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Black Friday isn’t just a great time to pick up a laptop or a pair of headphones. You’ll also find discounts on a lot of music gear. Buying a synthesizer or guitar pedal is not always the cheapest gift option. So if you’re looking for something special for a special someone, but want to make it as easy on your wallet as possible, now’s a good time to strike. Here are a few of our favorite music-making hardware picks from around the web.

ASM Hydrasynth Explorer

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

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 then. And now it’s only sold for 500 dollars. For this price, you get the same powerful digital engine in the far more expensive standard Hydrasynth, as well as its unique keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch. It’s just scaled down and with a slightly more busy interface. The rest ASM’s Hydrasynth family also on sale, but when it comes to sheer value, it’s almost impossible to beat Explorer.

Buy ASM Hydrasynth Explorer at Perfect Circuit – $499
Buy ASM Hydrasynth Explorer on Amazon – $499

Electron Syntax

Electron Syntax


The latest entry in Elektron’s midrange Groovebox series packs a lot of punch — an analog synthesizer, a digital drum machine, an absurdly powerful sequencer. But one thing Syntakt isn’t is cheap. Sure, $999 isn’t crazy, all things considered, and the approach to the kitchen sink, but if you’ve been hesitant to commit so much to the purchase, now might be the time to take the plunge. The syntax boils down to $799 in a number of stores, including direct from Electron. And while it’s definitely focused on percussion, recent firmware update added two new “machines” that focus on more melodic sounds.

If Syntakt isn’t your cup of tea, but you’re still intrigued by Elektron’s unique workflow and sequencer, most of its higher-end instruments like Digitone and Octatrack are too 20% discount this weekend.

Buy Elektron Syntakt at Perfect Circuit – $799
Buy Elektron Syntakt at Reverb – $799

Korg Minilogue XD

Korg Minilogue XD review

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

When the Minilogue XD was released for just $650, it staked a pretty strong claim to being the best synth for the money. A few years later and it’s no less impressive. But its price has risen to $730, and competitors have begun to chip away at the affordable and affordable end of the market. That makes the Black Friday drop to just $600 even harder to miss. Korg offers a number of discounts across its range, but the clear standout is this 18 per cent discount on an incredibly versatile synth. It combines four voices of true analog polyphony with digital synthesizer and effects. Furthermore, Logue SDK opens up the tool for third-party developers to build their own digital oscillators and effects. (Sinevibes in particular makes some great ones.)

Buy Korg Minilogue XD from Sweetwater – $600
Buy Korg Minilogue XD at Perfect Circuit – $600

UA Volt audio interfaces

Universal Audio Volt

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

An audio interface is essential for any budding musician. And while the market is saturated with many excellent, affordable options, the Universal Audio Volt 76 series stands out from the pack. They’re undeniably stylish, offer low noise and latency, have large easy-to-use controls and a vintage mode for added 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. Of course, you could run a plug-in that tries to do the same thing – and perhaps the results will be more flexible , as you can always remove it in post if you want. But there’s something about the version built into the Volt 476, 276 and 176 that just has a little more life.

While the entire Volt range (except the 476p) is on sale and all are solidly priced, the Volt 476 and 276 should be at the top of your shopping list. Especially now that they are marked up $329 and $269respectively.

Buy Universal Audio Volt 476 from Reverb – $329
Buy Universal Audio VOLT 476 from Perfect Circuit – $329
Buy Universal Audio Volt 276 from Reverb – $269
Buy Universal Audio Volt 276 from Perfect Circuit – $269

Poly effects Beebo

Poly effects Beebo

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

The Beebo is an adorable pedal. In fact, calling it a guitar pedal seems a bit unfair. It’s really a digital modular synthesizer and effects system with a large touchscreen that happens to be crammed into the format of a guitar pedal. Can do basic guitar stuff like chorus and overdrive. It can be a modeling amplifier. It can also be a synthesizer or MIDI controller. In short, it refuses to be confined like any one thing. One of my favorite tricks is loading random audio tracks onto it to create custom wacky reverbs. And it’s constantly updated with new features and bug fixes. (Received about 50 firmware updates in 2020 alone)

Considering the power packed into the regular $449, it seems reasonable. But right now you can get blue Beebo from Perfect Circuit for 12 percent off. (Unfortunately, the hot pink color is still full price.) However, I’ll act fast if you’re considering it. The blue units are now listed as out of stock and the store may not be accepting discounted backorders for much longer.

Buy Poly Effects Beebo (Blue) from Perfect Circuit – $392.88

Bastl Tools

Bastle Microbaba

Bastl Tools

We haven’t covered Bastl Instruments much on Engadget, but the company makes a range of weird and wonderful instruments. If you buy direct from the company right now, they’re doing a 30 percent discount on everything they make from Eurorack modules to desktop synths. I’m a particularly big fan of the company’s smaller, more affordable oddities like the Kastl (potentially the world’s smallest modular synth), the Kastl Drum (a similar concept, but for percussion), and the Microgranny (an ultra-loppy granular sampler). They’re pretty great socks even at full price, but with 30% off with the code “welcome2bshop” they’re a real steal.

Shop Bastl Instruments – 30% with code “WELCOME2BSHOP”

Moog Sound Studio Packs

Moog Sound Studio


Seven percent off isn’t much, but it’s pretty rare to see Moog stuff get marked down. So it’s worth noting that their Sound Studio packages are discounted at all. Sound Studio packs come with two or three semi-modular Moog instruments, namely the Mother 32, DFAM and Subharmonicon. They also come with a mixer, a bunch of patch cords, a stand and playing cards, 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 ones.

Both synth packs are down to $1299 from $1399. But you get a slightly bigger discount if you buy all three, which will set you back $1,899, down from $2,099.

Buy Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 + DFAM + Subharmonicon from Sweetwater – $1899
Moog Sound Studio: DFAM & Subharmonicon in Sweetwater – $1299
Buy Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 & DFAM from Sweetwater – $1299

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