The Best Synth Plugins for EDM Production (Free & Paid)

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If you're a fan of EDM, you know that synths are a crucial element in crafting those unforgettable beats. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your production needs. However, fear not! In this article, we'll be exploring the top synths for EDM, based on our extensive experience in music production. Specifically, we'll be focusing on wavetable synthesis, a widely-used form of synthesis that allows for a high degree of versatility and ease-of-use. From plugins that load wavetables from samples to those that directly load them from analog synths, we'll be examining the attributes, pros, and cons of each synth, helping both seasoned and novice producers alike find the perfect tool for their creative projects. So, let's dive in and discover the best synths for creating your next hit track!

What Are The Best Synth Plugins For Edm?

Here are the best synths for EDM production:

  1. Serum
  2. Phase Plant
  3. Omnisphere
  4. Massive X
  5. Reaktor
  6. Rapid Synth
  7. Waverazor
  8. reFX Nexus
  9. Komplete
  10. Diva
  11. MPowerSynth
  12. Vital (Best Free EDM Plugin)

What Synth Is Used For EDM?

You can use any synth for EDM production and many producers use a variety of synths to create EDM music. It doesn't matter what synth you use, it's not going to make you automatically better at production. You should pick one and learn it inside and out.

However, some of the most popular choices are Serum, Phase Plant, Vital, and Omnisphere.

What Synth Has The Best Sounds For EDM?

There are many synths that have incredible sounds for EDM, and you can choose any. However, some of the most popular choices for the best sounds for EDM are Serum, Nexus, Omnisphere, Vital, Rapid Synth, Phase Plant and Massive X to name a few.

We advise you (if you're a beginner) to pick a single synth and learn it inside and out before going on a spending spree thinking that the next synth will make you sound better. Take the time to truly learn something and then think about upgrading to a different synth.

WHICH Type of Synth Is best For EDM?

EDM production involves a vast array of sounds and styles, which means that there is no one ideal synth for the job. Different producers have their distinctive preferences and imaginative techniques.

Despite that, some of the most utilized synth types in EDM production are as follows:

  1. Wavetable synths – EDM producers commonly use Wavetable synths such as Serum and Massive X, for their dynamic sound creation and versatile modulation features.
  2. Hybrid synthesisers (power synths) – Omnisphere, Falcon, Pigments and more implement a hybrid approach that combines the best aspects of wavetable, granular, sample, virtual analog and much more. These tools have become famous for the incredibly pristine sound they can produce
  3. Virtual analog synths – Synths like Sylenth1 and Diva, are incredible for re-creating the classic analog sound from early EDM. They have beautiful warm and rich textures.

What is the Best Synth for Beginners?

The best digital synth VST plugin for beginners is Serum. It's the most versatile, easy-to-learn synth on the market, and sounds absolutely phenomenal without being too taxing on the CPU. For the best analog sound, go for Diva.

We would recommend Serum as the best synth VST for beginners, and most of the time that will be true. However, it entirely depends on what you want to learn, and how you function.

You might not be a fan of Serum, but it's generally considered as one of the best synths among the music production community.

I've personally used Serum to make sample packs entirely from scratch. The complex, in-depth sounds that can be made using Serum and some other sound design techniques are incredible.

All patches made in Serum – Purple Slush Lofi Pack

All songs made with sounds from (created with Serum) – Purple Slush Lofi Pack

All synths made in Serum – Redd Velvet Hyperpop Pack

All songs made with Serum patches from – Redd Velvet Hyperpop Pack

It's incredibly versatile, offers a huge range of built-in effects, an easy-to-use interface, hundreds of presets, and on top of all that, it's the most YouTube tutorial friendly synth out there, because of its popularity among producers.

Check out the 3 day free trial of Serum to see if you like it. If you don't get on with, you can always try out a couple of others.

Here's a quick list of the best synth VSTs for beginners:

  1. Serum (easiest to learn & best digital synth)
  2. Diva (best sounding analog synth)
  3. Omnisphere (most powerful VST synth)

Serum

Compatibility: Win7, Win10, Win8, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.11+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $189, or $9.99/month

Pros

βœ… Xfer Serum is highly regarded by music producers and sound designers due to its exceptional sound quality output, making it a preferred option.

βœ… The interface has been designed with ease of use in mind, striking a balance between simplicity and advanced functionality, ensuring that anyone from a novice to an expert can use it without difficulty.

βœ… Serum offers a vast collection of presets in its library, which serves as an excellent foundation for those who are into sound design and seeking new possibilities.

βœ… With its impressive wavetable synthesis feature, Serum provides users with a multifaceted synthesizer that makes it effortless to produce and modify intricate waveforms.

