So what are today's top synths anyway?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
SparkySpark
KVRian
1263 posts since 30 Aug, 2004 from Skövde, Sweden

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:44 am

foosnark wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:55 pm
I don't know about "today's top synths" in a Top 40 sense, but this is what still does it for me despite going mostly hardware:

Aalto,
...
Arturia Buchla Easel V
...
LuSH-101
...
ChipSynth PortaFM
...
ArcSyn
...
Thanks for the above links (with the exception of ChipSynth - my brain kind of died listening to the demo :D ).

I think that Aalto in particular is really interesting. Perhaps Madrona could build a super synth of their various synths!
Making music is a nine-to-five job:
From 9 PM to 5 AM.
Go MuLab!

SparkySpark
KVRian
1263 posts since 30 Aug, 2004 from Skövde, Sweden

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:53 am

dandezebra wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:49 pm
Hmmmmmmm.

Halion 6 - lots to do
Biotek 2 - new way of doing things
Repro 1/5 - nuts
Bazille - balls
Harmor - so fun, deep, and insane
Largo - gorgeous
Falcon - lots to do II
Razor - cutting sound, seriously
Hive - really fun

And then, don't forget about using Thesys, Chthulu, Blue Arp or something as well!
Thanks for the Harmour link! https://www.image-line.com/plugins/Synths/Harmor/

I had totally missed this one. Really interesting and thought-provoking concept (with its roots in the late '80s actually). I believe that with a little training, one can find this synth very useful.
Making music is a nine-to-five job:
From 9 PM to 5 AM.
Go MuLab!

Razzia
KVRist
122 posts since 21 May, 2016

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:30 am

I gotta say I'm surprised to see so many people saying Avenger. Not because I disagree -- on the contrary, I think it's probably the best synth I've used -- but because it never seemed to get the widespread respect it deserves. It never got Serum or Spire's popularity, I have to guess because of VPS's reputation as a company that basically just does dance music. That's a shame because it's got everything, sounds great, and somehow manages to keep all of its one million features very intuitive and uncluttered.

Seriously the arp on Avenger could be sold as its own plugin.

After that there's Harmor. It just does so many things that no other synth does and gives you ridiculous microscopic control. It's a bastard to learn and understand, but well worth it.

anomandaris1
KVRist
253 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:37 am

Sytrus... still the best "FM" softsynth.

Razzia
KVRist
122 posts since 21 May, 2016

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:22 am

edit-nvm

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Tj Shredder
KVRian
1263 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:39 am

Todays top synth is a different one than yesterdays and tomorrow it might change again...
Or in other words its so much a matter of taste and context that the question is only one which each musician can answer for himself alone. Any synth mentioned here is a personal choice which might or might not help answer the op‘s question. Even synths I personally think are crap, have a fan base and are top synths for someone else...

Halonmusic
KVRAF
1618 posts since 13 Nov, 2015 from Norway

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:46 am

ZeePok wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:17 pm
Touch The Universe wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:12 pm
Roman Wisniak wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:06 pm
Rapid? Who wants to invest in NFR synth for 138.36€ (what a "great" bargain).
I do. Rapid is awesome!

Omnisphere and Halion are powerful as well. Lush-101, Dune 2 and Diversion will go far too. There are gems like spire and sylenth as well. Goes on and on actually.
 
NFR SchnenFR! :roll: Don't care! You buy a synth to use it. Not to resell it! :uhuhuh:
Amen!

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Triune Trinity
KVRer
11 posts since 2 Jun, 2017

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:54 pm

SparkySpark wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:15 am
chk071 wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:30 pm

So, all already quite old stuff. But, i demo'd quite a few synths after that, and, nothing really blew me out of the water, or could have motivated me to buy, and use it over what i already have. I still think there's too few real "character synths" coming out these days. Rather synths with a very clean, polished, and soft sound. Seems to be hip these days, rather than punchy, snappy, clicky, or aggressive and raw synths. Those seemed to be rather popular 10 or more years ago (Komplexer, V-Station, for example). Almost every synth i try out these days has that super bright, clean, polished, and soft sound.
Yes I agree with you. Impressive as they are, they don't give me GAS honestly (Avenger, Omnisphere, Rapid).
I agree with you two.
SparkySpark wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:21 am
What strikes me is how similar the top synths are in both tone and UI. This is also why I was starting this thread: I wondered if there is a top synth with a new approach to sound or usability.
Even for all the latest analog emulators, I still prefer 2004' TimewARP2600. Even without FX, it can go from clean to filthy.
Jesus said to him: Thomas, because thou have seen me, you have believed, but blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed!

