The Best Synth for EDM

The Best Synth for EDM

Whether it is a futuristic soundtrack, sinister melody, or a tune for techno-geeks – the basics of all is the synth sound. You may want it silky, smooth and soothing, or spiky, a bit aggressive and noticeable – in any case, a properly chosen synth can get the job done in no time. If you wonder which one to choose for your track, we are here to help you pick the best synth for EDM.

Top 10 Best Synths for EDM

  1. Spectrasonics Omnisphere
  2. Native Instruments Massive X
  3. Xfer Records Serum
  4. LennarDigital Sylenth1
  5. Reveal Sound Spire
  6. u-he Diva
  7. Native Instruments FM8
  8. Native Instruments Monark
  9. Rob Papen Blue II
  10. Arturia Oberheim SEM V

Synth for EDM Buying Guide

When it comes to electronic dance music, since it’s a very complicated and complex subject, it’s almost impossible to underline or, let alone choose the best synthesizer. Should the quantity and quality of the LFOs affect your final decision? Or the unique feature of the certain synthesizer that is absent in its competitors shall have the last say?

The Most Important Feature of Any Synth

Well, let’s face it. The things listed above are indeed very important but not crucial. You can certainly make the next summer rave hit with a conventional synthesizer with the most basic LFOs. So we can say with a certain amount of confidence that the most important feature of any synth is its ability to inspire you. To put your mind in a place where the music starts to flow on itself.

Below you can find the list of best EDM synths that we found to be the most inspirational. But don’t be alarmed, those synthesizers happened to be packed with features. And each and every one of them, apart from sheer inspiration, can offer you something unique and useful. You need to remember is that the best synth for EDM is the one that inspires you most of all.

Best Synth for EDM Reviews

Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2

Pros
  • A powerful workstation
  • A wide variety of sounds
  • 58 FX units
  • Enormous sound library
Cons
  • Takes a lot of HDD space
  • Pricey
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Spectrasonics Omnisphere is famous enough not to be mistaken with any other synthesizer. You probably heard it in a few blockbusters as well as some fan-favorite Triple-A video games. It is a powerful workstation that would satisfy you by its almost endless possibilities and impressive sound banks.

The most likable feature is that Spectrasonics Omnisphere is not just a synthesizer but also a sampler, which lets you spice your tracks up with some organic and realistic sounds. What we also found pleasing that it has 56 FX units with some great analog emulations and granular synth capabilities.

User impressions

Users say that Spectrasonics Omnisphere is a powerful synth loaded with the top-shelf presets on the market. The user-friendly interface helps with the crafting of the high-quality audio material.

What we think

Spectrasonics Omnisphere is a tool that definitely should be in the arsenal of every modern media composer. The sound of it is very recognizable and, over the years, has become somewhat of a standard in the industry. We also like that it fits in various genres, starting from techno-house to cinematic ambient.

Bottomline

You definitely should try Spectrasonics Omnisphere if not for its EDM capabilities, but at least for its overall versatility. The only downside to this wonderful virtual instrument is its 64 GB download size, which can be somewhat overwhelming if you intend to use it only as an EDM synth.

Native Instruments Massive X

Native Instruments MASSIVE X

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Reasonably priced
  • Packed with features
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

The original Native Instruments Massive was such a huge success that NI decided to release a new and improved version of this powerful synthesizer. With Native Instruments Massive X, you will get the same great sound and impressive controls as in its predecessor, but with many useful revisions that help this new version become irreplaceable in your EDM toolkit.

With NI Massive X, you get a new set of oscillators with more than 170 wavetables, and each wavetable has its own unique set of controls. What is impressive is that this synthesizer has embedded modular functionality, which gives you even more options in your sound design endeavors. In case you prefer your workflow to be faster, there are 600 factory presets to choose from.

User impressions

Users admit that NI Massive X is a great-sounding synth with awesome effects and unison morph, and it has unique and amazing sounds.

What we think

Surprisingly, we found its skins option to be the most useful feature. Unlike most of the synth with this one, you can choose one of three options. Firstly, you have a standard, beautifully designed grayish skin. Secondly, since sometimes you could get extremely bored looking at the same theme for several hours, Massive X offers you a very slick dark mode. Finally, there is a flat button mode for less powerful PCs and laptops.

