What would be a solid/unique polyphonic addition to a setup?

I have been looking all over for a relatively affordable polyphonic synth (under $1500).

My gear philosophy is to only have one ‘kind’ of each synth and milk it for all it can do (yes I know a synth can do everything from drums to polyphony even if it’s monophonic when you’re using a DAW, but hopefully you understand what I mean). Right now I have a Moog Sub Phatty (monophonic), Digitone (poly FM/FM drums/sequencer) and a Presonus ATOM (my DAW’s MIDI controller for live drumming). I need something with standard polyphony I can get great sounds on and isn’t focused on FM. What do you think? I’ve never felt the need to own a drum machine, I usually record drums live the entire song and record them into my DAW, and the only other device besides a polyphonic synth that could help is a sampler, but I’m not really into sequencing samples so for now, my setup is almost complete except a bit of polyphony.

From what I can see many seem decent but they always have their flaws… Minilogue has a tinny sound which might clash with my Moog, Analog Four MKII four voice limitation/track and a few other menu-diving issues, Behringer DeepMind 12D has a lackluster sonic quality and menu-diving… I really can’t decide but I might end up sticking in the Elektron camp and getting the Analog Four MKI or MKII…

Any other options I am overlooking? I know DSI has a few options sub-$1500 but none really stand out to me. The main competitors are the Novation Peak and Elektron Analog Four MKI/II right now. I could go with VSTs but meh, besides drums it’s not ideal for me. I’ve been making some of the best music I’ve ever made the past few weeks with my current setup but polyphony and voice limitation of the Digitone has been what’s holding me back the most.


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Id say: go for the A4 MKII, fantastic box, deep and rewarding if you take your time… :slight_smile:


It looks fascinating to me. I often record drums last, so perhaps the sequencing power of the A4 MKII with the Digitone would be unbeatable, as I could record everything first (even sequence basic time keeper/holder drums) then play the drums into the recorded track.

The four voice/track limitation is not something to be worried about?

In my eyes no: you got 4 monophonic synths in one box that you can even combine if you want to… Price tag may be a little high, but if you can spare the money its worth a try :)!

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I have no interest in modular and as I said only purchase one synth/category so the money sink isn’t too much of a problem, plus they hold value very well if taken care of. That’s true though, the phatness and sonic capabilities of four mono synths in one box or multiple instances of a poly synth could be insane.

It’s not 4 voices per track, it’s 4 voices that each track can steal. So you can have a 4 notes polyphony on a track and nothing else, or 4 monophonic synths or multiple polyphonic synths that will eventually lose their priority when another track plays. You can tweak the voice stealing. It’s nice.


Damn… I could’ve sworn I read it was 4 voices/track somewhere. Thanks for clearing that up… That will affect my decision a bit. Really wish I had a music store around here so I could give one a try for a half hour or so. Four voices total… Eh… All the demos I’ve heard sound fantastic though, as the cliche goes the limitations do inspire creativity.

How many voices?
Analogue or digital?
Monotimbral or multitimbral?
Keyboard or desktop/rack-mount?
Simple or complex?
New or secondhand?


Dont be afraid, the A4 is a fantastic device, you can spend a lot of time with it, tweaking and noodling it to your liking…


I’m a fan of the Modor NF-1. But I think the Peak is the most interesting thing out there (but I don’t have it, personally, so can’t speak to personal experience). The DSI stuff bores me. I’m not sure why. Personal preference, I guess.

The Peak seems to go deep on its sound design possibilities.

The Modor NF-1 has some unique sound design characteristics too and is ‘proudly digital’. Its sound tickles the same parts of my brain that old Yamaha tone generators do (but has better editing and midi CC support than those) and the Korg MS-2000 does (but again, in a newer package and with some unique differences over the Korg).


As low as four. I love the demos I’ve heard from the Analog Four which could really supplement a setup for trip-hop and experimental. The Minilogue used to intrigue me but the four voices on that with nothing else seems too limited for $500+ new and the tinny sound isn’t suitable for me (I’ve heard in in person once and have also heard demos through my Klipsch speakers). Upper end? Eh, I’d say eight voices is enough for me. I have 15 years guitar experience so keyboards come relatively naturally since I’ve used them through my life, but nothing I could ever do would I need 12 or 16 voices for on a polysynth recording a single track flawlessly.

