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The 12 Best VST Synths of 2024 (The Best of The Best)

VST synths are more than just tools; they’re the soul of your music production setup.


As a producer, you need the absolute best options at your fingertips to elevate your workflow and unleash your innovative capabilities.


However, the endless amount of choices available today can make selecting the right synth an overwhelming task.


It’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack; that’s where we come in.


We’re here to give you the supreme picks for VST synth plugins in 2023.


And we’re not talking about those skimpy articles that offer just a sentence or two about each plugin.


We’re going all in and offering deep dives into each choice, so you can make an informed decision based on your individual needs.


What we’re including about each synth VST plugin:


  • Brand & Model ✓
  • Historical Context or Inspiration ✓
  • Sound Capabilities ✓
  • Special Features ✓
  • Usability, Flexibility, and Workflow ✓
  • Platform Compatibility ✓
  • Unique Offerings ✓
  • Ideal Use Cases ✓


By the end of this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about the top VST synths on the market.


As well as know how to navigate their intricate features like an absolute pro.


We’ve created this list (from personal experience) with both newcomers and seasoned producers in mind.


It will ensure that, no matter where you are in your musical journey, you’ll find the perfect synth to fit your creative endeavors.


So, let’s dive in…


What is a VST Synth?


best vst synths


VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology.


It’s a plugin interface that allows you to incorporate various types of audio software into your digital audio workstation (DAW).


Synth VSTs are like the younger, sleeker cousins of hardware synths 一 packed full of sound design capabilities but without the need for a second mortgage to afford them.


Back in the day, you needed an entire room filled with classic hardware just to get a decent sound.


But the best VST synths have democratized the process as they allow you to create incredibly complex sounds right from your laptop.


I mean, why go for a bulky hardware synthesizer when you can have multiple synth VST plugins?


VST synths are virtual instruments.


They come in all shapes and sizes, from emulations of classic synths to unique digital beasts.


And they all operate inside your DAW, so there’s no need for extra hardware beyond your computer and a decent MIDI keyboard.


So, VST synths aren’t just a convenience; they’re a revolution.


They’ve opened up new vistas of sound design possibilities that were previously out of reach for most music producers.


I guarantee that whatever sound you’re looking to create, there’s a VST synth out there that can help you do it.


Different Types of Synthesis


Now that you have a solid understanding of what VST synths are, let’s break down the most crucial synthesis types.


Whether you’re looking for classic sounds, modern textures, or you’re on a full-blown experimental journey, understanding these types of synthesis will help you pick the right synth VSTs for you.


  • Wavetable Synthesis


Wavetable Synthesis - Unison


Wavetable synthesis involves the use of a table full of pre-defined waveforms that you can interpolate between.


Essentially, you’re able to shift between different waves to create unique textures and timbres.


Wavetable synthesis is especially favored for its capability to produce complex and evolving sounds with just a few tweaks.


NOTE: This is a huge plus for anyone involved in sound design.


Artists and producers who prefer digital synths with a crisp sound often find wavetable synthesizers (wavetable synthesis in general, really) to be indispensable.


  • Virtual Analog


Virtual Analog Synthesis - Unison


Virtual analog is all about emulating the behavior of classic analog synths right within your DAW.


It employs digital algorithms to mimic the warm, rich sounds and imperfections of vintage analog circuits.


If you’re a fan of classic synths from the ’70s and ’80s but don’t want to break the bank or lose precious studio space, virtual analog synth VST plugins are a great choice.


They excel at creating those lush, timeless tones that are synonymous with analog sound.


  • FM Synthesis


FM synthesis 2 e1693789109186 - Unison


FM stands for Frequency Modulation.


In FM synthesis, the frequency of one waveform (called the carrier), is modulated by another waveform, (known as the modulator).


This method can produce extremely complex sounds, including:


  • Harmonic overtones
  • Inharmonic overtones


The learning curve of FM synthesis can be steep, but once you get the hang of it, the sky’s the limit.


It’s perfect for creating unique, otherworldly sounds and is a goldmine for sound designers wanting to experiment.


  • Granular Synthesis


Granular Synthesis - Unison


Granular synthesis takes a sound and breaks it down into tiny “grains” or small fragments of the original waveform.


These grains can then be:


  • Played back
  • Looped
  • Manipulated in various ways


This can help you to create entirely new and intriguing sounds.


Plus, it’s perfect for avant-garde productions and soundscapes where you’re looking to turn conventional sound design on its head.


The sound design possibilities here are virtually endless.


  • Modular Synthesis


Modular Synthesis - Unison


Modular synthesis is like the LEGO of the synth world.


You have different modules, each performing a specific function like:


  • Oscillation
  • Filtering
  • Modulation


You can then connect them together to create your custom instrument (awesome, right?).


This type of synthesis offers unparalleled flexibility and is a heaven for sound designers and creative music producers.


It can be complex and daunting but offers limitless sound design possibilities once you’re familiar with the basics.


  • Subtractive Synthesis


Subtractive Synthesis 1 - Unison


Subtractive synthesis is one of the most common and straightforward types of synthesis out there.


It starts with a rich waveform and then “subtracts” frequencies using a filter to shape your final sound.


