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Here Are All The Softsynths You Need To Know About For Music Production

Here Are All The Softsynths You Need To Know About For Music Production

softsynths

Softsynths are a powerful tool for anyone making music in today’s world. 

A softsynth is a software synthesizer used in music production and music creation. While this is a broad topic, it leaves much room for interpretation for the various developers making these production tools.

Some vsts focus on emulating one specific synthesizer, often a well-known vintage model like the Arturia Mini V emulating classic Moog hardware. 

Others have a wide range of capabilities like Xfer’s Serum. Some operate as stand-alone units while others function as plug-ins within some other environment like Native Instruments Reaktor.

So let’s dive into the best and most popular vsts that should be on your radar this year. Because there are always more plugins that you could be buying, that doesn’t mean that they are all worth the amount of money they cost or in time investment it takes to learn the ins and outs of them.

Check Out Our Guide To Free Vocal Effects and Plugins <<< 

VST vs AU?

Almost every plugin that you buy offers you to download either AU (audio unit) or VST, so which is better to choose the AU or VST version?

The most common audio plugin format on Mac OSX is AudioUnit, and almost all Mac audio plugins are in AU format. VST format is mostly used on PC. There are very few Mac audio plugins available in VST format nowadays, which means that you should generally use AU format whenever possible, and only use Mac VST if a particular plugin doesn’t have an AU version and your DAW/host supports Mac VST.

Arturia Softsynths

arturia bundle

What Is it?

Over the past few years, Arturia’s V Collection has a household name off of its emulations of many different types of iconic hardware pieces such as monosynths, polysynths, samplers, pianos, organs, and other keyboards. The original versions of any one of these would cost a pretty penny more than the entire bundle of synths.

Today, the new V8 bundle introduces four new instruments, as well as upgrades to a few of the other plugins included in the bundle. Analog Lab is one of these, which includes new sound libraries, and further enhancements including macros, improved quality of life features, and how to videos

Why We Love It

The Arturia collection is a phenomenal collection that sounds identical to their hardware equivalents. 

These subtractive analog VSTs all have the warm, gritty, and authentic qualities you want in expensive hardware gear and have quickly become the absolute go-to soft synths for producers searching for the iconic synth sounds of generations past.

Looking for a Moog or an Oberheim patch? One of these will have a preset for it.

Snag These Synths Here<<< 

Revealed Sounds Spire Polyphonic Synthesizer

spire soft synth

What Is it?

The Spire polyphonic synthesizer is available for PC/Mac in 32/64 bit formats. It has four oscillators with multiple processing modes (Classic, Noise, FM synths or Hard FM, AMSync, and SawPWM). It can use up to nine times unison for each oscillator. There are several modes from which to choose. Two multi-mode filters with several types on its onboard processor.

Check More Soft Synths that will change your game <<<

Why We Love It

Lots of high-quality sounds come ready to use, and even more can be easily found online that emulate some of the biggest names in modern dance music (primarily in the genres of trance and progressive house).

We have tried a lot of the most popular synths and this one beats some of the highest quality dedicated hardware synthesizers. The only ones that were as impressive to me as Spire were Omnisphere, Deva and maybe Serum.

Hundreds of presets are included, and many of them are usable out of the box that features tons of beautiful, interesting sounds that are crystal clear, bright, and powerful.

Snag This Synth Here <<<

Spectrasonics Omnisphere

omnisphere soft synth

What Is it?

Since its release, Omnisphere has been one of the most popular digital synths among music producers. 

There are many new sample-based software synths available on the market today but the amount of presets, customization, modulation capabilities, and available sample and sound libraries makes Omnisphere one of the best investments a producer can make this year.

Omnisphere 2 has definitely earned its title as one of the best software synth you can snag. It’s an amazing tool that will continue to inspire musicians, producers, and sound designers for a long time.

Get Free Libraries For Omnisphere Here <<<

Why We Love It

The number of instruments that come with the basic installation is impressive. It takes very little effort to load up many instances in your DAW, and then add EQs/Compressors/distortions to them and get them all working together.

