you may be able to get a ms2000r on ebay for $200. nothing that cheap is going to be very useful or sound very good.
My live set-up:
72 Tele Custom
TC Electronics Polytune
MXR Dynacomp
deviever Shoe Gazer
Way Huge Red Llama Clone
Effector13 Soda Meiser
Vintage Proco Rat
DOD Buzzbox
Dwarfcraft Robot Devil
EA Tremolo
Lovepedal Pickle Vibe
Traynor YBA-2B
Cheapest "real" synth is gonna probably be the Novation Xiosynth at $299. Here are some <$400 synths made by actual synth manufacturers:

• Novation Xiosynth $299
• Alesis Micron $399
• Korg microKorg $399

All three are about the same for features and "VA" (virtual analog) type sounds. The microKorg is very popular, but I don't like its non-standard micro keys (they're smaller than normal). All three serve as great VA synths—great for leads and electronic bass lines.

Real, "good" synths start at about $600, and go up to about $3,000:

• Roland Juno-D $495
• Yamaha MM6 $599 ("baby Motif")

These two are gonna give you much more bang for your buck, and the Yamaha in particular, inherits its sound engine technology from its bigger, and much more expensive ($2K+), big-brother, the Yamaha Motif ES (now replaced by the Motif XS).

If $200 really is your limit, you can get one of the consumer Yamaha "all in one" synths. The one you might be interested in is the Yamaha PSR-E403 for $199:

Yamaha PSR-E403 $199

This "consumer" Yamaha synth is actually supposed to sound pretty good.
American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

Last edited by LEVEL4 at Feb 8, 2008,