The Best Analog Synth VST Plugin Emulations for Music Producers

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Despite the growing popularity of digital music production, the desire for analog equipment's unique warmth and character remains strong. Unfortunately, traditional analog synthesizers often come with a steep price tag, making them inaccessible to many. Thankfully, there are numerous VST plugins that simulate vintage analog synth sounds, giving producers the opportunity to achieve that iconic warmth and character without breaking the bank. Based on our years of experience in the music industry, we'ved gathered some of the best analog VST plugin emulations that will inject all kinds of analog colour and warmth into your productions, and are plugins we personally love and use in every production (sound examples included for proof). By the end of this article you will have a comprehensive list of the best analog VST plugins to make finding your favourite, easier. Let's go!

What is An Analog Synth?

An analog synth is a piece of hardware that uses electrical circuitry to create sound, instead of digital processing such as, a digital chip, or algorithm commonly used in digital synthesis.

They produce warm, rich, and organic tones with random intricacies and oddities that aren't reproduced in their precise digital counterpart. Digital synths use 0s, and 1s to send information, while analog provides a less precise flow of information. This is what creates those odd detune, spread tones that producers love.

Analog synths use voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers (VCO, VCF, VCA) to create unique and complex sounds that can be manipulated in real-time through the use of knobs, sliders, and other controls.

So How Does A Digital Plugin Replicate This?

Digital, Virtual Analogue VST Plugins are able to replicate analog sound through emulation. Much like a games console emulator, an emulator will use special technology to replicate the circuitry of the original synth. It is therefore is able to re-create the warm, oddities lost in digital synthesis and add them back into the sound.

What is An Analog Synth Plugin?

An analog synth plugin is software that attempts to emulate the circuitry and sounds of classic hardware synthesizers. Analog synths use electrical circuitry, rather than 0s and 1s to create sound, and provide a characteristic warm, thick sound that people love.

These plugins allow producers to access classic synths from the 70s-80s for a fraction of the price.

Many are indistinguishable from the original hardware, and are licensed by the original creator of the hardware synths. Even companies like Roland and Yamaha have their own synth versions of their old hardware synths, but these are not always considered the most accurate or best emulations on the market.

What ARe The Best Analog Synth VST Plugins?

Here's the complete list of the best analog synth VST plugins:

  1. Diva
  2. V Collection
  3. Analog Lab
  4. Bassline 101
  5. U-NO-LX
  6. J-8
  7. Pigments
  8. Omnisphere
  9. Falcon
  10. Dexed

1. Diva (the best analog emulation package)

Compatibility: Win10, Win11, Win7, Win8, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.10+, Linux Ubuntu 18, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, LV2, 64-bit
Price: $179.00

Pros

โœ… Award winning analog sound quality that puts the digital vs analog discussion to bed.

โœ… Over 1200 phenomenal presets that will have your mouth open in shock each time you play one.

โœ… A nice range of effects units and modulation options that allow for in-depth sound design

โœ… Beautiful voice detune mode that allows you to edit each tone of each voice,

โœ… Amazing modular capability. You can choose from over 5 different hardware synth units and mix and match them as you please

โœ… Simple UI that's an analog users dream.

โœ… 4k support

Cons

โŒ Very CPU hungryโ€ฆ that's it.

โŒ Only two effects slots

โŒ Can be very overwhelming for a new user attempting to learn synthesis

Although it's not a direct emulation (officially at least), Diva is renowned as the best sounding virtual analog synth on the market. The technology it uses to re-create the analog warmth, at the price point and the amount of features included, nothing beats it.

U-he Diva captures a whopping 5 decades of analog hardware technology, for a fraction of the price you'd spend on hardware units. And, the best part about it, is that it's semi-modular, meaning you can mix and match different parts of old hardware units.

It impersonates classic hardware like:

  • Roland Juno 60
  • Roland Jupiter 6 & 8
  • MiniMoog
  • Oberheim OB8
  • Roland JP-8000

And like mentioned above, you could use a filter from the JP-800, oscillators from the MiniMoog, and swap whatever you like around – it's really that great.

