Find the best polysynths for every budget with the PMT guide to our favourite polyphonic synthesizers in 2023 - including options from Sequential, Modal & more
In this blog we’ll be taking you through our picks of the best polysynths for each and every kind of musician. No matter if you’re on the hunt for the best polysynth for live use, the best beginner polysynth, or the best polysynth on a budget – our choices have you covered.
Before we dig in, let’s answer a few common questions about polysynths..
What is a Polysynth?
A polysynth is any synthesizer that can play many notes at the same time.
The full term would be ‘polyphonic synthesizer’, in which ‘poly’ means ‘many’, and ‘phonic’ refers to ‘voices’.
Polysynths can have different degrees of polyphony depending on the number of voices available to the player.
Polysynth vs Monosynth
The main two types of synthesizers you’ll come across are polysynths and monosynths.
A monosynth is only capable of playing one note at a time, whereas polysynths can play multiple notes at the same time.
Which Polysynth is Right for Me?
Depending on how you plan to use your polysynth, you might need to focus on certain features.
Some of the most important things to consider before buying a polysynth include:
- How many voices does this synth have?
- Is it analog or digital?
- Is it designed for beginners? Or does the workflow have a steeper learning curve?
- Where will it be used – live, in the studio, or just for practicing?
We’ll help you to find which polysynth is best for your needs – find our favourites below...
Best Polysynths 2023
Our picks for the best polysynths in 2023 are:
- Sequential Trigon 6 Polyphonic Analogue Synthesiser
- Roland JUNO-X Synthesizer
- Yamaha MODX8+ Music Synthesizer
- Modal Cobalt 8X 8 Voice Extended Virtual-Analogue Synthesizer
- Korg Modwave
- Yamaha reface CS Analogue Synthesizer
These synthesizers have been picked based on their high build-quality, class-leading components, and - most importantly - their epic sound synthesis capabilities. We’ve tried to cater to each and every budget, so no matter if you’re a polysynth connoisseur looking to expand your collection or a fledgling sound designer – there's something here for you.
Without further ado...
Sequential Trigon 6 Polyphonic Analogue Synthesiser
Endlessly inspiring and highly-versatile, this incredible 6-voice synthesizer comes from an iconic brand that has helped to define an era of music.
Maintaining the signature Sequential sound, the Trigon 6 Polyphonic Analogue Synthesiser features 3 all-new VCOs and elite sound sculpting capabilities in the form of high-class envelopes, syncable LFOs, a polyphonic step sequencer, and arpeggiator.
Taking equally from the legendary Prophet-6 and OB-6 instruments, this synth boasts a four-octave, semi-weighted keyboard that includes velocity and channel aftertouch, as well as a potent effects section that includes studio-quality reverbs, delays, chorus and much more.
No matter if you’re kitting-out a top-end studio space or heading for the biggest stages in the world, the Trigon 6 can handle it all; and with 500 factory and user presets each, you’re certain to get lost in the sonic experience that this unbelievable synthesiser can unleash.
Roland JUNO-X Synthesizer
The Roland JUNO Series is synonymous with the best-of-the-best in synthesis, and this modern take in the form of the JUNO-X only helps to carry on what is a truly historic legacy.
Building upon the vintage spirit of the JUNO-60 and JUNO-106, Roland have reimagined this instrument through the ultra-powerful ZEN-Core synthesis system, combining modern functionality with an authentic character and timeless sound.
Packed with improvements and upgrades, Roland have spared no expense when creating the JUNO-X. The intuitive controls allow for super simple sound creation and on-the-fly tweaking, allowing users to take full advantage of all-new features such as the enhanced Super Saw Oscillator and the Chorus III mode.
The expressive 61-note keyboard features aftertouch for total control, with vintage and modern-flavoured arpeggiators that allow you to dive into the nuances of your music.
Depending on the engine you’re using, this synthesizer can supply you with up to 256-voice polyphony – more than generous, in our opinion.
