5 Classic Sounding Hardware Synths Under $800 For Pop Music

I’ll be the first to say that software synths have come a long way in the past decade, but there are many benefits that hardware synths can bring to your productions:

  • Changes up your workflow so that you don’t get bored
  • New sounds mean new inspiration
  • Being tactile can lead to a better understanding of synthesis
  • Adds a unique flavor to your tracks (since most everyone else is using software)
  • Classic sound

We put together a quick list of affordable hardware synths with classic sounds that we highly recommend you try out! By affordable we’re going to try and stay under $800. This list is a mix of analog, digital, and hybrid hardware synths. There are many more that aren’t on this list, but we need more blog post ideas for the future so there!

PS – And when you’re done reading this check out our post on Oliver’s studio tour at Pulse Recordings. Their synth collection will make you envious! But, please don’t internalize that envy and do any weird shit.

>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<


Features: Fully analog, mono synth, based off of the classic Moog Taurus 3 pedals, dual oscillator design with Moog filter section.


KORG MS-20 Mini ($449)

Features: Modeled after classic MS-20 synthesizer. 37 keys. Fully analog. Partially modular. Monophonic. Great for leads and bass.


hardware synths under $800


Features: Reissue of the classic 1970’s Arp Odyssey. 37 keys. Monophonic/duophonic. Aggressive and edgy. Added to the reissue is a drive switch. Choose from 3 classic filter designs. Can get the module only version for $200 less.



Features: Inspired by the Juno 106. Step sequencer, 4 voices, great for creating pads, retro leads, and indie pop inspired music. Module only but can purchase separate keyboard dock.



Features: Faithfully models the Roland Jupiter. 4 voices. Dual ribbon sliders. Step sequencer. Module only but can purchase separate keyboard dock.



Features: If you are into 80’s shit then this one is for you. FM synthesis based digital synth made from 1983 to 1989. 16 note polyphonic.



Features: Okay so this one is a bonus! Not a synth, but a wonderful drum machine and fun to have around. This baby faithfully models to roland TR909 drum machine. Step and tap write modes. Ultra compact. Modern connectivity with external gear.



So there you have it! The fact that you could own this entire synth collection for about $3K is crazy. If you love blending classic synth sounds into your modern pop productions then try a few of these out, default on a few car payments, and have a blast!

See any that didn’t make the list? Comment below and tell us how bad we screwed up. 



, ,

How To Sell Your Pop Beats (3 Ways)

So you have a hard drive full of kick ass pop tracks, but what’s next? Learn how to sell your pop beats.

If you’re like us… The goal is to eventually sell your beats and get the in the hands of the right users. There are a few ways to go about this. You can sell your pop beats outright or license them and earn recurring income from each beat. Let’s take a look a few different ways for you to sell your pop beats.

Beat Marketplaces Like Anthemize.com

Where are pop artists buying beats? They are looking on YouTube, Soundcloud, and most likely… beat marketplaces. Beat marketplaces allow the user to filter, search, and find the perfect track for their next album. They get to choose from many different sub-genres from various producers. Typically, the profit from the purchase is split between the marketplace and you, the producer. In most cases the marketplace is licensing the use of the beat to the end user. This means that you can make recurring income off of the same beat.

Let’s do some math…

Let’s say that you have been commissioned to make a pop beat for $500. Hey not bad! Perhaps you may even get some royalties if the artist can sell.

In most cases that $500 and some change is all that you’ll get.

But check out the licensing model…

Lets say that you make $25 / license and sell an average of 8 licenses (on that song) per month. Now you’re making $2,400 / year on that one beat. Pretty cool, huh?

Anthemize is a beat marketplace that caters specifically to the pop music market. You can contact them and submit your beats for review. If they are a fit then it’s easy to get set up and selling!

Licensing Your Pop Beats For Media Use

Another recurring income potential is licensing your pop beats for the use in media. This could be something as big as an in-show TV placement (your beat behind played behind your favorite reality trash TV) or as small as a personal media licensing… someone making a video for film school. License fees for these types of projects can range anywhere from $25 to thousands.

Pop music instrumentals are extremely popular right now for media so that time is right to explore this option. There is a “format” to it that is slightly different from the format you may use for an “artist release” version, but we’ll have to dedicate another blog post to teaching that.

We recommend that you start small and try out your tracks on a website like Audio Jungle.

Direct To Artist (Indie)

The final way to sell your pop beats may sound obvious, but it’s a great place to start and usually shows a return much quicker. Building any recurring income model isn’t something that happens over night despite what the e-books tell you.

Try leveraging your pop beats to get more commissioned work. Commissioned work = when an artist contacts you to personally create a beat for their song. Your beat catalog can serve as a wonderful portfolio. In some cases, they may offer to simply buy one of the beats that you have already made. In other cases, it will just get them excited about working with you. When you send a few beats to an artist you can mention to them that you’d be happy to just customize one for them to try out. This gives them an opportunity to check out your customer service and increases the chance that they will buy it. It will feel like it’s already theirs.

So where do you find pop artists to send beats to? Well, fortunately… Pop artists have to promote themselves so they are pretty easy to find. Shoot them a compliment, get a conversation going, and then ask them for permission to send over some of your work. Never spam them!

>>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<


, ,

Pop Vocal Production Tutorial For Dark Alt-RnB [VIDEO]


In this Make Pop Music video tutorial we show you how we processed the vocals for Nashville pop artist Tony B’s “Faded Dreams”.

Track produced by Christian Fiore from The Songwriting Team

In this video we do a walkthrough of a track inspired by indie pop, ambient, and alternative R&B. We show pitch and reverb automation techniques and wild delay effects using valhalla frequency echo. If you are a music producer and want to make cool sounding vocal tracks for modern production then this was made for you. It’s loaded with tricks and tips!

>>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<

, ,

Oliver’s Studio Tour Will Make You Want Every Synth Ever


So this is one of my favorite studio tours that I’ve seen on YouTube. Maybe I’m a little bias because one of my buds worked in this building for a couple of years. Regardless, these guys just have killer sounding electronic records. Huge, rich, deep, and clear all come to mind. I was always curious about what the heck Oliver used to make their music and bam! I come across this video. A huge collection of gnarly analog synths. Go figure right? Drip with envy as Oliver takes you through their studio and shows you their synth collection. They also sneak a few tips and tricks in there. The last part about using the iPads is rad!


>>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<


Free Linn Drum Sample Library (LinnDrum Tape) by Wave Alchemy

Free Linn Drum Sample library for you guys! One of the most classic drum machines (LM-2) being pumped through an Ampex tape machine…

Free Linn Drum Sample



We love old school drum machines and this free Linn Drum sample library doesn’t dissapoint. Fortunately for us, Wave Alchemy celebrated their 8th birthday by creating the LinnDrum Tape pack. You can find the download link here (at the bottom). We’re going to dive in making some loops with these for a future blog post. Stay tuned and enjoy your new samples!



>>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<


, ,

Making Your Own Risers With Valhalla FreqEcho [Free Plugin!]

Transitions and risers are important details to any pop production, but by now you’re probably sick of all of the stock-ass risers that come in most sample packs. In this video tutorial we’ll show you how to quickly make your own!

For this lesson we’ll use a really killer plugin called FreqEcho by Valhalla. It’s also free by the way!


>>Get our FREE Pop Box! Discounts, Tutorials, Free Sounds, and Curated Content sent to your inbox every month <<