Even if you are producing music for years or have just started, you will be interested to know about the best free VST synth plugins to use inside FL studio, Ableton Live, Cubase or any other DAW. Also which has similar sound design capabilities as Xfer Serum, you ask why?
You thought about producing your own EDM tracks, you got the best laptop in the market, the most expensive pair of studio monitors, the best MIDI keyboard, and also the best DAW of your choice. You started jotting down your beautiful musical ideas on the empty Canvas of your DAW. But soon you started feeling like something is lacking and your track sounds like shit!. Even after learning all the musical theories, applying those nasty tricks, you saw on that YouTube video and mixing all the sounds in the best possible way, you still aren’t satisfied. And you feel like your track is missing something, then you are welcome to sound designing.
Designing your own sound gives your music your own creative touch and makes it different from others. In the world of EDM production where every other track would sound similar to a normal listener, having your own unique sound can help you stand out in the crowd.
Now your next big question would be:-
“How can I synthesize any sound?”
There are already a ton of Virtual Synthesizers (or VSTs) both paid and free out there on the internet. Having a bunch of them in your library can rather confuse you while deciding which to use. Also to learn sound designing requires patience and hard effort too. So it won’t be a bad idea to learn the best tool out there right?
Serum is a wavetable software synthesizer VST Plugin created by Xfer Records. It uses wavetable synthesis to create sounds. For many good reasons, Serum is considered as one of the best software synthesizer out there. It has 2 wavetable oscillators, 4 LFOs, 3 Envelopes. With a 16 slot modulation matrix and 4 macros, the modulation capabilities become unlimited.
Serum has been out there since 2014 and has gained quite a lot of popularity among EDM producers. Today it’s like the dream VSTs for sound designers. But every good thing comes at a great cost. If you are eager to know, Serum comes with Lifetime license at $189, and you can also rent-to-own Serum through Splice at $9.99/month.
Official Website: $189 (Lifetime License) Click to Buy
Rent-to-own Splice: $9.99/month Click to rent
But that’s certainly not what we are here for. So now look at our list of Free vst synth plugins for FL Studio, Ableton Live, Cubase, Studio One, Logic Pro X, or any other DAW of your choice…
Free VST synth Plugins: Best free alternatives of Serum
1. SURGE by Vember Audio
☆ Rating: 4.3/5 (KVR Audio) | 4.8/5 (VST4Free)
Surge is a very powerful Subtractive Hybrid synthesizer developed by Vember Audio. The developer of Surge announced on September 24, 2018, that SURGE Synthesizer was no longer being developed. Especially because the developer had no time left. Since then, It is open-source and can be developed by anyone under the GNU GPL v3 license. The plugin is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux use in 64 bit VST3 and is one of the best free VST synth plugins.
- Synthesis method: Subtractive hybrid.
- Each patch contains 2 ‘scenes’ which are completely separate instances of the entire synthesis engine (except effects) which can be used for layering or as split patches.
- Category based patch-browser.
- MPE support.
- 3 oscillators/voice.
- 7 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Sinus, Wavetable, S/H Noise, Audio-input, and FM2/3.
- The classic oscillator available to use is a morphable pulse/saw/dual-saw oscillator with a sub-oscillator and also self-sync.
- All of the algorithms (except sinus and audio-input) offers up to 16-voice unison at the oscillator level.
- Oscillator FM/ring modulation.
- Every oscillator algorithms is band-limited yet they still can cover the entire spectrum.
- Noise generator with a variable spectrum.
- Two filter-units (7 different configurations).
- Feedback loop.
- Filter-algorithms available: LP12, LP24, LP24L (ladder filter with 1-4 poles), HP12, HP24, BP, Notch, Comb+, Comb-.
- Waveshaper (5 shapes).
- 12 LFO-units available for each voice (6 running and 6 shared for the scene).
- DAHDSR envelope generators on every LFO-unit.
- 7 deformable LFO-waveforms + 1 drawable/step-sequencer waveform.
- Fast and flexible modulation routing. Modulation can be done on almost every continuous parameter.
- 8 effect units: 2 inserts/scene, 2 sends, and 2 master effects.
- 9 algorithms: Conditioner (EQ, stereo-image control & limiter), Delay, Reverb, Chorus, Phaser, EQ, Distortion, Rotary speaker, Frequency shifter.
“Architecture wise, Surge is a rather complex synthesizer. But, it’s put together in a way that is still very easy to learn. Once you start doing it, you’ll turn the sounds in your head to audio in your DAW faster than ever. The effortless workflow, attention to detail, and therefore the sound quality can’t really be appreciated without trying it yourself.“
It won’t be bad to say that Surge is at the top in every list for best Sound design capable Free synth VST plugins.
Surge Comes with: 1010 patches & 183 wavetables.
2. VITAL by Matt Tytel
☆ Rating: 5.0/5 (KVR Audio)
Vital is a Spectral Warping Wavetable Synth developed by Matt Tytel. Matt Tytel had previously developed Helm, which is a very successful and famous free synth VST. Vital features Spectral Oscillator Warping which acts on waveform’s harmonics. This results in sounds of different shapes and timbres from one source. Vital also features pitch-splice or vocode wavetable converter* which can generate wavetables from text.