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exmatproton
KVRAF
2086 posts since 25 Apr, 2011

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:17 pm

"my list", in no particular order;

Rapid
Repro(5)
Avenger
Icarus
Harmor
----
Reaktor
Falcon
Kontakt

To me, it doesn't get much better then these..

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layzer
KVRAF
5544 posts since 11 Jun, 2006

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:28 pm

who cares. i've found that pairing the old synths with less cpu hit and modern effects sounds just as good
HW SYNTHS [KORG T2EX - AKAI AX80 - YAMAHA SY77 - ENSONIQ VFX]
HW MODULES [OBi M1000 - ROLAND MKS-50 - ROLAND JV880 - KURZ 1000PX]
SW [CHARLATAN - OBXD - OXE - ELEKTRO - MICROTERA - M1 - SURGE - RMiV]
DAW [ENERGY XT2/1U RACK WINXP / MAUDIO 1010LT PCI]

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dandezebra
KVRian
663 posts since 21 Dec, 2013 from USA

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:20 am

layzer wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:28 pm
who cares. i've found that pairing the old synths with less cpu hit and modern effects sounds just as good
You love threads like these Layzer! It gives you a chance to post the same as all of the other threads! Ha! :wink:

Kinh
KVRian
1128 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:31 am

SparkySpark wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:16 pm
Software synths have come a long way and even low-cost and freeware synths are now incredibly powerful. But what are the top software synths at the moment (and why)?

I'm not asking for replies such as:
  • "it depends on your genre",
It does depend on your genre. You cant just say 'generally speaking' cause what does that mean? Nothing. Its like saying whats the best 'car'. For what, off road? racing? economy? Who's driving it? mothers with families or single middle aged men?

I dont know why people who make music are so afraid of the word 'genre'. Not being aware or caring about your genre is nuts! It's like walking through the wilderness without a map or compass.

You need to establish what 'kind' of music you wanna make before you make it. You need to know what 'kind' of cake to bake before you bake it. Or you'll end up making bloody cookies! :roll:

There's no one synth that just does one genre but there are some synths that do certain genres better.

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bmanic
KVRAF
8026 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:28 am

I'm going to assume OP is asking because he is an avid synthesist and wants a powerful beast to have fun programming otherworldly mayhem.

With this in mind, here are my current top favorites:

1.) Camel Audio Alchemy

I thoroughly recommend using version 2.xx but this requires Logic Pro X. Having said that, even the old v1.5 is still a joy to work with and completely unique in it's sound potential. Love experimenting with this. I especially love the way you can thoroughly scale every modulation routing in any way you want. This makes it supremely flexible and possible to finetune the playing experience. Thus you can make the sounds very expressive and nuanced.

2.) Vengeance Sound Avenger

Ridiculously powerful in every single aspect. Requires a really powerful computer to get the best out of it. This is my current "go-to" synth for crazy synthesis experimentation. It's a bit intimidating at first and can be frustrating. My main gripe is the stupendously small modulation matrix section. I really wish it was possible to make it a separate window or something. It needs like 500% more space. I also wish we had many more options for the mod matrix scaler/shape modifier. We need precise snapping options for instance.

Anyhow, lovely synth and amazing bang for your buck if the trend of updates for the synth continues (it very much looks like it!).

3.) OhmForce Symptohm:Mellohman

Yeah this is old as can be but I still use this and experiment with it all the time. It's completely unique in it's sound and operation (and thus how you play it). Nothing sounds like it. Nor does anything "play" like it either mainly due to each element having it's own envelope and LFO and how the filter/delay section is monophonic and can be triggered.

4.) FabFilter Twin:

Also an oldie but one that I've sort of re-discovered in the past year due to it being so light on CPU and a joy to experiment with. It's a strange mix of very flexible and very limited which makes for a nice challenge.

