- The best new hardware synths of 2017
Even if common sense says that you don’t need one, you can always find a way of justifying the purchase of another hardware synth. In 2017, the temptation to add to your collection has been almost impossible to resist, with new models arriving to suit every taste and budget.
Which, though, is the finest hardware synth of the year? We put together a shortlist of the best new releases of the past 12 months and asked you to vote for your favourite.
Now it's time for the results; join as we count down to your number 1...
The MusicRadar Best in music tech awards 2017 are brought to you in association with Softube - Tools for the Audio Professional
Modal Electronics CRAFTsynth
We said: "A monophonic eight-knob instrument that we're told can be put together without the need to solder in less than 10 minutes. There are two oscillators per voice, though the unison/spread mode enables you to split each oscillator into four separate detunable sub oscillators, effectively giving you eight."
Find out more about Modal Electronics CRAFTsynth
Pioneer DJ Toraiz AS-1
We said: "With gorgeous DSI-powered sound and a performance-friendly design, the AS-1 is a cult classic in the making."
Read Pioneer DJ Toraiz AS-1 review
Novation Circuit Mono Station
We said: "The deep, multi-channel sequencer, flexible mod matrix and automation all add up to a workflow and creative experience unlike anything else on the market, combining the best of digital flexibility with a classic analogue synth design."
Read Novation Circuit Mono Station review
Roland Boutique TB-03
We said: "If you must have analogue, then the TB-03 isn’t for you. But for everyone else looking for that classic tone it is well worth checking out."
Read Roland Boutique TB-03 review
Roland Boutique D-05
We said: "The D-05 has the same form factor as the other Boutique synths, and is powered by Roland’s new Digital Circuit Behaviour (DCB) technology. This uses the same PCM attack and loop samples as were featured on the D-50, and promises to emulate “every tonal nuance” of the original instrument."
Find out more about Roland Boutique D-05
Roland Boutique SH-01A
We said: "The ACB technology promises to deliver those classic SH bass, lead, noise and FX sounds, while adding Unison, Chord and four-voice Polyphonic modes to give you extra flexibility beyond merely monophonic operation."
Find out more about Roland Boutique SH-01A
Roland Boutique SE-02
We said: "A great-sounding, portable and versatile monosynth for the studio and stage. It may be small, but it packs a huge punch for a modest outlay."
Read Roland Boutique SE-02 review
They say: "An analogue paraphonic synth with a "unique" reverb effect by Crazy Tube Circuits. The NYX offers two VCOs with separate glide controls, a dual state variable 24 or 12dB/octave filter, a triangle wave LFO and more."
Find out more about Dreadbox NYX
We said: "If you’re after a ‘do-it-all’ analogue poly to cover all your studio needs, it’s probably worth looking elsewhere. But if you want a classically-minded analogue synth that's waiting to be learnt, experimented with and discovered, the Abyss could be an inspirational and reinvigorating purchase."
Read Dreadbox Abyss review
Elektron Analog Four MKII
We said: "The second version of the Analog Four offers a range of hardware improvements, including an OLED screen, backlit buttons, hi-res encoders, quick performance controls, and an increased number of buttons for a speedier workflow. What's more, the analogue circuitry has been reworked to deliver more deep and defined bass."
Find out more about Elektron Analog Four MKII
Dave Smith Instruments REV2
We said: "2017 was the year that Dave Smith decided that it was about time for a new and more affordable version of his Prophet '08 synth, which he called the REV2. The biggest change is that you get double the polyphony - 16 voices rather than eight. What's more, because the REV2 is bi-timbral, independent voices can be stacked or split into different zones on the keyboard."
Find out more about Dave Smith Instruments REV2
Behringer DeepMind 12
We said: "All told, DeepMind is an impressive first entry into the synth arena for Behringer. Unlike some of its previous products, this is not a cut-price clone, and has its own take on what a £1,000 analogue polyphonic synth should be."
Read Behringer DeepMind 12 review
We said: "Cheap and cheerful, but powerful, and with a surprising amount of flexibility given its limited envelope section. The Monologue is great little synth that carves its own distinct path through the current, increasingly crowded, analogue terrain."
Read Korg Monologue review
We said: “Peak is versatile and largely intuitive, with a unique sound that excels at dark, trippy, grainy electronica and FX. A worthy flagship for Novation’s synth line.”
Read Novation Peak review
We said: "If there’s any synth that deserves the title of most well-featured analogue monosynth then this is it! It’s rock-solid, capable of a genuinely mind-blowing array of sounds and it’s so versatile you could spend years with it and not exhaust the possibilities."
Read Arturia MatrixBrute review
Winner: Analogue Solutions Fusebox
We said: "Despite the vintage sound and all-analogue signal path, the Fusebox promises much in the way of modulation and performance features, with an Arpeggiator, Patternator and Interval Generator all on hand to create new patterns and sequences."
Find out more about Analogue Solutions Fusebox