You can just type in “pad” or “mallet” or “voice” or “strings” or “rhythms” and BOOM! you get hundreds of things that are close to what you are searching for that you can instantly start manipulating and effecting with the DAW or with Omnisphere’s own inbuilt FX rack and its modulation matrix.

Snag Omnisphere Here <<<

Xfer Records Serum Plugin

Zeds Dead Serum

What Is it?

The Xfer Records Serum is a synthesizer that provides quality sound through a workflow-oriented interface. This plug-in is the first synthesizer from Xfer Records and builds upon the success of Steve Duda’s previous product, LFO Tool.

Get Thousands of Free Presets For Serum Here<<<

Why We Love It

Serum is an extremely plug-in that many producers consider their go-to option, due to its wide range of sound. It can be as bright and sterile as you want or as warm and punchy as you desire.. While there are some flaws with the program, the number of things it does well far outweighs the number of things it does poorly. 

Additionally, other developers have borrowed numerous features from Serum’s design, which speaks to the plugin’s past and present success.

Snag You Copy Of Serum Here <<<

Paraware Rapid Software Synth

Paraware Rapid softsynth

What Is it?

RAPID is a modern hybrid synthesizer that blends seamless workflow with accessible synthesis techniques. The unique layer engine that RAPID is built off of lets you mold and customize all aspects of your tracks, resulting in dynamic and fat patches, ready for production, performance or simply inspiration to start your next project.

Why We Love It

The possibilities here are endless and the FM synthesis or resynthesis, as well as graintable synthesis, is huge despite the low CPU usage. The presets included are complex and evocative which means they fit perfectly into professional-level productions and tracks.

Is AI Mastering Worth It? Find Out Here <<<

The presets are so easy to use that they require little to no manipulation to start sounding dope in your track. I am far from a sound design expert, but this synth let me create pro-grade timbres within the first few hours of using them. The workflow is also some of the best I’ve ever worked with. 

The built-in effects are awesome as well–the reverb sounds so good that I end up using Rapid FX instead of my usual reverb and effects.

Pigments Software Synthesizer

pigments soft synth

What Is it?

Pigments 3 is a wavetable synth with a straightforward architecture that is mostly easy to learn. T

he main functional areas are the oscillator complex, the pair of filters, the three FX racks, the fairly extensive modulation system, and the sequencer/arpeggiator for heightened creative control.

The oscillator complex contains two oscillators, which can be either of four different types: analog, wavetable, sample player, or harmonic (additive synthesis).

Why We Love It

Pigments 3 is great cause it has a modern sound, which is different from some of the other plugins in the V Collection. It sounds rich and complex, and it has some of the same filters and effects as the classic machines.

Check It Out Here <<<

Softube Modular Synth

modular soft synths

What Is it?

Softube is known for its world-class audio processing, and they have decided to create an exact replica of iconic synthesizer modules with the Softube Modular software instrument. 

Softube worked closely with legendary synth manufacturer Doepfer to create a virtual synthesizer playground based on Doepfer modules. 

Why We Love It

There are many benefits to the quick workflow, with only a small complaint about not being able to expand the window, which makes it slightly difficult to track your moves in the synth. 

However, the real takeaway is the sound on this synth is much more alive than almost any other synth on the market. Its native presets offer fantastic leads and basses, and for those with a decent CPU, intense polyphonic sounds.

Check It Out Here <<<

DiscoDSP OB-Xd

obxd20 soft synth

What Is it?

The OB-Xd is inspired by the Oberheim OB-X which has been designed to recreate the hardware’s sound and behavior, but as the original was very limited in some important ways, a number of things were added or altered to the original design. The OB-Xd aims to sound as good are its original and as warm and analog.

Why We Love It

The sound is absolutely fantastic and is an absolute must-have for anyone in love with the classic Oberheim sound. 

It doesn’t have a sub-oscillator but I personally don’t think it needs one; you can get the synth to make a low sound without much of a problem, especially with the unison mode.

Snag It Here <<<

Native Instruments Reaktor 6 Modular Environment

Native Instruments soft synth

What Is it?

Reaktor is an audio generation and processing environment with an interface that can be run standalone or as an instrument or effect plugin in your DAW.