Bottomline

Since Native Instruments offers a demo version of Massive X without any limitations, except for that it will stop working after 30 minutes, there is no downside in trying this majestic synth.

Xfer Records Serum

Xfer Records Serum

Pros
  • Industry-standard
  • Easy to use
  • Built-in effects
  • Free demo
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Xfer Records Serum has been an industry standard for a very long time. You can hear this wavetable synthesizer on countless electronic music records and on the dancefloors worldwide. What made Serum so famous is its tamed sound and very intuitive controls. That being said, under the very simplistic approach to controls hides an extremely advanced synthesizer with almost limitless possibilities.

Of course, in addition to customizing wavetables with Serum, you can use your audio files as the sound source. But the thing is, this process usually requires some resampling to be applied, which always leads to unwanted artifacts. Xfer Records Serum took a different approach, and even at the default playback mode, you still will get a highly precise resampling without any audible artifacts.

User impressions

Users agree that Xfer Records Serum has a clean and detailed sound, user-friendly interface, which helps greatly to figure out all features and start composing. Also, it has comprehensive wavetable implementation, quality filters, and effects.

What we think

The most impressive thing about Xfer Records Serum is how easily and quickly you can turn something that looks extremely simple into a powerful workstation. Since it has modular features, the sound design possibilities are truly limitless.

Bottomline

You definitely should give it a go since it has a free fully-functional demo version that will stop working after 15 minutes.

LennarDigital Sylenth1

LennarDigital Sylenth1

Pros
  • Iconic synthesizer
  • Very CPU friendly
  • More than 2500 presets
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ LennarDigital
Best features and specs

If you look up digital synthesizers in the dictionary, there will be a picture of LennarDigital Sylenth1. Well, if there isn’t, there should be. This veteran of the industry is what defies digital synthesis, and it has all the right features at all the right places.

User impressions

Users say that LennarDigital Sylenth1 has great sound, is unbelievably easy to use, and has a variety of sound options. Also, they all agree that for being a serious producer you have to have this synth.

What we think

Despite its rather subjectively outdated GUI design, it is one of the most powerful and iconic digital synthesizers on the market. If you hear a breathtaking saw lead sound or a square bass sequence, chances are 9/10, it was made with Sylenth1.

Bottomline

In terms of its price, it is a relatively small amount to pay for such an icon with, of course, a monthly payment option also available. If not convinced, try it yourself – there is a demo version with a demo sound every 60 seconds.

Reveal Sound Spire

Reveal Sound Spire

Pros
  • Analog vibe
  • Changeable skins
  • Highly customizable
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

There is a very ancient argument in the music industry of what is better, analog or digital. Well, with Reveal Sound Spire, you certainly can have both. It is a feature-packed modern digital synthesizer with a certain analog flavor to it. And the best part is that this flavor is very tamed and gentle.

User impressions

Users admit that Reveal Sound Spire has a warm and pleasant sound with a bit of an analog feel to it. The presets are good, and the interface is user-friendly. It has a lot of additional features that let users compose the most amazing tunes and melodies.

What we think

We love that this digital synthesizer doesn’t scream to your face with its “analogness”. Sometimes it feels that digital synthesizers could be too clean and lifeless, the analog hardwire emulation synths are trying too hard not to sound digital. Well, Reveal Sound Spire is a perfectly balanced compromise.

Bottomline

Reveal Sound Spire is a mighty and highly customizable digital synthesizer with an analog vibe. If you can tolerate noise every 30 seconds, you can try it yourself.

u-he Diva

u-he Diva

Pros
  • Vintage analog sound
  • Huge library of presets
Cons
  • Analog sound only
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

U-he Diva is a history of analog synthesis placed inside a single well-designed package and considered to be something of the greatest hits throughout several decades of analog synthesis. Imagine your favorite synth line from the 80s, there is a great chance that u-he Diva can recreate it perfectly.

Often, when making analog synth recreations, developers try to give you the looks and the feel of a certain vintage model with its original controls. But sometimes, this is not at all what you are looking for. Sometimes you just need that specific analog sound without the need for grasping the quirky controls of the synth that originally produced it. U-he Diva is all about the simplicity of approach and excellent vintage sound.

User impressions

Users agree that u-he Diva is incredibly easy to use and has outstanding sound quality. Warm and soothing with soft analog touch, no annoying digital artifacts, and other things that might accidentally occur.

