Into this page, we show you the essential synthesizers from the 80s and modern simulators to compose Synthwave music.
Here are some mythical synthesizers with sonorities from the 80s that can be associated with Drum Machines but also with Digital Audio Workstations (and sequencers). The aim is to compose music with sounds from the 80s but created with modern techniques.

Synthesizers

logo-EMU

E-MU Emulator II

Year of release: 1984
Sound generation method: analog sampler
Preset memories: 8 bit sample technology
Sound expansion capabilities: CDROM
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: filter lowpass

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Users: John Carpenter, Pet Shop Boys, Stevie Wonder, Depeche Mode, New Order, A-ha, Tears for Fears, Genesis, David Bowie, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Brad Fiedel (for Terminator 2)

E-MU Emax SE

Year of release: 1986
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 8 voices
Sound expansion capabilities: 512K memory
Arpeggiator: yes
Effects: Sampler, Chorus

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Users: Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Faith No More , Fear Factory, Orbital, U2, The Whispers

logo-korg

KORG Polysix

Year of release: 1981
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 32 patches
Sound expansion capabilities: CV/Gate Port
Arpeggiator: yes
Effects: Chorus, Phaser, Ensemble

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Users: Tears for Fears, Astral Projection, Kitaro, Keith Emerson, Global Communication, Jimi Tenor

logo-moog

MOOG Minimoog Voyager

Year of release: 2002
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: over 800 Onboard Presets
Sound expansion capabilities: CV/Gate Port
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: 3 Ultra-Stable Oscillators

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Users: Stevie Wonder, Daft Punk, Duran Duran, Air, The Cure, Herbie Hancock, the Neptunes, Madonna, Radiohead, Bjork

logo-Nord-Lead

NORD LEAD 4

Year of release: 2013
Sound generation method: digital
Preset memories: 49 synth-keys
Sound expansion capabilities: USB
Arpeggiator: yes
Effects: Crush, Drive, Comb filter…

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Users: Björk, David Bowie, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Ratatat, The Prodigy, Charlie Winston

logo-oberheim

OBERHEIM OB-X

Year of release: 1979
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 120
Sound expansion capabilities: 32 patches
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: Chromeo, Eurythmics, Jean Michel Jarre, Madonna, Prince, Queen, Supertramp, Tangerine Dream, Ultravox

OBERHEIM Matrix 6

Year of release: 1986
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 99
Sound expansion capabilities: cartridge
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: Orbital, Apollo 440, Future Sound of London, Astral Projection, The Shamen, Mouse on Mars, Tangerine Dream

logo-PPG-Wave

PPG wave 2.2

Year of release: 1982
Sound generation method: analog/digital
Preset memories: 200 patches
Sound expansion capabilities: cassette tape
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: David Bowie, Jean Michel Jarre, Depeche Mode, Talk Talk, Ultravox, Pet Shop Boys, Mike and The Mechanics, Stevie Wonder

logo-roland

ROLAND Juno-106

Year of release: 1984
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 2 banks of 128
Sound expansion capabilities: cassette tape
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: chorus (two types)

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Users: Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, Justice, Pet Shop Boys, Tame Impala, Four Tet, Pivot, Andy Kuncl, Winter Palace

ROLAND JX-8P

Year of release: 1985
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 64 presets and 32 prog
Sound expansion capabilities: cassette tape
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: chorus

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Users: A-ha, Kerri Chandler, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Europe, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis

ROLAND JP-8000

Year of release: 1997
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: last few memory
Sound expansion capabilities: no
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: chorus, flanger, phaser and delay

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Users: Tangerine Dream, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Jean Michel Jarre, Pet Shop Boys, The Prodigy, Underworld

logo-sequential

SEQUENTIAL Prophet-6

Year of release: 2015
Sound generation method: analog
Preset memories: 500
Sound expansion capabilities: USB
Arpeggiator: yes
Effects: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Distortion

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Users: Dave Smith, Jeff Babko, Jason Lindner, Luke Neptune

logo-yamaha

YAMAHA DX7

Year of release: 1983
Sound generation method: digital
Preset memories: 32
Sound expansion capabilities: cartridge
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Kavinsky, Jan Hammer, Jean Michel Jarre, Pet Shop Boys, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis

YAMAHA DX5 FM

Year of release: 1985
Sound generation method: digital
Preset memories: 64 patches ram/rom
Sound expansion capabilities: cartridge
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: Kitaro

YAMAHA DX100

Year of release: 1985
Sound generation method: digital
Preset memories: 192 presets + 24 prog
Sound expansion capabilities: cartridge
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no

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Users: Jean-Michel Jarre, Autechre, Laurent Garnier, Orbital, Scanner, Digitalism

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