Everybody's been beating around it but it hasn't been clarified, thus, there are a very wide variety of options suggested that are incongruent. Let's start with a base of terminology:

monosynth - these synthesizers play one note at a time and typically have knob per function or close to it. Good for bass lines, leads, and sound effects. May or may not have patch storage. Most famous historical example: Moog Model D (minimoog)

Polysynth - like the monosynth, sounds are created typically turning knobs to adjust one of 3 distinct sections: 1) Oscillator (basis of the sound) 2) Filter (shape the sound) 3) amplifier (control volume transients....sharp or slow attack or release). The main difference is these can play chords, not just one note at a time. Some can even split the keyboard Andy play multiple sounds simultaneously. Patch storage, or presets, are much more common though not guaranteed. Early examples were the Proohet 5, Oberheim SEM, OBX, etc, and Jupiter 8, though maybe one of the earliest was the Yamaha CS line. There are a TON of modern polysynths on the market.
ROMpler - these essentially use permanent samples (recordings) of other instruments. Most of the time, it would be the best way to digitally replicate a piano, or a saxophone, or a violin, etc. but it can also contain samples of instruments from the last 2 categories, so that you can have a wide palette of "presets" at your fingertips, but with less editing. Think about it his way. When you play a Hammond, as part of the performance, have 9 drawbars each with 8 positions you can manipulate to alter the sound as you play. In a ROMpler, they may have a patch of 888000000 and another one of 888888888 and you can pick one or the other, but you can't manipulate them in real time.

That's the essence of the question of what you want. If you want to grab knobs and make your own sounds, and manipulate in the fly, you need a "knobby" synth. If you're just going to pull up a preset and play it as is, you would be spending a LOT of money on features you'll never use in an analog or VA (knobby) synth compared to the huge library of ready to go sounds in a ROMpler.

If you can clarify that, we can drill into useful suggestions.


Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.