Playing any musical instrument allows you not only to get maximum pleasure yourself and to please others, but also to relax well, to get away from everyday worries. As many professional musicians say, one of the simplest instruments is the piano — learning to play it is not too difficult, and not only the performer, but also the listeners will enjoy it. Unfortunately, not every apartment can install such a tool, as it needs a lot of free space.
In this regard, the synthesizer will be much more convenient and comfortable in terms of operation. It does not require a lot of free space, besides, it can be used to imitate the sounds of other musical instruments — drums, guitars, and so on. In addition, this technique will be very useful in professional performances. On sale today you can find a fairly large assortment of these instruments — they may differ from each other in sound reproduction technology, the number of keys and a number of auxiliary functions.
Because of this, it may not be too easy to choose the most suitable model — therefore, we decided to make this task as easy as possible for you. We hope that after reading this article you will be able to purchase the best model for yourself. However, before moving on to reviewing the performance characteristics of the devices included in today’s review of the best synthesizers of the year, we decided to give the main points that you should pay attention to when buying a product. With this, perhaps, it is worth starting.
What characteristics are important when choosing a synthesizer in 2022?
When buying equipment such as a synthesizer or an electronic piano, you should immediately decide for what purpose it is planned to be purchased. It can act as a substitute for the piano for a child studying at a music school, or it can be a professional instrument that will be used during performances or for studio recordings.
Synthesizers designed for elementary education have a sound range of about 4-5 octaves, and the force of pressing the keys will not affect the intensity of the sound in any way. Such equipment is perfect for learning the basics of music and playing simple melodies. If there is a need to immediately correctly place the child’s hand and accustom him to better performance, then the acquisition of such an instrument should be abandoned.
Today, there are models on sale that, in all their characteristics, are in no way inferior to the traditional piano, but they will cost quite a lot. They do not need a lot of free space and at the same time are able to extract a large number of a wide variety of sounds. Be sure to pay attention to the technology of sound synthesis.
Analog synthesizers pass sound waves through a series of specific filters: some of them will boost certain frequencies, while others will cut off all unnecessary. There is also an additive synthesis of sound, when the generator causes the appearance of waves that combine with each other to form one that will be filled with harmonics. This allows you to get the so-called synthetic sounds.
Another method of extracting sounds is called FM synthesis or frequency modulation technology. Here, by means of frequency modulation, one complex wave is created from a set of simple waves. This technique was widely used around the 80s of the last century. In many ways, due to this technology, it is possible to obtain «bell-shaped» sounds.
The simplest and, as a result, the most common method of extracting sounds is wave technology. Fragments of real sounds are stored in the memory of the synthesizer, which, by combining, give out a note of a certain tone, making it almost impossible to distinguish it from the sound produced by a classical instrument. Due to this, today such synthesizers are the most widespread and affordable.
When compiling our today’s ranking of the best synthesizers of the year, we took into account all these points, so we have it in three parts: models for children, products for beginners and professional equipment. When choosing devices for our review, we relied on user and professional reviews, took into account the price-quality ratio, so the most expensive models were simply not included in the rating. Well, now is the time to move on to a direct analysis of the performance of specific models.
3. CASIO SA-47
Allows the child to make the first steps in the music world easier. The design has 32 small keys, they are well suited for children’s fingers, but in terms of sound quality, this synthesizer is quite good. In its sound range, there are 100 timbres, 50 different musical styles at once, 8-note polyphony is provided. In addition, the instrument has 5 buttons responsible for drums, a reed organ mode and a piano with a switch function. Due to its compact dimensions, this synthesizer is perfect for young musicians.
The mass of the device is small, the keys have a soft stroke, which allows the baby to play on it for a long time, and the fingers will not feel tired. The main thing is to put the synthesizer on a flat surface before turning it on, it will not slide on it due to the presence of rubberized legs. The design is made in retro style. The case is made of high-quality silver plastic with a matte finish, which will not show dust, fingerprints and other kinds of pollution. There are also reliable and sufficiently powerful speakers that provide good quality sounds. It should be noted that the synthesizer is equipped with a liquid crystal display, on which you can read all the information necessary for the user. The device has a learning mode of operation: it includes 10 tunes that the baby is invited to repeat. Headphones can be connected if necessary.
- Excellent sound quality;
- Small overall dimensions;
- An informative liquid crystal display is provided;
- Quality assembly;
- The mass is quite suitable for a small child;
- Runs on batteries or rechargeable batteries, can be powered from the mains.
- Some users find that the speakers sound quiet.
2. Shantou Gepai HS5416A
For a children’s model, this design has a fairly large set of features: the memory of this synthesizer contains 12 demo melodies of a training type at once. There are more than two hundred tonality settings, exactly the same number of rhythm settings, 7 types of drums at once. It is possible to change the volume, tempo. The child, if desired, can record a melody invented by him in the memory of the equipment, and then play it back. Like all other children’s synthesizers, there is a very convenient learning function, a number of sound effects are provided. The device comes with a microphone. The synthesizer can be powered by six AA batteries or by a power cord (the latter is supplied with it).
