5 Best Synthesizers for Live Performance of 2020

As a musician, there is no better feeling than performing live.

When I started my first band, we would play clubs for free, and sometimes we would even have to pay to play, which is not a big deal because we love music.

It’s a good thing that those “pay to play” days are long gone, and musicians are now fairly compensated for their performances.

I used to play guitars back then, but through the years, I developed an interest in synths.

Even though I am not a piano player, I learned how to play a keyboard because of my love for music.

Ever since I bought my first synth, I became a little bit of synth enthusiast and started to listen to various bands with synths.

If you are wondering what is the best synth for live performance, you came to the right place.

In this article, I will show you some of the best synthesizers for performing live.

I have had my fair share of different synths and experienced playing with different models on various live performances.

Let’s breakdown some of the best hardware synthesizers and look at some of the best synths for performing live.

We will look at models that I had the pleasure of using, and some synths that other bands are using as well.

In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:

Most Affordable
Behringer Synthesizer (WASP DELUXE)
Most Portable
Roland JD-XI 37-Key Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer, Black
Top Pick
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer
Best For Lead
Korg Minilogue 4-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synth with Presets
Analog Powerhouse
Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer and Step Sequencer
Behringer Synthesizer (WASP DELUXE)
Roland JD-XI 37-Key Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer, Black
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer
Korg Minilogue 4-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synth with Presets
Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer and Step Sequencer
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Most Affordable
Behringer Synthesizer (WASP DELUXE)
Behringer Synthesizer (WASP DELUXE)
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Most Portable
Roland JD-XI 37-Key Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer, Black
Roland JD-XI 37-Key Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer, Black
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Top Pick
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Polyphonic Synthesizer
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Best For Lead
Korg Minilogue 4-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synth with Presets
Korg Minilogue 4-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synth with Presets
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Analog Powerhouse
Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer and Step Sequencer
Moog Matriarch Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer and Step Sequencer

Now, let’s get to the juicy part!

What is the Best Synth for Live Performance?

The best synth for live performance should be lightweight, easy to program, equipped with good-sounding presets, and it should have high-quality audio.

You also want a synth that fits your playing style.

If you are a versatile player, you want a synth that can be used for playing bass parts, lead parts, and chords.

How Much Do Synths Cost?

Some synths can be really expensive and cost over $1000.

In this article, I will show you a versatile selection that will feature high-end and affordable synths.

As a synth player and enthusiasts, I always need a synth when I am on the road.

MIDI controllers might be more portable, but nothing can replace hardware and analog synthesizers.

This post will talk about synthesizers, particularly for live permanence purposes.

There might be better synths for your studio, but today we will only focus on synths for rocking out the live stage.

If you a synth player who loves performing live, here are the best synths for you.

5 Best Synths for Live Performances

All right, let’s get to our contestants:

#1 Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12:
Top Pick

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 - best synthesizer keyboard for live performance

This synthesizer is all about versatility and durability, making it an excellent choice for taking with you on tour.

A lot of bands rely on this synth for live performances because of its overall functions.

Because it is incredibly versatile, this synth will suit any playing style.

One of its best features is the Live Mode feature that allows you to set up your patches beforehand, making it easy for you to switch the tones you use for your set.

The Prophet 12 is a warm-sounding synth equipped with digital oscillators and analog filters, which for me, is the best combo.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Prophet 12 is the best synth I ever had the chance of using live.

It has great tones for playing chords, and massive lead and bass sounds, making it an all-around machine.

It might be too expensive, but it is worth it considering its performance and features.

#2 Moog Matriarch Analog Synth:
Best Analog Synth

Moog Matriarch Analog Synth - best synthesizer to perform live on stage

Moog is known for creating some of the best analog and modular synths, and the Moog Matriarch is the best option for live performances.

It has incredible bass tones that Moog is known for, and it can truly deliver a powerful performance.

The Matriarch is one of Moog’s most inexpensive models, making it an excellent synth for touring.

Every aspect of this synth is analog, which creates very warm tones.

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an affordable Moog synth, the Matriarch makes an excellent all-analog choice.

It is light and portable, making it an ideal touring synth.

#3 Behringer Wasp Deluxe:
Best Budget Option

Behringer Wasp Deluxe - best budget cheap affordable synthesizer for live performance

If you are looking for an affordable synth to bring on tour, the Behringer Wasp Deluxe might be your best option.

It sports a classic look and built with classic 80s synth tones.

It is very user-friendly, thanks to its intuitive user interface.

It also comes with a cool vocoder that is very fun to play with.

Final Verdict

The Beringer Wasp Deluxe is one of the best synthesizers you can get in this price range.

#4 Roland JD-Xi:
Best Portable Option

Roland JD-Xi - best small portable synthesizer for live performance

Roland keyboards and synths produce high-quality audio, and the JD-Xi is one of them.

This option is portable and user-friendly.

All of the controls are laid out clearly, making it easy for you to navigate your way through all the features during a live performance.

It is equipped with both an analog and digital sound engine for more variety.

Plus, this option is very durable.

I had mine for half a decade, and it still works like a dream.

Final Verdict

The Roland JD-Xi has excellent sound quality.

It is a versatile option that any synth player would want to take on the road.

#5 Korg Minilogue:
Best for Lead

Korg Minilogue - best hardware analog synthesizer for live performances

The Korg Minilogue is an excellent synthesizer that a lot of synth players have in their quiver.

This analog synth has four different voices, and it is very affordable for a legit synth made by one of the best companies.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Korg Minilogue works well for playing live, and it is very portable as well.

It is easy to use and works with almost any music genre.

Related Questions:

What characteristics make a good live performance synthesizer?

Well, unless your band has a roadie who would do all the heavy lighting, a synth for live performances is preferably something lightweight and portable.

Some modular studio synths are heavy, and you do not want to go through the hassle of taking it with you on the road.

A good synth should also have the presets you need for the songs you are playing, and most of all, the synth should sound good.

Make sure you get a synth with a good sound engine that is capable of playing loud live music.

What is the difference between a polyphonic and monophonic synth?

A Polyphonic synthesizer has the ability to play multiple notes at once.

With more notes you can play at the same time, you can use the synth to play complex chords.

If you play mostly lead parts, the number of notes you can play at the same time shouldn’t matter too much.

On the other hand, a Monophonic synthesizer cannot play multiple notes at the same time.

Lead or bass synth players typically use this type of synth for creating melodies that only use one note at a time.

Conclusion

The best synth for live performance for me is the Prophet 12.

This particular synth just suits my playing style, and it is equipped with everything I need for playing my synth parts.

Just remember,  when choosing the best synth for live performance, choose the one that suits your playing style.

Have fun, and I hope I get to see you play soon!

Last update on 2020-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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