ZynAddSubFX free software-synthesizer by paulnasca

ZynAddSubFX is a free software synthesizer developed by paulnasca. Available format(s): VST for Windows.


  • Realtime, Polyphonic, Multi-timbral synthesizer.
  • Microtonal capabilities with any scale, any number of notes per octave (up to 127) and keymapping.
  • 3 synthesizer engines:
    1. ADsynth” or “ADnote” is a complex engine which makes sounds by adding a number of voices. Each one has filters, envelopes, LFOs, morphing, modulation (Ring Modulation, Phase Modulation, the modulators can have any shape), resonance, etc. Each voice includes a very powerful waveform generator with up to 128 sine/nonsine harmonics. This engine includes antialiasing.
    2. “SUBsynth” or “SUBnote” is a simpler engine which allows you to make sounds by subtraction of harmonics of sounds from white noise.
    3. “PADsynth” or “PADnote”) makes beautiful pads and other instruments.
  • Instruments can be organized in kits, which allows you to make drum kits or layered (mixed) instruments; this makes it possible to use more than one instrument for a single part. It is possible to choose what items from the kit should be processed by the Part’s effects.
  • Effects: Reverb, Echo, Chorus/Flange, Phaser, AlienWah (a kind of vocal morpher), Distortion (Waveshaping), EQ, DynamicFilter.
  • The effects can behave as System Effects or as Insert Effects; this allows you to use many effects at the same time. You can put any insert effect on any part (or more insert effects to same parts, if you like) or you can put the insert effect to Master output. Also, you can have instrument’s effect (that is saved with the instrument).
  • Filters up to 60dB/octave (or more); filters can be analogue (LPF,HPF, BPF,etc.), formant (advanced formant filters) and state variable (SVF).
  • Envelopes can have ADSR (or ASR, etc.) modes or can be free modes (with any shape).
  • Many settings have a “randomness” option; this produces a very pleasant effect (like analogue synths or natural instruments that can’t produces exactly same sound twice).
  • Intuitive and easy to use User Interface.
  • MIDI support (supports many controllers) and (if you want) JACK support.
  • Virtual Keyboard.
  • It is free, licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public License.



YAVA free software-synthesizer by Krakli

YAVA is a free software synthesizer developed by Krakli. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

YAVA is a highly configurable and flexible Mono/Poly synth. The package also includes YFG – a totally off the wall sound-fx VSTi.


  • Oscillator 1: (Orch. Oscillator) Gives a large stacked oscillator sound, variable between Sawtooth, Square Wave and Triangle. Width control used to detune stack and Orch selectors used to give various degrees of octave spans.
  • Oscillator 2: (Morph Oscillator) Provides 5 basic waveforms (including noise), these are then constantly variable using the Morph and Shape controls to mutate the waveforms into more harmonically rich structures. Osc 2 can be synced to Oscillator 1 and can be detuned in fine amounts or using the note indicator provided.
  • Autobend: can provide a sweep up in note or a sweep down in note at each key event or each trigger pulse from Gate 1 or Gate 2. Variable for Speed, Duration, and Amount.
  • LFO S&H: A combination LFO or S&H module, which uses variable waveforms as its modulation source. Both LFO and S&H clocks can be free-running or synced to the host tempo. As well as S&H the clock for the S&H module can be derived from Gate 1 or Gate 2 for more interesting rhythmic effects.
  • Vibrato LFO: Used as a pitch modulation source for either or both of the 2 oscillators. Contains controls for Rate, Delay, Depth and can be triggered from note on or Gates 1 or 2.
  • Modulation: Using a variable mix of Oscs 1 or 2 the Modulation unit provides Ring Modulation or Frequency modulation of the signal. It can be configured to enter the signal path either before or after the filter and can be volume controlled by virtue of the env button. Mixed in Post filter the Modulation unit can deliver some heavy distortion effects. Both Modulation pitch and Modulation volume are available in the Mod matrix.
  • Envelopes 1 & 2: Used for filter or other modulation uses. Both envelopes can be triggered from note on or Gates 1 or 2.
  • State Variable Filter: can be configured to run in parallel (2 x 12db/oct) mode or series (1 x 24db/oct) mode. Both filters are variable between Lo, Band or Hi pass modes.
  • Gate Arrays 1 & 2: Can be used to provide 8 steps of rhythmic triggering. Gates 1 & 2 are available as triggers to many other YAVA2 modules.
  • Sequencer grid 1 & 2: can be used as a modulation source to the Mod matrix. Able to be synced to host tempo, and used in free voltage or note steps with display of current note value.
  • Modulation Matrix: An 8 x 9 matrix of sources and destinations to deliver a high degree of control over the finished sound.
  • Glide controls: Provide not only glide between notes but also glissando (note stepped glide).
  • BPM Delays: Twin BPM synced delays which can be tempo-locked to varying sub-divisions and spread across the stereo field.
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Tunefish 4

Tunefish 4 free software-synthesizer by Brain Control

Tunefish 4 is a free software synthesizer developed by Brain Control. Available format(s): VST, VST3, Audio Unit for Windows 64b, macOS.