You can use it to make everything from basic effects and synths to full-on sequencers and grooves. Groups of modules can be bundled into macros, which are then wired together to create some of the most unique sounds one can imagine. 

Devices made from modules and macros are saved as Instruments, and multiple Instruments can be combined to form Ensembles (the highest level of Reaktor’s hierarchy).

Why We Love It

While Reaktor is a powerful tool that comes with a lot of features, it’s easy to forget that you can also customize the software and create new devices.

Reaktor has a reputation for being complex but that’s only because of the sheer amount of usage that you can get out of this powerful tool. To get the most out of it, you need to have some experience designing software instruments or be willing to spend time reading the manual and learning how to use it. 

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So let’s just say its only downside is the steep learning curve needed to maximize its potential.

Check It Out In Detail Here <<<

u-He Diva Analog Emulator

u he diva 4

What Is it?

Diva stands for – Dinosaur Impersonating Virtual Analogue synthesizer.

The Diva software synthesizer captures the spirit of five decades of hardware. It models oscillators, filters, and ADSR envelopes from some of the greatest synths of our time to create one of the most amazingly rich tones you can dream of.

Why We Love It

Upon close inspection, you may notice there are several distinct features that set Diva apart from other virtual synths and makes it a rival of many classic hardware pieces.

To start, the upper panel is entirely customizable and mix-and-match. Every component (e.g. the OSC section, filter, etc.) can be replaced with different options. 

For instance, if you’re wondering which synths Diva emulates well, the OSC section comes in four filter types: Triple-VCO (inspired by the Mini-Moog), DCO, Alpha Juno, and two Dual VCO options (offering some extras).

Snag It Here <<<

Output Arcade 2.0 Inspirational Synth

Output soft synth

What Is it?

Output’s Arcade is a loop-based instrument that has access to an ever-expanding library of loop kits. It’s more of an inspirational tool than a straight musical instrument. Its libraries of sounds and ease of manipulation allow for quick and easy idea generation to be played back whenever you’re looking to start a vibe.

Why We Love It

If you need help getting your creative juices flowing or are looking for more digital sound options for your music, look no further than Arcade 2.0. 

It has a great selection of sounds that can accommodate any musical style, and its quality rivals that of many top-selling virtual instruments used in electronic music production. 

Long story short, it’s extremely powerful.

Check It Out Here <<<

Sonic Academy ANA2 Classic Analog Sound

ana soft synth

What Is it?

ANA 2.0 is a software synthesizer that has been completely redesigned with a new black GUI, HD Retina-ready graphics, and compatibility with almost every operating system. The sound is generated by a combination of three wavetable oscillators and three sample-based oscillators. 

The wavetables are three-dimensional, allowing them to change from one to another. 

There are 50 different waveforms to choose from, and you can also import and edit your own to create even more unique sounds and tones.

Why We Love It

This synth is incredible! The sound quality is amazing and the features are awesome. The arpeggiator is one of the best I’ve ever played with. 

The only downside is that competition amongst wavetable synthesizers is fierce in today’s world, even though some of them are free (Vital). So I guess the best way to say it is that there’s just too much good stuff out there!

Snag It Here <<<

Native Instruments Massive Polyphonic Synth

native instruments massive

What Is it?

The Massive wavetable synthesizer is a powerful and flexible tool for sound design. With its many routing and modulation options, it can create sounds that rival those of hardware synthesizers. 

And because it runs on modern computers, it can do all this without sacrificing sound quality.

Why We Love It

Native Instruments is a leading provider of VSTi instruments. They offer high-quality products with a variety of features that allow users to create unique sounds. Massive is a versatile synth that can be used to create a wide range of musical styles.

It may be a bit tougher to push the sound to more mellow tones compared to its other competitors, Sylenth  but that just means it’s much more “crystaline”, and purer.

Check It Out Here <<<

iZotope Iris 2

Iris soft synth

What Is it?

iZotope Iris 2 is a sample-based synthesizer that they say combines ‘the power of a sampler, the flexibility of a modular synth, and the fun of spectral filtering. You can layer four samples from its library of 11 GB to create subtly different textures or timbres. 

