Black Friday isn’t just a great time to snatch up a laptop or pair of headphones. You’ll also find discounts on plenty of music gear. Buying a synth or a guitar pedal isn’t always the cheapest gift option. So if you’re looking for something special for a special someone, but want to make it as palatable as possible to your wallet, now is a good time to strike. Here are few of our favorite deals on music making hardware from around the web.
ASM Hydrasynth Explorer
When I reviewed the Hydrasynth Explorer last year I said it was probably “the most synth you can get for under $600.” Things haven’t changed in the roughly eleven months since. And now it’s on sale for just $500. For that price you get the same powerful digital engine inside the far more expensive standard Hydrasynth, as well as its unique keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch. It’s just shrunk down and with a slightly more crowded interface. The rest of ASM’s Hydrasynth family is also on sale, but when it comes to pure value it’s almost impossible to beat the Explorer.
The latest entry in Elektron’s midrange groovebox series is a lot of things — an analog synth, a digital drum machine, an absurdly powerful sequencer. But one thing the Syntakt is not, is cheap. Sure, $999 isn’t crazy considering its everything and the kitchen sink approach, but if you’ve been hesitant to commit that much to the purchase, now might be the time to take the plunge. The Syntakt is down to $799 across a number of shops, including direct from Elektron. And while it’s definitely focused on percussion, a recent firmware update added two new “machines” that focus on more melodic sounds.
If the Syntakt isn’t quite your cup of tea, but you’re still intrigued by Elektron’s unique workflow and sequencer, most of its higher-end instruments, like the Digitone and Octatrack are also 20% off this weekend.
Korg Minilogue XD
When the Minilogue XD launched for just $650 it staked a pretty convincing claim to the best bang-for-your-buck synth. A few years later, and it’s no less impressive. But its price has crept upwards to $730, and competitors have started chipping away at grip on the affordable and approachable end of the market. That makes it’s Black Friday drop to just $600 even harder to pass up. Korg is offering a number of discounts across its range, but the clear stand out is this 18-percent off on an incredibly versatile synth. It combines four voices of true analog polyphony with a digital synth engine and effects. Plus, the Logue SDK opens the instrument to third party developers to build their own digital oscillators and effect. (Sinevibes in particular makes some great ones.)
UA Volt audio interfaces
An audio interface is an essential for basically any budding musician. And while the market is saturated with plenty of excellent, affordable options, the Universal Audio Volt 76 series stands out from the pack. They’re undeniable stylish, offer low noise and latency, have large easy to use controls and vintage mode for additional warmth and character. But what sets the 76 apart, from even its cheaper Volt brethren is the all analog modeling of its legendary 1176 compressor. Sure you could run a plugin that tries to do the same thing — and arguably the results would be more versatile since you can always remove it in post if you want. But there’s something about the version builtin to the Volt 476, 276 and 176 that just has a touch more life.
While the entire Volt lineup (save the 476p) is on sale, and all are solid values, it’s the Volt 476 and 276 that should be at the top of your shopping list. Especially now that they’re marked down to $329 and $269, respectively.
Poly Effects Beebo
The Beebo is a fascinating pedal. In fact, calling it a guitar pedal feels a bit dishonest. It’s really a digital modular synth and effects system with a large touchscreen, that just so happens to be crammed in a guitar pedal format. It can do basic guitar stuff like chorus and overdrive. It can be an amp modeler. It can also be a synth or a MIDI controller. In short, it refuses to be pigeon holed as any one thing. On of my favorite tricks is loading random audio recordings on it to create custom wacky reverbs. And it’s constantly being updated with new features and bug fixes. (It received about 50 firmware updates in 2020 alone.)
Considering the power contained within the regular $449 seems reasonable. But, right now you can pickup up a blue Beebo from Perfect Circuit for 12-percent off. (Unfortunately the bright pink color-way is still full price.) I’d move quick if you’re considering it, however. The blue units are already listed as being out of stock, and the shop might not continue to take discounted backorders for long.
We haven’t covered Bastl Instruments much on Engadget, but the company makes a range of strange and wonderful instruments. If you buy direct from the company right now they’re doing a 30-percent off sale on everything they make from Eurorack modules to desktop synthesizers. I’m a particularly big fan of the company’s smaller and more affordable oddities like the Kastl (potentially the world’s smallest modular synth), Kastl Drum (similar concept, but for percussion) and the Microgranny (a ultra-lofi granular sampler). They’re pretty great stocking stuffers even at full price, but at 30-percent off with the code “welcome2bshop” they’re a true steal.
Moog Sound Studio bundles
Seven percent off isn’t exactly huge, but it’s pretty rare to see Moog stuff get a mark down. So seeing their Sound Studio bundles discounted at all is worth noting. The Sound Studio bundles comes with two or three of Moog’s semimodular instruments, namely the Mother 32, DFAM and Subharmonicon. They also come with a mixer, a bunch of patch cables, a stand and a card game and other educational materials to get you started. These are definitely not the cheapest way to introduce someone to synthesis, but definitely one of the more luxurious.
The two synth bundles are down to $1,299 from $1,399. But you get a slightly larger discount if you spring for all three, which will set you back $1,899, down from $2,099.
Buy Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 + DFAM + Subharmonicon at Sweetwater – $1,899Moog Sound Studio: DFAM & Subharmonicon at Sweetwater – $1,299Buy Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 & DFAM at Sweetwater – $1,299