What’s the Best New Synthesizer or Keyboard of 2015?


2015 has been an amazing year for new synthesizer introductions.

At the 2015 NAMM Show, there were dozens of interesting new synth introductions – including the Korg Arp Odyssey, the Moog Modular Synthesizer reissues, the Roland JD-Xi, the Sequential Prophet 6, the Modal Electronics 002 and the Avalon Bassline.

At Musikmesse 2015, there were more new synths, including the WMD + SSF Monolith, the Roland JD-Xa, the Modal Electronics 008, the Roland System 1m and others. And even the 2015 Summer NAMM Show, typically a more guitar-focused event, featured new synths keyboards, including the Yamaha Reface line.

What’s the best new synth of 2015? Here’s your chance to weigh in – our Best New Synthesizer or Keyboard of 2015 poll:

Because there are so many interesting new synths this year, pick what you think are the 3 best new synths of 2015:

We’ve included new: keyboard synthesizers; rack/desktop synth modules; keyboards; and modular systems that are sold as a complete synth. New synth lines, like the Pocket Operators and the Moog Modular Systems, are listed as one item.

After you’ve voted – leave a comment and share your thoughts on the synths introduced in 2015!

Note: This poll will be open through the end of day, Dec 31, 2015.

71 thoughts on “What’s the Best New Synthesizer or Keyboard of 2015?

  1. It has been a great year for synths, but not such a great year for my wallet!

    I’m still waiting for my Moog Mother-32. And the Prophet 6? Only a pipe dream, at this point. 🙁

      1. The black and gold edition with erbe verbe added was released in June of 2015. Of course I guess changing the color and adding one module doesn’t make it a whole new instrument.

        1. A little gray, but we hope you can follow our reasoning, even if you don’t agree. We also left off a few new synth introductions that were primarily variations in styling, like the Morodernova, rather than in capabilities.

    1. Gotta agree about Eurorack. The Moog Mother-32 pushed me over the edge and now – it’s like, I’ve been waiting for this stuff al my life.

  2. The Moog Mother 32 hits the “sweet spot” of being a top-flight semi-mod synth that is affordable and small enough to add to just about any project studio. It will be my next synth when the spare change jar fills up sufficiently!

    The Prophet 6 is sweet, but just a bit out of my budget range.

  3. Had to go with the synth I play that makes me lose track of time, the Modal 001. It’s so much fun and sounds fantastic. Not to mention, it’s beautiful to look at and built like a tank.

  4. Mmmmm yes Eurorack, I would have voted in that direction as well if their was a logical way to add it to the list of options.
    Between the Prophet 6 & my modular that’s pretty much all my spare time and money accounted for.

  5. Ok this is a strange list mixing poly and mono while also leaving off the MFB Dominion 1 and the future sonus parva hasn’t even shipped.

  6. Although I may never ever be able to afford it heads and shoulders above everyone must be modal 08 that’s the one im lusting after! A synth for the next 20 years not a rehash from the past 20!

    1. I’m seriously considering taking the plunge next year. I’d love to find a demo marked down. I really want a chance to play around on one.

    2. I agree. It got my vote. In fact, the Modal 008, 002, and 001 are all some of the best synths I’ve ever heard. They’re incredibly powerful, well made, and reviewers are drooling over them. My only debate in this poll was which Modal to pick.

    1. I noticed that, too. Strange that it’s mentioned in the post as having been announced at Musikmesse 2015, but is not on the list for voting… Obviously an oversight.
      Ironically, that’s the ONE synth I actually did buy this year!

  7. nice to see the Prophet 6 module come out! tiny and good looking too.

    my favourite project PRESENTATION this year was definitely the Mother32. Out of all the demoes around, that or the Novation Circuit had the most musically compelling and original-feeling approach in their advertizing.

    I’d like to own a prophet more of course ha.. but yeah. Let’s hope 2016 is the year of excellent compelling gear and advertizing to match, showing gear and its abilities in strong fidelity with a sense of purpose.

    Should we rate things on what is the ‘bes’ synth or the most relevant or actually interesting release??
    The Proph 6 was a great invention for sure, to return to old design VCOs for true, but really realistically I’d more likely just add another korg volca keys to my rig for a 10th fo the price and really MUCH of the same sound potential.

  8. Would be slightly more interesting to see this broken up as mono and poly lists. It’s also one of those things where it’s tough to decide between ‘best value’ and ‘best synthesizer’.

    Also, would love to see a sequencers of 2015 that included modular, desktop and iOS. Just to have them all in one place! @synthhead, let me know if you want a hand putting it together.

  9. I like so much Prophet 6 and Moog Mother 32…but the Boss s y 300 is an absolute new instrument: the only Synth for guitarist without CV or MIDI conversion…..like the Microsynth from E H…..only POLIFONIC……. Greetings Tini F.

    Open source – Costwise – Many many many many possibilities – A very singular approach – French 🙂

  11. Pointless really. Barely any of these synths are comparable. I see several distinct sub categories that should really be considered

    1. Wrong. How many comments have there been complaining that these were not exact clones of the originals (especially with the Odyssey)?

    2. I can understand the reasoning behind labeling the ARP Odyssey old but to call the Mother old just seems wrong. It’s quite a different packaging than previous Moog offerings. While the audio synthesis section may share some similarities with previous instruments, the interface, especially the CV options does not.

  12. Looking at this list reminds me what a bad year it has been for synths. Most if not all of these “new” keyboards are just rehashed and repackaged offerings. There are no “breakthrough” synths on the list so my vote goes for NONE OF THE ABOVE.

    1. You clearly haven’t tried the Modal synths, the Reface DX, the Mother 32 or any of the other innovative new synths released this year. Even the JDXI breaks ground in delivery a ton of power (128 voices, multitimbral) for the price.

  13. Yamaha Reface series, for a different way to use a keyboard…..the DX; although, getting an old idea…brings it back to a different level.

    In addition, Mother 32…plenty of potential.

  14. Well I have my beginner synth, the jdxi….so can’t really comment much…getting the Roland boutiques soon….so far an all Roland affair. But Moog mother seems tempting and the prophet 6 really out of my budget. Sucks to be poor.

  15. Modal 008 was released this year, arguably one of the best too though really expensive.

    Edit: never mind found it. I blame my dyslexia.

  16. Why not buy a Sub 37 instead of two Mother-32s? Not only do you get two oscillators and a sub oscillator, but you also get patch memory. The Sub 37 is very versatile.

    1. I own a Sub37 and understand where you are coming from but all those CV patch points on the Mother does make it different beast. It’s a great entry point into modular.

      P.S. Real sound designers don’t need patch memory. LOL

  17. Two not on the list that deserve a mention are the Dominion 1 and boutique MacBeth elements. It’s a very hard call because so many good synths happened and it makes more sense to break them into categories. For me the Dominion 1 has been the greatest surprise. I also bought the prophet 6 and korg Odyssey. The prophet 6 is probably the best all rounder analog. The dominion steals the show for me. But I haven’t heard the modal in person though the demos haven’t really inspired me much and the elements is highly specialized but whoa.

  18. The TVS may have to be mentioned for tone but it’s missing features I feel the dominion has in spades patch storage 3 VCOs and patch out/in capability paraphonic etc.

  19. I voted for the Korg MS20M Kit, because it is an awesome little, somewhat affordable synth! This re-invention of an older synth, is a great entry point for people interested in learning synthesis. But at over $1,000 USD, I know there are a lot folks who will not be able to afford it. I had an original MS-20 about 20 years ago, and LOVED IT! Korg’s “re-issue” is a wise move at a time when the Eurorack standard is really taking off over the past 5 years! However, if I could have, I would have voted for the Roland System-1m, but it is not on this list. I have a Roland System-1 and think it is great. For anyone that needs or wants to learn synthesis, this keyboard is spot on! And is very affordable! It is logically (OK, classically) laid out, and very approachable. I think it has a great sound too. Some folks might think it sounds thin, but when you really get into programming, you realize the fattest sounds come from turning the Tone control all the way down. But, since it came out, not in 2015, I have to vote – if I could, for the Roland System-1m, which is also on my wish list, because of the added CV and trigger connections to take you into the Eurorack world! These synths (1 and 1m) are identical under the hood and have the ability to store 128 patches (64 for the System-1 and another 64 for the plugout VST you chose to install, like the SH-101). So, if I could have, I would have voted for the Roland System-1m, because it really bridges the Analog emulation world and the pure analog world of the Eurorack universe providing all the connections you will need to enter the realm of the Eurorack, while providing MIDI connectivity and control.

  20. Prophet 6, Modal 08, Moog Mother-32. The Roland boutiques at number 5? Bahahahaha! In that list of synths? What was it, the tiny controls, the minikeys, the 4 fake analog (digital) voices? Roland’s version of a DSI Poly-Evolver at 6? What is wrong with you people?

    1. It’s easy to design a cool synth, if money is no object.

      Roland managed to design a knobby polysynth that both sounds good and is affordable.

  21. ARP Odyssey, Moog 15/35/55, Korg MS-20, Oberheim Two-Voice, and a Sequential Prophet. It’s been a hell of a year to revisit 1978.

  22. hard to pick witch one is the best since i have not had the pleasure to use most of them so i voted for the one i purchased.

  23. Love the P6 but I’m going to save my pennies a bit longer…Sequential Korg and Roland still have a couple of things in the works.

    1. I also have to believe Roland have more up their sleeves – something beyond the (tacky?) JD-XA. Fingers crossed it’s a Jupiter 8-like beast…

  24. I’m enjoying my new Roli Seaboard. Very innovative and expressive. I don’t believe they started shipping until 2015. They definitely had a new model release this year.

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