Looking for bread and butter soft synth

I’m looking for a soft synth that comes with a ready to use library of presets, with all the classical synth sounds that you have in any keyboard workstation these days. You know, pads, leads, and so on…

The problem with most VST synth that as a Virtual STUDIO TECHNOLAGY it mostly comes with many experimental sounds and complicated sound design stuff that mainly aimed for studio productions, while those sounds are not very playable or expressive in live playing on keys.

Take for example U-He Hive wich I saw very poplar here. I downloaded the demo, and yes it sounds like it has the potential to produce all the great bread and butter synth sounds we need in a keyboard in a high manner, but the factory presets it comes with are not focused on that and though I found there some of the sounds I’m referring to, I had dig there a lot in order do so, and it seems that there are very few.

Xpand! Is a good bet for that sort of thing, covers most bases, but the glory of being in the vst world is that if you find one of your instruments doesn’t cover one thing that you need, it’s normally quite economical to find one that does (compared to the hardware world)

That said, it’s certainly a rabbit hole that’s easy to fall down…


Thanks, I’ll just clarify I meant to mainly to analog synth type of sounds.
Xpand! doesn’t focused on that but it is rather a complete module.
I’d rather have other instruments\library to cover other stuff I need.

As far as a one size fits all type I use U-he Diva for classic synth patches & it has a ton of libraries.

I also use Synapse Legend for Moog sound and Obsession for Oberheim type sound.

My standby ‘analogues’ are Fabfilter Twin for poly sounds and Synapse Legend for leads.

If you’re looking for ‘classic’ synth patches, the OP-X library is almost unbeatable. Take a look at their sound banks page - tons of stuff from the great synth eras, lovingly recreated.

They have now collated all their “famous” patches in a “famous complete collection” - 354 patches featuring 139 songs from 68 bands…

The synth itself is a bit complicated - trying to cram as much functionality into the original OB-X user interface is a bit confusing at times, so it will require a bit of an investment in time and effort, but sound-wise it’s a pretty good “classic” synth.

When I look for classic synth patches, I usually find something useful in its banks - when I feel adventurous, I try to re-create a patch I like in Surge - a good exercise in synth programming, and a step closer to consolidating my various synth patches on one plugin :wink:




Some nice examples:

Or a reeeeally old video of their famous bank:

Have fun!




For me there are no “bread and butter” sounds. I always try to find an instrument with the closest representation for what I’d like to reach. If that is not the case I often use the old Zebra2. With its Comb filters (for instance) it can do pretty good string like sounds. Lately I replaced sampled instruments (cello, viola, violin) where I also have SWAM instruments with Zebra2 and in the song it should be used it works better than all the others.


Hey, thanks, it looks like what I’m looking for, I just don’t get how to navigate between presets in this
(Downloaded the demo).

Got it, never mind.

1 Like

OK I bought it.
Is there a way to increase polyphony?
I can’t play even five notes simultaneously.
I don’t think I had this problem in the demo.

Is it an issue of CPU load - getting dropouts and pops when playing multiple notes? Or are you looking for a way to set the number of voices in a preset?

OP-X Pro II is usually one of the better-behaved synths when it comes to CPU load, so it would surprise me if you got load issues with it.

Regarding the polyphony settings: the OP-X Pro II has a maximum of 12 voices (the previous version only six). You set the number of voices used per preset using the “polyphony” control - next to the “OP-X Pro II” label close to the bottom left.

With this beast, it is really necessary to read the manual (97 pages, I know…) - there are a number of funky features, hidden controls and unexpected behaviors…




BTW: in addition to the polyphony settings , there is also the “voice mute” section on the right that can de-activate individual voice pairs. Check the buttons labelled “1” to “6”…


absolutely right! The OP-X is a beautiful beast, fat sound due to its special voice architecture and bread and butter at its best regarding the 80s and 90s. I don’t know if you mentioned it: since 11.03.2022 there ist the “SonicProjects OP-X PRO-II: Official Tutorial” on YouTube - 9 hours (!) of important information about this great VST.
The Diva is an alternative but a very demanding one.
Another one quite afforable and not to be neglected: Cherry Audio’s Memorymode not only for Moog-enthusiasts
Best regards


For synth sounds I’d have a look at OB-E too.

1 Like

I’d tell you, this OP-X Pro II is really something.
It has all the analog synth sounds I ever wanted with the best analog flavor.
I’m not really sure about this laptop rig, although I do have the latest version of Cantabile Performer and I do enjoy participating in this forum and explore this subject, but I don’t regret buying the OP-X Pro II anyway, because it is so useful for composing and producing music with computer, great for my beloved cinematic music style in combination with orchestral instruments.

I bet U-He Diva is also good, but you have to find and buy many preset packs in order to make it work, for someone like me who doesn’t program synths from age ten. While OP-X Pro II already comes with huge library of all the classic presets. For me OP-X Pro II is everything I’ve been told U-He Diva is.

The only downside of OP-X Pro II is the polyphony limitation. While I understand this is the same polyphony limitation as the original classic hardware analog synths had, I don’t understand why implement this feature in a soft synth. This limitation is really bad when it comes to live playing, while in music production it might be solvable.


Arturia Pigments is amazing. They often have a sale where you can get it 50% off. It offers great sequencing, fx, filters, multiple synth engines (2 at a time with utility synth) and everything can be modulated

Did you try the polyphony settings and voice mute settings I mentioned above? 12 voices should be enough for live playing - unless you use huge pads with both hands - then you may really run into voice stealing.

Maybe I do something wrong with Pigments? I think it sounds very cold and sterile … what’s the clue?

Pigments shines with its modulation capabilities, and the built in sequencer is very powerful.