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God help me I hate synthesizers so much. Well over $500 for anything remotely worth it. And soft synths are annoying as fuck, plus you need a good controller which is so hard to find at a decent pricepoint. Basically became cheaper for me to pick up guitar than keep playing keys, so thats what I'm doing now.
I know what you mean about synths being expensive. I just use vst's and control from my keyboard/mouse/mousepad and do the rest with software do-dads. It's a good way to stay musically entertained when real instruments aren't available. (normally I drum)