When it comes to VST synths, you can decide on whether you want to buy one, or you want to download one for free. Naturally, the best VST synths are really the one that you’re gonna have to buy. But there are a few gems out there that are for free.
However, there are so many “free VST synths” that downloading them all and installing them on your computer and DAW can be too time consuming.
So for this article, we’ve researched and compiled ten of the best free VST synths. That’ll eliminate a lot of trial and error for you.
Interested in seeing what they are? Keep reading…
The 10 Best Free VST Synths to Use
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# 1 – Synth1 by Ichiro Toda
If there is one free VST synth that you want to get yourself familiar with, it is the Synth1 by Ichiro Toda. This synthesizer is actually a favorite among many music producers, and is often the one that’s most recommended.
Synth1 is an analog modeled subtractive synthesizer. It’s functions are modeled on the Clavia Nord Lead 2 Red Synth.
It features 2 oscillators, which can be modulated via FM, ring, synchronized, modulation envelopes. Using the 4 types of filters, you can sculpt some cool and interesting sounds, adding distortion for effects.
It has 2 LFOs, an arpeggiator, and tempo delay. These functions are synchronized with the host digital audio workstation’s BPM.
As far as effects goes, you get the ability to add stereo chorus and flangers.
In writing notes, you have legato mode as well as portamento for interesting slides, yet the ability to play up to 16 notes polyphony.
You have a total of 128 presets, and its controls can be automated.
Synth1 was optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions. Definitely the first choice in “freeware” soft synthesizers.
# 2 – FireBird 2 by Tone2
After Synth1 we have FireBird, a synthesizer that was actually premium synth you had to BUY until the developers at Tone2 decided to release it for the masses after 15 years of development.
Tone2 is responsible for some of the best VST synthesizers on the market, many of which are used to create chart topping hits, FireBird 2 is one of them. So this is definitely recommended for your collection.
FireBird 2 is a subtractive synthesizer with a very intuitive and easy to use interface to navigate its 437 preset sounds. That’s a lot of presets for a free VST synth…
FireBird 2 features Harmonic Content Morphing, which utilizes a large range of standard waveforms that can emulate the sound of many instruments, acoustic or synthetic (kind of like wavetable synthesis).
The synth comes with 38 types of filters, including your standard low-pass filters, comb-filtering, EQ, Phaser, Vocal filters, plus FM and AM modulation, to name a few. It also comes with an arpeggiator, so no need to use an external arpeggiator with this device.
You can also customize its look as it has several skins you can download or create to change the interface.
Overall, another very good synthesizer to use, which has been used commercially on chart topping hits.
# 3 – Crystal by GreenOak
If you want a synthesizer programmed by the same person that made Omnisphere, one of the titanic synths in existence today, look no further than the Crystal by GreenOak.
This synthesizer is unique also because it’s available for iPhone. There are many user reviews talking about how great this synth works as a possible free alternative to Omnisphere (there’s another alternative below as well). Of course, don’t expect the same power, nor does it come with any samples.
However, that less power means it won’t be a resource hog on your computer (something Omnisphere is known to be). And you can find free and paid for soundfonts (.sfz files) all over the internet.
In terms of features, it’s credited as utilizing both subtractive synthesis as well as FM synthesis technologies. It’s modulation controls offers 90 parameters, multi-stage envelopes, tempo sync, delays, built-in effects for chorus, flanger, filters, echoes. It has everything you’d need in a synthesizer, which is great for someone learning. You can also use automation, as MIDI controls.
Overall, another good option for a free synthesizer.
# 4 – TAL-NoiseMaker by TOGU Audio Line
Next on the list we have TAL-NoiseMaker by TOGU Audio Line. We came across this synth because it was actually recommended (along with Synth1) as one out of two best free vst synth to use by a professor on synthesis. Mainly because it consists of all the aspects of synthesis that you need to be familiar with, as a beginner, plus its ease of use.
Looking at this synth, you can see why. Everything is laid of clearly, you don’t have to searching around too much for controls that you need when designing a sound.
This actual version was designed as an improved version of TAL-Elek7ro, which comes with an entirely new synth engine, with a few effects like reverb, chorus, low pass filter, and a bit crusher. You also get ring modulation as a synch-able triangle.
The ADSR is very suitable for slow pads or fast envelops attacks. It comes with 128 factory presents, 80 of which were designed by Frank “Xenox” Neumann.
It total, you receive 3 Oscillators, which can each be programmed individually for phase modulation, frequency modulation, or to generate sawtooth, pulse, noise, triangle, sine, square, or rectangle waves.
You get up to 6 voices, which is not a lot but not bad, which can be played in legato, portamento, or polyphonic.
All knobs can be learned via MIDI and automated within your DAW.
Overall, considered an incredible synth, chock full of features, and won’t disappoint as freeware plugin device.
# 5 – Dexed by Digital Suburban
Dexed by Digital Suburban This is a dedicated FM synthesizer, which is excellent for those looking for a frequency modulation synthesizer either to learn, or to general specific sounds. It’s actually designed based on the Yamaha DX7.
This soft synth was created for the intention of being a tool or companion to the original Yamaha synthesizer, particularly for those studying FM synthesis. However, it can be the go-to free synthesizer for those wanting to make some vintage sound genres like Synthwave, which were created using the vintages synths of the day like Yamaha DX7.
Many have considered it an improvement on the actual Yamaha model, plus it being lightweight, it won’t be resource hog on your CPU.
Expect it to work with your digital audio workstation, and to find lots of patches and presets on the web for you to download and to use.
# 6 – MiniMogueVA by Voltkitchen
If you’re looking for a free alternative to Arturia’s Minimoog, or G-Media Minimonsta, then this MiniMogueVA is your choice!
