What is the Best Keyboard Synths? Top Digital Piano Synthesizers for 2019

Looking for a synthesizer keyboard is not like looking for a pair of shoes that you just choose a size and take home. An instrument needs to be played with and tested before being purchased.

So, what is a synthesizer keyboard?

Synthesizer keyboards are a sort of electronic, non-acoustic instrument that allows the player to play a variety of sounds the likes of piano samples and any other instrument not leaving behind the sounds of nature and other none musical tones like the sound from car horns.

Like a regular piano, a synthesizer keyboard has both white and black keys. However, it is no played in the same way as a piano. The purpose of synthesizers is to amplify the sound on the speakers or software to which it is connected.

This instrument is mainly used in music the likes of pop and dance. In electronic music, a synthesizer keyboard is used to bring out the unique sounds as well as the unusual sounds that make the kind of electronic music we know and love.

Owing to the uniqueness of a synthesizer keyboard, even a professional piano player may find it challenging to play a synthesizer keyboard. The reason is that the keys of a synthesizer keyboard produce a sound that is far from the sound produced by a regular keyboard.

Synthesizers are portable, lightweight devices that do not have speakers. Therefore, to play a synthesizer, you will need an amplifier or a software for recording. There is a large variety of synthesizer keyboards in the market. Choosing the best will need you to carry out some sampling.

Here are some of the best synthesizers in the market:

Best Synthesizer Keyboard List

KORG MICROKORG XL+ 37-KEY SYNTHESIZER/ VOCODER WITH EXPANDER PCM **TOP PICK**5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
YAMAHA MOXF8 MUSIC PRODUCTION WORKSTATION BY YAMAHA4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
MOOG SUB PHATTY 25-KEY ANALOG SYNTHESIZER4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
NOVATION MININOVA ANALOG MODELING SYNTHESIZER4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
ROLAND GAIA SH-01 SYNTHESIZER4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Korg microKORG XL+ 37-Key Synthesizer/ Vocoder with Expander PCM

This synthesizer keyboard comes with the most vintage of sounds including the KORG SGproX piano, M1 and VOX Organs and Tape instruments. It is designed with XLR gooseneck mic that comes with a unique formant Hold along with a formant shift elements. It also comes with a new and unique program genre selector that is able to reflect even the most current musical scenes.

It has a powerful Kaoss effect engine. This engine is fitted with a kind of effect that matches with the one from Korg. It also comes with the Korg’s proprietary Natural Torch on and a mini-keyboard that is designed with an emphasis on its playability. It has a compact design, six brands of arpeggio patterns and a portable power status.

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Pros

  • It comes with vintage sounds
  • It has powerful Kaoss effect engines
  • It has a portable keyboard and portable power features
  • It is affordable

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Cons

  • It is hard to come by
  • It needs to warm up before use


Yamaha MOXF8 Music Production Workstation by Yamaha

This device is updated with the latest MOFIT XF technology. This means that more sound has been added into it, more effects, as well as a slot for the option of a flash board. The device is packed with a large collection of sound, sample libraries and optional software that is available on purchase.

The Yamaha MOXF8 Music Production Workstation is expandable, affordable, portable, compatible and affordable that every musician will be raved about. The device is also packed with a universe of sound that has been collected from an entire decade of sounds collected from other brands of Motifs. The sound produced by this workstation is of indisputable high quality.

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Pros

  • It produces high quality sounds of all kinds
  • It is packed with a universe of sounds
  • It is portable and expandable
  • It is updated with the latest MOF series

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Cons

  • It is expensive
  • It is delicate


Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synthesizer

The engineers of this instrument have been crafted with the grittiest of the oscillators that perform to the best accuracy and do not require any time for warm up. Of all the other analog synthesizers in the market, Moog Phatty is that it comes with the new multi-drive section that is both transformative. At lower settings, the multi-drive adds warmth and girth to the device.

The mixture also offers innovative features the likes of a sub oscillator that gives an output of a square wave of an octave that is below 1. Due to its added depth, the device can also be used as a third oscillator. It comes with other features like a free software editor, a one knob function feature and a multi-drive circuit.

