6 Best Synthesizer For Pads – 2021

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August 20, 2019

Best Synthesizer For Pads

Leads may be more memorable to the audience, but pads can define a track. The right pads will help provide balance and improve customization options. The best synthesizer for pads will provide a range of chords, notes and development options. With the best synths, creating pads will be more convenient and versatile. Here are a few of the top options you could consider.

Product Synth engine Polyphony Price
Korg MS-20 Mini synth All analogue Mono Check Price .
Arturia MiniBrute 2/2S All analogue Mono Check Price .
Behringer Neutron All analogue Poly Check Price .
Moog Mother-32 All analogue Mono Check Price .
Moog DFAM All analogue Poly Check Price .
Make Noise 0-Coast All analogue Poly Check Price .


Korg MS-20 Mini synth

The MS-20 re-issue meets the high quality standard of its predecessor, and includes modern alterations for full value. This all-analog  model features a 3-octave mini keyboard control panel that is easy to use. It is compatible with multiple connections, thanks to USB and MIDI compatibility. It features a great selection of vintage sounds. The MS-20 is a great budget option for high quality delivery.



  • Compact re-issue of the MS-20
  • Value for money pricing
  • MIDI and USB equipped for full connectivity


  • Patch bay might be problematic with some modules

Arturia MiniBrute 2/2S

The Arturia Minibrute 2/2s is an ideal system for pads. It delivers stunning sound, and is very straightforward in its controls. Even if you have relatively little experience , you can still enjoy the Minibrute’s classic note compilation and high quality delivery. The keystep-style sequencer is ideally suited for pads, with the additional modulation control making pairing easier. This re-issue is an upgrade on its predecessor.


  • Impressive 2S sequencer
  • Improvement on the original
  • Easy to interface with other gear


  • Single -12dB VCF is not very flexible

Behringer Neutron

The analog semi modular synth facilitates easier connectivity, and delivers great sound as a standalone piece of gear. This synth is ideal for pads because it offers a variety of sounds, and offers a bang for your buck. It works just as well for tried and tested sounds as it does for experimental alternatives, making the Behringer Neuron a great option for your needs.



  • Compact size and great build
  • Value for money buy
  • Iconic VCO mirrors some of the best classic synths
  • Flexible patch bay for added customization options


  • Filter section is prone to saturation

Moog Mother-32

The classic Moog Mother-32 delivers a very sought-after sound. It is a great vintage option that is well designed and compact. It is very easy to use, and features one of the best sounding ladder filters on offer. This model is highly expandable, but is better suited for people who are looking for an entry level option to expand their capacity to create.


  • Great value for money purchase
  • Punchy and interesting sound delivery
  • Easy to use with other modular connections


  • Only a single VCO, LFO and ENV


While it offers a basic sequencer, the Moog DFAM is a second option with a desirable punchy sound. It is a great classic synth that features added connectivity for full value. This model is designed to specialize in anatonal textures, electronic percussion and heavy synth sounds, which may make it ideal for some genres more than others. It can be a great synth if you are looking for a unique pads.


  • Wide range of sounds
  • Compatible with external connections
  • Great build


  • Sequencer is rather limited

Make Noise 0-Coast

The Make Noise 0-Coast is not the best synth for beginners due to its possibly confusing arrangement. If you have some experience, this unique option will be an ideal fit. It offers great creative depth, thanks to its versatile sound manipulation options. This model will infuse personality into every sound, ensuring full value for pads.




  • High quality build
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Unique and stylish synth design


  • Not ideal for novice users

Everything you need to know about synth pads

There is no specific origin of the term ‘synth pad’ in a musical context, which makes it hard for even experienced music producers and enthusiasts have a hard time understanding it. What is a pad? How is it different from a lead? Will any instrument work as a pad? We explore everything you need to know about synth pads in this article to help you strike better balance when making music.

What is a synth pad?

Every musician will have their own definition of a synth pad, depending on their genre confines and  range of instruments used. Still, pads are generally used to fill out the musical space, allowing for a better sound across all uses, which brings us to our definition of synth pads. A synth pad is a prolonged tone or chord, which is produced by a synthesizer. Most musicians will use synth pads for background harmony or ambience. It is generally used in the same way that a string section in he orchestra, which pads out to fill a space in music. Exploring the string section further, notice the positioning in the arrangement of the track. Unlike the lead, it is not the predominant instrument, and is not the main melody. Synth pads work to fill in the musical space, instead of setting the tone for development.

How does it differ from a lead?

Leads and synths are stark contrasts. While the pad works to fill out space in the track’s background, the lead is a major part of the foreground. For some genres, especially electronic music, the lead sets the expectation for vocals and melody. It is usually the most identifiable and memorable part of the track, and will be most likely to stick with the listener. In order to attract listeners, leads are usually brighter, and feature a higher frequency. The notes are also likely to be shorter and approaching staccato in rhythm. Leads can also be louder for greater effect.

Pads are usually more silent and featuring in the background of a selection of instruments. They are likely to remain unheard, and will not easily be identified by non-audiophiles. Pads approach legato in rhythm, and are more likely to feature lower frequencies. This translates to longer notes with a seamless connection and minimal note changes. They are also more likely to be chords than single notes, allowing for extended padding of the musical space.

How to create pads on a synthesizer

You need to understand your genre confines to know what instruments will be appropriate for the musical space in your tracks. The best synthesizer for pads will be appropriate for different genres, and may be a great option to  consider. But how will you use the synth for desirable padding? Here are a few handy tips.

Increase your attack time

The attack time is considered as the time it takes for a note or chord to each its peak point, which is most likely its highest level. Increasing your attack time will offer better padding, and will mimic certain instruments for a unique effect. It can even set the mood, and raise anticipation for the next part of your track. Balancing your attack time for better padding without creating virtual silence will help you stay in tune and attain consistency.

Increase your decay time

This is a mirror of attack time, and it refers to the duration a chord or note takes to drop from the highest point to a sustained level. By increasing the decay time, you will achieve a great padding effect. You should be wary of making the legato too long to avoid listeners droning out.

Raising your sustain time

Notes and chords will be held at different levels for amounts of time, helping to create rhythm. The sustain time looks into different levels, as well as how long each chord or note is held there. A lengthy sustain time will ensure a comprehensive fill. In order to find the right sustain time, you should consider your rhythm and tempo. Some genres may demand shorter sustain times than others.

It is also important to keep it simple to avoid a confusing and unpredictable sound. Oscillator detuning, modulation and filter mixes are great options for variety, but adding these to your pad may lower the quality of your outcome. With the right delay and reverb, any instrument can be a pad. However, synths are the most convenient and versatile options to fill your musical space!

Final word

The old school Korg MS-20 mini is compact and user friendly reissue of a classic monophonic synth, the Korg MS20. The authentic and antique sound offers sufficient value for pads.. It is very easy to use, and can help you create pads even with minimal experience with synths. It offers you the ability to create staple leads, well balanced basses and a twisted sound that is ideal for a variety of genres. If you are looking for a value synthesizer for pads, this model is right for you!

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.