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Synth (Analogue / Subtractive) Plugin by Synapse Audio
DUNE 3 by Synapse Audio is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
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DUNE 3 is a powerful polyphonic synthesizer that combines VA/subtractive, Wavetable and FM synthesis with an extensive modulation system, named the Differential Unison Engine (DUNE).

A unique feature of DUNE 3 is the ability to synthesize a very high number of oscillator voices, regardless of the synthesis model in use. At full polyphony, up to 8320 oscillators can be active simultaneously.

The synthesizer output passes through two high-quality FX chains, containing EQ, Delay, Reverb, Distortion, Phaser, Chorus and Compression, in order to polish the sound yet further.

Features (excerpt):

  • Two oscillator stacks with up to 32 oscillators each.
  • Third oscillator and pink/white noise generator.
  • 8x Unison, resulting in up to 520 oscillators per note.
  • Polyphony up to 16 voices.
  • Zero-Delay feedback filters.
  • All-stereo signal path.
  • Powerful Wavetable Editor.
  • Four graphical envelopes (MSEG).
  • Two master FX busses containing 9 effects each.
  • Modulation up to audio-rate.
  • Multi-threaded processing.
  • Nice, clean HD interface with several sizes to choose from.

Compatibility Note

DUNE 2 and DUNE 3 are not compatible with DUNE 1. All versions of DUNE run just fine in parallel, however.


{See video at top of page}

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.95 from 29 reviews

Reviewed By lolilol1975
April 22nd, 2022

Right from the bat, let me say this: Dune 3 is my favorite VSTi.

I own Diva, Zebra, Synthmaster, Spire, VITAL, Surge XT and Sylenth1 v1*.

Dune 3 is the one I'll reach first, and often last as well, VITAL often coming as second. Dune is not the deepest of all those (Zebra arguably still is), and its user interface isn't the best either (VITAL has). But it still has a rich feature set, and its UI is still good and rather simple to understand for someone who already knows software synths. Plus its skins look great.

But what makes it really stand apart is its sound. It just sounds better than all the other synths, and yes that includes the legendary Diva. I don't know what Synapse Audio's secret sauce is, but the oscillators sound great, the 24 filters sound great and the myriad of FX sound great. Including the reverbs, which are often not so good in synths.

The latest release has added a patch generation feature based on a genetic algorithm: choose 2 or more patches and Dune 3 will combine them to generate as many new patches as you want. The result is often surprising. After playing with it, I think every synth should include a patch generator.

Is Dune 3 perfect ? No of course. The browser, right now only has a few categories. You can add new categories but a patch cannot belong to more than one category (for instance a gated pad has to belong to the gated category or the pad category). This improvement alone and the possibility to search several categories would be the functional equivalent of a search by keywords.

Also I wish Dune 3 allowed to input real time audio from the DAW instead of an oscillator. Finally, it lacks a granulator, but I guess that will be added to Dune 4 ?

Apart from that, there is really not much downsides to this synth. Due to the awesome sound combined to the super easy UI and the fact it's light on the CPU, Dune 3 is the definition of a workhorse.

* That's way more software synths than I need. But I simply never use Sylenth1 any more. I also own Dune 2 but I uninstalled it because Dune 3 is equal or superior in pretty much every way, and it comes with all the Dune 2 patches. BTW Dune 3 can read Dune 2 patches, contrarily to what is said in another review.

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Reviewed By soundof
March 6th, 2022

Amazing and flexible sounding VST synth, one of the best ones out there, if you are thinking of getting it, no need, just get it!
The range of excellent sounds is incredible, from the lush pads to aggressive lead sounds!
I would say this is one of those synths that can be truly used to make any type of music with an electronic element, very rich and diverse sound quality.
The addition of the new preset browser and the possibility to generate sounds from other presets just adds another dimension.

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Reviewed By Trader One
January 18th, 2022

This one definitely deserves 5 stars. It's pretty full featured synth similar to workstation. It has layers. UI is still simple, it doesn't look like full featured synth from screen shots.

