Best 18 Free Synth VST Plugins That Actually Sound Great!

Synths are one of the most fun things to use on your tracks.

They sound fantastic, which allows you to create warm chord sounds, ambient chimes, psychedelic and weird sounds, and much more.

The issue with analogue synths is that they are big and expensive…

Here’s where synth plugins come in!

All you need to do is load them up in you DAW ad you’re ready to rock!

What’s that you say?… most plugins are expensive?… I’ve got you covered!

Here’s a list of the best Eighteen Free Synth Plugins available that sound fantastic!

But first…

What is a Synth?

A Synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument that uses electronic signals to generate sounds instead of doing it acoustically.

It sends those signals directly into your mixer, audio interface, etc.

It can be used to imitate traditional instruments such as piano, flute, vocals, etc.

Also, nature sounds, or any other kind of sound can be achieved.

What is a VST Synth?

It’s an emulation of a Synth, not necessarily based on an existing one, that generates those same types of sounds but that’s being emulated through software.

The benefit of this is that you don’t need to have the physical instrument since you can load them up in your DAW.

You’ll need a MIDI Controller

In order to be able to use these plugins properly, you will need some sort of MIDI Controller.

While you can use your mouse to map the MIDI in your DAW, it’s a lot faster and easier to do it with a keyboard/controller.

My recommendation here is for you to get something like the M-Audio Oxygen 20 MK IV MIDI Controller which you can find at Amazon at a very affordable price, plus it comes with some extra software like Pro Tools First.

Now let’s move on to the actual plugins…

Dexed by Digital Sub Urban

(Windows, Mac and Linux)

DEXED – Open source DX7 librarian / emulator VSTi demo

Dexed is a Free multi platform and multi format frequency modulation Synth which is based on, or closely modeled to, the Yamaha DX7.

It isn’t the simplest synth to use… there is definitely a learning curve to it, but I honestly think that it’s well worth it to do the effort and learn it properly.

It is also a MIDI cartridge manager for the DX7 meaning that any of the .syx files in the cartridges will be available from the “Cart” window.

You can access this directory by pressing the “Cart” button and then the “Show Dir” button.

Features

  • Multi platform (OS X, Windows or Linux) and multi format (VST, AU, LV2)
  • The sound engine  is closely modeled on the original DX7 characteristics
  • 144 DAW automatable DX7 parameters available from one single panel
  • Fully supports DX7 input and output Sysex messages; including controller change
  • Each operator has a realtime VU meter to know which one is active
  • Can load/save any DX7/TX7 sysex programs

Download it for free here.

Combo Model F by Martinic

(Windows, Mac)

Combo Model F – Free VST synth (organ) – vstplanet.com

If you’re looking for a simple and fun organ sounding synth, then Combo Model F has got you covered.

It’s super easy to use and it also sounds pretty good.

It’s based around the Farfisa Mini Deluxe Compact combo organ from the 1960s, and while it doesn’t sound exactly like it, it does sound great and is super fun to use.

Features

  • 4-octave C-to-C keyboard.
  • Harmonic range 6 polyphonic octaves.
  • 4 footage tabs: 16′, 8′, 4′, 2⅔’.
  • 3 treble voice tabs: Dolce, Principale, Strings.
  • Multi-Tone Booster voice with All Booster tab.
  • Knee lever control.
  • Bass voice (grey keys).
  • Vibrato unit with adjustable speed and depth.
  • Volume pedal.
  • Adjustable tuning per note.
  • Fully modelled (no samples inside).
  • Model includes oscillators, dividers, crosstalk, noise, filters, key contacts and key click.
  • Velocity-sensitive key contact attack and release.
  • Fully automatable.

Download it for free here.

Tunefish 4 by Brain Control

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Tunefish 4 – Free VST synth – vstplanet.com

There are four versions of Tunefish on their website.

Tunefish 4 was developed as a smaller replacement for Tunefish 3 with about the same power.

It was developed for the intro of “Turles all the way down”. If you want to see the video then here’s a link to YouTube where you can watch it.

One thing that they improved over the previous version is the UI, which will visualize all modulations.

Features

  • Available on Windows and Linux as VST (32 and 64 bit) and on Mac as Audio Unit or VST
  • Improved UI compared to TF3 which will visualize all modulations
  • Uses an additive synthesis based wavetable generator
  • The Noise generator can produce any frequency of noise with any bandwidth
  • Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass and an improved Notch filter are available
  • 2 ADSRs and 2 LFOs that can be linked to pretty much any important knob using a modulation matrix
  • Supported effects are Flanger, Chorus, Distortion, Delay, Reverb, EQ and Formant
  • The effects stack allows for any permutation of up to 10 effects

Download it for free here.

