5 Modern Polysynth Keyboards Compared

In this video, synthesist Alex Bell compares five modern polyphonic synths, including the UDO Super 6, ASM Hydrasynth, Roland Jupiter X, Novation Summit & Sequential Prophet 5/10.

You could argue that Bell should have included the Korg Prologue, the Arturia Polybrute, the Waldorf Quantum or one of several other professional-level keyboard synths currently available. But, even with the 5 polysynths covered, the video demonstrates that the wealth of options currently available is arguably as good as any time in history.

It also demonstrates that it’s not easy to make an apples-to-apples comparison of these polysynth keyboards. The keyboards were designed with different technologies and with different intent.

Check it out and share your thoughts on the best polysynths currently available in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
0:40 Super 6 Raw Sounds
3:10 Super 6 Thoughts
5:45 Prophet~10 Raw Sounds
6:52 Here’s the thing
7:36 Ah there it is
10:27 Summit Raw Sounds
12:55 Summit Thoughts
16:10 Jupiter-X Raw Sounds
18:22 Jupiter-X Thoughts
21:21 Hydrasynth Raw Sounds
23:17 Hydrasynth Thoughts
26:17 Outro

Note: All sounds in the video are presented “raw”, meaning that only FX from the synths themselves were used (if they have them) and that there was no processing of the audio afterwards. What you hear is what the synths sound like.



21 thoughts on “5 Modern Polysynth Keyboards Compared

  1. Come January, I’ve budgeted about $4000 AUD for a new synth – Jupiter X and Hydrasynth Deluxe, along with Matrix Brute Noir and Iridium are my four options. So this video is really useful in terms of the Jupiter and Hydrasynth. I have to say… I’m sort of leaning towards the Hydrasynth.

  2. Briliant and very informative video.
    For me it is Roland Jupiter x, especially that I am Ultimate Roland Cloud subscriber and therefore will have unlimited access to all new, past and present synth models

      1. you have no idea whether that is true or not

        he could just be very rich from reasons other than work

        his website doesn’t seem to suggest that he is rich from work and his youtube isn’t so massively successful that it would make him rich either

  3. Dude, talk about G.A.S… and Polybrute, KORG, nor the Quantum/Iridium or anything from Dave Smith was included. Truly makes me wonder what this delayed NAMM may have in store, if not perhaps any sooner tests in January. With a few quarters in my pocket, keep saving the change. We certainly are living in a second golden age of synthesizers.

  4. I have had access to all of these synths and here is my own assessment.

    UDO Super 6
    Pros: Well made, expansive sound capabilities, and wonderful to programme.
    Cons: Poor to no visual cues as to where and how you are affecting the sound, terrible patch management.
    Final Verdict: Great potential with missed opportunity of not providing any kind of screen.

    Sequential Prophet 5/10
    Pros: Relatively made made, mostly knob per function.
    Cons: Sounds dated, difficult to obtain warm lush sounds, poor visual cues in modulation matrix. Don’t be fooled by the notion of knob per function, there is deep menu diving here as well.
    Final Verdict: Terribly overpriced and continuous regurgitation of the same synth engine in nearly the same package.

    Roland Jupiter X
    Pros: Breadth of sound possibilities, multiple engines, high sonic quality, build quality, value proposition.
    Cons: It is a complex synth thus you’re not just learning one instrument yet many instruments in one. I wanted to hate this as I was not objective about it at all initially. I was wrong, pure and simple. It is not a compromise unit, rather a system of complete synths in one. Learning curve is a bit steep yet worth the effort.
    Final Verdict: Well made, value proposition, multiple high quality complete synths in one system.

    ASM Hydrasynth
    Pros: If the Access Virus grew up this synth would be it. It is nearly a marriage between parts of the Jupiter X with the Virus. Great value, amazing sound, and an editing dream. UI is superb and logical.
    Cons: The build quality worries me a bit, time will tell.
    Final Verdict: Like the Jupiter X, you will be pleased, the breadth of sonic possibilities will allow you to do what the UDO 6 and Sequential cannot.

    Novation Summit
    Pros: Well built, great sound (I realise that is subjective) and breadth of sound capability.
    Cons: Complex and made more so by the poor UI and menu diving. I have a love and strong dislike relationship with this synth. Better visual cues, screens, and more logical parameter features should have been employed, some of which cannot be changed as they are hardware related.
    Final Verdict: I would honestly say that the next iteration of this synth if ever designed and built will probably address many of the issues here, yet as it stands, I would rank this well above the Sequential and UDO.

    1. I find the Hydrasynth to be VERY solid feeling and well made. I have no concerns about its build quality as it it one of the most robust feeling and well made instruments in my studio. I would place it above Korg and Sequential and Arturia in terms of build quality. The knobs also feel solid and satisfying.

      1. I concur, I was not questioning their build quality, rather there is little history there even though I do realise their parent company has a long track record in China in manufacturing of instruments. Arturia is not a quality instrument maker, they are far too inconsistent in their design and build approach.

    1. @Analog Addict, cheers, I assume you are referring to the Seq Prophet 5 Rev3 or Sequential Rev2? In either case, as much respect and reverence I hold for Dave Smith, there is a regurgitation of his synths and architecture at large, and by his own admission to Nick Batt, he is less interested in innovation and more interested in providing additional “proven” features in every iteration he offers. And I certainly understand that not every synth is meant to break new ground and provide new features, however the repackaging of the basic synth engine architecture/hardware is a bit cynical for my taste.

      That said, I feel the aforementioned synths, such as the Jupiter X, Hydrasynth, and even the Summit provide greater flexibility, usability, and modulation options that Sequential synths.

  5. I expect at least the Jupiter-Xm to become a modest cult hit eventually, because the options for numerous models are like that of a serious tabletop computer setup. It doesn’t cover every base, but calling it a VST in a box is fair, especially with the more workstation-like instruments you can get. The back panel connectivity fills in a lot of what it doesn’t already have onboard.

    I say have it all by putting the Xm on the right side of the larger Hydrasynth’s panel. Santa ain’t bringin’ you THAT, no matter how good you are, sorry.

    1. I think the Xm wouldn’t work for me, because everytime I sat down to play it, in the back of my mind I’d be thinking ‘I wish I bought the Jupiter X’… luckily, that’s budgeted for some time in 2022.

    2. I fiddled with the XM at Sam Ash and it was frickin fun. I had to remind myself how many times i’ve been burned by Roland’s odd choices. I can’t imagine menu diving in that thing is very fun.

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