Best synthesizers to buy in 2024: 20 of the best synths under $600

From DIY synths to vintage remakes, there are plenty of wicked wave-makers that sit in a reasonable price bracket.

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Although software synths are outrageously powerful and affordable, getting hands-on with their hardware counterparts can reward a different workflow. A synthesizer used to be an extortionate investment – a Yamaha DX7 would set you back $1,995 upon its initial 1983 release which, adjusted for inflation, is over $5,000 today. But music technology companies have managed to make that sum much smaller today. Yamaha’s modern revival of the DX7, the dinky Reface DX, will cost you just $300. That sounds a lot less terrifying than the 1983 price tag.

Korg is a renowned affordable synth specialist. Behringer is recreating legendary synths with a legendary price. Roland has created compact, modern versions of its analogue classics. All these companies, and many more, understand that the modern producer can’t always afford to break the bank on a sweet new synth. To show you what we mean, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite hardware synths that sit below $600.

The best synthesizers under $600 at a glance:

  • Behringer Odyssey
  • Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator
  • Dreadbox Typhon
  • Dreadbox Nymphes
  • PWM Malevolent
  • ASM Hydrasynth Explorer
  • Behringer Pro-800
  • Behringer Poly-D
  • Korg Nu:Tekt NTS-1
  • Behringer TD-3-MO
  • Korg Minilogue
  • Modal Electronics COBALT5S 5-voice
  • Roland JU-06A
  • Roland Aira Compact S-1 Tweak Synth
  • Arturia MicroFreak
  • Roland/Studio Electronics SE-02
  • Behringer Neutron
  • 1010music Nanobox Lemondrop
  • IK Multimedia UNO Synth PRO X
  • Yamaha Reface DX

Behringer Odyssey

Behringer Odyssey
Behringer Odyssey. Image: Behringer

ARP’s 1970s duophonic space-age synth, the Odyssey, could be found in studios and live settings for early pioneers such as Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It was equally at home with the likes of ABBA and ELO, with a significant following from jazz legends, such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Behringer’s fully-analogue revival of the Odyssey comes with an onboard arpeggiator and sequencer, MIDI via MIDI I/O and USB, a multi-effects section and three filter types with overdrive.

In our review of Behringer’s Odyssey, we said: “It’s a full-blown hats-off homage to the ARP Odyssey and it delivers on many levels as a fully functional duophonic synthesizer, with a build quality which is very good indeed. Far better, in fact, than you would find on a vintage machine nowadays. Is it identical? Well, it’s very close, but there are a couple of minor points that just seem to make it not quite the same. Should this put you off? Absolutely not”.


  • 37 keys
  • Fully formed true analogue synthesizer
  • Recreation of the original ARP Odyssey
  • Onboard arpeggiator and sequencer
  • Reverbs, delays & echoes, phasers & other modulation effects
  • Duophonic capability
  • MIDI available via conventional MIDI I/O or USB
  • Price: $549

Read our full review of the Behringer Odyssey here. Learn more at

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Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator. Image: Teenage Engineering

Teenage Engineering is a brand that oozes design excellence. The Swedish brand rarely misses the mark with innovative, beautiful and downright cute products that inspire – although not so innovative on the desk table front. While Pocket Operators aren’t as flashy as some of TE’s other more lavish products like the OP-1 Field and its miniature TX-6 mixer, they’re capable of some serious sounds.

Each Pocket Operator is a nifty, calculator-sized gadget with a screen that will take you back to the days of Tamagotchi and early Pokémon games. The Pocket Operator comes in several different forms with varying sounds, such as Sub, Rhythm, Arcade, Factory and more. If you’re looking to buy something cheap and fun to use, a TE Pocket Operator is a good choice.


  • Multiple real synthesizer engines
  • 15 sounds + micro drum
  • 16 punch-in effects
  • 16 punch-in arpeggio and chord play styles
  • 16 pattern chaining
  • Price: £ 89

Find out more at Teenage Engineering.

