Unofficial /r/synthesizers Best of 2018

Some members at Synthesizers Discord set up an unofficial poll for the best (and worst) gear of 2018 with some fun and even absurd categories. You can join us at https://discord.gg/dKVPS8 to chat about synths and whatnot.

It’s been a great year for new synths, both in abundance and variety. There’s been a bit of something for everyone, so what did people like best? And worst?100 votes were cast over a week and here are the results:


Please Stop / Worst trend

People really really hate this
  1. Subscription models: 34,8%
  2. Sponsored YouTube influencer demos: 23,9%
  3. Hardware controllers that don’t work without software: 17,4%

Best Trend

Who doesn’t love knobs
  1. Knob per function interfaces: 42,1%
  2. Cv/gate output on keyboards: 25,3%
  3. Synth Clones: 22,1%

Best Sounding Synth

Moog takes the #1 spot, draws with Deckard’s Dream for #2 and honorable mention for Prologue
  1. Moog Grandmother: 18,2%
  2. Moog One and Deckard’s Dream: 14,8%
  3. Korg Prologue: 10,2%

Best Drum Machine/Percussion Synth

Roland really got this one right
  1. Roland TR-8S: 36%
  2. Moog DFAM: 27,9%
  3. Arturia Drumbrute Impact: 16,3%

Best Sequenced Synth

Close call but Elektron takes the #1 spot in sequenced synths
  1. Elektron Digitone: 37%
  2. Moog Grandmother: 33,3%
  3. Arturia Minibrute 2S: 23,5%

Best Hardware Effects

Strymon made a big splash with Magneto in 2018 and wins Best Effect with authority
  1. Strymon Magneto: 42,2%
  2. Elektron Analog Heat MK2: 20,3%
  3. Koma Field Kit FX: 12,5%

Best Portable Synth

Second win for Digitone but Teenage Engineering is not far behind
  1. Elektron Digitone: 37,3%
  2. Teenage Engineering OP-Z: 25,3%
  3. Teenage Engineering PO-33 KO: 14,5%

Best Style

The best looking synth of 2018, by a far margin. Moog took their chances and it definitely worked out.
  1. Moog Grandmother: 56,5%
  2. Korg Prologue: 20,7%
  3. Teenage Engineering OP-Z: 16,3%

Biggest Surprise

Behringer took the synth world by storm in 2018. Nobody expected it to sound this good.
  1. Behringer Model D: 47,1%
  2. Elektron Digitone: 20%
  3. Yamaha MODX: 14,1%

Most Original

Polyend sequencer and Dreadbox synth. Match made in heaven.
  1. Polyend & Dreadbox Medusa: 45,2%
  2. Behringer Neutron: 16,7%
  3. Elektron Digitone: 14,3%

Best Controller

The rebirth of a classic with lots more to offer
  1. Novation SL mk III: 47,8%
  2. Expressive E Touche: 33,3%
  3. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A and S series: 18,8%

Most Disappointing

Limited, pricey, with speakers. People really didn’t understand this thing.
  1. Volca Mix: 47,5%
  2. Polyend & Dreadbox Medusa: 20%
  3. Moog DFAM: 13,7%

Most Confusing

What does it do? Who is it for? When products don’t speak for themselves.
  1. Teenage Engineering OP-Z: 41,2%
  2. Roland AX Edge: 22,4%
  3. Soma Pipe: 18,8%

Best Old Synth

People really like these two classics, both same amount of votes
  1. Roland Juno 60 and Korg MS-20: 19,3%
  2. Oberheim OB-8: 13,3%
  3. Novation Bass Station 2: 12%

Most Vapourware

For many, 2018 has been about waiting for Clouds 2
  1. Mutable Instruments’ sequel to Clouds: 34,6%
  2. TC Electronic June Chorus: 29,5%
  3. Elta Polivoks M: 21,8%

Best New Module

Magneto wins the category with a wide margin
  1. Strymon Magneto 25,8%
  2. Make Noise Rene 2: 10,6%
  3. Mutable Instruments Plaits: 7,6%

Best Sequencer

Hardware sequencer of 2018, by far
  1. Squarp Hermod: 45,3%
  2. Make Noise Rene 2: 18,8%
  3. Mutable Instruments Marbles: 15,6%

Best Software Synthesizer

It’s been the year of VCV but Repro-5 and Omnisphere 2.5 share #2 not far behind
  1. VCV Rack: 30,4%
  2. U-He Repro 5 and Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.5: 21,5%
  3. Arturia V Collection 6: 12,7%

Best Software Effect

Another home run for U-he. Takes both #1 and #2
  1. U-He Color Copy: 25,9%
  2. U-He Twangström 2.5: 21,5%
  3. Goodhertz Megaverb: 14,8%

Best DIY Kit

Black Corporation making dreams come true
  1. Black Corporation Deckards Dream: 56,3%
  2. Dreadbox Tiny Erebus: 28,1%
  3. Dinsync Gilbert: 9,4%

Best Gear/Synth Youtuber

Nick and Gaz. Surprise and delight.
  1. Sonicstate: 20%
  2. LoopOP: 12,9%
  3. Once Upon a Synth: 10,6%

Best YouTube Jam

  1. OUaS— Making a song using only the Moog Grandmother: 20,3%

https://youtu.be/oN4wqjJ6AJQ

2. Red Means Recording — What Can You Do With A D-05?: 15,3%

https://youtu.be/ykvCRLQt4V4

3. Doctor Mix — How To Play Michael Jackson’s Thriller: 11,9%

https://youtu.be/E6TSYy7ikcs

Most Convenient Gadget

RK-005, the little hub that could
  1. Retrokits RK-005: 67,3%
  2. Valpower Midi CV/Gate Module: 20%
  3. Valpower ARPSYNC PRO: 10,9%

Best Firmware Update

Novation, king of updates
  1. Novation Bass Station 2.5: 28,9%
  2. Novation Peak 1.2: 15,8%
  3. Novation Circuit 1.7: 14,5%

Most Exciting Behringer Clone (teased, leaked or announced)

People really want this to be true
  1. UB-Xa: 21,3%
  2. Bupiter 8: 15%
  3. Barp 2600: 11,3%

Least Likely to be Made Behringer Clone (teased, leaked or announced)

People don’t believe this will be true
  1. Bupiter 8: 25%
  2. Barp 2600: 14,5%
  3. Blinn Drum: 13,2%

Best Hypothetical Behringer Clone

Who knows
  1. TimBehr Wolf: 24,4%
  2. Boog One and Brophet 5: 21,8%
  3. BBG Wave 2.2: 12,8%

Best Synth and Gear Dealer

Taking care of your GAS
  1. Sweetwater: 40%
  2. Perfect Circuit: 24,3%
  3. Thomann: 22,9%

Hottest Mess of 2018

Never again
  1. OP-1 discontinued rumors, price speculation and TE denial: 40%
  2. Behringer Gearslutz and DSI lawsuit drama: 34,1%
  3. Thomann / Behringer Spat: 13,6%

Most Overpriced Vintage Gear

Mighty yes, but probably not worth 2018’s asking price
  1. Roland Jupiter 8: 61,6%
  2. Roland Juno 60: 18,6%
  3. Roland Juno 106: 12,8%