Best VST Instruments in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

  • James Parker
  • February 1, 2022

Today’s market is now full of different types of plugin instruments, and are now available to the everyday music producer. It can often be difficult when deciding on the right one, so below we review five of the best VST instruments of this year. 

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
1. Xfer – Serum
  • Wavetable synthesis of great power.
  • Can relatively learn with ease.
  • Very visual.
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2. NI Massive
  • The interface is well-designed.
  • The modulation system is quite clever.
  • Filters and oscillators are exceptional.
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3. Omnisphere 2
  • You can load your own samples.
  • Great new synth oscillator shapes.
  • Very useful Granular mode.
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4. Sylenth1
  • Great sound.
  • Incredible effects and great usable presets.
  • Fairly priced.
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5. ANA 2
  • Great sound.
  • Tons of presets.
  • Many useful filter types.
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1. Xfer – Serum

Specification

Number of Presets450.
Number of Wavetables144.
System RequirementsWindows 7 SP1, or Mac OS X 10.8 or greater.
Available as VST, AU, AAX 64bit?Yes.

The Serum features an ultra, high-precision resampling default playback and yields an impressive, inaudible signal-to-noise ratio. Its wavetable synthesis features a pioneering approach that gives users the power to build, customize and import their own wavetables. You are then able to either apply that to the synth engines or indeed their own audio samples. It gives you the chance to make entirely new, extraordinary sounds. Serum features a wide menu of filter varieties and an intuitive but supercharged modulation system with ten remarkable effects modules. It has a punchy kind of sound with animated bases, searing leads, flashy modulated pads and evocative FX. 

  • True High-Quality Sound: Yes.
  • Visual and Creative Workflow-Oriented Interface: Yes.
  • Ultra-Clean Oscillators: Yes.
  • Smooth Modulation: Yes.
  • Powerful Wavetable Synthesis: Yes.

PROS

  • Wavetable synthesis of great power.
  • Can relatively learn with ease.
  • Very visual.
  • Many quality effects.

CONS

  • Heavy CPU.
  • Sound is brighter than most synths.
  • The built-in presets are weak.

We like that Serum has the amazing potential of loading up sounds, transforming them into wavetables and even has a stunning, easy-to-use UI. Another benefit to users is that their engine cancels undesired artifacts better than the competition. This is great for those who want big, clean sounds. We also enjoy the amusing, easy-to-use method of patching modulation with a drag and pull method that’s a bit like Massive X. You’re able to assign modulation controls to all manner of sources in quick time. The Unison stacking mode is a very appealing aspect of Serum, and you get the ability to add 16 more voices to whatever given note you choose. Serum has quality audio and you get so much freedom and control as well!

2. NI Massive

Specification

Number of Presets1300
Number of Wavetablesover 170.
System RequirementsOS X/Windows.
Available as VST, AU, AAX 64bit?Yes.

Massive is, especially for electronic musicians, a must-have in your production toolkit. It has over 170 wavetable options available with two different oscillators so you’re able to layer your sound within the plugin. Massive features a huge library of sounds but also gives you the ability to make your own presets. You can do this by using the wavetable oscillators, modulation options and even adding in tons of filters and effects such as reverb and drive. 

  • True High-Quality Sound: Yes.
  • Visual and Creative Workflow-Oriented Interface: Yes.
  • Ultra-Clean Oscillators: Yes.
  • Smooth Modulation: Yes.
  • Powerful Wavetable Synthesis: Yes.

PROS

  • The interface is well-designed. 
  • The modulation system is quite clever. 
  • Filters and oscillators are exceptional. 
  • Absolutely full of features.

CONS

  • Some lackluster presets. 
  • Not the most affordable.
  • Very digital sound.
  • Not enough effects.

We like that Massive has plenty of presets, 1300 that is, and if you aren’t satisfied with any of those, there are third-party manufacturers that make presets for Massive. We’re aware that trying to search for the right preset can be a bit overwhelming at times. That’s why we appreciate the fact that with Massive, you can instinctively search through the preset library on a different page of the plugin by the name or even the characteristics of the sounds. We would also like to note that NI Massive includes a useful drag and drop routing portal within the interface. This allows you to seamlessly link Massive to your preferred MIDI device or any other virtual instruments. You’re even able to draw in custom modulation patterns to get the most flexibility. Massive not only provides tons of potential synth sounds but also powerful sub-bass modes for your oscillators. This VST instrument is perfect for performances and even studio uses.

3. Omnisphere 2

Specification

Number of Presets300
Number of Wavetablesover 500
System RequirementsMac/PC
Available as VST, AU, AAX 64bit?Yes.

