Home The List Friend Links Site history Contact

The List
page 1 - page 2 - page 3 - page 4 - page 5 - page 6 page 7 - page 8



Cold and metallic sounding synths
linplug free alpha

Linplug's Free Alpha 3 is a 2 osc synth that comes with a modulation matrix, and it sounds a metallic, cold (80's), but clear and clean. It gives pretty pads and good and clean basses... No added effect except 1 chorus. Download : "Alpha free" tab, bottom of the page.  win / mac / rtas / au / vst

micromodularMicro Modular, by efm, is a polysynth with many components (4 Osc, 1 filter, 3 enveloppes, 1 matrix, added effects like pan, delay, chorus and an arpeggio), that produces clear, clean, metallic sounds, good for some strings and fine leads. The high tech LCD like user interface is clear, nice and rather easy to use... Not an extraordinary one, but useful.

adonisAdonis is probably the best synth made by B. Serrano. Complex, this hybrid polysynth comes with many parameters divided in several pages. For example : 4 lfo, 4 envelopes, 2 multimode filters, a modulation matrix, a small 8 step sequencer, effects like phaser/flanger, chorus, delay and so on... It is suitable for cold, numerical, metallic sounds with trance color. Donationware, the free version has only some limitations...

tablesynthAdditive Table Synth is one of the good products made for Angular Momentum. With its 2 additive wavetable Osc, each one coming with 1 envelope, 1 filter and 1 step sequencer, 1 filter envelope, pan, and general effects like delay, chorus and reverb, it is interesting and sounds metallic, cold but delicate. It is not suitable for leads or basses, but is rather good for subtle pads. The effects are icy. Beautiful GUI.

FM synths
noslogan rogue

Hexter by Cutevst, as an emulation of the famous Yamaha DX7, is a FM synth with 6 operators, and it sounds rather good. Its GUI is ugly and its development for Windows has been stopped since 2005, but if you like the DX7, it is a good rare free emulation... It can import DX7 presets (.syx), and is improved with added effects like reverb, echo and chorus...


Oxe is an interesting vst and standalone FM synthesizer (rare thing in free intruments), though it is not the best sounding synth of the list. 8 operators, 1 Lfo per channel, 1 delay and 1 reverb among other components... The preset loading system is not very practical and the modulation matrix is something difficult to use for beginners, but FM synthesis is not easy...


Ganymed by Stefan Kuhn is also a FM synth, with 3 operators and a strange interface, that has not the best sound, but it is interesting for exciting arpeggios and sequences that can be as hypnotic as Steve Reich's music (try "g Govardhan" or "g AtmanRama" presets)... Search by yourself, because this synth can produce more interesting sounds than the factory presets do.

odo purple OdO's Purple 2 is a FM synth that has 4 operators with 5 waveforms and one 8 parameters envelope for each operator, plus some effetcs like 1 delay, 1 chorus, 1 distortion, 1 flanger etc. It is very far from FM7, and it is not varied nor versatile, but it sounds well for 80's or techno pads and strings, i assume.

Hybrid synths (that are not in other categories)
nordleadNordlead Modular G2 Editor, by Clavia, in demo version, is the software editor of the well known swedish red machine ! This free version is only mono, and has not all the modules of the hardware synthesizer. It is not a vst instrument and it can be used only in standalone mode. But you can make and save your own patches. It is a big modular synthesizer that can do many things, with a very good sound quality. Difficult to use, it comes with demo patches. A must-have, very useful to learn synthesis. Don't miss it. Listen to the samples on the right to get a good idea of its possibilities. win / mac
For patches, don't download those on the Clavia's site, but the pack below, in which i classified them. 311 patches !
kx-moduladKx-Modulad by KX77free is, as its name says, a modular synth, with 6 voices polyphony. It mixes substractive and additive synthesis : 2 osc, 2 lfo, 4 envelopes, a noise generator, 2 filters etc, and also a wavetracer with which you can program very precisely new waveforms, not with the mouse, but by entering values... The result, as always with Xavier Kalensky, does not show off, but with a bit of attention, you will discover a fine, expressive, elegant sound, with an interesting personnality and a good analogue quality. Reserved for people who know how to use a rich and complex synth...


