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Best free virtual synths - part IV

I decided to continue my totally subjective list of best, free virtual synths. Like I said at the beginning (which was a half year ago or maybe even a year ;) ) - no samplers, romplers, real instruments recreations (ie. Solina, Electric Pianos) - just pure synths (subtractive, fm, hybrid).

I'll try to write down some attributes I value the most (random order):
# Overall quality (some synths don't bring anything new on the table but they're extremely well developed - ie. Lennar Digital Sylenth)
# Unique features
# Presets (Quality and Amount)
# Fun factor (some synths almost invite you to use them)
# GUI design (no, it's not about shining knobs ;) It's about utility )
# CPU usage

Morfiki MassTurboTar
Morfiki can always come up with something interesting and creative. First their Redu(p)cer - very nice vst effect focused on signal degradation, destruction and then MassTurboTar - hybrid synthesizer.
Unique feature ? Morphing capabilities. The basic goal is to let you manipulate your sound easily. How does it work ? Every preset has up to five so called MORFIKI sub-presets. Thanks to "morph" knob, you can morph between these sub-presets. It's very easy, very intuivite (and fun too :D) and actually it helps to quickly create (almost instantly) interesting presets.

I really like the FM Modulation functionality merged into one knob along with Oscillator's Waveforms. It's amazingly easy to create nice presets just by tweaking 2-3 knobs (Osc1 Ctrl, Osc2 + Morph knob). Clean design, low CPU, very intuitive. I think that everyone who likes creative synths should try MassTurboTar - it just brings a lot of fun.

I guess it's worth mentioning that MassTurboTar in yearly KVR Audio Developer Challenge 2009 (ended on December 2009) reached 5th place in general classification and it was a 2nd best synthesizer.

What would I like to see improved ?
More presets. Such synth requires more than 64 presets :)

+ very easy to create new, interesting sounds
+ fun
+ good GUI
- 64 presets only. We need More :)


I didn't put KX-Synth-X16 in my initial "the best of" list because of one thing - Midi CC automation didn't work properly for most pins / knobs + I knew that developer is working on it :) During that time, an author released two updates and the current version has a prefix V3.
KX-Synth-X16 is inspired by EMS VCS3 - portable analog synthesizer with a flexible semi-modular voice architecture, initially made in 1969 by Peter Zinovieff's EMS company. KX-Synth-X16 has three variable shape oscillators and noise generator. It also has very usable X-Y Joystick but the main feature is huge matrix with 256 pins available to adjust the modulations.
One thing I like the most in KX-Synth-X16 - it's a creative, free synth. Even If you don't understand 90 % of pins, you can just randomly put some here and there, and you'll end up with great, unique sound you would never achieve in other synth. Everytime I use X16, I have a feeling like I'm touching the history - which means big modular synths and truly analog feeling.

It's probably the best free synth in the old, semi-modular virtual synths area. There are 128 presets available and each preset fits X16 perfectly.

What would I like to see improved ?
CPU usage is still noticeable higher than simple subtractive synths but an author worked very hard to improve it, and there are effects. I have XILS3 LE, commercial plugin which is also an emulation of EMS VCS3 and the CPU consumption is similar to X16. So, I would say it's much better than it was few months ago and it's actually pretty acceptable :)

+ unique synth architecture in the freeware world
+ love that old, analog feeling
+ quality presets
- little bit complicated for beginners


Elektrostudio Sixth Month June
Sixth Month June is inspired by Roland Juno-6 - the first in a series of quality synthesizers from Roland's amazing JUNO, a six voice polyphonic analog synthesizer. It's an inspiration, not an emulation so Sixth Month June does not necessary sound like Juno ;) It also has some features added like unison, delay unit but I don't see any problem here. I belive this freebie brings it's own, unique flavour on the table. There are 64 presets available - all very playable. Actually all Elektrostudio plugins are about playability, about some fun and Sixth Month June is a great example. It's just ... I like it :)

Ok, so far there's MassTurboTar with some creative design introduced (morphing). There's KX-16 with some advanced synth architecture and nice, old analog feeling. What does Sixth Month June bring ? Hardware feeling. It's like during 80'. You bought a synth and you just played it :) Sixth Month June is the same. It's about using it, playing. It's extremely playable just like other Elektrostudio plugins.

While not everyone may appreciate it, there's certainly something about this plugin.

What would I like to see improved ?
Honestly, I don't know. It feels pretty completed synth. You'll like it or not :) Maybe a lack of presets (there are 64 presets only).

+ low CPU
+ very playable
- 64 presets only


Official websites:
1. Morfiki MassTurboTar
2. KX-Synth-X16-V3
3. Elektrostudio Sixth Month June

Ok, there are still some very interesting plugins so stay tuned ;)


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