Hardware instruments have experienced a comeback in recent years; polysynths and their monophonic cousins now exist in more shapes, sizes, and use more diverse techniques of synthesis than ever before. Polysynths are also more expensive than monophonic synths in general; because each voice includes not only an oscillator, but also its own filter and envelope shaping components, things may rapidly get expensive.
For synthesizer enthusiasts, there has never been a better time. You have more possibilities than ever for producing and performing with your own unique sounds, thanks to reissues of iconic analog synths, forward-thinking digital synthesizers, and hundreds of selections to fit any budget. Nothing beats the expressive capabilities of a polyphonic synthesizer when it comes to optimum playability. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular polyphonic synths.
Moog One Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer
Many musicians and producers regard Moog synthesizers as the apex of analog synthesis, with the Moog One 16-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer (also available in an 8-voice form) serving as the pinnacle. It’s the first polyphonic Moog in over three decades, and it has everything Moog fans love: a super-punchy sound, iconic Moog filters, and a user-friendly interface that encourages musical exploration. The Moog One is actually three synths in one, thanks to its tri-timbral functioning, each with its own note range, arpeggiator, and sequencer. When you add in excellent built-in effects and a massive modulation matrix, the Moog One could be the most capable Moog ever created. This is one of the Best Polyphonic Synths in 2023.
Sequential Prophet-5 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer
- 61-key 5-voice Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer with Two VCOs
- Full-sized Semi-weighted Fatar Keyboard
- 4-pole Lowpass Filter
The new Prophet-5 has five voices, each having two multi-waveform analog oscillators, resonant analog low-pass filters and amplifiers, and a filter and amplifier envelope per voice, just like the original. The filter envelope and oscillator B can be routed to a variety of destinations, including the filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width, thanks to a multi-waveshape LFO and Poly Mod, a ground-breaking modulation scheme for its time that allowed the filter envelope and oscillator B to be routed to a variety of destinations, including the filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width.
Original, genuine Curtis VCOs and filters are included in the new Prophet-5, as well as the Dave Rossum-designed SSI 2140 filter, which is the modern equivalent of the original SSM 2040 Rossum designed in the Prophet-5 Rev1 and Rev2. Select your chosen filter using the Rev switch on the front panel to get the best of all prior Prophets at this price point.
Velocity sensitivity and aftertouch for more expressiveness, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity, are all new additions. There are also control voltage and gate ins/outs for connecting modular synths and other devices. The Prophet-5 has a full, five-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keybed and is housed in a collector-worthy, premium-quality steel and hand-oiled sustainable black walnut heartwood body. This is one of the Best Polyphonic Synth in 2023.
Arturia PolyBrute 6-Voice Polyphonic Morphing Analog Synthesizer
- Analog Morphing Synthesizer with 6 voices of Polyphony, Mono/Unison/Poly voicing and Single/Split/Layer modes
- 61-keys with Velocity and Aftertouch
- Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, Ribbon and Morphée touch and pressure sensitive 3D controllers
PolyBrute is a digitally controlled analogue synth with a powerful modulation matrix, sequencer, and arpeggiator that combines several VCOs and VCFs with a powerful modulation matrix, sequencer, and arpeggiator. It has the same button matrix as the MatrixBrute, which serves as a preset browser, multi-lane sequencer controller, and, most importantly, a digital patchbay for assigning and altering modulation routings.
PolyBrute only has six voices, therefore it’s not the most polyphonic synth in its price range. It is, however, multitimbral, with the potential to create two separate sounds at the same time. You can use a rotary to progressively morph between the sound quality and all of their associated settings in regular Morph mode.
The PolyBrute’s personality comes from its modulation and morphing tools. While the synth is capable of unison leads, frequency-filling basses, FX, and basic analogue chords, it shines when it’s used to produce patches that can transition from creamy to metallic with a twist of the mod wheel. Overall, this is a well-designed, distinctive synthesizer that deserves to be the Best Polyphonic Synthesizer in 2023.
Dave Smith Instruments Sequential Prophet X Synthesizer
- 16-voice Hybrid Synthesizer with 2 x 16-bit/48kHz Sample-based Instruments
- Semi-weighted Aftertouch-enabled Keyboard
- Stereo Analog Filters
If you’ve ever considered what you’d like in your ideal synth, be assured that synthesizer designer Dave Smith is already thinking about it. The Sequential Prophet X is a bi-timbral, 8-voice stereo (16-voice mono) beast that blends the best of analog synthesis sound designer with the limitless potential of digital processing. A strong sound synthesis engine powers dual sample-based instruments and a pair of high-resolution digital oscillators with waveshape modulation, all of which are routed via delicious-sounding stereo analog filters.
