5 Of The Best VST Plugins On The Market
We live in modern times and technology keeps developing. We’ve seen countless hardware synths over the past decades, when people used to work with analog synthesizers such as the LM-1 Drum Computer by Linn Electronics, the ARP 2600 by ARP Instruments or legendary synthesizers such as the DX7 by Yamaha or the Moog Minimoog. Some of these were used by the bands and projects that shaped modern electronic dance music and most of them were crucial for where we are today. With the growth of digital audio technology, MIDI Keyboards and other programmable controllers without built-in sounds or effects became more and more popular. Today we take a look at some of the most popular and best virtual instruments out there.
What is a VST
VST is the short term for Virtual Studio Technology. It’s software that provides you and interface of integrated software audio synthesizers, effect plugins, audio editors or recording systems. Some of them come with huge databases of pre-programmed sounds and effects, some come with none. But they all provide you an actual interface to program and shape your sounds. Some companies specialized themselves specific instruments such as drums or pianosand some of them come with such high quality, that you won’t be able to tell wether it’s a real person playing the drums or it’s made with entirely the digital way. VST software provides you almost endless possibilities when it comes to personalizing and shaping the sounds and effects in your production. Got it Right. Let’s get started!
1. Reveal Sound Spire
Spire by Reveal Sound is a polyphonic software synthesizer and a pure monster when it comes to waveshaping and modulating your sounds. With a big line up of testimonials by artists like Dash Berlin, Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, Dada Life, Ferry Corsten and others, Spire provides four flexible oscillators embeded in a easy-to-use design and it has tons of options when it comes to multimode filtering. Reveal Sounds delivers a big preset library for electronic dance music by default and there are plenty of free and buyable – and especially effordable – high quality preset libraries available at a good pricing range on Reveal Sounds internal shop, aswell as on the common stores, such as Vandalism, Loopmasters or Waproduction, just to name a few. You can grab a copy of spire on their website, at a price range of $189 or watch a demo reel on YouTube.
2. Native Instruments Komplete
As one of the most popular VST bundles on the market, Native Instruments “Komplete” provides you a wide range of their most popular synthesizers and effect plugins such as Massive, Reaktor, FM8, Kontakt, Replika, Supercharger, Reflektor and many others. With over 13.000 sounds and more than 155 GB of content, Native Instruments Komplete is one of the biggest bundles out there. Komplete comes at a higher price range, depending on which version you grab, but all of the included VST’s can be bought individually. You can compare the different versions on their website, or watch a demo reel on YouTube.
3. SONiVOX Eighty Eight Ensamble
If you’re looking for a high quality piano VST, SONiVOX Eighty Eight Ensamble might be your pick here. SONiVOX went ahead and recorded a Steinway CD 327 using an unspecified, high-quality signal chain. With more than 11GB content, SONiVOX Eighty Eight Ensamble is massively impressive, when it comes to high quality piano sounds in a Grand Piano virtual instrument. The interface is kept respectable simple, providing rudimentary controls to shape your piano. The VST plugin is being delivered with a fair amount of presets such as Grand Pianos of all sorts, from light to warm sounds, over soft and more jazzy variations. They even provide you piano combinations such as the Grand Piano playing along the lines with acoustic and nylon guitars, clarinets or even choirs and strings. No virtual instrument will ever top the quality of a real piano, but SONiVOX Eighty Eight Ensamble provides you a reasonable alternative with their VST plugin. The price ranges between $69,99 and $149,00 and is available on their website. You also might want to check out a demo reel on YouTube.
4. Xfer Records Serum
After being in developement for around 3 years, Xfer Records delivered a virtual wavetable synthesizer of world class quality. Not many synths managed to make so many people wait for the release than Xfer Records Serum. It was their personal attempt to create not one, but the most advanced VST of its kind – and if you put your hands on it, prepare to being sucked into the deepest abyss of sound design inside a VST. Xfer Records Serum is comes with more than 450 presets and 140 wavetables ranging from Bass, Leads, FX, Pads, Plucks, Synths or Sequencers, while it provides one of the most advanced wavetable engines ever built. There is everything you want from all kinds of filters, such as hyper / dimension filters, to distortion, flanger, phaser, chorus, dleay, reverb, compression, equalization, to modulations, LFOs and envelopes. Everything can be customized. Multiple times. The only downer of this world class plugin is the CPU usage, which is slightley high, but a monster needs its food. Xfer Records Serum price ranges around $189,00 and is available on their website, if you are unsure about the CPU usage or if this one’s for you, Xfer Records provide a demo download of Serum too.
5. IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2
Based on the engine of Sampletank 2, combined with another 7GB worth orchestral samples, IK Multimedia comes around with Miroslav Philharmonik 2. Not many orchestral VST’s can beat the quality of the samples that Miroslav Philharmonik 2 provides you with. The entire content was recorded by an actual orchestra in the Dvorcak Hall, Prague – which gives it a nice ‘in the room’ placement of the sounds and samples. Besides that, IK Multimedia gives you the freedom of choice, and adds mono samples of the most sounds in the delivered content too – for you to placement whereever and however you desire. On the downside, IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2 requires a authorization manager in order to activate the product, and it lacks of multidimensional keyboard mapping that other, comparable plugins provide. With a price range of around $380, it’s clearly not one of the ‘let me grab this real quick’ deals, but also not above or below average pricing from VST’s of this kind. You can grab IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2 from their website or check a demo reel on YouTube.