ASM Hydrasynth Explorer Hands-On Review

In his latest allmyfriendsaresynths video, synthesist Stephen McLeod shares a hands-on review of the ASM Hydrasynth Explorer, a minikey synth version of ASM’s full-size Hydrasynth keyboard.

The Hydrasynth Explorer is arguably the most powerful minikey synth ever, featuring a very flexible synth architecture, battery-powered operation, a new ASM PolyTouch mid-sized keybed with polyphonic aftertouch, CV/Gate connectivity and more.

“A couple of months ago I got my hands on a Hydrasynth Explorer from ASM, which is a really interesting, deep, and capable synthesizer, with a huge amount of different possibilities for added expression (MPE, poly after touch, etc),” notes McLeod. “The Explorer is an affordable way to get the sound engine and expressive capabilities of the Hydrasynth, which sounds great and isn’t just for those into sound design.”

Topics covered:

0:00 Musical Intro
0:27 Intro
2:37 Hardware
6:29 Connectivity
7:59 Key Features
9:11 Polyphonic Aftertouch + MPE
13:13 Musical Interlude
13:37 Random button
15:32 In Practice
18:42 Musical Outro

Checkout the video and share your thoughts on the Hydrasynth Explorer in the comments!

7 thoughts on “ASM Hydrasynth Explorer Hands-On Review

  1. I had the 49 key version, sold it to get a polybrute. Really most it and I totally didn’t know this version was battery powered. Might get this one since it’s the funnest synth I’d used in a long time. Modulation for days.

  2. I own a Hydrasynth Explorer. It is probably the best “affordable” synth on the market at just $599. It sounds great, is easy to program and is solidly built. The mini keyboard does poly aftertouch just fine, too. And it can run on batteries…

  3. Its worth a bit of added strain to buy the next model up, because the notable touch strip brings out much more of the voice than this version alone. That’s no slam, either, because the Poly AT is huge on its own. “Best” changes from one player to the next, but JT isn’t wrong.

    While I’m sure it can do decent analog impersonations, the demos I’ve heard say it should be paired with a real analog synth. The Hydrasynth sounds quite ‘digital’ to me in the best way: rockin’ on its own, but also a superior partner for a lot of analog synths. Minilogue XD & most Moogs, I’m looking at you. Very good review, Stephen.

  4. Really smart of ASM to have an entry-level version. I have the original HydraSynth and will probably stick with that for a while since it’s the only full-sized 4 octave poly-aftertouch synth around. When the Behringer CS-80 comes out I’ll probably swap my HydraSynth for the Explorer.

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