Subtractive synthesis a great starting point for beginners and a mainstay for pros.


If you’re aiming to produce classic sounds or just need a reliable workhorse for versatile applications, subtractive synth VST plugins have got you covered.


  • Additive Synthesis


How Additive Synthesis Works - Unison


Additive synthesis is essentially the opposite of subtractive synthesis.


Additive synthesis builds sounds from the ground up 一 adding together individual sine wave harmonics to create complex waveforms.


This method offers a high degree of control over the harmonic content of your sounds and makes it ideal for creating realistic instrument emulations and complex timbres.


However, additive synths can be CPU-intensive, so be mindful of your system’s limitations.


The 12 Best VST Synth Plugins of 2023 (For All Producers)


Whether you’re an experienced producer/sound designer or just starting your journey into the world of music production, the tools you choose can make or break your game.


So, let’s dive right in to the most supreme synth VST plugins you need in 2023.


#1. Arturia Pigments


Pigments 2 - Unison


Arturia Pigments has solidified its reputation as one of the most powerful and flexible soft synth VST plugins in the music production world.


It is designed to be a Swiss Army knife for both seasoned sound designers and newcomers, providing an extensive suite of synthesis and modulation options.


The user interface is both beautiful and intuitive.


It features color-coded modulation routes and streamlined controls that make the creation of complex patches surprisingly straightforward.


Pigments distinguishes itself by allowing you to blend four types of synthesis engines:


Pigments Engines Wavetable engine ring MOD - Unison


  • Wavetable
  • Virtual Analog
  • Sample & Granular
  • Harmonic


Meaning, you’re able to achieve a nearly infinite palette of sounds.


This synthesis powerhouse also incorporates a Utility oscillator and sampled noise, offering even more possibilities for sound manipulation.


Pigments excels in delivering an immediate and gratifying sound design experience.


The curated preset library (which spans various genres like hip-hop, trap, EDM, lo-fi, and cinematic music) allows users to find a ready-made sound quickly or serves as a springboard for deeper sound exploration.


The software is structured to guide users through every step of sound creation 一 making complex modulation as easy as drag-and-drop.


It features extensive sequencing and arpeggiation capabilities, letting you breathe life into your sounds and compositions.


Pigments Musical Sequencing Arpeggiation - Unison


The adaptability of Pigments is another remarkable asset. You can customize the workflow to better fit your music production setup.


The UI presents multiple layout options, such as:


  • Play Mode (simple)


Pigments Play Mode 2 - Unison


  • Light Mode, (higher-contrast) 


Pigments Light Mode - Unison


They provide you with different ways to interact with this VST plugin.


Additionally, Pigments offers flexible audio routing options, enabling you to direct different engines into various filters and audio effects in both series and parallel configurations.


This level of control opens up vast landscapes for sonic experimentation.


Beyond the synthesis engines, Pigments features dual filters with a range of classic and modern modes.


The filtering is complimented by an expansive array of studio-grade effects 一 from shimmering reverb to bit-crushing distortion.


Pigments Filtering FX - Unison


The package rounds out with complete bypass controls for each section of the sound chain (Synth, FX, and Seq), ensuring you can isolate and focus on specific elements during your sound design process.


In terms of modulation, Pigments is a monster.


This synth VST plugin boasts an advanced modulation system, complete with:


  • Envelopes
  • LFOs
  • Function generators
  • Random sources


This wealth of options enables dynamic, evolving patches that can morph over time or in response to play style.


Pigments Modulation Sound Shaping - Unison


Assigning modulation is as easy as drag-and-drop, with hover-over adjustments adding to the intuitive user experience.


NOTE: Another notable aspect is the software’s extensive compatibility with different tuning systems and controllers, unlike other synth VSTs.


It supports ODDSound MTS-ESP microtuning, which makes sure that you can work with alternative tuning scales seamlessly.


On top of that, it is MPE and NKS compatible, allowing for expressive performances when used with supported controllers.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Pigments FX - Unison


  • Multi-Engine Synthesis (allows blending of Wavetable, Virtual Analog, Sample & Granular, and Harmonic synthesis types).
  • Drag-and-Drop Modulation
  • Extensive Filters and FX
  • Flexible UI and Workflow
  • Advanced Sequencing & Arpeggiation
  • Customizable Audio Routing
  • Extensive Compatibility
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023


#2. U-he Diva


Diva 3 - Unison


U-he Diva stands apart in the sea of VST synths by capturing the magic of classic analogue synthesizers in a digital format.


Designed with painstaking attention to detail, Diva replicates the oscillators, filters, and envelopes of some of the most iconic monophonic and polyphonic synths ever made.


It offers unparalleled authenticity in its sound, taking it a step further by employing real-time circuit simulation methods found in industrial applications.


The sonic character of Diva is not just a mere facsimile of analog sound.


Diva Dual VCO Eco - Unison


It’s analog sound, modeled to the last resistor and capacitor.


With Diva, you can mix and match various modules to create your unique hybrid synth, or replicate an old favorite with uncanny accuracy.


This synth VST models five different filters and five different oscillators found in classic hardware 一 giving you a broad sonic palette to work with.


