Best Synthesizers Under $100

Below we have listed some of the best cheap synthesizers on the market today. These good starter synths are highly rated and are portable cheap synths that allow you to have fun without the extra wires and plugs. If your budget is a little higher check out the best starter synths under 500!

Gakken SX-150 MARK II Analog Synthesizer

Gakken SX-150 MARK II Analog Synthesizer reviewGakken SX – 150 Mark II is an mini hardware analog synthesizer. It is a power pack instrument in a small device, as all the functionalities of a professional synthesizer have been combined in his single one. Don’t judge it by its size, this synthesizer of meager size produces enormous sound it consists of many functions.

Features a styles controller as well as a speaker which is built in just like a Stylophone retro pocket synth, but the added advantage is that is lets you pull 10 parameters. It is a fully functional mini analog synth and has four-octave ranges. It uses 4 AA size battery and standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. Due to its size and stylus, it appears to be more practical for use as compared to other ones in their class.

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User reviews

As per customers, SX -150 Mark II is just like the basic model although in this the resonance switch has been replaced with a variable control and an LFO Depth control is added. The power switch has been transformed into On, Off, and Gate, on this mini hardware synth the Gate makes the Attack and Decay controls render inoperative.

But the presence of small built-in speaker is not at all convincing, as there is the option of adding headphones through an output jack which seems much more convincing. But they are happy with the richness, loudness, and clarity of the output audio.

The one thing that customers really miss in this great instrument is control presets from Synthesizer Chronicles mook so that various types of instruments sounds can be produced. The presence of piano keyboard layout next to the resistive strip helps a lot while playing.

Features

This good beginner synth comes with a lot of special features. With its low cost and functions have become the best in his category of musical synthesizers. Some of the important features of Gakken SX-150 MARK II Analog Synthesizer are as follows:

  • It is basically a fully-functional analog synthesizer
  • It possesses four-octave range
  • It also possesses vibrato, tremolo, and “wah” effect with VCF and LFO buttons
  • It has 10 parameters available to control: cutoff, attack, resonance, decay, LFO rate, pitch ENV, LFO depth, VCF modulation and last one LFO modulation.
  • It is easily tunable
  • It has line in as well as line out which is of standard 3.5 mm headphone jack size.
  • It uses 4 AA batteries
  • It is very small in size with dimensions of 6.5’ X 4.75’ X 1.5”

Conclusion

Overall the SX 150 Mark II shows a brilliant up gradation of its predecessor SX -150. In order to improve its performance it possesses 2 control buttons VCF and LFO which have been added by Gakken. The bar on the electron can be adjusted while listening to a melody or you can also turn off the sound.

This synthesizer runs on the 4 AA size batteries which provides it with the advantage of mobility, as you can take it along with you anywhere. Due to its improved features, it has already become a huge hit as a super efficient good beginner Stylophone retro pocket analog synth.


Korg Monotron Delay Analog Ribbon Synthesizer

Korg Monotron Delay Analog Ribbon Synthesizer review

The Korg Monotron Delay Analog Ribbon Synthesizer is a small size analog synthesizer. It posses a mini ribbon keyboard, built-in speaker, and an analog oscillator. Filter and LFO are present in this Analog Ribbon Synthesizer.

It also displays one of the most unique feature of Space Delay which creates immense and wonderful sounds.It shares the same analog (VCF) filter that is present in its brothers like legendary Korg MS-10 and MS-20.It consists of VCF and LFO sections that gives the option of unlimited programming. It comprises of a keyboard that offers a wide four octave range which allows efficient handling and modification of the pitch of the music.amazon-button

User reviews

The customers like the performance of this unique analog ribbon synthesizer as it is battery operated device which provides them with the added advantage of carrying it anywhere. With the ability to produce a variety of sounds this one is praised by customers and users that say this device can be one of the best cheap analog synths.

Although one point that is not appreciated is that the keyboard is set to “wide” mode on a permanent basis. Although others have three different settings. The added feature of the Delay is quite interesting and can add different variations to the music.

The users praise the simplicity of the signal path, in spite of the missing resonance control. The overall view of users say that it is a simple analog synthesizer with the added feature of the delay. 