U HE Diva presents an assortment of 5 distinctive oscillator models inspired by traditional hardware synthesizers. The software also comprises a collection of 5 filter models with an array of filter types. To modulate the sound parameters, you get access to 2 host-sync LFOs equipped with versatile waveforms.

It also comes with 2 stereo effect slots including these effects:

  • Chorus
  • Reverbs
  • Phasers
  • Rotary Speakers
  • Delays

This is a little bit of a downfall of Diva. We'll admit, the effects really do lack from the software, and it would be incredible to include a more in-depth modulation matrix as well as a suite of effects to mix the analog synthesis with modern digital production and create something truly timeless.

Diva can also cause a significant drain on your CPU, and there is a multicore feature available that can be enabled to distribute the workload across multiple processor cores. This can alleviate some of the strain, but not all of it… Considering the quality of the sound produced by Diva, it is recommended to make sure you have a good enough CPU or upgrade before getting it.

Another thing I forgot to mention is the additional, astounding 1200+ presets that are truly unmatched in quality.

The analog replication offers exactly what you'd expect: warm, detuned chords, vibey and warm basses, percussion that sounds surprisingly realistic despite being digitally made, and bright and clean leads.

Diva has been my go-to tool in crafting numerous productions. One of my latest works, published under a small label, relied on Diva's pre-made synths while I integrated additional sound design techniques to improve their clarity, sharpness, and overall quality.

Here's some sound examples of Diva for you to check out:

chords
arp
bass

2. V Collection

Compatibility: Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.13+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $599

Pros

โœ… Emulations of 28 iconic analog synths and keyboards, including the Minimoog, ARP 2600, Prophet-5, and DX7.

โœ… Extremely accurate emulations that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing

โœ… Great UI that mimics the original hardware, keeping it authentic and making it easy to pick up if you've used them before.

โœ… Live performance potential is incredible. You can create macros that switch patches, play multiple analog synths as a stack and more. It's also extremely stable and doesn't crash

โœ… V Collection is updated a lot and new instruments, bug fixes etc. are always added

Cons

โŒ Very expensive, but if you consider what you're getting not that expensive

โŒ Quite hard to pick up the controls of individual UI's if you've never used analog synthesis before and come from a digital background

โŒ Very limited customisation, it would be amazing if a modulation matrix or effects rack was added to bring analog sounds into the modern era, but some complain about the authenticity of doing this

Arturia's V Collection encompasses a vast selection of virtual instruments that replicate some of the most legendary synthesizers and keyboards in history. The collection presents simulations of famed tools, including the ARP 2600, MiniMoog, Prophet-5, and DX7, and showcases less recognized yet equally remarkable instruments such as the Buchla Easel and the Clavinet.

The meticulous focus on replicating the original hardware instruments is a striking attribute of the V Collection. The software is expertly crafted to not only emulate the sound accurately but also reflect the behavior and response of the physical instruments. The process involves sophisticated modeling and sampling techniques, which result in software instruments that perfectly imitate the authentic instruments in both sound and feel.

The V Collection has an array of beneficial components that make it an adaptable and robust tool for music creation. To illustrate, each instrument has a variety of presets, so users can promptly and effortlessly access a vast array of sounds. Furthermore, the instruments can be personalised using the interface, however it's a little drawn back and doesn't really improve on the old technology with new digital tech – which we think it should, but some get annoyed when digital is mixed with analog because for them “it ruins the analog nature”.

However, a nice modulation section, or more options for editing would be fantastic to propel analog sounds into the digital age. The sound design possibilities with something like that would be endless.

3. Analog Lab

Compatibility: Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.13+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $199

Arturia's Analog Lab software instrument simplifies the use of its V Collection of virtual synthesizers by offering a single interface. Analog Lab contains over 6,000 presets of various sounds taken from 21 analog synths, making it a versatile tool for any music style.