Prophet X keyboard synthesizer does a fantastic job with the samples and modulation options. This 150GB sample library from 8Dio includes acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as a slew of dramatic and ambient effects. And that’s only the start. You may shape your samples using loop manipulation, sample stretching, and other sophisticated tools in addition to the four envelope generators, four LFOs, and deep modulation matrix. The Sequential Prophet X is a monstrous synthesizer absolutely worthy of carrying the famed Prophet heritage forward, featuring a premium 5-octave aftertouch-enabled keyboard, internal storage, multiple effects engines, a polyphonic step sequencer, and more.
Each voice in the Prophet X sample engine is made up of two independent, digitally sampled stereo instruments (four in Stack or Split modes). It also includes 150GB of 8Dio-created deep sample content, which comprises a diverse range of beautiful acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as cutting-edge cinematic and ambient effects. Loop manipulation, sample stretching, and the Prophet’s modulation features can all be used to shape the samples. A highpass and low pass filter Tone control is included with every sample instrument. For importing external sample libraries, the hardware synth features an additional 50GB of storage onboard (add-on sample packs are available from 8Dio).
The Prophet X synth engine combines two high-resolution digital oscillators with classic waveshapes and a supersaw to give the amazing power of a classic Prophet with more timbral versatility. To easily dial in a waveshape width for any of the traditional sawtooth, sine, or pulse waves, use the Shape Mod control; then give your patch motion using an LFO or other modulation source. The Prophet X includes a 16-slot modulation matrix with dozens of sources and destinations, as well as four syncable LFOs with slew and phase offset, four loopable 5-stage envelope generator, and a 16-slot LFO with slew and phase offset. This is one of the Best Polyphonic Synthesizers in 2023.
Waldorf Quantum 8-Voice Hybrid Synth
- 61-key Digital/Analog 8-voice Multitimbral Hybrid Synthesizer with 3 Stereo Digital Oscillators Per Voice
- 5 Master Effects
- 6 Envelopes
The Waldorf Quantum is a digital-analogue hybrid synth with eight voices of polyphony, each having three oscillators that can be operated in wavetable, granular, subtractive, and resonator modes. It is a sound designer’s dream come true.
Quantum, a stunning new flagship synth from Waldorf, is the result of years of rigorous development. Waldorf has always worked to give their instruments a strong, yet flexible core, starting with their own patented wavetable technology created decades ago. In the 1980s, the company’s digital oscillators, along with the enormous strength and effective simplicity of its lovely-sounding analog filters, helped kickstart the digital revolution. Quantum firmly establishes Waldorf’s place in the annals of truly outstanding synthesizers. The Quantum is undoubtedly a flagship synth to be reckoned with thanks to substantial allusions to storied Waldorf synthesizers of the past, an elegantly constructed interface, and a wealth of features never before seen on hardware synths.
The path to deep audio exploration is paved with a well-designed user experience. Oscillators, LFOs, filters, modulators, effects, and more are all clearly labelled in separate areas, and each parameter change is reflected in a clear touch-screen display so you can see precisely how it affects the signal. Other features include a step sequencer with parameter automation, quantization, and more as well as an arpeggiator with seven algorithms and sort orders. The Quantum is successful in enabling the creative expression of music-makers; despite its high level of sophistication, it nonetheless provides an intuitive user interface.
With the use of today’s highly customizable software synths, Quantum delivers future sounds that were previously unattainable. This power is contained in a sleek, user-friendly physical plant created by Waldorf for the contemporary synthesist. Quantum encourages your craziest creative inclinations with its expansive screen, engaging control panel, and premium keybed with the best polyphonic synth under 500.
Novation Summit Two-Part 16-Voice 61-Key Polyphonic Synthesizer
- Two-part multitimbral 16-voice polyphonic synthesizer
- Three nco new Oxford Oscillators per voice, enabling Subtractive, wave table or FM synthesis
- Analogue multimode 12/24dB filter per voice with dual mode
Summit is a 2-part, 16-voice synthesizer with three oscillators per voice, built on the solid basis of Novation’s legendary Peak synth module, intended at the professional musician wanting a powerful, exciting 61-note keyboard synth for onstage and studio deployment. Summit puts the power of two Peaks at your fingertips, allowing you to split or layer two entirely separate patches across the keyboard, as well as switch between them on the fly. Summit builds on Peak’s layout by adding many more controls and functions to the front panel, such as FM routing, LFOs 3 and 4, complete arpeggiator settings, and more, as well as pitch and mod wheels. Desktop synths also have a number of new filter settings as well as an audio input for using the reverb, chorus, and delay effects on other sources.
