bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Hardware Synthesizer Clone VSTi/AU Plugins

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bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Hardware Synthesizer Clone VSTi/AU Plugins

I’m a sucker for virtual emulations of real hardware gear – that’s why making a bpb Freeware Studio selection of the best free hardware synthesizer emulations in VSTi/AU plugin format was a real joy!

Please suggest more similar plugins in the comments section, as I’m sure I’ve missed something (Roberson Audio plugins will be included in the list, but the RA website is currently offline).

Best freeware hardware synthesizer emulation VSTi plugins:

  • Arppe2600va [ARP 2600] by Glen Stegner (Windows)
  • Cheapo Tone [Casio VL-1] by Mokafix (Windows)
  • Cynthia [EMS Synthi A] by Ninecows (Windows)
  • eSLine [Solina String Ensemble] by Elektrostudio (Windows)
  • Gigmate [Moog Concertmate MG-1] by Manx (Windows)
  • Hahaha CS33 V2 [Yamaha CS-30] by pethu Music (Windows)
  • Hexter [Yamaha DX7] by Cutevst (Windows)
  • JEM SX1000 [JEN SX-1000] by Pianovintage (Windows)
  • Kassiopeia! [Casio CZ Series] by Sonic Assault (Windows)
  • Micromoon [Moog Micromoog] by Elektrostudio (Windows)
  • MinimogueVA [Moog Minimoog] by Voltkitchen (Windows)
  • Model Pro [Moog Prodigy] by Elektrostudio (Windows)
  • Mono/Fury [Korg Mono/Poly] by full bucket music (Windows)
  • Obxd [Oberheim OB-X] by 2DaT (Windows)
  • ODSay [ARP Odyssey] by Elektrostudio (Windows)
  • OR2v [Oberheim Two Voice] by Elektrostudio (Windows)
  • PG-8X [Roland JX-8P] by Martin Lüders (Windows)
  • Phutura [Roland Alpha Juno] by Phuturetone (Windows)
  • Prodigious [Moog Prodigy] by Synthescience (Windows)
  • RA Mowg [Moog Minimoog] by Chris Roberson (Windows)
  • SMC Joono 2012 [Roland Alpha Juno] by Acrobatics Software (Windows)
  • SQ8L [Ensoniq SQ-80] by Siegfried Kullman (Windows)
  • Synth1 [Clavia Nord Lead 2] by Ichiro Toda (Mac, Windows)
  • TAL-U-No-62 [Roland Juno 60] by Togu Audio Line (Mac, Windows)
  • Taurus [Moog Taurus] by Antti (Windows)
  • Venom VB-303 [Roland TB-303] by antto (Windows)

It’s hard to pick a favorite here. Perhaps SQ8L is the one I use the most – it’s a brilliant synthesizer which made me browse online ads over and over again in search for a real SQ-80 (without much success). The plugin version can even load SysEx patches designed for its hardware counterpart! Get a huge amount of those here, and learn how to load them here.

SQ8L by Siegfried Kullmann.

SQ8L by Siegfried Kullmann.

Mono/Fury is a beautiful emulation of the Korg Mono/Poly synth. I’m not sure how close it gets to the original in terms of sound, but the functionality is there. This is one of those intruments where the hardware limitations can lead to some pretty unique sounding results! A review of the Mono/Fury virtual synthesizer is available here (in German).

Mono/Fury by full bucket music.

Mono/Fury by full bucket music.

Phutura is a relatively new virtual instrument, and a very good emulation of the Roland Alpha Juno. I used to own an Alpha 2 and can safely say that Phutura emulates the original sound very well. Everything is almost spot-on, except for the filter! It comes with a lot of awesome presets, including some classic Alpha Juno sounds. Hoover, anyone?

Phutura by Phuturetone.

Phutura by Phuturetone.

TAL U-No-62 used to be my favorite synth for a long while. It’s a simple design, pretty similar to its real life counterpart – the famous Juno 60 analog synthesizer manufactured by Roland. But, this simplicity is exactly what makes it a great tool for recreating some classic synth sounds. You can get some free U-No-62 presets created by Meyer Musicmedia by clicking here.

U-No-62 by Togu Audio Line.

U-No-62 by Togu Audio Line.

Elektrostudio caused a pretty big hype back in 2009 when they came out of nowhere with 10 freeware synths released at the same time. But my favorite Elektrostudio plugin was released a bit later – it’s the Model Pro, a nice emulation of the awesome Moog Prodigy synthesizer. It sounds great, comes with some very useful presets and is capable of creating great leads and deep bass sounds.

Model Pro by Elektrostudio.

Model Pro by Elektrostudio.

Finally, a synth that must be mentioned in any best freeware synth list is definitely Synth1. Yes, it’s an emulation of the Nord Lead 2, but also much more than that! A legend among VST instruments, with amazing functionality, great sounds, and an insanely low CPU hit. Don’t be fooled by the factory soundbank, there are hundreds of awesome free sounds available for Synth1, you can get my favorite ones here and here.

And that’s all for today! Once again, if I’ve missed some cool synths, please mention them in the comments section below. Many thanks to our readers Fernando Rodrigues for suggesting Kassiopeia! by Sonic Assault, some65 for suggesting Venom VB-303 and Bryan for suggesting Prodigious.

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About The Author

Tomislav is a journalist, music producer and web designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the owner and editor-in-chief here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

15 Comments

  1. Tomislav, you can fix info about Hexter. Cutevst page is up and running for a year or so, and all plugins are available.

  2. You’ve got some of my favorites here, but I see that Dexed is missing. This is a DX7 emu which like the SQ8L also runs hardware patches, (If only I had the real the deal.) Dexed runs on PC and Mac and be downloaded at https://asb2m10.github.io/dexed/

    Another one I recently discovered is the KX-SYNTH-X16-V5, a modular soft synth based on the EMS VCS3, I haven’t had the chance to dig into it yet because I only recently found out about it but if you’re looking for Pink Floyd or classic Doctor Who soundscapes this is probably the VST for you. It looks like it’s pc only and can be downloaded from http://kx77free.free.fr/English-page-download.html

    I can’t wait to try some of these others, nice list!

    • Tomislav Zlatic on

      Some really good points there, thanks. I will update all of these VST round-ups by the end of 2016, and I’ll definitely add Dexed to the list.

  3. Great list! Thank you very much.
    I have crossed this one. Because it’s not a synthesizer but a sampler, I don’t know if it belongs here. But it’s very funny and interesting VST.
    Cyclone (https://soniccharge.com/forum/topic/432) is based on the 12bit Yamaha TX16W sampler. In fact, it’s rather an emulator, than a clone. You even have to use floppy disk images to get factory sounds into it (you can save FXB, FXP later). Of course it can do sampling too :-D
    Available for Mac and PC.

    • Tomislav Zlatic on

      Unfortunately, not as far as I know. The synth was last updated in 2008. You can try using a 64-bit wrapper.

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