Dreadbox Typhon

Dreadbox Typhon
Dreadbox Typhon. Image: Dreadbox

In recent years, Dreadbox has introduced a slew of well-regarded music-making products, including modular building blocks, DIY boxes and modules, and portable effects, synthesizers and sequencers. Like the many-legged monster after which it’s named, the Typhon combines many facets into one powerful, noisy, fire-spitting unit – a monophonic analogue synth with digital control, sequencing and effects.

In our review, we said: “The Typhon is a fun, flexible and surprisingly powerful synthesizer. The core analogue sound engine is strong and the fact that much of the synth is controlled digitally means that thrilling new features can be added along the way. The Typhon might not live up to the cataclysmic might of its serpentine namesake quite yet but we’re confident that this monophonic synth will only grow in power”.


  • Two analogue VCOs
  • 4-pole low-pass analogue filter
  • Two envelope generators (filter and amp), plus three modulators with four modes
  • Three-stage stereo effects developed by Sinevibes
  • 32-step sequencer
  • 256 preset memories
  • Price: $449

Read our full review here. Learn more at

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Dreadbox Nymphes

Dreadbox Nymphes
Dreadbox Nymphes. Image: Dreadbox

Dreadbox’s Nymphes is a quirky synthesizer ideal for producers looking for an analogue sound akin to a Roland Juno synth. While its functions can be a fiddle at first, the warm sounds it produces is a sufficient reward for your toils. For such an affordable price, you get MIDI control over every parameter, a lush-sounding reverb and a weighty slab of complex sound design options.

In our review of Nymphes, we said: “Nymphes offers multiple sonic personalities, with rasping basses, ethereal pads, spiky, wonky melodies, blunt sounds perfect for sequencing and a host of options for electronic percussion. Its sound is deep, broad and versatile but, just as significantly, it’s not awash with flashy gimmicks trying to impress you.”


  • All analogue, six-voice structure
  • Digital Reverb with a spring-like, unusual quality
  • Multiple Play Modes
  • Bus power and MIDI Connectivity over USB
  • Separate MIDI breakout cable included
  • Fully controllable via MIDI CC
  • Map-able Velocity, Mod Wheel and Aftertouch routings per patch
  • 49 presets and 49 user patches
  • Price: $599

Read the full review here. Learn more at

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PWM Malevolent

PWM Malevolent
Image: PWM

British brand PWM debuted its Malevolent analogue synth in 2021. Malevolent features an analogue signal path with two VCOs, two envelopes, and a multi-mode 2-pole VCF. Its USP lies in modular-style patching, featuring 19 inputs and outputs for versatile routing. With features like a 32-note keyboard, arpeggiator, and vibrato effect, this popular synth offers a diverse sonic palette.


  • Price: $528
  • Modular-style patching with 19 inputs/outputs
  • 32-note keyboard with velocity sensitivity
  • Onboard arpeggiator and vibrato effect
  • Multi-function joystick for pitch bends and portamento

Buy it on Thomann.

Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth Explorer

ASM Hydrasynth Explorer and Deluxe
Image: Ashun Sound Machines

ASM’s Hydrasynth Explorer condenses the features of its desktop and keyboard counterparts into a more compact format. With an 8-voice digital synth engine featuring three oscillators per voice and a 37-note keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch, it offers versatility in a portable package. It’s also battery-powered, meaning you can take it virtually anywhere.


  • Price: $599
  • 8-voice digital synth engine with three oscillators per voice
  • 37-note keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Can be powered by an adaptor or eight AA batteries
  • Compatible with previous Hydrasynth patches

Buy it on zZounds.

Behringer Pro-800

Behringer Pro-800
Behringer Pro-800. Image: Behringer

Behringer’s polyphonic Eurorack synth, the Pro-800, is notably inspired by the renowned Sequential Prophet-600.

The Pro-800 boasts 16 oscillators and 8-voice polyphony, emulating the 1982 synth’s analogue sound. It offers modern features without losing its classic character. Ideal for both studio and performance setups, it covers rumbling basses and scorching leads with iconic and contemporary appeal.