Analog Lab comes with a valuable function that allows for the blending of numerous sounds to form unique and multifaceted tones. The built-in effects such as reverb, delay and modulation make it possible to manipulate the newly created sounds even further. The instrument also has a comprehensive arpeggiator and chord player that simplifies complex chord progressions and patterns creation.

The modulation section in analog lab is fairly decent, but a little drawn back. You can adjust numerous parameters, such as filter cutoff, resonance, envelope settings, and other features, to personalize each preset. Additionally, any changes made can then be saved and designated as a customized user preset that can be retrieved and modified later.

The design of the tool's interface is modern and user-friendly, facilitating effortless navigation and sound editing. It can operate as a stand-alone program or a DAW extension, and it includes support for MIDI learn to simplify hardware controller connectivity and parameter mapping.

Analog Lab proves itself to be a robust resource for musicians and producers seeking to infuse their music with exceptional analog sounds. The wide range of presets, as well as the layering and sound-shaping capacities, in conjunction with the user-friendly interface, make it a top pick for novice and seasoned users.

4. Tal Bassline 101

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.9+, Linux Ubuntu 18 VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $60

Pros

โœ… Clean, crisp GUI.

โœ… Snappy envelope controls

โœ… Great support from developer (communication and updates).

โœ… One of the best SH-101 emulations out there

โœ… 96 Step sequences and arpeggiator (sync-able to DAW)).

โœ… Self resonating zero feedback delay filter

โœ… De-Clicker mode for slower envelopes

Cons

โŒ Could be lighter on the CPU

โŒ Low-end could feel more defined

The emulated Roland SH-101 synthesizer can be accessed through the TAL Bassline 101 virtual analog synth plugin. The modern features and functionality do not detract from the faithful replication of the hardware's sound, appearance, and sensation.

TAL Bassline 101 is a precise emulation of the Roland SH-101. The synth replicates its fundamental components such as the monophonic oscillator, sub-oscillator, noise generator, low-pass filter, and envelope generator. It also embodies a progression of features like the step sequencer, arpeggiator, and effects such as chorus, delay, and reverb.

However, the effects are a little too stripped back and we think that this could have been expanded on. 

Another downfall is the lack of modulation and a matrix to edit it all. It's all well and good keeping the authenticity, but digital production was born for a reason – the incredible benefits it has. Why not mix digital with analog? It's basically what we do anyway…

It also replicates the hardware's appearance by using a similar color scheme and layout. The user interface is simple to use and has all the necessary controls and parameters readily available.

The Bassline 101 is a highly adaptable tool that suits various music styles, particularly effective in crafting basslines and leads in electronic dance music. With a concise build and streamlined workflow, it attracts music producers seeking an authentic analog sound, minus the burden of intricate programming.

On top of all of that, it's also extremely affordable. This is especially beneficial for those music producers who have budget constraints, but still want to incorporate the analog feel in their tracks. It is worth mentioning that TAL Bassline 101 can be used on Mac and Windows, and its functionality enhances by its support for VST, AU, and AAX formats across various digital audio workstations.

On the other hand, TAL Bassline 101 may not be as multifaceted as other analogous synthesizer plugins, which could be a disadvantage. Even though it is expert in creating standard bass and lead sounds, it may not be ideal for intricate sound designing assignments. Furthermore, it might not be a preferred choice for music producers in search of an all-encompassing synthesizer plugin boasting various functions and tones.

Here's our video review of the TAL Bassline 101 that includes some sound examples:

5. Tal U-NO-LX

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.9+, Linux Ubuntu 18 VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $60

Pros

โœ… Fantastic to the “T” Roland Juno-60 emulation, that uses PSpice circuit technology to model the original circuitry

โœ… Great interface that has a similar layout to the original synth and keeps everything authetic

โœ… High-quality, lush chorus effect, that the Juno-60 is known for, sounds amazing. The nostalgic reverb, adds depth and character to the sound as well

โœ… Very cheap for an emulation plugin. Most other emulations you'll pay north of $150, where the U-NO-LX is $40 ish

โœ… All the utility stuff you'd need like, MIDI learn

Cons

โŒ Only limited to the classic sounds of the Juno-60, can't do anything else with it

โŒ There is a lack of routing or modulation avialable for more intricate sound design

โŒ Arpeggiator and sequencer is not built in, meaning you'll have to use 3rd party plugins

โŒ A small preset library compared to other plugins

TAL make some of the best value plugins on the market and the features that come with the U-No-LX prove their value in the software synth industry.

