Top 11 Best Synthesizer Brands In The World 2021


The synthesizer is, hands-down, one of the coolest instruments in the world simply due to the versatility of timbre and virtual unlimited nature of creating audio with analog or digital electronics.

Because there’s so much that can be done with audio synthesis (and so many different types of audio synthesis), the market is full of unique synths and awesome brands. With so many synth-makers to choose from, it can be difficult to pick just one.

Though there are plenty of more important factors that go into selecting the best synthesizer for a particular musician or application, knowing which brands are the most reputable is info worth knowing. In this article, I’ll share the top 11 synthesizer brands I think you should know about.

The top 11 best synthesizer brands in the world are:

  1. Moog Music
  2. Korg
  3. Roland
  4. Arturia
  5. Nord
  6. Sequential
  7. Novation
  8. Yamaha
  9. Behringer
  10. Modal Electronics
  11. Analogue Solutions

Of course, any “best of” list is subjective by nature. I’ve done my best to make this as objective as possible. I’ve included not only my own bias but also the opinions of others (in real life; in online forums, and by which brands professionals use). I’ve also taken into account the number of models and the objective nature of the models in each brand.

We’ll get into each of these brands in greater detail to explain why they made this list. I’ll also include one notable/flagship synthesizer for each brand along with a link to their official website and a bit of the company history.


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Moog Music

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The name Moog has become synonymous with world-class synthesizers since the brand was founded in the early 1950s. Today, the company carries on the legacy of Dr. Robert Moog, who was perhaps the most important pioneer in the field of synthesizers and the inventor of the legendary Moog Synthesizer (1964). This synth was the first commercially-available synthesizer.

In carrying on such a legacy, Moog Music Inc. continues to push the boundaries of sonic performance, ergonomic builds and functionality in some of the world’s best synthesizers.

The expert craftspeople of Moog hand-build these superior instruments, ensuring the utmost quality. Each synth is built to perfection and thoroughly tested before ever being sold.

Each model of a Moog synth is designed to inspire musicians and push the boundaries of what was previously possible with audio synthesis. For these reasons, Moog gets the top spot on this list without a doubt!

Notable Synthesizer: Moog One (link to check the price at B&H Photo/Video)

Moog One

Moog Music was founded in 1953 as “R. A. Moog Co.” by Robert Moog in New York City, New York, USA. The company was sold to Norlin Musical Instruments in 1971 and renamed Moog Music in 1972. Moog Music declared bankruptcy in 1987 and the trademark was eventually returned to Robert Moog in 2002. The company is now headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Official Website: moogmusic.com

Moog is also featured in the following My New Microphone article:
Top Best MU (Moog-Unit) Synth Module Brands In The World


Korg

Since its beginnings in 1963, Korg has become a multination corporation that offers a huge variety of products for the consumer and professional markets. This jack-of-all-trades company is certainly a master of some including, of course, synthesizers.

While Moog produced the first-ever commercially-available synthesizer, Korg produced the first Japanese synthesizer. Korg’s has been involved with the commercial synth market since the introduction of the miniKORG in 1973.

Today, Korg remains dedicated to designing and producing instruments that inspire great music and, most importantly, make making music fun. I, and many others, would agree that Korg is successful at doing so especially with its top-of-the-line synthesizers.

There are plenty of synths to choose from under the Korg brand. The company offers analog, digital, analog-modeling and dynamic phrase along with software synthesizers and even full-out hardware synth-based workstations.

With so many high-quality synths on the market, you’re sure to find the perfect Korg option for your synthesizer needs!

Notable Synthesizer: Korg Prologue (link to check the price on Amazon)

Korg Prologue

Korg was founded as “Keio Electronic Laboratories” in 1962 by Tsutomu Kato and Tadashi Osanai in Tokyo, Japan. The company name was changed in 1975 and is now headquartered in Inagi, Tokyo, Japan.

Official Website: korg.com

Korg is also featured in the following My New Microphone article:
Top Best MIDI Controller Brands In The World

Korg also owns ARP Instruments (acquired in 2014), a synthesizer brand that had gone bankrupt in 1981. This is worth noting in this article, giving us a sort of two-for-one with Korg.

Notable ARP Instruments Synthesizer: Korg ARP Odyssey (link to check the price on Amazon)

Korg ARP Odyssey

Roland

Roland is another multinational corporation based in Japan. Like Korg, it produces many superb electronic instruments including synthesizers.