ZynAddSubFX, is a complex vst and standalone synth, with very interesting and unusual sounds and personality. Its interface is not well finished and looks "amateur", but it is rich in parameters, is polyphonic, multitimbral, combines 3 types of synthesis (additive, substractive and waveshaping), and has a lot of effects (reverb, echo, chorus/flange, phaser, wahwah, distorsion)... All its components make it powerful and produces icy FM-like sounds... No more developed since 2005. win / linux
http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/  or

FluidFluid by Tubeohm, is free only on the german site Plugindex (version 1.5 is commercial). 6 notes polysynth, it sounds original, rather smooth, fluid, as its name says, and is made for pads and ambient sounds. 3 DCO-Oscillator/Sampler per voice (99 samples), 2 DCF multimode filters, 5 ADBR envelopes, 3 Lfo, effects (chorus, delay, reverb, ring modulator) and so on... Rather rich engine, coming with good samples that give really interesting sounds... On Plugindex :

Wavetable synths
wavedrawWavedraw by Angular Momentum has two wavetable Osc that can load any waveform you like, 2 envelopes, 2 filters with their envelope, two 16 step sequencers and so on... With a reverb and a chorus, this polysynth sounds very good, deep, large, rather delicate and subtle, but cold. It comes with a little program that can create and convert waveforms to use them in the osc of the synth. One of the best Angular Momentum's synths.

boris k intro
Intro, by Boris K alias Boris Kovalev, previously commercial, is a special synth, coming with 64 waveforms, and so many components that i can not list them (2 filters, 3 LFO, 1 chorus, 1 delay, a modulation matrix, and many more)... Good quality sounds and beautiful GUI, as you can see beside, but not easy to use, and it consumes much CPU.
VS 1
Oscilloscope, with a beautiful interface too, is less rich than Intro, but is rather good too.

sq8lSQ8L is a good Ensoniq SQ 80 emulation by Siegfried Kullmann. Typically 80's, this 8 voices polyphonic synth has 3 wavetable osc, 24 dB low-pass filter, 3 enveloppes and 4 lfo... It sounds close to the original machine, a bit between a DX7 and a (poor) wavestation... The GUI is rather ugly.

augurAugur is made by the same Antti, who is a talented man. The basic GUI hides an emulation of the Prophet VS. Successful or not, i do not know, but Augur is an unusual synth, that can produce fat analogical leads, and also icy pads or clear metallic and crytalline keys, a bit like a DX7 (a FM synth). Not easy to use for the beginner because of the modulation matrix, it is a very good synth.

Phase distorsion synths
Algomusic's Phadiz is a polyphonic phase distortion synthesizer with 2 Osc, 6 envelopes and 2 Lfo, 1 ring modulator and 1 delay. It has a particular sweet, soft and delicate sound. You will not produce fat, violent, punchy leads with it, but emotional, expressive pads (try "SlowPDStrings" preset) and crystalline keys. It has its own personality. 
phazoscPhazOsc by Fretted Synth Audio is a little monosynth, with only few parameters and sound possibilities, but it sounds clean, smooth, fat, with deep basses, and has 1 delay and 1 chorus. Made to be triggered by the sound of a guitar, "midi" (instead of "audio") must be selected in the master section to use it as a normal vsti. As the site is down, you can find FSA products on Rekkerd :


Artphase 1.5 by Spacewindows, previously SK-Labs, is a 2 Osc polyphonic phase distortion synth with an unusual sound personality. A bit closed, rather glassy, icy, it makes pleasant and delicate pads. Not the best one, but useful... Pretty interface.

polydpoPoly DPO by Jeff has something special : no less than 3 phase distorsion Osc, 4 Lfo, 2 filters, 2 envelopes, a routing section fo Osc and filters, a granular section, and 1 chorus, 2 delays, 1 distorsion. The free version of this synth is a mono and sounds good for analogue style leads and basses. The poly version is donationware. The GUI is too big but nice.

Phase modulation synths
gtg-sputnikMike Sybrandt, alias Mik of Denmark, alias GTG, has been developing synthesizers for a long time now. Mik made around 40 instruments (as far as I remember) and many are no more available. But among the current ones, Sputnik 2000 is probably the most unusual and interesting synth. He describes it this way : "Retro effects synth based on 3 Phase Modulation oscillators and 1 analog oscillator. LFO, Chorus and reverb". OK, but it does much more than retro effects, and is rather versatile, fascinating, and can produce good leads, EP-like keys, pads and basses, with a special cold sound. A good polyphonic synth.

Phase morphing synths
phasebenderPhaseBender by Bibasoft is a small poly-synth with only one morphing osc based on two auto-sync phase shapes and three waveforms that can be redrawed with the mouse. It can be modulated with a 16 step sequencer. An unison mode, a tremolo and a vibrato improve the sound that is by far not the best, with aliasing, but i like the principle and this dirty and granulous sound. Not versatile though...

Physical modeling synths
ugo string theory

String Theory by Ugo, devoted to strings, is a fascinating instrument with an arpeggiator that produces hypnotic clear sounding loops, rather credible rythmic guitar arpeggios (in a mix, not for solo), and astonishing percussive sounds. The sound quality is not as good as the previous synths, but it is very interesting.

The List : page 1 - page 2 - page 3 - page 5 - page 6 page 7 - page 8