Diva’s zero-delay feedback (ZDF) design ensures that the filters behave just as they would in their physical counterparts, offering rich and authentic resonance.


Diva’s modulation options include:


Diva Diva - Unison


  1. Three ADS(S)R envelope models based on classic hardware
  2. Two host-syncable LFOs with multiple waveforms
  3. A user-definable modulation source


Such expansive modulation capabilities give you the power to craft sounds that evolve and respond dynamically.


The velocity scaling and keyboard follow parameters further enrich your sonic explorations; allowing for expressive playability.


The built-in effects section in Diva is a throwback to vintage studio gear, featuring:


Diva Effects Panel - Unison



These effects bring an additional layer of polish and movement to your sound.


The interface is also completely resizable, and the MIDI learn function adds to its user-friendliness.


Where Diva truly shines is in its subtleties…


  • The Trimmers Panel


Diva Trimmers Panel - Unison


The Trimmers panel allows you to control voice detuning, oscillator drift, and other small imperfections that bring an organic feel to your patches.


  • The Modifications Panel


Diva Modifications Panel - Unison


The Modifications panel let you manipulate Diva in more experimental and modern ways, transcending the boundaries of the original hardware it emulates.


NOTE: Despite its rich feature set, Diva is known for its high CPU usage due to the complexity of its real-time circuit modeling.


However, the trade-off is well worth it, offering you authentic analogue sound within a digital environment.


Over 1200 factory presets round off this monumental synth VST, giving you plenty of starting points for your musical projects.


Overall, this virtual analog synth plugin is supreme over the best VST synths out there.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Diva Envelope Panel - Unison


  • Authentic analog modeling
  • Mix-and-match modules
  • Rich modulation options
  • Vintage-style effects
  • Detailed customization
  • Modifications panel
  • Over 1200 presets
  • One of the best synth VSTs/best VST synths of 2023


#3. D16 Lush 2


Lush - Unison


Stepping into the world of D16 Lush 2 is like entering a playground of sonic possibilities.


This multilayer polyphonic synthesizer boasts a unique architecture.


One that transcends the capabilities of simplistic poly-synths and enters the realm of intensely programmable, versatile instruments.


With its core foundation built on a variety of modules, the same you would find in contemporary virtual synths, Lush 2 embodies a compact (yet logical) layout that provides a vast array of applications.


Lush Modulation - Unison


From creating atmospheres that fill the room with lush textures to crafting pulsating sequences that serve as the backbone of a track, the potential is nearly endless.


The sound quality of Lush 2 is nothing short of astonishing.


The developers have painstakingly modeled the DSP algorithms on classic analog synthesizers.


Every aspect of the signal path has been finely-tuned to replicate the warmth and richness of iconic hardware units.


Lush Destinations - Unison


Whether it’s the oscillators, which have been designed to be of uncompromising quality, or the filters that bring an authentic warmth to any sound, the commitment to sonic fidelity is evident.


Digging into its architecture, each layer in Lush 2 serves as an independent synthesizer with its own set of:


Lush Insert Effects - Unison


  1. Parameters
  2. Polyphony
  3. An arsenal of eight high-quality insert effects


The multilayer options are not just for show 一 they significantly amplify the potential for complex sound design.


You can assign the same or different MIDI channels to multiple layers, facilitating both subtle choruses and riotous sonic anarchy.


The built-in mixer is powerful enough to keep everything in check, featuring:


Lush Parametric EQ - Unison



Speaking of effects, the options here are top-tier…


Whether you’re looking for a smooth, spatial reverb or a syncopated delay that dances around your audio, the built-in effects add that professional sheen to your output.


Plus, the vibrato and pitch bend functionality preserve the spectral quality of the oscillators 一 making sure your performances stay authentic and expressive.


Lush Presets2 - Unison


NOTE: This plugin comes bundled with over 1600 presets, neatly categorized and tagged (more than some of the other best VST synths).


This extensive library offers everything from monstrous basses and complex sequences to ear-popping synthetic percussion.


Coupled with a mod matrix that is an experimentalist’s dream and an arpeggiator section that can bring any chord progression to life, Lush 2 is indeed a fully-rounded synth VST plugin.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Lush Views - Unison


  • Multilayer architecture
  • High-Quality Oscillators
  • Powerful Built-in Mixer
  • Extensive Preset Library
  • Advanced Mod Matrix
  • Superb Insert Effects
  • Arpeggiator and Modulation Matrix
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023


#4. AAS Chromaphone 3


Chromaphone - Unison


Chromaphone 3 by AAS (Applied Acoustics Systems) stands out as a unique instrument that fuses the line between synthesized and acoustic sounds.


Unlike your standard subtractive or FM synthesizer, Chromaphone 3 employs physical modeling of acoustic resonators to generate sound, which leads to an entirely different sonic palette.


With its roots deeply embedded in real-world acoustics, this VST provides unparalleled timbral flexibility.


This makes this synth VST plugin capable of producing sounds that range from familiar, real-world instruments to otherworldly sonic textures.


The GUI is intuitively designed, offering a “Home View” that showcases macros mapped to key sound parameters, including:


Chromaphone Home View - Unison


  • Modulation
  • Timbre
  • Envelope
  • Effects


This distraction-free environment encourages creativity, as you can quickly tweak the sound to your heart’s content without getting lost in a sea of knobs and sliders.