Features

  • Features Space Delay with Rate and intensity control option which produces analog style echoes
  • Possess new Pitch LFO along with Waveshape, intensity and shape controls
  • Also has VCF with Cutoff Conrol
  • Ribbon controller keyboard possessing wide range
  • Original Analog (VCF) filter
  • Unique Aux input jack through which you can add filter and delay
  • Built in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Six different knobs for Delay time, Delay feedback, LFO rate, LFO int, VCF Cutoff, Real panel trim pot: LFI Shape

Conclusion

Overall a Korg’s Monotron Delay Analog Ribbon Synthesizer is unique and an interesting mini hardware synth which answers the question “what is a good synth for a beginner?”. It possesses a front panel that has five different knobs serving different functions and a single switch. With the help of its Space Delay you can create echoes. Its usage and operation is quite simple, that will encourage you to explore new analog synthesizer music.

Those who are novice in music creation will obviously praise the provision of creating music with the help of a single tweak and tapping at the keyboard. The unique feature of Delay can be used by professionals along with DJs to add more power and impact to their music. It has an optimum level of sound effects. Also, it is battery operated and requires 2 AAA alkaline batteries for operation.

Thus, with its small size, battery operation and the Delay function, it is surely a fun thing costing a little amount of money. Also, it is a great device for beginners to get introduced to the world of synths.


Korg Monotron Duo Analog Ribbon Synthesizer

Korg MONOTRON DUO 0-Key Dual Oscillator Analog Pocket Synthesizer review

The Korg MONOTRON DUO 0-Key Analog synthesizer is basically a compact sized pocket analog synthesizer. It is mainly operated by batteries and includes built-in speakers. It has an analog filter with the facility of input and a ribbon keyboard. It possesses dual analog oscillators and has a complete portable structure because of its small dimensions. Because of the dual oscillators feature present in this instrument, it can create a wide array of analog sounds along with various intervals.

The analog filter present in it, is basically the one used in well known Korg Mono as well as many other best Polyphonic synthesizers under 500. It has the option of a filter input, which can be used for routing of the external audio equipment via the filter of monotron DUO. It also has headphone output that can be used for playing music and programming of sounds.

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User reviews

As per customers, it is a wonderful product overall. Although it could not provide the precise and wonderful functioning like a full on synthesizer or keyboard. It is a basic Monotron mini synth which includes a built in delay that can be controlled.

The sound ranges from idiosyncratic, lo-fi analog insanity. It has a very simplified and easy to operate interface. This instrument possesses dual oscillators that can be tuned in together to produce rich, heavy analog tone with intervals in between and can be used to produce many more effects

Customers consider it to be the funniest and simple beginner synthesizer they have seen. Also, because of its compact size and unique features it is quite mobile and easy to carry anywhere. With the different key functions this small looking instrument can produce a wide variety of sounds. By using the input and output option along with an audio interface, you can get a good quality sound.

Features

  • VCO 1 + VCO2 (Sawtooth) available with pitch control option
  • VCF with cutoff and controlling of peak
  • X –mod circuit which has been inspired from Classic Korg Mon/Poly
  • Ribbon keyboard
  • Major, Minor, Chromatic. Off: Scale selection available with keyboard
  • Original MS-20 Filter with auxiliary input.
  • Built in speaker
  • Operated by 2 AAA batteries

Conclusion

It is overall a compact and small sized synthesizer that easily fits into your pocket, still it delivers gigantic analog sound that will blow your mind. It possesses a built-in speaker and functions basically on the power of batteries that will make it easy to carry anywhere. Apart from such advantages, the most important one is the ease of operation and simplicity on this Korg Monotron DUO dual Oscillator analog synthesizer.

Because it is a simple musical instrument that can be used for making a number of interesting sounds, thus makes it ideal for any novice asking “what is a good synthesizer for a beginner?”. Its ribbon controller keyboard that provides the player with the option to choose from 4 scales that are available: Chromatic, Minor, Major and off. At this price range, the functions and setting provided in this instrument makes it a golden catch for any customer.


Teenage Engineering Drum Machine And Sequencer

po-12 review

Teenage Engineering specializes in synthesizers and with the Pocket Operator series, the company released small, compact and extremely affordable synthesizers making electronic music available for everyone’s fun and pleasure. These small Pocket operators are highly portable synth PC boards which provide sound quality equivalent to studio productions and the versatility to make and jam on the go. It is compatible with most other music devices.

The PO series come in 6 unique units, of which the PO-12 is the rhythm drum machine combined with a sequencer too! The perfect and sound machine for making those unique drum beats while on the move, the PO-12 has lock feature for controls and effects that can be punched in.

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User Reviews

Widely popular with young and growing teen bands and musicians owing to its good quality and yet such cheap affordability. It earned an average of 4.3 stars with about 60% rating it 5 of 5. All the six PO-series units can be combined to form a miniature band in themselves.