βœ… Serum's modulation capabilities are very advanced, offering a plethora of options that permit the effortless creation of sounds as they dynamically evolve over time.

βœ… Splice's RTO option, provides an economical $9.99 per month, with the ability to freeze at any time

βœ… With a significant level of popularity, Serum has an abundance of educational materials and guides available for new producers to learn it

Cons

❌ High price when bought outright

❌ Resource-intensive: Serum requires a lot of processing power, which may be problematic for users with older or less powerful computers.

❌ No built-in arpeggiator: Unlike some other synthesizers, Serum does not have a built-in arpeggiator, which may require users to use additional plugins or tools to achieve this effect.

For EDM music producers Serum is a dream. The amazing capabilities in sound design, low CPU usage, cheap entry price and array of learning resource online, make it the best synth to learn on and create music, especially for EDM producers as it's geared at EDM producers.

It's a power wavetable synthesizer, with over 150 wavetables, and the ability to load more, create your own manually, out of samples, JPEGs and more. Wavetable synthesis is a fantastic choice for creating unique sounds, due to the versatility of it.

You can load and create wavetables of any sound, allowing you to import sampled acoustic guitar and sweep through the bed of waves to re-create an accurate synth-like guitar sound.

On top of all the modulation, FX and great GUI added, it makes Serum a stellar choice for EDM production.

The FX and filter section of Serum is highly acclaimed for its exceptional features. Its broad array of unique miscellaneous filters, including standard low, high, and bandpass filters, and crazier filters like allpass, flanges, phases and off the wall, great-sounding stuff.

I personally use the filters in Serum a lot, because it's the only synth I've found with as unique filtering options for sound design, and filtering is fundamental in the sound design process.

Serum stands out due to its simplicity and versatility in modulation. The synthesizer's drag-and-drop interface appeals to producers prioritizing productivity and sound quality. Additionally, Serum boasts four oscillators, including two wavetable oscillators, a noise generator (which can also be used as a sampler), and a sub-oscillator.

I've personally used Serum to make entire sample packs from scratch

All patches made in Serum – Purple Slush Lofi Pack

All songs made with sounds from (created with Serum) – Purple Slush Lofi Pack

All synths made in Serum – Redd Velvet Hyperpop Pack

All songs made with Serum patches from – Redd Velvet Hyperpop Pack

Despite not having the same cinematic sounds as other synths such as Omnisphere, Serum remains an affordable option with top-quality filter types that can enhance one's sound design skills. In fact, we suggest that novice producers begin with Serum before trying out any other synth as it provides excellent flexibility, speed, and impeccable audio output.

Phase Plant

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price:
$199, or $7.99/month

Pros

βœ… Offers a wide range of synthesis methods, including wavetable, FM, subtractive, and sample-based synthesis, giving you endless sound design capabilities

βœ… Clean and easy to navigate UI, for beginners and professionals

βœ… Modular architecture, giving you the possibility to create extremely complex patches easily. Also gives you a blank canvas to create as you please

βœ… Very good sound engine offering high-quality sound and a small impact on the CPU + RAM

βœ… Unique features, like being able to create custom wavetables, add samples and more

Cons

❌ No built-in effects directly in the plugin, you have to install “Snap-Ins” from KiloHearts. Many are free, but some are paid.

❌ No built-in arpeggiator or sequencer, these come as “Snap-Ins” again, which can be annoying to some.

❌ Very hard to learn. Because of the semi-modular nature, it can be overwhelming, especially with a blank canvas. We recommend starting with presets to learn how they are made

❌ Quite expensive when purchasing extra Snap-Ins and packs

❌ The preset library is unfortunately small compared to other synthesizers in the same price range, which offer the same capabilities

Kilohearts Phase Plant is a software synthesizer that blends various synthesis methods including subtractive, wavetable, FM, among others; thus, making it an efficient package. Its innovative and versatile features have earned it a significant status in the music production industry.

Phase Plant is an innovative sound design tool that stands out due to its unique approach to modular sound creation. Its modular environment empowers users to mix various modules to generate a distinct signal flow. This exceptional feature caters to the needs of sound designers and veteran producers, who aim to push the limits of electronic music.

Phase Plant stands out with its utilization of wavetable synthesis engine, providing numerous wavetable shapes and opportunities to upload personalized wavetables. The incorporation of effects processing is also incredibly impressive, featuring a remarkable selection of high-standard effects that can be conveniently automated and modulated by the user.

Phase Plant offers a user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing interface that enables effortless management and adjustment of its various parameters. As far as audio excellence is concerned, Phase Plant produces a crisp and accurate sound that has ample personality and coziness.