A brand-new browser has also been implemented to efficiently categorize sounds, offering views by Packs, Sounds, Categories, and Creators.


Chromaphone Browser - Unison


One of the most striking features of Chromaphone 3 is its two-voice multitimbral capability.


Each timbre can either be stacked or split 一 making it possible to create multi-textured or spacious sounds effortlessly.


The meticulous physical modeling goes beyond simulating resonators.


Chromaphone 3 even considers the coupling between resonators and offers a proprietary technology that models the bidirectional energy flow between them.


Chromaphone Mix Match Resonators - Unison


Meaning, it captures a key element of real acoustic instruments that’s often overlooked in other synthesis methods.


The factory library itself is a treasure trove of sound possibilities.


With over 421 new sounds created by an assembly of top sound designers, the breadth of the sonic palette is staggering.


And if that’s not enough, the legacy library from Chromaphone 2 has been fine-tuned to work seamlessly with the new version, adding another 676 presets to your arsenal.


From a performance standpoint, Chromaphone 3 is a beast.


Chromaphone MIDI macros - Unison


It offers four performance macros per layer, and each sound features a range of real-time modulation capabilities, including timbre morphing, envelope adjustments, and effects.


This allows for a great deal of expressivity and dynamic control during performances.


Adding to its completeness, the effects section in Chromaphone 3 is comprehensive.


Three independent racks hold a plethora of effects like:


Chromaphone Effects 3 racks - Unison


  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Distortion
  • Phaser
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Filters
  • EQ
  • Compressor
  • Even a guitar amplifier


All these can be rearranged in any order, giving you complete control over your sound’s final texture and space.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Chromaphone Resonators - Unison


  • Acoustic object synthesis
  • Two-voice multitimbral
  • Intuitive home view
  • Over 1090+ professionally crafted presets by top sound designers
  • Performance macros
  • Effects rack
  • Scala scale file support
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023


#5. Kilohearts Phase Plant


Phase Plant - Unison


Kilohearts Phase Plant is not just another synth; it’s a treasure trove for music producers and sound designers.


This semi-modular soft synth offers a groundbreaking combination of premium sound processing, creative freedom, and an intuitive interface.


Wrapped in a sleek design, Phase Plant invites you into a playground of limitless possibilities, allowing you to explore countless combinations of:


  • Generators
  • Modulators
  • Effects


From ethereal pads to rumbling basses and everything in between, Phase Plant’s open modular architecture grants you the freedom to construct your own sonic masterpiece.


Phase Plant Granular Generator - Unison


Phase Plant’s generator area is where the magic begins.


At its core, the software uses a modular approach 一 letting you layer different modules to build a sound from scratch.


Choose from five types of generator modules, including an:


  1. Analog oscillator
  2. Noise generator
  3. Granular engine
  4. Sample player
  5. Wavetable oscillator


Each of these generators offers keytracking and allow the frequency to change based on the note you’re playing.


They also share common parameters like Pitch, Harmonic, Shift, and Phase.


Phase Plant Generation waveforms - Unison


NOTE: The analog oscillator, in particular, excels in emulating classic waveforms with exceptional fidelity (making it an excellent starting point for those exploring subtractive synthesis).


Once your sound is generated, you can pass it through Phase Plant’s labyrinthine effects lanes.


Phase Plant Effects Lane - Unison


Bundled with the synth comes Kilohearts Essentials; a robust range of effects plugins (known as Snapins) that can be intricately combined and modulated within Phase Plant’s interface.


From reverb to delay, distortion to compression, the Essentials package opens up a vast space for creative sound manipulation.


You’re not confined to the bundled effects 一 premium effects can be purchased separately, offering an even broader palette for audio manipulation.


The software’s unique modular modulation section is what sets it apart from other synth VST plugins.


Phase Plant Audio Rate Modulation - Unison


This area allows you to connect modulators and utilities in an infinite number of combinations, giving you unprecedented control over your sound.


Envelopes, LFOs, and randomization utilities co-exist in a highly interactive space, offering both controlled modulation and serendipitous chaos.


Cross-modulation of volume, frequency, and phase between all signal generators also adds another layer of complexity to your patches.


Phase Plant Interface - Unison


This makes this VST synth plugin highly desirable for those who love to explore uncharted sonic territories.


Phase Plant also comes with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) compatibility, a feature that offers incredibly detailed control over your sounds.


Beyond simply playing notes and controlling velocities, MPE allows you to manipulate fine pitch, pressure, and timbre.


With MPE, each key becomes an individual expressive controller, making your performances rich, dynamic, and incredibly nuanced.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Phase Plant Curve Output - Unison


  • Open Modular Architectur
  • Versatile Generation Modules
  • Kilohearts Essentials
  • Advanced Modulation Capabilities
  • MPE Compatibility
  • Optimized Audio Processing
  • Free Updates for Life
  • Extensive Factory Presets
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023


#6. Audio Damage Continua


Continua 1 - Unison


Audio Damage’s Continua is an intriguing take on the virtual analog synthesizer genre, offering a labyrinth of sonic capabilities that extend far beyond traditional analog emulation.