Authors decided to break backward patch compatibility, which is not good move. People often buy synth because there are presets pack they like and split between old and new Dune will discourage them. Why buy synth if next version will be incompatible and your patches useless? You can use old version but it will probably stop working after you upgrade to Windows 11.

Sound is very good too, audio rate modulation is supported. This synth can easily become your everyday work horse. We have cheap and simple synths and then premium 200 USD category. Buy 200 USD synth only if you can put it into every day use.

For life playing use, I don't remember seeing max glide distance setting and multi segment key tracking curve. Both are important for live use. Key tracking curve is hard to give up after you started to use it. Dune have velocity curve, which is still not very common.

Synth authors usually resist to implement these features because they do not play live. They often have all infrastructure needed in place but no will to finish features like routing different MIDI channel to selected layer. That's why Omni sphere is so much used for live playing- Team leader works in industry for a long time and understand what features are most needed. For example UVI Falcon is more like audio engineering workstation, it will attract much less users because it's more work then fun. Most people simply want just to play.

Dune is not very popular in the community, so less 3rd party patches are available. Splitting between incompatible versions didn't helped either. It's not a big problem, there are factory presets from various genres - you can tweak them.

I wonder when synths will start to have switchable DAC emulation as standard. We can take a look at KORG Triton VST and difference between digital out and Korg Studio mode DAC is quite noticeable.

So, buy Dune or not? Buy.

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Reviewed By nealob
October 25th, 2021

Incredibly huge and complex timbre capabilities. Versatile beyond limitation for sound design. Solid presets to get going and an intuitive UI full of unique features. Highly recommend.

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Reviewed By franciscosta
May 21st, 2021

I am honestly speechless. DUNE has made my music production incredibly rewarding, thanks to a modern, easy to use graphical user interface and logical signal flow. The fact that with one instance of DUNE you can have up to 8 voices/layers and each one has multiple dedicated oscillators, filters and much more is unbelievable.

A true high quality product developed by industry experts. Efficient and easy to use, no need to install activation software, simply install the DEMO version and start making music. This is how all software should be.

I have designed a Soundbank for DUNE 3 containing many presets, please see:


Thank You Synapse Audio.

Read Review

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Comments & Discussion for Synapse Audio DUNE 3

Discussion: Active
6 May 2014 at 11:08am

Synapse Audio you did a killer job on Dune 2. Sound, Look and Function are superb and I would love to get the full version.

12 May 2014 at 8:12pm

I am really impressed with DUNE2. The direct unison voice editing is huge improvement now allowing to take advantage of the unison engine fully.

14 May 2014 at 9:07pm

I cannot express how much love I got for this amazing synth.

23 May 2014 at 6:02am


For me it's not just an version 2. It's a whole new synth, and a good one.

14 July 2014 at 11:42pm

Agreed! DUNE II is now in my top 3 favorite VST synths list along with Blue II and Sylenth1. It has also fixed some serious limitations with DUNE and made the whole interface much better. It's really easy to use, it sounds GREAT (think hardware), and the patch save/load system is freaking genius! Each patch is it's own file, and the VST automatically numbers them when loading from a folder, so theoretically a single patch folder can contain up to 999 sounds. Even if it's limited to only 128, that's still simple to expand by creating another folder and starting to drop sounds into it. This also makes backing up patches very easy. Highly recommend this one!!.

28 July 2014 at 10:01pm

Great job but Image-Line's Synths are much better than this. I think the only advantage of Dune 2 is its Arpeggiator supporting Chords via MIDI import. I have used lots of synths till now but the capability of micro tuning provided by Image-Line's Sytrus and Harmor synths and also their fast loading is fascinating that I have not seen in other synths like Dune 2. The other facility of Dune 2 is its supporting of 8 parallel channel of oscillators that is included in LuSH-101 too. After all I prefer Sytrus and Harmer. They are my goddesses.

8 August 2014 at 8:00am

I bought Dune2 yesterday and I gotta say it sounds absolutely fantastic! Very versatile synth and the internal effects (especially the reverb!) sounds awesome.

27 August 2014 at 5:49pm

Dune 1 I tested and tested again over the years but didn't like it. Dune 2 I'm only testing since one week and still love it.

