In this article, I have tried to pick the 10 best synthesizers on the market right now; most of these have been released this year, but I also included some previously-released synths that are still very relevant on the market right now.  There is a lot to consider when deciding on a synth to purchase; one should determine if they want something analog or digital, monophonic or polyphonic.  

Is the Moog Grandmother one of the best synthesizers in 2019?  Find out now.

Price and form factor should also be considered.  Most important of all, I would say you should ultimately pick a synth with a sound, interface, and appearance that resonates with your personal tastes, and fits with what you’re looking to use it for musically. 

There’s nothing worse than buying a synth and finding that you don’t actually enjoy its core sound!  I hope this article can help you get closer to making a decision, and being happy with that decision.  

The synthesizers that that will be covered in this article:

  1. Korg Minilogue XD
  2. Moog Grandmother
  3. Moog Matriarch
  4. Novation Summit
  5. Behringer MS-1
  6. ASM Hydrasynth
  7. Yamaha MODX
  8. Elektron Digitone Keys
  9. Sequential Prophet X/XL
  10. Roland Jupiter Xm

And, in order to help you, please check out the table below which allows you to directly compare some of the above synthesizer keyboards against one another:

PhotoModelKeysPriceFeatures
BEHRINGER DEEPMIND 637$$$3 ADSR generators per voice
Arturia MatrixBrute49$$$3 Brute oscillators
BEHRINGER DEEPMIND 1249$$$12 voices with 2 analog OSCs per voice
arturia-microbruteArturia MicroBrute25$Step Sequencer w/8 Memory Locations
Dave Smith OB-644$$$6-voice Poly Synth
korg-krossKorg Kross 2-6161$$Pro-quality EDS-i Sound Engine
korg-microkorgKorg microKorg37$4-Voice Analog Modeling Synth Engine
Korg MinilogueKorg Minilogue37$$16-Step Polyphonic Step & Motion Sequencer

Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer Moogfest 2019 Edition
49$$$256 step sequencer w/ up to 4 notes per step
Korg Monologue25$2 VCO (Square Wave, Triangle Wave, Sawtooth Wave)
Moog Grandmother32$$$Semi-modular - no patching is required
Moog Sub 37Moog Subsequent 3737$$$Polyphony: Selectable Monophonic or Paraphonic
61FqEtRBhfL._SL1000_Moog Sub Phatty25$$Polyphony: Monophonic

Korg Minilogue XD

The Minilogue XD is next generation of the Minilogue synthesizer by Korg.  The original Minilogue was an absolute sensation in the synthesizer market, being one of the only fully-analog polyphonic synthesizers on the market at that time, and Korg has taken this formula and added even more amazing features. 

They have taken the open source digital multi engine oscillator and effects engine from their flagship Prologue synthesizer and the sequencer from the Monologue and integrated them into the Minilogue XD.

It comes in the same form factor as the original Minilogue, with a 37 slim-key keybed, but is also offered in a module version and have added poly-chain functionality, allowing you to chain multiple units together to achieve more polyphony. 

The “slim” keys on the Minilogue aren’t quite as small as regular mini keys, and are actually pretty comfortable to play on.  However, instead of the single-axis modulation “stick” on the original, the XD now has a dual-axis joystick, allowing you to modulate two different parameters on the fly.  

The XD has the same four voices of polyphony as the original, but this time with three oscillators per voice.  The first two are fully-analog, voltage-controlled oscillators.  Much like the original, these oscillators have Saw, Triangle, and Square waveforms, all with waveshaping parameters.  In addition, they also have hard-sync, ring modulator, and cross modulation.  

This should all sound very standard and familiar, but the third oscillator is where things begin to get interesting.  This oscillator is not analog, rather it has the same digital Multi Engine that was introduced on the Prologue synthesizer.  It offers a number of different digital oscillator types, all with a waveshaping feature.  

