Top synth plugins for 2024

Best Synth Plugins For 2024

Synth plugins are one of the most varied and versatile categories of virtual instruments. There are so many it can be hard to know where to start when you’re looking for something new to add to your library, especially if you’re new to synthesizers.

That’s why we’ve done some of the legwork for you. In this article we go over eight of our favorite synth plugins and why we love them.

If you're looking for the best synth plugins in 2024 we have you covered. These are our top picks! 

Best synth plugin bundle - Cherry Audio Synth Stack 3

With so many synths and so little time, sometimes the best value is to go in on a bundle. And there might not be a better option than what Cherry Audio packs into the Synth Stack 3. Sixteen of their best virtual synths are included, like the GX-80, Dreamsynth, Elka-X, and Lowdown.

Thirteen classic synth emulations are on deck, and the others in the bundle include two original synths and a modular model. A plugin take on the Roland Juno, the duophonic CA2600, and a realistic recreation of the Moog MG-1 from the 80s gets you started. No matter what kind of synth your productions call for, it’s included in Synth Stack 3.

Cherry Audio is known for spot-on recreations of classic analog synths, but their entire lineup is impressive. At $362 it’s not exactly cheap, but considering all of these instruments bought a la carte would be around $600, the value presents itself before you even start scrolling through sounds. The amount of value in this bundle makes it one of the best synth plugins for 2024. 

Best analog synth plugin - U-he Diva

Even in the golden age of digital audio, the timeless tone of analog synths still has its place. The thick, chewy synth sounds of analog synths from years gone by is desirable because they can do things that more modern synths just can’t replicate fully - no matter how hard they try.

If you’re familiar with analog synths, the GUI won’t take you long to get used to. Diva brings some of the most popular monophonic and polyphonic synths to your DAW. Sounds are built on the five oscillators and filters, and LFOs can tempo sync to your sessions.

Custom layouts can be created through panel mixing, and two stereo effect slots let you process everything in the plugin if you want. And if you need to hit the ground running there are 1,200 presets that give you a solid starting point.

There might not be a better synth plugin that captures the vibey sounds of the analog hardware of past decades. Not convinced? Check out the hundreds of sound packs available for Diva recreating all kinds of gnarly sounds of yesteryear. 

One of the biggest appeals in synth modeling plugins is that you get the sounds of analog with the convenience of digital features. It sounds daunting to try to fit a half century of analog synths into a single plugin, but U-he nailed it with Diva.

Best wavetable synth plugin - Xfer Records Serum

If you’re into synths you’re aware of Serum’s reputation. It routinely makes the cut in the “best wavetable synth” category, so it won't surprise anyone that Serum is our top (paid) choice as well. If you want to test drive a wavetable synth to see if it's for you, check out Vital. It’s freeware and a great alternative.

One of the best things about Serum is the hybrid workflow that combines audio and visualization to make crafting sounds in this unique and complex synth fun instead of tedious. You can use the wealth of included sounds, additional sound packs, or import your own custom files.

It’s impossible to go over all of the things Serum can do. Different types of morphing, clean and high-quality oscillators, drag-and-drop modulation, all kinds of filters, a built-in effects suite, and wavetable manipulation are just the beginning. Adding to how versatile it is are the crazy amount of sound packs to expand its capabilities, like Explorations Vol. 1, Vintage Waves, and Neuromorph Vol. 1

The best thing about Serum is that it is what you make it. If you want to throw up some quick sounds, it’s easy to do that. If you want to get into the weeds and access all of its complex functions and parameters the interface and workflow make that a lot easier than it rightfully should be. Considering how deep it goes, that's impressive.

Best sample-based synth plugin - Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Any proper list of the best synth plugins for 2024 should include Omnisphere. After Serum, it might be the most well-known synth plugin available today. And for good reason.

One of the most important features that sets Omnisphere apart is the focus on hardware synth integration. It has connectivity with more than 65 popular models that can be used as controllers to tap into the newest version of Omnisphere’s expanded synth capabilities. This provides a tactile feel that hardcore synth users find missing in soft synths. For a flavour of what Omnisphere can offer check out our Omnisphere sound library here.

The newest version has an enhanced arpeggiator and an increased sound library with over 1,600 new patches, or you can import your own sounds. An expanded engine includes granular and wavetable synthesis, and the GUI is redesigned to provide a more streamlined workflow.

