The Best 10 Freeware VST Synths

Synths are one of the most entertaining things to use on your tracks. They sound fantastic, and by using them, you can create ambient chimes, warm chord sounds, weird & psychedelic sounds, & much much stuff like that.

But the issue with analog synths is that they are expensive & too big. And that’s where synth plugins come in. All you’ve to do is load them in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and you’re ready to rock.

In the past, it was impossible to imagine that so many quality tools used for mixing could be available at no cost. But now there are many free plugins available on the internet than ever before.

So, how can you know which free VSTs are worth installing? And which VST’s will suit you the most? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the list of the best 10 Free VST Synth Plugins available that sound fantastic!

So Let’s get started.

Synth1

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsMacFree VST
78.148 ViewsRating: 4.1 /5(22 votes)

Synth1 is one of the most used and most popular long time free choices for aspiring producers to create music with a plugin synthesizer. It’s a very decent synthesis powerhouse with lots of potential on one side, & also a bit of unexpected trouble missed opportunities.

The look of Synth1 is quite rough visually, but it’s a well-organized & functional plugin. Synth1 is resizeable up to 250%, and it’s perfect for modern high-resolution displays. You can also set the color of the text & the panel separately.

Synth1 updates are infrequent ( the last update was back in 2014 for Windows operating system, & it’s still called ‘beta’ today), but the Japanese author keeps adding GUI optimizations & charming new features.

Synth1 has got an astonishing abundance of presets. By searching on the internet, you can easily download tens of thousands of presets in organized preset packs. It’s worth skipping essential factory banks/presets & spent more of your time finding those little inspiring gems.

Features:

  • FM modulation, 2 Oscillators, Ring Modulation, Sync, Modulation Envelope.
  • 2 LFOs (synchronized with host).
  • Four types of filters, distortion.
  • Arpeggiator (synchronized with host).
  • Tempo delay (synchronized with host), stereo chorus/flanger.
  • 16 notes polyphony.
  • Legato mode, portamento.
  • 128 presets
  • Thoroughly optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions, etc.

Arppe2600va

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsFree VST
7.718 ViewsRating: 5 /5(2 votes)

The number 2 in our list of the best 10 VST synth is Arppe2600va. It’s based on ARP’s legendary semi-modular analog monosynth! This multi-functional softsynth sounds very close to the original ARP 2600. Like the original one, its mono synth (no polyphony).

But also like it’s the original version, it has got a multitude of Frequency Modulation options and by which you can create some awe-inspiring sound effects.

Features:

  • It has PWM, Sample & Hold, Ring Modulation, virtual Spring Reverb, & a dedicated Noise Generator.
  • Filter Color (to adjust LowPass & HiPass filter types).
  • Oscillator Sync (Original Arp 2600 didn’t have Oscillator Sync and Filter Color).
  • You can get up to 12 patch routings with a very user-friendly (and visible!) drop-down menu interface.
  • Arppe2600 started with the version 2.0, but now Arppe2600va is purchasable via a cleverly designed Mod Matrix!
  • Instead of messy virtual of cables cluttering up the screen, All controls in the Arppe2600va are mapped to MIDI CC#’s, & you can override the default settings by using the MIDI Learn feature.
  • You can use it as a pure stand-alone synth (.exe file included), or you can also copy the DLL into your favorite DAW or sequencer’s plugin folder.

Requirements:

  • VSTi Format
  • Windows System

SQL8

Synth

    WindowsMacLinuxFree VST
42.283 ViewsRating: 4.5 /5(15 votes)

The SQ8L (L stands for Light) is a free demo version of the forthcoming SQ8X (X Ffor eXtended) version.   It’s a software model of Ensoniq’s classic 1980s synth SQ80. SQ80 contains three digital wavetable oscillators for each of its eight voices fed through analog 4-pole lowpass filters (-24dB gain) with resonance. Sound parameters in SQ80 can be modulated by four envelopes, 3 LFQs & several MIDI sources.

SQ80 has also got a predecessor, and it’s the ESQ1, which can do almost the same things as SQ80. Although the technology may seem obsolete, these synths can gene ate a wide variety of extraordinarily usable & exciting sounds.

