The 10 Best New Synth Modules Of 2015


We’re wrapping up our look back at Best of 2015 poll results with a look at the best new synth modules of 2015.

For the modular synth category, we let readers nominate the best new synths modules of the year and then vote on them.

It’s clear that readers were impressed with the Mutable Instruments line, voting the Clouds module as the best new synth module of year and putting the Elements module in second place.

Make Noise’s tELHARMONIC Voltage Controlled Music Theory module filled out the top three.

Check out rankings below to see what readers chose as the 10 best new synth modules of the last year!

best-of-2015-synth-moduleThe 10 Best New Synth Modules Of 2015

  1. Mutable Instruments Clouds 25.75%
  2. Mutable Instruments Elements 11.22%
  3. Make Noise tELHARMONIC 9%
  4. Mutable Instruments Rings 8.37%
  5. 4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator 7.74%
  6. Buchla Polyphonic Rhythm Generator 6%
  7. Roland/Malekko System 500 Modules 5.06%
  8. Abstract Data Octocontroller 3.32%
  9. Doepfer Wasp SE Filter 2.69%
  10. Mannequins Mangrove Formant Oscillator 2.37%

See the poll results for full details.

21 thoughts on “The 10 Best New Synth Modules Of 2015

    1. Yeah, with first 6 places all being digital. Should we expect to see minimoogs at the dumpster again? These were the good times when analog went out of fashion all of a sudden. 🙂

    2. It’s because modular synthesists actually understand synthesis, and a lot of keyboard players have no clue.

      I’ve got two digital oscillators in my modular, and they get used a lot more than the analog ones.

  1. How does an entire line of modules that’s not even out yet take 5.06% of the votes? It’s not even one module. Cmon synthtopia – really sloppy. Should nullify the entire survey. Also doubt that 6% or responders have ever used any buchla modules, let alone the rhythm generator.

    1. Speaking of Synth Nazis….

      Do you think ANYONE in the world has used all of the modules that were nominated for this poll? And, if so, do you think they should be declared king of the synths, to decide what modules are worthy, for all time?

      Appreciate that it’s been a great year for Eurorack users and that these are the modules that people are most excited about.

      1. I think people are asked to vote on what they think is the best new synth module, and not which one they have used and liked – that would be a slim poll.

        But voting on the best synth modules is like voting on the best salad ingredients, you may rate the tomato, but in isolation it is just a tomato – it is all about the the chef, the preparation, the mix, the dressing and extras that makes a good salad.

        And like my salad I now take these polls with a pinch of salt, since that Modal 008 scored so poorly on that synth poll, it is all meaningless. These peoples don’t have a clue.

        1. The Modal is interesting, but some of the features are vaporware, and you can get a good polysynth from DSI plus a small modular for the same $5k.

          Also, the fact that you’re complaining about the top 10 synth poll on the top 10 modules article suggests extreme butt hurt. There’s a cream for that -it works better than complaining.

          Also – anything that makes it onto these top 10 lists didn’t ‘do poorly’. If it made it into the top 10, it is a killer piece of gear that beat out dozens of other synths.

          These modules are at the top of my list of things to check out this year, and the fact that the Mangrove Formant Oscillator is at the bottom of the list doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best modules introduced this year.

        2. However a vote based on what someone things without having used a modules is a tool for marketing not a ‘guide’ to other users, so the results are meaningless..

          1. So, what then? Give up and say all polls are meaningless?

            Give synthesists credit for being able to evaluate and understand what a module can do, without having to use every module out there.

            Some modules are inherently more interesting than others.

            Many modules don’t even make any sound – LFOs, sequencers, logic modules, envelope generators – and many modern modules are programmable – like the Mutable Instruments modules. Do you think you need to try every one of these in order to have an opinion on how well it would work in your system?

            Modular synthesists have to be able to judge modules based on what the module can do and what you can do with the module. For most modules, that means understanding the specs. And for sound generating modules, it means evaluating and understanding the manufacturer’s audio or video demos.

            Given the number of modules out there, there really isn’t any other option.

            If you think you need to use an Octocontroller, a Rhythm Generator or a tELHARMONIC to understand what it can do for you, then that’s more a reflection on your understanding of synthesis than a limitation of this poll.

            From my experience, the results here reflect what I’ve seen in other people’s rigs. A lot of the highest ranking modules are getting bought up as quickly as Mutable can make them.

              1. But I don’t have to buy it based on the poll for the poll to be meaningful. I may have dismissed (say) the Octocontroller too quickly, or (more likely) overlooked it in the flood of modules released last year. Now I may give it another look. Thanks Synthtopia readers!

  2. I was sad to see that Mutable Instrumenta dropped support on their ambitious DIY synths, but it looks like they made the right choice having 3 of the top 4 on this list.

    1. When they shut down the DIY side, they basically said the DIY market was a PITA to support, and the Euro market was a moneymaker.

      So can you blame them?

      Still – it is sad to see DIY options going away!

  3. Nice to see the good old Doepfer WASP made it on this list. Since the SE I got two of ’em, cause the black/yellow one was just too beautiful. And I’m still waiting desperatly for the Roland System 500 modules to be available, but no news of those for month now…

  4. Great list – half of the modules are already on my wish list.

    Just about everything that Mutable makes is an interesting module. The Make Noise modules are interesting too, but their panel design puts me off.

    I’m surprised none of George Mattson’s Synthrotek modules made the list, but there was a lot of cool stuff released last year!


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