- great user interface
- great synthese features
- great effects
- great MSEG envelopes
- great OSCs
- better sound quality
- better filter quality.

OK, the LFOs and the standard envelopes could react a little bit finer and noble and the stepsequencer could have 64 or better 128 steps and the option to save own presets, too (!) ... but this are only little wishes, this synth still is wonderful.

Thank you, great work.

17 November 2014 at 11:43am

I agree with all the positive reviews. I've tried many synths all those years. the biggest problem for me is that all those synths are all boring to use. Imagine if you have an acoustic piano, which has only one sound - the piano sound, but you can play it all day without boredom. Any synth I've tried always has hundred sounds, but almost none of them has the power that could make me play whole night. So what really happens is that I would spend few hours just browsing presets, every preset for few seconds. Dune 2 did something really different, the presets are amazing. Not all of them is my kind of sound, but still there are many of them have the power that could make me play for at least one hour before I got bored. It is definitely something different. The soft synths are no compare to acoustic instruments so far, no matter how many companies already have been trying for all those years. But Dune 2 is very close to be one. That is something really incredible.

DJ Warmonger
DJ Warmonger
6 December 2014 at 11:41am

Next time someone asks me "how to make it sound big", I will answer Dune 2. Sick unison for dummies, just out of the box. Also, it has great syntheis possibilities despite simplicity. I think I'll cut my wishlist just to fit Dune in.

14 January 2015 at 8:07pm

Would love to see visual representations of oscillator, ADSR and LFO's etc but sounds great.

aaron aardvark
aaron aardvark
13 June 2015 at 4:12am

I was able to put Ghost Dog and Cubrick Soundset soundbanks into Dune 2 folders. Wasn't able to figure out the other two. Haven't tried them yet, but thank you for the patches, I'll try them in the near future.

23 December 2015 at 5:56pm

Amazing new analog envelopes and filters in version 2.5.

11 January 2016 at 5:22pm

one of the best VST synths on the market PERIOD.

12 January 2016 at 3:11pm

I had saved up the $169.00 but found out there is 20% VAT to add on top bringing this to $200 mark.

12 January 2016 at 11:58pm

Hi SunlightSpirit, .

the VAT is now inclusive regardless of location, we changed our pricing model recently. So you should see exactly $169 when adding DUNE 2 to the shopping cart.

Best Regards, .

Richard / Synapse Audio.

3 February 2016 at 3:07pm

I love the new Dune 2.5 Kevin Schroeder and Cuebrick presets.

I use them in everything.

Any more planned soon?

8 February 2016 at 7:39pm

impressed with DUNE2, really looking forward to buy the Cuebrick preset.

8 February 2016 at 8:24pm

Cuebrick presets are free.

The recent Dune upgrade is brilliant for presets.

like bags of Kevin Schroder presets, and a couple of hundred Ambients by someone I don't know.

The only shame is that the MIDI files in Dune presets can't be exported as midi. But that's a very minor thing. Dune just keeps getting better.

22 March 2016 at 2:00pm

Good sounding synth, but the interface is terrible. How anyone can like this interface...

Still it's worthy for good sound.

17 May 2016 at 3:08pm

Can't really imagine what's exactly terrible about it. Everything is clear, no clutter, tweakable colors, very fluent envelope editing — I just love it.

5 September 2016 at 1:13am

I for one cant stand multipage synths. i like dune 1 cause you can have most things in one single screen.

I just wished 1.4 had al the filters from dune 2. those sk filters are sweet.

5 September 2016 at 6:52am

Yeah it's nice if everything can be fit on one screen. But Dune 2 has many more parameters than Dune 1. Synths of this complexity are always multi-page, there is simply no other way. In Dune 2 all the key areas like the Oscs, Filter, Mixer, ADSR etc are always visible though, so the need to switch pages is greatly reduced.


8 September 2016 at 3:53pm

I realize dune 2 is more complex than dune 1.

So... its alright i guess, .

Have you thought of maybe adding the extra filters to dune 1 for an upgrade price? Id buy it.

12 September 2016 at 11:03pm

Dune 2 is due for an upgrade IMO. It sounds good though.

14 March 2018 at 12:29am

First comment of 2018.

