The 5 best free VST / AU synths of 2017 (with free presets!)

Synth VSTs come in all shapes and sizes.

There are the heavyweights such as Native Instrument’s Massive, Kontakt, and Xfer Records’ Serum (which you can get for $9.99/month), and free VSTs like the ones we have below that can also do a great job.

In the first of our “Best of Free VST” series, we have included 5 of the best free synths out there that are compatible with Mac and PC systems as of 2017. Even better, we have included a project at the end of this blog post demonstrating what you can do with the synths and some free presets you can download to get you started!

1. Alter Ego by Plogue

alter-ego-plogue-free-vst

This is a unique vocal synth that combines vocoder-style synthesis with text-to-speech. Type any phrase into the WORDS section and Alter Ego will speak/sing them. The synth excels in its powerful sound design tools for sculpting the fine timbres of the voice and polyphonic capabilities which allow you to play chords. However, the best part of the synth may be the anime characters. Each preset bank is represented by a character — our favorite is Bones.

Download the free synth here: Alter Ego by Plogue
Compatibility: Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher, Windows 7 or higher. 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

2. DEXED by Raph Levien and the msfa team

dexed-dx7-free-vst

Modeled after the famous Yamaha DX7, this is an FM synth perfect for those classic 80s/90s synth sounds. DEXED also acts as an interface if you have the actual DX7 hardware – you can create patches and load them to your DX7.

Download the free synth here: DEXED
Compatibility: Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher, Windows 7 or higher. 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

3. Tyrell N6 by u-he

tyrell-n6-uhe-free-vst

This subtractive synthesizer was born from a survey by the German online magazine, Amazona.de. While it was originally planned as a hardware synth, they realized it would be too costly to make. Nonetheless, u-he founder Urs Heckmann volunteered his time to realize the original vision as a software synth. The synth is highly functional, with two LFOs and envelopes that put some other paid synths to shame. A nice bonus is that the synth comes with a generous amount of presets!

Download the free synth here: Tyrell N6 by u-he
Compatibility: Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher, Windows 7 or higher. 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

4. Ample Bass P Lite II / Guitar Lite II

ample-guitar-lite-ii-free-vst

These two plugins are great for your acoustic bass/guitar needs. Both plugins have parameters to sculpt acoustic sound design elements such as fretboard noise and hammer ons and pull offs. The Ample Guitar plugin also has FX pedals and a “Strummer” section to sequence patterns and customize the physics of the actual strumming. These plugins sound more realistic than any other free bass/guitar plugins and are much better than the stock sounds inside your DAW.

Download the free synth here: Ample Guitar Lite II
Compatibility: Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher, Windows 7 or higher. 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

5) Sinnah by NUSofting

sinnah-free-vst

Despite only having one oscillator, Sinnah has a unique delay matrix that makes it worth including in your arsenal. Its single oscillator has 5 waveshapes plus options to sculpt the harmonics for each waveshape. The delay matrix can have various configurations, spanning a “triple chorus” per voice, highly randomized resonators, and relative tuning to the note played. This functionality allows for some very wide sounds making Sinnah great for pads, leads, and chorus effects.

Download the free synth here: Sinnah by NUSofting
Compatibility: Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher, Windows 7 or higher. 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.


Download the demo project:

Download the free synth VST presets.

And if you’re looking to upgrade from your stock plugins, check out iZotope Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 at just $9.99/month.

June 15, 2017