Synthesisers - why so many?


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At the recent NAMM 2021 Believe in Music event Korg announced three new or revised synths.

This brings the number of synths in the Korg range to 21 plus workstations like the Kross, Krome, Nautilus and Kronos.

Looking on the Roland website they have 16 synths listed plus workstations Juno, FA and Fantom.

I just do not know enough about synths to understand why there needs to be so many different units.

Can someone with more knowledge than I explain why there are so many on the market and why there has to be so many variations in their design and features.
 
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I think most of the time companies are just trying to straddle lots of price ranges. Try to hit a newbie, a newbie with money, an intermediate user and pro level. A lot of the synths have a best feature/sound that makes them standout where workstations seem to compile better and have the varying price for various computing power at this point.

Secondly, the market seems to get saturated when they have moved forward in tech capabilities but still have old products to unload. Keyboard industry seems to hold on longer to supporting aged products. Roland as example has loads of these fantom, fa series products that they keep improving as computing power improves but they still have plenty to sell.
 

3dc

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Had the same problem. Where to go from my Yamaha E463. After some research I found out that there is tons of things to consider like price range, synthesizer type ( FM, Analog, Modeling, ... ), usage ( dedicated or integrated in workstation ), polyphony and range of keys , form factor ( keyboard, module, software ).

To many good and even more bad choices but nothing really complete for decent learning and music production.

This is why in the end I picked my DAW & SOFTWARE route. I've got 10 software synthesizers ( FM, additive, subtractive, .... ), more effects, sounds and loops then any workstation currently on the market and I still had enough money to spend on decent music production hardware. Right now I am sawing some money for Spitfire Audio - BBC Symphony Orchestra. With that I will have everything I could possibly need for music production.

Mind you I am still below the price range of Korg Kronos, Roland Phantom or Yamaha Montage.

But that's me. I am used to computers. Other people understandingly prefer classic keyboard synth-workstations. They are more hands on, practical for gigging and fast for music sketching.

To each their own I guess. :)
 
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Very broadly speaking... Different sonic qualities, different amount of front panel control, different kinds of synthesis (e.g. analog, virtual analog, FM, wavetable), different amounts of polyphony, different actions to play them from (mini-keys vs full-size, with or without aftertouch, different number of keys), different routing and control possibilities (internally or via patch points), different numbers/kinds of oscillators, filters, LFOs... There are so many ways they can differ. It would be possible to answer much more specifically if one were to ask "what's the difference between synth X and synth Y?"

Looking at Korg's lineup at https://www.korg.com/us/products/synthesizers/ there may not be quite as many truly different synths as you think. ARP Odyssey is listed there 4 times... one has no keys, one has mini-keys, one has full-size keys, and one has a bundled accessory, but sonically/operationally, it's really just one synth. MS-20 is shown with standard size or mini-keys. etc. Similar to how Kronos is listed three times, basically with differences in color and action. They show 10 workstations (most of which are, themselves, available with different numbers of keys), but really, I think there are only 4... Kross, Krome, Nautilus, and Kronos. (I think it's weird that they put the i3 there, it's much closer to belonging in the Arranger or Entertainer category, with its focus on styles/accompaniment.,, it barely has any "workstation" functions at all, I think less so than even most Korg "arrangers" have.)

Synth-wise, Korg is also doing vintage recreations. A Mini-Korg and an ARP 2600 do not sound or function at all alike (though there is probably some overlapping area where you could get similar sounds out of either).
 
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Had the same problem. Where to go from my Yamaha E463. After some research I found out that there is tons of things to consider like price range, synthesizer type ( FM, Analog, Modeling, ... ), usage ( dedicated or integrated in workstation ), polyphony and range of keys , form factor ( keyboard, module, software ).

To many good and even more bad choices but nothing really complete for decent learning and music production.

This is why in the end I picked my DAW & SOFTWARE route. I've got 10 software synthesizers ( FM, additive, subtractive, .... ), more effects, sounds and loops then any workstation currently on the market and I still had enough money to spend on decent music production hardware. Right now I am sawing some money for Spitfire Audio - BBC Symphony Orchestra. With that I will have everything I could possibly need for music production.

Mind you I am still below the price range of Korg Kronos, Roland Phantom or Yamaha Montage.

But that's me. I am used to computers. Other people understandingly prefer classic keyboard synth-workstations. They are more hands on, practical for gigging and fast for music sketching.

To each their own I guess. :)

@3dc: I know this is an old thread but Im wondering what DAWs you use and price ranges. Im finally getting around to getting organized and I use SynthOne and FM2 along with Ableton Live plus a few effect pedals with a Casio CTX arranger (Please dont judge!)

Id be curious how do you go about setting things up to switch between patches using software. Do you use ipad, Surface Pro, Macbook for the tech hardware?

Roland Juno is within my budget but they are pretty hard to find in here in the Westcoast ( and never one on display) but not sure if Im ready to commit that deeply yet
 

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