Synthesizers Vst Plugins

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Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by

Surge is an opensource Synth VST that sounds fantastic and is probably the best synthesizer plugin currently available. It is a hybrid subtractive synthesizer with a dual synthesis engine. Each patch contain two ‘scenes’ which are separate instances of the entire synthesis engine that can be used for layering or split patches.

Finding great synth plugins can be a challenge…

So, I decided to create this list of the best 15 synth vstplugins that I think sound great.

Let’s get straight to it…

Diva by U-He (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Diva is a synth that captures the spirit of various analoguesynthesizers by letting the user select from a variety of alternative modules.

The oscillators, filters and envelopes closely model componentsfound in some of the greatest monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers.

Diva is pretty easy to use despite of the Interface lookinga bit complex.

The one issue I found with Diva is that it’s quite CPUintensive…

However, this is worth it since it sounds absolutelyfantastic!

You can find out more about Diva by U-He here.

Are you looking for a new DAW? Here’s a list of the best DAWs currently available!

FM8 by Native Instruments (Windows, Mac)

Native Instruments is known for creating excellent pluginslike ElectricGuitar Amp Simulators, however one of their most iconic plugins must be theFM8.

Synthesizers Vst Plugins

The FM8 soft synth uses frequency modulation synthesis, justlike the Yamaha DX-7 which was responsible for the iconic sound of the 80s.

This isn’t a plugin that I would recommend to the absolutebeginner since it’s not the easiest to use.

However, with just a little practice you should be able tocreate fantastic sounds!

This synth was even used by Skrillex, which is a cleartestament to its quality.

You can find out more about Native Instrument’s FM8 here.

Note: FM8 can be bought on its own or as part of the Komplete 12 Bundles.

These bundles are far more expensive than the single FM8plugin, but you get loads of high-quality instruments when purchasing them.

Spire by Reveal Sound (Windows, Mac)

Used by famous artist Armin Van Buuren, Spire is a simpleyet great sounding hybrid synth that covers everything from analog to Hard FM.

It comes with loads of presets as well as all the onboardmixing tools you could ever need…

Spire may be mostly geared towards trance and otherelectronic music; however, it is also very capable of creating more unusualsounds which you didn’t think were possible for the typical virtual analoguesynth.

You can find out more about Spire by Reveal Sound here.

Related: Looking for guitar VST/AU plugins? Here are the 21 best ones.

Hive 2 by U-he (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Hive 2 is quick and uncomplicated, without sacrificingflexibility or audio quality.

It is a lightweight multipurpose synth with tons offunctionality.

Hive 2 is also super easy to use which means that you’ll becreating great sounding patches in no time.

You can add movement and life using the shape sequencer, orinstantly record, rotate and arpeggiate note sequences.

The 12-slot matrix even lets you modulate effectparameters, encouraging you to explore a whole new world of creative options.

Hive 2 includes Wavetables…

These appear as multiple waveforms, and are controlled inthe central hexagon.

You can manually select wavetables, modulate the waveposition via the matrix, or even scan through them automatically using theenvelope and loop options.

You can find out more about Hive 2 by U-he here.

Massive by Native Instruments (Windows, Mac)

Native Instruments is one of the best companies that createplugins out there, and Massive is no exception to this rule.

It has been around since the early days of soft synths andis one of the people’s favorites.

Massive was designed to create basses and make them asMassive as possible.

The interface is fairly clean, easy and intuitive to use,which means that if you’re completely new to the world of synths, this onemight be a good choice.

Massive is one of the go-to synths for bass music as well aselectronic music.

You can find out more about Massive by Native Instruments here.

Important note: Native Instruments came out with Massive X recently.

Massive X is a completely rethought and rewired version of Massive which you should also consider.

Serum by Xfer Records (Windows, Mac)

Serum is one of the most famous soft synths out there, andfor good reason.

It is a Wavetable synthesizer and it has virtually noprocessing limitations, which makes it incredibly powerful.

It can load up sounds and transform them into wavetables,plus it’s super easy to use since the UI is very easy to understand andnavigate.

Serum also features 10 effects, drag and drop routing, andloads of presets.

You can find out more about Serum by Xfer Records here.

Circle2 by Future Audio Workshop (Windows, Mac)

Circle2 is a wavetable synthesizer which focuses on astreamlined workflow and creativity, and which has been consistently used byartists such as David Guetta and Deadmau5.

One cool thing about Circle2 is that everything you need isin the main window.

This means that there are no submenus or other extra windows…You got everything you need right there!