  • 8 analogue voices, 2 VCOs per voice
  • Dedicated LFO with six waveforms
  • Additional noise generators, one said to be from “ultra-rare Japanese models”
  • Built-in polyphonic track sequencer
  • VCA overdrive for additional harmonics
  • MIDI CC control for all parameters
  • 400 preset slots
  • Price: $399

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Korg Nu:Tekt NTS-1

Korg Nu:Tekt NTS-1
Korg Nu:Tekt NTS-1. Image: Korg

Ever wanted to build your own synth? Korg’s delightful little digital mini synth comes as a set of parts, with tools included for you to piece it together. It takes about 30 minutes to get it fully functional and you’ll feel pretty good when that oscillator starts working. The Nu:Tekt NTS-1 is also surprisingly powerful, with 16 oscillator types, five delay and reverb algorithms and a multi-mode filter.

“For £99, the Nu:Tekt NTS-1 is an absolute steal. Once you get into the effects, you can quickly make massive sounds from mundane beginnings, and this little beast has enough quirks to keep you entertained for a long time. Despite its miniature stature and similarly small price, this is a unit that packs a serious punch. It’s not without its issues but the joy and portability it brings should be enough to overcome them”.


  • User expandable synthesiser
  • Monophonic operation with up to 16 user oscillator types
  • Multi-mode filter
  • Five delay and reverb algorithms
  • 3.5mm MIDI-in
  • 3.5mm sync I/O
  • USB-powered
  • Audio input for use as an effects unit
  • Built-in arpeggiator
  • Price: $120

Read our full review of the Korg Nu:Tekt NTS-1 here. Learn more at

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Behringer TD-3-MO

Behringer TD-3-MO
Behringer TD-3-MO. Image: Behringer

What do you think of when we say 303? Squelchy, distinctive acid basslines, old-school acid house, raves in fields, and of course the iconic smiley face, right? Well, Behringer knows this all too well and did a stellar job of recreating the legendary Roland TB-303 with its TD-3 synth. Even more impressive is the release of the TD-3-MO, its take on the revered TB-303 Devilfish Mod by Robin Whittle.

Get iconic sounds at a staggeringly affordable price and have endless fun making music when you pick up the TD-3-MO. It packs in a deep sub-oscillator alongside its main square/sawtooth oscillator, an expanded filter range with FM and overdrive controls, and further patching points so you can connect more gear.


  • Modded interpretation of iconic bass synth
  • One oscillator with sawtooth/squarewave waveforms
  • All-analog VCO, VCF, VCA signal path design
  • 4-pole resonant filter
  • 16-step sequencer with 7 tracks and 250 user pattern slots
  • Programmable accents, slides, filter FM, sub-oscillator, overdrive, and real-time parameter manipulation
  • Price: $259

Find out more at

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Korg Minilogue

Korg Minilogue
Korg Minilogue. Image: Korg

The sleek and minimal-looking Minilogue is Korg’s portable polyphonic synth with analogue architecture. With a recent firmware update to 2.0, there’s not been a better time to consider getting your hands on one. The synth boasts a 16-step polyphonic sequencer, plus a range of voice modes to change polyphony. The OLED display is a nice way to keep track of parameters and settings, too.

In our review, we said: “If you are in line for a versatile analogue synth, this is an excellent choice, particularly if you have other analogue gear, such as Eurorack or any of the Korg Volcas. I would have to say that the creative possibilities with a Volca Beats and Bass, and a Minilogue could keep you busy for hours, with plenty to explore.”


  • 37 mini keys
  • Four-voice polyphonic analogue synthesiser
  • Full subtractive synthesis architecture
  • Mono, Duo and Poly voice modes
  • Arpeggiator and Polyphonic Sequencer
  • Sync’able with other analogue devices
  • Price: $550

Read the full review of the Korg Minilogue here. Learn more at

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Modal Electronics COBALT5S 5-voice

Modal Electronics COBALT5S 5-voice
Modal Electronics COBALT5S 5-voice. Image: Modal Electronics

Don’t be put off by the simplistic look of Modal Electronics’ COBALT5S 5-Voice synthesizer – it packs one hell of a punch. The smaller and more portable sibling to the Cobalt8, this five-voice polysynth is a solid piece of kit for its inviting price tag, with 37 keys, eight oscillators per voice, and 40 sound-shaping algorithms on offer. These range from ring mod, waveform morphing, cross modulation, PWM and more.