You can even import your own! It can produce regular synthesizer sounds, as well as otherworldly sounds through spectral editing and modulation.

Why We Love It

The Iris 2 is great with an easy-to-use modulation system. The display is easy to read and I appreciate the fact that you can move sections out of the way using the tabs. 

The effects are very good and I love the fact that you can modulate them. If I could have one wish for the effects section, it would be to be able to use the Send and Master sections at the same time.

Check It Out Here <<<

BLEASS Omega

bleass soft synth

What Is it?

Bleass’ Omega synthesizer adds zing, subtlety and expression to your tracks. You also receive 4 essential preset packs from professional producers’ sound sets. It is an FM synth that offers all of the classic capabilities of FM Synthesis expressive electric pianos, deep thundering basses, crystal-clear pads, sparkling bells, and soulful leads.

The instrument’s Waveshaper and multi-mode Filter give it the ability to create analog-like sounds, such as searing filter sweeps, growling distortions, and harmonically-rich resonances.

Why We Love It

This synth’s FM programming interface is very impressive because it makes FM much simpler and more enjoyable to use. 

This is a great accomplishment for any FM synth! Omega’s blending of digital and analog sensibilities, as seen in its library of nearly 200 patches, creates a synth sound that is unique and full of personality.

Check It Out Here <<<

LennarDigital Sylenth1 Soft Synth

sylenth1 soft synth

lennardigital

What Is it?

Sylenth1 is a VSTi synthesizer that creates virtual analog sounds. It has excellent sound quality, surpassing most software synthesizers when you are simply looking to create classic sounds.

Sylenth1 was built from the ground up with the producer in mind. A lot of research has gone into achieving unheard warmth and clarity. 

The graphical interface ensures the highest level of usability so you can fully unleash your creativity.

Why We Love It

Sylenth1 is a great choice for anyone who relies heavily on virtual analog synth sounds. It outshines 99% of its competitors – which is saying a lot. 

While it doesn’t quite have the Virus’s rich sound, it more than holds its own – especially when you consider how little CPU power it uses. In short: it’s amazing.

Check Out The Free Demo Here <<<

Kilohearts Phase Plant

Kilohearts Phase Plant softsynth

What Is it?

Phase Plant is an award-winning, semi-modular software synthesizer with a unique workflow and functionality that make it a go-to virtual instrument for many music producers and sound designers. Phase Plant’s design is such that anyone can hop in and make sounds, whether they’re an experienced professional or just beginning their musical journey.

Why We Love It

Phase Plant is a powerful tool that can help even the most experienced sound designers unlock new ways of working and create unique sounds. 

For beginners, Phase Plant can open up a whole new world of learning and help them develop their understanding of signal flow and sound design.

It has convincing analog patches, richly textural sample-based sounds, and wavetable sounds. Its simplicity of the interface and modulation system sets it apart from its rivals.

Snag it Here <<<

REFX Nexus 2

soft synth nexus

What Is it?

Nexus2 is a Rompler created by reFX that is filled with a seemingly infinte number of sounds. It has an easily accessible library of instruments that allows you to create high-quality songs quickly and efficiently. 

With a simple, adjustable interface, Nexus2 has made it easy to choose your settings with a few turns of the knob.

Why We Love It

Its patches include pads, pianos, basses, horns, orchestral sounds, arpeggios, and more. 

It’s such a popular synth, that many of the sounds are instantly recognizable from songs by Avicii, Hardwell, and many other EDM superstars.

Check It Out Here <<<

Vital

vital soft synth

What Is it?

The Vital synth by Matt Tytel is a free wavetable synth that has become a competitor to Serum. With both free and pro versions available, this VST provides producers and sound designers with all the tools they need to create modern sounds right inside the synth.

Why We Love It

The Vital VST is a free alternative to Serum that is famous for its power. It gives sound designers new tools for producing modern electronic music. 

Its spectral warp modes, ability to modulate almost everything, extra oscillators and filters make it the most full-featured synthesizer VST available today.

Snag It For Free <<<

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