Artist guitars and pedals are all the rage so why not synthesizers? Here are seven signature synths we’d like to see.
You can’t open up Gearnews without being confronted by another article from Jef on a signature guitar or effect pedal. Musician-associated products are clearly making guitar and pedal manufacturers very happy so why haven’t we seen more signature synths?
it seems like a perfect fit. Sure, there have been a few like the Novation AFX Station, the Akai Pro MPC Live II Beatclub Timbaland Edition, and the new Erica Synths Bullfrog made with the Plastikman, Richie Hawtin, but really we think this is a missed opportunity for synth makers. There could be so many more.
With that in mind, here are seven signature synthesizers we’d like to see. Synth companies, if you like what you see here, we’re available for consulting at very reasonable rates. (Readers, if you can’t wait for these to be released, we’ve also suggested some real-world alternatives for you.)
Jan Hammer Signature Keytar
An unwavering inspiration for synthesizer demo guys for well on 50 years, legendary musician Jan Hammer is known for his incendiary keyboard solos that sound like wailing guitars. Now you too can entertain your family, neighbours, and Alan from work who sometimes stops by for a beer with the Jan Hammer Signature Keytar.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the necessary effects pedals to get the Hammer sound, as they’re all baked into the synth itself—and best of all, they’re always on. Any time is Hammer time with the Jan Hammer Signature Keytar. Ponytail not included.
Vangelis Uber Pad VS80
The world lost a legend when Greek synthesizer maestro Vangelis shuffled off this mortal coil in 2022. Now you can keep his virtuoso spirit alive with the Vangelis Uber Pad VS80 from Yamaha. Vangelis was known for his massive and emotive pads.
They can now be yours with this modern analogue recreation of the CS80, redubbed the VS80 because someone already makes a CS80 V. With the VS80, there’s no need for envelope adjustment as the ADSR is fixed to uber pad mode. Hope you like slow attack! Available in single, double, triple and quadruple manual configurations.
Josh Wink Higher State of Distortion TB-303
Hey kids, do you like acid? Well, EDM superstar Josh Wink is here with the acid you want, served up with an extra heaping helping of distortion. The Josh Wink Higher State of Distortion TB-303 from Roland comes with 303 different flavours of distortion modelling.
Don’t laugh until you’ve heard it for yourself. Perfect for all kinds of acid, evil or otherwise, and it’s sure to help you rise above the competition. Keep an eye out for the Hardfloor Acperience 303 model as well with nine 303s in one silver box. Don’t get lost!
Prodigy Signature Firestarter Prophecy
Who’s the firestarter, twisted firestarter? Why, you are with the new Prodigy Signature Firestarter Prophecy. Many of Prodigy’s most famous riffs were made with a Korg Prophecy. Korg has collected Liam Howlett’s personal patches and packed them all into this modern Prophecy.
That’s not all though. Check out the new features like the Smack My Pitch Bend, LFO In The Place, and—most exciting of all—the Twisted Firestarter button, which shoots real flames from the synth. Roland W-30 sold separately.
Trent Reznor Signature DX7
Love the sound of FM synthesis but find programming it confusing and upsetting? Hey, so does Nine Inch Nails heartthrob Trent Reznor. Instead of throwing your DX7 across the stage in frustration, let Trent do it for you.
Every Trent Reznor Signature DX7 has been personally smashed by Trent himself, making each and every one a little different. Some disassembly is naturally required.
Deadmau5 Signature Patchless Modular Rig
One of the most exciting things to happen to synthesizers in the last 10 years is the rise of modular and Eurorack. With its endless synthesis opportunities, Eurorack is sure to take your music productions to the next level. Gosh, but it does look confusing though.
If you find nests of wires intimidating, EDM spokesmouse Deadmau5 is here with his Signature Patchless Modular Rig. It just works. Now with bonus pre-recorded mode. “I own three of them!” gushes Gearnews’ own Robin Vincent.
Boards Of Canada Pastoral Poly-61
Few electronica artists have been as influential as IDM duo Boards Of Canada. Now you can get their unique sound with their signature Pastoral Poly-61 from Korg.
Korg has updated the all-analogue signal path of this classic synth with leaves, moss, soil, and other natural lo-fi elements. To make sure your music is always wonky, the LFO is hardwired to oscillator pitch and the pitch bend is even stuck just off-centre. Orange.
More about Signature Synths:
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- Hammer time: iHeart
- Vangelis Uber Pad CS80: Far Out Magazine, Vintage Synth Explorer
- Josh Wink's 303: Roland, Josh Wink, Sunn O)))
- Prodigy Prophecy: Phil Nicholls, Vintage Synth Explorer
- Trent Reznor smash: Baldur Bragason, ubahnmike
- Patchless Deadmau5: Spotify, Pilchner Schoustal International Inc
- Boards of Canada, pastorialists: Fact Magazine, Vintage Synth Explorer, Pexels
- Korg Prophecy: Plugin Boutique
- pb: Plugin Boutique