Vying for the title of 'synth of the noughties' has to be either the MicroKorg or the Virus - both ubiquitous, both used in many more recordings than the rest... The microKorg seems to be as much an indie/rock band staple as the guitars, and the Virus [B/C/Ti] practically owns dance music at the moment...
Whether that defines best is another thing. I happen to think the Virus Ti is the pinnacle of digital synthesis for now - not just a VA [and it irks me when folks forget its awesome FM/Wavetable/Granular/Formant capabilities], but I understand on here that we're a niche who might consider the more esoteric stuff.
There's a raft of lovely analog stuff - from Moogs to SEM's to MFB's to Cwejmans to FR777's to xoxboxes and Andromedas, from modular components to the DSI 'analog for the people' approach. Digital's still fighting hard - from the Virus and Solaris to the Arturia hybrids and Radias, R3. Workstations have never sounded so good, with the Motif being my favourite and the Oasys being the most ambitious.
And all of this whilst in the red corner, Vst and AU plugins bring emulations and new synthesis to anyone with a computer, all the more remarkable that a full DAW setup can be made for free thanks to the generosity of others. The internet's made a great deal of this possible - worldwide distribution networks for niche products, online distribution of free plugins, sharing of music from lesser known artists via Youtube, iTunes and others.
We've never had it so good. We can research new stuff better than ever before, integrate it better than ever before, and publish it to the world faster and more efficiently than we ever could. Some might miss the 200-mile trips to audition a new synth, or the hours spent digging through vinyl and CD's in dusty backstreet record stores. I don't, because if this is the brave new world, I'm all for it.
Less words more noise