What we think

Although you have an impressive amount of customization available, we found that it is best to use u-he Diva by choosing the right preset from the library and tweaking it just a bit. The factory presets are so beautiful that the only needed adjustments are those that make it sit better in the mix.

Bottomline

Unless, for some reason, you are not at all interested in vintage analog sound, you should give it a go since it offers you access to various analog synth patches in one single package.

Native Instruments FM8

Native Instruments FM8

Pros
  • Classic FM synthesis
  • 1200 + presets
  • Free demo
Cons
  • FM only
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

There’s certainly more than one side to the analog sound. Native Instruments FM8 offers you access to classic FM synthesis in one minimalistic plugin. In addition to a library with more than 1200 presets, FM8 offers you a quicker workflow with an opportunity to edit rather complex parameters automatically.

User impressions

Users say that Native Instruments FM8 has excellent sound quality and really fantastic presets. User-friendly design and the effect section makes it effortless to compose everything.

What we think

Sometimes it is rather hard to achieve a perfect balance between patiently programming synthesizers and musicality. Although you have an opportunity to tweak things deeply with Native Instruments FM8, we found the “easy mode” to be the best feature.

Bottomline

If you desire to dive deeply into the world of FM synthesis, NI offers you a free demo of FM8.

Native Instruments Monark

Native Instruments Monark

Pros
  • Great analog synth emulation
  • Free demo
  • Library of presets
Cons
  • Only Model D sound
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Minimoog Model D is considered one of the best monophonic synthesizers of all times and a pinnacle of every synth enthusiast collection. Native Instruments Monark gives you a great opportunity to dive into one of the best parts of analog history. It is a very meticulous and nuanced digital emulation of the analog hardwire at its best. With this one, you, of course, won’t get any sound of deteriorating analog circuits or unwanted noise. It is a very pristine and clean emulation of the idea of Model D rather than a plugin that was designed to give you the feeling of a specific vintage analog synthesizer.

User impressions

Users agree that Native Instruments Monark has amazingly realistic retro sound, a wide variety of presets, and remarkable zero-delay feedback technology.

What we think

Although it is stunning and a powerful synthesizer on its own, it is hard to imagine it to be someone’s go-to synthesizer for all occasions. That being said, this synth is a pure analog inspiration.

Bottomline

As with almost every NI product, this one has a convenient free trial version, so you could get acquainted with the power and beauty of this analog synthesizer.

Rob Papen Blue II

Rob Papen Blue II

Pros
  • Powerful hybrid synthesizer
  • Has an “easy mode”
  • 4500 presets
Cons
  • Subjectively outdated GUI
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Though it may seem a bit outdated at first glance, Rob Papen Blue II is still a very potent and capable digital synthesizer. Firstly released in 2005, Blue had an almost unprecedented amount of features for a synth with both FM and subtractive capabilities. Rob Papen Blue II, along with other improvements, also gave us additive capabilities.

User impressions

Users admit that Rob Papen Blue II combined analog-style, phase-distortion, wave-shaping synthesis in one mighty virtual instrument with good modulation options and a user-friendly interface.

What we think

Despite it being rather old in terms of software, this hybrid synthesizer has a lot to offer in sheer musicality and sound design. Also, it has an impressive factory library with 4500 presets.

Bottomline

We believe that you’d be truly amazed when you try it, which would be quite easy since Rob Papen offers you a free demo with one soundbank.

Arturia Oberheim SEM V

Arturia Oberheim SEM V

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Reasonably priced
  • Awesome analog recreation
Cons
  • Only Oberheim sound
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

As a company, Arturia has made a name for itself by producing some of the best analog gear emulations ever. Arturia Oberheim SEM V is a recreation of Oberheim SEM, which you don’t see often enough in software developers’ realm. The original synth had a very unique and distinguishable sound, and at emulating it, Arturia succeeded.

User impressions

Users say that Arturia Oberheim SEM V is a simple and expressive synthesizer, with gradually realistic sound and user-friendly design. Variability of presets, polyphony and 8 voice programmer modules make this synth a pearl in every respectable composer’s collection.

What we think

Sometimes it’s rather good to have something that does one thing but does it greatly.

Bottomline

Since it’s not a sampled instrument but rather a physically modeled one, it doesn’t take much space on your PC. It also has a free demo, which always is a nice thing.

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