooth sound with square, plus-width and saw waves and it is very easy to program. The polyphony can be increased by chaining it with other stuff.

The customers are happier as they get all these amazing features in a super-sick cost. Customers can now play more composite sound sequences with it.

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Features

It is a fully programmable synth that gives 100% analog sound. The device comes with per voice- 2 oscillators that provide Sawtooth, square, saw and triangle sounds with patchy pulse-width that give the result as you want. Some other attractive features of Tetra are:

  • A multitumbrel analog synth comes with 4 voices.
  • Tetra comes with a classic Curtis switchable low-pass filter for each voice.
  • 3 envelop generators per voice (Delay and ADSR) with a noise originator.
  • Connection In and Out for external devices with USB receptacle.
  • It has 4 LFOs for every voice.
  • Programmable Arpeggiator for better sound.
  • 16 x 4 step sequencer (1 sequencer/program).
  • Self oscillating facility in 4-pole way.
  • Comes with two sub-octave generators for each voice.
  • Poly chain facility with MIDI In/Out and thru.
  • 1/L, 2/R, 3 & 4– 1/4″ Audio outputs.
  • It has a Stereo jack for 1/4” headphone output.
  • Feedback loop for each voice.
  • Runes on power supply of 100-240V AC.
  • A fully programmable device with Analog VCAs.

Conclusion

Tetra sounds great as it should be. In this small size, it serves several operations to work. The filters produce soft-n-silky music and can be adjustable from aggressive to smooth sound depends on the selected mode. More than one unit can be combined to increase the variations in sound as needed. It oscillates itself easily at elevated settings while using 4-pole mode.

It serves potent thick lows and full & hard-hitting mids with blistering tops. Tetra is definitely a good choice with small size, lots of flexibilities and an affordable price range.


Korg Analog MS-20 Mini Synthesizer

korg-ms20-mini

The Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer still continues to be a revered keyboard musical instrument in the world of analog synthesizer music, owing its popularity to its robust sound, powerful filters, and versatility in patching. The latest released Mini version of this analog synth midi controller is a miniature version of the same, retaining the core components with a few requisite optimization, scaled down by 14% of the original 1978 model.

It is built by the original engineers to ensure authentic reproduction of the original circuits. The voltage controlled amp (VCA) is optimized to be less noisy and patch bay size is reduced by replacing the 1/4″ phono jacks with 1/8″ mini. The analog circuits deliver the same powerful sound in from highest to lowest ranges of frequency.

User Reviews

The users of the Korg MS-20 Mini monophonic analog synthesizer are happy with its relatively affordable price, compared with other hardware synths. They appreciate the number of permutations and combination possibilities one can achieve with the available knobs and patch, thus making it easy to create new unique sounds.



Many customers also find the placement of rubber pads beneath the keyboard piano keys a refreshing change from the vintage models. The AC adaptor that comes with this mini hardware synth and has an adaptable plug input making it versatile to be used anywhere while on-the-go. The addition of a modern USB port makes it all the more user-friendly in this contemporary age.

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Features

The Korg Analog MS-20 Mini Hardware Synth boasts the following features:

  • Built to 86% scale of the original, the MS-20 mini weighs a mere 10 pounds and measures 10.1 x 8.2 x 19.4 inches. It is thus light-weight and portable.
  • The core elements are the same as the original, providing powerful vintage sounds, varying from deep basses to crisp leads
  • Double oscillators are pitch-adjustable, each offering a simple assortment of waves,with ring modulation
  • The filter design is First-class, having features of high pass (or) low pass with peak or resonance which have self-oscillation
  • Dynamic motion can be added to tones with the suspend and hold options available with Envelope generators
  • VCA (Voltage Controlled Amp) has improved signal to noise ratio
  • An External Single Processor(ESP)controls the synthesizer by using the pitch or volume of an outside audio source
  • It has a versatile patching system with a 1/8″ jack-based patching bay, making it easy to produce complex sounds with the simplest means
  • It has 1/8″ input and output jacks, a MIDI IN jack and a USB MIDI (input and output)
  • It stays a cent percent authentic to the original, reproducing every small detail, down to the packaging and user manual

Conclusion

The Korg MS-20 Mini monophonic anlog synthesizer pays excellent homage to its parent version, packing the best of the old into a modern, compact new body. The frugal, hard-edged monochrome body has a firm minimalist appeal, reflecting on the crisp neat sound it produces, which gives this device the perception of that “best all around synthesizer”.

The hardware is as strong as it looks with smooth metal controls. The Korg company has succeeded in their mission of bringing the old classic back to life.



Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer

Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer review

The come-back hardware instrument of the Waldorf brand, this Waldorf Blofeld multi timbral sound module synthesizer offers all the stand-out qualities that make this brand a legend in the field of musical instruments. The Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer has well sounding analog-modeled circuitry with the power and accessibility of contemporary digital features.

The elegant metal chassis houses a durable engine and is orderly and easy to use, with solid aluminium knobs and appropriate buttons for accessing functions. Compact and inexpensive, it was initially released as a sleek desktop sound module and a year later came a 49-key velocity keyboard module with in-built sample RAM and transpose keys to shift the range.

User Reviews

Customers who have used the Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer find it very easy to be programmed, giving it an average of 4 out of 5 stars. The sound quality is top-notch producing organic notes without becoming too harsh and the available effects are found to be particularly beneficial in creating sequences and pads.

The sleek metal classic finish is a huge hit amongst users, who find the overall aesthetic appeal a major pull-in in addition to the superior functional aspects.

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Features

  • Compact stylish body weighing a little over 4.6 pounds, relatively light-weight and portable with an excellent bright LED screen and nice soft key bed in the keyboard version.
  • Easily accessible user-interface with 7 solid aluminium knobs and 5 buttons make it easy to play with the Blofeld’s parameters.
  • A large, easy-to-read display makes navigation through sounds and settings easy thus allowing bot novices and experts to benefit from its use.
  • Hosts a humongous 1,000 editable Waldorf sounds, permitting you to generate an incredible range of tones and textures with the sky as the limit
  • Has all basic analog synth waveforms namely saw, square, pulse, and sine. The pulse width modulation is adjustable for the square wave to create pulse waves.
  • Has built-in 68 wavetables including those from Microwave II and PPG wave. There is an option of adding customized ones with the new Operating System thus making it a clear winner as the most advanced USB midi connectivity synth of all.
  • Apart from the basic features of analog modeling and wavetable synthesis, it has unique features such as oscillator syncing, ring modulation and a noise source with controllable color.
  • Has a total of 2 independent Multi Mode Filters which are fully resonant. They can be set either in series or in parallel each having a drive parameter with different flavors. Though they are merely digitally modeled, they have great sound quality.
  • A powerful Arpeggiator with a freely programmable Pattern until 16 Steps per Sound
  • 2.0 USB connectivity permits easy editing and managing of sounds with a computer.
  • Both Stereo output and Headphone output

Conclusion

A great sounding synthesizer from the master of synthesizers, The Waldorf Blofeld synth is a great deal for its price, packing a lot of features into a compact and pocket-friendly module. Rock-solid with a wide range of presets, this powerful machine is a must for those gaining experience in customizing their notes.


Korg MS2000 44 Key Analog Modeled Synthesizer

Korg MS2000 44 Key Analog Modeled Synthesizer MS 2000

Personally, one of our top picks for best synth under 500 on this list. This is a MonoSynth series from Korg that has come up against Novation Nova and SuperNova synths. This MS comes dressed up with vintage style rosewood side panels.

It has 44 tiny keys with a velocity that makes it easily accessible. It is truly a well-organized instrument for musicians looking for new and classical sounds with a retro-styled quality digital synth. It is musicians’ favorite instrument because of its crisp, clean and flexible sounds.

User Reviews

Most of the users found Korg MS2000 a great instrument with astonishing attributes. They liked the fact that it is packed with all great past features including a versatile 1-band-vocoder and an arpeggiator that offers six different types of arpeggio patterns. The tidy and logical layout of this musical instrument is liked by various musicians as its controls are well-arranged according to synth-signal flow.

Many users prefer Korg MS2000 over other instruments as it allows them to turn it to a vocoder by furnishing a mic. It comes with 128 program locations on the board where MS patches can be saved as programs. Its MIDI side is nicely specified, with an arpeggiator activity and knob movements transmitted over MIDI.