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this oscillator is that it’s open source, meaning anyone can create and upload their own oscillators to the engine and use in the synthesizer.  This level of customization gives you a potentially-endless supply of new sound sources to integrate into your patches.  Overall, these overtone-rich digital oscillator types can completely transform the sonic character of this synthesizer, and vastly expands the sound design possibilities.  

The filter on the Minilogue XD is another thing that varies slightly from the original Minilogue.  It has been voiced more similarly to the one found on the Prologue, and as a result sounds quite a bit warmer and richer, with a more clean and crisp high frequency response.  It features two different envelopes, a dedicated ADSR amplifier envelope and a second assignable AD envelope, and also an assignable LFO.  

The sequencer in the XD has been updated as well, and is now a bit more similar to the one found on their Monologue synthesizer.  It is a polyphonic 16-step sequencer, with a motion sequencer option that allows you to sequence parameters instead of notes.  The effects engine is very similar to the one found on the Prologue, but is arguably even more powerful.  

It gives you the ability to have three simultaneous, stereo digital effects; a mod effect, reverb, and delay.  Similarly to the multi-engine oscillator, the effects are also open-source, meaning you can program and upload your own effects to use.  These lush stereo effects are one of the biggest features on the XD in my opinion, especially when compared to the measly mono delay on the original minilogue.  

Overall, the Minilogue XD is one of the best new analog synthesizers on the market; it strikes a perfect balance between powerful features and affordability.  In case you are still having trouble between the original Minilogue and the XD, or looking for a reason to upgrade, this discussion thread from the Synthesizers sub forum on Reddit may provide some additional insight:

The Korg Minilogue XD retails for $649 USD.
The Korg Minilogue XD module retails for $549.  

Below, please check out some of the best selling synthesizers on Amazon, and see how well they stack up to the synths we discuss in this article:

1) Yamaha REFACE CP

2) Arturia MicroBrute SE

3) Yamaha REFACE CS

4) Korg Minilogue

5) Yamaha MX61

Moog Grandmother

The Grandmother is one of the newest analog synthesizers by Moog, and has been a huge hit in the synth community.  It is a semi-modular, monophonic beast, with components modelled after Moog’s old modular synthesizer systems.  It has a very high quality, full size 32 key synth-action velocity-sensitive keybed, and includes 6 patch cables.  At first glance, the Moog Grandmother has a very simple layout.  

However, the magic comes when you start delving into the 41 eurorack-style patch points.  When you pair this with the beautifully-vintage Moog oscillators and filter, you have a match made in heaven.  It has a huge sound and a very reasonable price point as far as Moog synthesizers go, and as a result has become very popular.  

The Moog Grandmother has two oscillators both with triangle, sawtooth, square, and pulse waves, and the ability to hard sync them together.  These oscillators then pass through the mixer section, which is a bit more significant than you might think. 

The mixer, modelled after one found in a vintage Moog modular system, allows you to push the inputs past zero, and thus get some beautiful analog drive.  This results in a super fat sound, especially when run into the classic Moog ladder filter.  

From here, the signal then passes through a single ADSR envelope and very flexible LFO.  The Grandmother also features a few eurorack-style utilities that you can patch into, including a mult, attenuator, and high pass filter.  All components have a number of patch points, allowing you to route and modulate the sound further, which can result in some very interesting, modular-esque sound design possibilities.  

Other key features include a very powerful arpeggiator and step sequencer, with a massive 256 steps and the ability to save up to three different sequencer patterns.  The arp/sequencer has a number of patch points on the front panel and back, allowing you to integrate this synth further with any existing modular or semi-modular synth.  The built in real spring reverb might be the most interesting, and most sought-after aspect of the Moog Grandmother.  

It gives you an unmistakable vintage reverb sound on any of your patches.  Additionally, you are able to route any external instrument through this lush reverb as well.  Overall, the build quality on this synth is exactly the level of quality you would expect from the handmade instruments made by Moog.  

The Moog Grandmother retails for $899 USD.  