Because of the lo-fi oscillators & the analog components, it can sound very digital & dirty, but also, this synth is very analog & warm. And that’s very good because modern synths often lack to sound rather clean.

Limitations:

  • Polyphony limited to only eight voices.
  • Universal MIDI controllers (Pan, Master Volume,…), by default, do not affect & must be programmed as modulators.
  • LFO humanization not implemented.
  • No internal sequencer (and there will never be one).
  • No Split/Layer to combine several sounds.

The full version SQ8X will get the following additional features.

Features:

  • Combinations of up to 4 single sounds.
  • Adjustable polyphony (far more than eight voices).
  • New Filter algorithms with different modes such as bandpass, lowpass, highpass.
  • Improved GUI
  • Different routing modes for the filters: parallel, serial, split. & the second FILTER.

Noisemaker

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsMacFree VSTAudioUnit
21.305 ViewsRating: 5 /5(4 votes)

The Noisemaker’s name speaks for itself; when it comes to making some noise, this VST can do lots of things for you. Its interface is accessible, clean & to the point & thick. And you will be able to get some beefy sounds from the get-go.

Noisemaker comes in both AU plugin & VST formats. It’s an improved version of TAL-Elek7ro & has an entirely new synth engine with lots of improvements in sound and usability. This synth also has a small effect section with a reverb chorus & a simple bit crusher effect.

You can see slider & Knob values on the display screen of Noisemaker. In this way, you will be able to control this synth more effectively. It also has a ring modulator & a syncable triangle. Some of its features are given below.

Features:

  • 3 Oscillators
    • Osc 1, +-24 semitones, fine-tune, phase control (saw pulse, noise).
    • Osc 2, +-24 semitones, fine-tune, phase control (saw pulse, rectangle, line, triangle).
    • Sub Osc (rectangle).
    • Osc 1 PM for pulse waveform.
    • Osc 2 FM controlled by Osc 1.
    • Osc 1 & Osc 2 sync to sub-OSC (pulse, saw, rectangle, triangle (bipolar sync))
  • Up to 6 voices/
  • Adjustable master tune & transpose.
  • Portamento in mono & poly mode (off, auto, on).
  • Ring mode modulates Osc 1 with Osc 2.
  • Filter ADSR (negative & positive).
  • Self resonating 4 X oversampled filters (24 dB LP, 18 dB LP, 12 dB LP, 6 dB LP, 12 dB LP, 12 dB LP, Notch).
  • Volume ADSR.
  • Routable ADSR, Modulates Filter, Osc 1, Osc 2, PW, FM (negative & positive).
  • Adjustable Velocity dependent control over volume filter contour & cutoff.
  • One pole HP filter.
  • Detune & detune notes randomly.
  • A built-in reverb.
  • Adjustable Pitch Wheel control over Cutoff & Pitch.
  • A built-in delay.
  • Adjustable filter drive.
  • Panic Button.
  • MIDI Learn for all knobs.
  • 256 Great Presets.

MiniMogueVA

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsFree VST
23.811 ViewsRating: 4.4 /5(9 votes)

Based on the most popular and one of the most used mono synth of all time! This fantastic and free softsynth sounds very close to the original Minimoog. Yet, it has tons of new features not present on the original Mini (as well as the Minimoog Voyager!).

Features:

  • It has got a 5-note polyphony.
  • Dedicated Release knobs for the two Contour Generators (envelopes).
  • Tuning of Osc 1.
  • Arpeggiator & 16-note Step Sequencer.
  • Excellent Tuning sliders for Osc2 & Osc3.
  • This fantastic VST has got aftertouch control.
  • Has an adjustable filter Velocity curve.
  • 3 Independent Overdrive sliders (one per oscillator).
  • Global Overdrive with hi & lowpass cutoff.
  • This VST has Oscillator Sync, Chorus, an independent LFO that includes oscillator drift & stereo panning, & has a fully programmable Digital Delay!
  • There is no dedicated Noise Generator as on the original Mini, However white & pink noise are selectable on Osc 3.
  • Like the original Mini, you can also turn Osc 3 into an LFO with dedicated modulation for the Osc Pitch & the Filter.
  • In this VST, all controls are mapped in MIDI CC#’s, and you can also override the default settings by using the all-important MIDI Learn Feature.
  • You can use it as a pure stand-alone synth (.exe file included), or you can also copy the DLL into your favorite DAW or sequencer’s plugin folder.

