EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Best synth list is continually updated, for a summarized version, check the table below:
|Vengeance Sound VPS Avenger||8 OSC Modules, more than 10 OSC transformation parameters, 8 ARP Modules, 8 Step SQ Modules, 8 Mod Envelope Modules, 8 Pitch Envelope Modules, 4 AMP Modules, 4 FILTER Modules, 4 SHAPER Modules, 4 LFO Modules, Master Filter Module, 6 free routable FX busses, and much more||4.8||$$|
|Xfer Serum||Wavetable editor, over 450 presets, 10 effects modules, stack a single oscillator to up to 16 voices, and much more.||4.8||$$|
|Sylenth1||4 alias-free unison oscillators, 8 unison voices per OSC, up to 512 voices simultaneously, 8 filters, 2 ADSR envelopes and 2 LFO, 2 extra amplitude envelopes, velocity, keyboard track or modulation wheel, 7 professional quality sound effects and an arpeggiator||4.8||$$|
|NI Massive||1 300 presets, 85 wavetables, advanced loop mode, stepper mode, performer mode, and much more.||4.7||$$|
|Nexus 3||20 modulation slots, 2 799 presets, 95 effect presets, and much more.||4.5||$$|
|Omnisphere||Over 14 000 presets, 57 FX Units, 8 LFOs, 12 Envelopes, compatible with over 30 hardware synths, and much more.||4.7||$$$|
|Soundspot Union||300 presets, 2 analogue-style oscillators, 9 FX modules, wavetable generator oscillator, up to 32 voices per oscillator, and much more.||4.7||$$|
|WA Production Babylon||Over 2300 presets, 257 waveforms, multi-voice oscillation, FM, RM & AM modulation, modulation matrix, and much more.||4.6||$|
There’s nothing like making your own music from the comfort of your home studio.
But whatever your goals are, whether you’re an amateur or a professional, there’s an abundance of ways for you to get some realistic and full-sounding virtual instruments.
A great deal of attention is directed towards VST synth plugins, and these can be heard in a variety of genres, either as an addition to instrumental music or as lead virtual instruments on their own.
Since the year is slowly coming to an end, we decided to do some research and look more into the best synths available all throughout 2019, and available in 2020. So let us begin.
VPS Avenger vs Xfer Serum
Our first selection is split into two classic plugins: VPS Avenger and Xfer Serum.
If you’ve been making your music for a while now, you’re probably aware of both VPS Avenger and Xfer Serum as some of the most popular synths these days.
So it’s pretty expected to see people still discussing which one of these is a better choice.
Before we get into it, we need to point out that both are great synths. It’s just about what works better for you.
Here’s a quick rundown of the two plugins:
With this said, some have pointed out that the Avenger runs better and is somewhat more comfortable to use, while the Serum got some lousy rep for glitches.
On the other hand, Serum has a really great wavetable, offering more versatility and possibilities in this regard compared to the Avenger, which has a wavetable size maximum of 256.
Avenger, on the other hand, also has some more synth sources to choose from.
But then again, you can do pretty much all of the same sounds in Xfer Serum.
Overall, it comes down to what works best for you. You won’t go wrong with either of these, but it would be best to try them out first and see what fits your style of work.CHECK PRICE (VPS AVENGER)
CHECK PRICE (Xfer Serum)
Best Soft Synths 2019
But we should also look at the overall best synths of 2019. While we already mentioned it above, Xfer Serum does really come as one of the best VST synths of all time.
It’s no wonder that it’s still the most famous VST synth today as it brings a whole lot of possibilities. It’s also pretty visual, a feature which makes it easy to use.
Then we have Sylenth1, another great VST that’s also used by some of the industry professionals these days.
What’s more, it can be heard in some classic EDM hits these days. It might not be as versatile as Serum, but it still provides some fantastic presets. And just like Serum, it’s reasonably visual-oriented and easy to use.CHECK PRICE (Sylenth1)
Then we would also like to mention NI Massive, a VST synth that found its way into the dubstep world. In fact, some argue that it’s a very foundation of the genre.
And just like its name would suggest, the tones you can get from this synth are pretty massive. It also comes with great specialized preset packs.CHECK PRICE (NI Massive)
We couldn’t finish this list without mentioning Omnisphere. Now on its second iteration, omnisphere has stood out due to its compatibility with an incredible amount of hardware. The new version comes with a new and improved Arpeggiator, over 50 FXs, and over 14 000 sounds.
Omnisphere is often compared do Serum. We’ve down or own analysis of how the two compare in this post.CHECK PRICE (Omnispehere)
New VST Synths 2020
Defiant WT is a fantastic new free VST synth, significantly upgraded in 2020.
It might come as an excellent solution for those who just got into synths and want to try things out.
But aside from that, it provides some superb synth tones and presets with its two analog oscillators and eight waveforms. So far, it’s only available for Windows.
Roland came out with their new synth plugin in 2019, the digital version of the small TB-303 Bass Line produced back in the early 1980s.
The idea behind the original product was to emulate and replace bass guitars, but it didn’t see much commercial success.
However, the synth itself was pretty good, and this new VST version does the old product some justice and will do wonders for those tight bottom-end tones you need in your music. Perfect for the fans of the vintage ’80s stuff.
Nexus 3 came out in late November 2019 and was one of the most anticipated VST synths of the year.
It is essentially an upgrade to Nexus 2, and the prices are lower for those who already own the previous version. Knowing how reFX did great on all the other stuff they did, including Nexus 2, we’re pretty confident that this brand new synth is worth it.CHECK PRICE (Nexus 3)
Best Free Synths 2019
There is an abundance of great synths that you can get for free today. One of the examples is Dexed, made by Digital Suburban.
The main idea behind this one was to have a complete digital replica of Yamaha’s legendary DX7 synth, made back in the 1980s.
Dexed has been praised as one of the best FM-style VST synths of all time, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Then we have Togu Audio Line’s TAL-Elek7ro VST, very well-known for its simple layout and a high range of possibilities.
Playing around with its oscillators and the wide-range LFO will feel like a breeze. It’s interesting how close it is to analog synths, especially because it’s completely free.
MinimogueVA, made by Voltkitchen, is another excellent example of free synths that you can get your hands on these days. As its name suggests, it was designed to replicate the well-known Minimoog analog synth. If you’re into the 1970s vibe in your music, then this is the perfect solution for you. Just remember the good old tones that you could hear in songs by Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, and Stevie Wonder.
Also worth mentioning is Ichiro Toda Synth1, which is a replica of the old Nord Lead 2 keyboard which came out in the 1990s.
Funnily enough, this free plugin is pretty close to the original product, which is not exactly cheap if you stumble upon it these days.
The plugin features two oscillators along with ring and FM modulation, sync, and modulation envelope. What’s also great is the fact that Toda is optimized Synth1 for slower CPUs.
We’ve decided to keep this list short and sweet, but there are hundreds of amazing synths on offer.
We’ve kept our list focused on high end and free synths for electronic and pop music production, but there is a vast array of more niche focused plugins that are cheaper and pretty cool- guess we’ll keep them for another article.
Thanks for reading and please leave any suggestions in the comment box below.