Plugins and synthesizers are two things that are critical for every music composer’s studio (to be precise, it’s their virtual studio and not even a real one). Without these two add-on features, VST (Virtual Studio Technology) is incomplete. These plugins give a lot of flexibility in terms of creation and processing of music.
But why do you need a virtual synthesizer when you have hardware ones? Virtual synthesizers or softsynths are cheaper than hardware synthesizers. They are also more portable than dedicated hardware. But that’s not the only advantage of having a virtual synthesizer. They are also easier to interface with other software such as a music sequencer.
So, these third party plugins and virtual synthesizers, developed by third party developers are incorporated in the DAW of your preference. Most DAW’s have their own set of stock plugins and synths. These are often used for standard things such as compression, EQ, reverb, chorus and panning, which helps in changing, enhancing or fixing the sound.
Don’t just go and purchase the hottest thing available in the market. Before you purchase your VST, make sure you are buying the right one. If the stock plugin in your VST does a satisfactory job, then you do not need to go for these third party accessories.
But if you are feeling overwhelmed and confused allow us to help you out with this.
Some Of The Best VST’s Plugins and Virtual Synthesizers
Easily, Waves is one of the most popular plugins and signal processors in the music production industry. It is used by the world’s top music producers. Their high quality in sound mixing and mastering, or processing the live sounds is just off the charts. It is easily the best software for reverb, compression, EQ, limiting, noise reduction. The compatible versions they offer file versions in VST, TDM, RTAS and AU formats. Extremely flexible in usage, it is a bit pricey, but well worth it.
Izotope offers great sound to help producers and engineers seamlessly work on their music. Their award winning software and plugins have earned quite a reputation in the music composition industry. Ozone 8, their most popular plugin, is a full mastering suite with intelligent signal processing, signal shaping and tone balancing. Compatible formats provided are RTAS, AAX, VST and AU. Another popular plugin in their inventory is Izotope Trash, which is one of the most advanced distortion units. It is excellent for using with guitar and drums.
Known for being user friendly and having high fidelity output, Fabfilter is convenient for budding music composers. It is powerful and innovative, and also fits in your budget. Fabfilter offers plugins for reverb, EQ, compression, mid side and limiting. It has a trial demo version and can even be purchased on rent from splice.com. If you have just started out in the music industry, then that’s a convenient option.
Clean and realistic, Valhalla Room features twelve reverb algorithms that produce a variety of natural reverberation sounds. These algorithms can be altered to user’s preferences. Cool, isn’t it?
Guitar Rig is a plugin used for amplifying effects from guitar pedals. Primarily aimed at guitarists and bassists, it is extremely user friendly and offers a lot of different combinations.
Celemony Melodyne is the best plugin that can be used for changing and correcting the pitch of sounds. Typically used on vocals and pitched instruments, it will modify the notes that are a bit off key or off time. Melodyne also works on both, chords as well as single notes. It has a lot of auto-tune options. It supports VST and AU formats, and a lot of standalone units as well.
Sugar Bytes Effectrix
It is a multi-effects plugin used for creating all sorts of sequenced sound manipulations. Sugar Bytes Effectrix also allows mashing up or tweaking of beats to create new patterns, reverse, stretch, delay and alter your sounds in around sixteen different ways.
Virtual studio instruments or VSTISs allows a composer to add powerful software instruments into a DAW. This plugin allows utilization of the best modern synthesizers and real world instruments.
Those were some of the best virtual studio technology plugins. But for having the best music composition tools in your control, you need to have an equally excellent DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) as well.
All DAW’s will come with a few stock plugins but these are usually quite basic ones. Here are some of the best ones.
Komplete brings all of the native instruments and effect plugins together into one comprehensive package ready to run as a standalone instrument. It has a huge library of synthesizers, sampled instruments and expansion packs with over 25,000 preset sounds and fifty processors. You can create any type of sound you want, without even having to pick up a third party sound and processing it according to your needs. If you are a beginner, then this is not recommended. It is better if you polish off your musical skills before you actually graduate to Komplete. It is pricier than all the other options available in the market.
Serum is a groundbreaking virtual synthesizer that has emerged as an industry standard in the world of music production and composition. Sound designers will vouch this to be one of the best synthesizers in the industry. The sound quality is simply unbelievable. It has basic oscillators to create the wave table sounds. You can drag and drop any sound into it. Also, the matrix routing options are really powerful. With so many options on board, you are spoilt for choice.
Sylenth is a really popular virtual synthesizer that has many awesome features – pads, leads, arpeggiators and basslines. The interface is really flexible and allows you to easily adjust sounds and parameters. Music composers who have just started their career recommend it as the easiest virtual synth to master. After Serum, it is one of the best virtual synths in the market and it easily fits in your budget as well.
Nexus is a really powerful ROM sampler. It has got some amazing sounds and has options for adding on sound banks from famous producers. That’s great, isn’t it? It’s screen interface is pure genius, which by default displays the different sound banks and all of the presets inside of them. It makes your work way easier than you imagined. It also makes it easy to find the sounds that you are looking for. The standard version comes with many a-class presets. You can even add expansion packs. After Komplete, it is one of the versatile virtual synths in the industry. Many music producers also recommend Nexus as an economical alternate to Komplete.
Spire is a virtual synthesizer with really powerful sound that works well for dance music and hip hop tracks. It comes with five banks and you can also get more packs online. Creating your own sounds is very easy with Spire. The routing options are also excellent.
Omnisphere has a huge virtual synth engine and an enormous bank of sampled sounds. Coupled with endless sound design capabilities, it is great for composers and sound designers. It comes with a vast library of over 12,000 sounds in almost every kind of style, be it an EDM track or a soundscape. The only drawback is that you need lots of hard drive space for accommodating the software.