Budget ambient synth?


I am in search of an ambient “budget” synth to add textures to my sounds. I was first interested in the lyra-8 but the price and some of the demos made me move away from that, it seems a bit too “agressive” for my tastes.

I was searching online and found a “budget” version of the Lyra-8 called the Elmyra and it seemed pretty interesting with a bit of fx applied to its sounds.

The other very cheap option I considered is the SOMA Rumbles of Ancient Times but it seems quite harsh w/o heavy fx processing (but you might always need some kind of fx for ambient I guess).

This is the type of sounds I would like to achieve:

I also know some people suggesting granular synth online but the only “budget” option I found is the microgranny by Bastl but the demos online seem to show a lot of “clicks” in the sound which I find unpleasant…

My budget is around 300 euros max

Any help or advice on the synths I mentionned or other recommendations would be appreciated :wink:


Dreadbox Typhon - if you can find a bargain.


For these things, I really enjoyed the Behringer Neutron. It’s pretty easy to make some interesting drones. Just make sure to add some reverb! But maybe that’s not the sound you’re going for…

I think Burial only used samples for those recordings, so that’s something to consider.

Budget tip for reverb (if you have the space): Alesis Midiverb! They sound a bit plasticky (in a nice way) but you’re obviously not going for a natural sound, so it might be an option.


Arturia microfreak is good, but you’d need to add FX.

Dreadbox Nymphes, a bit above your budget, but second hand should be affordable.

Maybe stretch to a Korg opsix?


What synths and fx do you already own?
A lush reverb can turn any synth into an ambient machine…


Blofeld is pretty good at this sort of thing and a second hand desktop one will be under 300 easily.


I would spend all of my money on a good reverb and then buy a Casio from a thrift store with the change.


I now really want that Elmyra synth dammit!


Honestly if you really want to go for that Burial sound you just need a sampler, a basic DAW version would do or you could get one of the many hardware samplers out there. AFAIK Burial made all his early stuff with just repitched samples layered in an audio editor (Soundforge apparently).

I’ve been playing around with using Reaper mostly as a sampler as part of my setup to go along with some hardware, and simply loading in a bit of something kinda tonal into RS5K and playing it with a keyboard immediately gives you some interesting textures. Everyday things slowed right down tend to sound fantastic too.


also while people are suggesting sampling things and pitching them:


slow anything at all down, tune it, sample it…


For the Burial sound you’re going to want samples. For actual synthesis, no need to buy hardware, just get Arturia Pigments. Save your money.


Btw, it’s been implemented in Audacity, so it’s very easy to use it… for free !!


oh yeah, it’s been updated a lot since i last looked it seems - VST3 version too!



100% Blofeld
It was my first thought when seeing the title of this thread.

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Maybe a not expected advice … and I didn’t read down all the posts … think about a reverb unit getting you from quite mediocre sound sources to textures from other worlds …

If you own a mono- or polyphonic synth already, you would be almost there …

Examples of reverb guitar pedals would be:

  • Eventide Blackhole
  • Strymon Blue Sky

all short above 300,- but high quality and very versatile.

There are great reverb pedals for lower budget as well …


Two Monotron Delays and a used Eventide Space.

Zoom MS-70CDR is also a good choice.

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Burial’s stuff, at least the early albums, were all sample manipulation. To echo what one person said already. Not that you can’t get there with a synth, but you might not quite capture the same vibe.


Gonna second a lot of folks here and suggest getting skipping a synth and instead using samples drenched in reverb. You can still get a Quadraverb for pretty cheap, and it will give you the sound you’re looking for pretty easily.

If you don’t have a sampler, you could probably get a lot of burial’s tone using an sp-404, which you might be able to find in the 300 euro range


On his early stuff, Burial used samples from games like Metal Gear Solid along with chopped up R&B and pop vocals, all edited together in Soundforge. If you’re not adverse to working in the box, any DAW with a decent software sampler are the only tools you need, plus creative sample selection and an immense amount of skill.