by Adam Douglas | 4,1 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
Synth Effects lead

Synth effects  ·  Source: Behringer, Pexels

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Transform your synthesis and sound design with synth effects. The modulation and delay sections in these five instruments can take your sounds into wild new territories. Are you ready for the ride?

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Synth Effects

Ever since manufacturers started strapping analogue ensemble circuits across the signal paths of their string machines, synthesizer manufacturers have been including effects in their instruments. 

Things may have really got going with the early analogue widening chorus efforts of Roland and Korg and the digital multi-effects of the late ‘80s but today, effects have become every bit as sophisticated as the sound-generating circuitry they colour. Occasionally analogue but more often than not digital, they’ve become an integral part of the synthesis process.

While it’s always nice to have a little reverb and modulation in a synth, some have gone whole hog with it, resulting in instruments where the effects can completely alter the original sound. Recognizing the importance of a good effects section, many manufacturers have even partnered with third-party effects companies to add some splash to the signal path.

If you’re in the market for a synthesizer with an effects section that does more than just sprinkle some reverb on top, read on.

Behringer DeepMind Series

With so many high-profile synth clones in their stable, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that Behringer also makes original instruments. The DeepMind series may have started as Juno-inspired designs but they evolved into something completely their own. This includes the DeepMind 6, DeepMind 12 and desktop-styled DeepMind 12D. That includes the effects section too. 

Behringer DeepMind 6
Behringer DeepMind 6 · Source: Behringer

Borrowing algorithms from TC Electronic, Midas and Klark Teknik (all conveniently part of the Music Tribe group), the DeepMind instruments are absolutely jam-packed with high-quality effects. In fact, there are four sections of them, including reverbs (Lexicon 480L, anyone?), modulation effects, EQ, a Fairchild 670 tube compressor emulation, and much more. It’s almost like having a DAW in your synth.

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Roland GAIA 2

Roland was a pioneer with synth effects, with the D-50 being one of the first to have a multi-effects section. That tradition continues to this day, with its MFX collection of digital emulations of classic Roland and Boss effects finding its way into many of the company’s modern machines.

Roland GAIA 2
Roland Gaia 2 · Source: Marcus Schmahl

One recent instrument where the effects are particularly well-implemented is the GAIA 2. A synthesis powerhouse, this hybrid wavetable/virtual analogue synthesizer features 53 effects, ranging from reverb, chorus and delay to more esoteric inserts like scatter and lo-fi, plus a new Shimmer Reverb, which adds Eventide-style pitch changes to the reverb cloud.

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Dreadbox Typhon Has Got Nice Synth Effects

Greek boutique company Dreadbox is known for its attention to analogue detail. The monophonic Typhon looks like a typical Dreadbox instrument, with its all-analogue two oscillators, 4-pole filter and VCAs. However, this juicy signal path heads into the digital realm, with 12 DSP-based effects courtesy of forward-thinking plugin company Sinevibes. The combination is a match made in heaven – or in this case, Elysium, since Dreadbox likes to reference Greek mythology.

Dreadbox Typhon with synth effects
Dreadbox Typhon · Source: Dreadbox

Distortion, bit crusher, chorus, ensemble, flanger, delay and reverb are all onboard, ready to turn your clean, analogue notes into digitized wonders. There’s even an external audio input, letting you pass anything in your studio through the circuit.

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Korg Logue Series

Partnering with a third-party effects company is cool. Making your synth’s effects section open source and allowing anyone to code up whatever they want, that’s genius. This is just what Korg has done with its Logue series of instruments which currently includes the Minilogue XD, the Nu:Tekt NTS-1 MKII and Drumlogue.

synth effects of Korg Minilogue XD
Korg Minilogue XD · Source: Korg

While the User Oscillator section of the Multi Engine gets the lion’s share of press, the User Effects section is just as fab. Add in a number of new custom modulation effects to complement the onboard ones. Sinevibes (see above) makes and sells some interesting ones but there are plenty of free ones also available out there. You can even make your own if you’re code-minded enough.

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Moog One And It’s Synth Effects

Effects probably aren’t the main thing on your mind when considering a Moog One. But it makes sense that such a luxurious Moog synth would also have a lovely effects section. And one that features reverb algorithms from the famous Eventide, no less.

Moog MoogOne synth effects
Moog MoogOne · Source: Moog

The only part of the signal path that isn’t 100% analogue, the Moog One has two separate effects sections: synth effects and master effects. Being tritimbral, there’s one for each of the three main synthesizers. These include various delays (featuring tape and BBD emulations), modulation effects like chorus, flanger and ensemble. On top it has got unique extras like a resonator and two vocoders. Unique to the master section are Eventide reverbs, including Shimmer, Plate and Blackhole. That’s the first one I’d reach for.

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Synth Effects lead

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3 responses to “Synth Effects! 5 Synths With Stellar Effects Sections”

    Robin says:
    1

    I’d rather not speculate on the criteria you used to select the 5 synths “with a stellar effects section” but there is a pretty well- established consensus that the Novation Peak has one of the best, if not the best effect section ever implemented on a synthesiser. Pretty glaring omission here.

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