Roland’s keyboards and synthesizers are world-class instruments with a focus of performance and advanced state-of-the-art technologies. From the powerful Jupiter series of polyphonic synths (first introduced in 1978) to the drum synth “rhythm composers”, Roland has a synth for any occasion.

From the studio to the stage and back to the practice room, Roland’s high-end synths are among the best in the business.

Notable Synthesizer: Roland Jupiter-X (link to check the price on Amazon)

Roland Jupiter-X

Roland was founded in 1972 by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka, Japan. The company is headquartered in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan (moved in 2005).

Official Website: roland.com

Roland is also featured in the following My New Microphone article:
Top Best MIDI Controller Brands In The World


Arturia

Arturia is a French company that specializes in both software and hardware for musicians. Their software instruments and MIDI/surface controllers outperform much of the competition and their awesome synthesizers give them a well-deserved spot on this list.

The team members at Arturia are passionate about sound and technology and, being musicians themselves, are dedicated to producing inspiring and powerful yet user-friendly tools. This is magnified in their line up of hardware synthesizers which are among the best on the planet.

With a focus on innovative technologies and an ear to what musicians are doing (and what they will be doing) Arturia designs and produce their superb synthesizers.

Notable Synthesizer: Arturia Polybrute (link to check the price on Amazon)

Arturia Polybrute

Arturia was founded in 1999 by Frédéric Brun and Gilles Pommereuil in Grenoble, France. The company is still headquartered in Grenoble, France.

Official Website: arturia.com

Arturia is also featured in the following My New Microphone article:
Top Best MIDI Controller Brands In The World


Nord

It was 1995 that Clavia Digital Musical Instruments released the Nord Lead and 1997 when it released the Nord Modular (the first-ever digital modular synthesizer). These synths became so successful that the brand Nord became its own entity, making a name for itself as one of the best in the synth business.

Each Nord synthesizer is built by hand in the company’s Stockholm factory by expert craftspeople. The dedicated research and development team at Nord regularly come up with new and innovative ways to improve future synth designs, allowing the company to stay up to date with the most modern techniques while also pushing the envelope further (pun intended) with unique functions and novel sound possibilities.

Nord is a well-organized manufacturer that maintains quality control through the entire process from sourcing parts to naming and recording each and every part of each and every synth. Once a synth is completed, it is thoroughly tested before being shipped. This ensures the end-user gets what Nord created: a world-class synthesizer.

Notable Synthesizer: Nord Wave 2 (link to check the price on Amazon)

Nord Wave 2

Clavia was founded in 1983 by Hans Nordelius and Mikael Carlsson om Stockholm, Sweden. Nord came about as Clavia’s prominent keyboard/synthesizer brand in 1995. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Official Website: nordkeyboards.com

Parent Company: Clavia Digital Musical Instruments


Sequential

Sequential is a project from the legendary synth designer Dave Smith (of Dave Smith Instruments). Dave was a significant contributor to the development of MIDI and worked in R&D in both Yamaha and Korg (two brands that have also made the list). This expertise is present in the superb sound and functionality of Sequential synthesizers.

The Prophet-5, released in 1977, was the world’s first fully-programmable polyphonic synth and the first musical instrument with an embedded microprocessor. Since then, the brand has become a top brand in synth design.

Sequential (and Dave Smith Instruments) synths have always pushed the field of synthesizer technology forward, including new functions and sounds upon release.

With a wide range of products to select from, there’s certainly a Sequential synth that will be a great fit for your needs. Surely, you’ll be inspired far beyond the intended purposes due to the functionality and awesome sound that these instruments provide.

Notable Synthesizer: Sequential Prophet X (link to check the price on Amazon)

Sequential Prophet X

Sequential was founded as “Sequential Circuits” in 1974 by Dave Smith in San Fransisco, California, USA. In 1987, the company went out of business and was acquired by Yamaha Corporation. Dave Smith went on to create Dave Smith Instruments in 2002 and in 2015, Yamaha returned the Sequential Circuits trademark to Dave Smith Instruments, which rebranded as Sequential in 2018.

Official Website: sequential.com


Novation

Novation is perhaps best-known for their relationship with digital audio workstation company Ableton. Novation’s controllers and software are awesome and so are its synthesizers.

The synthesizers Novation puts out are impressive in both sonic performance and versatility. From the MiniNova to the Summit, these synths are designed to inspire and explore musical possibilities.

Novation has been at it since 1992 and has a rich heritage to draw upon along with a forward-thinking team that builds upon what works into what will work in the future.

Notable Synthesizer: Novation Summit (link to check the price on Amazon)

Novation Summit

Novation was founded as “Novation Electronic Music Systems” in 1992 by Ian Jannaway and Mark Thompson in the United Kingdom. The company is headquartered in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom.