Phase Plant possesses a vital aspect that is useful for EDM production – the capacity to swiftly and effectively produce intricate and opulent sounds. Its potency lies in its modulation system; it consists of a multitude of sources and destinations that enable an effortless way of infusing dynamic and profound elements to your music. With a capability to craft intricate signal chains and modulation routings, the potential for sound designing is practically limitless.

The synthesis engine in Phase Plant includes a helpful sampler module, enabling users to import and edit their own samples. This feature proves especially beneficial in crafting distinct percussion elements and drum sounds.

Phase Plant is a potent synthesizer which boasts of versatility and remarkable sound design features, particularly for electronic dance music production. It is most suitable for producers who wish to orchestrate elaborate and distinctive sounds that are distinguishable from others. The synthesizer is well-suited for areas like bass design, lead sound design, and effects processing, which are important for EDM production.

Omnisphere

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

Pros

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

βœ… 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.

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

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

βœ… Modulation possibilities are amazing

Cons

❌ Very expensive, making it inaccessible for some users (but it's worth it)

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

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

❌ 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

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

A composition I made using Omnisphere and Keyscape together

EDM producers shouldn't pass on Spectrasonics Omnisphere, and for good reason.

Omnisphere 2 is hailed as the ultimate power synth, brimming with unrivaled opportunities for sound design. Packed with an impressive 14,000 sounds, 70GB of samples, and 500 distinctive DSP waveforms, it offers an expansive range of instruments, synths, and analog hardware emulations ideal for crafting EDM soundscapes.

On top of that it includes a vast selection of incorporated effects, that are modeled on old analog hardware and sound fantastic. Top that with a profound modulation matrix, and you can effortlessly introduce dimension and motion into your audio creations, providing them with a distinct flair that distinguishes them from others.

Omnisphere 2 is equipped with all the necessary features to create bizarre and unconventional sounds. Each instance includes 8 LFOs and 12 unique envelopes, a collection of 34 filter types, and 58 contemporary and vintage effects units. The plugin also boasts an exceptional vintage delay unit, retroplex, for added dimension to your creations.

omnisphere synth plugin hardware synthesizer compatibility

The synth has various modules including granular synthesis, detune and unison, FM modulation, ring modulation, and wavetable shaping enhanced with bitcrush and distortion. Notably, it uniquely allows support for external hardware synthesizers that map perfectly to Omnisphere's settings, making it an ideal option for EDM producers aspiring to blend modern and classic equipment in their music.

Omnisphere 2 includes an arpeggiator that distinguishes it from other synthesizers. With remarkable versatility, it enables you to infuse exclusive attributes into every step divider, such as a chord, a sequence of multiple notes, and sliding pitches.

It's effortless to integrate MIDI grooves and record MIDI output, enabling you to effortlessly incorporate the notes into a distinct synth VST in your music production.

To extend your sound choices, Omnisphere offers the ability to combine with Keyscape, the widest range of collector keyboards worldwide. By doing so, you are granted entry to an enormous pool of keyboard and instrument sounds which the Omnisphere synthesis engine can integrate.

Investing in Omnisphere 2 is a smart decision owing to its unparalleled sound quality and boundless creative potential. The software is ideal for music producers aiming to craft distinctive and captivating sounds that never lose their charm, thanks to its remarkable arpeggiator and patterns. Unlike Serum or Phase Plant, Omnisphere offers cinematic sounds that are unmatched. It's an excellent choice for soundtracking film and TV compositions as well.

I've personally used Omnisphere for a lot of my productions, with it being one of the main synths used in this particular piece

Massive X

Compatibility:Β Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.5+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX 64-bit
Price:Β $179

Pros

βœ… Stunning sounding oscillators with great filters that sound analog, and can be used to further shape your sound design

βœ… Routing and modulation is really easy to use, you just drag and drop on certain effects and use the modulation matrix to further refine, making it great for workflow

βœ… Brilliant selection of modulators, LFOs, performance modules and more. If you're an original Massive fan you'll know how great the performer modulators are

βœ… Great selection of built-in effects that can be modulated and sound fantastic. Things like LFOs, envelopes can be applied to really technically shape your sounds

βœ… Wonderful selection of presets

Cons

❌ Quite expensive for a synth

❌ No ability to load your own samples or waveforms

❌ Not as versatile as other wavetable synths on the market

Having the appropriate resources to create exceptional and impactful sounds is crucial in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) field. Therefore, synth plugins such as Kontakt, Reaktor, and Native Instruments Massive have become renowned within the industry. The introduction of Massive X by Native Instruments has once again set a new standard.

Massive X, a powerful wavetable synthesizer, boasts a vast selection of more than 170 wavetables and 2 flexible oscillators that come with distinct sub oscillators. Additionally, the FX panel enables users to upgrade to a 3rd oscillator. With such a high degree of customization, this synth is a must-have for any EDM producer looking to take their craft to the next level.

