Gear of the Year: What's The Best PolySynth of 2013?

You decide...      27/11/13
Gear of the Year: What's The Best PolySynth of 2013?

As much as this year felt like the year analogue monosynths were enjoying something of a rennaisance,, there are actually a several contenders for the Best Poly Synth of 2013 too.

Once again, the democratic process is adhered to, so please feel free to vote for your favourite, and don't forget to suggest your choice if you don't see it listed.

Just remember, it must have been released in 2013. Which means the Analog Keys from Elektron just scrapes in, though no one will actually have their hands on one till mid December.

Comments of course welcome. May the best synth win!

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Voting is still open for King of the MonoSynths 2013 you know..


Even more news...

37 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Glitch man    Said...

No Access ? classic sonic state trying to hide the brand as always....

27-Nov-13 05:36 AM

Nick V    Said...

What did they release in 2013? We'll put that in if there is something...

27-Nov-13 05:47 AM

Nick B    Said...

Just to clarify, we have posted and reviewed Access releases many many times in the past, but as far as I know we've had nothing new from them in hardware for some time.

27-Nov-13 05:50 AM

Amazingdaysyndrome    Said...

The Rocket is a mono synth

27-Nov-13 05:55 AM

Paraphony    Said...

Well it does paraphonic...

27-Nov-13 06:03 AM

Charlie    Said...

Hi Nick,

I and presumably many others would like to see a full on proper review of Mutable gear and other smaller manufacturers please. Give them a go.


27-Nov-13 06:30 AM

Costo    Said...

Second that ! Mutable Instrument make some of the best and cheapest DIY around with a huge following... Enough of the big corps ;)

27-Nov-13 06:40 AM

hngmn    Said...

Hi Nick, Charlie and everyone else presumably other, i suggest to group vote for Mutable gear. It would be a shame not having covered the winner, don't you think? On the side note, i really love what you do here on SS (couldn't help myself). Big up from Eastern Europe!

27-Nov-13 06:46 AM

Nick B    Said...

Yes would love to, I often do say yes to review requests - I am supposed to be getting several units in and have been for months. But rarely do they come through - I think with the smaller companies, there's not the PR infrastructure on place to organise review units etc.

We do our best.

We are also a small company so cant spend all our time chasing up

27-Nov-13 07:09 AM

Giles    Said...

These polls are unfair in that people just vote for what they own. There will be less people with a DIY device.

The MI Ambika is a great device with a future of official and 3rd party tweaks. It's not a dead end device like the commercial offerings.

27-Nov-13 07:32 AM

Synthia    Said...

A few people are saying to me they won't vote for anything but Mutable gear because all the other synths are made by "big companies". Just a reminder, Dave Smith Instruments is a whopping 7 people.

27-Nov-13 08:37 AM

Phil    Said...

Please include others if posible (at least that would be more fun too). OK I now realise that it is for products launched in 2013, so only those ones apply perhaps, but it is also true that if you buy in 2013 you have the older ones as well...

Access Virus, Arturia Origin, Roland Jupiter 80, Novation Ultranova, Waldorf Blofeld,

And I haven't heard of Mutable Instruments! One more to find out about! Best regards

27-Nov-13 09:03 AM

Phil    Said...

....Kurzweil PC3K and others...

27-Nov-13 09:04 AM


I thought we lived in 2013, shouldn't all of them be given a trophy just for existing?

Je blague! I do like the look of the Mutable Instrument. Didn't know it was polyphonic. The prophet 12 has a juju about it too... I LOVE THIS SITE!

27-Nov-13 10:16 AM

synthesizher    Said...

What's up with all the shithead complainers on here?!?!

Sonicstate never does this blah blah blah It's so unfair! tear drops....

I can't believe you guys at sonicstate even respond to these cry babies.

Go somewhere else if you don't like it!

27-Nov-13 11:00 AM

Paraphonic    Said...

Analogue Solutions Polymath must be the winner, or it's just not fair!

27-Nov-13 11:20 AM

Richard    Said...

I put the Schmidt based on the demo, although it's probably also the most expensive poly of 2013 haha

27-Nov-13 11:48 AM

Mattsynth    Said...

I voted for the Prophet 12 because it makes sounds that the rest are not capable of doing. The P12 is a wonderful synth and really outshines them all in my eyes (and ears):) Great job Dave.

27-Nov-13 12:22 PM

Charlie    Said...

Dear nick,

Thanks for the reply, I have a shruthi-1 4-pole here, it uses similar filter design to the oberheim where it can be 4321 pole lp hp bp etc, and an ambika which is 90% complete!

If you would like either of them to review, let me know!

Just look after them and return them in one piece please :)

Contact me at

27-Nov-13 03:34 PM

Studio 139    Said...

I just thought of something, if the Rocket is a consideration, why is the Waldorf Pulse 2 not listed? It is also a monosynth that does paraphonic performance...

27-Nov-13 03:46 PM

raphus    Said...

