Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?

These two seem to have lots in common, but there are also some distinctions that may turn out to be critical.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 26, 2021
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Most people are unaware of the differences between similar-looking musical instruments. For example, a synth vs a keyboard, the two might look similar but vary greatly in their performance. A keyboard and synth can often confuse people, especially if you are new to buying musical instruments.

If you are someone who is looking to buy a musical instrument and is wondering about the differences between synth and keyboard, then this article is just for you. We will help you figure out the differences between the midi keyboard vs synth so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Synthesizer?

Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?

A synth or a synthesizer is an electronic keyboard that is used to produce sounds while using audio signals. Unlike conventional keyboards, a synth is capable of producing a wide range of sounds. These sounds can include natural sounds, human sounds, EDM music, melodious sounds, and much more.

Technically, a synth produces sound through audio signal distortions. The user can distort the signals simply by pressing a few buttons and turning a few knobs. One can easily adjust the settings to produce desirable sounds.

Some synths also come in with an in-built sound library you can use instantly or alter according to your own liking. Providing ease of use, synths are commonly used by professional musicians who play them in their studios or on stage.

When it comes to its use, synths are preferred over keyboards in the music and media industry. This is due to the fact that synths are not only easy to play, but they possess greater sound quality as compared to keyboards.

You can find synths in all kinds of shapes and sizes. There are different options in the market for the creation of different types of sounds. Here are the different types of synths.

Types of Synthesizers

Even within synths, you will find there to be many types of synths. Each type of synth is capable of producing a different type of sound.

  • Analog Synths: First, we have analog synths. Analog synths produce sounds using the fluctuating electric voltage. Using this voltage, the user can alter it to change the tone or the loudness of the audio signals. Analog synths mainly use analog circuits to produce this voltage. While there are many digital synths in the market, you can still find great analog synths like the Novation Bass Station II Analog Synthesizer.
  • Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?Modular Synths: Next up, we have modular synths. Modular synths come somewhere in between digital and analog synths. These synths are made up of different modules that are connected to patch cables. These cables are responsible for carrying the audio signals as well as controlling the voltage. You can adjust the modules to produce great sounds on modular synths such as the Moog Mother-32.
  • Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?Digital Synths: We also have digital synths that make use of the latest digital technology. These synths are specialized computers that construct code to produce sounds. You can alter the programming to produce any type of song.
  • Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?Creative/Imitator Synths: Apart from these three types mentioned above, you can also find creative or imitator synths. Creative synths allow professionals to produce their own sound through numerous settings and functions. If such setting displays confuse you, then you need to get imitator synths that have more concealed controls. Imitator synths have their settings displayed on an LCD which allows for easier adjustments.

The video below also explains the different types of sound synthesis Trusted Source Sound Synthesis Theory/Introduction - Wikipedia This book covers a sub-field of Music Technology called sound synthesis. Although the tone is generally aimed at musicians and people with little prior knowledge of music systems, there may be some mathematical concepts and programming techniques that are not familiar. en.wikibooks.org .

What Is a Keyboard?

Keyboards are basically digital pianos. They might look like an acoustic piano but are different in terms of how sound is produced. Like synths, keyboards also make use of electricity to produce different types of sounds. This musical instrument is capable of creating a wide range of sounds that can imitate instruments such as the guitar, organ, strings, and so on.

Unlike synths, keyboards come with built-in speakers that allow you to enjoy the music as you play along. Keyboards also come with different rhythm or style options to add to your music. While operating, you use your left hand for the chords, and your right hand controls the melody. Keyboards come with an easy operation that even beginners can get the hang of quite easily.

Most music lovers prefer using a keyboard due to its ease of use and wide range of sound options. Not only this, but keyboards are also compact and easy to handle. Their portability allows people to take them anywhere they go. While most keyboards have unweighted keys, you can still find yourself some weighted keyboards that can replicate the acoustic piano.

Synth vs Keyboard: Which One Should You Get?

Which One to Choose?

Now that you know the differences between synth and keyboard, you may be wondering about your choice between synth vs keyboards.

Between weighted keyboards vs synths, you will see that:

  • Synths are more suited to sound adjustment and synthesizing
  • Keyboards have limited sound adjustments
  • Keyboards may come with automated accompaniments, but they have limited use for most people
  • Keyboards also come with built-in speakers that are of limited use when on stage or during a performance


Therefore, while making a decision between synth vs keyboard, you need to keep the purpose in mind.

If you are someone who wants to play a wide range of sounds with different styles and rhythms, then you should get a keyboard. Keyboards will allow you to experiment with sound and produce all kinds of music.

If you are deciding between midi keyboard vs synth, you need to weigh in different options such as the functioning and purpose for both. However, if you are a professional musician who wants to produce high-quality sounds in greater detail, then you need to get your hands on a synth.

You can choose any type of synth that best suits your requirements to produce professional music.

Final Thoughts

As you have seen above, you can find all kinds of key-based musical instruments. While synths and keyboards may look similar, hopefully, this article clears up any confusion between a synth vs a keyboard.

Both instruments serve different purposes and use. While choosing between the two, ensure that you weigh in all your options and read up on all the possible models that are available in the market. Once you have decided on what you are going to buy, make sure that you test each one out. As a user, the instrument should feel comfortable to you. After picking the right instrument, you can showcase your musical talent to your audience.

References

1.
Sound Synthesis Theory/Introduction - Wikipedia
This book covers a sub-field of Music Technology called sound synthesis. Although the tone is generally aimed at musicians and people with little prior knowledge of music systems, there may be some mathematical concepts and programming techniques that are not familiar.
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