Of course, such a toy cannot be compared with a professional musical instrument, but a wide set of keys is provided here — 54 pieces, like a classic piano. They are located quite compactly, so the child does not have to strain his hands much to reach the desired key or play the desired chord. A liquid crystal display is not provided here, but all the functions are already clear — the buttons are signed. The device has a built-in speaker system, consisting of two speakers that form stereo sound. If necessary, headphones can be connected to the synthesizer. As users note in their reviews, this model is well suited for both children and adults who are just beginning to be interested in music and playing various instruments.
- Many different modes of operation;
- 54 keys;
- Ability to work both from the mains and from batteries;
- Reliability and durability.
- On the surface it can slip.
Shantou Gepai HS5416A
1. CASIO SA-78
This is a fairly high-quality synthesizer, despite the fact that it was originally created specifically for children. First of all, the manufacturers took good care of children’s safety. The speakers are protected in such a way that the child cannot reach them in any way. The body is made of high quality matte plastic. The buttons are all made of soft rubber with a sensitive touch. The keys are made of glossy plastic, a little easily soiled, but it’s not critical. There are 44 of them here.
The synthesizer operates either from batteries or from a special 9.5 V 1 A adapter, which is connected to a special connector located next to the headphone jack. If necessary, you can connect external speakers, which can significantly improve the sound quality of the device. The mass of the device is small — together with six batteries, it hardly reaches one and a half kilograms. The case has very convenient recesses for carrying it. Even a three-year-old child can easily move it from place to place without straining. At the same time, the device has five additional buttons responsible for the mode of percussion instruments, there are tempo and volume controls. A monochromatic liquid crystal display is provided in the central part of the device. It displays a metronome, indicating the rhythm, musical staff and other useful information. In addition, there is a large yellow button that switches between piano and organ modes. If the synthesizer is left on without use for five minutes, it will automatically turn off.
- Small overall dimensions and weight of the device;
- Quite acceptable sound quality;
- Works both from a network, and from batteries;
- Adults can also use.
- Not detected.
Synthesizers for beginners
3. Medeli M17
This device is an improved version of the M15 model, this synthesizer was released for general sale only a couple of years ago, but thanks to its excellent price-quality ratio, it was able to instantly gain popularity among ordinary users. The developers of this model have made an additional emphasis on making the sound as perfect as possible. Here all timbres are heard realistically and distinctly. This was achieved largely by installing a more modern tone generator and improving the effects professor. These changes make this instrument suitable not only for teaching or home use, but also for performing in smaller venues. Polyphony here is 64-note, which allows you to get high-quality sound of each of the built-in timbres. In addition to them, the synthesizer has a hundred styles of automatic accompaniment at once.
The keys have also undergone some changes compared to the older model. They are quite responsive in terms of pressing, which provides greater brightness and expressiveness of the melody. The built-in mixer allows you not only to adjust the individual sound of the timbre of each of the instruments, but also to save the entered data to the synthesizer’s memory. According to users, this model is a small music laboratory that allows you to experiment with rhythms, effects and achieve completely different sounds of the same composition. For beginners, the developers have provided 110 training melodies. There is a liquid crystal display on the front panel for easy operation of the device.
- The keys here are full-sized;
- Acceptable overall dimensions;
- High-quality sound;
- Good acoustics;
- Small mass;
- Reliable build.
- Some keys, after a certain time, may begin to creak;
- The sound range is only 5 octaves — many users note that it would be better if there were 7.
2. CASIO CTK-7200
Manufacturers have managed to place in this model a huge number of features and a huge set of functions. As people who have used such a device say, it combines both the synthesizer itself and an almost full-fledged arranger and workstation. In terms of shape and overall dimensions, the keys here do not differ in any way from the keys of a piano, which allows people who happened to graduate from a music school to use these instruments. They will not experience discomfort due to small keys, which is often the sin of many synthesizers. It also has a lot of useful features, making music creation fast and easy enough.
The synthesizer provides over three hundred musical presets that perfectly connect voice and rhythm, regardless of the chosen style of music. The sound quality is also on top — each selected instrument will sound like an acoustic one, and you can slightly change its parameters depending on your needs. One of the most interesting features is the Audio Recorder: thanks to it, you can record from any external source, and the file will be saved on an external USB drive. The synthesizer has two audio inputs at once, it is possible to apply one of the many available effects to the instrument input.
- Acceptable cost;
- It is possible to record almost professional soundtracks;
- You can record music and voice at the same time.
- Some keys begin to creak after a certain time — it does not affect the quality of the recording, but the musician may cause some discomfort.
1. CASIO CTK-6200
This is one of the most compact semi-professional models of this manufacturer, which quickly gained popularity among users. The set of functions and useful qualities of this device is quite wide, so many people wonder why so many features are provided for such a low price. Overall dimensions are small, although the keyboard here is full-size — includes 61 dynamic type keys. If necessary, you can select the most appropriate sensitivity level, which allows you to use a variety of musical styles. If the user has some experience using such equipment, the sensitivity mode can be completely turned off, which allows the synthesizer to be used as a midi controller.