The UI is super intuitive since it allows you to drag anddrop anything you need.

Not only does Circle2 feature 110 wavetables, loads ofeffects and over 300 sounds, but it also offers a step sequencer, NativeInstruments NKS Support, an arpeggiator, and a lot more.

You can find out more about Circle2 by Future Audio Workshop here.

SEM V by Arturia (Windows, Mac)

The Arturia SEM V is an emulation of the classic OberheimSEM.

The SEM module was originally made to compliment othersynthesizers but later came into its own as a great sounding synth.

Synth Vst Plug-ins

At the time the unique filter that allowed continuouslyvariable operation from low pass to high pass gave it a sound that no otherhad.

SEM V delivers all the deep analog sounds that made itsancestor so unique and praised by recreating the tone, waveshapes, and otherdetailed characteristics.

If you want to be able to have some of that analog goodnessfor your music, then give SEM V a shot.

You can find out more about SEM V by Arturia here.

VPS Avenger by Vengeance Sound (Windows, Mac)

Top Synth Vst Plugins

Avenger is a very powerful synth that unites analog,wavetable, and sample-based synthesis.

It comes with over 1000 presets, loads of effects and filtertypes, and more…

Not only is it a powerful synthesizer but it also featuresan onboard drum sequencer, arpeggiator, step sequencer, chord detection module,and a lot more.

You can import and convert ANY 1 cycle waveform sample intoan Oscillator shape.

Once the waveform is imported, you can transform it in everydirection possible.

You can freely draw your own OSC shapes – use a pencilor draw lines, use smoothening parameters or normalize, fade in/outs tohelp create every shape imaginable.

In regards to the drum kits, Avenger comes with more than160 Drum-Kits from all possible genres, while each drum-kit holds 12x perfectlymixed and matched drum samples.

You can find out more about Avenger by Vengeance Sound here.

Native Instruments Reaktor 6 (Windows, Mac)

If you like building patches from scratch, then Reaktor 6 isdefinitely for you.

Its previous version, Reaktor 5, is one of the few pieces ofsoftware that could survive for up to ten years without receiving any updatesand still be relevant, which is impressive.

Reaktor 6 also provides a platform for modular synthesis inthe form of Blocks – a range of sound generating and sound shaping modules.

You can patch them together to create new and unique modularsynthesizers, effects chains, complex sequencers, and more.

With its various oscillators and filters, which soundfantastic, as well as its analog-style sounds, Reaktor 6 is one of the bestSynthesizers you could ever get.

The only cons I can think of with this plugin is that it canseem a little complicated to use at first, and it’s a bit CPU intensive as well…

You can find out more about Reaktor 6 by Native Instruments here.

Synthmaster One by KV331 Audio (Windows, Mac)

SynthMaster One is an easy to use wavetable synthesizer withan intuitive workflow.

Although it shares the same engine with its bigger brotherSynthMaster, it comes with new features like wavetable synthesis.

With its simple layout, rich wavetable/waveform content andinspiring factory presets library, designing new sounds with SynthMaster One isextremely easy to do.

This is one of the most affordable plugins on this wholelist, plus it’s so easy to use that anyone, even without prior experience, canuse it!

This is why I’d absolutely recommend it to all the beginnersout there.

Not only that, but if you like it and you want some added functionality, you can purchase upgrade bundles.

You can find out more about Synthmaster One by KV331 Audio here.

Pigments by Arturia (Windows, Mac)

Pigments is an immensely powerful wavetable and virtualanalog software synthesizer.

It features a twin audio engine, letting you mix virtualanalog and wavetable oscillators to create the perfect starting point for yourpatch.

You can even morph wavetables, or import your own.

Experiment with 3 envelopes, 3 LFOs, and 3 functiongenerators…

Process your patch with contemporary effects like wavefolderand multifilter, or vintage studio reverbs, delays, and EQs.

If you can imagine a sound, Pigments can probably create it!

Find out more about Pigments by Arturia here.

Repro-1 by U-he (Windows, Mac)

Repro-1 would be the lightweight counterpart of U-he’sfamous plugin “Diva”, which is the first one of this list.

When you download Repro you not only get Repro-1 but alsoRepro-5.

Repro-1 is a monosynth: Two oscillators,self-oscillating 4-pole lowpass filter, arpeggiator, step sequencer, the uniquemodulation section, and five stomp-box effects which can be arranged in anyorder.

Synth Vst Plug-ins For Fl Studio

Repro-5 shares a lot of sonic DNA with Repro-1, butadds new flavors and characteristics.

First of all, it’s Polyphonic: Play rich pads, shapethem using the resonant lowpass filter, drive the polyphonic distortion unit ashard as you like, and finally polish your sound with five built-in effects.

Repro-5 adds new dimensions to the familiar classicsound while keeping analogue authenticity.

You can find out more about Repro-1 by U-he here.

Absynth 5 by Native Instruments (Windows, Mac)

Absynth 5 is one of those synthesizers that has earned thereputation of being one of the go-to choices for any serious music producer.

It’s one of the most powerful synths out there, with theonly issue being how difficult it is to use since the interface doesn’t reallyallow you to navigate it easily.

Having said that, if you know your way around synthesizersor if you don’t mind investing some time into it, then Absynth 5 is an absolutemust.

You can find out more about Absynth 5 by Native Instruments here.

Harmor by Image-Line (Windows only)

Harmor, which was developed by the same people who createdFL Studio, is driven by a powerful additive synthesis engine.

Its modules will look familiar to subtractive synthesizerenthusiasts: oscillators, filters & phasers, these are featured in Harmorbut, because performed through additive synthesis, offer more freedom.

Just like with the previous synth on this list, Harmor canseem a bit intimidating on first sight.

However, what it lacks in ease-of-use it more than makes upin overall quality of the sounds.

You can find out more about Harmor by Image-Line here.

Dexed by Digital Sub Urban (Windows, Mac)

Dexed is a Free multi platform and multi format frequency modulation Synth which is based on, or closely modeled to, the Yamaha DX7.

It isn’t the simplest synth to use… there is definitely a learning curve to it, but I honestly think that it’s well worth it to do the effort and learn it properly.

It is also a MIDI cartridge manager for the DX7 meaning that any of the .syx files in the cartridges will be available from the “Cart” window.

You can access this directory by pressing the “Cart” button and then the “Show Dir” button.

You can find out more about Dexed by Digital Sub Urban here.

Top 3 Choices

If you don’t mind investing time into learning a complex but extremely good synth, then Absynth 5 is a great choice.

Gtg Synth Vst Plugins

If you are completely new and want something that’s easy to learn and also affordable, then Synthmaster One might be the one.

Lastly, an overall great synth plugin is Serum.

And last but not least…

How can you learn to use a Synth the right way?

If you really want to learn as much as possible about synthesizers without wasting too much time, then I’d recommend enrolling in an online course like Beginner’s Guide to Synthesis.

This course covers all the basics and all the essential knowledge you need about synthesizers in order to produce modern music.

You’ll need a MIDI Controller

In order to be able to use these plugins properly, you will need some sort of MIDI Controller.

While you can use your mouse to map the MIDI in your DAW, it’s a lot faster and easier to do it with a keyboard/controller.

My recommendation here is for you to get something like the M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV MIDI Controller which you can find at Amazon at a very affordable price, plus it comes with some extra software like Pro Tools First.

Conclusion

No matter which of these synths you choose, they are allextremely good.

Some of them are extremely affordable while some other arequite pricy.

Which one you decideto go with entirely depends on your needs and budget.

I hope this information was useful…

Have a wonderful day!

F.A.Qs.

What is a synth VST?

Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates software synthesizers and effects units into digital audio workstations.

We covered the best free synthesizer plugins in a recent article. But what are the best free retro synthesizers? Find out in the list below and return to free VST plugins for more software.

The retro 80s sound is more popular than ever. Genres like synthwave and chillwave are the perfect soundtrack for working from home while daydreaming about night rides on open highways.

But you don’t have to be a retro synth geek to love the sound of vintage synthesizers. One can hear the emulated sounds of retro polysynths in the chart-topping hits from mainstream artists like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd.

If you’re into making synthwave music, chances are you’ll need a good virtual analog synthesizer for your digital audio workstation. Help yourself to our Top 10 list of free retro synth VST plugins.

Free Retro Synthesizers: Top 10

These are the best free vintage synthesizer emulation VST plugins:

  • PG-8X (Roland JX-8P)
  • OB-Xd (Oberheim OB-Xa)
  • Mono/Fury (Korg Mono/Poly)
  • Fury-800 (Korg Poly-800)
  • TAL-U-No-62 (Roland Juno-60)
  • Tyrell N6 (Roland Juno-60)
  • Dexed (Yamaha DX7)
  • Viking (Moog Voyager)
  • Synth1 (Nord Lead 2)
  • Nils K1v (Kawai K1)

Read more about each instrument below and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the Honorable Mentions.

