Virtual Studio Technology or VST Plugins as they’re more commonly referred to, are software interfaces that integrate synths, instruments, and effects into your favourite DAW. When it comes to VST’s, there are literally thousands on the market, with both free and paid varieties. From software emulations of all the classic analog hardware synths and effects to a number of groundbreaking designs that just couldn’t even exist in physical form.
So whether you’re looking for classic recreations of classic drum machines, synthesizers and effects. Or you’re looking for brand new sounds to give your production a new edge; there’s going to be a number of VST plugin’s out there that will suit your needs and budget.
In this article, we dive into the world of virtual instruments and effects; Listing only the best ones that money can buy!
- Software Bundles Plugin
- Wavetable Synth Plugin
- Hybrid Synth Plugin
- Sampler Plugin
- Drum Machine Plugin
- Compressor Plugin
- Reverb Plugin
- Delay Plugin
- EQ Plugin
When you’re looking for new synths, instruments, and effects for your music production, you’re often left with two choices. You either carefully handpick each VST plugin or instrument individually or look at getting your hands on one of the massive production suites available.
Options such as Native Instruments Komplete 13, and Arturia’s V Collection often give you the best value for money by including a number of the most renowned virtual instruments, synths, drums and instruments available. Opt for one of these software suites and you’ll be saving up to 90% had you bought each plugin individually! You’ll also have enough sounds to stay fresh and inspired for a long time to come!
Native Instruments Komplete 13
Now onto its 13th instalment, there’s a reason the Komplete 13 has stuck around at the forefront of virtual instruments. Depending on your budget, there are three separate tiers on offer, and you can always upgrade later! Komplete 13 offers a massive selection of its flagship synths, platforms, and sampled instruments. As well as a collection of sounds that will suit any genre imaginable.
Notably, you’ll get Massive X which rivals Serum as one of the best wavetable synths. Kontakt, which takes the crown for best sampler plugin. As well as Reaktor, Guitar Rig 6 Pro, Battery 4, Play Series, Expansions and more.
With over 320GB of instruments and effects, Komplete 13 truly gives you value for money with so much flexibility. So it’s no surprise so many producers swear by this collection!
Arturia V Collection
If you love synths, you’ll love Arturia’s V Collection 7. This software bundle includes 24 timeless instruments that have been recreated in software format. Then, modernized with a number of contemporary features. The same sounds that have remained popular since the 60s, V Collection is ready to shape the sounds of tomorrow.
When we say timeless instruments, V Collection includes the ARP 2600; Casio CZ1; EMS Synthi AKS; Fairlight CMI; Moog MiniMoog; Roland Jupiter 8; Sequential Prophet 5; and so many more classics!
So why pick one synth VST when you can get a massive bundle that will leave you endlessly inspired. Great value for money!
Best Analog Synth Plugin – U-He Diva
Let’s face it, there’s probably a bigger collection of analog synths than any other virtual instrument. The Native Instruments Monark (Mini Moog Emulation) in Komplete, and you’ve got the comprehensive collection found in the V Collection. But standing tall amongst them is the U-he Diva plugin.
Not just a single synth recreation, Diva draws inspiration from a selection of legendary hardware. Oscillators, filters, and envelopes from some of the greatest monophonic and polyphonic synths have been modelled for unmatched analog sound. Allowing you to recreate old favourites or design your own unique hybrid. Available for around $300 AUD.
Best Wavetable Synth Plugin – Serum
When it comes to Wavetable Synths, Native Instruments Massive was unarguably the best plugin on the market. That was until the launch of Serum. A wavetable synthesizer plugin that has become THE go-to for anyone making EDM or bass-heavy music.
Featuring dual wavetable oscillators; unison voicing; wavetable editor; a huge range of filters; intuitive and supercharged modulation system; and a rack of ten stunning effects. As well as so much more. Serum delivers punchy, unique basses; scintillating pads; searing leads; and evocative FX.
All in all, Serum is a must-have plugin if you’re producing electronic music!
Best Hybrid Synth Plugin – Omnisphere 2
Combining the warmth of analog synths with the possibilities of digital, Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 means business! Not only does it include over 500 analog waveforms and digital wavetables, 30 types for its two filters, 58 effects and an integrated granular synthesis engine. But Omnisphere 2 also comes packed with over 60GB of first-class sample-based sources. As well as the ability to import your own. It’s also the only software synth that offers hardware synth integration. Allowing you to transform your hardware synthesizers into extensive hands-on controllers. Supporting Roland, Korg, Novation, Moog, Dave Smith Instruments & More
Best Sampler Plugin – Native Instruments Kontakt
When it comes to software samplers, Native Instruments Kontakt 6 is the undisputed champion. It’s a deep and powerful sampler plugin that also offers a huge library of third party banks and sample sets available. Included with Kontakt 6 you’ll find a factory library with over 50GB of creative and expressive instruments. But you can always drag and drop your own samples when you want to use your own sounds. Or, build your own instruments using the incredibly powerful sample-editing and instrument-building capabilities.
Kontakt 6 comes bundles with our Komplete 13 packages if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck!
Best Drum Machine Plugin – Geist2
When you think drum machine, you either think of the classic TR-808 style machines, or you think of a modern pad-based sampling instrument. The term is definitely open to interpretation, but FXpansion’s Geist2 delivers with their unique take on the concept.
Essentially, Geist2 the closest thing you can get to having your own unique DAW dedicated for drums. Allowing you to create, sample, sequence and even arrange entire tracks, all without leaving the plugin. Combining deep sample manipulation, arrangement and modulation capabilities in an intuitive and fast workflow. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll love it if you’re someone creating drum-heavy tracks such as Hip Hop, Trap, or Drum n Bass!
Best Compressor Plugin – FabFilter Pro-C 2
If you’re looking to upgrade from the stock standard compressor that came with your DAW, then FabFilter’s Pro-C 2 is a perfect solution. Offering 8 different algorithms, you can choose from Clean, Classic, Opto, Vocal, Mastering, Bus, Punch, and Pumping. Each giving you a unique style of compression. Essentially, the Pro-C 2 is like 8 compressors in one.
Best Reverb Plugin – Valhalla
Valhalla makes a handful of standalone reverb plugins, including VintageVerb, Room, and Plate. Each one of these plugins are powerful in their own right, though you may prefer one over the other depending on what you’re looking for.
VintageVerb is based on classic, digital reverbs from the ’70s and ’80s electronic music. While Room includes a number of different sounds from ambiences to halls. Then you’ve got Plate which realistically models the physics of traditional plate reverbs. Adding a number of parameters that you won’t find on original hardware.
Best Delay Plugin – ValhallaDelay
Again, we couldn’t go past the capabilities of ValhallaDelay for the best Delay plugin. Boasting 7 different delay modes, the ValhallaDelay includes everything from scrunched-up dusty tape-delay emulation, to incredible clean and modern delay sounds. So it’s one of the most versatile and fantastic sounding delays available.
What’s more, there’s also overdrive, modulation, EQ, and diffusion controls. So ValhallaDelay can really do everything from echoes and pitching effects to spatial treatments and beyond. “Ghost” mode is also super fun to play with!
Best Equaliser Plugin – FabFilter Pro-Q 3
The one tool you probably use most when it comes to mixing and mastering, is an EQ. And if we could have any one EQ loaded in our DAW, it’d have to be the FabFilter Pro-Q 3. Over the years, this equalizer has truly become the industry standard of EQ’s. Giving you the highest possible quality as well as a number of impressive features. It’s also incredibly easy to use!