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The 9 Best Free Soft Synth VST Plugins

The 9 Best Free Soft Synth VST Plugins

Synth VSTs are one of the most exciting things about being a producer today.

Powerful synthesis tools that used to cost thousands are now available in your DAW anytime, anywhere.

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Unlimited mastering & distribution, 1200 royalty-free samples, 30+ plugins and more! Get everything LANDR has to offer with LANDR Studio.

And the best part? Many of them are available as completely free plugins.

Software synthesizer plugins are great for everything from ambient pads to massive sub bass.

In this article I’ll break down the top 8 free synth VSTs for producing music in your DAW.

Preview of youtube video

Let’s get started.

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1. Digital Suburban Dexed

dexed free synth vst

Dexed is a freeware FM synthesizer based on the legendary Yamaha DX7. It puts all the classic sounds and functions of the original synth in a modern package.

But Dexed makes classic 6-operator FM synthesis much easier to understand and program than it ever was with hardware.

This great free synth VST is perfect for percussive sounds like tines and mallets as well as icy pads or aggressive distorted basses.

2. LANDR Chromatic

Preview of youtube video

Next up is our top choice for an inspiring free VST to add to your plugin folder. Chromatic is the first original instrument from LANDR.

Brought to you by the team that built LANDR Samples, Chromatic is a loop-based virtual instrument that turns sampled sounds into playable parts at the touch of a key.

You can download it for free and get started with a handful of free loop packs to get your ideas flowing.

Whether you use a MIDI controller or computer keyboard, Chromatic lets you go hands-on with exclusive, artist-approved loops and manipulate them with effects in real-time.

With an expanding library of inspiring loops built by top producers, Chromatic lets you browse by mood to find the perfect sounds to start a song or fill out an arrangement.

If you like loops but you prefer an alternative to the cut and paste workflow of traditional packs, Chromatic is a great choice to get ideas fast.

Find instant inspiration with LANDR Chromatic

3. Matt Tytel Helm

matt tytel helm free synth vst

Synthesis is hard to understand even when you have real hardware synthesizer in front of you. It can be even more difficult when you’re working with an abstract software plugin.

That’s why Matt Tytel’s Helm is such a great synth VST.

Helm is a great sounding, two oscillator subtractive synth that’s dead easy for beginners to use.

It’s well laid out with a logical interface and helpful graphics that let you understand every aspect of basic subtractive synthesis.

Helm is perfect If you’re just getting started and need an easy synth to learn on.

Download Helm and follow this in-depth ambient pad sound design tutorial

Download Helm and follow this in-depth ambient pad sound design tutorial

4. u-He Tyrell N6

u-he tyrell n6 free synth vst

u-He Tyrell N6 is a stylish synth with bold analog sound and simple workflow.

Simple but powerful creative fx and studio enhancers, curated to get you to a professional sound quickly and reliably. <a href="https://www.landr.com/en/pricing/chromatic?utm_campaign=acquisition_plugins_en_au_new-blog-plugins-sub-ad-1&amp;utm_medium=organic_post&amp;utm_source=blog&amp;utm_content=new-blog-plugins-sub-ad-1&amp;utm_term=general">Get 30+ plugins with LANDR-s yearly plugin subscription.</a>

Simple but powerful creative fx and studio enhancers, curated to get you to a professional sound quickly and reliably. Get 30+ plugins with LANDR-s yearly plugin subscription.

It features a great preset library and modulation matrix as well as handy extras like unison mode, loopable envelopes and built in overdrive.

Overall, Tyrell N6 is a quality freeware synth that any producer can use to make great sounds.

5. DiscoDSP OB-Xd

https://blog.landr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/DiscoDSP-OB-Xd.jpg

Speaking of analog sound, DiscoDSP’s OB-Xd models one of the most sought-after instruments in analog synth history—the Oberheim OB-X.

This completely free plugin gives you access to the lush sound of the OB-X in your DAW.

From enveloping analog pads to deep basses and searing leads, the OB-Xd is an inspiring free synth to add to your plugin folder.

6. TAL Noisemaker

https://blog.landr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TAL-Noisemaker.jpg

TAL’s excellent Noisemaker synth proves that VSTs don’t need to be complicated to work well in a track.

TAL’s excellent Noisemaker synth proves that VSTs don’t need to be complicated to work well in a track.

This straightforward synth has a powerful sound and compact, lightweight interface.

It contains a unique visual envelope editor and handy onboard effects including bitcrusher and TAL’s emulation of the Juno 60/106 chorus effect.

7. Vember Audio Surge

https://blog.landr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Vember-Audio-Surge.jpg

Vember Audio Surge is probably the most powerful free VST synth on this list.

Surge is open source which means you’re free to download the code and do whatever you want with it.

It’s fantastic sounding digital synth that can cover all kinds of different sonic territory.

Its highly flexible architecture includes wavetable oscillators, two filters with eight different modes each and routing options for frequency modulation.

If you’re looking to get lost in the possibilities of sound design, Surge is the best way to do it for free.

Learn ADSR envelope basics

Learn ADSR envelope basics

8. VCV Rack

https://blog.landr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/VCV-Rack.jpg

This next one is a little different, but it’s so exciting that it had to make it to this list.

VCV Rack is a standalone synth program that models nearly every module available for the Eurorack format.

That’s right—those enormous racks of modular gear that creative producers spend thousands of dollars collecting.

VCV Rack lets you create your own dream modular rig right on your desktop. You can even create patches authentically with virtual cables to get the real modular experience.

Integrating it with your DAW is a bit trickier—but using the plugin in standalone mode is just as fun for creating inspiring patches.

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Unlimited mastering & distribution, 1200 royalty-free samples, 30+ plugins and more! Get everything LANDR has to offer with LANDR Studio.

Every musician should try using VCV Rack to see what modular is all about.

Every musician should try using VCV Rack to see what modular is all about.

9. ML PG8X

https://blog.landr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ML-PG8X.jpg

The 80s are a popular decade for free synth plugin builders. This retro-leaning synth from developer Martin Lüders models the classic Roland JX-8p.

Check out these awesome PG-8X presets

Check out these awesome PG-8X presets

The JX-8p polysynth was one of the most popular keyboards of the time for a reason. It’s classic presets made it onto hundreds of recordings from the golden age of synth pop.

The ML PG-8X plugin version gives you all the vintage mojo of the original for free. It’s a nice analog-style polysynth with a unique retro character.

Pair it up with Dexed for authentic 80s stacked synth textures!

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You don’t need tons of expensive gear to make a great track. Free synth plugins prove that there’s plenty of capable tools out there to make music that sounds good on a shoestring budget.

Whether you’re looking for classic vintage tones, deep sound design tools or you just want to choose a good synth to get started, there’s a VST on this list to inspire you.

Now that you have some great new synths in your plugin folder, get back to your DAW and keep creating.

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Various contributors from the LANDR team of music mentors.

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