Software / VST synths?

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TTonyTTony Frets: 27879
I've been playing around with various cheapo/free/bundled (in S1) synth plugins for a while, but it might be time to spend some money on something, prompted in no small part by the soon-to-be-released Midi Guitar 3 (I've been playing with the beta version) which frees me from the need to use a keyboard.

Any recommendations for generally decent VST synths?  

I need a UI that's easy to use (which is obviously a matter of personal opinion!) - not something that needs me to have a degree in sound synthesis to operate, but not a "for dummies" simplistic approach either.

I've been playing with the demo versions of some Tone2 synths, which seem to be powerful/UI-friendly, costing around £150.  On the one hand, that's the cost of a pedal, so not super-expensive, but on the other hand, I can't really sell on a bit of software, so want to spend wisely.

Any suggestions?

Needs to run as a VST in S1, and on my M2 MacBook Pro.
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Comments

  • swillerswiller Frets: 1395
    Diva is phenomenal. Should be ok on todays modern processors but still hungry. 
    Its analog style synthesis and must be over 10 years old now, but still the king, well queen actually. Sure the maker UHE have some fine freebies on offer, they did a few years ago, which were all best in class free synths back then.

    Or, prob best bet...
    Get a free 30 day trial of the roland cloud and pick from there. You may prefer digital style with pianos, drumkits etc, in which case you are spoilt rotten. Their JD800 is superb. Some nice analogs in there and their 106 is the best ive heard, against my own hardware 106. Its enough for me to sell it and not miss it. Happy to continue to pay 25 per month for it, and every year you get one of your choice free to keep forever irrespective of subscriber status. Pretty much everything roland ever made, including space echo, D50, 808/909/303 etc.


    Dont worry, be silly.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    As above U-He are the king of synths.

    Diva, Hive and Repro are all superb.

    Other than that.
    Synapse Audio stuff is awesome especially Dune but isn't the easiest to use.

    Lots of people love Arturia Pigments and it's a crazy bargain and probably the only synth you ever need because they just keep adding more engines.

    Baby Audio BA-1 is very easy to use and fun and Retro.

    Bit of a weird one but Synplant is unconventional and very playful and easy to make interesting sounds if you don't know how to use a normal synth.

    If you want to learn to use synths then Syntorial is great.
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  • BodBod Frets: 1336
    A vote here for Arturia Pigments.  It's a great UI and as @monquixote says, they keep adding new engines and each major upgrade has been free for existing users so far.
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 22539
    Cherry Audio. Great prices, great sounding synths. $39 for the Eight Voice Synth is ludicrously good. 

    https://cherryaudio.com/



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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    Cherry Audio. Great prices, great sounding synths. $39 for the Eight Voice Synth is ludicrously good. 

    https://cherryaudio.com/
    https://www.humblebundle.com/software/music-creators-studio-essentials-software

    A load of cherry audio in the current humble bundle 

    Personally I'd pay the extra and get Diva.
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 27879
    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    @swiller - wow there's a lot of content in the Roland approach - but I abhor the subscription basis and probably wouldn't learn enough about any of the individual options in the 30day demo period to make an informed choice about buying any of them.

    @monquixote - I remember having a CM-giveaway version of a U-He synth some years ago, which seemed both very functional and easy to use, so the mention of them from both of you is good recommendation.  I'll take a look at any demo versions of their current products.

    @bod - Pigments - just watched a YT video on that.  The UI looks good to me, and functionality/sounds look pretty extensive.  Looks that that was 50% off a couple of months ago, so I would probably wait for another similar offer.
    Having trouble posting images here?  This might help.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    TTony said:
    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    @swiller - wow there's a lot of content in the Roland approach - but I abhor the subscription basis and probably wouldn't learn enough about any of the individual options in the 30day demo period to make an informed choice about buying any of them.

    @monquixote - I remember having a CM-giveaway version of a U-He synth some years ago, which seemed both very functional and easy to use, so the mention of them from both of you is good recommendation.  I'll take a look at any demo versions of their current products.

    @bod - Pigments - just watched a YT video on that.  The UI looks good to me, and functionality/sounds look pretty extensive.  Looks that that was 50% off a couple of months ago, so I would probably wait for another similar offer.


    Roland Cloud is famously a total arseache

    U-He stuff is occasionally on sale

    Arturia stuff is regularly on offer and you get personal discounts based on how much of their stuff you own.
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 27879

    Arturia stuff is regularly on offer and you get personal discounts based on how much of their stuff you own.
    Biggest discounts for people that don't own anything yet, to tempt them in???
    :D

    I'll find a mailing list signup for Arturia!
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    TTony said:

    Arturia stuff is regularly on offer and you get personal discounts based on how much of their stuff you own.
    Biggest discounts for people that don't own anything yet, to tempt them in???
    :D

    I'll find a mailing list signup for Arturia!