Moog Matriarch

The Matriarch is the latest synthesizer release from Moog.  It is a successor to the Grandmother synth, and is pretty much a beefed up version of its predecessor in every way, including its unmistakable aesthetic.  It’s a fully-analog, semi-modular synthesizer with 90 eurorack-style patch points, and a 49-key synth-action Fatar keybed with velocity and aftertouch. 

The Moog Matriarch, much like the Grandmother, has its roots in Moog’s modular systems of the past, with components carefully modeled after these vintage modules.  It is meticulously handmade in Moog’s factory, and thus has a very solid build quality.  The price of this synth is considerably higher than that of the Grandmother, clearly aimed at a market of veteran synthesists, rather than an entry-level market.  

Perhaps the most notable factor that sets it apart from the Grandmother is that the Matriarch is 4 voice paraphonic.  This means you can treat each of the four oscillators as an individual voice, and can play it polyphonically as a result. 

Alternatively, you can stack the four oscillators monophonically for a completely massive sound.  The oscillators are very similar to those found in the Grandmother, with triangle, sawtooth, square, and pulse waveforms.  You can sync any combination of oscillators 2, 3, and 4 to oscillator 1.  

The mixer, modeled after one found in a vintage Moog modular system, allows you to push the inputs past zero, and thus get some beautiful analog drive.  Next in the signal chain is the filter, which is another unique aspect of this synth.  It is a true stereo Moog ladder filter with resonance control for each side, which allows you to make stereo textures onboard, without any sort of external processing.  From here, the signal then passes through two patchable ADSR envelopes (which can be used in stereo) and two LFOs.

The Matriarch also features a number of eurorack-style utilities that you can patch into, including two mults and three bipolar attenuators.  All components have a number of patch points, allowing you to route and modulate the sound further, which can result in some very interesting, modular-esque sound design possibilities.  

Other key features include a very powerful polyphonic arpeggiator and polyphonic step sequencer, with a massive 256 steps and the ability to save up to 12 different sequencer patterns.  The arp/sequencer has a number of patch points on the front panel and back, allowing you to integrate this synth further with any existing modular or semi-modular synth.  

It also allows you to decouple the sequencer from the rest of the synth, meaning you can sequence external gear without affecting the sounds on the Matriarch itself.  Instead of including a spring reverb like the Grandmother, Moog instead chose to replace this with a stereo delay, modelled after the amazing-sounding Moogerfooger delay pedal.  Additionally, you are able to route any external instrument through this delay as well.

In case you would like a bit more of a detailed outline of the differences between the Matriarch and Grandmother, here is a great video by youtube content creator Loopop outlining the specifics:

The Moog Matriarch retails for $2,000 USD. 

Novation Summit

The Summit is the latest flagship hybrid synthesizer from Novation.  Simply put, it is essentially two Novation Peaks in one, with a 61 note, synth-action keyboard (with velocity and aftertouch) added.  However, this short description absolutely does not do this synth the justice it deserves. 

It is an amazing blending of the digital and analog worlds, with an intuitive knob-per-function interface.  The Summit is 16 voice polyphonic and bi-timbral, meaning you either split, layer, or switch between two different sounds simultaneously.  It has a fully stereo signal path, meaning you can create some very wide textures right onboard.  

The Novation Summit utilizes 3 digital New Oxford Oscillators, which have been programmed to replicate the characteristics you would hope to find in a fully analog oscillator.  In addition to the standard sine, triangle, sawtooth, square, and pulse waves, these oscillators can also do wavetables and other types of digital waveform.  

Right away, this massively expands the sonic palette of this synth.  The oscillators also have three different routable FM settings.  Although most components of this synth are digital, the filters, which is arguably the most important part of a subtractive synthesizer, are completely analog.  It is a multimode filter, 12 or 24 dB slope, with lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and dual filter settings.  