PG-8X

PG-8X emulates Roland’s legendary JX-8P analog synthesizer. The original JX-8P sounded huge, but it lacked in the hands-on control department. Users had to dive through menus to program new sounds.

That’s why Roland released the PG-800 controller. It was an external hardware device that made programming the Roland JX-8P and Super JX synthesizers a far more user-friendly affair.

The free PG-8X synthesizer by Martin Lüders gives the best of both worlds. You’re getting a detailed emulation of JX-8P’s analog synthesis engine and the control layout borrowed from the PG-800 controller.

PG-8X truly shines as a synthwave instrument. It’s one of those rare virtual instruments that sound analog-like almost effortlessly.

Create eye-watering lush pads and earth-shattering analog basslines in the blink of an eye. Turn on the Unison mode for instant fat leads. Also, the included chorus module applies an immediate retro-boost to any sound.

More info:PG-8X

OB-Xd

OB-Xd takes inspiration from the Oberheim OB-X analog synthesizer. The original was the analog weapon of choice for brass sounds, pads, and punchy bass.

Thankfully, this freeware plugin from discoDSP nails that classic Oberheim sound. It also comes with an extensive collection of presets that serve as an instant source of legendary analog sounds.

Even better, OB-Xd is easy to program thanks to its user-friendly interface. Beginners and sound design experts alike shouldn’t have any issues with building custom synth patches from scratch.

Best Synth Vst Plugins 2020

2Dat originally developed the OB-Xd. He later provided the source code to discoDSP, who are now handling the development and support.

You can use OB-Xd for free. The developers are accepting an optional $49 donation from users who want to support their work.

More info:OB-Xd

Mono/Fury

Full Bucket Music’s website is a treasure trove of emulated analog synthesizers. Even better, all of their vintage-inspired virtual instruments are free. We had a hard time selecting just two Full Bucket Music plugins for this article.

That said, be sure to check out everything else this talented developer has to offer. And be sure to support their work with a donation if possible.

Our first Full Bucket Music pick is the Mono/Fury plugin, which models the Mono/Poly analog synthesizer by Korg. Mono/Fury emulates all the original instrument’s quirks and peculiarities, including the unique polyphony mode. Each voice triggers a different oscillator, resulting in some complex multi-layered timbres when playing chords and melodies.

At the same time, Mono/Fury comes will all the handy features of a modern-day audio plugin. It has a preset manager, supports MIDI learn and automation, and features a state-of-the-art zero-delay feedback low-pass filter with self-oscillation.

Mono/Fury operates as a VST and Audio Unit plugin in all compatible digital audio workstations on PC and Mac.

More info:Mono/Fury

Fury-800

Ah, another Full Bucket Music plugin and another Fury. This one is a personal favorite of mine as it models the Korg Poly-800, a cheap analog hybrid synthesizer that I owned back in the day. It featured digitally controlled oscillators and a terrible (in a charming way) analog filter.

The original Poly-800 is the exact opposite of what you’d expect from an analog synthesizer. It sounds lo-fi, thin, and plasticky. But sometimes that is precisely the type of sound you need for an 80s-inspired music track.

The killer feature here is Poly-800’s chorus module. It’s super noisy, and the pitch goes all over the place. If Korg manufactured the Poly-800 in 2020, I think they would label the effect as “VHS mode” instead of a chorus.

Anyway, the Fury-800 takes all of these charming Poly-800 features and packs them in a convenient virtual instrument for PC and Mac. By all means, the Fury-800 plugin is a must-have if you’re into synthwave production.

More info:Fury-800

TAL-U-No-62

TAL-U-No-62 is an old-school virtual instrument that emulates an old-school analog synthesizer. It is a virtual recreation of Roland’s legendary Juno-60 synth.

Togu Audio Line’s freeware Juno is more than a decade old. As a result, it doesn’t offer the latest and greatest DSP technology and analog emulation. However, TAL-U-No-62 is still a pretty solid virtual analog instrument that undeniably captures that classic Juno-60 vibe.

TAL-U-No-62’s oscillators and the low-pass filter won’t blow you away. But, the chorus module is where this virtual Juno-60 keeps its secret sauce. Turn on the chorus effect, and TAL-U-No-62 instantly sounds much closer to the original hardware.

Even better, you can download that same chorus as a standalone effect from Togu Audio Line’s website. Use the free TAL-Chorus-LX in combination with any virtual instrument for that lush 80s sound.

It’s also worth noting that the same developer offers a more advanced (but still fairy priced at €51) version of this instrument. The paid version is called TAL-U-NO-LX, and it’s the best Juno-60 emulation on the market.

