#1 - u-he Diva
Diva is a fantastic sounding soft-synth that authentically replicates analogue sounds. Just like a real Diva, this synth is demanding and will take up a fair amount of your CPU processing power. The synth's layout is reminiscent of classic analogue equipment and is clearly laid out and labelled on a tasteful maroon panel. Diva comes with a wide range of excellent quality presets that include everything from vintage bass sounds, squelching leads to dreamy pad synths and far out effects. All of the presets are carefully sorted and can be easily located using the Patches tab.
In the Main tab, nearly every panel can be customized, and users can choose between triple, double, 'double eco' or digital oscillators. The filter section features Diva's zero-delay-feedback-filter' and a choice of filter types that each replicate classic analogue filters. There are two envelopes available and users can select models based on classic synthesizers. Diva can be run in variety of modes depending on how much intensity your CPU can handle. For best results, use in 'Divine' mode.
Price: $179 plus VAT in EU
Available from: http://www.u-he.com/diva
#2 - Rob Papen Blue II
This is another amazing synthesizer that features FM, subtractive phase distortion and wave shaping synthesis. Its a very flexible synth that's packed with a wide range of great sounds and thoughtful features. Blue II features a mixer-like section layout, with six oscillators that each have precise tuning and wave shaping parameters. The best part of the oscillator section is the big selection of waveforms that are available. The wave form banks include: Analog, Additive, Spectral, Samples, Tuned Percussion and Percussive, and a few more. Each bank includes anywhere from 10 to 42 waveforms, giving users a huge selection of sound design options. If you'd rather create music using presets, there's no less than 3, 200 presets in total, ranging from spacious pads to analog bass to synth sounds. On top of this there are four FX processors, and a fun-to-use XY pad.
The XY pad allows you to move between the first four oscillators of the synth, increasing the volume as you move towards each corner. Any of Blue II's parameters can be assigned to the up and down movement, which gives an incredible new level of control to Blue II's sounds. The synth also includes a sequencer and a highly useful arpeggiator. Blue II provides an incredible amount of quality presets and tons of features, yet is still surprisingly easy to use. It's a great value for producers who want to create music with cutting edge or retro-inspired sounds.
Price: $179 USD or available as an upgrade from the original Blue for $49 USD
Available from: http://www.robpapen.com/blue2.html
#3 - Native Instruments Massive
Massive is one of my favorite synths for music production, I've been using it to effectively create deep basslines and compelling leads for years. Massive features three oscillators with controls for pitch, wavetable position, intensity and amp. Each oscillator offers a wide variety of waveforms, which gives this synth incredible sound design possibilities. There are two filters available, and the LFO or envelopes can easily be assigned to the filters. Massive also features tabbed sections for further parameter controls, including Oscillator, Voicing, Routing and Global sections. There's also two inserts, a noise section and two FX and EQ.
There are many presets that are included in Massive, but I think many of the best sounds can be created by programming them on your own. There's a lot of tutorials available here on AskVideo and online that can help you to create your own original sounds. No matter whether you'd like to make growling bass for dubstep or leads for Melbourne bounce style tracks, Massive is one of the easiest synths to learn and is a solid investment.
Price: $199 USD or as part of the Komplete package
Available from: http://www.native-instruments.com
#4 - Arturia Oberheim SEM V
The Oberheim SEM V replicates the famous tone of the Oberheim SEM, a classic analog synth. This soft-synth increases the possibilities of the original and includes polyphony, MIDI control and an arpeggiator. Overall, the Oberheim SEM V excels at producing rich, warm and phat sounds with retro sounding tones. This is a top-notch synth that's great for basslines, or adding a touch of analogue-sounding richness to your productions. The Oberheim SEM-V has two oscillators, which each offer sawtooth and variable-width pulse waveforms with PWM, LFO, 12 dB/oct Filters with low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and notch, and two ADS envelope generators. Other highly useful features include a new LFO, noise generator, a sub-oscillator and overdrive, chorus and delay effects. If you're new to synthesis, there's no shortage of great sounding presets included in Oberheim SEM V that will inspire you to create. The best thing about the Oberheim SEM V is the unique sound that this synth offers, and the richness of its tone. The Oberheim SEM V makes the legendary sound of the Oberheim SEM accessible for the new generation of producers.
Price: $99/€99 or as part of Arturia's V-Collection
Available from: http://www.arturia.com
#5 - Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Omnisphere is the successor to Spectrasonics' popular Atmosphere instrument, and is powered by Spectrasonics' STEAM engine. It's a powerful synthesizer that uses real-time hybrid synthesis techniques and allows users to delve deeper into sound design as they explore Omnisphere synthesis' capabilities.
Omnisphere includes no less than 2740 inspiring 'sound sources' and over 5,000 patches in its incredibly vast sound library. Musicians and sound designers will appreciate these high-quality sounds which range from all types of analog and organic instruments to percussive and atmospheric sounds. To create the sound library, brand new types of sampling have been used, including 'Psychoacoustic'