At the heart of this VST plugin are three flexible oscillators that allow for a continuously variable morphing waveform.


This isn’t merely a set of selectable waveforms but a rich palette that offers endless possibilities.


You can sculpt sounds ranging from crisp digital timbres to organic analog tones, by manipulating:


  • Warp controls
  • Shape controls
  • Skew controls


Continua doesn’t stop at the oscillators…


It boasts dual morphing state-variable filters that can seamlessly transition between low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch configurations, in both 2-pole and 4-pole topologies.


Continua Filters 1 - Unison


This makes the synth particularly apt for crafting evolving soundscapes, complex sequences, or any sort of tonal manipulation you can imagine.


This soft synth also incorporates a noise source featuring a “color” control 一 adding another layer of texture and nuance to your sounds.


The plugin, unlike some other synth plugins/software synthesizers shines in its modulation capabilities.


With a comprehensive set of modulation tools that include:


Continua LFOs 1 - Unison


  • Two ADSR envelope generators
  • Two Flexible Envelope Generators (essentially envelope sequencers)
  • Four Flexible LFOs


You can breathe life into your patches with animated movements and evolving changes over time.


Furthermore, its intuitive modulation assignment is as simple as a right-click on the control you wish to modulate.


On the user experience side, Continua is refreshingly accommodating.


Continua Oscillators - Unison


Its user interface is not only resizable but also Hi-DPI, making it adaptable to different screen sizes and resolutions.


NOTE: For the experimentalists and tuning enthusiasts, this synth VST supports TUN files and offers native support for ODDSound’s MTS-ESP and allows for a wide array of tuning systems and intonations.


For those using MPE controllers like Roli Seaboard or Linnstrument, Continua provides full and extensive MPE support.


This opens up endless sound design possibilities, making it a joy to use as you can control per-note expression parameters like pressure, pitch bend, and modulation.


Continua SH - Unison


Continua also offers a cross-platform preset mechanism 一 enabling you to share your sonic creations effortlessly with collaborators, regardless of their system.


Last but not least, Continua comes with a generous factory preset library, featuring designer presets from names like Red Means Recording, Glitch Machines, and Sonalsystem.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Continua ADSR - Unison


  • Three Flexible Oscillators with continuously variable morphing waveforms.
  • Dual Morphing Filters that transition smoothly between different filter types & topologies.
  • Extensive Modulation Suite
  • Full MPE Support for advanced expressive control.
  • Cross-Platform Preset Mechanism for seamless sharing of presets.
  • High-Resolution, Resizable UI that adapts to various screen sizes.
  • Support for Custom Tuning via TUN files and ODDSound’s MTS-ESP.
  • Robust Factory Preset Library featuring designer presets from well-known artists.
  • Better than free synth VST plugins & premium classic synths alike.


#7. Xfer Serum


Serum 7 - Unison


Xfer Serum sets the standard for wavetable synthesis in the modern era.


It offers an unparalleled level of control, quality, and flexibility 一 turning it into a production powerhouse.


At its core, Serum features a highly intuitive and robust wavetable synthesis editor.


When it comes to waveforms, it allows you to:


  • Create them
  • Import them
  • Edit them
  • Morph them
  • Manipulate them


But unlike other wavetable synthesizers, Serum provides a level of detail and control that’s typically unseen in most standard best VST synth plugins.


Serum’s audio import feature takes it a step further, letting you directly import your audio files into the plugin.


Serum Advanced Unison - Unison


You can slice, dice, and manipulate these files into completely new waveforms, effectively turning any sound into your oscillator.


Importing single-cycle wavetables is straightforward, and this wavetable synthesizer offers various methods for breaking apart audio into its constituent waveforms.


One of the standout features of Serum is its unparalleled sound quality, which is much better than other wavetable synths (or even hardware synths).


Wavetable synthesis requires complex calculations that often introduce unwanted artifacts.


Serum Modulation - Unison


Serum, however, uses ultra high-precision resampling to minimize these artifacts, providing an astonishingly clean sound.


It’s aggressively optimized to ensure that even this high-quality playback doesn’t overwhelm your CPU.


This wavetable synthesizer also boasts a comprehensive modulation system.


Serum Wavetable Manipulation - Unison


The drag-and-drop functionality makes it incredibly easy to assign modulation sources to any parameter you like.


NOTE: You’re not just limited to standard modulations either.


With Serum’s Warp feature, you can FM, AM, RM, and sync oscillators or even create your custom table manipulations via its graph editor.


The filter section of Serum is also worth mentioning, including all the filters found in Xfer’s LFOTool along with some new ones.


Unique processes like downsampling and a range of specialized filters like the French LPF provide a breadth of tonal possibilities.


Serum also comes packed with an effects rack that includes 10 different modules.


Serum Suite of Effects - Unison


From reverb and delay to flangers and phasers, you can stack, chain, or parallel these effects to create the perfect sound.


Rounding out its features, Serum includes over 450 presets and 144 wavetables out of the box.


