Who doesn’t love a new VST synth? Although expertise in a synth after months and years of use can be massively beneficial, the feeling of starting from scratch and discovering new beauty can spark some serious inspiration. As technology advances, so does the creativity behind new and fresh tools- both important facets of creating an instrument that is either a sleek fresh take on a classic or groundbreaking. The two synths I explore below are exactly those.
Note: Both of these synths are available for free trials via Plugin Boutique or their respective company websites.
Before we begin, below are a couple of points on why I’ve chosen these to be featured in this article.
- Both synths come with free trials that are not invasive or require loads of plug-in management.
- Immediate usability.
- High quality and charismatic sound quality.
To begin is the revamped tiny but mighty analog emulator, Twin 3 by FabFilter. Some may already be familiar with this VST Synth from its predecessors, but I’ve included it on this list because it fits exactly that which is sleek and a fresh take on something classic, all around.
Twin 3 at its core is an analog synth with analog-style oscillators of which there are four, that can produce the usual Sine, Triangle, Saw, Square, and white and pink noise profiles. What’s handy however is the user is not stuck using only analog-modeled waveforms and has access to pure triangles and squares. Purity aside, this synth has a truly analog flavor to it; fat-sounding waveforms, high-quality sounding filters that feel intuitive, and a selection of the usual effects; reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, distortion, and a compressor, all of which sound impressively realistic.
Assigning modulation is not immediately apparent at first glance, but once learning the synth’s modulation function is drag and drop, the taps open up, and users can easily achieve playful sounds without the hangup of clicking all around in a matrix. What is noticeable right away, however, is the frequency spectrum right in the middle of the UI. This is a seemingly unnecessary feature at first, but visualizing real-time sonic shaping can be hugely helpful in the sound design process, and a great learning opportunity.
With the sound of analog finding itself in just about every music sector, having a go-to no-fuss tool that sounds as close to the real thing as possible, is high-quality, and playfully intuitive, without having to break the bank, is a thing of beauty.
Twin 3 is available for both Mac and PC.
On the flip side is gorgeous chaos. KULT is the new and groundbreaking synth from Dawesome, and it is a serious trip into the abyss of sound design. New concepts come and go, but I think this one is going to stay.
KULT is a beautifully quirky sound machine that comes with a slew of synthesis varieties. Sound is produced through two oscillators called “Strange Attractors” which can be set up with the usual basic shapes or what are referred to as “chaotic sculptures” which are specially designed waveforms unique to KULT, and have an organic harmonic quality. Hard to miss and forget are the visual representations of each waveform that interact with the modulations applied to them; a seriously fun feature of the synth that is entrancing and makes you completely forget the usual routine.
More on the visual aspect- besides the colorfully vibrant dance of sound, the visuals are highly detailed and fluid, making for a great opportunity to see what happens when certain effects are applied. If you’re curious about what actually happens to a sound when detuning, FM, sync, or other various modulations are applied, KULT makes it easy to visualize this.
KULT is one of my absolute favorite new synths because of its unabashed quirkiness and a vast range of sound design possibilities. This is a synth that can double as a great tool for classic synth sounds, and for those interesting cinematic and organic sounds that deceptively don’t sound like they came from a synthesizer. Moreover, KULT is one of those special tools that go beyond the usual sound design tropes and workflows and delivers a creative experience; you know, something you want to feel when exercising creativity.
KULT is available for both Mac and PC.
Admittedly, finding new and exciting synthesizers can be somewhat of a hurdle, especially when most new tools that come out are emulations of analog classics or a slightly new take on a popular synthesis style. This all considered it’s easy to stick to what’s comfortable, especially when we have enough experience to control the outcome. But what fun is that? Stepping outside of our comfort zones is a necessity for creative exercise, and can introduce us to new takes on our favorite classics, or exciting colors and epiphanies that otherwise might not have been accessed.
Now I turn to you- which new synths are you checking out? If you’re curious for more, we’ve also listed our top 3 free and paid synths in the previous article.
Thanks so much for reading.
About The Author
Bio: Imaginate is a renowned American recording artist and award-winning sound designer known for his unique, eclectic blend of music. In 2019, he began releasing a series of award-winning collections, including Glitch Kitchen and Kaleidoscope Neuro DNB on Loopmasters and Aqua, Charta, Verre, Terra, Metallum, and Aer as part of the Elements Series with Black Octopus Sound, and released on Splice. He has also released numerous synth presets and sample packs with Slate Digital. Imaginate is also a songwriter, composer, and performer of original music which you can listen to here.