In bygone days hardware synths were a serious investment. Proper synthesizer instruments that made real sounds and had real knobs and faders to twiddle were reserved for those with serious cash to splash, and the rest of us had to make do with virtual recreations in the form of VST plugins.
The affordable end of synth market has, however, exploded in recent years. Big brands like Korg and Moog have begun to do the unthinkable and bring out high-quality synths in compact and sensibly priced packages, and producing competitively-priced hardware now seems to be the height of fashion.
Needless to say, we at MusicRadar are big fans of this ongoing trend. Over the next 15 slides, we've collected a selection of the most popular and/or impressive synthesizers - both analogue and digital - that are currently available for (roughly) less than £500/$700. Read on as we run through, in ascending price order, the highs, lows and idiosyncrasies of each.