Tunefish 4 was developed as a smaller replacement of Tunefish 3 with roughly the same power, it is however not compatible and uses different synthesis algorithms. It was developed for the 64k intro “Turtles all the way down” by demoscene group Brain Control and is available as VST/AU.


  • Improved UI compared to TF3 which will visualize all modulations.
  • Uses an additive synthesis based wavetable generator.
  • The Noise generator can produce any frequency of noise with any bandwidth.
  • Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass and an improved Notch filter are available.
  • 2 ADSRs and 2 LFOs that can be linked to pretty much any important knob using a modulation matrix.
  • Supported effects are Flanger, Chorus, Distortion, Delay, Reverb, EQ and Formant.
  • The effects stack allows for any permutation of up to 10 effects.


Trance Blizzard

Trance Blizzard free software-synthesizer by RunBeerRun

Trance Blizzard is a free software synthesizer developed by RunBeerRun. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

Trance Blizzard is an audio triggered synth designed for computer guitarists to create classic trance music. It comes with 52 diverse presets, showcasing the sequencer and trancegate effects in it. Don’t forget the bassists, it works for them, too, and includes 2 pickup tracking modes, one for neck pickup and one for bridge.

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The Grey Apparatus-2

The Grey Apparatus-2 free software-synthesizer by Creatorum Genius Lab

The Grey Apparatus-2 is a free software synthesizer developed by Creatorum Genius Lab. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

The Grey Apparatus-2 is a modification based on the “color family” synthesizer by Creatorum Genius Lab.

The Grey Apparatus-2 includes an additional set of new features:

  • the ability to change skins (this package contains 50 skins), adjustable number of votes (1 to 32), a direct link to the manufacturer’s website to monitor updates.
  • Fixed bugs of previous versions, a new bank of 128 presets.

The Grey Apparatus-2 is designed for a wide range of applications and different styles of music.

You can edit and create your own ready-made preset bank. If desired, the user can upload their skins, which will develop itself.


  • Bank for 128 + additional presets, total – 132.
  • Components and Controls feature click “random”.
  • “Global random” at all options .
  • A hybrid of the oscillators WaveDraw synthesis and FM.
  • WaveDraw synthesis user can control the cursor by drawing a line in the wave window.
  • Filter with ADSRL envelope.
  • ADSR envelope for the amp.
  • Ping-pong delay.
  • 3-band EQ.
  • Chorus flanger effect.
  • Rhythm sequencer with adjustable speed and smoothing Velocity 8 levels in each step.
  • Monitoring of controls as a percentage.
  • The ability to change skins in the package of 50 skins Creatorum Genius Lab and eight skins, submitted by the user Alex.
  • The regulator preset number of votes (located along the right bezel ), 1 to 32 voices.
  • 32-point polyphony.
  • Work on MIDI.
  • ASIO support.
  • Web-link to the Web site of Developer.

The package is packed into the archive.

Presented in 3 copies: standalone and 2 file DLL – normal size and reduced NANO- version for large monitors.

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Surge free software-synthesizer by Vember Audio

Surge is a free software synthesizer developed by Vember Audio. Available format(s): VST, VST3, Audio Unit for Windows 64b, macOS.


  • Synthesis method: Subtractive hybrid.
  • Each patch contain two ‘scenes’ which are separate instances of the entire synthesis engine (except effects) that can be used for layering or split patches.
  • Category based patch-browser.
  • MPE support.


  • 3 oscillators/voice.
  • 7 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Sinus, Wavetable, S/H Noise, Audio-input and FM2/3.
  • The classic oscillator is a morphable pulse/saw/dual-saw oscillator with a sub-oscillator and self-sync.
  • Most algorithms (all except sinus and audio-input) offer up to 16-voice unison at the oscillator level.
  • Oscillator FM/ring modulation.
  • All oscillator algorithms are band-limited yet they still cover the entire audible spectrum.
  • Noise generator with variable spectrum.

Filter block:

  • Two filter-units (7 different configurations).
  • Feedback loop.
  • Available filter-algorithms: LP12, LP24, LP24L (ladder filter with 1-4 poles), HP12, HP24, BP, Notch, Comb+, Comb-.
  • Waveshaper (5 shapes).


  • 12 LFO-units available to each voice (6 are running on each voice and 6 are shared for the scene).
  • DAHDSR envelope generators on every LFO-unit.
  • 7 deformable LFO-waveforms + 1 drawable/step-sequencer waveform.
  • Fast and flexible modulation routing. Almost every continuous parameter can be modulated.