The internal capabilities are very rich: the range of possibilities has been expanded almost to a professional level, largely due to the presence of seven hundred built-in timbres at once. There is an editor that allows you to create your own musical voices by layering. One-time polyphony includes 48 notes. In addition, the synthesizer has a hundred preset effects, the same number of custom, customizable, there are ten types of reverb. The synthesizer’s memory is extensive — designed for 5 compositions, each of which can contain up to 17 melodies, which in total is over 12 thousand notes. There are slots for SD or SDHC memory cards, which can be up to 32 GB. Another very interesting feature is the «Music Presets», which is a built-in library with about 300 different songs.
- High quality tool manufacturing;
- Wide range of tools;
- Ease of use;
- Good value for money, and the quality is even much higher compared to the cost.
- There may be some problems with development.
3. Roland FA-06
It has a plastic case, due to which this device does not weigh too much for professional equipment — only 5.7 kg. For a tool with 61 keys, the overall dimensions are also small — 100x30x10 cm. All connectors for connecting additional devices, including the power cable, are located on the rear panel. The product is equipped with anti-slip rubber feet. The connector for the power supply is additionally reinforced with a rubberized ring, thanks to which the plug is fixed as tightly as possible. Near it is a special jumper that allows you to fix the cable and protect it from accidental jerks. There is a line output for use in stereo connection with the ability to balance channels.
The keys have a short stroke, quickly return to their original position. Playing them is a real pleasure, although it will take some time to adapt. The interface of the synthesizer is quite simple, so you can start working with it without studying the instructions. All main functions have separate buttons and knobs. The synthesizer is loaded after turning on very quickly — about 10 seconds is enough. In the center is a large full-color LCD display. Although it is quite informative, it will not show unnecessary data. All emitted sounds are sorted into sections.
- High speed of work;
- Large color display;
- Ability to connect a stereo system;
- Ease of use.
- The short travel of the keys takes some getting used to.
2. Yamaha PSR-SX700 synthesizer
The device offers the user a literally perfect sound, a wide range of different instruments and increased functionality. Compared to the previous generation of professional synthesizers, the device received an improved design, the highest quality keyboard, and an optimized FX section. The latter includes a set of equalizers, compressors, reverbs and many more other effects. The synthesizer supports polyphony of 128 voices, it has an AWM tone generator. It has an organ-type keyboard, consisting of 61 keys, FSB format. The response can be adjusted. The speaker system is represented by two speakers, the power of each of which is 15 watts. For the convenience of managing functions, there is a touch-type display with a diagonal of 7 inches, there is also a joystick, a lot of buttons, three controls and an encoder.
If necessary, the keyboard can be divided into four independent zones, certain instruments are assigned to each of them. Buttons are usually used to work with settings and effects. The library consists of 1027 presets consisting of keys, percussion organs and so on, as many as 400 rhythm patterns are provided for accompaniment. Among the connectors there are inputs for connecting a guitar, a microphone, the amount of built-in memory is 400 MB, there are also two USB connectors, the same number of outputs for pedals. The mass of the device is quite serious — 12 kg.
- Sufficiently loud sound;
- Large set of features;
- There are all necessary additional connectors;
- Excellent workmanship of the tool;
- Reasonable price for a professional synthesizer.
- Not detected.
Synthesizer Yamaha PSR-SX700
1. KORG Pa600
The synthesizer is a fairly powerful professional-style arranger, which is very popular among professional musicians. It has an automatic accompaniment function. The keyboard here is unweighted, has 61 keys, and they are sensitive to both speed and pressure. The model is equipped with a powerful polyphony for 128 voices. There are even more timbres — more than 950, accompaniment styles are also enough for professional use — more than 360. The drum kit includes 64 variations. In the central part of the product there is a fairly large LCD touch-screen display, the diagonal of which is 7 inches with a resolution of 800×480 pixels. This allows you to quickly adjust any user settings, make changes to them and save them, and so on.
The memory of the equipment is designed for 1200 user styles, the RAM is 96 MB. You can use all the features of this equipment directly during the performance — this is exactly what the touch display will be useful for. The sound quality is very high, so the instrument is suitable even for performances in philharmonic halls or conservatories.
- The set comes with a control pedal;
- A touch screen is provided;
- The synthesizer is equipped with a transposition function;
- It has a built-in speaker system of average power level;
- Convenient to use.
- High price.
In conclusion, a useful video
So our review of the best synthesizers is nearing completion. We tried to tell you as fully as possible about all the characteristics of the models included in our rating in 2022. If you still have any questions, or if you have experience with one of these devices, and you decide to share it both with us and with other readers, then welcome to the comments. We are very interested in your opinion, and we will answer all questions as quickly as we can.