The MiniMogueVA has so many good reviews that it had be on the list. As the name suggests, it’s modeled to match the original Minimoog synthesizers designed by the legendary Bob Moog. Expect the sounds it produces to be particularly rich and juicy, great for funk style music, electronic bass music, and the sub bass in dubstep wobbles.
It features 3 oscillators, one with tuning control, the other two with fine-tuning sliders, and the ability to turn the third oscillator into LFO with dedicated modulation knobs.
Though the original Minimoog had no noise generators, this one actually comes with a the ability to create pink and white noises from the third oscillator.
As to be expected, you get chorus, and delay effects among others, as well as the ability to use MIDI learn to control your software device.
Many people overwhelmingly consider this the absolute best free VST synth on the freeware market. The Minimoog sounds featured in Omnisphere are great, so it’d be awesome to give this a whirl.
# 7 – Proteus VX by E-MU Systems
E-MU systems is the maker of pro audio gear, from hardware synthesizers, audio interfaces, wireless audio transmitters, and digital-analog converters, software instruments, and even audio cables. They’re well known for their quality products, but they also have hidden gem in the “freeware” market: Proteus VX, a free VST synth.
Actually, it is rompler, meaning that it also utilizes samples as well synthesized sounds (like Omnisphere, hence, a worthy free alternative). It was base on the Proteus 2500, a vintage hardware synthesizer. It has the same sounds and factory bank as the original version, plus the ability to control it via 16 MIDI CC controls.
It features “High Voice Polyphony,” which is dependent upon the power of your system, and 54 different filter types, including multi-pole resonant filters, phasers, flangers, vocal filters and multi-parameter morphing filters.
Another cool thing about it is that it offer 24-bit 192kHz high quality audio playback. So you can expect an actual pro level audio quality from a synth that’s actually for free!
Being drag-and-drop based, you have select your presets easily, plus it can be used VSTi within your DAW, or as a stand-alone application.
Only downside… it isn’t supported anymore. Meaning that there aren’t anymore updates. But you can grab it and see it works on your system.
# 8 – Superwave P8 by Superwave
The Superwave P8 is a virtual analog subtractive synthesizer that’s considered the go-to emulator of the vintage synth Roland JP8000. This one perhaps one of the few if not only best free VST synth on this list that is more suitable for an advanced user than someone who is just starting out. It features many controls and parameters that can be overwhelming to a beginner, but satisfying to a pro.
Now, about its sound, which should be the primary reason to using a synthesizer. Considering that it’s loosely modeled off the Roland JP8000, its users have considered it one of the best sounding free VST synths on the freeware market. Expect it to have a fairly unique sound suitable for trance, new age, electronic music, house, or even pop. The pads are what many users consider its most attractive asset, because of the richness and thickness of the sounds that the P8 produces.
It features 2 oscillates that will producer sine, sawtooth, ramp, triangle, pulse waveforms, as well as white noise and pink noise. You can control the oscillators with using fine-tuning, detuning, and synchronized modulation. Its filters consist of 2 resonant filters, low pass, band pass, and high pass. It has 2 controlled amplifiers by level, pan, and on/off switch. The effects I see is simply a pair of mono delays, which can be controlled. You get up to 8 notes of polyphonic operation, portamento controls, and 64 high quality presents, all which can be controlled using MIDI CC control with “learn” capability.
If you aren’t familiar with it, and you already know your way around synthesizers, give it a try yourself. Chances are, from other reviews I’ve read, it is worth looking into.
# 9 – OB-Xd by discoDSP (prev. Datsounds)
There is a challenge with curating this list of best free VST synths, because, so far, many of the VST synths we have named can really be considered the “best” free synthesizers you can download. And discoDSP’s OB-Xd is constantly referred to as the “best” as well. And listening to its sounds, utilizing it’s interface, and working with its features, it’s hard to not see why this synth isn’t actually THE best. But, so are many of the others on the list…
So, what makes this one unique?
For starters, it was modeled on the Oberheim OB-X, OB-Xa and OB-8 synthesizers. These classic vintage hardware synths were famous back in the day, and contributed to many hit records. Right now, they continue to enjoy their legacy in this freeware plugin.
The developers claim that they are not “copying” the originals, but rather take the same features and improve upon them. Whatever that means, it just sounds good to me.
Expect all the features you should find in a standard synthesizers, as well as some cool sounding features like the “continuous blendable multimode filter,” which is a filter allowing you to blending different filter types (such as high-pass, band-pass) in different dB modes. Also, it works on 32 bit or 64 bit versions of Windows OS, as well as Mac.
If you want the classic sounding vintage synth Oberheim for practically nothing, or at least to get yourself familiar with it, give it a trying and download it.
# 10 – 44 S by GTG
Finally we have a synthesizer crafted by someone who creates synths strictly for personal use. Yes, the 44 S by GTG is synthesizer created by a musician and synthesist, and offered to the public for free.
Actually, there are many synthesizers by this creator for free, so you can take a look at his entire collection, starting with this GTG 4 S.
This particular synth was design to give a flat sound that you can sculpt. You can use the filters for creating interesting and pleasing distortions in the resonance. It also feature filter modulation, pulse-width modulation, and the ability to track the LFO with the keyboard.
This definitely another synthesizer to consider to try using. It is free, and has a good sound. Check it out.
As you can see, there are several options for downloading and using free synthesizers. Compiling this list was not as not a simple task, as there are several options that are actually very good. But you can know that this list covers practically all the 10 best free synth plugins that you can download.
We hope you enjoyed this post, and enjoyed discovering some possibly new free toys for your plugin collection.
If you have any thoughts, suggestion, or even question, please comment below in the comment box. We’ll be happy to know if you’ve ever tried one of these, or what you think is the best free synth plugin on the internet today.