Analogue or digital, slight 5-10% preference towards digital. This preference has been reduced through use of my Digitone, which is my favorite piece of equipment I’ve ever owned.

Monotimbral but not deterred from multi.

Keyboard or module works for me. If keyboard less than 61 keys.

Complex for unique potentials.

Usually like to buy things new but if they were kept by someone with OCD similar to myself I’d justify secondhand lol.

Me too… Not sure why. Just bores me overall even if they process it with effects. Then again I’ve never heard one in person since the closest music store I have is 40 minutes away and carries very few synths. With that said what comes out of HQ speakers is most important to me because I don’t plan on any live gigs currently, more interested in releasing finished products that I enjoy listening to repeatedly.

Thanks for the suggestion, sounds interesting, I’ve seen it before but never listened to it. Right off the bat looks wise just reminds me of Access Virus, which I’d love to own but those things are pretty expensive.

It‘s also worth pointing out that each of the A4‘s voices has two oscillators, each with a suboscillator. While the latter‘s tuning is restricted you can still get four note chords out of each voice with clever programming. In terms of flexibility I‘d go as far as to say the A4 is without any competition in it‘s price bracket.


Access Virus KC or KB if you can find one. Plenty polyphony, great routing for mod matrix, solid on board fx and one of the best sounding virtual analog in my opinion. Arpeggiator is great, good amount of wavetables, FM, ring mod, unison, and you can even randomize patches (Virus C for sure, dunno about B) I don’t really like my Virus for bass however. Never did it for me.

If you want something cheap that’s fun and portable you could get a Yamaha Reface CS. Although not very complex, it has a great sound and is very immediate. Polyphony is 8 and the on board fx are pretty good as well. The multisaw on it is exceptional. Just posted this here on Instagram

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Hey great suggestion and nice demo, nice LSD visuals. I actually got to try out a Reface DX and I loved the keyboard itself so much. Forgot they have a whole family of synths. Will have to give some demos a listen!

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Nice sound demo, sounds a little japanese to me which I like! :slight_smile:

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I’m still leaning towards the Analog Four… Nothing like the workflow I’ve ever experienced, it evokes so much creativity with little to no downtime. Four monosynths sequenced with my Moog Sub Phatty playing bass or lead once in a while… I might have a winner. Imagine sequencing four monosynths to play opposite/alternate arpeggios of the same chord at the same time in-sync with chord changes… Oof.


Thanks! These things never sold very well when first released because they were way over priced. When the price dropped to $300 , I though that was worth it. I love that I can just jam with it on my lap. No onboard patch memory, though there is an app for iOS and PC called sound Mondo that can save and recall patches.

Also, what about the Mutable Instruments Ambika? 6 voice wavetable synth with analog filter. Has a unique character. When people build them, they can use different filter types, so you can get them with a Moogy type vibe or Roland, etc…might be worth a look


Novation Peak is great and the forthcoming update is going to improve it further. More trad layout & workflow than the A4 but a much wider range of synthesis IMO. Huge unison stuff. Wibbly wobbly drifting “analogue” oscillator stuff. Respectable FM. Loads of distortion. But it can also do very clean clinical stuff.

If you want something with range, it absolutely has range.

I do think the Rev2 is also worth checking out though.


I do wish I could hear them in person. It’s hard to settle on one or the other. My DN has the classic Elektron sequencer so it’s not that I should dismiss the A4’s but it’s not as necessary overall. I’ve never had the chance to experiment with a Peak so it’s hard for me to determine how it’d fit in with my workflow.

I know it’s a classic polysynth with tons of options and endless possibilities, but the only real polysynths I’ve tried have been VSTs so it’s hard for me to imagine a VST plopped in front of me. Everything else I’ve used hardware wise is a monosynth or mainly FM.