Top 5 Synths of 2020

Top 5 Synths of 2020

The year 2020 is drawing to a close – it’s time for us to review the most interesting releases in the field of synthesizers. And there was a lot to cover this year, 2020 has been an interesting year for synth lovers! Here are our recommendations:

Elektron Model:Cycles

With the Model:Cycles, Elektron released a compact 6-track groovebox. The buttons provide direct access to many parameters, making the Model:Cycles an excellent machine for live use. Besides classic parameters like pitch, start and duration, you can adjust LFO, delay and reverb in real time. As a cheaper alternative to a Digitakt, the Model:Cycles is a great starting point in the world of Elektron. It’s intuitive and inspiring and brings a breath of fresh air into every setup.

Behringer TD-3 (in 10 different colours)

With the Behringer TD-3, one of the most famous synthesizers of all time is reborn with an all-analog signal path. Behringer added a distortion circuit to their rendition of the legendary Roland TB-303, adding one of their most popular effects. It also incorporates an audio input for processing external signals. In addition, to adapt the legendary machine to modern configurations, Behringer has integrated MIDI (USB). Thanks to analog sync and CV / Gate connections, the TD-3 also works with analog synthesizers. The original 16-step sequencer offers 250 memory slots and the icing on the cake: the TD-3 is available in no less than ten different colors, from classic silver to Acid Smiley Edition yellow.

Arturia KeyStep Pro

Arturia’s KeyStep Pro isn’t really a synthesizer, but it couldn’t fail to appear on this list. With the KeyStep series, Arturia hit the jackpot. Especially owners of analog synthesizers or modular systems swear by the possibilities of KeyStep Pro and its little brother KeyStep. Besides its intuitive operation, it is above all the connection options that make KeyStep Pro so versatile. In addition to MIDI and USB, the keyboard offers CV / gate / mod outputs for 4 voices, 8 drum outputs, and clock in / out. This allows you to sequence analog synthesizers or modular systems on four tracks. The KeyStep Pro user interface provides intuitive access to all important settings. If you are looking for an exciting live sequencer for your analog or digital synthesizers, the KeyStep Pro is the right choice.

Sequential Pro 3

According to developer legend Dave Smith, the goal of this Pro 3 was nothing less than to build the world’s best monophonic synthesizer. And the Pro 3’s feature list is truly impressive as a result. In addition to two analog VCOs, the synthesizer offers a digital oscillator which can also create wavetables. Oscillators can be played monophonic or paraphonic in 3 voices. The filter section is also well equipped with 3 analog filters based on the most legendary filter circuits in synthesizer history. With so many features you won’t know what to do with it, various playback modes, and paraphonic sequencing, the Pro 3 offers one of the most powerful sequencers ever created in a physical synthesizer. Notes and all parameters can be sequenced over 16 tracks and external devices can also be controlled via MIDI or CV / Gate.

MOOG Subharmonicon

Those who attended Moogfest 2018 had the opportunity to help build a very special synthesizer: the Subharmonicon. And since the manufacturer had already turned several Moogfest projects into consumer products, many wondered if Moog would release the Subharmonicon as well. This year the answer has arrived: the Subharmonicon has grown from a rarity to an integral part of the Moog product line. It combines elements of the Trautonium and Rhythmicon. The base is formed by two VCOs and 4 sub-harmonic oscillators. Two sequencers with 4 steps each and 4 rhythm generators provide the movement. With the Subharmonicon, you may have to “think outside the box” but that’s what makes the synthesizer so exciting! It inspires many ideas and sounds that you might not have thought of otherwise.

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Joe has been singing since he can remember and started playing guitar when he was 10. He's been using it as a songwriting tool ever since. He is passionate about melody and harmony and admires musicians who create these in unique ways. Check out his alternative / indie projects Best of Feelings and Zef Raček.

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