VST plugins are an excellent addition to your DAW setup, easy to install and simple to use. They recreate the legendary sounds of the classic synthesizers at a fraction of the price. A VST emulator is perfect if you don’t have the budget to throw at vintage and rare synth hardware.
Many of the top synth companies have recreated their successful products into VST plugins, and there are many other specialist plugin companies who have created their own plugin versions as well.
Remember, that you may need a bridge (we recommend jBridge) to allow 32-bit plugins to work with 64-bit DAWs, this will enable you to play these older VSTs on your modern DAW software.
There are hundreds of quality VSTs to choose from, ranging from a few hundred dollars to free downloads, so we’ve put together a list of some classic and vintage synths that have been recreated as VST plugins.
If you’re not sure if one of the paid VSTs is right for you, all of the VSTs offer free trials to test them out!
The Jupiter-8 announced Roland as a top synth manufacturer in the 1980s, the colorful interface and textured sounds powered by the innovative ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior) Modeling made it an instant hit across the globe, so the VST plugin was always going to be a popular option.
Roland recreated a version of their legendary synth and this is the go-to option if you want as close to the real thing as possible, those smooth pads, trembling basslines, and inspiring leads are just a download away and all for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
Arturia has also created their own offering, the Jup-8 V, including a fully-loaded step sequencer and patch effects for more sound options.
Recreating the Access Virus is a big ask for anyone, the legendary synth has come a long way since its release in 1997, shaping the sound of electronic music along the way with its powerful sound and flexibility, it’s safe to say that a Virus VST would be welcome by most synth players.
Adam Szabo has managed to recreate a lot of the Virus sound in his Viper VST, you’ve got multiple types of oscillators with various waveforms, modulation capabilities, plenty of effects, and a lot more. It all adds up to a worthy mention of a great VST that recreates the mighty Virus!
A bonus free VST is also available from Adam Szabo, the Phazor, recreating the famous Virus phaser effect. A great addition to your setup that has been carefully designed and optimized to keep the CPU usage as low as possible, allowing you to use it multiple times within a project.
The Prophet 5 sits firmly in the synthesizer hall of fame, a programmable polysynth released in the 1970s that helped Dave Smith’s Sequential Circuits company rise to the top. Famed for its good looks and dual analog/digital setup, the Prophet V was a revolution in synth design.
The Prophet V has been beautifully recreated by Arturia, a VST plugin that successfully brings back those big analog sounds which made this synth so famous. As a welcome extra, Arturia has combined this with Sequential’s other big name synth, the digital Prophet VS.
A VST plugin that combines both analog and digital synthesis giving you two world-famous synths in one package, offering up a huge sound palette to experiment with. A free 32-bit version is available at VST4free, the sound recreation is close but not quite at Arturia’s level.
The Roland TR-909 was released after the worldwide success of the TR-808, using a hybrid design of analog circuitry and digital sampling, the resulting rhythmic patterns and deep bass sound quickly inspired musical genres such as house, techno, and hip-hop.
Roland has recreated their famous 909 as a VST plugin and they left no stone unturned. All of the original details have been included with plenty of extras like the improved sequencer programming section. It’s an authentic plugin that emulates the character of the 909 very well.
The Drumazon VST plugin from the D16 company emulates all of the 909’s synthesis design, built with extra functionality that allows you to adjust the sound even further.
A free 32-bit version is also available from Max Synths from VST4Free, but the sequencer is missing from the overall design.
The JP-8000 from Roland was released in 1997 and used innovative design to replicate the vintage analog sound with digital technology flexibility. It also included some welcome extras such as motion control, sequencing and the famous SuperSaw and Feedback oscillator types.
You can also find some well made emulations of some of the JP-8000 features on the internet. The JP6K from Adam Szabo is a plugin has been carefully designed to recreate that highly sought after Supersaw effect that was fundamental to the foundation of Trance music.
A free 32-bit version that recreates the SuperSaw oscillator of the JP-8000 is also available at vst4free, as it’s a free download you shouldn’t expect as many features as the JP6K paid plugin but it’s a great option if you just want to experiment with some of the JP-8000 sounds.
Originally released in 1972, the Odyssey picked up a large following for its unique character and aggressive sound. The duophonic analog synth was then reissued by Korg in 2015 with the help of David Friend, the co-founder of Arp, bringing back to life the power of the Odyssey.
Korg also released the VST plugin version which recreates that Odyssey character and sound engine beautifully, putting all of that raw power straight into your DAW setup. A nice little bonus is that you can switch between the three different color designs of the past.
Buy KORG Collection ARP Odyssey
The free version from Elektrostudio is also worth a look at, this VST plugin emulates the original Odyssey and it does sound pure vintage! The plugin is only 32-bit so you will need jBridge or something similar to convert it into any modern, 64-bit, music production software.
The ARP 2600 is considered to be one of the greatest analog synthesizers ever made, used by many artists over many different genres, the semi-modular synth went head to head with the legendary Moog throughout the 1970s, answering the call for a compact and intuitive synth.
Another ARP 2600 plugin is available from Way Out Ware, this version has extra flexibility with the aid of modern technology and has been specially endorsed by the original inventor of the 2600, so you know it’s going to be good!
Buy Way Out Ware TIMEWARP 2600
Arturia has produced an ARP 2600 VST plugin and it certainly hits the nail on the head for the sound quality, the impressive flexibility with the many features, and the modular routing options, plus, the plugin is loaded with presets to give you a running start when you first switch on.
Plus, for those looking for a free version, be sure to look out for Glen Stegner’s offering which has been defined into a great sounding ARP 2600 plugin.
Download Glen Stegner Arppe2600va
The Juno-106 is a hugely popular vintage synth from Roland, EDM DJ’s and electronic-based musicians jumped onto this instrument due to the simple and intuitive interface and big analog sound. It was also one of the first synths to introduce MIDI instrument connectivity.
Roland has recreated this legendary synth into a popular VST plugin, keeping to the iconic sound and its legacy of simple programming. The full specification of the synth has been kept and using this plugin is a perfect way to get your hands on this classic piece of synth hardware.
A free 32-bit version is also available from Synthescience the Poly 2106 plugin is an excellent emulation of the classic Juno-106. It’s a must-have for any Roland fans out there!
Download Synthescience Poly 2106
The SH-101 from Roland is a monophonic synthesizer that was originally released in the early 1980s. The simple design structure made it stand out from the other synths, the tone from the one oscillator, filter, amp, and LFO design became famous with the Techno and D&B crowd.
Roland has an SH-101 VST plugin available and has managed to create a full reproduction of their classic synth product, no expense or detail spared with this one, the recreation of the sounds and circuitry behavior makes you feel as though you’re using the real thing.
The D16 group also has an SH-101 VST plugin available with a powerful sound design at its core and a modular, logical interface layout.
Togu Audio Line also managed to put out an authentic sounding SH-101 plugin. TAL also included some additional features on the appegiator/sequencer to improve the usability.
Buy Togu Audio Line TAL-BassLine-101
The Roland TB-303 initially failed as a bass synth, but the second-hand units came into the hands of EDM producers and gave life to the techno and acid house genres. The TB-303 squelchy bass sound soon became famous and inspired many copies of this newly loved synth!
Be sure to check out the VST plugin offering from D16, they make high-quality recreations of famous synths and this is no exception. The classic 303 sound is expertly emulated and it comes with many features such as distortion, arpeggiator, and randomizer.
A free, 32-bit, plugin by the name of Venom VB-303 is available at vst4free. A great option for those looking to get their hands on the 303 sound in a DAW setup. The interface has proven to be a little complicated for some, but as a free option, we think it’s worth a try.