Massive X additionally includes unique sub modules, each equipped with three distinct modes – King, Kang, and Kong – that produce supremely powerful subwoofers that are unmatched in the industry. The software is particularly suited for designing assertive bass sounds that play a crucial role in electronic dance music.

Massive X, without a doubt, is an exceptional tool when it comes to its modulation capabilities. Modulation plays a crucial role in making sound design come alive, and this software enables the modulation of every parameter. The software provides an effortless way to add motion and depth to your sounds. The drag-and-drop modulation feature, which was prevalent in the original Massive, has been enhanced and expanded; it is even more self-explanatory and user-friendly in Massive X.

Massive X features a revamped routing panel that grants you complete command over the signal path of your synthesizer. This feature allows for fluid modification of the signal path, making it simple to sidestep specific modules. Furthermore, Massive X presents you with three modulation envelopes, six LFOs, three performers, and four trackers that can be utilized to produce intricate and energetic audio.

To put it briefly, the Massive X synthesizer is a formidable and powerful tool, ideal for producing the intense bass tones essential to EDM. Moreover, its adaptability knows no bounds and it can be employed for nearly any purpose you desire.

If you're exploring for a tool to elevate your sound design as an EDM producer, then you should surely consider giving Massive X a try.

Reaktor

Compatibility:Β Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.5+ VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $199

Pros

“βœ… Incredible modular environment providing a tonne of different synths, effects, modulators and more to choose from
βœ… Possible to code your own instruments and effects (similar to those who know about Ableton's MaxMSP)
βœ… You can patch any series of instruments and effects together, linking them up with wires how you would in a modular environment
βœ… Included with Komplete collection, which comes with loads of instruments, high quality samples, synths and more
βœ… Moog synth emulation included in the 70+ included instruments
βœ… If you have a Maschine or a Komplete Kontrol, this perfectly links with the hardware, allowing you to create patches using your hardware instead of mouse clicks
βœ… Incredible user community that share patches, presets, blocks they've made themselves and brilliant search that allows you to find all of these inside the plugin – giving you endless presets etc.

Cons

❌ Very difficult to learn completely. Initially the modular aspect is easy to pick up and NI have made it simple, but the coding and creation of your own blocks is where it starts to get veteran difficulty

❌ Blocks can be intimidating for beginners, and may require a significant amount of time and effort to master.

❌ Very CPU heavy when you start creating in-depth sounds

❌ Very expensive for a modular synth, but definitely one of the most customisable and cheapest available considering you don't have to purchase 3rd party modules and can create your own or use the vast user-library submitted stuff

Reaktor by Native Instruments is a robust synthesizer software that is fantastic for EDM production. It's a modular synth, enables you to construct your custom virtual instruments, synthesizers, and effects processors using diverse components.

It comes with a load of modules you can drag and drop, and start linking up together, and even comes with an amazing Moog synth emulation built-in to the library.

One of the major benefits of Reaktor is the community. There's a huge community of people creating blocks and presets for Reaktor that are openly shared inside the app and free to use for anyone. 

It's similar to MaxMSP where you can custom code your own blocks to do different things, so if you're into audio software engineering then this is going to be a dream for you.

When it comes to producing EDM music, Reaktor is an exceptional choice, thanks to its numerous advanced capabilities. One of its most notable features is its comprehensive selection of effects processors, which include everything from delays and reverbs to distortions and beyond. These tools can be employed to augment the richness and uniqueness of your tracks, or to construct entirely fresh sounds from scratch.

Reaktor has an outstanding attribute that permits it to incorporate personalized waveforms. This specific aspect enables the creation of unparalleled sounds that cannot be achieved by standard waveforms. One significant benefit of this feature is its proficiency in developing bass sounds that are an integral component of EDM music.

Reaktor additionally has exceptional modulation capabilities. Its sophisticated envelope system, LFOs, and step sequencers enable the addition of movement and variation to sounds, encouraging the creation of intricate and progressive textures required in EDM music.

Rapid Synth

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.13+, 11.6.5 No VST, VST3, AU, 64-bit, 32-bit
Price: $179.99

Pros

βœ… 8 different layers with 3 oscillators to choose from

βœ… Incredible library of factory samples, wavetables & presets

βœ… 32 modulation routes

βœ… Great sequencer which can be used to create constantly evolving and interesting sounds.

