The world of synthesizers is a beautiful and deep place, and as technology continues to grow each day, virtual instruments in this category are extremely bountiful. We’ve been collecting and scavenging the internet for synth VST’s for as long as we can remember, trying everything from sketchy free VST we found on the fifth page of a search engine, all the way to some of the biggest names of bundles money can buy. Today we continue our virtual instrument guides with one of our favorites, and also one that many of us really can’t get enough or ever will. The best synthesizer VST are below. Keep in mind they’re mostly paid so you can read our free synth VST article instead if you want to go that route.
The Top 10 Best Synthesizer VST
Arturia Analog Lab
When we first let ourselves pull the trigger with purchasing this synth VST, we were flooded with how many sounds were at our fingertips (still are after using it for a few years). With Analog Lab, it’s in our opinion that this is one of the most diverse and powerful synthesizer virtual instrument bundles out there. We have streamlined access to a wide array of high quality preset keyboard and synth sounds, all of which are part of Arturia’s famed V collection. With its beautifully modeled and unique instruments (yes, it’s a bundle of all of their ‘V Series’ VST), distinct features, and quality sounds, Analog Lab is designed to inspire music lovers. We’re getting a range from hard analog synth sounds, pads, strings, vox, accordions, organs, pianos (a lot of piano VST in here actually), and more than we can count.
Compared to previous versions, the most recent Analog Lab stands out on the basis of its impressive upgrades which include enhanced search parameters (style, sound designer, tags, instruments), new presets, a concert control panel, upgraded user interface which include ‘stage view’, support for Arturia plus some generic MIDI controllers and 10 integrated effects. In addition to these enhancements, Analog Lab retains its usual standout features. Top of the list is its ease of use as the interface does not blind users with unnecessary patch cables, drop-down menus, faders or knobs. It includes a simple collection of key parameters that are designed to inspire. These, added to its studio quality effects, mix levels, and Multi patch make the Arturia Analog Lab a fun pick and arguably one of the best synth VSTs.
Xfer Records Serum
Xfer Serum is a state of the art workhorse synthesizer VST with the ability to sufficiently bridge the sonic gap that exists between analog and digital platforms. I am straight up obsessed with this VST and couldn’t imagine not having it. A lot of people find its performance to be at par with that of VA synthesizers as it has the ability to produce hybrid pads, drones, sounds, plus leads as well as vintage patches that utilize a classic synth style. It is ranked among the best synthesizer virtual instruments largely due to its powerful wavetable functionality. As such, it all boils down to its engine which features 4 different sound generators, two of which are reliable wavetable oscillators.
Serum also features a sub oscillator and a uniquely flexible noise generator. The wavetable oscillators house up to 150 of them and have the ability to incorporate 3rd party wavetables as well. All of these are categorized into 4 types; analog, vowel, spectral, and digital sections. On the other hand, although less exciting, the sub and noise oscillators also feature a plethora of bonus features that make them quite useful. Case in point, the sub oscillator allows users to build bass patches as they can be routed via the FX panel to the output area. The noise oscillator, on the other hand, packs a variety of abstract and organic noises, in addition to clicks that can be operated in one shot mode. Simply one of the best synthesizer VST out there at the moment, and most EDM and electronic producers will back that up.
Omnispehere has managed to establish itself as a staple platform for both amateur and professional sound engineers among the best synth virtual instruments. This is majorly due to its solid quality sound, wide range, and gigantic library. The Omnispehere Power Synth 2 boasts of equally potent features, thus, qualifies as one of the most heavy synthesizer VST models of today. Its signal path commences in two points: one base is centered on waveforms generated via DSP while the second is based on layered and velocity mapped recorded samples. Consequently, there is an extensively wide variety of sound sources that offer users immense flexibility.
Part of Omnipshere’s library comprises of sounds from the Tesla Coil Synthesizer, cave stalactites that were historically played using mallets in Eastern Europe, and the highly renowned burning piano by the legendary Diego Stucco. Locating these and other vintage sounds within the synth VST is made easy by the plug-in’s navigation features which include categorization layers, sound lock, and keyword search. What’s more, Spectrasonics Omnispehere also features a number of specialized features for enhanced customization. These include live mode, an iPad app, a high performance arpeggiator, modulation as well as amp envelopes, and 6 distinct mix layers with 58 kinds of effects.
Native Instruments Massive X
This is the flagship model of next-generation synthesizer VSTs by music conglomerate Native Instruments. In addition to its packed presets, it also comes fully equipped with the ultimate “Gorilla Gang”. This refers to its Gorilla sub-modes which include Kong, King, and Kang. These set of sub-modes delivers aggressive tones at sonic speed once fed with wavetables. On the other hand, with the macros features, users are given absolute control, which many are saying has created a new standard in regards to creating your own synth sounds.
This is made possible by the 16 assignable controls that set up the synth’s parameters to conveniently fit into the DAW. For added playability, this VST includes a mod wheel, a pitch bend, and an after touch. These, added to its wide array of presets, Native Instruments’ Massive X easily qualifies as a top contender for the best synthesizer VST in the game right now.