Wow! Charlie just offered up his personal synths for SS to review. How awesome, and what a great service to the community! I love it when the internet reveals the good in us, rather than just the bad or the tawdry. Thanks, Charlie.

27-Nov-13 05:20 PM

Charlie    Said...

I think it's important the smaller companies are noted and tested! Especially ones that are community based like MI! It's important people know that they can get a stellar synth on par with a prophet 12 albeit different flavours for considerably less!

The prophet 12 is 3.5k aud, an ambika set me back 850 aud, plus a couple late nights! Considering only sound, there is no competition for that synth :)

27-Nov-13 06:54 PM

Phil M    Said...

Where's Analogue Solutions Polymath?

27-Nov-13 10:12 PM

Brentonius    Said...

I love your reviews. Great site. Solid stuff!

28-Nov-13 02:38 AM

Pierre    Said...

Regarding mutable instruments gear not being reviewed... The point is that Olivier, the founder, is ready to ship kits for free to 'official' reviewers, but won't ship assembled units. So, it's up to the reviewer to use his soldering iron, or to find someone ready to build it for him. The advantage for the reviewer is that Olivier is surely not going to ask the synth back...

It totally makes sense, because building the synth is part of the process. Somehow, it's a way of getting familiar and tied with the machine before being able to actually hit a note. A reviewer is not going to make an accurate review if he doesn't know about the difficulty (or not) that might be encountered by a lambda customer.

In itself, it also enforces the notion of community and of customization. When you have a problem building the synth, you just subscribe on the forum and ask for help ; when there's a feature that you miss, you ask the geeks there and you may find yourself modifying your own synth's firmware or hardware eventually... Modding is a lot more natural than with other pieces of gear since everything is open source, accessible, and you already did the assembly work.

And if you think that your soldering skills are too weak, there's a 'trusted builders' list. So even if you didn't build the synth yourself, it's still something very personal because you discussed with the very person who assembled the synth for you.

So in the end, it's really a different product. It's not just a "big vs small" company debate, it's a completely different paradigm.

In itself, the fact that the ambika is being discussed here amongst the "big names" is a performance. Otherwise, sonically and feature-wise, the ambika is a monster. I don't know of any synth that provides you so many options for modulation, routing, sequencing, arpeggiating and so on. It totally deserves being here.

28-Nov-13 09:23 AM

Nick B    Said...

Let me clarify, my comments on reviewing gear was a general one, not specifically for MI, I'm glad to see them here too!

But I have had a number of "do you want to review synth x/y/z" emails to which I respond yes please, then never hear anything again - Ambika is not one of them BTW.

28-Nov-13 09:49 AM

Joe    Said...

Review of the Mutable gear would be really helpful, especially of all the filter combinations.

28-Nov-13 07:44 PM

Bob    Said...

YES the Virus should be included as Access provides free updates regularly that expand the features and capabilities. This happened in Jan of 2013, again, so why not include it? Especially since the Elektron will BARELY make it to market by end of 2013, and really... how can anyone really judge it against the others with less than 2-3 weeks in the market?

30-Nov-13 08:51 PM

E03    Said...

Tried the P12 & liked, Elektron Analog Keys gets my second vote but haven't tried one as yet, as there isn't one in New Zealand … yet:) but this looks and sounds amazing too.

01-Dec-13 01:05 AM

MIW    Said...

Analog keys gets my vote. Elektron is by far the most inventive and forward thinking synh manufacturer at the moment. They began by developing the best sounding digital synths at the time with the machinedrum and the monomachine (the access synths has always been too locked into generated sounds for the trance crowd imo) and then took it to a new level with their analog gear. The analog keys is not just a 4 voice polysynth. With the sequencer and the onboard effects it´s unrivaled at the moment.

01-Dec-13 06:41 PM

Benedict J    Said...

I cannot BELIEVE you haven't included the Access Virus among your options. This is an OUTRAGE

(just kidding)

01-Dec-13 07:08 PM

stanthestabber    Said...

A few people have mentioned the Analogue Solutions Polymath. Apart from the fact that this is not an available product what other reason do you think there could be that it is not here you idiots?

02-Dec-13 08:22 PM

Lee    Said...

Access released a synth in 2013? No? Then shut up.

02-Dec-13 09:40 PM

Chiswell    Said...

nord lead 4

03-Dec-13 04:14 AM

Phil    Said...


the Polymath IS available

who's the idiot now?

05-Dec-13 12:40 AM

Peter K.    Said...

Korg Kronos X.

If you get into the synth side of things, and then start layering and splitting in Combi mode, use samples in FM modulator/carrier algorithms... It's a BEAST strictly as a synth... Not counting all the acoustic and workstation stuff which is also great.

Of this list, I gotta give it up for the Prophet '12.

05-Dec-13 02:41 AM

crc    Said...

polymath IS paraphonic, so not a true polysynth.

21-Dec-13 11:54 AM

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