In terms of modulation, the Summit has two LFOs per voice, two more global LFOs, one loopable amp envelope, two loopable ADSR mod envelopes, and an arpeggiator.  It has a powerful effects engine, with a dedicated fully-analog distortion, chorus, reverb, and delay.  In addition to the stereo output, it also has a stereo aux output, stereo input for processing external sounds, two pedal inputs, and a CV mod in.  

Overall, the Summit is a hybrid synth done right.  It expands on the feature set of the Peak, which is considered to be a modern classic in its own right, making for one very powerful synthesizer.  However, all of these features come at a pretty hefty price tag, and is definitely marketed towards a semi-professional or professional market.  

The Novation Summit retails for $2,199 USD.  

Behringer MS-1

Behringer have brought back one of the most iconic synthesizers of the 80’s, the Roland SH-101, in their MS-1.  The SH-101 was one of the first truly-affordable analog synthesizers, and allowed aspiring musicians to own a synth without breaking the bank, which helped give birth to a number of genres of electronic music.  

The MS-1 is the 101 reborn, at a great price point.  It has a fully-analog signal path with step sequencer, 32 full-size keyboard, and includes the classic keytar-style hand grip and strap.  It comes in three different colors; black, blue, and red.  Unlike the original, it has some modern features as well, like as MIDI over USB.  

Much like Behringer’s other clones, the sound of this synth is almost indistinguishable from the original.

The MS-1 only has one voltage controlled oscillator, but this 3340 model osc offers more than your typical oscillator.  It is similar to the kind of oscillator you’d find on the Arturia Minibrute, in that the single monophonic oscillator allows you to stack several different osc types at once.  In the “source mixer” section, you have the ability to layer pulse, saw, and triangle waves, in addition to a sub oscillator with octave control, white noise, and an external input.  

The pulse wave has a pulse width parameter as well.  This means you can create a huge sound using only a single oscillator.  From here, you can mangle the sound even further with the frequency modulation dial, which can be routed from a number of different sources.  The oscillators then pass through a voltage-controlled filter and single ADSR envelope, and single LFO.  

This synthesizer also has a versatile arpeggiator and step sequencer; these features, when paired with the control voltage, gate, and clock inputs, were part of the reason the original SH-101 became such a powerful force in the world of dance music.  It also has performance controls on the left side of the keyboard, including a bender which can be routed to pitch, filter cutoff, or the LFO mod depth of either of these parameters.  

Overall, it serves as a very faithful recreation of the original SH-101, making this classic design available again to a new generation of synth users, and is certainly one of the best budget analog synths on the market right now.

The Behringer MS-1 synthesizer retails at a very affordable $329 USD.  

ASM Hydrasynth

When the Hydrasynth was originally announced by new company ASM, it created a huge buzz in the synthesizer community.  It is an incredibly powerful digital synth, with a depth of features that is more akin to a software plugin than a hardware synth. 

Perhaps its most shocking feature is that it’s 49 key keybed has polyphonic aftertouch, something that keyboardists have been begging manufacturers to bring back for years.  Any keyboard these days that has aftertouch is not fully polyphonic, rather it is only channel aftertouch.  

A keyboard with poly aftertouch, however, gives you infinitely more expression, with the ability to trigger aftertouch for only individual keys.  In addition to this unique keybed, it also features a full-length ribbon controller in a similar vein to the one found on the Yamaha CS-80.  The Hydrasynth is also offered in a module version, with 24 performance pads that are also equipped with poly aftertouch.  Both models are sold at a very reasonable price point, when you consider the huge amount of features this synth offers.  

At first glance, it seems like there would be quite a bit of menu diving on the Hydrasynth, but almost all of the features are really only a click or two away.  It has a very well thought-out user interface, with a very interesting “module select” matrix system for jumping between oscillators, filters etc.  You can quickly dial in sounds using the 5 OLED displays and 9 rotary encoders.  