Summit is powered by three digital New Oxford Oscillators per voice, which are housed on an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) chip. This architecture not only allows for the generation of authentically analog-sounding waveforms at ultra-high resolution, but it also allows for FM and wavetable synthesis, which results in rich, harmonically complex, and richly textured raw tones. Each voice features a true stereo signal path with dual analog filters, three stages of analog distortion, and analog voltage-controlled amplifiers, as well as a variety of modulation assignment options and colorful per-part effects (distortion, chorus, delay, and reverb) to give your patches more movement, verve, and polish.
Novation has released a new Wavetable Editor for Summit that fully utilizes the wavetable oscillators sound engine full power potential. The Wavetable Editor is a software editor jam-packed with features to help you get more done faster, including intuitive sketching tools and a Live Edit mode that allows you to build your own oscillator shapes and preview them in real time! With the Audio Import tool, you may quickly generate your own oscillator waveforms from imported clips. You’ll also find an expertly chosen mix of space-themed audio sourced directly from NASA’s sound library, as well as unique Noisia content. Summit has never been more powerful than it is now, thanks to the Wavetable Editor — yet another compelling reason to add this advanced synth to your sonic arsenal with the best polyphonic synth under 1000.
Novation Peak Eight-Voice Polyphonic Desktop Synthesizer
- New Oxford Oscillators using two waveform generating techniques: Numerically-Controlled Oscillators and 17 digital wavetables; pre-filter and...
- Polyphonic after touch and Linear FM; extensive modulation system, with 16-slot modulation matrix and 16 direct assignments controlled on the front...
- Three ADSR envelopes and two LFOs per voice, plus animate buttons for instant modulation switching; high-quality reverb, delay and chorus effects, and...
The Novation Peak synth module offers a ton of creative potential for modern music makers, with 8-voice polyphony, three oscillators and one analog multimode filter per voice, and a total of 60 digital wavetables to explore. While the Peak synthesizer’s sound output is rich, powerful, and capable of a wide range of sound-design applications, one of our favorite features is its great degree of hands-on control and build quality of the analog synth category – changing envelope shapes, modifying effects, and managing modulations is simple and enjoyable. Rather of imitating a classic synth design, Novation’s Peak is praised for doing its own thing really well.
The Novation Peak 8-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer is ideal for modern electronic music producers, with three New Oxford Oscillators per voice, each with traditional waveshapes and access to 60 digital wavetables. With a 16-slot modulation matrix and 16 direct assignments accessible directly from the front panel, it’s also ideal for sound design. Each synth sound comes with its own analog multimode filter types, as well as pre- and post-filter distortion. When you add in built-in reverb, delay, and chorus effects (all of which can be manipulated via the FX Mod Matrix! ), a configurable arpeggiator, and a CV modulation input for use with modular gear, the Novation Peak synthesizer module has a lot of creative potential.
Novation has released a new Wavetable Editor for Peak that fully utilizes the wavetable oscillators’ full power potential. The Wavetable Editor is jam-packed with features to help you get more done faster, including intuitive sketching tools and a Live Edit mode that allows you to build your own oscillator shapes and preview them in real time! With the Audio Import function, you can quickly create your own oscillator wave sequencing from imported clips. You’ll also find an expertly curated collection of space-themed audio sourced directly from NASA’s sound library, as well as exclusive Noisia content. Analog synthesizers have never been more powerful than it is now, thanks to the Wavetable Editor – another another compelling reason to add this complex synth to your sonic arsenal!
Korg minilogue XD 4-voice Analog Synthesizer
- 4-voice Analog/Digital Synthesizer with 2 VCOs per Voice
- 16-step Polyphonic Sequencer
- Digital Multi-engine
You get a 4-voice analog synth with Korg’s digital multi-engine with the Korg minilogue XD hybrid synthesizer. When you add in the built-in effects, robust sequencer, and micro tuning capacity, you’ve got yourself a full-featured sound design system. It’s based on the minilogue’s analog synth circuit, which has been fine-tuned for maximum sonic appeal. With four forms of noise, a VPM/FM oscillator, and your own bespoke user oscillators available via the digital multi-engine, the Korg minilogue XD hybrid synthesizer offers a lifetime of creative possibilities.
