Synthwave is a genre that encompasses a diverse range of subgenres, each with its own unique sound and style. Here are some of the most prominent subgenres of Synthwave and the popular equipment and artists involved in each:
- Outrun: This subgenre is characterized by its heavy use of bright, neon colors and imagery that evoke the aesthetic of 1980s arcade games and action films. Popular equipment used in creating outrun music includes the Roland Juno-60, Roland TR-808, Yamaha DX7, and Roland TB-303. Some of the most popular outrun artists include Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk, and Miami Nights 1984.
- Retrowave: This subgenre seeks to recreate the sound and feel of classic 1980s synthpop, often featuring nostalgic and introspective themes. Popular equipment used in creating retrowave music includes the Roland Juno-106, Korg Poly-61, and Oberheim OB-Xa. Some of the most popular retrowave artists include The Midnight, FM-84, and Timecop1983.
- Darkwave: This subgenre incorporates elements of goth and post-punk into the synthwave sound, often featuring darker and more introspective themes. Popular equipment used in creating darkwave music includes the Korg MS-20, Roland SH-101, and Sequential Circuits Pro-One. Some of the most popular darkwave artists include Drab Majesty, Zola Jesus, and Boy Harsher.
- Futuresynth: This subgenre blends the classic sounds of synthwave with more modern electronic dance music (EDM) elements, creating an energetic and uplifting sound. Popular equipment used in creating futuresynth music includes the Roland JD-800, Korg M1, and Yamaha DX7-II. Some of the most popular futuresynth artists include The Algorithm, Dance with the Dead, and Carpenter Brut.
- Chillwave: This subgenre focuses on creating a dreamy, nostalgic atmosphere, often featuring lo-fi production techniques and a focus on ambient sounds. Popular equipment used in creating chillwave music includes the Roland Juno-106, Korg MS-20, and Yamaha CS-80. Some of the most popular chillwave artists include Tycho, Washed Out, and Neon Indian.
- Synthpop: This subgenre takes inspiration from classic 1980s pop music, often featuring catchy melodies and upbeat rhythms. Popular equipment used in creating synthpop music includes the Yamaha DX7, Roland Juno-60, and Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. Some of the most popular synthpop artists include CHVRCHES, The Human League, and Depeche Mode.
- Darksynth: This subgenre draws heavily on the sounds of horror and sci-fi film soundtracks, creating a darker and more menacing synthwave sound. Popular equipment used in creating darksynth music includes the Roland Jupiter-8, Korg MS-20, and Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. Some of the most popular darksynth artists include Perturbator, Gost, and Dan Terminus.
These are just a few of the many subgenres of Synthwave, each with its own unique sound and style.