Requirements:

  • Windows System
  • VATi Format

Chimera

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsFree VST
8.720 ViewsRating: 5 /5(2 votes)

Chimera is a popular noise-driven synth and a free VST synth by Majken. The sounds that Chimera generates are based on white noise filtered into notes by resonant bandpass filters. And as a result, we hear some organic sounds ranging from warm pads to atmospheres with wind & water elements.

This VST is a perfect pick, especially for ambient & chill-out. It’s a very smooth and beautiful sounding synth. It’s an experimental synth that uses subtractive Synthesis in a new way. White noise is sent through a series of few narrow bandpass filters, which are controlled by pitch.

The filtered noise of Chimera is used as resonant sinewaves to create atmosphere organs, pads, and percussive sounds. In simple words, everything we hear from Chimera is white noise filtered into music (in realtime). Some of the features of Chimera VST are as follows.

Features:

  • It has more than 50 included presets.
  • Has a unique synthesis method.
  • It’s built-in soft clipper distortion & has a 2-tap stereo delay.
  • It has got a wide range of modulation options with three envelopes & three LFOs.
  • This VST has freely assignable MIDI CC controls.
  • Chimera has cross-modulation with free routing.

Crystal

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsMacFree VSTAudioUnit
11.031 ViewsRating: 5 /5(2 votes)

Crystal VST is a semi-modular software synthesizer featuring both frequency modulation (FM) synthesis & subtractive Synthesis. Some people think that crystal VST is no longer enjoyable, but actually, it’s still trendy. It’s like an old fart trying to survive in the harsh world of modern and popular soft synths.

Crystal VST is still alive with fantastic sound quality & flexibility, and it can beat any of its free rival or any commercial soft synths. The versatility of this VST synth made it popular among music producers & sound designers. And also, preset libraries are readily available on the internet.

Features:

  • This VST offers abundant modulation control over with over 90 parameters which may be multi-stage envelopes with graphical editors, modulated, great tempo sync of envelopes/Iforates/delay times, a band splitter for effects processing by frequency band, and built-in effects for flanging/chorus/comb/filtering/echoes.
  • Crystal VST also offers wave sequencing, granular synthesis, program morphing, imports sound fonts, MIDI learn. The musical applications for this ultimate crystal VST are boundless.

Chip32

Synth | Synth Wavetable

    WindowsMacFree VSTAudioUnit
12.987 ViewsRating: 4.3 /5(2 votes)

Chip32 is a kind of wavetable softsynth, created by Sam. This virtual synth VST produces old school electronical sounds & features a graphical wavetable editor. This synth responds to realtime midi control, & provides 8-bit wavetables for “Chiptune” sort of music.

In Chip32, there are an ADSR envelope, a bit crusher, and a primary filter. Some of the common waveshapes in Chip32 are sine, saw, triangle and square. To use this synth and its effects, you need to have a plugin host like Renoise, Studio, or others.

There are various synth parameters in Chip32. The first four parameters are the standard amplitude ADSR settings. In Chip32, the ‘B’ slider controls the bit depth (roughness). The ‘F’ slider in it is the filter setting that controls how often the wave is filtered. On the left side of the GUI, there’s a place where waveshape can be drawn.

Features:

  • Chip32 has an amazing Filter.
  • It’s an 8-bit/32-byte wavetable synth.
  • It has a Bitcrusher.
  • It supports MIDI CCs.

ZynAddSubFX

Synth | Synth Hybrid

    WindowsMacLinuxFree VSTLV2
8.752 ViewsRating: 5 /5(2 votes)

The ZynAddSubFX synthesizer project was the first time released nearly 15 years ago by Paul Nasca Octavia with lots of latest features. This synth has analog sound, robust modulation, and a complete set of built-in functions.

ZynAddSubFX is a beautifully designed, fully-featured open-source software synthesizer & its capable of making a countless number of instruments. It can generate all sorts of sounds you want to hear. It can produce some commonly heard sounds from expensive hardware to many other unusual sounds.

Features:

  • Polyphonic with support for mono playing modes & legato
  • Three synthesizer engines:
    1. Additive Synthesis for classic synth sounds composed of a variety of different voices with robust modulation. This exposes modulators ranging from LFOs & envelopes to oscillator modulators for PM, FM, & AM.
    2. PAD synthesis for creating beautiful pads & other instruments.
    3. Subtractive Synthesis for creating variable bandwidth harmonics from filtered white noise.
  • A variety of filters, including farming filters, analog modeled filters, & state-variable filters.
  • It has a powerful waveform generator with up to 128 sines/non-sine harmonics.
  • Envelopes in this synth can have ASDR (or ASR, etc.) modes or free modes (with any shape)
  • This VST synth has got effects for Reverb, Chorus/Flanger, Echo, Phasing, Wave-shaping, Equalizing, Dynamic Filtering with flexible signal routing.
  • In it, instruments can be organized in kits, which allows you to make drum kits or layered instruments; this will enable you to use more than one tool for a single part. It’s also possible to choose what the part’s effects should process items from the kit.
  • This synth has Random settings to create subtle differences in each sound to help create that familiar analog warmth.
  • It has Microtonal capabilities with any scale, up to 128 notes per octave, & critical mapping.
  • Has a built-in Virtual Keyboard which can be used even if you don’t have a physical midi keyboard.
  • Has extensive MIDI/Audio driver support, including ALSA, JACK, and
  • The graphical user interface in ZynAddSubFX can be completely disabled if the user needs to.
  • Plugin Support via DSSI/LV2/VST.
  • Session Management Support via LASH/NSM.
  • Over 1100 high-quality instruments included.

Podolski

Synth | Synth Analogue/Subtractive

    WindowsMacFree VSTAudioUnitAAX
8.060 ViewsRating: 4.9 /5(4 votes)

Podolski is a very simple and CPU-efficient virtual analog synthesizer. It’s a cut down version of FilterscapeVA with only one oscillator, one envelope, one filter, and two LFOs. It also has a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer, chorus & delay effects.

Some of the Podolski specialties are Click parameter & it’s the ability to morph between three waveforms seamlessly.

Podolski is one of the hidden gems of the freeware world. This synth was first-time released as a gift for the visitors of Musikmesse 2005, And since then, it’s distributed as one of the freebies on the cover of a CD of keyboard magazine until 2009.

This VST synth is extremely CPU friendly on modern-day computers. It was completely offline for a few years; it was re-released as a free download for everyone in 2012. The 2012 version of this VST came with a fully refurbished GUI & a collection of factory presets crafted beautifully by none other than Howard Scarr (a sound designer). Some of its features are given below.

Features:

  • Polyphonic (up to 16 voices), arpeggiator, mono sq2 and legato modes.
  • Four envelope modes: ASDR or HDSR, linear or exponential.
  • Oscillator with variable symmetry (sawtooth to the triangle, PWM) and glide.
  • It has a multimode filter: bandpass, lowpass or highpass with FM and drive.
  • Combination arpeggiator/ 16-step sequencer with other modulation sources.
  • It has over 520 factory presets.
  • Skinnable UI.

Conclusion

So those are the ten best free VST synths that you really should get. While these synths may not be the best things in life but my experience, I learned something from every piece of software.

Exploration & experimentation yield many rewards for the adventurous, & freeware can be a great start to your journey. If you are a big fan of video game music, sound design, or even electronic music, then you should try these synths.

As all these VST synths are entirely free, I recommend you try as many as possible, because each one might be a bit better at doing something in particular. You don’t need tons of expensive gear to make great game music.

The free synth has proved that there’s plenty of things you can do by using these tools by making music that sounds good at a low budget.

Whether you are looking for in-depth sound design tools, classic vintage tones, or you are just looking to choose an excellent synth to get started, then you can choose a free VST from the list above. Even if you have paid synths that get your work done, then it’ll still be wise to pick up at least a few of these free ones to experiment with.

I hope this list was useful for you & if you feel that we’ve missed a good one, please let us know in the comment section below.