Yes, the COBALT5S might not display 8-bit figures dancing on a screen, nor will it recreate the northern lights in its dazzling backlit pads, or attract the stoned hardware synth hipsters looking to make their studio look good, but it will deliver. This incredibly versatile synth offers its users an unlimited array of analogue sounds inspired by analogue icons. Create swooping, emotional pads, grungy bass sounds and loads more for a delicious price.


  • 37 keys
  • 2 LFOs with 7 shapes to choose from
  • 8 mod slots & 4 extra fixed modulation routings with 11 selectable sources and 41 destinations
  • 32-step arpeggiator
  • Five-axis XYZ touch-sensitive pad for pitch bending, mod wheel and more
  • 300 patches with 200n factory presets
  • Comes with free Modal app
  • Price $449

Read more about the Modal Electronics COBALT5S here. Learn more at

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Roland JU-06A

Roland JU-06A
Roland JU-06A. Image: Roland

The Roland Juno synths are tremendously sought-after pieces of kit, with a plethora of software emulations developed in recent years. Roland’s caught on and made the classic Juno-106 and Juno-60 available in the form of the Boutique JU-06A, with a much smaller form factor and lower price tag. You’ll get many of the frills from the original synths here, including the legendary Juno Chorus modes and arpeggiator. This synth is ideal for anyone looking for a Juno replica with awesome tactility.

In our review, we said: “If you want a module which works well as an all-rounder but whose sound has lots of personality, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. Throw in its hybrid sonic engine, a capable, inspiring pattern sequencer, all the portability you could want (including battery power and an internal speaker) and the JU-06A has plenty to recommend it. It’s a great vibe machine too; when inspiration is low, it’ll get the juices flowing”.


  • 4 voice polyphony
  • Juno-60 and 160 ‘hybrid’ sound engines
  • DCO, LFO, HPF, VCF, VCA and envelope stages
  • Arpeggiator and pattern sequencer
  • MIDI In/Out
  • External clock input
  • Headphone and line outputs
  • Audio input
  • Chorus and delay effects
  • Price $399

Read the full review of the Roland JU-06A here. Learn more at

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Arturia MicroFreak

Arturia MicroFreak
Arturia MicroFreak. Image: Arturia

Getting weird with Arturia’s erratic four-voice freak is a breeze, thanks to its versatile modulation matrix and 11 oscillator modes. The oscillator was created with some help from modular synth brand, Mutable Instruments, and sports subtractive-style waves, a wavetable, an FM-tone generator, among other awesome oscillator modes. This all feeds into a 12dB/2-pole state-variable analogue filter, which is a nice addition to the digital beast. MicroFreak V3 has been recently released, bringing more presets, more oscillator modes and more fun.

In our review, we said: “The MicroFreak represents very good value for money, providing basic synthesis possibilities alongside more complicated and highly inspiring digitised formats. Add this to the included analogue filter and comprehensive routing and modulation capabilities and you have a powerful synth in a highly compact form that is very appealing.”


  • Versatile monophonic/paraphonic synthesizer
  • Digital oscillator offers 11 voice modes
  • Up to four voices available
  • State-variable analogue filter
  • Flexible modulation routing via the matrix
  • Arpeggiator and sequencer onboard
  • ADSR and cycling envelopes
  • MIDI/USB connectivity
  • Price $349

Read our full review of the Arturia MicroFreak here. Learn more at

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Roland Boutique SE-02

Roland Boutique SE-02
Roland Boutique SE-02. Image: Roland

Another one of Roland’s Boutique synths to consider is the SE-02, which comes in collaboration with Studio Electronics. The analogue monosynth boasts three oscillators, plus a noise generator, feeding into a fixed 24dB/octave low-pass VCF with envelope and keyboard tracking options. Three cross-modulators take you into new sonic territories, wildly warping waveforms, along with an LFO for filter and oscillator modulations and a delay section. The SE-02’s 16-step sequencer makes it easy to create patterns, featuring a glide control for smooth transitions.