  • 8 effect units arranged as 2 inserts/scene, 2 sends and 2 master effects.
  • 9 algorithms: Delay, Reverb, Chorus, Phaser, EQ, Distortion, Conditioner (EQ, stereo-image control & limiter), Rotary speaker, Frequency shifter.


Sun Ra

Sun Ra free software-synthesizer by Elogoxa

Sun Ra is a free software synthesizer developed by Elogoxa. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

  • Dual synthesis architecture. The sound is generated by the conjunction of 1 subtractive oscillator (7 waveforms) and 2 WAV files with samples from real solar sounds.
  • Wave loading option. The users can substitute the 2 internal waves (SOLAR MODES) their favourite .WAV files.
  • Randomization capabilities. The sampled waves (SOLAR MODES) pass through three consecutive note-sequencers (MUSIK, GROOVE and VARIATIONS), which reproduce MIDI patterns that can be combined in several ways. The subtractive oscillator (HELIOS HEARTBEAT) features also its own 3 self-generative modes of randomization, called QUANTA, VOICES and MULTIPLIER.
  • Built in effects. The synth has a bank of selectable send effects, which includes chorus, delay, random and filter, and another 4-Mode filter (Lo Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Band Reject) completes the signal path after the master out.
  • 3 note polyphonic.
  • Completely automatable via MIDI CC.
  • Includes 24 Factory Presets to give and idea of the potential of the synth.
  • Moderate CPU use (+-20% Athlon 1200).
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SubDuer free software-synthesizer by Majken

SubDuer is a free software synthesizer developed by Majken. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

SubDuer is a dual oscillator subtractive synth aimed at low CPU usage and an easy to use interface.

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Subconscious free software-synthesizer by Psychic Modulation

Subconscious is a free software synthesizer developed by Psychic Modulation. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

Subconscious is a dual arpeggiation sequence synth with oscillator crossfading, feedback modulation, and independent filter and amp envelopes for both oscillator sections. Subconscious has two different onboard sequencers, a gate sequencer and a modulation sequencer, which can be used for stepped sequences, gated pads and modulation of the pitch and filters.


  • 2 oscillator sections, each consist of a modulator and carrier.
  • Sync, Ringmod and FM of each osc section.
  • Crossfading between oscillator sections.
  • Two filter sections with envelope inverters.
  • Gate Sequencer: For triggering or gating.
  • Mod Sequencer: For modulation of pitch and filters.
  • Sequencer Polyphony: Allows ‘layering’ of sequences for each key pressed, thus acting similar to an arpeggiator.
  • Random Probability for each sequencer.
  • 5 envelopes: 2 amp, 2 filter and one mod. Each envelope can be triggered by the gate sequencer, individually or simultaneously.
  • 3 assignable LFOs with fade in time.
  • Dual Stereo Delay section.
  • Assignable X/Y vector and modwheel.
  • Feedback modulation: Creates feedback between the two oscillator sections, which modulate each other.
  • 64 presets (32 by Tim Conrardy).
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SQ8L / SQ8X free software-synthesizer by Siegfried Kullmann

SQ8L / SQ8X is a free software synthesizer developed by Siegfried Kullmann. Available format(s): VST for Windows.

SQ8L is a software model of Ensoniq’s classic 1980s synth SQ80. The SQ80 features 3 digital wavetable oscillators for each of its 8 voices which are fed through analog 4-pole lowpass filters (-24dB gain) with resonance. Sound parameters can be modulated by 4 envelopes, 3 LFOs and several MIDI sources. The SQ80 also has a predecessor, the ESQ1, which can do most of the same stuff.

Although the technology may seem obsolete, these synths can produce a wide variety of interesting and extremely usable sounds. Thanks to the lo-fi oscillators and the analog components it can sound very digital and dirty, but also very analog and warm. Which is a good thing because modern synths often tend to sound rather clean.

The SQ8L (“L” stands for “Light”) is the free demo version of the forthcoming SQ8X (“X” for “eXtended”). Besides any bugs that will be fixed in the full version and planned features that won’t find their way into the light version, there are only a few limitations:

  • Polyphony limited to 8 voices.
  • Program change messages ignored.
  • Common MIDI controllers (Master Volume, Pan,…) by default have no effect and must be programmed as modulators.
  • When used with a sequencer, the only sound the host can save within the song file is the one in the edit buffer. The full version will store the entire library (which makes sense when program change messages are used).
  • LFO humanization not implemented.
  • No Split/Layer to combine several sounds.
  • No internal sequencer (and there will never be one).

The full version SQ8X will have the following additional features:

  • Combinations of up to 4 single sounds.
  • Adjustable polyphony (far more than 8 voices).
  • New Filter algorithms with different modes (lowpass, bandpass, highpass).
  • 2nd Filter and different routing modes for the filters: serial, parallel, split.
  • Improved GUI.