5.) UVI Falcon:

I'm still trying to get my head around the workflow of this beast (bought it at release!) but I'm slowly but surely getting there. There's no doubt it has almost infinite power but the user interface has made this a slow burn for me. Sounds awesome though!

6.) Tone 2 Electra X:

Amazingly powerful in a very intuitive package. I think I somehow connect with this so easily due to how the 4 layer system works which is very typical to how many of the Roland JV series romplers (and earlier) worked. This means I have no problems thinking of layers as additional textures to a whole. What makes Electra X so powerful is that each layer itself isn't simplistic at all but rather a complex synth in it's own right. The only downside to Tone 2 synths in general is the limited amount of modulation matrix slots.. I keep running out of them. 10 slots is simply not enough, especially when 5 or more are used for basic tasks such as setting up aftertouch, velocity to various destinations and modulation wheel. I can not understand at all how these powerful Tone2 synths get such a limited mod matrix.

7.) Tone 2 Gladiator 1 and 3.0:

I still have version 1 installed as it sounds unique and very different to the 2nd/3rd version. Both synths are excellent for pure experimentation of various synth textures. I suspect these things are vastly underrated and not at all properly understood. I keep seeing some videos and talk about programming these things but so many people seem to miss the actual point of these, the complex oscillator section. That's where the magic lies yet most people seem to treat this as an ordinary subtractive synth.

Anyhow, with version 3.0 there is yet again a clear advance in sound quality and basic usability. It's a bit more flexible than it was before and thus even more powerful. Tone 2 synths in general sound nothing like anything else. Markus Krause clearly has a distinct taste which makes these synths unique. Most of the presets usually sit within a mix really effortlessly but almost always need some high and high-mid frequency management (usually gentle high-shelf cut is enough).

8.) Reveal Sound Spire:

Duh, because it's Spire. Sounds awesome, is very easy to use and lovely to experiment with "tonalities" and simple colors. I rarely try to make complex sounds with this synth even though it's very capable. Colors and subtle sound variations on classic subtractive synthesis things is where it's at with this one, for me.

9.) Spectrasonics Omnisphere

With the latest update I've put some more time into this beast. It's a bit hit and miss in terms of raw sound quality when it comes to the various filters/modules and sometimes a bit clunky to use but the sound potential, due to all the fantastik samples included, is immense. I usually end up combining various weird samples with one another and experiment with layering. This got a noticeable power boost with the latest update now that we have 4 layers available. Basically Omnisphere is now like a Roland super-rompler thing, with way better samples than Roland post Eric Persing could manage. :)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyhow, those are the synths I currently spend the most time on. I'll come back and edit this post in case I go :dog: next time I open a synth that I forgot on this list.
Last edited by bmanic on Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

chk071
KVRAF
17044 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:32 am

bmanic wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:28 am
8.) Reveal Sound Spire:

Duh, because it's Spire. Sounds awesome, is very easy to use and lovely to experiment with "tonalities" and simple colors. I rarely try to make complex sounds with this synth even though it's very capable. Colors and subtle sound variations on classic subtractive synthesis things is where it's at with this one, for me.
Same here... even though i love it for its sound, programming it isn't my favorite pastime. It's really easy to dial in sounds, but, rarely do more than basic VA, or simple FM synthesis with it. For the programming, i vastly prefer Largo, which is my favorite synth in that regard. Just perfectly laid out.

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Tj Shredder
KVRian
1263 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: So what are today's top synths anyway?

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:33 am

SparkySpark wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:15 am
chk071 wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:30 pm

So, all already quite old stuff. But, i demo'd quite a few synths after that, and, nothing really blew me out of the water, or could have motivated me to buy, and use it over what i already have. I still think there's too few real "character synths" coming out these days. Rather synths with a very clean, polished, and soft sound. Seems to be hip these days, rather than punchy, snappy, clicky, or aggressive and raw synths. Those seemed to be rather popular 10 or more years ago (Komplexer, V-Station, for example). Almost every synth i try out these days has that super bright, clean, polished, and soft sound.
Yes I agree with you. Impressive as they are, they don't give me GAS honestly (Avenger, Omnisphere, Rapid). It's a bit like the difference between vinyl and CD.
Thorn has character - and its good its only a few btw...
For me now the main requirement is MPE, this could turn any synth into a top synth.
You add your own expressive character just by playing it with an expressive controller...

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