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Features

The new MS2000 is a Korg’s first instrument to imitate the sound and style of their analogue classics with an addition of a virtual patching system. The MS2000 has come up against Novation Nova and SuperNova synths with the following features –

  • It has four voice polyphony and two LFOs with a sample and hold
  • The analog synth midi controller modeled synthesis system has two oscillators
  • It comes with one noise generator
  • The MS2000 polyphonic synthesizer has eight waveforms including tri, sine, human voice, saw, pulse, and 64DWGS waves
  • It has a high and band pass filter with 12dB, 12 or 24dB low-pass with ADSR resonance
  • The synth is packed with three types of delay, three types of modulation, vocoder, EQ, and six pattern arpeggiator
  • The keyboard is designed with 44 tiny keys with velocity
  • The rack comes with 16 emulated keys but has no velocity
  • It comes with 128 program locations
  • MIDI controls the instrument with its two parts

Conclusion

Korg MS2000 is a beauty from Korg that combines art analog physical MS sounds with a vintage appearance. MS2000 is a little hard-wired but it still provides flexibility while maintaining a hands-on and a straight forward approach towards the retro-style editing with buttons, knobs, and flashy lights. This instrument uses a cool virtual patch in place of actual input jacks and patch cables. Its four voice polyphonic analog synthesizer will not allow the users to create a very complex or lush sound and pads with it.

Despite these drawbacks, it produces crisp, clean, flexible and ear-pleasing sounds. The instrument has a simple operating mechanism that is easy to be used. Its unparallel characteristics make it worth buying with a low-cost price. The bottom line is that Korg MS2000 is a versatile, wonderful instrument carved specially for musicians all over the world.


Roland JP-8080 Synthesizer

Roland JP-8080 Synthesizer 2

The JP-8080 Analog Modelling Synthesizer Module is the Roland company’s upgrade of the JP-8000 mini hardware synth, offering an even more advanced Analog Modelling sound engine. The JP-8080 features a wide range of 10-note polyphony, a dominant External Audio Synthesis, increased number of analog synth waveforms, an exclusive built-in Voice Modulator, in-built effects, SmartMedia storage capacity and a vocoder.

The plastic body of the JP-8000 has been replaced with an excellent quality blue-finish metal, inspiring confidence in utility. Clearer legends are an upgrade and are also very appealing to the eyes. The array of knobs and sliders provide for easy sound shaping.

User Reviews

Customers find the JP-8080 to be of advanced complex caliber and also believe this mini hardware synth represents good value for your money and is a affordable modular synth. It garners an average of 4 out of 5 stars. Users feel it is the Swiss-army knife of the synthesizer world – it can be used as a vocoder, an effects editor and processor and also a Lead synthesizer.



Users feel that the pure neutral analog sounds of this module are its unique characteristic. The user interface makes it extremely easy to tweak the sounds and customize to one’s needs. The smart media storage is extremely useful to record and store one’s own creations- of the 512 patches provided, 128 are available for this purpose.

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Features

  • The powerful “Analog Modeling” synthesizer module boasts of having 40 knobs and sliders which allows for intuitive sound creation and manipulation.
  • The 10-note polyphony (reduced to 8-note with a Voice Modulator) and Unison function for analog sounds is completely evocative of the time-tested good classic synths.
  • Features allowing bending of waveforms such as a ring modulator, cross modulation, oscillator sync and a modest attack/decay pitch envelope
  • An External Audio Synthesis allows possibilities for processing peripheral audio sources by utilizing three tools – an amplifier, a synthesizer filter, and multi-effects
  • It has 7 in-built waveforms, namely the Super Saw, Triangle, Noise, Saw tooth, Feedback Oscillator Triangle Modulation, Square (PWM) – all of superior sound quality.
  • A central Voice Modulator allows external inputs from various sources such as a Mic or a Vocal Instrument to be processed in true time using any1 of 3available different modes: Formant Filter,Vocal Morph Control and Filter Bank.
  • Several stand-alone in-built effects for fine-tuning notes- Delay, Multi-FX with a Chorus, Flanger and Distortion
  • No-hands playback is now possible due to a unique Motion Control which meticulously records all movements of slider and knob. These can also be output using an MIDI.
  • An in-built programmable Arpeggiator and Real-time Phrase Sequencing (RPS) capability
  • The JP’s filter is extremely flexible implementation, with many options for low-, band- and high-pass sounds

Conclusion

The JP-8080 has gained the name of being usable only by experienced synthesizer players who desire lush and complicated notes.

A tad bit on the expensive side, it is nevertheless an excellent device, well-built and with sufficient flexibility to keep you tweaking to your heart’s content. User’s swear by its value for money, even though it has some serious competition rising in the market.

2 Comments on Best Synthesizers Under $500

  1. The Korg Ms2000 Twas my very first synth, and I know quite a few people (as well as me personally) who truly, are in love with it. It’s got its very own persona, and can easily develop really nice patches for anyone who is happy to work with it and acquire some heavy synthesis by using it.

  2. Pretty interesting collection, im just starting out and thinking of buying my first hardware and 500$ is the most im willing to spend. i heard the microkorg is a good starter synth any recommendations??

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