It has 8 voices of polyphony, with three extremely powerful oscillators per voice, each with over 219 single-cycle waveforms to choose from.  These waveforms vary from the standard analog-style waves, to overtone-rich digital and FM waves. 

You can configure any 8 of these waves in a row, to create a sort of faux-wavetable, which can then be modulated in WaveScan mode.  From there you can route these oscillators into four different “Mutators”, each with 7 different types of waveshaping, including linear FM, wave stacking, pulse width modulation, harmonic sweep, and hard sync.  

There are two individual multimode filters on the Hydrasynth, both with 12 different modes, including the standard highpass, lowpass, and bandpass, as well as a state-variable LP/BP/HP, and a very unique vowel filter.  

The modulation possibilities on the Hydrasynth are nearly-endless.  It has 5 individual, loopable DADSHR envelopes per voice, 5 LFOs per voice, an arpeggiator, and a 32 slot mod matrix which allows you to route nearly any source to any destination.  It also includes control voltage and gate connections right on the front panel, for interfacing with your modular or semi-modular synths.  

There are 8 different powerful effects, including a chorus, flanger, rotary speaker emulation, phaser, lo-fi style bit reduction, tremolo, equalizer, compressor, 5 different delay types, and 4 different reverb types.  These effects can be placed either before or after the reverb/delay, giving you a lot of customization possibilities.  

Overall, the Hydrasynth is an extremely compelling new synthesizer with an innovative interface and impressive feature set.  In fact, it may be the best digital synthesizer available right now.  It fits a similar space in the market to software synthesizer plugins, but with the advantage of being hardware.  I think it has the potential to be a huge hit.  

The ASM Hydrasynth retails at $1,299 USD.
 The Hydrasynth module version retails at $799.

Yamaha MODX

The MODX is one of the newest keyboards from Yamaha, and is intended to function as a successor to their previous MOXF range.  Designed especially for live performance applications, it is a powerful and high quality instrument, as we have come to expect from Yamaha.  It features their AWM2 sample and synth engine, as well as the FM-X sound engine, meaning you have a ton of sound sources to choose from and manipulate further.  

The MODX comes in three different models; the MODX8 with Yamaha’s own 88-key graded hammer action keybed, the MODX7 with 76-key synth-action keybed, and MODX6 with 61-key synth-action keybed.  If you’ve played any other Yamaha keyboard before, you know that the keybed feel and response is one of the nicest on the market, and you can generally expect a pretty high level of consistent quality from Yamaha instruments.  

There are two different sound engines on the MODX, Yamaha’s AWM2 and FM-X engines.  The AWM2 engine, which stands for Advanced Wave Memory has 128 notes of stereo polyphony and serves as both a sample playback-based engine and a synthesis-based engine.  This combination gives you access to both extremely realistic acoustic sounds, as well as some extremely-not realistic sounds, should you so desire. 

If you’ve played a mid or high end Yamaha keyboard before, you’re probably familiar with this engine or a previous version of it.  It has a multitude of different high quality sounds like acoustic pianos, electric pianos, organs, guitars, orchestra instruments, as well as subtractive synthesis-style sounds.  It also comes with 1 gigabyte of free memory for loading any of your own samples directly onto the keyboard.  

The FM-X engine is a Frequency Modulation based engine, not unlike the kind found on a classic Yamaha DX7, but with a lot of new modern features and is considerably-easier to use.  It is an 8-operator engine with 64 notes of polyphony.  This engine covers all the bases that aren’t already covered by the AWM2 engine, meaning you can delve a lot deeper into more complex sound design. 

In addition to these engines, the MODX also offers a vocoder and a very powerful effects engine that allows you to run up to 27 effects at the same time.  There is a huge number of effects to pick from, from classic vintage style effects to more modern processing styles.  

The MODX, at its core, is designed for live performance, and as such it has a number of features that have been designed specifically for the live performer.  It has a “Live Sets” feature that allows you to put sounds in a specific order to make  program changes simple and quick.  It also has “4-part Seamless Sound Switching” system that lets you change patches without abruptly cutting off the previous sound; you can hold down notes before changing the patch, and those notes will remain on the first sound until you lift the keys.  