Streamlined into the core PC board, without all the extra cases and knobs, this cool-looking board provides just the essentials without the frills – a solid sounding drum beat notes, fabulous additional effects and a way for intuitive sequencing inspiring the young creative geniuses.

Features

  • Weighing just 3.2 ounces and measuring 7 by 3.5 inches across and 0.2inches tick, the Teenage Engineering Drum machine and sequencer packs a whole lot of cool features
  • A completely minimalised and yet concentrated and fully loaded rhythm and drum contraption which is just perfect for those synth rigs found on table-tops
  • Comes with a total of 16 changeable drum sounds – both real and synthesized, each having their own 2 parameters controllable live
  • Also comes with 16 effects to enhance or change the drum sounds as per the user’s wish – some effects include bit crush, delay and time stutter
  • A 16-step in total sequencer gives the liberty to create and play entire songs with 16 patterns and option of pattern chaining. A step multiplier is also available
  • Runs on 2 AAA batteries, the battery life can last really long
  • 1/8 inch jacks allow for connection to the various other PO units for a complete holistic table top rig set-up, if needed
  • A built in foldable stand allows for complete independent usage
  • It comes with an integrated Knowles speaker which gives high quality sound. There are also options to connect to a pair of headphones for personal use or another louder speaker system, whenever needed.
  • A strong form factor, built on one multi-layer circuit board with really high quality material
  • LCD screen display for ease of understanding

PO-12 Review Video

Conclusion

As all the most important and delicate components are placed protected under the LCD screen, there was no requirement for an outer strong casing. Thus cost was saved in that aspect, and high quality sound producing components were used without increasing the cost. High affordability, high quality and really good music creation – that’s the PO- rhythm drum machine and sequencer for you


Korg Monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer

Korg Monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer

Compact has a new meaning now, with the release of Korg’s latest Monotron analogue mini synth. It is so small that it can be carried in just one hand, though its small size does not compromise on the quality, restructuring the most important functions of Korg’s warehouse into a small wrist size fit. The standard Korg analog parameters and technology is packed into this tiny body, and it can produce good quality thick sounds with no difficulty.

Korg’s Monotron is a comeback for the company after a period of 25 whole years. The small 95 gram heavy black and white body has 5 sturdy knobs for parameter control and a single switch, making it so easily comprehensible for everyone and giving it that stylophone retro pocket synth feel. It is even compatible with the latest music apps available for Mac or iOS.

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User Reviews

Customers find the small size of the Monotron series highly appealing – even more so the fact that though it is small and does have its limitations, it performs so well and can be used easily. Creative manipulations and tweaking the notes are very easy to perform. In fact, some users go so far to say that these limitations actually push the creative musician in you to produce unique notes – making the whole process so fun and quirky.

Many customers were surprised with the amount of sounds they could produce with such small equipment with just the three main knobs and dials. Since it can be connected to other audio equipment through a 3.5mm input jack, you can connect and create and filter more sounds than ever.

Features

Korg’s Monotron series packs the most important features of the Korg arsenal into this tiny hardware mini step sequencer analog synthesizer:

  • It is a totally full-fledged, authentic ribbon synthesizer of the analog variety having the aspects of VCO, VCF and also an LED visual indicator for the LFO knobs
  • Small size of 12x7cm and weighing just 95 grams, it can be held in the palm of a hand and carried anywhere you want to go
  • The smooth ribbon keyboard is very easy to use and is an inspiration to the creative musician in you
  • 5 knobs and one switch makes for an intuitive, easy and very entertaining user interface, encouraging tweaking and exploring to the highest degree
  • Contains the age-old and time tested analog filter that was used in older versions of Korg MS-10 and 20
  • An audio input jack allows for filtering any outsidesound sources and more unique sounds – complete patchable filters.
  • Powered by 2 AAA batteries and is the perfect portable analog synth
  • Classic VCF circuit filter as Korg MS 10 and 20, which enriches the musical notes

Conclusion

Korg users have always loved its analog synths, and this miniature version is no exception. Dubbed as the “Go-anywhere” synthesizer, the Monotron analog synth is a total fun thing to play with – small knobs but maximum tweaking and creativity for hours and hours of fun makes this device a perfect beginner synth.

3 Comments on Best Synthesizers Under $100

  1. Im a big fan of the korg monotron delay. I work at an office with lots of downtime so this keeps me pretty occupied throughout the day and is also a good conversation starter.

  2. Decent list, but what about the korg volca series?

    • synthesizersanctum

      Still an avid user of the fm and sampler, however none of them are under $100.

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