Synthesizers without a proper VST alternative

The VST market is pretty saturated, with classic emulations in the V-collection to mixes of classic’s in Diva for example. I am wondering what hardware synths have yet to be emulated in a VST solution. I know Analog synths have a leg up here; but is the difference really that noticeable to the untrained ear?

Why I find this topic interesting: Knobs rock and hardware inspires more so than VST’s for me (and most). But after having a DX7iiFD for a while I discovered using it mostly as a VST; loading presets from Dexed without knowing what it actually adds to the sound. I’m not tweaking it, way too complex. I could probably replace it with dexed without really changing my workflow. The space it uses would be better used by a tweakable synth without VST alternative IMO.

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Pulsar 23. I’d say Lyra but it has multiple similar emulations now. Still they’re not exactly the same. In general though there’s always some synth equivalent in the computer


There are tons of options that don’t have a VST alternative. With the DX7, I get it. It’s not a very hands on synth, so a VST can replace it very well. But for analog/modular/semi-modular stuff, you have a zillion options.

Could you be more specific? Do you want another FM polysynth?

If you wan’t to edit complex fm patches with an intuitive interface and don’t mind the keybed you should look into opsix.

But honestly, nothing really beats a virtual modular synth and good midi controllers :wink:

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The only thing it has to have is playability / tweakability. Something that invited me to make my own sounds and edit patches. And one that is hard to replace with a VST.
Ideally a keybed; a large one. I can’t play keys but I do like to press around.

Analog four
Dreadbox Medusa


The A4 has never drawn me tbh. I got the DT and had the DN twice. Prefer a more traditional synth I guess

My shortlist now:
Prophet rev2
Moog matriarch / sub37 (not sure how I feel about paraphonic though)

UDO Super 6


Arturia Microfreak :slight_smile:


On the list as well! lmao you’re commenting this while I’m watching the loopop vid.
Slightly above budget though; aiming for around 1000 EUR second hand.


I would give a try to something like an 0-Coast or Strega, or any other little semi-modular analog synth. They are a ton of fun and you cannot have that experience with a VST. It feels like you are messing with radio circuits, not ‘making music’ (Which is what synths really were to begin with).

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The WaldorfQuantum/Iridium is just Omnisphere. Thats about top of the tree so i think there isn’t any synthesizers that cant be vst’ed.

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Korg Minilogue or Prologue
Novation Peak or Summit
Arturia Matrixbrute or Polybrute

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Kurzweil VAST.

Korg 770/K2/700/800 platform.


I dig the 0-coasts idea and it looks fun.and explorative, but the demo’s don’t sound like it’s for me. I prefer warm lush pads and rumbly basses… My fav VST is DIVA if that gives an idea.

Vermona perfourmer mk ii

Never heard a vst being able to recreate that mood. And 70+ knobs right in front of you invites to play/tweak…



Meng Qi Wing Pinger looks interesting. OP1 is definitely interesting. Not much of a keybed though.

I tried the korg Prologue in a store. Nice keybed and build quality, very hands on and fast to program. The price is great too for all you get.