This makes it not only a fantastic tool for sound design but also a massive time-saver, providing quality sounds that you can use straight away.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Serum Filters 1 - Unison


  • Advanced wavetable editor with multiple methods for creating and importing waveforms
  • High-quality audio output with optimized CPU usage
  • Extensive modulation options
  • Warp feature for complex waveform manipulation
  • Comprehensive filter section with unique and specialized filter types
  • Inbuilt effects rack with 10 different modules for a complete sound design experience
  • Comes with over 450 presets and 144 wavetables
  • One of the best digital synths/wavetable synths out there.


#8. Surge XT


Surge 2 e1694134861270 - Unison


Surge XT is a free and open-source hybrid synthesizer that prides itself on its digital nature.


Far from just another run-of-the-mill plugin, Surge XT offers a broad sonic palette through a combination of:


  • Multiple synthesis techniques
  • Endless filters
  • A diverse selection of effects


At the core of its versatility is its “two scenes per patch” design.


Each scene is essentially a separate instance of the entire synthesis engine 一 allowing for intricate layered or split patches.


This makes Surge XT an absolute powerhouse for those who are serious about sound design.


Surge Synthesis Method - Unison


Oscillator-wise, Surge XT comes with 12 highly versatile algorithms spread across three oscillators per scene.


These range from classic saw and pulse waves to more esoteric methods like FM synthesis and waveguide-based string emulation.


Notably, most oscillator algorithms support up to 16-voice unison (except for a select few like the FM2, FM3, Sine, and Alias).


The level of detail in these oscillators is staggering; you can engage oscillator FM in 3 different configurations, and even implement ring modulation between specific oscillator pairs.


The filter block in Surge XT is another area where it shines.


Surge Filter Block2 - Unison


Two filter units can be configured in eight different ways 一 featuring everything from a basic lowpass filter to more complex and unique filters like Comb and S&H.


And if that’s not enough, additional open-source filters like the K35 and Diode Ladder types can also be employed, which provide endless sound design possibilities.


Surge XT’s modulation section could almost be a standalone synth in itself.


Surge Modulation LFO2 - Unison


With 12 LFO units, each sporting DAHDSR envelope generators, and multiple oscillator shapes, you can precisely shape your sound in real-time.


It also offers a highly unique formula modulator that utilizes Lua scripting, letting you produce custom modulation outputs.


The effects section in Surge XT is a smorgasbord of 27 different algorithms.


From vintage-sounding EQs and distortions to cutting-edge mangling and spatial effects, you’ll find something to fit every mix and genre.


NOTE: Each scene supports up to 16 effect units, giving you a colossal range of sonic possibilities.


Surge Distortion - Unison


Finally, this synth VST plugins compatibility is unparalleled.


Unlike some of the other best synth VST plugins, Surge XT runs seamlessly on a multitude of operating systems and supports various plugin formats and architectures.


This makes it one of the most flexible synth plugins out there.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Surge Send FX Return - Unison


  • Free and open-source
  • Dual-scene architecture for intricate layering and splitting
  • 12 diverse oscillator algorithms with up to 16-voice unison
  • Extensive filter block with open-source additions
  • Robust modulation/sound engine featuring Lua scripting for custom outputs
  • 27 different effects algorithms
  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Genuine synth sound that exceed the best synth VST plugins
  • One of the best VST synths (VST synthesizers) of 2023


#9. Newfangled Audio Generate


Generate - Unison


Newfangled Audio’s Generate is not your average synthesizer; it’s a cinematic polysynth that thrives on chaos (controlled chaos, to be precise).


Built around a set of eight “chaotic generators,” Generate explores the boundary between predictability and randomness.


Generate Chaotic Generator - Unison


These generators bring out underlying patterns in what appears to be randomness, creating a broad range of sonic textures from the gritty and dissonant to the harmonic and melodic.


Generate employs a range of wavefolders, including a model of the iconic Buchla 259 and a “bent” version of the same.


Generate Wavefolder - Unison


This allows you to shape the chaotic oscillations into something musically meaningful.


Wavefolding is followed by a low-pass gate inspired by the ideas of Don Buchla and adds a unique overtone and modulation flavor to your sounds.


Unlike other synth plugins, its modulation system in Generate is extremely expansive.


You can modulate every parameter via a combination of:


  • Two Looping Envelope Generators
  • Two LFOs, a Sample and Hold/Random generator
  • An 8-Step Sequencer
  • Even MIDI and MPE sources


The interface itself is designed to make routing these sources as straightforward and intuitive as possible.


Generate Envelopes LFO Effects - Unison


Generate’s voice is augmented by an array of professional-grade effects 一 including EQ, Chorus, Delay, Reverb, and Limiter.


These are designed to add space, character, or polish to your chaotic creations and enable them to stand alone or integrate seamlessly into a larger mix.


This synth is very visual…


Generate Low Pass Gate - Unison


Animations give you insight into how modules like the Double Pendulum, Wavefolder, and Low Pass Gate respond to your input and modulation.


Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects is the continuous update and expansion of Generate’s features.


