The Best-Selling Synths and Drum Machines of 2017

Welcome to the second post in our ongoing series of year-end best-selling gear rankings. Last week, we looked at the pedal market in 2017. This week, we're turning our sights on electronic music gear: namely, synths and drum machines.

Overall, it was another great year for synths, with strong sales across all categories. While the new release front may have been a little less thrilling than 2016, this year still brought plenty of exciting new models to the growing analog synth and groovebox realms.

Roland launched four new Boutique Series modules, including three much-hyped reissues of '80s classics and one entirely new design built in collaboration with Studio Electronics.

Moog, Korg, and Dave Smith Instruments released variations on existing instruments, while Novation came to the table with the Peak, the latest in a growing sector of fully featured desktop synths.

Jumping into which of these instruments sold the best this year, you'll find three lists below that cover the following:

  • Overall Best Sellers shows the top-selling individual products across all new and used sales on Reverb.

  • New for 2017 filters the overall rankings to show just products that were introduced this year.

  • Top Eurorack Modules showcases products just in the Eurorack category. These units have not been included in the other two lists in order to put a specific spotlight on this section of the market.

As always when we present data like this, it's worth keeping in mind that these figures and rankings only reflect sales on Reverb. While we think this is a largely accurate sample of the broader market, there are situations where the tastes and preferences of our users make our rankings different from what you might find across the entire industry.

Notes and Takeaways

  • With this list, we've included synths, drum machines, and samplers but have excluded controllers such as the popular Arturia Keystep. There are certainly some products that fall on the line here, but our main criteria was whether the product can function as a standalone instrument as opposed to whether it requires a laptop or other synth to generate sound.

  • In cases where there are multiple versions of a single synth—such as the existence of both desktop and keyboard versions or variations in the number of keys—we've kept them each as separate models in the rankings. A good example of this are the 8- and 16-voice versions of the new Dave Smith Instruments Rev2. If these variations were combined as one model, they would have ranked third on the overall list of new releases.

  • The Korg Monologue (which was announced in 2016 but did not start shipping until 2017) took first spot this year. In 2016, its big brother, the Minilogue, did the same. Rumors are already circulating of another synth coming from Korg at NAMM next month, but given the recent departure of analog design chief Tatsuya Takahashi, it remains to be seen if a new design will continue this series or mark the start of a new chapter for Korg.

  • The top-ranking Eurorack module, the Expert Sleepers Disting MK3, is the result of the release of an MK4 version of the same module. Often in the Eurorack world, when an updated version comes out, owners of the previous iteration are eager to offload the older version, which tends to fuel used sales on Reverb.

Top Synth and Keyboard Brands of 2017 by Total Number of Orders
2017 Rank Brand Average Order Value
1 Korg 345.55
2 Roland 496.50
3 Yamaha 491.37
4 Moog 726.58
5 Make Noise 287.07
6 Akai 289.98
7 Arturia 252.15
8 Mutable Instruments 232.03
9 Novation 221.98
10 Teenage Engineering 418.23
11 Nord 1495.16
12 Dave Smith Instruments 1084.76
13 Pittsburgh Modular 223.30
14 Doepfer 157.83
15 Casio 203.02

What electronic music gear inspired you in 2017? Let us know in the comments.


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