The minilogue XD was created by combining player-favorite elements from Korg’s monologue, minilogue, and Prologue synthesizers. The compact form factor, four voice architecture, several voice modes, and the arpeggiator are the most noticeable aspects of the minilogue (now with a much-appreciated latch function). The motion step-sequencer, the monologue’s re-voiced filter, and the ability to overdrive your signal coming into said filter all come from the monologue. We also get the digital multi-engine from the Prologue, which includes a third oscillator per voice as well as numerous stereo effects.
The digital multi-engine first introduced in the Korg Prologue synthesizer is featured in the minilogue XD. This allows you to layer an FM/wavetable oscillator with the analog oscillators in each voice. Noise, variable phase modulation (VPM), and a user oscillator for creating your own custom oscillators are among each other sound generators (16 user slots available). This significantly widens your sonic possibilities beyond traditional analog synth tones. In addition to an oscillator, the digital multi-engine uses 32-bit floating-point processing to create deep-sounding effects.
Roland JU-06A Sound Module with 8 Patches + 8 Banks
- Sound Patch: 64 + 64 (8 patches x 8 banks pre each 60 and 106 mode)
- Sequencer Pattern: 16
- Chord Memory: 16
The JU-06A combines all of your favorite synth sounds from the Juno-60 and Juno-106 into one compact desktop module — think of it as a greatest hits collection of desktop unit. It has the continuous highpass filter options of the 106, the envelope-controllable pulse width modulation of the 60, and the filter behavior of both, all switchable via the module’s control panel. The sound is also excellent. Even when changing the controls or using severe settings, you won’t be able to tell the JU-06A apart from its historical ancestors if you close your eyes. There’s also a re-creation of the famous Juno chorus effect in all its swirling grandeur.
Vintage Juno-60 and Juno-106 synthesizers are in high demand because of their warm tone, lush chorus effect, and hands-on production capabilities. You may now obtain both synths in one solid, modern instrument thanks to Roland’s JU-06A module. This module is designed specifically for electronic artists. It can be used with a sequencer through USB or MIDI, or it can be used as an audio interface for a minimal production setup. It can also be played anywhere owing to battery operation and a built-in speaker. Furthermore, due to its traditional color palette and styling, it appears to be the real deal. If you’re a fan of vintage synths, the JU-06A is a must-have.
The Roland JU-06A can be used without an external sequencer or keyboard. It comes with a 16-step sequencer that can save up to 16 patterns. You can write down song ideas anywhere because it is powered by four AA batteries and has a built-in speaker.
Arturia MiniBrute 2 Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
- Analog Synthesizer with 2 VCO's and 2 LFO's
- Steiner Parker filter with 4 modes: Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch
- 1 ADSR envelope and 1 AD envelope
The MiniBrute 2 is a semi-modular synth with a beefed-up synth engine and a thorough mini-jack patchbay, whereas the first was a very plain monosynth with a few distinctive flourishes and some CV control. The primary oscillator may generate saw, triangle, and square waves at the same time, and their outputs are blended via the oscillator mixer, where a white noise source and external audio input are added.
The MiniBrute 2 retains its predecessor’s Steiner-Parker-style filter, which offers -12dB low- and high-pass modes, as well as -6dB band-pass and notch filtering. Overall, the MiniBrute 2 is a resounding success. It takes everything we liked about the original – the analogue grit, fascinating oscillator shaping, and Brute factor control, which uses a controlled feedback loop to overdrive the signal chain – and expands on it significantly. The MiniBrute 2S, which replaces the keys with a pad-based step sequencer, is a serious rival, as well.
Behringer Poly D
- 37-key Analog 4-Voice Paraphonic Synthesizer with Full-size Keys
- Classic Ladder Filter
- 32-step Sequencer
The Behringer Poly D is a re-creation of the iconic Model D analog synthesizer that puts real analog synthesis within reach of almost any musician. Although the Poly D is technically a paraphonic synth because each of the four synth voices is eventually routed through the same filter and VCA path, this current incarnation expands the monophonic predecessor with four voices of polyphony. Aside from the technicalities, the Poly D has been warmly received by musicians all around the world who are looking for classic analog synth tones in a budget-friendly package. With current features like an extra oscillator, chorus and distortion effects, a sequencer, and aftertouch support, the Poly D would be an excellent addition to any producer’s synth library.