Best of 2015: 2015 has been a great year for hardware synths and mobile music apps, but it’s also seen the release of many major new software synths and samplers.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most interesting new software synths and virtual instruments of 2015. Check them out and then vote for the three that you think are the best of the year![polldaddy poll=9219329]
Was there a new software synth or virtual instrument that really impressed you in 2015? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!
Note: This poll will be open through the end of day, Dec 31, 2015.
49 thoughts on “Reader Poll: What’s The Best New Desktop Software Synth Of 2015?”
Omnisphere 2 by a long, long way.
Have to say it’s a tie for me. I love Raw and Omnisphere 2 equally.
Still the best in 2015: Xfer Serum.
In the last 12 months it is the only software synth I’ve used.
Also I may add, have you tried the latest version? Blown my mind. That resampling of wavetables and rendering the warp is genius. So you have a complex warp table, mess it up then resample the mess up as a new wavetable, all in Serum. So you can take a harmonic series throw it into a filter and get a new filtered harmonic series as the starting point of a new patch.
Xfer Serum doesn’t appear on the list. I’m sure it’s an oversight.
I guess it’s because it was released in 2014…
my, how time flies.
It’s a damn good one, no doubt about that. It’s crazy how easily you can come up with unique sounds with tons of movement and stunning sound. There are some fantastic filter options and then the whole custom wavetable implementation just takes it into the stratosphere. It’s my go to synth for neuro basses.
Added as an option
no Reaktor 6?! really?
Its not even a contest. Reaktor has always been the benchmark, the godfather
Added as an option
If Equator didn’t require a proprietary, peripheral piece of hardware to utilize it’s deeper capabilities I could see it as an easy win for its expressive behavior alone. That said, Reaktor 6 is an incredibly valuable and interesting SS and I’m a little vexed at its lack of inclusion. Most of the plugins on this list lean toward reboots of previous emulations. Not very inspiring. Useful for those of us who don’t own a Moog, Prophet or Oberheim and need / want the vibe however, it’s all been done before. And done well (Hive vs Monarch vs MiniV vs etc etc) in many cases.
See this thread for discussion of Equator support of MPE, LinnStrument, etc:
That only strengthens my point… Linnstrument is even more expensive than the Seaboard Rise. What I was hoping your takeaway from my comment might be was that if Equator had been marketed outside of its obvious correlation to multidimensional control surfaces that it might be a stronger contender for desktop synth of the year. Due to the fact that Roli needed to build a piece of software to utilize the multidimensional control features, we ended up with a very complex piece of software as a side effect. Tons of modulation options and interesting automation parameters to play with.
You may want to read up on MPE – the entire point of it is to do exactly what you are asking for, and hardware controllers are completely optional.
Without MPE, sequencers and hardware controllers do not have a standard way to control the expressive capabilities of a synth like Equator.
I’m completely aware of its capabilities and was referring to the marketing campaign behind the software. It’s only been marketed as an adjunct which, is a disservice. The entire point of my comment centered around the fact that yes! It can be used without the proprietary device but, it’s not pushed in that manner. If it had been, it would have found itself at a higher point on the poll.
There’s a bit of a “chicken or the egg?” situation with hardware and software support for MPE. But for the first time, there does seem to be some momentum.
Marketing something that would essentially be dependent on MPE, though, when MPE does not have wide adoption yet, would be a hard sell.
Let companies know what you want, though.
This will come – but give it time!
Max for cats oscillot has changed ableton for me
When did Xfer Serum come out? I thought it was around January of 2015? If it’s considered a 2015 plugin then that would be top of list for me. OP-X PRO-II and Oscillot are pretty good too.
Surprising it didn’t win the 2014 list.
But more surprised it was excluded from the list.
Sunrizer has been a godsend for me, it has an absurdly low CPU usage, and it’s just like having a JP 8000 but with a TON of extra features.
Reaktor 6 is the best synth … but Audulus 3 is coming out DEC 8
Rapture Pro by far the best soft synth for easy of use and outstanding editing.
Cannot find Synthmaster?
Any overwhelming response to a product that can break the server on it’s release has to be something else. Naturally, Omnisphere 2 will take the prize for sure!