With USB audio and MIDI interface support, USB Memory options, and Bluetooth audio, the JUNO-X is future-proofed for years to come. Furthermore, by taking advantage of the free JUNO-X Editor software for macOS and Windows, this synth is able to offer the ultimate comprehensive experience for the modern creative.
We also recommend checking out the JUPITER-X for a range of different (but equally iconic) Roland sounds – check out our comparison guide below:
Yamaha MODX8+ Music Synthesizer
Utilising two synthesis engines, this instrument gives you access to a sample-based AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory 2) and an FM-X Synthesis Engine (Frequency Modulation).
By using both simultaneously users are able to unlock complex soundscapes that are inherently musical and suitable for a wide range of different genres and projects.
One of our favourite characteristics of the MODX8+ is Smart Morph, which allows performers to move between FM-X sounds for refreshing and interactive creation. Similarly, the Motion Control feature allows for mastery of up to 128 parameters at the same time, which can either be automated or manually controlled with the onboard Super Knob.
With 128-voice polyphony per engine and over 2200 sounds straight out of the box, synthesists of all abilities will find infinite creativity pouring out of every corner of this instrument.
Modal Cobalt 8X 8 Voice Extended Virtual-Analogue Synthesizer
One of our favourite synth manufacturers at PMT is Modal Electronics – the UK-based creatives who are leading the charge for innovation in modern electronic instrument production.
As we’ve come to expect from the brand, we have here a synthesizer that pushes creative boundaries and breaks the mould – the Cobalt 8X 8-Voice Extended Virtual-Analogue Synthesizer.
Unleashing the full potential of virtual-analogue waveforms, this premium 61-note keyboard is wholly unique, expressive, and musical.
The robust aluminium enclosure is more than suitable for life on the road, and with true 8-voice polyphony, 34 different on-board oscillator algorithms, and a 4-pole ladder filter, the opportunity for studio experimentation is sky-high.
Paired with the free MODALapp, you can unlock the complete potential of this instrument, offering a visually-stunning and hands-on experience like no other.
This modern take on the DW-8000 from Korg has been an instant hit since its release. The epic Modwave gives performers access to a comprehensive sonic palette and highly-evolved synthesis capabilities, combining digital wavetables with analog filters to create an array of monstrous sounds.
Featuring incredibly ‘deep’ wavetable oscillators, this instrument has over 200 wavetables each containing up to 64 waveforms. With 30+ modifiers, 13 Morph Types for real-time processing, and A/B Blend potential, you’re actually treated to over 230 million wavetable variations directly out of the box.
Add modulation, play with the truly awesome Kaoss Physics pad, and be amazed at just how far you can take this synthesizer – we’re still finding new ways to create all the time!
We also recommend checking out the Korg Wavestate, which we’ve covered in-depth with our comparison to the Modwave – get the lowdown on all of the differences and similarities between them below:
Yamaha reface CS Analogue Synthesizer
This 8-voice virtual synth is based on an ‘Analog-Physical Modelling’ engine that is surprisingly powerful given the price of this keyboard, with 5 oscillation types, spirited effects, and a dynamic layout that prioritises a hands-on approach.
The built-in stereo speakers feature a bass reflex port for music-making on the move, and the reface app makes saving, finding, and sharing patches simple.
With MIDI connectivity, optional battery-power, and a price point that belies the capacity of this instrument, musicians of all abilities will find something to love with this ambitious synthesizer.
Finding the perfect polysynth is something we take seriously at PMT, and we’re committed to help musicians get the best instrument for their needs.
Remember to consider how many voices you’ll need from your synth, how you intend to use it, and whether additional effects are something you want to take advantage of. Above all, search for the synth that inspires you to make music and be creative!
Each of the instruments on our list has been chosen based on a wealth of knowledge and experience from our team of Experts – but if you’d rather keep looking, you can find our complete range of Synthesizers here: