What are the best Synths for Synthwave and Outrun?

 Best synths for synthwave and outrun

Synthwave can be everything from the classically 80's inspired tones all the way to modern Neo-retro type sounds that are decidedly in theme but only possible due to modern synthesis techniques and technology. 

So from a synthesiser we want the ability to sound analogue, but also there's the occasion need for digital for those classic silky bells. We need soft attacks and a rich and full sound. Additional effects are a bonus with a particular lust for rich tonal chorus types and finally the ability to save our synthwave presets is a given.

We take a look at the top 5 software synths for Synthwave.

U-he Diva

u he diva

With it's semi modular approach and classically emulated parts it is the go-to for Synthwave. 

Featuring modules inspired from vintage Korgs, Moogs and Rolands it covers many bases and generations. It can do everything a synthwave producer needs.

Additionally It's sound is authentic, organic and life-life and the software adds functionality through FX and modulation which takes it far beyond what you could find on any of it's hardware relations. 

Divas modules are well suited to retro styles so there's no shortage of synthwave presets available for it.

We did a synthwave specific pack where you can hear Diva in action below

 

Synth available from https://u-he.com

Korg Collection

Korg legacy collection

Within this collection Korg have recreated some of their most classic synths as software versions.

In the full collection Korg now provides you with;

  • ARP ODYSSEY
  • MS-20
  • Polysix
  • Mono/Poly
  • M1
  • WAVESTATION

Each replicates their respective hardware counterpart and with a very good degree of accuracy. All can be wrapped up and used in combination with one another via Korgs included MDE-X software, which not only allows you to load up multiple synths and play as one instrument but also includes a wide range of effects both independent to each synth and globally to the combined output. 

Already used extensively by many established Synthwave producers you'd be silly not to include this in your studio kit list.

The Korg collection has been around for an age, so a back catalogue of synthwave presets shouldn't be too difficult to find.

Available at https://www.korg.com/us/products/software/korg_collection/lineup.php

TAL-U-NO-LX

Tal Uno X

Modelled on the popular Juno 60. It's been developed with zero feedback delay filters ( explanation here ) and carefully calibrated controls which make this synth a good replacement for the analog device with all the advantages software plugins have.

TAL-U-NO-LX feature list includes all things classic such as portamento and different filter LFO waveforms, an on-board arpeggiator, a very fast envelope with a smooth roll-off, emulated inaccuracies in sound and the very smooth filter gives this synth the typical sound. The synth was directly calibrated against the hardware device.

It includes an on-board uniquely creamy chorus and authentic replication of sound means you'll be taking night time walks down a rainy Tokyo back street in no time. Bliss.

Available from https://tal-software.com/products/tal-u-no-lx

U he Repro 5

u he repro 5

 

As U-he themselves put it, Repro dives into the past for analogue inspiration, meticulously modelling two famous synthesizers.

Every detail of the original has been captured using component-level modelling technology to create the most authentic model possible. All the subtle characteristics and quirks found in the originals are present in Repro. It's one product but includes two synths.

With Repro-1 features including;

  • Two multi-wave oscillators (saw/pulse and saw / triangle / pulse)
  • 4-Pole Filter
  • Monophonic
  • Arpeggiator
  • Twin 32-step sequencer, 64 steps if chained
  • Built-in effects: analog-style delay / chorus, EQ / resonator, plate reverb, sonic conditioner, wave folder
  • Tweaks page for adjusting individual component behaviour

And Repro-5 being based on famous 5-voice polyphonic hardware synth it's features look like;

  • Two multi-wave oscillators (saw/pulse and saw / triangle / pulse)
  • 4-Pole Filter
  • 8 voice polyphonic or Unison with glide.
  • Polyphonic distortion unit with 4 modes: soft clip, hard clip, foldback, corrode
  • Tweaks page for adjusting individual component behaviour

It's sound is distinctly analogue. Probably trumping even that of Diva. It's huge, rich, organic and immediate. Suitable for all things Synthwave but excelling at shimmering pads, crisp and woody bass and big leads.

Listen to its Synthwave potential here as our Synthwave preset pack demonstrates.

 

Available from https://u-he.com/products/repro/

Arturia CS-80V

Arturia CS-80v

The original CS-80 was big in size AND price tag, originally being the flagship synthesizer of the 1970's. It's unique dual voice layout allowed for rich and full sounds.

Being the synth responsible for that epic title screen theme on the original Bladerunner, it has a long and noteworthy history.

Arturia do a solid job of replicating this monster in sound, staying true to the original (including all its foibles) whilst also adding additional functionalities.

It's rich sound, deep synthesis ability and on-board FX should ensure it's place within the finest Synthwave producers kit list.

Features include

  • 2 oscillators
  • 4 filters (high pass, low pass)
  • 2 LFOs
  • 4 envelopes
  • 2 VCAs
  • 1 sub-oscillator
  • 1 ring modulator
  • chorus and tremolo
  • Digital Delay
  • Multi Mode which allows you to assign a different sound to each of the 8 voices of polyphony.
  • Modulation Matrix: 13 sources, 38 destinations taking it beyond the originals capability.

Available here https://www.arturia.com/products/analog-classics/cs-80v

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So next time you're out on a mission to find the best synths for synthwave, outrun, Chillwave or otherwise asking around which synth works for synthwave and all things retro make sure you factor in the above synthesisers into your purchasing decisions.

Perhaps you've already got a decent synth and looking for more Synthwave presets for it and your productions? Then check out just some of our featured synthwave presets below.