Martin Lüders has released the latest beta version of PG8X, a fantastic freeware emulation of the legendary Roland JX-8P analog synthesizer which is now available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST plugin for Windows and Mac OS based host applications.
I’ve been waiting for a native C++ version of PG8X for so long that it’s not even funny (it was announced back in 2011 I believe), but the day has finally come! Well, that’s not completely true because the plugin is still in beta, but the latest beta version is so awesome that I just couldn’t hold it anymore and had to announce it in the news section. I’m so excited about this one! If you’re a fan of the old SynthEdit version of PG8X, or if you’re simply someone who enjoys a really good sounding and well-polished freeware VA synthesizer, prepare to have your mind blown.See also: Best FREE Virtual Analogue Synthesizer VSTi Plugins!
PG8X now comes with an all-new and awesome looking GUI (pictured below) made by KVR Audio member ENV1 and the plugin is now compatible with all major platforms. The new beta worked without any issues on my test machine (64-bit version of MuLab Free running on Windows 7), however, ML-VST is still working on making this plugin an even better instrument.
The final version will include some additional minor fixes and improvements (a slightly different ADSR envelope and some minor GUI changes), as well as a detailed user manual. Compared to the old SynthEdit version of the plugin, the new hand-coded PG8X comes with improved compatibility, optimized CPU usage, and, of course, a completely reworked sound engine which in my opinion sounds better than ever before.
This awesome instrument is now officially in my Top 3 freeware virtual analog synthesizers of all time, along with Charlatan by BlauKraut Engineering and Tyrell N6 by U-He. It blows me away when a virtual instrument has a certain character and sound which is different from all the other ones out there and PG8X is definitely that kind of instrument. You can make some amazing analog-style sounds with it, including (but not limited to) string ensembles (the chorus module included in PG8X sounds just brilliant), wonderful lush pads, huge bass sounds, and lots of other stuff.
A huge THANK YOU goes out to the developer ML-VST for his work on this amazing freeware instrument. I remember when Martin first announced that he is going to develop a fully hand-coded version of PG8X all those years ago and it sounded like something that is simply too good to become true one day. But here it is and Martin Lüders (with the help of ENV1 who made an amazing GUI, as well as the support from the KVR Audio community who made some great suggestions on how to further improve PG8X) actually made this wonderful instrument a reality.
I’ve included the link to the latest beta post on KVR Audio in the downloads section below. It will take you to the developer’s public Dropbox account where you’ll find the latest beta versions for each supported platform. You should also check out the linked KVR Audio thread for more info about the plugin and links to free user-made sound banks for PG8X. Enjoy!
PG8X is available for free download from the developer’s website. No registration required.
More info: PG8X (1.36 MB download size, DLL file, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows & macOS).
Very Cool Synth!!! Cool sound cool emulation cool sound character …one of the few synths that sounds good and emulates the vintage hardware on which you can play with pleasure the hours… the true sound!!! Martin The Best!!!
Just found out about this one, what a great sounding synth.
Wow the GUI improved a lot!
I own the original JX8P with PG800 since 1986, so I think I’m more than qualified to judge the sound quality of this outstanding plugin. It’s almost indistinguishable from a real JX, down to the it’s famous HiFi sound, slow envelopes and beefy low end, simply amazing, among the best sounding emulations! Good Job!
Wow!! I’ve been looking for an emulation of my beloved JX-8p for years! It’s perfect! Loading the Soundtrack and High Strings patches takes me back to 1985. Nothing sounds like the JX8P and JX10. Beautifully rich and warm.
I never played the original, but I love the sounds of PG8X. It’s great to hear that the owners of the JX-8p feel the same. :)
Where did you get the Soundtrack and Hi Strings? I’ve been looking everywhere online and can’t find those patches. Any help would be very appreciated.
how to install to use in garageband?
I’m blown away by this synth. I used to have the real thing and I have to say that I believe this is even better than the real thing. I remember mine sounded a little… muddy, not warm, muddy.
This plug sounds a bit brighter, in a good way, and seems to have more warmth as well. I always had problems with the real thing sitting in the mix, this one not so, absolutely astounding! I feel bad that this is free, how can it be?
Thanks for your input! I’m a huge fan of PG8X but I never had the chance to compare it to the original instrument. Glad to hear that a Jx-8P owner thinks it sounds good, too.
I must be missing something – I’m only seeing the VST version, but I would love a Mac Audio Units version for use with Logic. Not seeing that anywhere… any help? Thanks!
Oops, it’s VST only for Windows and macOS. Sorry for the confusing info in the article (I will now remove the line that mentions an AU plugin version – that was a mistake). You can download the latest installer here: https://sites.google.com/site/mlvst0/
Can’t get this to work on Mac M1. driving me nuts because it’s such a great plug-in :(
Sorry to hear that. :( This is why I’m still sticking to Windows for my DAW machine.
Hi, I can’t find the presets (or patches) for it. Is it suppose to be included in the dll file or do I have to download them separately? There´s a lot of other patch-banks to be downloaded from the KVR site, but I can’t find Martin Luders original patches.
If you mean the 15 presets he made on the old version – you have to load up the old version and manually port them.. I guess no one wanted to do it.
KVR and various SYX sources have plenty of presets anyway.
i couldn’t get it to download on my mac. any help would be super nice. thanks
What a wonderful Synth. Exactly what I’m looking for! Fantastic and thankyou to Martin!
Doesn’t work as is for Mac OS. Help would be appreciated. Thanks for this beautiful emulation!
Any idea how to make this VST work on MacOS Monterey (M1) ?
When I place the vst file inside /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST there is an error message: ““PG-8X.vst” cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified.”
And also an error in Bitwig when I scan the plugin: “com.bitwig.flt.library.metadata.reader.exception.CouldNotReadMetadataException: could not read metadata: Not a plug-in file”