NOTE: The latest version adds new wavefolders, an updated sequencer, and even the ability to modulate the built-in effects, taking its capabilities to new heights.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Generate - Unison


  • Impressive chaotic generators for innovative sound design and unique sounds
  • 5 wavefolders based on iconic Buchla models and modern algorithms
  • Extensive modulation options, including the ability to modulate modulators
  • High-quality onboard effects with modulation capabilities
  • Visually intuitive with animations for music production
  • Constant updates and new features, impressive synth sound/sound engine
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023 (possibly one of the best synth plugins ever)


#10. Arturia Analog Lab V


Analog Lab - Unison


When you open Arturia’s Analog Lab V, you are entering a meticulously curated digital museum of synthesizer history, but with a modern twist.


It’s a singular VST plugin that offers you a vast sonic palette, ranging from vintage keys to modern synths, all at your fingertips.


Rather than juggling multiple plugins for different sounds, Analog Lab V centralizes your workflow by bringing together a colossal library of presets from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection.


It’s not just a patch library 一 it’s an integrated experience designed for producers, performers, and sound designers alike.


This VST synth boasts a whopping 2,000 presets.


Analog Labs Search Presets - Unison


But don’t let that overwhelm you, as the interface has been designed for intuitive navigation.


You can easily search for sounds by:


  • Instrument types
  • Sound banks
  • Designers
  • Even musical styles


And, for when inspiration strikes, this VST plugin allows you to tag your favorite presets and create personalized playlists.


It’s like having your own customized synth workstation, one where you can also leave notes and organize your sounds by songs for easy recall during performances or practice.


Analog Lab V wears many hats, unlike other synths.


Whether you’re into soulful organs, buzzing synth bass, or warm analog pads, you’ll find what you need.


Unlike many other virtual analog plugins that specialize in one type of sound, Analog Lab V is versatile.


Analog Labs 3 - Unison


It captures the essence of multiple instruments and eras 一 giving you the tools to craft your unique sonic landscape.


What also makes Analog Lab V stand out is its smart parameter mapping.


Each instrument’s complexities are distilled into a set of macro controls, allowing you to tweak sounds effortlessly.


These macro controls are especially handy when you’re looking to evolve your sound dynamically during a performance or recording session.


NOTE: Four of these macro controls feature on the latest presets.


This plugin excels in its integration capabilities.


Arturia Labs Parameter Mapping - Unison


Not only does it work seamlessly with Arturia’s Lab range of controllers, but it’s also compatible with most other MIDI controllers.


This flexibility gives you tactile control over your sounds, making the experience more engaging and expressive.


It’s also designed with varying workflow needs in mind, offering both Studio and Stage Views:


  • The Studio View


Analog Labs Studio View - Unison


The Studio View is your creative lab and allows you deeper control over mixing, effects, and signal chains.


  • The Stage View


Analog Labs Stage View - Unison


The Stage View brings an all-in-one interface focused on live performance, complete with notes & setlist features.


If that wasn’t enough, Analog Lab V also offers a Sound Store, updated monthly with exclusive sounds and preset expansions.


You can’t say that about most other synth plugins around.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Analog Labs Effects - Unison


  • Massive library of 2,000 presets from vintage to modern instruments
  • Intuitive browsing with the ability to tag favorites and create personalized playlists
  • Macro controls for easy and quick sound manipulation
  • Exceptional MIDI controller integration
  • Dual-view interface for both studio work and live performances
  • Access to the Sound Store for exclusive monthly updates
  • Seamless integration of sounds with great sound quality
  • Offers a versatile range of sounds, from organs and basses to pads and leads
  • One of the best synth plugins/best VST synths of 2023


#11. DiscoDSP OB-Xd


OB - Unison


As soon as you load up DiscoDSP’s OB-Xd, you’re greeted with a warm, rich timbre that has been captivating musicians for generations.


The OB-Xd is a homage to the iconic Oberheim OB-X, but it’s far from a one-to-one clone.


This VST synthesizer enriches the vintage roots with a suite of modern features.


Meaning, it’s not only a perfect synth for those yearning for that ’80s synthwave nostalgia but also a flexible tool for any genre.


The original OB-X was a paragon of analog sound, but it had limitations, many of which have been thoughtfully addressed in OB-Xd.


One of the signature features that set OB-Xd apart from its original inspiration is the implementation of “micro random detuning.”


OB Voice Variation Filters - Unison


This serves to emulate the slight inconsistencies you would find in analog hardware, enriching the sound to be fuller and more lifelike.


This is particularly useful for those looking to replicate the warmth and richness of vintage analog synthesizers.


It offers an organic depth that is often missing in the digital realm.


OB-Xd offers an array of filters that can be continuously blended, ranging from high-pass to notch to low-pass in both 12 dB and 24 dB modes.


OB Filter Envelope - Unison


This blendable multimode filter significantly widens your sonic canvas and allows for real-time morphing of sounds.


Plus, this VST synth does not incorporate internal effects, granting you the pure, uncolored sound that leaves ample room for external processing like:


  • Chorus
  • Reverb
  • Delay 


With this, you can further sculpt and enhance the tonal quality; on par with the best synth plugins ever.


OB Oscillators Mix Control - Unison


Beyond the basics, the OB-Xd is also geared towards those interested in micro-tuning, with support for MTS-ESP (surpassing the best synth plugins).


This allows for more granular control over tuning adjustments.