    If you sign up to plugin boutique you get lots of offers and discounts and freebies.
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 27879
    I already get the plugin boutique emails - but probably too many and I get bored looking at all the content in each one.  Too much content, too often and too much distraction with "oh, that might be fun" tempters!
    Having trouble posting images here?  This might help.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
    edited June 9 tFB Trader
    TTony said:
    I already get the plugin boutique emails - but probably too many and I get bored looking at all the content in each one.  Too much content, too often and too much distraction with "oh, that might be fun" tempters!

    Indeed I deleted most of them.

    BTW my advice would be to go for modern super synths rather than reproductions of old stuff. I invested a huge amount of money in V Collection and hardly use it.
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  • swillerswiller Frets: 1395
    I tried the arturia stuff and wasnt that impressed vs roland cloud or divas ability to do it all. 
    Might help tony if you tell us what kind of things you are after, sonically that is. If you want an analog style polysnth or workstation type digital stuff, or both.

    Dont worry, be silly.
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 27879
    swiller said:

    Might help tony if you tell us what kind of things you are after, sonically that is. If you want an analog style polysnth or workstation type digital stuff, or both.

    I don't know enough to define it in those terms.

    My use case is to create some different sounds using my guitar as the input via Midi Guitar 3 purely for amusement and a little compositional variation and enhancement.  My keyboard skills are limited (just basic chords really), hence wanting to use guitar as the input device.

    Looked at Native Instruments stuff (summer sale deals), but the need to install their player and hassles with getting a couple of the demos installed has put me off that approach.  So, want simple to install / manage and a UI that I think I can work with.  

    Currently, Pigments is looking good to me.
    Having trouble posting images here?  This might help.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 3111

    In fact, any of the gforce stuff is good. Who doesn't want a SEM?


    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 7353
    Serum is absolutely badass.

    I also like absynth but its been discontinued :(
    ဈǝᴉʇsɐoʇǝsǝǝɥɔဪቌ
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    Serum is absolutely badass.

    I also like absynth but its been discontinued :(

    I imagine Serum probably would be less the kind of thing Tony would be looking for (Although I know you can make lots of more retro sounds with it)
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
    edited June 10 tFB Trader
    TTony said:
    swiller said:

    Might help tony if you tell us what kind of things you are after, sonically that is. If you want an analog style polysnth or workstation type digital stuff, or both.

    I don't know enough to define it in those terms.

    My use case is to create some different sounds using my guitar as the input via Midi Guitar 3 purely for amusement and a little compositional variation and enhancement.  My keyboard skills are limited (just basic chords really), hence wanting to use guitar as the input device.

    Looked at Native Instruments stuff (summer sale deals), but the need to install their player and hassles with getting a couple of the demos installed has put me off that approach.  So, want simple to install / manage and a UI that I think I can work with.  

    Currently, Pigments is looking good to me.

    I think the main things you might be after would be:
    • Analogue mono - The kind of thing that does big fat synth bass lines or single note lead parts you will have heard first off in things like prog rock and then things like, daft punk etc. Moogs are the most common reference point
    • Analogue poly - The big warm lush analogue chords you will hear in 70's and 80's pop and anything more modern that's a bit retro - Roland Junos and Jupiters, Prophets and Oberheims are the reference point (They obvs do mono, but they aren't bass specialists in the way a Moog is)
    • FM - The 80's Yamaha sound think the piano in a whitney houston song, or the bassline to the Fresh Prince (or a hundred other songs of that era)
    • Wavetable - The more modern sound you will have heard in contemporary dance (Vital, & Serum VSTs are the kings here)
    • Romplers - Keyboards that basically play back little chopped up samples (think most home keyboards)
    There are other types like Physical etc, but I don't think you need to care about them.

    Diva is essentially a modeller (like the Helix, but for synths) that models the:
    Roland Juno and Alpha Juno - Quintessential Polys
    Moog Minimoog, Korg MS 20 - Quintessential Monos

    But with the added bonus of being able to mix and match components so you can have a Juno oscillator running into a Moog filter for example. This gives you a huge amount of power while being fairly approachable and giving you some touchpoints of what it's going to sound like.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    BTW I made every sound in this track (except percussion) with Diva: 

    And I made all the sounds myself after watching one very good tutorial which was about an hour.
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  • Chris.BChris.B Frets: 295
    @monquixote I'm impressed with your creativity, enjoyed listening to your track.

    For me, the level of the bass percussion is a bit high, but that's probably because I'm old. 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17863
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    Chris.B said:
    @monquixote I'm impressed with your creativity, enjoyed listening to your track.

    For me, the level of the bass percussion is a bit high, but that's probably because I'm old. 

    Thank you, that's a very valid comment which relates to my not being that skilled as mixing and mastering yet.

    I'm using a really awesome kick drum VST called Kick 2 which creates a very powerful sound.
    On studio monitors it's OK, but I think when you listen through a regular hi fi it can sound like it's trying to smash your head in with a hammer and it could do with being tamed a bit.

    BTW the track is an exercise inspired by the YT channel David Bennet Piano where he explores chords. He gave an example of the "La Folia" chord progression so I wrote a piece using that as inspiration.
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