Top 10 Vintage Analogue Software Synthesizers
What is the best vintage synth vst?
Who'd have thought it? That in 2020 there'd be a near infinite amount of Vintage Synth VSTs designed and developed entirely in software that so closely match the sound of the original hardware synths you'd be hard pushed to win a back to back blind test in the sound stakes on some of these.
With synth developers baking in additional functionality along the way and the ready ability to load up as many VSTi instances as your CPU can handle it's clearly an excellent time to be alive for music producers and synth enthusiasts alike.
But with so much choice comes so much agony. How to know which synth vsts to invest in and which synths deliver nothing but a pile of aliased binary to your ears?
We've done the time for you and from extensive
road studio testing and our own real world experience have put together THE top 10 vintage software synth VSTs of 2020!
Ahh Repro... This software synth makes more top 10 synth lists than you could shake a TB-303 at.
It's the sum of its' parts that come together to create a truly unique package.
From the authentically rich organic sound, the software enhanced modulation matrix and additional filter and envelope types to the included analogue style FX.
All these things deliver a package that's so stunningly alike to the Sequential Prophet-5 synth you'll be questioning why anyone would want to own an antiquated, unstable, hard to service original.
Value's good too bringing you essentially two synths in one. The Pro-One and The Prophet-5 each with their own merits and unique selection of analogue style FX.
Repro-5 and Repro-1 Presets are aplenty, from our own catalogue as well as many incredibly good aftermarket ones from other designers making U-he Repro a synth explorers dream.
From Brainworx and the Plugin Alliance team comes their take on the Oberheim SEM synth.
Doing well to replicate the crispy and pleasingly brash sound of original, the BX_Oberhausen is an excellent software synth for leads, brass, pads and tight bass.
The software VST version enhances over the original by offering a modulation matrix, built in effects and easy patch management.
Complete with solid factory preset packs and some truly inspiring aftermarket packs coming to the market this synth's going to be around in the virtual synth world for some years to come.
Whilst initially not cheap it can be picked up in PA's subscription plan and frequently occurs on the rotational sales PA often do - so there should be options for everyone wanting a virtual piece of SEM history.
Native Instruments Monark
Based on Moogs' Minimoog, NI Monark is a mono synth powerhouse. Delivering some of the most authentic analogue tone you can currently get in VST Instrument form.
Complete with 3 oscillators, the usual amp/filter sections with the inclusion of some additional filter types like Band Pass.
Monarks sound has real presence and the Synth runs via Reaktor or the free Reaktor player at native 88khz sample rates so ensures the synth avoids aliasing as much as possible. The result is pleasingly warm and vintage tone that's truly analogue sounding to the ear.
The only downside being no ready ability to save Monark presets. But with a knob per function and 1 page front panel it should not avoid anyone keen on vintage tone from picking it up.
At £89 it's not unreasonably priced for what is one of the best in class software mono synths.
Softube Model 72
Another Minimoog replication but with enough enhancements to warrant including it on our lists.
An absolute pursuit of sound quality perfection was the mindset from Softube in developing this synth.
Sounding awesome in use and truly authentic in tone. Enhancements over the original hardware (and Monark) include voice doubler, spread control, ability to use it as an external FX unit, as well as use the individual components inside of Softubes modular software.
Softube themselves say they modelled this software synth from the component level of an 'pristine' original condition Minimoog. As such this may well represent one of the purest sounding Minimoogs in VSTi format available today.
If you're already in the Softube eco-system then this ones a no-brainer.
A relative newcomer to the scene. Modelled on the legendary early 80s Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizer.
It models most of the usual synth functionality whilst adding some additional features such as individual control over each of the 16 synth voices which results in a huge amount of flexibility over the final sound.
Additional enhancements over the original include more filter options, voice spread, a modulation matrix and 3x dedicated FX units of Reverb, Chorus and Delay.
Inclusion of some pretty good presets from the off means that for £79 you're getting a pretty good value vintage VSTi.