Synthesizer Vst Plugin Download

More info:TAL-U-No-62

Tyrell N6

Tyrell N6 by U-He is loosely based on the Juno-60. We originally included it in the “Honorable Mentions” section of this article because Tyrell N6 isn’t a 1:1 recreation of any analog synthesizer. However, we decide to move it to the Top 10 list, following the suggestion from one of our readers (thanks, BenJ!).

You can think of Tyrell N6 as an 80s analog synth on steroids. All the usual components are there (a couple of analog oscillators, a multi-mode filter, a lush chorus), and you get a few valuable extras like a modulation matrix, ring modulation, feedback, and more.

A dream to program, thanks to its intuitive interface, Tyrell N6 also has dozens of freely downloadable sound banks. Some of these were created by professional sound designers.

Coming from the developers of industry-leading virtual analog synthesizers like Diva and Ace, the freeware Tyrell N6 is an absolute must-have in any analog synth aficionado’s plugin collection.

More info:Tyrell N6

Dexed

Dexed is a virtual recreation of the Yamaha DX7 and the only FM synth on this list. The plugin emulates the original DX7 so well that it supports its SysEx messages. As a result, Dexed can work as a patch editor for the hardware DX7.

Now, the unfortunate thing about FM synthesizers is that they’re hard to program. But, the good news is that there are thousands of Yamaha DX7 patches available online. And yes, you can load them in Dexed.

Use Dexed for 80s electric piano sounds, pads, FM bells, and let’s not forget the Lately Bass patch.

More info:Dexed

VK-1 Viking Synthesizer

VK-1 Viking Synthesizer emulates the Moog Voyager analog monosynth. Now, the Moog Voyager isn’t exactly retro, but it dates back to 2002. And Moog discontinued the Voyager in 2015 with over 14,000 units sold.

The Voyager combined a pair of Moog’s signature ladder filters with three continuously variable wave oscillators, putting a modern twist on the classic Moog sound.

The free VK-1 Viking Synthesizer from Blamsoft is a rather precise emulation of the Voyager.

VK-1 Viking Synthesizer uses zero-delay feedback filters and advanced techniques for avoiding oscillator aliasing. Also, the developers matched the oscillators and envelopes to their hardware counterparts through precise and extensive measurements.

More info:VK-1 Viking Synthesizer

Synth1

Ichiro Toda’s legendary Synth1 is one of the oldest freeware synthesizers around. Released almost two decades ago (on October 9th, 2002), there’s no denying that Synth1 is a vintage plugin. But it aged incredibly well.

Despite it being a retro plugin, Synth1 emulates the Nord Lead 2 very well. And its deceptively simple-looking user interface offers a surprising amount of synthesis firepower.

Even ten years ago, users praised Synth1 for its low CPU usage. Can you imagine how well it works on modern multi-core processors? You can use dozens of Synth1 instances in a project without hurting your computer’s performance.

However, Synth1’s most significant advantage is the incredible amount of available presets. There are hundreds of Synth1 soundbanks out there, making it the perfect choice for users who don’t like programming sounds from scratch.

More info:Synth1

Nils K1v

Nils K1v faithfully emulates the Kawai K1 digital synthesizer. It includes K1’s original factory bank and all ROM card expansions, and all this adds up to 768 presets.

The user interface mimics the original Kawai K1 module, with additional on-screen controls for parameters like envelopes and filters. This combination works quite well in the plugin format. Accessing the presets is easy, and tweaking the Kawai K1 sounds in real-time is fun.

The coolest feature in Nils K1v is the ability to morph the preset using the XY controller. It’s a fun way to add movement to pads and huge atmospheric sounds that the Kawai K1 was known for.

More info:Nils K1v

Free Retro Synthesizers: Honorable Mentions

These are retro synth plugins that haven’t made our Top 10, but they’re still worth checking out:

Synth Vst Plugins

  • SQ8L (Ensoniq SQ80)
  • Cobalt (Korg DW8000, Ensoniq ESQ-1, and Kawai K3)
  • Phuturetone Phutura (Roland Alpha Juno-1)
  • Steinberg Model-E (Moog Model D Minimoog)
  • Tal-Bassline (Roland SH-101)
  • Manx Gigmate(Concertmate MG-1, thanks to Christian H. for the tip!)
  • K Brown Synth Plugins (various synthesizers)
  • Syntronik Free(various synthesizers)

Feel free to suggest additional plugins for this article in the comments section below.

Return to free VST plugins.