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It’s safe to say that there is no shortage of synth vsts out there. It appears there are new entries into the market on an almost weekly basis. Prices range massively from completely affordable to the musician on a budget, to ones costing hundreds of pounds.
However, if you are on the lower end of the scale budget-wise, a complete beginner, or just want to experiment with new sounds for your tracks, there are a number of free options that can sit happily amongst the major players.
Here we run down the top five free synth vsts in 2023.

Vital is the newest and one of the most advanced synths in this roundup. This is a ‘spectral warping’ wavetable synth that uses morphable sampled sounds as its oscillators, setting it apart from the virtual analogues that make up the bulk of this list.

This makes this a great synth for sound designers and anyone who has ever used Native Instruments’ Massive will know exactly the kind of capabilities available to you.

Second up is dexed, by Digital Suburban. It is a multi-platform, multi-format plugin synthesizer closely modelled on the famous Yamaha DX7. For those after those FM synth sounds synonymous with the 80s, you cant really go wrong. However the customisation of the sounds means there is almost unlimited scope to the sounds you can make.

It can also be used to edit original DX7 presets on the actual hardware version. This can be done via midi i/o settings.

Head over to:

Whilst not the newest vst on the list, Tyrell N6 is another staple of the freeware synth world.

Despite its stylish UI this is, on the surface, a fairly straightforward virtual analogue synth, with a standard setup of VA oscillators, resonant filters and ADSR envelopes. However, this doesn’t stop it from popping up in a number of famous tracks. Boasting 2 oscillators, a dedicated sub oscillator and a noise generator, it packs a punch comparable to many paid versions of these kind of synths.

Grab a copy at:

Boasting 24 voice polyphony via up to 3 oscillators, and boasting high quality emulations of legendary analogue filters like the Moog-ladder or the Korg-35 further shape your signal, it is endlessly customisable with multiple effect modules and oscillator types. Perfect for powerful bass, soaring pads and leads that will tear through the mix.

Download for free at:

Finally, this is one for the modular heads out there. Cardinal is a free and open-source virtual modular synthesizer plugin, available as JACK standalone and AU, LV2, VST2 and VST3 audio plugin for FreeBSD, Linux, macOS and Windows.
It is based on the popular VCV Rack but with a focus on being a fully self-contained plugin version. It is almost completely customisable in terms of the modules you can load, packed with both stock and some third-party modules meaning the possibilities regarding the sounds you can make are almost unlimited.
Also the fact it is open-source means it is constantly being updated and improved.

Dont be put off by the daunting interface, once you get going, it all falls into place.

Download here:

New entries to the list are always coming out, and there are many more optionsout there. Get out there and get downloading, and have fun!