Top 5 Best Synth VST Plugins (Free and Paid)
Have you ever tried looking for new synth plugins on the Internet and gotten flooded with tens and tens of results? Some of them cost nothing. The others are $500+. So which ones would be considered the best synth VST plugins?
Of course, you can say that there is no such thing as “the best,” and everything depends on the person’s workflow and preferences.
And you know what, you’ll be absolutely right.
Every music producer has his or her own favorites.
However, the music industry has its own standards.
For example, say you download a freeware generator that reproduces the woodblock sound.
Would this be considered a decent music plugin? Of course not!
Some people may argue, but I believe this is nothing but a waste of CPU and time. There is a way better alternative, and you just need to do your research.
Anyways, let’s talk about the best synth VST plugins now.
We are about to go over the list of the finest free and paid synth plugins. A few small notes before we start.
I) What DAW (digital audio workstation) Do You Need?
Most VST plugins work on any major DAW such as FL Studio and Logic.
However, these workstations also cost a fortune (I mean $300+ is a lot of money for some people). Reaper tends to be the best bang for the buck but doesn’t offer quite the same number of features.
As technology evolves, new DAWs emerge.
Some of them may even be free.
However, you should make sure a plugin you are going to download (especially if it’s a paid plugin) is compatible with your software.
For example, digital audio workstations built by Apple (Garage Band, Logic, etc.) don’t support VSTs. They use their own formate called AU (Audio Units).
Then you’ll have to invest into a VST to AU converter, as the biggest base of beatmakers is still using Windows.
Make sure you pick the right software, deal?
II) How Many Plugins Do You Need?
This is the dilemma I see so many producers face. And not just the beginners, but even experienced beatmakers and musicians.
Sometimes you would someone having ten different compressors, five delays, three EQs, etc.
Unless the person has been making music for years, their knowledge of the ins and outs and unique features of each plugin is not very deep.
Same with the drum and synth VST plugins. It takes some time and a lot of tweaking and playing around to understand how the particular sound generator works.
If you only use presets, you are missing out a lot!
If a preset sounds just a little bit off and you know what all the knobs and buttons are for, you can modulate it to sound exactly the way you want.
Anyways, you got what I am saying. Instead of having ten synths VSTs and just play around with presets, master one to the perfection.
Watch tutorials, read the guides, reach out to experienced friends and professionals and you will be okay.
You don’t need all the plugins on this list.
Find the most suitable for you based on price and functionality.
Paid plugins usually come in all formats available. Free ones, on the other hand, may only come in one or two.
Best Free Synth VST Plugins
We love them because they are free.
Are they the best? No way.
Will they do while you don’t have any extra cash? Definetely!
1) TAL NoiseMaker
Togu Audio Line is generally considered one of the best free synths out there.
This sound generator offers a massive base of presets. Moreover, there are many presets that you can actually use commercially without tweaking any knobs or faders. Speaking of knobs and faders…
TAL NoiseMaker has over 40 of them (as you can see on the picture).
You don’t really need to use all of them at all times, but it offers you A LOT of flexibility.
Watch a couple of tutorials, read the manual, and you are ready to produce!
2) TAL Bassline
Not on purpose, but the second free synth VST on this list was also made by Togu Audio Line (TAL).
Even though it doesn’t look as impressive as the NoiseMaker, is offer a lot of functionality, mainly for tram and EDM producers.
Knowing how the hip-hop and pop industries are these days, you can spice up pretty much any track with some acid-twisted bass that TAL Bassline generates.
3) u-he Tyrell N6
This synth VST’s developers went above and beyond when Working on Tyrell N6. When you open the plugin, you literally get lost because of a million different switches, faders, knobs, and buttons.
Once you play around for a bit though, you slowly start understanding how to modulate the sound the way you want it to be!
The only thing that they didn’t do well is a preset database.
I feel like there are very few usable sounds. However, this is very subjective, so go and see for yourself.
4) Tunefish V4
The Tunefish V3 was released in 2011. If you look at its design and functionality, you will be delighted that developers decided to update it.
The main feature of it is its size. I mean yeah, it has all the sweet knobs you can tweak to play with the sound, but 10kb?
Of course, this will result in a poorer design, but isn’t sound all that matters? That’s for you to decide.
Moreover, you can’t be overly picky when offered a free plugin, am I right?
Note that the developers mention that it may not work with every DAW as they only tested it on Renoise.
Dexed is an FM plugin synth that is modeled after the Yamaha DX7 that was insanely popular back in the days.
It has a fantastic UI (user interface) with six operators that you can modify up to your liking.
With a very precise and visual EQ and a vast database of presets, it definitely creates competition to some of the lower end paid synth VST plugins out there.
Best Paid Synth VST Plugins
If you don’t have any cash, then the free plugins above would be your best bet. However, some people have decided to produce professional and put away some money in order to be able to purchase the premium high-end synth VSTs.
The best are known for their unique features, simple workflow, and incredible visuals and presets. Take a look for yourself.
1) Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Omnisphere is definitely one of the best synth VSTS plugins for under $500. It is a virtual synthesis instrument that gives you access to 12000+ sounds and 50+ effect enginers.
If you are a beginner, there is a chance that you favor presets more than an opportunity to be able to recreate any sound. However, you will have to change your mindset if you are going to purchase Omnisphere.
I mean this synth plugin still likely has the largest presets base available out there, but there is so much more to this!
It’s sometimes called a “one-stop synthesizer” because no matter what your ideas and genres are, you will likely be able to generate the sound you are looking for.
Back in the days, it would mostly be used for movies and in-game music.
These days the plugin has been renovated multiple times and satisfies all the demands of any EDM, hip-hop, or pop producer.
You can even make a country song on it!
Obviously, that’s not how most country music is recorded, but Omnisphere’s library has loads of guitar, piano, brass, and other samples which are often used in the country music.
If you want to add some edge to your track, many unique sounds recorded in Africa, Brazil, and Europe are also in the library.
The imagination is your limit in this case.
Serum is another top-notch wavetable synthesizer with impressive visuals and sound quality.
The workflow can sometimes be tricky, but it’s designed to be as easy to use as possible.
Let’s be honest.
Every new plugin takes some time getting used to.
The ability to create, edit, and morph wavetables is another mostly unique feature of Serum synth VST.
There are tons of methods and options to analyze the audio to break it apart into a number of individual waveforms.
It will take a long time to explain, and even if I actually wrote an entire guide on this, a couple of hours of tweaking around and playing with the plugin will help you understand everything a lot more in depth.
Moreover, it has a lot of sounds modifying options such as flangers, phasers, distortion, compressors, and EQs.
It’s not a cheap synth VST, but the one worth your money!
3) Native Instruments Komplete 11
This plugin is not quite an all-in-one synthesizer, but a big database of pretty much all the instruments imaginable.
I guess you can call it a Komplete instrument bundle, got it?
Anyways, it comes in three editions which are Komplete Select, Komplete, and Komplete Ultimate. As you could’ve guessed, the difference is the number of instrument and features and, of course, the price.
The ultimate bundle would cost you over $1000 which is very expensive.
Of course, you get 400 GB of sounds to play 87 instruments in any genre (pop, hip hop, reggae, jazz, rock, EDM, and a lot more). However, the price tag is incredibly scary.
Let’s forget about the price for a second and look at the features.
You get a sweet variety of all kinds of samples and synths, both organic and synthetic.
There is no point of me going over each instrument, and event Native themselves don’t have all this information on their website.
Obviously, I would suggest watching videos and maybe consulting a fellow producer before going for a purchase like that.
Also, make sure your PC or laptop will be able to handle this synth VST as it needs decent specs to be launched and used.
Other than that, probably the most “all-in-one” plugin you can find on the market.
Nexus is an ultimate synth in the producing game. Even with the most basic version you get over 13 GB of all kinds of samples that you can edit up to your liking.
It’s often called a must have for every EDM producer, but I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to produce other genres with it.
With all the sound modifying and editing tools such as filters, effects, and EQs, it will help you to step up your game very quickly.
However, there is a price to all these cool things.
And it’s around $250 to start with.
Nexus offers three different packages, and the biggest one will cost you $4700+. Maybe just buy a car and start delivering pizza or driving an Uber instead? Just kidding.
The thing about Nexus is it offers expansion packs.
While the base version already has 2200+ samples, you can always expand your samples library by purchasing a pack or two. Each one cost around $60, and there are over a hundred of them.
That’s why the “complete” package costs so much.
You can get all the expansions (100+) of them.
It can be a goldmine for a big studio or a famous producer who makes a full time living and a lot more by selling beats.
Let me assure you, even the starter pack will be much more than enough for an average producer.
Also, Nexus has sales on big holidays, so if you are able to see how much potential this synth VST has, stick with it.
Sylenth1 is a virtual analog VST synth with quality sounds and smooth workflow. Some music producers mention that the samples sound just as good as the hardware synths.
As all other premium VSTs, it has a lot of ways to tweak and edit the sounds with oscillators, filters, modulators, and effects.
The only drawback is the lack of any LFO customization or FM modulation.
If that’s what you are looking for in a plugin, Sylenth1 is not the one.
However, it makes up for it with its huge preset packs with excellent sound quality and probably the most straightforward interface among all.
There are also a lot of add-ons that you can buy, which are only $10-$20.
That’s considered reasonably cheap, so I guess that’s a perk?
For the price, it’s a very decent synth VST which offers a lot of functionality and flexibility.
Conclusion: Top 5 Best Synth VST Plugins
Would you rather use free plugins than investing in Sylenth1? Good for you.
Are you making fun of producers that use anything else but Omnisphere? Sounds about right.
What I am trying to say is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to plugins.
It all depends on what works the best for you.
If you’d rather invest in a new interface, go right ahead.
If you decided to sell you interface to buy a plugin, you are good to go.
It’s such a big industry with so many people.
And each person has its own workflow and its personal favorites.
Don’t feel pressured to use the synth VSTs that are considered the best by the industry if you can find a workaround.