βœ… Arp control is extremely precise

βœ… Tonnes of MIDI & interesting arp presets

βœ… Easy to use interface

Cons

❌ A little overwhelming at first

❌ Not widely used yet, so 3rd party sounds rarely available

rhodes
lofi melody
trance melody
donk bass

Rapid is a wavetable synthesizer and kind of like a poor man's Omnisphere. It's an extremely great attempt at a budget power synth, and includes so much that is geared towards EDM music production.

It includes three oscillators, with 8 separate layers you can merge together to create hair-standing sound design stacks – that's 24 oscillators, with effects stacked and more. You also get an array of modulation possibilities, an internal effects section, and an impactful arpeggiator and sequencer that is perfect for creating auto-play melodies and sequences that are perfect for EDM style music.

Rapid's extensive collection of waveforms and samples (over 11,000 incuded) enables the creation of an extensive range of sounds. In addition, users can bring in their own samples and sounds and utilize the synthesizer's robust editing tools to adapt and fine-tune them as desired.

The synth presents a streamlined and uncomplicated interface that makes navigation a breeze. Each component of the synth is well-defined and simple to access. The modulation capabilities are particularly noteworthy due to the availability of multiple LFOs, envelopes, and step sequencers that allow for efficient control of the diverse parameters.

One of the best things about Rapid is the integrated effects section, complete with a wide array of top-notch effects such as reverb, delay, distortion, and many others. With its arpeggiator and sequencer, users are granted various creative prospects enabling them to effortlessly generate intricate, rhythmic patterns.

Parawave Rapid synth is an innovative software that provides electronic music producers with a vast array of creative options. Its user-friendly interface and robust feature collection make it an excellent selection for both novice and experienced users. In general, it is an impressive software.

Waverazor

Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.9+, VST, VST3, AU, AAX, NKS, 64-bit
Price: $159

Pros

βœ… A one-of-a-kind futuristic virtual synth.

βœ… Highly innovative β€œsplice waveforms” feature.

βœ… Excellent for self-oscillating drones and soundscapes.

βœ… Save time while creating complex dubstep Bass and Glitchy leads.

βœ… Two XY performance pads for automating your modulations.

βœ… Excellent graphics for an immersive experience.

Cons

❌ Very steep learning curve if you want to master it.

modulating chords
arp
melody

The Tracktion Waverazor is a trailblazing synthesizer that has gained considerable buzz for its boundary-pushing sound engineering capacities. In this assessment, we delve deeper into the plugin to determine whether it justifies its price tag. The Waverazor is proficient in fashioning disquieting futuristic harmonies for movie scores with the same effortless proficiency that it can create edgy lead melodies and distorted basslines for Dubstep.

This synth's GUI comes in 21 languages and an easy-to-use XY pad, which is very visually appealing. However, mastering this synth may prove difficult due to a steep learning curve, even though it is capable of producing unique sonic textures.

Waverazor works best with genres such as psytrance, industrial techno, trance and even works well on film scores, with the added possibility of crafting ambient soundscapes. This makes it a perfect, versatile synth for EDM production. 

Its ability to produce profound, eerie, and rough textures is exceptional, however, generating melodious sounds can be challenging due to its dominant resonant timbres. It features presets conducive to heavy Ring-Modulation, enabling users to easily create sharp lead tones ideal for dubstep, glitch-edged basslines, and vintage '80s-style synthesizer snares.

It's effortless to make drones using Waverazor, and you can produce rich drones with the majority of the pre-existing settings by holding down chord progressions.

On top of that the presets are designed with striking ring modulation effects, adding a degree of suspense to your playing. It lends itself particularly well to creating industrial and distorted bass sounds as well as atmospheric pads perfect for cinematic music.

Finally, Waverazor sets itself apart with a unique feature – splice waveforms. Its cutting-edge sound design raises the bar. Waverazor allows automation of modulations via two XY performance pads, making it perfect for self-oscillating drones and soundscapes. Complex dubstep bass and glitchy leads can be created in no time. The plugin boasts an impressive GUI available in 21 languages to further immerse users, elevating their experience.

It truly is an exceptional virtual synthesizer that is capable of producing intricate dubstep Bass and glitchy leads, as well as self-generating drones and soundscapes. Its graphics are highly appealing, providing a captivating experience. Although it may take some time to grasp, the synth is an unparalleled and potent instrument for music producers who strive to create extraordinary soundscapes.

reFX Nexus

Compatibility: Win8, Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.13+ VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $249 – $4069

Pros

βœ… Huge library of sounds, including pianos, strings, brass, and synths, with over 4,000 presets available

βœ… The sounds included are exceptional for EDM and have been designed by professional EDM producers and sound designers

βœ… Piano for electronic music is perfect in Nexus. If you're looking for a classic House Piano sound, it's all in here

βœ… Simple, intuitive interface that offers quick browsing and rapid selection of sounds. You can search by genre, key, etc. etc.

βœ… Arpeggiator and sequencer are great for adding more complex patterns to your sounds

βœ… Modulation routing and matrix is vast, giving you full control over your sound and expanding your possibilities massively

Cons

❌ The editing of sounds is very limited compared to other synthesisers, and it's much like a more advanced sampler. Some people might not like this factor.

❌ Quite expensive for producers coming in at $249 just for a starter edition, going all the way to $4069 for complete

❌ Takes up a huge amount of HDD space

❌ Not many effects included compared to other synths

reFX Nexus is an incredibly versatile and easy-to-use synth that offers producers a plethora of top-notch presets for any style of music. It boasts an extensive sound library, making it the ideal choice for those seeking quality sounds at their disposal.

Despite lacking complete customization options, the synth remains an essential instrument for all music producers and composers due to its superior quality and convenience.

With a user-friendly interface, this tool offers superior sounds and presets. Its extensive library features over 8,000 presets, encompassing a vast array of genres such as EDM, Hip-Hop, orchestral and cinematic. The presets are organized in a straightforward and intuitive manner, making selecting the ideal sound for your project an effortless task.

The polished sound creation options of the reFX Nexus are matched by its exceptional sound quality, while an easy-to-use configuration with intuitive controls is another of its strong points. Additionally, the synth's user experience is enhanced by its well-designed graphics.

The reFX Nexus may not offer the highest level of synth customization available, but it distinguishes itself with its user-friendliness and convenience. For those seeking a synth that produces first-rate sounds and presets without requiring substantial alterations, the reFX Nexus serves as an excellent option.

For those who focus specifically on producing EDM, this product is a top choice. Designed exclusively for the EDM market, it can be compared to Kontakt or Komplete in its offerings. When seeking instant access to incredible EDM sounds, this tool stands among the best available options.

Despite the limited sound editing capabilities, the cost may also discourage you from purchasing it.

Komplete

Compatibility: Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, maOS 10.5+ VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $199 – $1799

Pros

βœ… One of the biggest collections of virtual instruments, effects, and sample libraries, with 100+ instruments and effects, and 50+ expansions. Pianos, Guitars, Synths… you name it, Komplete has it.

βœ… Incredibly high-quality sounds, recorded in studios and meticulously sampled to capture all the qualities of the original instrument

βœ… Regular updates to the software with new additions of instruments and libraries

βœ… Works seamlessly with a Komplete Kontrol or Maschine if you have one

βœ… Very good value for money. Even though the price is high, you get everything you need for music production at a professional level

Cons

❌ Extremely expensive, costing over $1000 for the entire collection. However, if you are producing for a long time, it's worth it

❌ Takes up an incredible amount of HDD space. A TB of space is needed for everything

❌ Hard to learn and the interface is not the best designed

❌ A lot of older instruments haven't received updates such as Massive, FM8 etc.

Komplete 14 is a comprehensive suite for music production, featuring a huge array of virtual instruments, effects, and sample libraries.

Komplete 14 includes a broad range of virtual instruments and it's one of the biggest selling points of the package (alongside the incredible sampled instruments). 

The suite comprises more than 70 instruments, including both traditional and contemporary synthesizers, samplers and pianos. Among the most in-demand of these virtual instruments are Kontakt, Reaktor, Massive X, and Absynth.

Kontakt provides a plethora of opportunities to mold and modify audio samples. This robust sampler includes an extensive library of over 55 GB of sample content, bringing a trove of sound possibilities that you can discover to enhance your music production.

Reaktor is a software synthesizer that enables users to craft their own exclusive sounds with the aid of diverse building blocks. This sophisticated instrument is a valuable resource for musicians who prefer to experiment with sound and sound designers craving distinctiveness.

Massive X is a state-of-the-art wavetable synthesizer that offers a wide array of options for designing audio. The synthesizer comes equipped with more than 1,800 factory presets and enables you to produce your own unique audio with the use of diverse waveforms and modulation choices.

With its innovative synthesis engine, Absynth is a potent software synthesizer that enables users to generate intricate and dynamic audio. The program features an extensive collection of ready-made settings and offers a plethora of audio creation choices for musicians and manufacturers.

Komplete 14 provides an extensive lineup of effects plugins along with its virtual instruments. These plugins offer a diverse range of sound modulation options, featuring EQ and compression tools to delay and reverb effects that cater to your particular musical requirements. Among the most well-liked effects plugins in the package are Guitar Rig 6, Replika, and the Solid Mix Series.

Guitarists and producers have access to a myriad of options with Guitar Rig 6, a flexible guitar amplifier and effects simulator. It can imitate a variety of amplifiers and pedals, offering more than 50 effects for crafting the perfect sound.