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Pros

  • It has a software editor
  • Its oscillators perform with extreme accuracy
  • It has a multi-drive circuit

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Cons

  • If the multi-section is pushed it produces a screaming sound that is irritating
  • It runs warm


Novation MiniNova Analog Modeling Synthesizer

This instrument is designed with an extremely powerful mini-synth system that is perfect for a synthesizing keyboard’s functioning. It has a vocoder with a one of a kind vocal tune, a pitch and sound correcting effect. With this instrument, you can both tweak and wrap your sound in real-time.

The device is packed with up to two hundred and fifty-six onboard sounds as well as an additional sound pack that is free of charge and downloadable upon registration of the device. It also comes with a 30 Giorgio moroder-inspired patches. It can layer up to five effects in a single voice and it comes with a warranty that lasts for up to two years in case the device comes with manufacturing defects.

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Pros

  • It has 256 onboard sounds
  • It layers five effects per voice
  • It can tweak and wrap sounds in real time

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Cons

  • It has to warm up before use
  • It is expensive


Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer

This instrument comes with three virtual analog engines onboard. Each engine is designed with an amplifier, a delicate oscillator, an envelope and LFO. It is layered with up to five simultaneous effects which include the distortion effect, the flanger effect, delay, reverb, low boost and several others.

It has 64 voice polyphony effects, a hands-on control panel and a lightweight but compact body. It also comes with a D beam, an arpeggiaor and a phase recorder onboard the device. It also comes with a USB port that can be used to save user patches, USB drives and for audios or MIDI connections to computers.

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Pros

  • It has a triple-fat virtual analogue
  • It comes with stackable effects
  • Its power is portable
  • It has instant control

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Cons

  • It is expensive
  • It needs to warm up before use


Korg Minilogue 4- Voice Polyphonic Analog Synth with Presets

This is a flexible powerful four-voice analog synthesizer. It has a power consumption of up to eight watts. It is fully programmable with up to two hundred program memories with a hundred sounds included to the pack. For passionate musician, this is the perfect choice of a synthesizer keyboard that is worth every cent you spend on purchase.

The voice mode in this device allows you to flexibly configure the four voices. The device has an automatic 16-step polyphonic note as well as a motion sequencer. The oscilloscope function is good enough to show the waveform visually. Upon purchase, this device comes with a two-month warranty in case of manufacturing issues.

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Pros

  • It is fully programmable
  • It has over a hundred sounds and program memories
  • It allows configuration of up to four voices

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Cons

  • It is expensive
  • It is hard to come by


What to consider when choosing the best synthesizer keyboard

Before you make a purchase when it comes to a synthesizer keyboard, there are a variety of things to consider before making a purchase. All these features make affect the price of the device as well as the portability in other instances.

The number of keys

Most synthesizers do not have all the 88 keys that are found in a piano. However, the number of keys in a synthesizer vary and if you look in the right places, you can actually find one with the 88 keys. If you don’t, then look for one with keys that are close to those of a regular keyboard or a piano.

With that in mind, you also need to put into consideration that a synthesizer with more keys will be larger in size. This means that you may not be able to carry it around for performances or recordings as they are less portable.

Whether it is analog or digital

Digital synthesizing keyboards are less expensive than analog synthesizers. However, when it comes to functionality, analog is the way to go.

Whether it is monophonic or polyphonic

Monophonic synthesizers are those that can only play a single tone at a time. The polyphonic kind is one that can play several tones and cords at a time.

The type of music you are looking to create

Different musicians, playing different genres require different kinds of instruments to create their sound. However, if you are looking to create electronic, dance or pop music, a synthesizer is your instrument of choice.

Your budget

A wide range of synthesizers are expensive; however, you can always find an instrument that is within your range of price. However, when deciding on the one to purchase, before looking at the cost, you need to compare the price with the features mentioned above to find the best fit at the best price range for you.

If you are on a tight budged, do not worry, there are synthesizers meant for you. There are several companies that have started to come up with cheaper versions of synthesizers. In addition, you can also find synthesizers in the form of downloadable applications on an iPad.

There are also a variety of digital mini synthesizer keyboards that some people like to refer to as ‘toys.’ They can perform well but the down side is that they pay more attention to digital sounds as compared to the analog kind. This type of synthesizers can be obtained at a cheaper cost.

