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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
Feel free to share links to this and your other favorite BPB articles on your favorite forums, Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, etc. and help this blog reach more people. Ok, now go make some great music!