Omnisphere offers unique power and effortless capabilities of sound design. Because of that, it is an admired and appreciated name in the world of VST Instruments. It incorporates basically every feasible kind of synthesis including granular and additive to subtractive, wavetable and audio sample-based synthesis. It’s nearly impossible to run out of inspiration when you’ve got a ton of wavetables and patching options, over 50 effects, four layers per patch and a ‘doubled’ Modulation Matrix. There’s even an impressive Hardware Integration mode. 

  • True High-Quality Sound: Yes.
  • Visual and Creative Workflow-Oriented Interface: Yes.
  • Ultra-Clean Oscillators: Yes.
  • Smooth Modulation: Yes.
  • Powerful Wavetable Synthesis: Yes.

PROS

  • You can load your own samples.
  • Great new synth oscillator shapes. 
  • Very useful Granular mode. 
  • A ton of great new presets.

CONS

  • Looping user audio requires an external sample editor. 
  • Loud presets so they clip the master.

With over 500 waveforms and 14,000 sounds to inspire and drive music producers, Omnisphere just may be one of the greatest VST synths yet! It’s easily navigated and is able to be customized for live performance. Omnisphere has huge customization possibilities, which unlock endless amounts of sound and has an extra 58, flexibly integrated FX units. It’s even able to connect with hardware synths for hands-on control of hemispheres parameters. Omnisphere offers a ton of features that will enhance all kinds of music and keep artists occupied for long periods of time.

4. Sylenth1

Specification

Number of Presetsover 2500.
Number of Wavetablesn/a.
System RequirementsWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32/64bit) or
Mac OS X 10.7 or higher.
Available as VST, AU, AAX 64bit?Yes.

This powerful virtual analog VSTi Synthesizer plugin is developed and owned by LennarDigital. With Sylenth1, you can make a broad range of sounds from leads, organs, drum sounds, evolving pads, plucks and whatever sound you intend on accomplishing. This amazing synthesizer has a pleasant user interface and can be a go-to for tons of projects. 

  • True High-Quality Sound: Yes.
  • Visual and Creative Workflow-Oriented Interface: No.
  • Ultra-Clean Oscillators: Yes.
  • Smooth Modulation: No.
  • Powerful Wavetable Synthesis: No.

PROS

  • Great sound. 
  • Incredible effects and great usable presets. 
  • Fairly priced. 
  • Very simple to use.

CONS

  • No dedicated PWM. 
  • Might be a bit too straightforward for some.

The Sylenth1 is pretty easy to work and has plenty of capabilities from sub-bass to wild SFX, soaring leads and thumping percussion. If we’re being honest, you could literally produce an entire album on this VST instrument. We like the clean interface as it’s simple to read and quite inviting. The voices are clean and precise with multiple stacking oscillators. We appreciate the care put into the analog-sounding engine and the grizzly and biting filters without the digital harshness. The modulation capabilities aren’t so generous, but the sound is absolutely amazing. This virtual analog is such easy customization, and its simple interface, great quality and one-page design make it all worth the buy.

5. ANA 2

Specification

Number of Presets500+.
Number of Wavetables3
System RequirementsWindows 7+, Intel Core Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2, and Mac OS X 10.8+, Intel Core Duo.
Available as VST, AU, AAX 64bit?Yes.

Sonic Academy’s Ana 2 is packed with a ton of cool features like surprising bonuses such as waveform visualization, wavetable and sample import and 64-note polyphonic sequencer/arp. This powerful workstation VST Instrument is an all-in-one synth that’s capable of beefy low-end, creamy leads and enveloping pads, and might be the best value option yet.

  • True High-Quality Sound: Yes.
  • Visual and Creative Workflow-Oriented Interface: Yes.
  • Ultra-Clean Oscillators: Yes.
  • Smooth Modulation: Yes.
  • Powerful Wavetable Synthesis: Yes.

PROS

  • Great sound.
  • Tons of presets. 
  • Many useful filter types.
  • Nice layout.

CONS

  • No modulation drag-and-drop.
  • No oscillator granular functionality.

Overall, ANA 2 sounds really good. It has an envelope shaper that’s simple to use and it even allows you to add your own samples as a synth voice. ANA 2 has a lot of presets that enable vintage sounds and it excels at experimentation and novel sound creation. We love the quality sound, tons of amazing presets and loads of handy filter types. The layout, CMD and arpeggiator are all outstanding! Some simple granular functionality would be nice to see for the sample oscillators and a drag-and-drop would also be nice to add for the modulation. Other than that, this is truly a top-notch synth!

Conclusion

Hopefully, you can use this guide to decide which VST instrument is right for you. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.