Helix by Audjoo

(Windows, Mac)

Audjoo Helix VST Instrument DEMO

Helix is a CPU-friendy, highly versatile Synthesizer with a surprisingly high sound quality.

It comes with a lot of presets and built-in effects.

You need to pay $75 to get the license, but the trial version is virtually fully functional.

This means that it’s actually free and you can pay for it if you want to.

Most people tend to underrate free software because they think that if they were better, they would be able to sell them.

However, Helix is an excellent Synth that should be used in every serious music production.

Features

  • CPU-friendly.
  • 1000+ Presets.
  • Wave-table-shaping oscillators.
  • 17 filter types.
  • 10 distortion types.
  • All stereo signal path.
  • Deep Modulation.
  • Lots of built in effects.

Download it for free here.

Muon Tau Bassline by Muon Software

(Windows, Mac)

TAU BASSLINE v2.0.0 10th Anniversary Edition by Muon Software

Muon Tau Bassline is a monophonic bass line synth modelled after the Roland 303 Synth.

This is a small yet powerful piece of software which gives you that cool 303 bass sound without being too hard to use.

The interface is super intuitive, which makes it ideal for any beginner.

Despite being a very basic plugin, it can create some very realistic bass tones which can be tweaked in real time, making it a good choice for acid and techno styles.

Note: To download you need to go to their Facebook Page and then click on the “Exclusive Content” tab.

Features

  • 64-bit waveform oscillator– with 2x oversampling for authentic warm analogue style sawtooth and square waveforms, without  noise or digital artefacts.
  • 18db Lowpass resonant filter– carefully modelled to have a classic, squelchy tone.
  • Full MIDI control– fully assignable MIDI CCs mean you can just right click on the user interface and link up to your hardware controller straight away.

Download it for free here.

TyrellN6 by u-he

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

U He Tyrell N6 Free VST Song

TyrellN6 is a compact synth that is based on concepts and ideas for a hardware synth: a few modules, novel features, analogue sound and low-cost.

It sounds very good, I really like this little plugin, plus it’s free!

The interface has a very “Grungy” look to it and it’s quite intuitive.

To download it you can’t do it through their official website but actually through the Amazona.de website which is in German… quite an issue for anyone who doesn’t speak it.

Features

  • Virtual analogue with classic architecture plus extras
  • 2 oscillators, noise, ring modulator
  • 2 LFOs with 8 waveforms, host-syncable
  • Audio source mixer with authentic overdrive and filter feedback
  • Twin filter related to Diva (early model)
  • Analogue-type ADSR envelopes, loopable or LFO-triggered
  • Skinnable UI
  • Over 580 factory presets
  • MIDI learn / unlearn for hardware control.
  • Resizable UI from 70% to 200%.
  • Skinnable UI.
  • Analog-type ADSR envelopes, loopable or LFO-triggered.

Download it for free here.

And if you’re interested, here’s a link to their official Website (you can’t download it there).

MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage

(Mac)

myVST Demo: MiniSpillage to v1.0.4

MiniSpillage is a free professional quality drum synthesizer which features high resolution 64-bit DSP processing engine and a custom set of synthesis algorithms designed for electronic percussion sounds.

MiniSpillage isn’t based on any existing Drum Synth but instead is focused on creating an original electronic percussion sound.

Note: It only works on Mac OS, so for all you Windows users out there, this one won’t work for you.

Features

  • Custom synthesis algorithms.
  • Exclusive percussion models.
  • High resolution 64 bit DSP engine.
  • Precision ADSR envelopes.
  • Fluid real time control.
  • Clean and intuitive GUI.
  • Efficient optimized design.

Download it for free here.

Tal-Bassline by Tal-Software

(Windows, Mac)

TAL-BassLine – Free VST bass synth – vstplanet.com

Tal-Bassline is a synthesizer especially made for bass which will give you a super beefy bass tone.

It gives you those acid tones and effects that you hear everywhere.

It’s mostly used in Trap, EDM and other kinds of music where the Bass in emphasized.

If you’re looking for a synth to enhance your song’s low end, Tal-Bassline might be the one for you.

Features

  • Bandlinited oscillators (saw, pulse).
  • Sub-oscillator: square -1 oct., square -2 oct., pulse -1 oct, pulse -2 oct.
  • -18 dB/octave low-pass filter (resonant/self-oscillating).
  • Panic button.
  • MIDI automation for all sliders and pots.
  • Supports all sample-rates.
  • A lot of presets.
  • Very light on CPU.
  • And more.

Download it for free here.

Crystal Synth by Green Oak

(Windows, Mac)

Crystal – Free VST synth – vstplanet.com

Crystal is a semi-modular software synthesizer featuring both subtractive synthesis and frequency modulation (FM) synthesis.

It offers over 90 parameters which may be modulated, multi-stage envelopes with graphical editors, extensive tempo sync of envelopes/lforates/delay times, built-in effects for chorus/flanging/comb filtering/echoes, and a band splitter for effects processing by frequency band.

It also offers wave sequencing, as well as granular synthesis, MIDI Learn, and more.

The interface isn’t the easiest to use, but it definitely sounds amazing.

Features

  • MIDI Learn
  • Built-in effects
  • Tempo Sync
  • And more

Download it for free here.

Lokomotiv by Archetype Instruments

(Windows, Mac)

Lokomotiv VST by Archetype Instruments

Lokomotiv is an analog retro synth which sounds absolutely phenomenal as well as being extremely easy to use.

The UI is simple and doesn’t look overwhelming at all which is great for anyone who is new to this kind of software.

The way it sounds reminds me of some Prince songs, which is something I love.

It packs a lot of different features which are;

Oscillator

  • Mathematically generated high definition Oscillator without using wavetable or interpolation.
  • Silky smooth 9 X detuned sawtooth wave.
  • Pulse wave with self PWM.
  • Shape morphing sub oscillator.

Filter

  • MG ladder modeling multimode filter featured Zero Delay Feedback technology.
  • Routable filter Drive. (Pre / Post).

Modulator

  • Natural Curved ADSR Envelope generator.
  • Oneshot LFO which can be used as envelope.

Specification

  • 1 X OSC (Saw+ Pulse) + 1 Sub OSC. Noise Generator.
  • 1 X multimode Filter with Drive.
  • 1 X LFO, 1 X Envelop Generator.
  • 8 polyphonic voices, Mono and Legato mode supported.
  • 64 Factory preset included.
  • Native 64-bit, Mac and Windows OS supported.

Download it for free from the VST4Free website.

Digits by Extent of the Jam

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Digits – Free VST synth – vstplanet.com

Digits is a phase distortion synthesizer plugin which was inspired by the Casio CZ line.

It comes with over 100 presets which include; basses, leads, pads, pseudo-realistic instruments, brass sounds and more.

It provides some effects like an analog chorus, flanger, harmonic bit crush, asymmetric pitch-bend and more.

This plugin is fairly easy to use and actually sounds great.

The interface is also pretty simple which is great for beginners.

The only issue is that when you change some parameters the audio can sometimes crack a bit, but other than that it’s an amazing plugin.

Download it for free here.

Tal-NoiseMaker by Tal-Software

(Windows, Mac)

TAL NoiseMaker | Cool Free VST Synth For Your Electronic Studio

Tal-NoiseMaker is based on the Tal-Elek7ro but with a new synth engine and some sound and usability improvements.

It features some effects like reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher.

The number of presets you get is huge: 256… and they also sound fantastic.

This free plugin is definitely one that you should try since it sounds great right from the get-go and the interface is really clean and easy to use.

Here’s the extensive list of features…

Features

  • 3 Oscillators
    Osc 1, +- 24 semitones, fine tune, phase control (saw, pulse, noise).
    Osc 2, +- 24 semitones, fine tune, phase control (saw, rectangle, triangle, sine).
    Sub Osc (rectangle).
  • Osc 1 PM for pulse waveform.
  • Osc 2 FM controled by Osc 1.
  • Osc 1 & Osc 2 sync to sub osc (saw, pulse, rectangle, triangle(bipolar sync)).
  • Adjustable master tune and transpose.
  • Up to 6 voices.
  • Portamento in mono and poly mode (off, auto, on).
  • Ringmod modulates Osc 1 with Osc 2
  • Self resonating 4x oversampled filters (24 dB LP, 18 dB LP, 12 dB LP, 6 dB LP, 12 dB HP, 12 dB BP, Notch)
  • Filter ADSR (negative and positive)
  • Volume ADSR
  • Routable ADSR, modulates Filter, Osc 1, Osc 2, PW, FM (negative and positive)
  • 2 LFO’s with different running modes: free, sync to host, triggered by note.
    Modulates filter, osc 1, osc 2, fm, pw, lfo rate, panorama and volume.
    Sine, triangle, saw square, s&h, noise.
    Positive and negative modulation.
    Phase control.
  • Adjustable Velocity dependent control over volume filtercontour and cutoff.
  • Adjustable Pitch Wheel control over Cutoff and Pitch.
  • One pole HP filter.
  • Detune, detunes notes randomly.
  • Juno chorus with different modes.
  • A built in reverb.
  • A built in delay.
  • Adjustable filter drive.
  • Bitcrusher, affects osc 1 and osc 2. Its a pre the filter stage effect.
  • Midi learn for all knobs.
  • Panic button.
  • Easy to use, no hidden panels.
  • 256 great presets

Download it for free here.

Thump by Metric Halo

(Windows, Mac)

Introducing MH Thump – Free Plugin!

Metric Halo is primarily designed to synthesize low frequency audio to add low-end to a track or to generate another sound completely.

It looks at the pitch and the dynamics of its audio input and adjusts the oscillators accordingly.

It is typically used to add low-end to drums or any other low-end percussive sounds.

It can also be used to recreate the classic synth drum sounds, and more.

Features

  • Two independent envelope driven oscillators
  • Complete control over both pitch and amplitude envelopes
  • Wet/Dry control for mixing synthesized sound with the source
  • Detailed metering
  • A dozen presets included to get you started
  • Adjustable UI size / Disclosable Graphs
  • MH Preset Manager – Provides cross-platform presets
  • Cross Platform – Mac AU, Mac/Win VST & Mac/Win Pro Tools AAX (Native + DSP)

Download it for free here.

PG-8X by Martin Lüder

(Windows, Mac)

PG-8X – FREE Polyphonic Synthesizer Plugin (PC/MAC)

The PG-8X is inspired by the Roland JX-8P with the PG-800 programmer.

You can make some amazing analogue style sounds with it, including string ensembles, cool pads, huge bass sounds, which is what I like most about it, and more.

This is one of my top picks in this entire list, and once you try it out, you’ll see why…

Features

  • up to 12 voice polyphony
  • Two DCO’s with Saw, Square, Pulse, Noise
  • Hard Sync and Ring Modulation
  • Two exponential envelop generators
  • 24 dB resonant LP filter
  • HP filter (3 stages)
  • Stereo Chorus
  • Import and Export of JX-8P Sysex data

Download it for free here.

Charlatan by BlauKraut

(Windows)

CHARLATAN v1.4.1 by BlauKraut Engineering

Charlatan is a polyphonic, subtractive virtual analog synthesizer plugin which focuses on sound quality and easy usability.

It’s a fairly simple to use plugin which encourages users to learn how to tweak the sounds instead of only relying on the presets.

Charlatan can create your typical classic synth sounds as well as some interesting experimental noises.

Just like the previous one on this list, the PG-8X, Charlatan is one of my top recommendations, even though it’s only for Windows.

Features

  • 2 oscillators with shape modulation
  • Oscillator hard synchronization and ring modulation
  • Unison mode with upto 7 voices and stereo spread
  • Stereo noise generator
  • 2 ADSR envelope generators
  • LFO with host tempo synchronization
  • 3 filter types modeled after classic analog hardware: 4-pole (24 db/oct) and 2-pole (12 db/oct) lowpass, bandpass
  • 3 voice modes: Monophonic, Monophonic Legato and 8-voice Polyphonic
  • Ultra-low CPU usage

Download it for free here.

Helm by Matt Tyrel

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Helm by Matt Tytel VST TEST Standalone

Helm is a cross-platform, polyphonic synthesizer which runs both as a standalone synthesizer or as an LV2, VST, VST3 or AU plugin.

It comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

This plugin is open source which means that you can modify it and even redistribute your modified versions.

It’s a very visual plugin and at first it can seem a bit intimidating, but it’s far easier to use than what it seems.

Download it for free here.

Podolski by u-he

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Podolski – Free VST synth – vstplanet.com

Podolski is a very simple, CPU-efficient virtual analogue synthesizer with one oscillator, one filter, one envelope and two LFOs, it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects.

Features

  • Oscillator with variable symmetry (sawtooth to triangle, PWM) and glide
  • Polyphonic (up to 16 voices), mono, legato and arpeggiator modes
  • 4 envelope modes: ADSR or HDSR, linear or exponential. Sustain has Fall/Rise control
  • Multimode filter: lowpass, bandpass or highpass with drive and FM
  • Combination arpeggiator / 16-step sequencer with extra modulation source
  • Skinnable UI
  • Over 520 factory presets

Download it for free here.

Scorpius by Meesha

(Windows)

Scorpius – Free VST Synthesizer – vstplanet.com

Scorpius is a 3 Oscillator analog Polysynth which is great for creating some psychedelic sounds.

It sounds pretty good, but the interface isn’t the most intuitive one…

This is because it was designed to be used with two Behringer BCR 2000 units. That’s why the layout is the way it is.