Perhaps its most iconic performance feature is the “Super Knob,” which gives you the ability to change any number of parameters at the same time, with the same knob.  All in all, the Yamaha MODX strikes a nice balance between powerful sound design possibilities, live performance features, and a reasonable price point.  

The Yamaha MODX6 retails at $1,299 USD.
The MODX7 retails at $1,499.
The MODX8 retails at $1,899.   
The Roland Jupiter Xm retails for $1,499 USD.  

Elektron Digitone Keys

The Digitone Keys is the latest keyboard from Elektron.  The Digitone was already a pre-existing design, in the form of a standalone synth module, and they decided to add a 37 key synth-action Fatar keybed with aftertouch and some more live performance features to cater more towards a keyboardist audience.  The Digitone Keys is fully digital and sports a very interesting appearance, a long and thin body with the keyboard on the right side and module controls on the left. 

At its core, the Digitone is a 4-part multitimbral digital FM synth with four operators and eight voices of polyphony.  A hardware FM synth may sound daunting at first, but the frequency modulation engine on this synth is quite a bit different from the one you might find on a DX7 or similar keyboard.  Elektron took the process of FM and made it much more straightforward, especially for people that are more familiar with subtractive synthesis. 

This means you can quickly and easily dial in rich FM tones, without the tedious, time-consuming work you might expect from an FM synth.  In addition to this, it has a multimode filter, base-width filter, 2 LFOs and 1 arpeggiator per each voice of each of the four parts, as well as an effects engine that includes overdrive, chorus, delay, and reverb.  

The feature that most synth users know (and love) Elektron for is their extremely powerful sequencers, and the Digitone Keys absolutely delivers in this department.  The polyphonic sequencer has Elektron’s parameter-locking, meaning you can quickly and easily modulate your sound over the course of a sequence or pattern.  It also supports microtiming, giving you the ability to slightly nudge notes out of time to give your music a less robotic, sterile feel.  

It also supports the ability to change to a different patch for every step of the sequencer, which is undoubtedly a very powerful feature.  The sequencer not only has four tracks for sequencing each of the four synth parts, but also has an additional 4 MIDI tracks for sequencing external gear as well, and can store up to 8 banks of 16 patterns.  

Because of this, the Digitone can easily serve as a centerpiece for a live synth setup.  The rear panel has a lot to offer as well; in addition to the stereo main output it has four additional stereo outputs for each synth part, a stereo audio input, and two control pedal inputs.

The Elektron Digitone Keys retails for $1,299 USD.  

Sequential Prophet X/XL

The Prophet X is the latest hybrid synth powerhouse from Dave Smith and Sequential.  It is an interesting and innovative new take on sample-playback synthesizers; instead of a basic sampler engine, the Prophet X takes high quality samples, provided by 8Dio, and applies them to a more traditional subtractive synthesis-style engine.  

Complete with analog modelled digital oscillators, stereo analog filter, and intuitive knob-rich interface, this synth allows you to modulate and layer samples in new, interesting ways.  There are two different models, the Prophet X and the Prophet XL. 

Both have the same engine, but the Prophet X has a 61-note synth action keybed while the Prophet XL has a 76-note fully weighted Fatar keybed.  Both keyboards support velocity and channel aftertouch.  Much like most Sequential instruments, it is a premium, professional product and comes in at a price point to match.  

This new Prophet synthesizer has a layout that would be familiar to anyone who has used any previous Prophet synths.  Despite being a sample-based engine at its core, it is very much rooted in the subtractive synthesis domain.  There are two sound sources; samples and oscillators.  Both of these have 16 voices of polyphony.  

