The digital synthesizer has made leaps and bounds since VSTs were introduced to the market. Some of the best synthesizers available are now found right on your computer. You have literally thousands of synths to choose from, so it might be a challenge finding the best one for you.
To help you with this, we’ve compiled some of the best synth VST’s out there so that you can start your very own collection.
Let’s get started…
16 Best Synth VST Plugins
- Xfer Records Serum
- KV331 Audio SynthMaster Player
- Plugin Boutique Carbon Electra
- Vengeance Sound VPS Avenger Synth
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
- Future Audio Workshop Circle2
- u-he Hive 2
- Arturia CS-80 V
- AIR Music Technology Hybrid 3
- Arturia SEM V
- Future Audio Workshop SubLab
- Arturia Analog Lab
- AIR Music Technology The Riser
- W.A Production Babylon
- Reveal Sound Spire Synth
- u-he Diva Virtual Analogue Synth
Xfer Records Serum should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a high-quality soft synth. It’s a wavetable synthesizer that’s comparable to the old school hardware synths that have been used in the past. But what sets the synth plugin apart is that you have practically no limits on how you tweak your sounds.
From soft and subtle simple waveforms to clean and clear expert wavetable, you can create just about anything using this top notch wavetable tool. The overall tone crispy, giving users the ability to channel that analog character but in the digital world. Serum is a fantastic option if you are looking for an one-stop-shop synthesizer suitable for any form of genre.
- Sound Incredible!
- Ultra-flexible wavetable technology
- Many different effects to play with
- CPU Hungry
Though, the KV331 can’t claim the title “master of all synthesizers”, it’s not far off from it. It’s a combination of some of the most popular synths available today, including Massive and Synlenth1. It features a user-friendly sound engine that’s also incredibly powerful. And a bonus—it’s nowhere near as expensive as the two other synths we just mentioned!
You’re blessed with over 1000 presets to get you going, which are intuitively organized so that you can find what you are looking for with ease. Designating the parameters is no problem, so you will be able to easily automate and manipulate your sounds. The KV331 is where it’s at if you are wanting a truly immense user-friendly synthesizer.
- Awesome sound engine
- Presets are laid out very Intuitively
- For what you get, the price is right!
- The features can be a little overwhelming
Plugin Boutique is a familiar name among producers, but their synth plugin may not get the attention that it deserves. The best thing about the Carbon Electra is it’s simple operation. The Carbon Electra doesn’t fall into the trap of offering too many crazy features that you might never use but instead sticks to the basics while offering a strong sound.
This basic, subtractive synth offers five different filter types, four oscillators, three LFOs, a Mixer section, and a Noise Generator. The Carbon Electra is what you need if you are looking for a simple, stable synthesizer that offers a powerhouse tone.
- Clean user interface
- Intuitive and easy-to-use
- Waveform displays are real-time
- Some think it goes too far in its simplicity for modern producers
- No arpeggiator
Vengeance is well-respected in the digital synth world, and they have come out with a hybrid synth with an extensive library of sounds and over 1,000 oscillators. The VPS Avenger offers 47 filter types and 30 effects with its over 950 presets with its combination of a wavetable synthesis and sample-based, analog synthesis.
In addition to the normal synth sounds, there is also a guitar player module, an onboard drum sequencer, a wavetable editor, a chord detection module, a step sequencer, and an arpeggiator. When it comes down to it, Vengeance has created an awesome absorbing synthesizer that stands out in the market. Any modern producer needs to have it in their synth collection.
- Thousands of waves, samples, and wavetables
- Insanely powerful
- Awesome modulation options
- The Mod Matrix could benefit from being a bit larger
Omnisphere 2 is not some standard synth software. It’s basically a flexible VST instrument that offers a range of synth types and options to manipulate your sound. You can work with their over 500 unique oscillator waveforms, morphine wavetables, granular synthesis, and more. You can also take advantage of the innovative browser and the 57 effects.