Gonna get trolled for this, but I also thought Signal and Gravity were pretty original too!
Some great synths this year, reactor 6 blocks is standout, omni 2 was a nice update, but I use it less than I thought I would….hive sounds great for low CPU but doesn’t realy bring anything new to the party….
Serum should win its own category for best free updates and support….LOVE this synth, it is an instrument, will always be in my to 5 (of about 200 VSTs I own)
This year. I voted Falcon. Probably the best ‘all in one’ synth ever made, a modular monster with 15 synth types and amazing built in effects….a work of art from UVI, a company who I had never paid much attention to before.
Omisphere2 of course is a great soft synth….however, if you are into Sound Design, the ultimate tool is UVI FALCON (which I voted).
PS….a great synth to use is also EQUATOR from Roli! matched with the “keyboard” is incredibly expressive and easy to use.
Where is Synthmaster? http://www.kv331audio.com/
The polls are utterly meaningless as anyone (Dev/Fanboy) can just keep voting over an over again for the same selection!!
Take it all with a pinch of salt (except my vote for Falcon 😉
FM is back 🙂
SynthMaster deserves to be on that poll, definitely.
I am frankly surprised there is so little love – read none – for Whoosh Machine. If you are a sound designer who needs the creative controls to create a perfectly executed whoosh there is no better FX generator than Whoosh Machine and no synth with a better sounding name.
Probably because Whoosh Machine is clearly not a realistic contender for 2015’s best software synth?
The price is right though 🙂
Since my earlier post Whoosh Machine has jumped to 0.26% in the polls and is gaining momentum. Whoosh Machine for the win!
Wasn’t Iris 2 released this year? That would be my vote. Especially in the bang for buck category.
where’s the SH-2 plugout?
come on you slackers…if ya gonna make a fracking list..DO IT RIGHT
bunch of chimps made this list!
MY VOTE – ROLAND SH-2 plugout
thank you for nothing!
Should Alchemy be an option? I never used it until Apple rolled it out so I’m not sure if it is a substantial upgrade over Camel’s Alchemy.
I did a pretty in-depth review of Alchemy before and after at my blog: http://buildingyourband.com/alchemy/
Arturia Collection?! Isn’t that quite old by now?
The size of this list shows us we don’t need any new softsynths in 2016.
sunvox 1.9 got enough new features for me to call it new.
* new module – Feedback (see the examples);
* new module – Filter Pro (High quality IIR filter);
* number of MIDI slots (in Preferences) has been increased to 4; so you can use four MIDI controllers simultaneously;
* now any external MIDI knob can be connected to any number of SunVox controllers of any modules;
* now any SunVox shortcut can be connected to external MIDI button (Note, CC or Program Change);
* click twice (or right click) on the controller to open the new Controller Properties window;
* you can do the following operations in the new Controller Properties window: change, reset, randomize, write to pattern, assign MIDI IN;
* MultiSynth: new controller “Phase” – the starting position of the sample or the starting phase of some Generator;
* MultiSynth: added support of the “Set Sample Offset” pattern effects 07 and 09;
* MultiCtl: new controller “Quantization” – the number of quantization levels;
* Sampler: new controller “Rec threshold” – the level at which the Sampler should start recording;
* Sampler: ability to import the loop points from WAV;
* Generator: “P.Modulation” controller has been renamed to “Freq.Modulation input”;
* Filter: new controller “LFO waveform”;
* Amplifier: new controller “Fine volume”;
* Modulator: “Phase Modulation” mode has been added;
* new functions in the Pattern Editor menu: selection begin, selection end;
* slightly redesigned Pattern Editor;
* new pattern effect: 13 – Set Bypass/Solo/Mute (BSM = XYY) flags; example of mute: 13 0001; example of solo: 13 0010;
* new pattern effect: 14 – Reset Bypass/Solo/Mute (BSM = XYY) flags; example of bypass reset: 14 0100;
I say Sonic Faction’s Polytek is quite unique!
Polytek’s Routing Matrix can select Analog or Sampler as a sound source and then process it through either a Vocoder or Multiband gate. This is an absolute unique feature for Ableton Live users!
I’m using Carbon Electra in most of my tracks. So easy and sounds really good. I find it fun watching my waveforms being created