Best Software Synthesizer?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by MorphingDragon, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. MorphingDragon macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    Being a student, I can't afford one of the nice Korg Synthesizers (I would buy one if I could).

    What would be (in your opinion) the best Software based synthesizer?" Garage Band is very limited for my needs. I have cheap MIDI Casio Keyboard I use with Sibelius.

    EDIT: I was having a look at Xils 3, can anybody comment on that?
  2. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    It all depends what your budget is really. You could go from Logic Express which contains some of the synthesis modules from the full Logic Studio, right the way up to something like Propellerheads Reason. As you mention Korg specifically you may be interested in their Legacy Collection, which is now finally Intel Mac compatible.

    Which is "best" is very subjective. Your best option may be to go down your local music shop and try out the software on their demo rigs.
  3. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
  5. joe.cavers macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
  6. MorphingDragon thread starter macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    Thanks, I'l probably go with Komplete as it looks good value for money, and the University offers a student discount .
  7. seisend macrumors 6502a


    Feb 20, 2009
    Switzerland, ZG
    I have the Native Instruments Komplete 6 package and I am happy with it and the synths are great. I like Battery a lot...

    But the best synth I have ever used is Omnisphere by spectrasonics. I never heard such sounds from a synth. Check it out, it costs a little but it is worth every cent. In the end you decide what you like best :) I love synths :D
  8. jeffgtr macrumors regular

    May 9, 2005
    Another vote for Komplete

    Finished installing Komplete 7 to use with Logic. It's a bargain at 499. I'm a little disappointed in the piano samples though.
  9. acoosticzoo macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Best Software Synth, Softsynth Mac OS X

    I'm currently doing lots of research of soft synths for Mac OS X running snow leopard with logic 9.

    I've discovered these synths and they all have demos.
    Sylenth 2
    Gladiator 2
    ReFx Vanguard
    Uhe - Ace
    Uhe - Zebra
    Refx - Nexus 2
    Spectrasonics omnisphere
    BIg Tick - Rhino
    Camel Audio - Alchemy
    Virus Powercore
    Rob Papen - Predator, Sub Boom Bass, Albino 3
    Waldorf - Largo
    Arturia - Analog Factory
    Fxpansion - DCam Synth Squad.
    Virsyn - Poseidon, Tera3
    GForce - Imposcar, Minimonsta, Oddity
    Image line - sawer, toxic biohazard.
    Audjoo - Helix

    The more I look at synths the more I realize that you can never really have quite enough synths, as every company has a unique approach to synthesis. It's awesome how many choices you have to pick from. Actually quite a daunting task just to choose one greatest synth.
    FOr me, It has to be Virus Powercore ATM. and prob ES2 on Logic Studio 9.

    I'm guess it will take me close to a month just to give each synth a good demo - and more keeps popping up everyday. Exciting times indeed.

    Good luck with the choice you make and have fun making music.

    Josef Horhay
    Mixing Engineer
  10. D'Illusion macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2010
    Omnisphere is killer. Might not be to everyone's taste but I love it.
  11. jufros macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2009
    If you're a student, best bang for the buck is Camel Audio's Alchemy w/ the 50% student discount. I have way too many soft synths but these days I rarely use anything besides Omnisphere, Alchemy, and Zebra. Alchemy will give you a lot of different types of synthesis to explore, sample mangling, preset morphing, incredible built in effects, bazillions of different oscillator and filter types, as many modulation options as one could ever really need, etc. The morphing is really intuitive, easy to use, and immensely powerful. You also get a great library of presets to get you on your feet. Alchemy is without a doubt my desert island soft synth.
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    there are a lot of synths listed here that i've either not tried nor even heard of. anyone game to post some songs/samples and indicate what s/w was used?
  13. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    NI Komplete
    Uhe Zebra

    the top 3 IMO.

    Nexus is cool but with all the expansions it's a bigtime ripoff!
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I've become a fan of Applied Acoustics
    If you are looking for a generic soft-synth they have a product called "Ultra Analog". The one I like is call "Lounge Lizard" and for simulating electric piano. You can download demo version of all their products and try them.

    In your case, you only have garage band, look at Logic Express. Inside Logic are a couple very powerful synthesizers, EXS24 is Apple's sampler, Spulpure is a string synth and can model strings of all kinds, piano, violins and all. and they have a very good "standard" subtractive synth too. The Logic package gives you a wide range of capability and then later you can buy specialized upgrades, for example Logic's e-pianos are so-so but the Applied Acoustics e-piano is dead on near perfect but does only one thing,
  15. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    +1 on Logic's bundled synths. They're top quality.

    Though Sculpture is technically a physical modeling synth, not a string synth. ;)
  16. wilycoder macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2008
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You can see what all of Apple's synths look loke andhear some samples. Go to the URL below and scrool down to "Studio Instruments". Click the bottsa in the graphic and see some screen shots. they are not live but there are lnks to samples at the bottom.
    If tyou like it then download the user manual. There is a chapter on each of the synths.
    These are will worth the $199 price for Logic express
  18. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Just use the build-in synths of Logic. They are more than good enough, also for commercial top 40 tracks.
  19. happle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    i use reason 5. has all the synths and everything i need as well as a daw. yes it is a daw...if you can sequence your tracks its a daw. some people love to get caught up in the argument that reason is not a daw, when it is.

    but anyway. some people hate reason some love it. but i can tell you it is a great piece of software regardless of anyones tastes. also you dont have to worry about plugins and such. reason is very very cpu friendly unlike some programs with synth plug ins.

    so that is why reason is perfect for me and my lil 2.26ghz uMB
  20. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Reason is a great MIDI workstation, but it technically is not a DAW because it doesn't record/edit audio as far as I know, only MIDI (which generates audi via the Reason synths & samplers). They have a separate product called Record that is the audio recording part.
  21. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land

    Reaktor is a synth building environment - plug blocks together like lego... and make use of hundreds of synths written by the Reaktor community.

    If you really want to learn how synthesis works - this is the tool to get!

    Be careful with stuff like Komplete Elements... does the Komplete stuff include all the editing capabilities of the underlying synths or is it just canned sounds (in which case, you won't learn much).

    Also - do you have an iPad or a Nintendo DS? Korg has released a couple of nice analogue-emulated synths in these environments for almost no money - could be a good thing to play around with.
  22. Luap macrumors 65816


    Jul 5, 2004
    Have you actually used a DAW before? Reason is not a DAW. Propellerheads Record is much closer to the mark, but even that doesn't quite qualify as a DAW either.

    Digital Performer, Reaper, Logic, Cubase.. Those are DAW's.
  23. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    Linplug/Rob Palpen ALBINO is absolutely my favourite - fantastically organic, musical and really quite inspiring to work with - beautiful interface.

    Also check out Sonic Charge Synplant - great fun to work with and produces some absolutely fantastic sounds!
  24. L!veW!r3, Dec 5, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

    L!veW!r3 macrumors newbie


    Dec 5, 2012
    Durban, South Africa.
  25. R3k macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2011
    Sep 7, 2011
    U-He Zebra 2 as a flexible, main go to synth, hands down imo.

    I have big issues with NI's practices, complexity, bugs stability, and for all the time ive lost over my career working through issues in their software and installation.

    That said, you get alot of bang for your buck with Komplete.

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