The patch-layering is ultra-complex, and the modulation options are insane! Adding movement to your tracks is a cinch with its multiple arpeggiators. The Omnisphere 2 stands out above many VSTs. It’s ideal for anyone who is looking for a mixture of acoustic and digital sounds in one impressive package.
- Many remarkable presets
- You can load your own sample
- Innovative browser
- Many presets are far too loud
As of late, Circle2 may just be one of the most unique synthesizer plugins to hit the market. This wavetable synthesizer has all the added bells and whistles, aimed to help the creator improve productivity via its streamlined workflow.
An added benefit to this synth plugin is that everything you need is laid out beautifully in one window. You won’t have to rack your brain around some hidden controls, confusing features or multiple windows and tabs.
Circle2 is a modulation machine. You’ll find that the various color-coded, drag-and-drop circles make it easier than ever to create unique sounds. There’s plenty features to play with, including 110 wavetables, morphing synthesis technology, an abundance of effects, and a clean browser with more than 300 different sounds. That’s in addition to your standard step-sequencer, arpeggiator, and NI support.
- Awesome modulation features
- New and exciting tones
- Beautiful, innovative interface
- VSP oscillators do not sync
- No sub-function with VSP oscillators
7. u-he Hive 2
Hive 2 is a second-gen u-he synth with a sleek, simple, and lightweight design. You can pull it up and start creating at a moment’s notice. The Hive 2 may be simple, but it still offers extensive functionality. Producers have the ability to take advantage of unique hybrid synthesis and micro tuning options. Users can also quickly and easily create pro-sounding patches. The vast modulation matrix also contributes to the Hive 2’s versatility.
This subtractive synth offers two oscillators and a user-friendly design. It’s ideal for beginners, but any producer will enjoy the masterful analog sounds this simple synth can deliver.
- Ideal for modern mixes
- Wide selection of synth engines
- Handy link feature
- Limited waveforms
When it comes to analog polyphonic synths, The Yamaha CS-80 is a legend. Arturia did their best to recreate it, and the result was an incredibly authentic software emulation that allows the user to capture all CS-80 analog character in a convenient digital format. The original CS-80, weighing over 220 pounds, brought forth massive analog sounds and powerful expression features.
If you want to take advantage of this kind of power without all of the weight behind it, you can’t go wrong with the CS-80. You will be able to produce wild and spacey sounds with massive soundscapes with the CS-80 in your collection.
- An abundance of extra voicing facilities
- Sounds almost identical to the original
- Multimode enables you to create complex sounds
- Effects section can be tricky at times
- A lot of bugs that Arturia needs to work out
The Hybrid 3 from AIR Music Technology is a next generation synth that offers both the versatility and functionality of digital technology and the warmth of vintage analog gear. It features 1,200 built-in presets that will help get the creative juices flowing.
Its high-definition interface ensures a great sound while also being aesthetically pleasing.
The three high-def oscillators are capable of stacking up multiple oscillators so that you can create massive synth, bass, and pad patches. Multi-mode filters are also included along with a few saturation modes for a rich analog tone.
- High Quality, flexible sounds
- Powerful sequencing capabilities
- Missing that little bit of “edge”
10. Arturia SEM V
Most everyone knows Arturia has analog expertise, so it’s no surprise that the SEM V doesn’t disappoint. The original Oberheim SEM (synthesizer expander module) was initially developed to provide an external backup system. Even so, it was just as powerful as other synths from that time period.
Entering the digital era, the Arturia SEM V expands on the features of classic hardware unit, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of this versatile, monophonic synth that accurately emulates the character of the original.
If you’re a fan of analog sounds, Arturia is where it’s at!
- Analog character
- Offers polyphonic options unlike the hardware unit
- Adds on to the original SEM architecture
- Gear snobs might feel like they went too far
Almost all styles of modern music, including hip-hop, trap, and future bass, will require a sub. For this, SubLab has your back with the ability to create a strong, powerful low-end, ideal for any type of genre.
You can tweak your sounds with its high-quality interface, and it also makes it easy to sample and layer kicks to produce impactful subs.