What are the similarities between a piano and a synthesizer?

The most obvious similarity between a piano and a synthesizer keyboard lies in the appearance. Both of these instruments have white and black keys. Additionally, a synthesizer keyboard, like a piano, is a musical instrument.

What are the differences between a synthesizer keyboard and a piano?

A piano usually comes with 88 keys. A synthesizer on the other hand does not come with the full number of keys as a piano.

Unlike a piano, a synthesizer keyboard cannot be played without first connecting it to an amplifier or any other form of software for music production. The reason is that most synthesizer keyboards do not come with inbuilt speakers.

Both pianos and digital pianos are focused on the sound. A digital piano on the other hand has sounds that are sampled from an actual acoustic piano with keys that are often weighted to allow the player a more realistic experience while playing the piano. However, a synthesizer keyboard comes with a variety of pre-programmed tones that you can choose from.

These tones are derived from a variety of instruments as well as electronic generated sounds.

Synthesizers come with a variety of knobs, buttons, wheels and pedals among other settings that allow the player to be able to manipulate the tone and create a sound of their choice. This is a feature that pianos do not provide.

Additionally, synthesizer keyboards and keys are not usually weighted as in the case of pianos therefore, they may not come in full size.

Between the two, which is better?

A piano is credited for the similarities it has with an acoustic piano with the basic tones that make for making good music.

On the other hand, a synthesizing keyboard allows for the user to create sounds, to compose electronic music and to also be able to use non- musical tones in the creation or composition of music. A synthesizer keyboard is also able to create more tones than a piano making the composition process fun and leaving room for creativity.

Choosing between a synthesizing keyboard and a piano depends on your musical choices. For traditional music, a regular piano is probably the way to go. However, when it comes to modern innovative and creative sounds, a synthesizing keyboard is the way to go.

A piano is however cheaper as compared to a synthesizer.

But why are synthesizers expensive?

Most musicians would have loved to own a synthesizing keyboard but due to the price, they do not. The reason as to the high cost of synthesizers is:

  • They often do not come with a full keyboard or a speaker. Therefore, the additional cost for a speaker or a sound software makes the cost rocket.
  • Synthesizers include several varieties of tones that can be manipulated in a variety of methods
  • There are very few companies with the prowess to esign and manufacture synthesizers. Therefore, those that actually do manufacture synthesizer keyboards sell them at an expensive price due to the time, material, money, and output that is spent in the manufacturing and designing process.
  • Ironically, most high-end synthesizers are analog. This means that they use analog circuits that have a variable signal for a variety of tones. Such synthesizers have to be designed by hand hence the high cost.
  • There are some brands of digital keyboards that come with a variety of tones however, even such instruments cannot match to the simplest of synthesizers in the market.
  • When it comes to voice selection, synthesizer keyboards work on a one-button press basis. They are as simple as that.
  • Synthesizing keyboards use electronic signals that are uniquely designed to create tones in a synthetic manner. This is where the name synthesizer was derived.
  • In creating and designing a synthesizer, the knowledge and experience that is required is one of the main reasons as to why a synthesizer keyboard is costlier than the latest digital pianos or keyboards.

All these reasons also sum up as the advantages and the amazing features of a synthesizer keyboard. They are what make a synthesizer stand out form, a regular and a digital keyboard or piano.

It is also important to note that synthesizers can come in different versions. There are synthesizers that come in the form of guitars. Such are different from synthesizer keyboards but have many similarities as well.

Conclusion & What is the Best Synthesizer Keyboard

Choosing the best instrument, at a cost that is matches your budget is not a walk in the park. The variety of options in the market does not make the task any easier. Therefore, we have compiled the above list of six what we found to be the best brands in the market.

When it comes to the crème del a crème, we would recommend the Korg microKORG XL + Key Synthesizer (CHECK BEST PRICE HERE). This synthesizer is an analog version that comes with a variety of features like a 16-band vocoder, a program that selects genre, a powerful Kaoss effects engine, a mini-keyboard and six types of arpeggio patters among several others.

It is also quite affordable and portable. Look no more! Here you have the best option for a synthesizer you can find in the market.

The Korg microKORG XL + Key Synthesizer/ Vocoder with an expanded PCM is available on all trusted dealer sites.