Some synth plugins take a significant capital investment, and that’s true for Omnisphere. The most recent version, 2.8, retails for just under $500. But the cost is justified in just how powerful and versatile it is. Music production, sound design for film and video games, whatever area of audio production you work in, what Omnisphere can do is beyond impressive.

Best modular synth plugin - U-he Bazille

Modular synths are one of the most unique types. They allow users to build custom signal flows in ways other types of synths don’t. And if you want the creative options of a modular synth without needing a room full of gear, Bazille is one of the best.

This polyphonic, modular synth uses a combination of PD and FM digital oscillators and different types of analog-style filtering and modulation to create the sounds. A feature that sets it apart is Fractalize, which lets you add hype and energy to even the most basic sounds.

Modular synths aren’t for everyone. They offer so many options it’s easy to get lost in the details, and they’re not for users who just want to scroll through presets and get sounds going. Multiplex routing, modulation sequencing, and Mapping Generators provide a level of granularity that is unique even among modular synths.

But the level of complexity you can get in the sounds of this hybrid digital/analog modular synth can’t be rivaled.

Best physical modeling synth plugin - Baby Audio Atoms

Put simply, physical modeling synths create an analog approximation of a waveform through digital methods. Not really that impressive for a plugin, right? Once you hear the unique ways that Atoms can create texturized, organic sounds you’ll wonder why you didn’t add this type of synth to your virtual instrument library sooner.

It’s built on an algorithm created specifically for music applications that adjusts controls based on how they interact with other settings. So whether you dial in the sounds yourself or take a chance on randomization, every sound is usable. The effects suite is an element of the physical modeling, so they aren’t just “on top” processing. They’re a part of the instrument, integrated into the physical modeling engine.

The idea behind physical modeling synths is to give them the response and reaction of acoustic instruments. And with how Atoms takes a complex process and synthesizes it into a streamlined, easy to use interface is really impressive. With a simple control set and sound visualization you’re really only limited by your imagination.

Best hardware emulation synth plugin - GForce Software Oberheim OB-X

With so many next-generation synth plugins available, the classic sounds of analog and digital synths from eras like the 1980s are still highly desirable. OB-X is a digital recreation of the beloved Oberheim hardware synth from decades past.

It’s polyphonic across 16 voices, a control for adding in the slight imperfections and unpredictability of analog synths, and multiple ways to control the LFOs. Unlike the original unit, GForce Software’s emulation includes new control parameters like X-Modifiers and additional LFOs and ADSR curves to create new sounds.

One of the reasons the sounds of the OB-X have endured is because of how versatile they are. Across genres and changing styles, this classic Oberheim plugin has been upgraded to include a range of modern features. The GUI is almost identical to the classic hardware unit, even with the new features the plugin offers.

Sometimes you need a modern synth, other times you need a classic. OB-X combines the best of both worlds by bringing this popular Oberheim into the digital world.

Want an OB-X sound pack? Try this from one from Polydata.

Best free synth plugin - Eventide Pendulate

There is a lot of homogenization when it comes to free synth plugins. So if you’re looking for a new freeware instrument to add to your collection, why not bypass the same boring sounds and live a little?

Pendulate is a monophonic synth that uses a new, double pendulum oscillator to create sounds that really cut. Double pendulum technology is designed to create chaos, and gives you constantly changing results. 

The routing is unique, visual, and allows for up to 169 simultaneous routing paths all accessible from the main GUI of the plugin.

A lot of synths provide familiar sounds, and there’s definitely value in that. Pendulate is not one of them. Through the unique pendulum oscillation  It’s not for everyone, and it won’t fit into every production. But its unique, visual way of routing within the plugin and the edgy sounds it creates puts it in a class all its own.


It's amazing how many types of synth plugins there are. From meticulously modeled analog hardware to next-generation wavetable and granular synths, the biggest problem now is there just isn’t enough time to try them all! 

We put this list together to give you a solid starting point, but it’s by no means the be-all end-all. With so many categories it’s impossible to cover them all. If you’re curious, you can find more synth plugins here. But these are some of our favorite types of synth plugins.

Creativity is all about experimentation. When it comes to the best synth plugins, you won’t run out of new sounds anytime soon.