A keyboard synthesizer is an advanced musical instrument that is used mainly to produce different sounds and effects. They are much upgraded than standard arranger keyboards and differ greatly in sounds. Generally, you will not find onboard speakers and fancy effects on a synthesizer. Owing to loads of sound effects, profiles, and rhythm patches built-in; these instruments are costly. These are used by professionals to add tunes and backgrounds to rap, techno, and trance songs.
Top Keyboard Synthesizers
Nord Electro 3 HP
Nord is a brand of Clavia Digital Musical Instruments and is the best producer of high-performance synthesizers meant for professional use. Its Nord Electro 3 HP is the newest from their store. The 73-key Hammer Action Portable keyboard is fun to play on. With the weight of just 24.25 lbs, portability is not a problem for this Nord. Features include five major piano types and many sub-types, and a number of synth and organ effects in the Nord Sample Library. This synth is available at a price of about $2,500.
Roland is also a reputed manufacturer of musical instruments, especially hi-end synths. The JUNO-Gi is a suitable example. It consists of more than 1,300 sounds, 128-voice polyphony, and has full computer integration capability. In addition, there is an eight-track digital recorder for recording guitar sounds via an input, using guitar effects patches built-in. It is a 61-key synth which has over 79 types of effects for altering sounds available. It’s extremely light at 12 lbs. At a price of $1,000 approximately, it is not worth missing out on.
Yamaha MOTIF XF8
The MOTIF series synthesizers from Yamaha have always been a preferred choice for professionals around the world. It has 1,353 voices, over 7,000 types pattern producing arpeggiators, and a decent 128 MB of inbuilt storage. The brand’s Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM) technology helps achieve the tone of vintage synths. The feel of 88-keys on the balanced hammer keyboard is certainly great. The Expanded Articulation (XA) contributes to true acoustic touches to the effects. Prospective buyers might consider this instrument a bit pricey at $3,500.
This 88-note synth is filled with effects and innovative features, yet has a simple interface. It has it all, ranging from basses, rhythms, guitars, synths, to strings and many more effects. It is incorporated with 128 voice polyphony, 1074 inbuilt effects, 16 pattern producing arpeggiators, and 16 riff generators. The pitch wheel, modulation wheel, master EQ and compressor help in sound enhancements. The sequencer is the best feature for music composers. You may have to pay about $3,000 for buying the Kurzweil PC3X. It is an ideal option for performers as well as studio musicians.
If you want a good-looking synth, with many effects, and at an inexpensive price; the PS60 performance synthesizer is the best bet. The interface is easy to operate with commonly used effects directly accessible with onboard buttons. It has a total of 440 sounds created by the brand’s programmers. It has a 61-key keyboard with velocity sensing feature that personalizes your performance. It also incorporates 71 types of effects which can enhance the quality of played sounds. The Korg has a weight of just 10.14 lbs, which is good for portability. Surprisingly, this synth is available at about $700.
Other Keyboard Synthesizers to Consider
- Nord Lead 2X
- Nord Stage 2
- Roland GAIA SH-01
- Roland JUPITER-80
- Yamaha MOX8
- Yamaha MO8
- Korg X50
- Kurzweil PC3K8
Every synth has certain sounds, effects, and functions that you won’t find in products of other brands. So, you need to match the specs of these instruments with your music production requirements to come up with the best model for you. The sound and effect requirements of professional musicians are pretty high, which is why several synthesizers from different brands are placed onstage.