It's a re-written emulation of one of the most celebrated synths of all time – the Juno 60, and it sounds almost like the real thing! The TAL-U-No-LX comes with so many incredible presets & sounds that are wildly similar to the presets found on the later Juno 60 hardware units that eventually shipped with on board sounds.

TAL have done an incredible job when it comes to emulating the girth and warmth of the original Juno 60. Warm sounds are something we're always looking for, and the Juno 60 fills that gap in our hearts.

The U-No-LX also brings some new age technology updates with it. The Juno 60 was classically known to have a lot of underlying noise when being played or changing to certain effects such as the chorus.

With the advancement of technology we've been able to remove noise from synthesizers & effects to make a much more precise and clean sound, and TAL have made use of this with the U-No-LX.

Now there may be a debate as to whether this is a good thing, because a lot of those intricacies are what made classic synths sound so unique, but when mixing your tracks, the removal of noise is a welcome addition.

TAL-U-No-LX features more than 300, factory presets, with the original hardware unit's “factory bank A” included, filter effects that range up to 40kHz, an arpeggiator and more!

If you're looking for an exceptional emulation of some awesome hardware gear, then this is a perfect pick up.

Be sure to check out our full review of the TAL U NO LX.

Here's some sound examples of the TAL U NO LX:

pad
sfx
brass

6. Tal J-8

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.9+, Linux Ubuntu 18 VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $60

Pros

โœ… Fantastic analog emulation of the original Roland J-8. Developer Patrick has modeled this 1:1 with his own J-8 hardware synth

โœ… UI is exactly the same as you would find on the J-8, with a few improvements added for digital use, like MIDI learn so you can link with controllers

โœ… Incredible presets designed by real, professional sound designers for the J-8 software

โœ… PSpice technology emulates the original down to the circuitry

โœ… Cheap emulation that sounds better than Roland's own

Cons

โŒ If you're not a fan of the analog sound, or interface, you won't like this synth

The Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer is an iconic analog classic that TAL-J-8 has now virtually emulated with its innovative plugin. With its streamlined and user-friendly interface, this synthesizer enables users to craft immersive and intricate tonalities effortlessly.

TAL-J-8 boasts an exceptional attribute – replicating the exclusive voice structure of Roland Jupiter-8. It encompasses two separate synthesizer layers, each having its own collection of oscillators, envelopes, modulation sources, and filters. As a result, a plethora of tonal combinations becomes viable, ranging from rich and potent basses to vibrant and shimmering leads.

An added advantage are the in-built effects that provides users with an array of options like phaser, chorus, reverb, and delay. By making use of these effects, it becomes easier to manipulate and enrich the sound of the synthesizer, providing more avenues for creativity.

However, the effects are a little too stripped back and we think that this could have been expanded on. 

Another downfall is the lack of modulation and a matrix to edit it all. It's all well and good keeping the authenticity, but digital production was born for a reason – the incredible benefits it has. Why not mix digital with analog? It's basically what we do anyway…

With TAL-J-8, you also access to an advanced arpeggiator and step sequencer that facilitate the creation of intricate and dynamic patterns. Arpeggiated melodies and sequences can be easily constructed using the arpeggiator, while complex rhythmic patterns can be programmed with ease using the step sequencer.

It's an exceptional synthesizer plugin that provides a flexible and commanding analog sound for music producers and sound designers. Its exceptional emulating ability to replicate the Roland Jupiter-8 coupled with its user-friendly interface and powerful capabilities makes it a favorite among electronic musicians and producers.

Here's some sound examples of the presets:

chord
arp
bass w chorus
bass w no chorus

Be sure to check our full review of the Tal J-8

7. Arturia Pigments

Compatibility: Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, 10.13+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $199

Pros

โœ… Unique hybrid synthesis engine that combines virtual analog, wavetable, and sample-based synthesis, allowing you to blend between all of them.