Reveal Sound Spire
Reveal Sound’s Spire has been praised by world renowned EDM artists including Dada Life, Hardwell, and Armin van Buuren as one of the best synthesizer virtual instruments out there. Today, it is one of the most commonly used soft synths especially in the dance music industry. Its reputation is majorly attributed to its flexibility and reliable performance. With 4 oscillators, Spire has the ability to feed the 2 multi-mode filters with numerous options. As such, the signal path entails a wide array of textures.
As for modulation, Spire includes 4 LFOs, 2 step sequencers that are assignable to all parameters, and 4 envelopes. Reveal Sound engineers were also kind enough to include a large selection of EQ, compression and effects. As such, users are able to exhaustively tweak the available preset sounds in a bid to come up with high quality finished products. In sum, Reveal Sound Spire features an extensive collection of EDM tunes with a variety of modulation options. However, its interface is tad bit complicated especially for newbies, but once you get a hang of this thing we don’t doubt it’s one of the best synth VST plugins available right now.
According to a lot of reviews, the u-he Diva captures the historical spirit of classic analogue synths. It features filters, envelopes, and oscillators from some of the most reputable polyphonic as well as monophonic synths of the yester-years. It is modeled meticulously to offer music lovers top quality analogue sound, thus, making it one of the best synth VST plugins of today. Some of its best features include a library of 1,200 presets, ZDF (Zero Delay Feedback) filters for minimized resonance, custom interface layouts complete with mix-and-match panels, three ADSR envelop models, 5 filter models, another 5 oscillator models, arpeggiator with the ability to sync with the host a host of progression alternatives, and an Editable MIDI. Also, the VST’s user interface is easy to use and resizable (75% to 200%).
Native Instruments FM8
This is a personal bias in regards to being considered the best synthesizer VST, but we are so in love with FM8 using it for almost 4-5 years that we do have an emotional attachment to this now. With loads of classic FM hardware patches, 960 resets, and a reliable FM arpeggiator and matrix, it is easy to see why the FM8 by Native Instruments is considered to be one of the best synth virtual instruments by others as well.
Digital brilliance is one of its key traits with a highly innovative and aesthetic GUI. Also, it includes an ‘Easy Edit Page’ which makes this synth the more usable. With a plethora of easy adjusts and controls, users are offered an automatic musical approach to sound creation. When it comes to frequency modulation, it features classic keys and bells that help in the creation of percussive and melodious sounds. The library is also quite big with at least 1,200 presets that have been designed to perfection. From a dirty analog synth, bold brass, to digital pianos and bright sounds, FM8 by Native Instruments has them all and we’re in love with this synth VST.
Vengeance-Sound VPS Avenger
The VPS Avenger stands out primarily in terms of its technical capability, thus, making it one of the best synthesizer virtual instruments although it does come with a price. First, its GUI is inclusive of a tour de force browser which makes it easy for users to locate their favorite preset sounds. Moreover, the 4.5 GB worth of preset sounds has been neatly categorized into layers ending in VOICE and starting at ARP. Underneath this is the ‘Tag Cloud’- a collection of 39 phrases aimed at helping users easily locate sounds on the basis of sound color, genre, or instrumentation.
The VPS avenger also boats of uniquely capable sound generation alternatives, that is, single cycle shapes, samples, wavetable, and waveforms. This is further enhanced by its easy to use functions such as the X-side and WSYNC-ADD. It also includes a variety of modulation sound sources: MODENV, PITCH, and STEP SQ.
Why is the ReFX Nexus2 ranked among the best synthesizer VST models? The answer lies in its impressive list of contents that make it possible for music lovers to develop all kinds of sounds. It’s an the end here because it’s a different spin to what many may associate with as ‘the best synth VST’.
The plug-in boasts of 95 preset effects, 1,555 preset sounds all of which are sub-divided into 24 groups, online electronic documentation, 1,396 multi-samples, 52 trancegates, and 119 arpeggiators. All these presets are compressed in 6.2 GB and a whopping 9 GB when uncompressed. As such, part of its minimum requirements of use is at least 8 GB of hard disk space, a RAM of 2GB, and a high resolution display of 1024 X 768.
Concluding the synthesizer VST roundup
If you are reading this, then you most likely have at least a vague idea of what a synth is. Just as the name suggests, a virtual synthesizer is a software designed to produce all manners of audio; from a screaming lead to a monster bass. Unlike most virtual instruments, synthesizer VSTs do not necessarily have to be a recreation of a pre-existing hardware synth- some are purely original creations. However, there are also those that are accurate emulations of specific vintage hardware synths such as the TAL-U-NO-LX which is a software recreation of the iconic Juno-60.
So, you might be wondering-which is the best synth VST? Understandably so, picking a VST synth is not a walk in the park. There are numerous models to choose from all with their own distinct traits. To this end, your choice of the most ideal synthesizer VST is a personal decision. This implies that you are supposed to pick one that best fits your music needs.
Choose a synthesizer VST that is capable of making your kind of music, that sounds just as you prefer, and one which your computer can sufficiently handle. Other crucial factors to consider include the learning curve [how steep?] and whether it is within your price range.