One thing anyone would most like in Vital is the ability to visualize every modulation. Vital renders modulation animations at 60FPS which is handled by GPU.
Vital gives you ability to modulate almost every parameter using custom LFO shapes, envelopes and randomized sources by drag and drop features similar to Serum. The envelopes are quite snappy. Finally, it gives you the ability of Stereo Modulation which can be triggered by any LFO shape, envelope of randomized sources. This will help you create out of the world stereo experience for your synthesized sound. Because of all these, Vital becomes super efficient and robust to synthesize any kind of sound.
- Wavetable oscillators with both frequency warping and wave warping
- Custom Sample source
- Unison Efficiency
- Stereo-splitable LFOs with custom shapes and shape editing
- Keytracking on LFO settings
- Modulation on envelopes with custom curves
- Modulation remapping: customize the shape of every modulation
- Multiple random modulation sources
- MPE Support
- Built in Oscilloscope and Spectrum viewer
- 8 routable Effects including multiband compressor, multi-mode phaser and 16 voice chorus.
Vital has 4 (Free & Paid) versions available through their website: Vital.Audio. The free (Basic) version comes with full functionality and 75 presets and 25 wavetables. *only limitation is the pitch-splice or vocode wavetable converter feature is limited in free version
Also checkout Helm (Free polyphonic synthesizer by Matt Tytel): CLICK HERE
3. Tyrell N6 V3 By U-He
☆ Rating: 4.0/5 (KVR Audio) | 4.2/5 (VST4Free)
Before Surge became open source, there was this absolute gem by U-he who are also behind the legendary VSTs like Zebra and Diva. What made Tyrell N6 the
best greatest for the list of free VST synth plugins? The feature set of Tyrell N6’s are from the blueprint provided by Amazona.de forum members. Together they created the concept for their ideal synthesizer. Following that blueprint, Urs Heckmann developed Tyrell N6. Best, Ideal, or Experiment Tyrell N6 is a VST that deserves its place in every Music Producer’s synthesis arsenal.
- 2 Oscillators.
- LFOs: 2
- 2 ADSR envelopes.
- 1 Sub-Oscillator.
- 1 Noise Generator.
- 8 Voices Unison
- Ring modulator.
- Signal feedback.
- Modulation Matrix.
- Chorus effect with 3 modes
- MIDI learn/unlearn for hardware control
- Audio source mixer with overdrive and filter feedback
- Twin filter same as Diva (early model)
- Analog-type ADSR envelopes, loopable or LFO-triggered
Tyrell N6 comes with
- Skinnable UI
- Over 580 factory presets
4. Dexed By Digital Suburban
☆ Rating: 4.4/5 (VST4Free)
Dexed is a multi-format plugin modeled over legendary Yamaha DX7. DX7 is so popular that it featured some of the greatest sounds presets of all time. Many pop hits and film and TV soundtracks of the 80s and 90s featured sounds from Yamaha DX7. It is an open-source DX7 clone VST plug-in. Although its interface is still a little on the menacing side, it’s a vast improvement over that of the original hardware. What’s more, Dexed is capable of loading DX7 patches, making it a fantastic free source of classic tones. That’s what makes it one of the best Free synth VST plugins to use inside FL studio or any other DAW.
- Multi-platform (macOS, Windows, Linux).
- Sound engine: closely modeled on the original DX7, music-synthesizer-for-android
- 144 DAW automatable parameters available from a single panel.
- Fully supports DX7 input and output (Sysex) messages; including controller change, which means that you can use this with a native DX7/TX7 as a patch editor.
- Each operator has a realtime Visual VU meter to know which one is active.
Dexed comes with a 1024 program compilation. By doing a quick internet search you can get countless free great-sounding pre-made programs for absolutely free.
5. ODIN 2 By TheWaveWarden
☆ Rating: 5/5 (KVRAudio), 5/5 (PluginBoutique)
Available for: Windows (x64) – VST3, MacOS – VST3/AU, Linux – VST3/LV2
Have you ever wished for a killer synthesiser that works on all platforms? With a powerful synthesis engine, limitless modulation options, and it’s all for free? No need to look any farther; Odin has you covered!
This 24-voice polyphonic beast’s sound will transport you from your studio to Valhalla. Odin’s got it all: earth-shattering basses, gorgeous leads, and insane FX! Draw your own waveforms or use the traditional sound of analogue waveforms. Legendary analogue filters like the Moog-ladder and the Korg-35 are further shaped by high-quality emulations. Four inbuilt FX might help you round out your sound, or you can go for crazier sounds.
- 24-voice polyphonic synthesizer.
- 3 Oscillators slots with 11 different modules
- Draw your own Oscillator waves / Spectra
- 3 High quality analog filter emulations
- Included FX: Delay, Flanger, Chorus, Phaser & Distortion
- Very flexible routing
- 4 ADSRs
- 4 LFOs
- X-Y Pad
- Visual modulation matrix
- Preset Library
Honorable mentions for best free VST synth plugins:
These free VSTs are also great for sound designing and have endless modulation capabilities. They can be a very good starting point for anyone to learn sound synthesis. That’s why they deserve their place as the best Free VST Synth plugins and free alternative for Xfer serum for FL Studio(or any DAW).