The sample playback engine allows you to have two different instruments at the same time, in a similar way that you would have two oscillators on a traditional synth.  It includes a massive 150 gigabyte sample library, all of which are super high quality stereo samples provided by 8Dio.  It allows you to easily edit these samples on the fly, with the ability to change the start and end times, as well as the size of each sample.  

The oscillator section on the Prophet X offers two digital oscillators per voice; each oscillator has the traditional sine, saw, and square waves, in addition to a supersaw wave.  There is also a waveshaping setting for each wave type. 

From here, both the samples and oscillators run through a fully analog, stereo 24dB filter.  The fact that this synth has an analog filter is a huge deal, this gives you apply the familiar warmth of an analog synthesizer to the digital samples and oscillators.  

The Prophet X absolutely does not come up short on the modulation side of things.  It has dedicated amp and filter envelopes per voice, with an additional two more auxiliary envelopes.  It has 4 LFOs per voice, each with a number of different waveforms to choose from, with a dedicated modulation section that makes assigning modulation sources quick and easy.  

In addition to this, it has a polyphonic arpeggiator, polyphonic sequencer, and digital effects section.  With this effects section you can have two different effects simultaneously, with the ability to pick from a number of different reverbs, a regular delay, a bucket-brigade-style delay, chorus, phaser, flanger, rotary, high pass filter, and distortion circuit.  

With all of these features combined alongside the innovative integration of sample playback in a subtractive synthesizer, the Prophet X/XL is a dream-come-true for composers, electronic music makers, or anyone who loves having an endless supply of sound design possibilities.  

The Sequential Prophet X retails for $3,499 USD.

The Prophet XL retails for $3,899.  

This has been just a small taste of the huge number of synthesizers on the market right now.  Some say we are in a new golden age of synthesizers; whether you believe it or not, there’s no denying the number of quality synths available at the moment, there’s something for everyone.  I hope this article has helped inform you about some of the best synths available right now, or perhaps helped you decide on your next synth purchase!  

Roland Jupiter Xm

The brand new Roland Jupiter Xm offers more than meets the eye.  At first glance, it may look like a synthesizer akin to the Minilogue, but with a signature Roland style.  However, it is actually a very powerful and full-featured digital synthesizer.  It is the little brother to the huge Jupiter X, which will be hitting the markets some time next year.  

The Xm has a 37 slim-key keybed, not unlike the one on the Korg Minilogue or Minilogue XD.  It is 5 part multitimbral, meaning it can have 4 different synth parts and 1 drum part happening simultaneously, which is something you don’t see often on a synth of this form factor.  However, the price is also pretty unusual for a keyboard of this size; yet, it certainly seems justified when you break down its massive feature set.  

The Xm uses a new “ZEN-core” sound engine, which sets it apart from other recent Roland synths, like their Boutique range, which uses the proprietary “Analog Circuit Behavior” technology.  However, Roland has said that the ACB engine was too resource-intensive to use in something with so many simultaneous voices (up to 256 voice polyphony), and thus had to make an entirely new engine to use with this synth and the upcoming Jupiter X. 

It has a number of different sound engines, all modeled after famous Roland gear; this includes the Jupiter 8, Juno 106, JX-8P, SH-101, XV-5080, and the RD piano engine.  It also has drum machine engines modeled after the iconic TR-808, TR-909, and CR-78.  The fact that this synth includes so many different engines, and that you can layer up to 5 of them at the same time, makes it incredibly powerful and versatile.  

On the front panel, the Jupiter Xm has controls for oscillator, filter, envelope, and LFO.  These vary depending on the engine you’re using.  It has dedicated effects for each part, which includes a drive, chorus, delay, and reverb.  The “I-Arpeggiator” is an interesting new feature, it is basically an intelligent arpeggiator that can automatically generate chords, bass, drums, and more as an accompaniment to whatever you’re playing at the moment.  It uses an artificial intelligence technology to shape these parts differently depending on what you play.  

Overall, the Jupiter Xm is a promising new product by Roland with a very rich feature set; it can do way more than you might imagine by just looking at it.  

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