In our review, we said: “There’s a lovely sonorous depth to the SE-02’s sound, which will just sit beautifully in a mix, but it also has the capacity to shriek in various ways. The filter sounds terrific; add in the levels of distortion available through the Feedback control and X-Mod, and you’ve got yourself a very flexible device full of wondrous sonic capabilities. So much so, in fact, you’ll probably just want to get your hands dirty and create great sounds.”


  • Monophonic analogue synthesiser
  • Authentic discrete circuit design
  • Knob-per-function interface
  • Lots of modulation possibilities
  • MIDI, USB and CV connectivity
  • Audio over USB
  • 128 user-memory locations/384 presets
  • Onboard sequencer
  • Price $449

Read our full review of the Roland Boutique SE-02 here. Learn more at

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Behringer Neutron

Behringer Neutron
Behringer Neutron. Image: Behringer

The Behringer Neutron isn’t a reproduction of a classic synth. Can you believe it? Built from the ground up, this is Behringer’s totally original semi-modular synth that gives you more ways to contort your sound and is a brilliant way to introduce yourself to the world of modular synthesis.

This offers a punchy, raw sound as a basis with tons of options to shape it into something unique. With 56 patch points and two oscillators, Neutron stands up against many fully modular synths, giving you fistfuls of hardware to play with. If you love hardware and are either a recent or seasoned collector, the semi-modular synth offers hours of music-making pleasure.

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the Proton, a step up from the Neutron which Behringer is bravely dubbing “the most powerful and complex semi-modular synth ever designed”. Behringer really is pulling out all the stops.


  • 2 voltage-controlled oscillators
  • Noise oscillator
  • 56 Patch Points
  • Lowpass/Highpass VCF
  • Filter and Amp Envelopes
  • LFO
  • CV I/O
  • Delay & overdrive
  • Price $329

Read more about the Behringer Neutron here. Learn more at

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1010music Nanobox Lemondrop

1010music Nanobox Lemondrop
1010music Nanobox Lemondrop. Image: 1010music

A zesty little number is 1010music’s Nanobox Lemondrop. It’s a compact polyphonic granular synthesizer offering touch-based control. With four-voice polyphony, dual granulators, and an oscillator, it covers a diverse sonic range from lush pads to glitched-out textures.

Its touchscreen makes for hands on sound manipulation, while filters, envelopes, LFOs, and a modulation sequencer allow for detailed shaping. It’s designed for both tabletop and portable use, featuring a small form factor, USB power, and various connectivity options.


  • X/Y control touchscreen
  • 4 voice polyphony
  • 2 granulators & 1 oscillator
  • 2 filters, 2 envelopes, 2 LFOs, & 1 modulation sequencer
  • 6 combinable onboard effects
  • Price: $494

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Yamaha Reface DX

Yamaha Reface DX
Yamaha Reface DX. Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s DX7 is an FM synthesis pioneer, renowned for its ability to generate unique sounds and for its frustratingly complex programming interface. Four operators and 12 algorithms are featured in Yamaha’s DX reboot, the Reface DX. This is two operators less than the DX7, but a pair of effects processors still lets you create complex tones. A Phrase Looper lets you record up to 2,000 notes or 10 minutes worth of notes, and the screen will help you visualise your FM routing.

In our review, we said: “What it does well is bring easy, hands-on DX sound mangling one step closer to reality, albeit a cut-down four-operator version of FM. We love that it offers a great taste of the original and what you can do with the sounds, especially in such a short space of time, and this overall level of ease of use is something you would never once associate with the letters ‘DX’.”


  • Eight voices of polyphony
  • 37 keys
  • Effects: Distortion, chorus, wah flanger, phaser, delay, reverb
  • 4-operator FM sound engine
  • Onboard multi-effects for adding depth to your sound
  • 32 memory locations
  • Phrase looper
  • Price $299

Read our full review of the Yamaha Reface DX here. Learn more at

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