A folder of trusty softsynths is increasingly the main source of the modern music producers output.
They come in countless shapes and sizes, emulating classics from the past or etching out their own new direction to create new sound in ever more complex ways. Give your music an overhaul in 2021, as we present our pick of the most powerful and fresh-sounding new softsynths.
Moog Model 15
Moog are porting their popular Model 15 iOS modular synth app to the Mac and creating the company’s first official desktop soft synth in the process.
So far the plug is only Audio Unit v3 however, and so only works on Mac Big Sur (no PC version) in Logic, GarageBand and MainStage. You can use the Model 15 standalone, though.
The good news is that Mac compatibility is part of a free update for the existing Model 15 app, so anyone who already owns it will get it. There’s also a new free expansion pack that features 80 modular patches, and seven tutorials that explain and explore the concepts of modular synthesis.
UVI PX Memories
The LAMM - Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog - is known as a more reliable and functional version of Moog’s 1982 synth. There are three VCOs, a 24dB/oct ladder filter and 6-voice operation, making it great for everything from bass and lead sounds to huge pads.
PX Memories comes with 350 presets, more than 170 layers and more than 38,900 samples. As well as the classic ‘80s presets that you’d expect, it also includes more contemporary sounds.
Available now, PX Memories can currently be had for the introductory price of $49/€49, rising to $79/€79 next month. If you don’t have Falcon, you can download the UVI Workstation for free. Find out more on the UVI (opens in new tab) website.
Audiokit Pro’s Digitalism 2000
Audiokit Pro’s Digitalism 2000 captures sounds from early noughties digital synths.
Powered by more than 1,000 samples that are compressed to less than 200MB to save space, this brings back the sounds of the digital synths from the early part of the century, and contains the likes of synths, bells, EPs, pads and more.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with Audiokit’s Digital D1, which is based on ‘80s and ‘90s digital synths, but while there are some similarities, Digitalism 2000 is very much its own instrument, moving things on to the next decade.
Running standalone and as an AUv3 plugin, Digitalism 2000 is compatible with iPhone and iPad and is available now from the Apple App Store (opens in new tab)for the introductory price of $2.99. Find out more on the Audiokit (opens in new tab) website.
K331 Audio at Gear Expo 2021
KV331 Audio's flagship software synthesizer SynthMaster has received numerous awards from prestigious music technology magazines and is now in 2.9.9 form.
Previously voted “The Best Software Synthesizer” of 2016 and 2019 by MusicRadar it brings major usability improvements and critical bug fixes as a free 2021 update for existing users.
There are new skins, better support for microtuning, MIDI learn for discrete controls, dynamic effect allocation, new modulation sources and instrument categories are now listed in Native Instruments NKS standard. Favourite presets can be added/removed easily by clicking on the star icon next to the preset name.
Find out more a kv331audio.com
Korg Gadget VR
Get ready for a real taste of the future as Korg's Gadget app is ready to make the leap into virtual reality.
The devices in Korg’s Gadget have always been designed to look like real hardware, so it seems appropriate that the company is set to bring them to life. Details on how this will work are still scant – we only have a brief video to go on – but it looks like you’ll be able to slip on a headset and step into a virtual studio environment, taking control of Gadget’s synths, drum machines and other gear when you’re in there.
Gadget VR was developed using the Unreal Engine, and in collaboration with Detune, which worked on the Nintendo Switch version of Gadget. It’s set to be released at some point in 2021.