Make Music Anywhere with Portable Synthesizers

Explore majestic landscapes – both natural and sonic – with one of the many excellent portable synth options available today

Published September 2, 2020 by Alan L.

We're in the final stretch of summer, and many Americans are packing their bags and venturing into the great outdoors to get in one last adventure. Musicians have often found this to be a perfect opportunity to get inspiration with their music by taking along an instrument to wherever their travels take them. Strumming an acoustic guitar while camping in the woods, beating on the bongos to the rhythm of the ocean waves at the beach, or playing a woodwind instrument to the setting sun in the desert – all of those are terrific ideas, of course, but what if the instrument that gets your creative juices flowing is a synthesizer?

Synthesizers have often been anchored down to studio or bedroom use due to their tendency to be big, bulky, and heavy. On top of their size, their dependency on power and external speakers of some sort prevents them even more so from ever being considered portable. Thus, the lonely synthesist is doomed to stay indoors. While their synthesizer gently beeps, guitar-playing colleagues venture out for that perfect spot to play.

Well no more! There's good news to share with all you synth geeks out there. Go ahead and get that hiking bag all packed up and start planning your adventure because in the past few years favorite brands like Korg, Roland, Novation, and more have provided some excellent synth options that are both powerful and portable. Pack your sunblock and headphones because here's a list of some of the best portable synths available now!

Image of Roland Boutique series
Image of Korg Volcas

Korg Volca
The Korg Volca lineup has been with us since 2013 when Korg released the Volca Beats, Bass, and Keys. Fast-forward to 2020 and the Volca collection now holds ten different synths in its roster covering a wide range of synthesis elements like FM synthesis, sample-based synthesis, and even semi-modular – patch cables and all! All of Korg's Volcas are the exact same shape and size, battery powered, and even come equipped with a built-in speaker. The wide range of options, battery power, ability to sync with each other, and small size make the Korg Volca line a great choice for everyone.

Roland Boutique
There's no question that many of the beloved classics in the synthesizer world come from Roland. But wouldn't it be awesome to be able to have these classic synths in a small, compact, and portable form? Well yes, it would be awesome… that's why Roland totally did it! The Roland Boutique series consists of a variety of absolutely amazing synth engines packaged in the exact same form factor. The line covers many of the classics that all synthesists know and love, like the Juno-60, SH-101, TB-303, and of course, the iconic TR-808. Analog-modeled to perfection by the very same company that created the originals, each Boutique module is battery powered (except for the SE-02), comes equipped with a built-in speaker, and is compatible with Roland's K-25M portable 25-key velocity-sensitive keyboard unit. The whole series is ideal for those looking to take that certain classic sound with them along for the ride.

Image of Roland Boutique modules
Image of Novation Circuit

Novation Circuit
Released in 2016, the Novation Circuit has grown a strong following of music producers that praise its versatility and ease of use. Functioning like a groove box, Circuit allows you to compose tracks with a wide selection of presets or modulate your own custom sound. Draw your patterns on Novation's now well-known grid layout and even import samples from your computer to layer into your tracks. After you've finished creating your track, add multiple effects like reverb and delay to complete your sound. Novation deserves recognition for the continuing support they give to Circuit with frequent updates that increase its list of features and capabilities. Powered by AA batteries and equipped with a speaker, the Novation Circuit is a powerful and versatile groove box that fits nicely in your hiking bag!

Whether you want a radical new sound, have a taste for the classic sounds of the past, or seek a versatile musical toolbox, there has never been a time with more portable synthesizer options than right now. The list of portable synthesizers is much more expansive than the ones mentioned here, so if you're looking for something in particular, reach out to one of our Sales Advisors and we'll happily help you find the perfect synth for your needs.

So as the summer draws to a close, go ahead and plan for that trip! Pack a day bag and bring a synth along on your adventure to see majestic summer settings and explore sonic landscapes!