The sound is warm and lush and very well suited to rich leads and progressing, evolving pads along with the typical 80s type synth bass sounds. For retro, vintage 80s and Synthwave style sounds this synth is definitely delivers buckets of analogue synth charm in a modern VSTi package.
D16 Group LuSH101
Based on the 1982 Roland SH-101 synth and first reviewed by us here LuSH101 offers the usual VSTi emulated parts with heaps of added functionality.
Some of these enhancements are fairly simple such as inverted envelopes, dual LFOs, effects, ARP/Gater whilst others are more extreme such as 8 layers providing essentially 8 versions of LuSH101 in one synth and 8 layer unison mode.
Each layer is controlled via the LuSH101 mixer panel and even goes as far as individual insert and send effects for each layer.
The sound is thick and weighty and brings some real analogue fuzziness and harmonics to it's tones.
Arturia Modular V
Arturia partnered with Dr Bob Moog himself in developing the Modular V.
A Behemoth of a Software synth that accurately emulates all the modular intricacies of Moog famous System 55. With it comes some eye watering specs such as 9 oscillators, 6 envelopes, 16 aux VCAs and no less than 14 different filter types.
In addition, it includes replication of some rare modules and inclusion of Arturia custom developed effects modules such as Ring Modulator and Formant Filter.
Patchable via the visual patch cables it's a sound designers dream and all operating up to 96Khz the sound quality is definitely up there.
Not content with leaving designers to it, Modular V comes complete with over 500 synth presets and hundreds more presets available on the third party market.
It's been on the scene for a few years now, has won numerous accolades and still shines. If you're not intimidated by it's infinite options and like to lose yourself in sound you should be checking this out.
Modelled on the Alpha Juno 1 / 2 hardware synth - perhaps the quintessentially affordable synth of the 80s. Thus it defined much of the sound of the later part of the 80s and early 90s.
Audiorealism offers up a replica VSTi (and Reason Rack Extension) version that so accurately models the original you can even load Juno presets straight into it to instantly recreate those classic sounds.
With very little software enhancement over the original this is pretty much designed as a 1:1 software synth replica and it does that very well.
The sound is incredibly authentic, offering up all the adjectives you could come up with to describe this 80s delight.
As one of the the most affordable synths to make our list if you're a music producer into any kind of Retro, Synthwave, 80s or even early 90s rave then you should be checking synth out.
Roland TB-303 Cloud
£14.99 per month
It would have been easy to include most of Rolands vintage synth cloud offerings here but we had to narrow it down to one. The TB-303 VSTi by Roland offers an almost majestically authentic sound experience to the hardware TB-303.
Beyond the usual software advantages of preset management and being able to run multiple instances it otherwise remains a true 1:1 replication of the original hardware synth.
And we can't fault it, It's good on CPU, excellent on sound and offers a completely no frills approach to that immensely addictive 303 acid sound.
So good is the 303 acid sound of this that sticking a on looped ARPeggiated rhythm with modulated cut/off and resonance is guaranteed to result in severe flashbacks to a random sweat filled warehouse with nothing but the acid and the love to dance to.
Korg Odyssey ARP
A faithfully modelled ARP VSTi by KORG themselves. Offering up some software improvements over the original by way of Drive module, 16 voice polyphonic mode, more filter revisions and inbuilt effects.
All of these things wrap up what is already an extremely good VST replication. Chuck in over 200 ARP Odyssey presets and you've got an in the box synth that sounds just like the out the box hardware for a fraction of the cost.
It's versatile, and with switchable filter revisions the Odyssey offers up a unique blend of silky smooth, sometimes squelchy whilst occasionally growly type of sound.
So there you have it. The 10 best software VST emulations of analogue hardware of 2020 right now. No matter what your preference, genre or tastes there's a vintage synth VST out there for you.
Looking for some better presets for these synth VSTs'? Check out our own sound shop for some fantastic presets for many of these great soft synths.
Here's a taster from our catalogue of synth presets...