reFX releases Vanguard 2: much-loved soft synth returns from the plugin grave

Released in 2004, reFX’s Vanguard used to be a pretty big deal in the soft synth world, but it eventually started to be outgunned by its rivals, and was discontinued in 2016. However, the plugin is fondly remembered and still has its fans, which explains why reFX has now - finally - released version 2.

Vanguard remains a three-oscillator synth, but it now boasts a cleaner vector-based UI, 10 new wavetables, two new filter types, a new delay type, new reverb and distortion effects, synced LFOs and more.

There are also 136 completely new factory presets, but happily, the synth is also compatible with projects that use Vanguard 1. Load up your old songs and the sounds you used before will immediately load up, too (that’s the theory, anyway).

refX Vanguard

The original Vanguard synth plugin. (Image credit: reFX)

Vanguard 2 also appears to be more usable than its predecessor, with an ‘advanced’ sound librarian featuring three columns and offering colour-coded tags, bookmarks, favourites and a dedicated location for user presets. Sounds can be previewed instantly, you can search as you type, and it’s possible to filter presets by categories and tags.

Available now, the ‘Complete’ version of Vanguard 2 comes with all 16 Vanguard expansions that were previously sold by reFX, which equates to a total of 2,440 presets and 63 one-shot drum samples. It runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats and is available on the reFX (opens in new tab) website.

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine