The 10 Best New Synthesizers Of 2015


As part of our look back at the Best of 2015, we asked readers to vote on the best new synthesizers of 2015.

With thousands of votes cast, Synthtopia readers made a clear choice, selecting the Dave Smith Instruments Sequential Prophet 6 as the best new synth of 2015.

The Prophet-6 combines the best qualities of the original Prophet-5 – true voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers – with modern effects, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator and more.

The Moog Mother 32 – semi-modular all-in-one synth that works standalone or in a Eurorack system – took the next spot, And Korg’s reissue of the ARP Odyssey took third place.

Check the full results below, to see the 10 best new synths of 2015, as chosen by Synthtopia readers. And let us know what you think of the synths introduced in 2015!

The 10 Best New Synthesizers Of 2015


  1. Sequential Prophet-6 & Prophet 6 Desktop 21.61%
  2. Moog Mother 32 16.51%
  3. Korg ARP Odyssey 7.65%
  4. Modal Electronics 008 6.27%
  5. Roland Boutique Line JX-03, JU-06 & JP-08 5.72%
  6. Roland JD-XA 4.45%
  7. Moog Modular Systems (Model 15, System 35 & System 55) 3.83%
  8. Teenage Engineering ‘Pocket Operator’ Micro Synthesizers 3.39%
  9. Roland JD-Xi 3.28%
  10. Korg MS-20M Kit 3.13%

See the poll results for full details.

27 thoughts on “The 10 Best New Synthesizers Of 2015

  1. I don’t have the Moog Mother-32 yet, back ordered from the beginning of October 🙁 But, I have acquired so many other EuroRack Mods in waiting, I blame Moog for me being broke now 🙂

  2. The 10 Best New Hardware Synthesizers Of 2014
    1:Korg MS-20 Full-Size Analog Monophonic Synth Kit
    2:Moog Sub 37 Analog Synthesizer
    3:Dreadbox Murmux Pedal Synth
    4:Roland AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer
    5:Waldorf Streichfett String Synthesizer
    6:MacBeth Elements Analog Synthesizer
    7:Modulus.002 Polyphonic Synthesizer
    8:Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 Synthesizer
    9:Twisted Electrons’ Intros ‘Aggressive’ SID-based TherapSid Synth
    10:The Analogue Solutions Nyborg 12

  3. I’ve listened to comparison demos of the Prophet 08 and Prophet 6. I’m not convinced that the Prophet 6 is better than the Prophet 08. The 08 can be had nowadays for a lot less $$, and it does more (and it has more polyphony and a bigger keyboard to boot). About the only thing that I can see as a plus on the 6 are the sub-oscillators.

    1. so get a prophet 08 then socko. Obviously you prefer the sound of digital controlled oscillators over VCO. Each to their own. but you would certainly be in the minority.

      1. Obviously, it’s a matter of opinion.

        Please explain what about a VCO sounds that much better than a DCO? For a thousand dollars more, I’m not hearing it, especially when it sits in a mix.

        1. I have both, and to me the P6 sounds much better. Not sure if it relates to the VCO’s or not, but the overall tone is just more pleasant. However, the P6 is not as flexible as the P08 in what you can do with the sound. If I had to choose one, I’d still take the P6. Keeping the 08 for now, but I could see selling if something better comes along.

      2. DCOs don’t have any certain inherent sound, so it’s ridiculous to act as if VCOs are automatically better than DCOs. DSI’s DCOs have the “slop” control to add some drift, so it can’t be said that they’re too stable and sterile, which is usually the only valid complaint when it comes to the sound of DCOs in general. You might not like the sound of DSI’s DCOs, but that’s because you don’t like the sound of that specific design, not just because they’re DCOs.

  4. I had a prophet 5 in the studio to compare to the Tetra. It was actually a much closer comparison than I expected. Yes, the oscillators sounded slightly different, but the biggest difference was the filter imo. The Prophet’s filter had a nicer sounding sweep when adding resonance. That Curtis synth in a chip filter is fat, but a little harsh. I still think the Tetra is pretty amazing for what you get, compared to the very limited mod routings of the 5 or 6.

  5. I see 3 real synths there over $1k. So by best new synth of 2016 are people saying they would take, or rate, a Korg Odyssey or Mother 32 over a Modal 008?

    I know it is all subjective and personal tastes but I can’t understand for the life of me why a Prophet-6 or JD-XA would be taken over a Modal 008 – imagine a table in front of you, I have lined up a Modal 008, Prophet-6 and JD-XA, you can have anyone, no money required – I reckon the majority would take the most purposeful and useful, the 008. You would need a serious counter reason to do otherwise, like loving the heritage of the others.

    According to that list almost 3 times the people would take, or rate, a Mother 32 over a Modal 008, that is crazy talk.

    1. Modal is a lesser known company compared to Moog, Korg, and Roland. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that the top-rated synths are the ones that the average working class musician can afford.

      The Modal 008 is in a totally different category from the Mother 32. One’s an 8 voice poly and the other is a micro-modular in a box. Different tools for different purposes. Even the Odyssey (which, unlike the Mother 32, is at least a more standard fixed-architecture synth) is too different from the 008 to compare: a relatively affordable reissue of a classic mono synth vs a top of the line modern poly.

    2. Kuwa

      For most of us, a $30,000 Moog modular, a $20,000 Schmidt synthesizer or even a $5,500 Modal have a very serious design flaw – they’re designed for the independently wealthy.

      For most of us, synths like the Prophet 6 or the Mother 32 are great designs, because they combine affordability with great sound, build quality and sonic potential.

      Arguing that money is no object – THAT is crazy talk.

      1. I mostly agree. But this is Synthopia, a place people come to lust after synths, regardless of cost. I can understand that people will include cost, but this is just self-reinforcement, I can afford a Korg, I’ll buy the Korg, Korg is the best.

        And I also agree people have down voted the 008 based on status, or lack of it. But that synth costs some notes for a reason!

        The Mother 32 is just a modded werkstatt. The Korg is just sad. But I don’t resent the Prophet 6, I would have gave it a close 2nd place, so top is no surprise.

        The best car in the world isn’t the most affordable, I think people get that. Telsa can’t be voted the best car in the world as I can’t personally afford one.

        And a Schmidt costs less than a middle-class person would spend on a car, a Modal more so – just the wrong priority system. Get a old clunker and synth out. And who says you have to buy a synth, that is someone else’s agenda, you can play that game, but some of the best synths I have are stolen – synth theft is fair game in the eyes of the law.

        1. Nobody ‘down voted’ the Modal – you do realize that these synths were voted the best of the year out of dozens of candidates, don’t you?

          1. “you do realize that these synths were voted the best of the year out of dozens of candidates, don’t you?”

            That is exactly the point I am making, the Modal 008 is clearly the best, to get 4th is called ‘down voting’ – it is all a twisted malaise of fashion labels, lack of purchasing power and status, bigotry and general stupidity – that resulted in it being down voted. A down vote in this case is clearly the disregard to vote for something that is obviously outstandingly better.

            What kind of world puts a Roland Boutique 1.5% behind a Modal 008 – I am being forced here to include a Roland Boutique in the same sentence as a Modal 008, that is something I didn’t think possible. One is a piece of shite the other is a best British engineered synth of all-time.

            We can’t really be that stupid or bigoted, can we? I guess.

            1. I’m posting my first comment ever on this site, just to mention the fact that this guy is extremely irritating. For those of you who are regular posters and always read the comments section (I don’t, just the articles usually)… is he always like this? *facepalm*

              “A down vote in this case is clearly the disregard to vote for something that is obviously outstandingly better”…. how repulsively pretentious.

              You hit the nail on the head with your cars/synths analogy, though. Every circle of enthusiasts has “one of those guys”, whether it’s cars, wine, or (apparently) synthesizers. We get it, you can afford a Modal 008 and everything else is cheap garbage to you.

    3. A great many people on this forum are into modular equipment. Which explains a lot. of the outcome of the poll I agree that the Modal synths are phenomenal and should IMO be at the top. But consider the crowd you are talking to also.

  6. Any list that has a Moog 55 and a Roland JD or Teenage Pocket Calculator is absurd on the face of it. This is why I hate “Top 10” lists of anything!

  7. I think the Modal stuff is amazing but I can’t find one in Canada yet. I think once their distribution network is stronger and people can actually put their hands on one before they buy, they will do very well.

    I was able to play a P~6 and I did buy one. They are great instruments and are worthy of all the praise they are getting.

    I’ve owned a Prophet 08 and a Tetra before as well, and they were very good; especially the Tetra. I find the P~6 to be more rich sounding compared to the older models though.

    The P-12, as some have mentioned is also incredible. It is a do-everything beastasaurus that sounds great.

  8. Finally had a chance to play the P6.
    I guess my expectations were too high.
    Beautiful design, amazing looks and control, but sadly the sound was disappointing.
    Filter sounds thin and digital.
    Envelopes not quite as punchy.
    Legato didn’t work properly.
    The extra octave is really a huge shortcoming.
    Just the basic 2-oscillators sound too thin, hence all the added bells and whistles, such as the Sub-Osc, Slop, Stereo Spread and the Chorus and Delay FX.
    Without all that the P5 and P600 already sound huge.
    Looks can be deceiving.

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