Official Website: novationmusic.com

Parent Company: Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd.

Novation is also featured in the following My New Microphone article:
Top Best MIDI Controller Brands In The World


Yamaha

Yamahe is the third and final Japanese multination corporation on this list and the oldest company we’ll be discussing. Since the release of the expressive SY-1 in 1974, Yamaha has been making a name for itself as an awesome synth designer (along with everything else the company does).

Yamaha is also responsible for bringing the first-ever frequency modulation digital synth to market, in 1980 with its GS-1.

Since the early days, Yamaha has continued to produce some of the world’s greatest hardware synth. The company has brought on the best fo the best to help with design and production including, for a while, the aforementioned Dave Smith.

Whatever your synth needs may be, Yamaha has a perfect product that with certainly meet and exceed your expectations.

Notable Synthesizer: Yamaha Montage 8 (link to check the price on Amazon)

Yamaha Montage 8

Yamaha Corporation was founded in 1887 as Nippon Gakki Co by Torakusu Yamaha. Today, Yamaha’s headquarters is located in Nakazawacho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan.

Official Website: yamaha.com

Yamaha is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
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Behringer

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Love it or hate it, Behringer gets a spot on this list. The main controversy behind this choice can be summed up in one word: clones.

Yes, many of Behringer’s best synthesizers (and other products) are simply clones of more legendary models. Of course, this is perfectly legal as patents expire. For some, this means they can snag an awesome synth at a discounted price from the original. For others, it’s uninspired and lame to straight up copy other products.

All that aside, I’ve added Behringer to this list (though I tend to abstain when possible) because the synths certainly sound great. On top of that, Behringer does develop its own synthesizers, which are also sonically impressive while packing excellent functionality.

Notable Synthesizer: Behringer UB-Xa (to be released)

Behringer UB-Xa

Behringer was founded in 1989 by Uli Behringer in Willich, Germany. The company is owned by Music Tribe (also founded and chaired by Uli Behringer), which is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Official Website: behringer.com

Parent Company: Music Tribe

Behringer is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Eurorack Brands In The World
Top Best Mixing Console Brands For “Budget” Home Studios
Top Best DAW Control Surface Brands In The World
Top Best MIDI Controller Brands In The World


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Modal Electronics is the youngest company on this list but has proved to be an impressive brand of synths during this [relatively] short time frame. The Modal 002 re-imagined what synthesizers could be as the first-ever polyphonic digital/analogue hybrid synth with a transistor ladder filter.

Since 2013, Modal has been producing ingenious synthesizers that get people talking and, of course, making music. The company consistently outdoes itself with new released, pushing the boundaries of what has been done before while simultaneously maintaining the spirit of the most innovative synths of the past.

The now-legendary 00 series has inspired practically all of Modal’s works. All their synths sound incredible and offer inspiring tools to create sound and music.

Notable Synthesizer: Modal Electronics Cobalt8X (link to check the price at Sweetwater)

Modal Electronics Cobalt8x

Modulud Music was founded in 2000 by Paula Maddox and Philip Taysom in Bristol, United Kingdom. The company name was changed to “Modal Electronics” in 2013. The company is headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom.

Official Website: modalelectronics.com


Analogue Solutions

Analogue Solutions is an English company the specializes in analog synthesizers, sequencers and Eurorack modules. Though the company was founded in 2009, it draws on experience that exceeds its age to produce some of the best analog synths in the world.

These synthesizers (and all other instruments) are hand-built in England and go through meticulous testing to ensure the utmost quality in sound and performance.

With a keen focus on true analog circuits, Analogue Solutions synthesizers come full of character. Full analog audio paths, LFOs, EGs provide pure audio without any digital conversion. There is no memory nor any saving of patches in these synths. We get pure, full analog sound.

If you’re into amazing analog synths, then Analogue Solutions may very well be the brand for you!

Notable Synthesizer: Analogue Solutions Colossus (link to check the price at KMR Audio)

Analogue Solutions Colossus

Analogue Solutions was founded in 2009 by Tom Carpenter in the United Kingdom. The company is headquartered in Shatterford, Bewdley, England, United Kingdom.

Official Website: analoguesolutions.com


Other Mentions

Of course, there are plenty more synthesizer brands that could have broken my top 11. Since this is such a subjective premise, I figured I’d end this article with a longer list of brands that very well could replace some of my picks in my readers’ top 11 lists. I’ll add links to the website of each brand:

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