Best of 2020: Hardware Synthesizers

From accurate, analog recreations to delightful digital machines and hybrid hardware units that push the sonic boundaries, 2020 has seen some excellent new hardware synths released.  

Here’s 10 of the most impressive hardware synthesisers we’ve come across that were either announced or released this year. (In no particular order!)

Behringer 2600

Behringer 2600

Announced back in 2019, the sub $600 ARP 2600 remake from Behringer has just been received into the AskAudio labs, and although we’re not ready with a review just yet, we’re very impressed.

Behringer tells us their 2600 features authentic reproduction of original “Arp* 2600” circuitry with matched transistors and JFETs. Like the original it is a semi-modular synth and requires no patching for immediate performance.

2. Sequential Prophet 5

Sequential Prophet 5

The new Prophet-5 is Dave Smith’s timely return to the analog poly synth that changed the world. It’s “the best of all Prophet-5s” as Dave puts it because it embodies all three revisions of the legendary synth — Rev1, Rev2, and Rev3 — through the use of genuine Curtis analog VCOs and filters (as in the Rev3) as well as new 2140 low-pass filters designed by Dave Rossum, like the 2040 filters he designed in the original Rev1 and Rev2. A Rev switch lets you choose between the two filter designs. It also adjusts the Filter Envelope’s shape and response to match the original Prophet Rev 1/2 or Rev 3 respectively.

The result is as pure a renewal of an analog classic as you could wish for, with the authentic, muscular sound of the original and the roadworthiness of a state-of-the-art modern instrument.

3. Arturia PolyBrute

Arturia PolyBrute

Fusing the raw power of Brute oscillators with digital Matrix precision, 3D Morphée performance touchpad, and pristine stereo effects, PolyBrute heralds a new era of polyphony coming in November 2020. 

6 pure analog voices driven by 2 Brute oscillators, complete with distortion, wavefolding, and FM control, shaped by dual enhanced filters for massive timbral variety.

Did we mention the three-dimensional morphing capabilities, or the matrix..?

4. Moog Subharmonicon

Moog Subharmonicon

The Moog Subharmonicon is a versatile analog labyrinth of subharmonically derived synthesis and polyrhythmic patterns, equally suited for losing oneself and simultaneously finding oneself through sound. This new semi-modular analog synthesizer is designed for the exploration of sequences that unfold and evolve over time, spiraling through six-tone subharmonic chords and organic polyrhythms.

Watch more Subharmonicon videos: AskAudio | macProVideo

5. Dreadbox Typhon

Dreadbox Typhon

Typhon, is a collaboration between Dreadbox and Sinevibes, who provide 12 DSP effects. This machine is interestingly set at an affordable price point and is a steal for what it includes and when you consider just how well-made and well-sounding Dreadbox synths are.

This portable, analog, desktop machine includes 2 Classic Dreadbox Oscillators, a 4-pole Low Pass Filter, and Multiple Analog VCAs, 2 Envelope Generators for the Filter and the Amp, Modulators with 4 Different Modes, 12 DSP stereo effects, a 32 Note Sequencer, and 254 preset memory.

Price: $379 USD

Review: coming soon…


6. UDO Super 6

UDO Audio Super 6

UDO Audio's new take on the traditional analog synthesizer is a 12 voice poly binaural analog-hybrid synthesizer with Super-Wave technology tendering unique sound design capabilities.

State-of-the-art FPGA digital hardware oscillators are coupled with analog filters and amplifiers, while its unique super-wavetable core can be shaped and manipulated with the binaural analog signal path and flexible modulation.

Basically, it sounds awesome!!

Price: £2,295.00 GBP


7. Korg OpSix

Korg OpSix

Not yet available (due early 2021), the OpSix caused a bit of a buzz when announced in November 2020, as you’d expect with a new synth from Korg.

The new opsix Altered FM Synthesizer from KORG amplifies the legendary and expansive sound of real six-operator FM synthesis with 16-step note and motion sequencing, 32 notes of polyphony, triple multi-effects processing, arpeggiator, five modulation modes, twelve-point modulation matrix (including preset sequence patterns) – all with unparalleled instant on-panel editing.

Price: $799 USD

Review: Sometime in 2021


8. Erica Synths SYNTRX

Erica Synths SYNTRX

If you desire sexy, substance from your next synthesizer, the Erica Synths SYNTRX is one to explore.

SYNTRX is an all analog synthesizer developed from scratch. It features 3 highly accurate VCOs that track great over 8 octaves, a Noise generator with “color” filter, a Resonant VCF, Ring modulator, Spring reverb, ASR/AD looping envelope generator, a Joystick controller, 3 VCA’s, sample & hold circuit, and even built-in speakers!

Go experiment.

9. Modal Cobalt8

Modal Cobalt8

Cobalt8 is an immensely powerful, eight-voice extended VA (Virtual-Analogue) synthesiser that brings traditional and entirely new analogue-style sound textures to modern music creation and production as an innovative, sophisticated synthesis concept comprising two oscillator groups with selectable algorithms in self-contained elements enabling multiple oscillator modulations, an all-new 4-pole morphable ladder filter with switchable configurations, an unparalleled modulation engine, and much more besides, extending far beyond the limits of its analogue forefathers.

Oh, and it sounds absolutely fantastic… !


Price: $749 USD

Review: coming soon...


10. Behringer MonoPoly

Behringer MonoPoly

The original 4-voice, paraphonic, analog MonoPoly from 1981 was in production for only three years. We suspect the Behringer version will be around for a lot longer. It features the original layout which was a firm favorite for the many artists and bands that used it.

It features 4 VCO’s, Dedicated Filter for VCO, ADSR envelopes, Dual analog LFOs, Monophonic, unison or poly modes (up to 4 notes per chord), Chord memory function, Pulse Width Modulation, detune options, a built-in arpeggiator, MIDI In, Out and Thru, and CV patch points.


Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More


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