It will take you some time to get used to it.

Features

  • 3 Oscillators (2 + 1 sub osc)
  • 2 LFO’s with routing and host sync
  • 2 Filters (one for each oscillator)
  • Pitch EG
  • Ring modulator
  • Stereo delay
  • Flanger
  • Great analog sound
  • Many different routing options

Download it for free here.

T-Force Alpha Plus by Mastercode Music

(Windows)

T-Force Alpha Plus | Nice Sounding Free VST Synth

T-Force Alpha Plus is the advanced or improved version of the T-Force Alpha TS.

It provides all the same features plus some additional ones and some updated functions; new synthesis (subtractive and FM synth), revised oscillators, new Mod Envelopes and a new integrated sidechain FX.

While not the best plugin on this list, it’s still completely free, so why not give it a shot?

Features

  • Synthesis: Subtractive/FM.
  • 3 free running Multiwave Oscillators with phase retrigger option for each oscillator, voice control (adjustable from 1 to 8 voices per osc or a 9th “custom” voice for customizing your own style oscillator), adjustable stereo width and panning, with Sine, Saw, Ramp (reversed Saw), Triangle, Pulse (square with PWM) waveforms.
  • 1 Noise Oscillator with adjustable stereo width and volume.
  • 1 Resonance Four Pole State Variable Filter, switchable between Low Pass, High Pass, Bandpass and switchable 12/24 dB slope, Resonance can be driven up to self oscillation.
  • 1 ADSR Filter Envelope.
  • 1 ADSR Amp Envelope.
  • 2 ADSR Mod Envelopes.
  • 2 host syncable LFOs.
  • Adjustable Drive function for Saturation/Distortion.
  • two band Low Freq/High Freq Equalizer.
  • 32 step Envelope Controlled Trance Gate.
  • Velocity control (on/off).
  • Dual Delay, switchable between Stereo mode and Ping-pong mode (right and left channels have their own tempo settings).
  • Stereo Reverb.
  • integrated Sidechain FX, optional with internal BPM synced triggering or external triggering via MIDI In (triggered by MIDI Note On, on MIDI channel 2).
  • all functions fully automatable.
  • 32-bit and 64-bit Windows only.

Download it for free here.

Zebralette by u-he

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Zebralette Free – Top-level presets

Zebralette is a very powerful synth which sounds fantastic.

It is just one of Zebra2’s oscillators packed into a simple, easy-to-learn framework, but you have everything you need to make some pretty amazing sounds.

It’s a great starting point, especially since you can later upgrade to Zebra2, which will make it easier for you to understand it.

It is a fantastic plugin for EDM and electronic music, but it can be used to create all kinds of sounds.

Features

  • A single Zebra2 oscillator with a 16-slot waveset.
  • Oscillator waveform editing with geomorph, spectromorph, geoblend and spectroblend modes.
  • 24 spectral effects including filter, sync, scatter, phase distortion and many more
  • Polyphonic (up to 16 voices), monophonic and legato modes
  • Stereo VCA with pan and volume modulation
  • VCA oscillator stacking with adjustable stereo width: single, dual, quad and eleven modes
  • ADSR envelope with fall/rise (sustain slope) and velocity controls
  • Modulation options including: modwheel, velocity, pressure, breath, key follow, gate and more
  • 2 LFOs: one global, one per voice
  • A 32-stage MSEG (multi-stage envelope generator)
  • 3 built-in effects: chorus/phaser, EQ, delay
  • MIDI learn / unlearn of hardware controls (CC)
  • Polyphonic aftertouch support
  • 300 factory presets
  • Scalable UI from 70% to 200%

Download it for free here.

Honorable Mention

This one didn’t make the list because it’s not strictly a synth, but it sounds awesome and it’s completely free which is why I included it.

LABS by Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Audio released a series of instrument plugins which they called LABS.

These aren’t synths but rather sampled instruments, but they sound awesome…

Spitfire Audio is known for making extremely good sounding sample libraries and these ones are no exception to this rule.

Here you will have a huge variety to choose from, from scary strings, to modular piano, cool sounding choirs, synth pads, drums and more.

They offer a huge number of options so here’s the link to the official website where you can check all of them out.

Spitfire Audio LABS official Website.

My top 3 recommendations

It’s definitely hard to choose only three plugins out of the eighteen on this list, but my top choices would have to be;

Conclusion

Since all of these synth plugins are completely free, I’d recommend that you try as many as possible, especially since each one might be a bit better at doing something in particular.

I hope this list was useful to you!

Have a great day!

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