You can produce consistent and accurate sounds with the help of its psychoacoustic sub-bass oscillator. This is especially helpful for those pesky bass notes that tend to poke out at certain points and then fade away on others. This one-of-a-kind technology has the potential to greatly increase the efficiency of the workflow of producers and modern artists.
- Smart, layered architecture
- low-end consistency using X-Sub technology
- More sub sounds than you could dream of
- Not velocity-sensitive
- No visual envelope representation
If you love the Arturia product line, you won’t be disappointed in Analog Lab. Arturia has combined all of their awesome instruments and synthesizers into one innovative, user-friendly VST plugin. It features 30 classic keyboards with more than 6500 presets to play with.
Users will enjoy streamlined access to their preferred synthesizers without all the complicated parameters that each one offers.
And if you want to take Analog Lab live, you can easily utilize the Concert panel and Stage view features. In addition to the instruments, Analog Lab offers awesome MIDI controller support, ten integrated effects, and third-party Sound Store presets.
- Ideal for live performance
- Arturia’s best instruments all-in-one VST plugin
- Parameters for each synth are simple and easy to tweak
- Some say it’s a bit buggy at times
The Riser is an exciting instrument with a single-focus of generating rise and drop FX. EDM is not the only genre, full of transitions, which help inform the listener that you are about to enter a new part of the song.
You won’t have to waste time scanning through samples as AIR Music Technology offers an all-inclusive interface making it easy to find all of the chord sounds, noise, and sweep that you need.
You will be able to tweak the texture and movement of your transitions pretty easily with everything the Riser offers. If you’re not sure where to start, no worries! There’s more than 300 professional presets to whet your appetite.
- Basic yet effective design
- An abundance of awesome presets to play with
- Great effects to combine with the sounds
- Could benefit from more complex filter types
- Tied to host tempo
Too many software synths are going overboard with complicated features and bells and whistles these days. Babylon simplifies things by eliminating complex programming, endless windows and menus, and waveform madness. You can find all of the parameters you need on a single page, inside of the straightforward, easy-to-use interface. Not to fear, you still will have plenty of custom presets and waveforms at your fingertips. But this synth is much more user-friendly for the beginner producer.
Babylon has just about everything you’d want when it comes to modern leads, basses, organs, keys, and effects. If you are the type of producer who likes to go above and beyond with microtonal or quarter-tone scale, Babylon gives you the unique ability to tweak each individual note to its own frequency.
- Ability to tune single notes
- The Design is simple and intuitive
- An abundance of characterful FX
- The interface might be too dark for some
Spire is a high-quality polyphonic synthesizer produced by Reveal. It offers great versatility with a mixture of digital synthesis and classic analog synthesis techniques. Spire comes through in terms of sounds and usability. It offers more than nine hundred pro level presets, multimode filters, multimode polymorphing oscillators, advanced modulation options, and six effects.
Also included in this synth VST is a step-sequencer and an arpeggiator for anyone seeking the true synth experience. We are very impressed with this debut for Reveal. It provides a solid mod matrix along with awesome waveshaping capabilities.
- Incredible mod matrix
- Flexible oscillator section
- Superior LFOs
- The displays don’t show envelope shapes
- Menus can be a bit touchy
People are drawn to analog sounds because of their “warm” quality. If you want to capture the characteristics of vintage instruments within your computer, the Diva synthesizer will surely do the trick as it is modeled after a few classic analog pieces. The Diva offers a range of analog modeled oscillators, envelopes, and filters. Users even have the option to combine the various modules to create a unique hybrid synth.
U-he stands out because it delivers the most accurate and authentic analog emulations among its competitors in the market. The Diva definitely does not disappoint.
- Very authentic analog sounds
- Must-have FX
- Borrows from some of the best classic synthesizers
- Eats up a lot of CPU
- No arpeggiator
Finding the Ultimate Synth
No matter what type music you produce—rock, electronic, hip-hop, folk, or any other style—synthesizers add an exciting and inspiring new world of possibilities to explore. If you’re looking to enhance your sound or inspire new musical breakthroughs, then surely any one of these synth plugins listed above will do the trick.