Open Mic: Which Synthesizers Are The New Classics?

new classic synthesizers

Open Mic: Get any group of synthesists together, and discussion eventually turns to the classic synths of past.

Synths like the original Moog modular synthesizer, the Minimoog, the Korg MS-20, the Yamaha CS-80,  the Roland Jupiter 8 and many others.

While it’s easy to recognize classic synths of the past, we sometimes take for granted the great synths of today.

The world of modular synthesizers has exploded in the last few years and there are a growing number of manufacturers making interesting keyboard synthesizers, too.

Just this year, we’ve seen a number of really interesting synths introduced, like the Schmidt Analog Synthesizer, the Korg Monotribe Analog Ribbon Station, the Roland Jupiter 80, the Yamaha MOX 6/8, the Elektrokosmos Kosmonaut and the M-Audio Venom synthesizer. Everything from inexpensive synths to boutique monster synths.

Which synthesizers that are being made today do you think are modern classics? And what do you think of the state of electronic music gear at the end of 2011?

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97 thoughts on “Open Mic: Which Synthesizers Are The New Classics?

  1. Yamaha EX5 had 5 types of synth engines in 1999 and still creates sounds no other synth can produce.

    I would like to see dedicated synth control panels to compliment software ie CS80v reproduction of yamaha CS80 panel only compact.

    Arturia are already making hardware for the new minibrute synth (sliders knobs etc) and could make a dedicated controller for the products .


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  2. I think the minibrute has all the character to become a new classic. Another surely is the Access Virus A, B, C , everyone wants one of those used one nowadays, and the TI doesn’t seems to have the same mojo. Doepfer also can become a modern classic because it has made the modular affordable to everyone. I love the DSI evolver series (i own the desktop evo) but i don’t think they will be iconic of our age, it’s more probable that the Prophet 08 will become a new classic . The Moog Minitaur also has the possibilities of becoming an icon.

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  3. Arturia Minibrute for several reasons. Doepfer because many are getting the modular itch and they are among the most affordable. Korg Monotron series, analog for the people, will be a classic cheap analog FX source and popular among DIY circles.

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  4. Prophet 08 PE.
    The only mainstream analogue poly available at the moment.

    It gets a lot of flack for sounding cold – I say spend a bit of time getting to know it and it’s a monster of a synth. It can scream and shout if you want it to, but it CAN sound SO thick and warm and massive, too. And the modulation possibilities are endless.

    Beautiful synthesizer, and destined to be a classic, I think.

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  5. Oddly enough, to be a “classic” a product needs to both have something uniquely useful about it, and also be affordable/available to the masses. That puts the minibrute in the running, and the monotron. It’s questionable if many hardware products will hit that sweet spot due to so many people using software these days. And on that note, I think there are some software classics, like Massive, but they won’t live on as long due to inevitable changes in operating systems. I wonder if the future inaccessibility of older popular software like Massive will result in it gaining even more cred than it would deserve?

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  6. In addition to what’s been said above – and noting that these discussions are probably of little real value beyond the fun of talking about equipment – I would say that the Korg MS-2000 is worthy of some sort of list. Its synth engine is what powers the microKORG after all, it has extensive tweakability (and dedicated knobs for a lot of things) and great virtual modular / processing options. I believe it’s already something of a modern classic, and certainly the most intuitive and nice sounding virtual analogue synth I’ve come across.

    It’s hard to go past the Teenage Engineering OP-1, too – not least because of the extensive discussion it’s generated, and its unique and highly iconic approach to soundmaking and interface.

    I am not very familiar with it, but would Waldorf Blofeld users nominate their synth for recognition? Considering that they profess to include the synthesis possibilities of the old Microwaves, that seems pretty significant to me in an affordable $750ish desktop unit.

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  7. i would love to get my hands on a minibrute. Until then, i have had a lot of fun with the korg monotrons. I think they have the potential to be to electronic music what the harmonica was to the blues. Cheap, portable,

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  8. Do we have to restrict ourselves to hardware? ‘Cause I’d really really really like to nominate a few of the apps in my iPad.

    I bought my first synth in 1984. I’ve owned Casios Korgs, Kurzweils, Rolands, Yamahas and Kawais. I’ve had real analog, VAs, ROMplers, additive, FM, vector (that SY22, love it) and V.A.S.T., which is too good for words. And I think the biggest thrill I’ve ever had with a synth was playing Animoog for the first time. But that was until I started using Alchemy Mobile.

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  9. Underdog alert….
    M-Audio/AVID Venom – Distinctly abrasive sound, good software editor, inexpensive. Great combo IMHO. The poor man’s Access Virus…??

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  10. Of course, the recently launched Korg MS 20 Mini seems to lead the path for other manufacturers to re-launch their beloved past synths!

    Another evolutionary step is the DSI Prophet 12. Have not been able to try it yet…….we will see how it performs in terms of new soundscape…..

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  11. Given our trying economic times right now, I think the MS2000(B), Elektron Analog Four, DSI Mopho Keyboard, DSI Tempest, and the Moog Sub Phatty will be clearly defined as modern classics.

    All of these are extremely versatile and cost effective synths that don’t mimic anything before them.

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  12. Throwing in another vote for the MiniBrute. I love mine for somehow being new AND making me feel like I must have scored something sweet on eBay. It is rare to find synths at that price point that I develop such a rapport with- but the MiniBrute is in there.

    It doesn’t seem as widely beloved as it could be, but I can’t say enough good things about the oft overlooked Gaia SH-01 from Roland. Polyphony and top level controls at that price point help one quickly forget that it is a modeller… Run it in mono and through a decent tube pre and suddenly it’s keeping up with the all analog kids in the studio… or at least enough so that I call on it for more tasks than I ever would a plug in.

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  13. For me it has to be the Analogue solutions Leipzig-S. Fantastic true analogue sound with fat filter and tight envelopes, but the built in step sequencer/modulator lets you do things you just can’t do on other synths.
    truly awesome synth

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  14. Almost anything DSI makes, but I nominate the:

    Mopho x4


    Teenage Engineering OP-1 (nothing else like it, except the VL-1, maybe)


    Doepfer Dark Energy

    There are others, but I really believe these will be sought after classics at some point.

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  15. In order of acquisition:
    DSI Tetra
    DSI Prophet 8
    Waldorf Blofeld
    Moog Slim Phatty
    A hardware synth renaissance?

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