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 Neon by Steinberg is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It functions as a VST Plugin.
Product Neon
Developer Steinberg
Price (MSRP)
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Neon is a polyphonic synth featuring two oscillators, ADSR envelopes, an LFO and a resonant filter.


  • 2 Oscillators (Triangle, Saw, & Square waveforms).
  • Oscillator range 16', 8' or 4'.
  • ADSR envelopes for VCA & VCF.
  • Resonant filter.
  • LFO (Vibrato).
  • 16 voice polyphonic.
Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 2.50 from 4 reviews

Reviewed By Ayavaron
April 17, 2013

According to Wikipedia, Neon was literally the very first VST synthesizer, not the first software synthesizer but the first one made using the Steinberg VST standard. I don't know how well it compared to the competition in '98 or '99 but the synth is now freeware as part of the Steinberg Classics Pack Vol. 2.

Sound-wise, it's a thick and bland sound, not necessarily bad-- in fact, I'm sure you could imagine places to use it but with such a wide variety of free synths out there, why would you? The timbral variety offered by the Neon is paltry, mostly due to a filter that doesn't filter very much and a hard-to-hear LFO.


  • Historical curiosity.
  • Capable of a count-them-on-one-hand number of appealing sounds.
  • Unbelievably low CPU usage. On my laptop which is from 2008, it used 0.1% of my CPU.


  • Badly implemented skeuomorphic knobs require you to point your mouse in the actual direction you want to turn your knob.
  • Filter and LFO are both difficult to hear.
  • Extremely low timbral variety.

If you're actively looking for an uninspiring synth, you've found one. Otherwise, the value of this VST is extremely limited.

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Reviewed By jobromedia
April 21, 2010

This is one of the earliest VST instruments, if not the earliest of them all. I heard back in 1998 that a friend talked about a synth called Neon that was software, but I didn't believe him. It wasn't until 2001 that I had the chance to test it out on my own when I bought Cubase VST.

Neon is a pretty useful synth for it's era, nowadays almost all analog VST's can produce similar sounds. But the sound in itself is pretty slick and smooth. Good for sturdy synth basses, pads and brass sounds. Not that special as I said but back in the days this was the synth I went to for new fresh sounds. The interface is pretty straight forward, nothing strange here. Featurewise this gives lots to wish for, but for the money what can you really expect? If you can download it from Steinberg then this is worth trying out, but if not... Well there is plenty of other plugins with similar features. I wouldn't lose any sleep over the failed download. So does it beat the plugins with stockpiled SynthEdit components? Yes I have to say because it has a bit phatter sound than most synthedit components can produce.Read more

Reviewed By x_bruce
December 26, 2001

Some people don't think much of Neon but here's how I see it. It's simple to use encourages people to play around and (maybe) learn something about subtractive synthesis.
Neon lacks in performance features but makes up for it by sounding good and for free sounding good works for me. Capable of good pads, modest leads and pads, not good for Fx and weird, typical analog weirdness.

Pros: good sounding, free, simple but effective editing
Cons: could have been more feature laden, doesn't do many of the fun features associated with subtactive analog (of VA)

It's free with Cubase, maybe even free on Steinberg's site. Worth checking out. Good for meat and potato synth timbres.
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Reviewed By
October 10, 2001

Very limited synth, but it's free, so....

It has two oscillators, so you can actually make some nice basses by detuning them a little. A one-trick pony, but I've gotten one or two sounds out of is that I have use for.Read more
Discussion: Active


18 April 2013 at 6:20pm

"I don't know how well it compared to the competition in '98 or '99""

Compared to e.g. http://www.vintagesynth.com/misc/reality.php it wasn't that great either ;-).

19 April 2013 at 9:01pm

Some great memories of this synth so it has a nostalgia factor... But most of all I seem to remember thinking "DAMNIT, FILTER, OPEN!" because it seemed to be impossible to get the cutoff to go very high at all.

It was mainly used for bass and pads.

31 May 2015 at 6:11pm

the wooden 8-track tape player enclosure makes me moist <3.

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Average user rating of 2.50 from 4 reviews

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