โœ… UI is extremely clean, easy-to-use and has a modern, sleek look to it

โœ… The modulation system is fantastic, and has huge routing capabilities and a plethora of modulation sources, allowing for the mapping of anything

โœ… A huge collection of amazing presets made by top producers and sound designers

โœ… Unique morph mode that allows you to blend between wavetables, and different synthesis types, giving you the best of both worlds.

โœ… Brings analog synthesis into the new digital age, adding morph modes, modulation, effects and so much more

Cons

โŒ Quite CPU intensive so if you have a bad PC it's not going to fair well

โŒ Difficult to learn because it is so feature rich

โŒ Some complaints about the arpeggiator and sequencer are that they are too simple compared to other plugins

โŒ Doesn't allow you to import samples! Why?!

Although not completely analog, Arturia Pigments is a hybrid synthesizer, which allows you to blend analog, wavetable, and sample-based synthesis together for an ultimate analog synth bought forward into the future.

One thing I loved about Arturia Pigments is that it re-invented analog synthesis. Instead of just accurately replicating something (which it does well), it additionally has added modulation capabilities, effects and more.

Arturia Pigments is a revolutionary program that provides a one-of-a-kind technique for crafting sound through its cutting-edge wavetables and analog modeling. It comprises a plethora of top-quality filters, reverbs, and modulation utilities, coupled with an easy-to-use visual interface that streamlines the process of concocting intricate and dynamic soundscapes.

Pigments additionally has a brilliant standout feature – a double sound engine that permits you to blend virtual analog and wavetable synthesis, resulting in the creation of hybrid sounds that are beyond the realm of conventional analog synthesizers.

The three modes of the wavetable engine add to its uniqueness – classic mode for traditional wavetable synthesis, complex mode for more intricate manipulation and random mode for generating exceptional sounds.

It also provides an extensive range of presets designed by renowned sound designers worldwide. Additionally, it allows users to import their own samples and produce custom wavetables. Its built-in sequencer and arpeggiator simplify the creation of intricate rhythms and melodies, whereas the modulation matrix opens up possibilities for complicated sound designing.

On top of all that, its special Harmonic and Utility engines can create added harmonics and textures to add character and tone. Pigments also has a user-friendly visual interface that simplifies signal flow and modulation assignments.

Arturia Pigments is an exceptional synthesizer that boasts of its versatility and strength in sound design. With its dual sound engine, it employs advanced wavetable synthesis technology and an intuitive interface that makes it the perfect pick for producers and musicians searching for a modern and adaptable software synthesizer.

8. Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.15+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $499

Pros

โœ… Omnisphere has a massive library of over 14,000 sounds, and 70GB of samples, wavetables, analog synth wavetables etc.

โœ… Omnisphere's sound engine is top tier, offering the most pristine, clear waveforms you've heard and even accurately modelling some analog synths and real life instruments with a combination of synthesis and sampling work.

โœ… The sound design capabilities are endless, including granular synthesis, wavetable synthesis, and sample manipulation.

โœ… And to add to that, incredible built-in effects, including analog emulations of old hardware units, reverb, delay, and distortion.

โœ… Modulation possibilities are amazing

Cons

โŒ Very expensive, making it inaccessible for some users (but it's worth it)

โŒ Very CPU and RAM heavy, do not try to use on less than 16GB RAM and Quad Core CPU

โŒ Overwhelming for a new user and difficult to learn, but very worth the effort.

โŒ 70GB of space is a lot for a plugin to take on your HDD. You can use an External HDD, but make sure it's 7200RPM or an SSD or it will be slow

โŒ Once you buy Omnisphere you'll want the entire Spectrasonics collection, which will set you back a large amount of cash

Although not directly analog again, Omnisphere emulates analog hardware very well, with an incredible array of analog wavetables, samples (from a 70GB library), and has amazing preset patches that emulate old analog hardware.