The Replika plugin boasts an extensive array of delay effects ranging from vintage tape delay to contemporary rhythmic delays, making it a dominant element in any audio setup. Moreover, it offers a plethora of modulation and filtering options that enable users to fine-tune their audio further, resulting in an optimal sound experience every time.

The range of EQ, compression, and saturation plugins within the Solid Mix Series is designed to offer an outstanding mixing and mastering toolkit of premium quality. These plugins emulate the classic analog hardware with finesse, which adds a warm and analog vibe to your compositions.

In totality, Komplete 14 offers a broad spectrum of digital instruments, audio enhancements and collections, making it an all-in-one package for music creation. Its extensive array of tools and audio variety caters to all levels of proficiency, consequently empowering your imaginative mindsets.

Diva

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

Pros

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

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

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

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

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

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

βœ… 4k support

Cons

❌ Very CPU hungry… that's it.

❌ Only two effects slots

❌ Can be very overwhelming for a new user attempting to learn synthesis

u-he, a prominent audio plugin developer, has crafted Diva – a software synthesizer distinguished from its contemporaries due to its precision in producing the sound of old-school analog synthesizers. As a result of this specialty, Diva has become a go-to selection for makers of electronic music.

Diva is an ideal tool for creating electronic dance music due to its potent oscillators. The synthesizer features a variety of oscillator types, such as digital, virtual analog, and sample-based oscillators, that can be blended to generate intricate, progressive soundscapes. To modify the sound's tone, the instrument also boasts several filter options.

Diva offers a set of modulation capabilities that serve as a valuable asset for EDM production. To enhance the dynamics and intricacy of sound, a diverse array of modulators such as LFOs, envelopes, and step sequencers is readily available. Moreover, the synth boasts a highly-efficient arpeggiator that enables one to produce intricate patterns and sequences.

The top attraction of Diva lies in its proficiency to precisely replicate the vintage analog synthesizer sounds. The synth features digital modeling merged with component-level emulation to reproduce the classic synths such as Minimoog, Roland Jupiter-8, and Prophet-5 with great accuracy. Evidently, Diva is a perfect option for music producers who wish to recreate classic EDM tracks' sounds.

Diva is a superb virtual analog synth for music production and is equipped with semi-modular capability that facilitates mixing and matching of oscillators, filters, and various sections of each classically modeled synth, making it one of the most powerful tools for analog infused EDM production.

MPowerSynth

Compatibility: Win8, Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, 10.14+ VST, VST3, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $240

Pros

βœ… Over 1500 community designed presets, post-processed to get the highest possible quality.

βœ… Oscillators emit a pristine sound, devoid of any aliasing.

βœ… Oscillators use custom waveform editing with MeldaProduction Envelope System (MES)

βœ… Automatic Gain Compensation (AGC) to judge presets at a standard volume.

βœ… Smart Randomization selects best-sounding combinations of parameters.

βœ… Modulation FX section is a creative patch-bay area with over 100 effects and endless possibilities.

βœ… Polyphonic Arpeggiator with innovative shuffle, note-length, probability and smart randomiser features.

βœ… Multiparameters can be used to smartly morph between banks of settings. Lets you automate multiple parameters using a single multiparameter. 

βœ… 8 modulators switch between an LFO, level follower, midi/audio triggered ADSR enveloper, randomiser and pitch detector.

βœ…4 macro controls for each preset, automatically assigned to standard MIDI controllers.

Cons

❌ Intimidating for beginner to intermediate level producers.

❌ Could've had a β€œQuick-Help” function while hovering over a parameter.

❌ No details about terms used in the Arpeggiator section. More likely to stumble upon a desired sound than actually design one.

❌ Lot of the best features like the β€˜Sample Analyser' are hidden within poorly named sections like β€˜Harmonics'.

❌ The ABCD Morphing on the right side is a potent tool with little to no information.

MPowerSynth is equipped with a plethora of cutting-edge features, making it the go-to tool for music producers of varying skill sets. In this write-up, we'll delve deeper into MPowerSynth's unique selling points, highlighting its key features and benefits.

It stands out due to its exceptional oscillators that offer unmatched functionality. Equipped with more than 1200 presets and 233 waveforms, MPowerSynth enables you to create a vast range of unique sounds. These oscillators come with various modes like additive, subtractive, and frequency modulation that have made it easier to find the ideal tone for your music project.

MPowerSynth includes a wide-ranging modulation system apart from its remarkable oscillators. The synthesizer is furnished with more than 100 modulation sources like LFOs, envelopes, and step sequencers that permit assigning them to any parameter within the synthesizer. This feature provides a significant level of control and customization, ensuring that every sound created is distinct and personalized to the user's specific requirements.