5 November 2018 at 8:54pm

I think Dune2 has changed my whole life around and I'm going nuts over this amazing synth. What make it better if you have a wave editor you can copy wave forms from any old hardware synths into dune2. Look what you'll be having? Truly amazing.

12 December 2018 at 5:39am

The copy protection that's mentioned here says "serial" but that's very misleading. Typically when this is mentioned it means it's strictly simple serial via offline registration. Dune 3 is unlike version 2, and requires either online authorization with your serial, or offline challenge / response which is based on your specific system hardware configuration.

12 December 2018 at 8:45am

You're right. The page was from Dune 2, hence it inherited a lot of information from there.

It seems Ben has now updated the copy protection to "Online Activation" which is correct. It is a one-time authorization with a given serial. Note that after successful authorization, the plugin will never connect to the internet. Furthermore, Offline activation is available as well.

13 January 2019 at 2:59pm

Dune 3 is an amazingly power synth with a great sound! Very versatile and capable of a wide range of sounds. From cinematic pads, to hard dubstep basses, to trance arps, and loads more.

The Dune 3 sound bank by New Loops has a good audio demo and a free demo pack to download - https://newloops.com/products/universal-dune-3-presets

22 January 2019 at 1:36am

IMO Best VST at the moment with no compromiss! And possible best synth from VST & Hardware in same time. Still didnt heard even a better, clearer and warmer sound in Hard synths too.

14 January 2020 at 8:02pm

I agree its a fantastic lush sounding synth not great for everything like basses but fantastic for pads.


15 January 2020 at 6:59am

DUNE works great for basses, but it might not float everyone's boat...

You need tonal variation in a mix, so using different instruments and combining them will help to achieve this...

Arranging 101 :).

2 July 2020 at 8:23pm

I installed the demo. It acted like it installed the exe. But all I ended up with was the pdf manual.

2 July 2020 at 8:41pm

DUNE 3 is a plugin in VST/AU/AAX formats, you'll need a compatible DAW to use it.

27 July 2021 at 11:27am

Mon challenge:
Créer deux orgues à partir des samples de mon B3 et mon Vox continental (UK 60's) sur un synthé.
J'ai essayé pas mal de synthés et seul Dune3 me permet d'arriver à mon but grâce à ses 8 voix x 3 Oscillateurs.
Le résultat est fantastique.
Avec deux Msgs en dessinant deux sinusoides inversées j'obtient un vibrato digne des originaux.
Et enfin un Chorus me permettant de simuler facilement une Leslie.... (en AfterTouch)
Avec un oscillateur 3 en sampler, je simule sans problème la percussion.
Pour commander les 9 flutes + la percussion: 8 voix sur l'oscillateur 1, 1 Voix sur l'osciillateur 2, 1 voix sur l'oscillateur 3 en sampler pour simuler la percussion.
Chapeau bas à Synapse !
Je me suis concocté un B3 comme j'aime, pas mou du genou comme sur les B3 samplés.... Un régal !
Au chapitre des qualités:
• L'ergonomie, tout est clair.
• La documentation ou tout est bien expliqué.
• Pas de glisser déposé (je n'aime pas et je trouve cela superflu vu l'ergonomie de Dune 3)
• les 8 voies sur 3 Oscillateurs !
• Et le résultat sonore incroyable et tellement vivant.

Au chapitre des défauts:
• KTRK sur les filtres ne permettant pas de couper les aigues sur les notes du haut.
• Dans la fenêtre Oscillateur, Synthesis Type l'affichage de la Wavetable est faux quand on change de voix.
• Dans les presets MSGS les formes simples de bases: Sinus ... etc.

Au niveau des améliorations:
Quelque chose que l'on ne trouve sur aucun synthé et pourtant indispensable.
Pouvoir splitter le clavier, pour se faire un C0-C1 uniquement Basse.
En Mod Matrix:
- Source=Voix ON, Destination = Keyboard Note, AMT = Note Number
- Source=Voix OFF, Destination = Keyboard Note, AMT = Note Number.

Félicitations Richard, vous avez le meilleurs des synthés .... je rêve du même en Hardware.


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