It's not just good at that though, it excels at granular synthesis, has a huge modulation matrix, 50+ old, analog modelled effects and so much more under the hood than just a mere Virtual Analog VST re-creation.

There's a lot more sound design possibilities with Omnisphere vs Serum for instance, because Omnisphere 2 offers over 14000 built in sounds, 70GB of samples, 500 unique DSP waveforms (which emulate classic analog hardware synthesizers) & the option to have 8 instances open in one patch.

(that's 32 oscillators per patch)!

And that's not all!

With Omnisphere, your sounds will never lack depth or movement. The incredible selection of sounds to choose from, including the vast modulation matrix & deep number of built in effects, Omnisphere 2 allows you to craft sounds that are otherworldly and give you a unique edge in music production.

It includes an insane amount of modulation options including: 8 LFO's per instance, 12 envelopes per instance, 34 different filter types & 58 modern & vintage built in effects units.

(our favourite is retroplex – a vintage delay unit that sounds amazing)

On top of all that Omnisphere also includes options to import your own audio, to use as a sample, alongside a range of wavetable/sample editing options including:

  • An incredible granular synthesis engine
  • Detune & unison
  • FM modulation,
  • Ring modulation
  • Wavetable shaping + bitcrush & distortion.

It's also currently the only synth plugin that offers support for external hardware synthesizers, with a list of support for 65 different classics. If you own any of the following, then you're in for a real treat!

omnisphere synth plugin hardware synthesizer compatibility

One of our favourite parts about Omnisphere is the arpeggiator. It has everything you'd expect on a normal arpeggiator, but with a whole lot more to choose from.

It's what they call the “greatly enhanced arpeggiator” and it couldn't be a truer statement.

You can add individual & unique steps to each step divider, in the form of a chord, a multiple note run & even pitch slides. The arpeggiator also allows you to import MIDI grooves to lock the playing to and even capture MIDI output, so you can apply the notes to a separate synth vst in your music project.

Omnisphere can also be used in conjunction with the biggest selection of collector keyboards in the world: Keyscape. This gives you access to a huge library of keyboard & instrument sounds which can be loaded into the Omnisphere synthesis engine.

You can imagine just how complex and deep this sound design goes…

There's a whole lot more we could cover on Omnisphere, but there's not enough space in this article. The sound quality & vast creative possibilities are enough alone to make this the best synth vst out there, let alone the included updates that continually make it better & better.

It's a big investment, but it's the best investment you'll ever make as a music producer. If you're looking for unique sound design, that makes peoples hairs stand on end, then this is the right virtual instrument for you.

How Does Omnisphere Sound?

Here is a composition I made using Omnisphere (no mix or master):

I have left a composition I made here. It hasn't been mixed or mastered and I have only used instruments from Keyscape and Omnisphere, utilising the clever arpeggios built-in, the incredible granular engine and more.

Omnisphere's sound quality is out of this world. The cinematic sounds are beyond anything we've heard from the likes of Serum or Phase Plant, and it's best suited for people who are looking to compose music for film or TV.

That doesn't mean it's exclusive to that though, as many Trap producers have Omnisphere in their setup.

It will break the bank, but it's 100% worth it. For someone looking for a VST synth for sound design, to create weird & unique patches that never get boring, Omnisphere is for you. The arp alone is worth it in our opinion and the patterns you can create are simply insane.

I have personally used Omnisphere for almost all my productions. Alongisde Keyscape and Trilian (Spectrasonics' Bass and Keyboard expansions), you can make some of the most realistic, hair tingling sounds possible.

Summary

So, that should give you a great list of virtual analog plugins that are designed to sound analog and give you all the warmth, thickness and beauty of old hardware. As time goes on, we'll be adding more and more to this post, so leave some suggestions in the comments.

To recap, here is the complete list of the best analog VST plugins:

  1. Diva
  2. V Collection
  3. Analog Lab
  4. Bassline 101
  5. U-NO-LX
  6. J-8
  7. Pigments
  8. Omnisphere
  9. Falcon
  10. Dexed
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