Additionally it comes equipped with an array of in-built effects such as reverb, distortion, delay, and several others for enhanced sound customization and control. These effects can be easily integrated into any audio to further enhance it, providing a boundless scope for experimentation with different tones and settings. Navigating through the interface is a cakewalk with its user-friendly and intuitive design facilitating seamless exploration of sounds.

Where it excels is in generating sounds ideal for EDM productions, thanks to its adaptable oscillators and modulation mechanism. Its potential to create dynamic basslines, captivating leads, and ambient pads that are typical in EDM tracks is impressive. The software also features several effects that come in handy during the sound designing process, facilitating the creation of a polished mix with a professional finish.

MPowerSynth is a software synthesizer that provides users with vast functionality and customization opportunities. With its easy-to-use interface, MPowerSynth enables music producers to create distinct and varied sounds. It is suitable for both beginners and experts in music production. MPowerSynth has the capability to create EDM suitable sounds, which makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a robust synthesizer.

13. Vital (Free)

Compatibility: Win10, Win11 Apple Silicon, macOS 10.12+ VST, VST3, AU, AAX, LV2, 64-bit
Price: $0

Pros

βœ… Wavetable synthesis with 3 oscillators, incredible range of effects and filters

βœ… Endless modulation possibilities with a simple drag and drop approach, which allows you to modulate anything

βœ… Very similar layout to Xfer's Serum, making it very easy to use and some calling it the free version of Serum, however the sound engine is entirely different

βœ… UI is intuitive and easy to navigate, with a sleek and modern design.

βœ… Very affordable price. It's either free or only $80 to purchase the pro version which unlocks everything

βœ… Nice library of presets to choose from which help aid the sound design process

βœ… Great modulation matrix that is easy to understand and use, allowing you modulate literally anything

βœ… Possible to load own wavetables, create wavetables from samples and load samples, meaning you don't have to purchase the full version

βœ… Active community that shares presets, wavetable packs and more

Cons

❌ Free version is stripped back, you only get a few wavetables to use

❌ Not as good as Serum, but offers a more affordable option to Serum

Vital Synth has been highly acclaimed by music producers and sound designers over the years due to its robust and adaptable wavetable synthesis. This synthesizer presents a diversified array of timbres and textures that can be effortlessly tweaked to generate exclusive and captivating sounds.

It has a remarkable interface, with an intuitive framework and easy navigation, catering to the needs of beginners and professionals alike. Its features a diverse collection of filter types, LFOs, envelopes, to effects, where adjusting parameters comes as second nature.

Vital, in my personal opinion, is fantastic for synthwave music, drum and bass, dubstep and pretty much any genre. I personally like it for 80s synthwave music/old vintage sounds. This may or may not be influenced by the purple colour hahaha!

However, the filters are fantastic and unique, with modulation they become even greater tools for intriguing sound design too.

Unfortunately, the free version doesn't come with a lot of wavetables or preset to choose from. However, you can load your own wavetables and create wavetables from samples etc if you like, meaning you don't have to purchase the full version.

Nothing else is limited in the free version of the synth, which is what sets Vital apart from other synths.

Summary

So, now you should have a good list of synths to get you started. Our advice is, pick one and learn it inside and out before purchasing another.

If you do this, you will master a synth, and be able to transfer this skill to any other synth, as well as become a sound design pro.

If you’re wondering which to pick, we’d recommend Serum for people just starting out. It’s great to learn on and even when you become advanced, it doesn’t have many limitations. It’s not the most feature rich synth, but do not be fooled by over the top features – you can make literally anything with Serum and it’s our go-to synth for sound design and music production every time.

If you want something a little more advanced, we’d go for Phase Plant. With the added modular design and the extra synthesis types, it makes it a good step up from Serum. However, the filtering sections and the effects are the downfall of this plugin. Nevertheless, it allows you to tinker more and get under the hood more.

If you want an absolute beast, go for Omnisphere. It is hands down the most powerful synth on this list, with so much capability.

If you don’t have the budget for Omnisphere, go for Rapid synth. Not only is it much cheaper, but it’s also been built for EDM production, so it might actually suit an EDM producer more so.

If you just want ready-made, great sounding stuff, go for Nexus. It has some of the industry’s best EDM sound and many, many producers use it in their tracks for quick, already mixed sounds that work well in context.

To recap, here’s the full list of best EDM synth plugins:

  1. Serum
  2. Phase Plant
  3. Omnisphere
  4. Massive X
  5. Reaktor
  6. Rapid Synth
  7. Waverazor
  8. reFX Nexus
  9. Komplete
  10. Diva
  11. MPowerSynth
  12. Vital (Best Free EDM Plugin)
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