It’s perfect for musicians or producers who delve into non-standard tunings or like to experiment with the texture and tone of their sounds.


OB Modulation - Unison


In terms of compatibility, OB-Xd impressively supports Linux natively.


Finally, because it’s focused on delivering the original sound faithfully without onboard effects, you get a raw sonic material that is a joy to process externally.


Whether it’s adding a vintage-sounding reverb or modern delay, the OB-Xd is like a blank canvas, unlike other digital synths (like Massive X).


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


OB Manual - Unison


  • Emulates the iconic Oberheim OB-X synthesizer with modern enhancements
  • Micro random detuning for fuller, richer sounds
  • Blendable multimode filter with both 12 dB and 24 dB modes
  • Pure, uncolored sound ideal for external processing
  • Supports MTS-ESP for micro-tuning
  • Native Linux support
  • Versatile for both vintage and modern sound designs
  • Ideal for producers seeking the 80s synthwave aesthetic
  • One of the best synth VSTs/best VST synths of 2023


#12. Roland ZENOLOGY Pro


Zenology - Unison


With ZENOLOGY Pro, Roland has encapsulated over half a century of synthesis innovation into a software form.


This is not just another synth plugin; it’s a deep well of sonic capabilities that brings the rich history of Roland’s legendary hardware (classic synth sounds) into the modern production environment.


ZENOLOGY Pro is the plugin version of Roland’s ZEN-Core Synthesis System.


It’s a robust engine that offers both the classic and modern sound design options in an intuitive and expandable package.


ZENOLOGY Pro is packed with a dizzying array of features that set it apart.


Zenology Sound Design - Unison


At its core are discrete synth voices, each containing:


  • An oscillator
  • Filter
  • Amplifier
  • Dual LFOs
  • Effects


The ZEN-Core engine supports multiple synthesis types, combining vintage Roland oscillators and filters with PCM waves.


This enables sync and cross-modulation, and you can layer up to four voices in a single tone.


This synth VST is not just a synthesizer but a full-fledged effects processor as well.


It comes with over 90 built-in effects that range from classic reverbs and delays to unique and revered processors like the SDD-320 Dimension D and DJ-FX Looper.


Zenology Effects - Unison


These give you enormous flexibility in shaping and coloring your sound, whether you’re looking for a subtle alteration or a transformative sonic experience.


ZENOLOGY Pro’s browser is organized and intuitive, designed to help you find exactly what you need in a sea of thousands of patches and hundreds of drum kits.


Zenology Designer Drums - Unison


Customization is also a strong suit of this plugin, as you can:


  • Filter and organize your sounds
  • Rate favorites
  • Even create custom banks


It’s a synth plugin that adapts to your workflow rather than forcing you into a particular way of doing things.


Another standout feature is its Model Expansions.


These instantly transform ZENOLOGY Pro into different iconic Roland instruments like the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, SH-101, JX-8P, and JD-800.


Zenology 3 - Unison


Using advanced modeling techniques, each Model Expansion captures the essence of the original instruments.


This offers you their unique sonic characteristics and functionalities but is optimized for high polyphony and integrated seamlessly into your DAW.


Deep custom sound design is another area where ZENOLOGY Pro shines.


Unlike other synth plugins, the ZEN-Core Synthesis System allows you to tweak every possible parameter.


Whether you’re modulating with its eight simultaneous LFOs in a patch, crafting complex tones with multiple synthesis types, or diving into its vast selection of drum sounds and kits, the sky’s the limit.


Standout Features of This Synth VST Plugin:


Zenology Instruments - Unison


  • Built on Roland’s ZEN-Core Synthesis System for unparalleled sonic flexibility
  • Over 90 built-in effects, including classic and unique processors
  • Layer up to four voices in a single tone for complex sound design
  • Intuitive and customizable browser for easy navigation
  • Model Expansions transform the plugin into iconic Roland instruments
  • Supports deep custom sound design with a multitude of parameters
  • Vast selection of drum sounds and kits with dedicated compressors
  • Continually expanding sound library available through Roland Cloud
  • One of the best VST synths of 2023


The Best VST Synth Plugins: Final Thoughts


Choosing the best VST synths can be a game-changer for your music production journey.


Whether you’re designing intricate soundscapes, laying down foundational bass lines, or creating captivating melodies, the quality and flexibility of your synth can make all the difference.


As we’ve shown throughout this comprehensive guide, 2023 offers a remarkable array of VST synths for all kinds of producers.


They each contain their own unique set of features designed to inspire creativity and elevate your sound.


But remember, even the best VST synths are only as good as the presets and sound libraries that fuel them.


That’s where this free Serum Essentials pack comes into play.


These preset banks are the perfect companion to any VST on this list that supports


Serum presets, offering you polished, genre-specific sounds that are ready for the big stage.


Every preset comes fully loaded with macros and flexible parameters 一 enabling you to tweak, customize, and truly make each sound your own.


It’s like having a professional sound designer at your fingertips that can instantly upgrade your production game.


So, now that you’re armed with all the information on the best VST synths of 2023, you’re more than ready to navigate the expansive world of music production like an absolute pro.


Remember, the tools you choose today could very well define your sound for years to come.


Until next time…



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