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Full fledged soft synths which are not cpu hogs with terabyte installs ??? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 28th July 2014
  #1
Full fledged soft synths which are not cpu hogs with terabyte installs ???

Ok, for some bizarre reason I've developed a cpu-hog allergy over the course of years as soft synths got more and more complex...At the same time I also realize that I'm prejudiced against synths that are sample based and require terabytes of installs..

The way I see it a software synthesizer is all about mathematics which should be computed live, in realtime, from scratch..So out goes the sample based synthesizers with that sentence there..

Also if a soft synth is all about a piece of code, the cleaner and smarter your code is the lesser you load the cpu, in theory...Ok I'm aware that there are some processes that if you want you just pay for it in cpu time but I'm pretty sure you all get where I'm going with this..

So I want to hear from you which soft synths would you recommend for that realm ?

Required criteria :
No gigabytes of install size (no sound libraries,patches and wavetables etc. are ok)
No cpu hog madness (you can easily run many instances of it on an average machine)
The synth should utilize most modern features you'd want from a decent synth these days
And of course the synth should be precise and sounding great

Examples for what I think fits the above criteria (and therefore use a lot) are:
Lennar Digital's Disco dsp's Discovery pro,Waves' Element, Vember Audio's Surge and Sonic Charge's ..to name a few..

so basically no diva no omnisphere no trillian etc. etc. etc.

C'mon guys I know there are loads out there that I'm missing..help me out

Last edited by Murat Lahur; 29th July 2014 at 04:04 PM.. Reason: took out massive :)
Old 28th July 2014
  #2
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

I don't use softsynths much, but since I have an old DAW (bought in 2005!) I tend to use older softsynths that are more CPU-friendly. I also prefer simpler softsynths, with minimal interfaces, or at least an interface that doesn't have pages upon pages of parameters.

My favorites are:

- VAZ Plus 2: Basic subctractive synth but very flexible due to its semi-modular patching, and sounds pretty good too. I used to run 10 to 12 instances in an old Athlon 1.8 GHz laptop.

- VAZ Modular: In case you need more flexibility.

- G-Force M-Tron: Ok, this one's technically sample based, but the whole content fits in a CD (less than a gigabyte), and sometimes you just need some mellotron strings or flutes. The new M-Tron Pro has a much larger library, though.

- G-Force Oddity: I don't know if it sounds like an Oddysey or not, but it does sound pretty good and distinguishes itself from most VA softsynths out there.

- Waldorf PPG Wave 2.V: Very CPU-light, and while it's not as intuitive to program, it is capable of some nice 80's sounds (can also sound modern if you program it that way). The newer Waldorf 3.V should be nice, too.

- rgc Triangle 2: Good sounding monosynth that used to be free (probably still is) and is also CPU-friendly.

- Korg M1 or Wavestation for digital sounds, "realistic" sounds, nice pads, etc.


Like I said, it's all older stuff.
Old 28th July 2014
  #3
Got it, Diva out of the question. If I was doing something and high quality analog emulation was important without a big CPU hit, then Togu Audio Line is the best. TAL-U-NO-LX and TAL-BassLine101 are outstanding Juno-6 and SH-101 emulations, respectively. Small downloads, yes. $40 a piece, a steal. I recently made an entire track with nothing but about 30 instances of the BassLine101, all running live, never recording, and the CPU needle barely moved. They are both pretty representative of the originals, save for a couple of velocity sensitive features. The 101 adds polyphony of course, and some FM of the filter.
Old 28th July 2014
  #4
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Persemone's Avatar
Helix, FM8. But seriously, why deliberately limit yourself to miss out on some of the best stuff? Omni, Trilian, Alchemy, Kontakt... All superb and worth the installs.
Old 28th July 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
U-He Zebra. A beautiful, flexible, and deep synth; no samples and doesn't guzzle the CPU.
Old 28th July 2014
  #6
ok, thanks for all the replies guys..out of all what's mentioned so far only alchemy fit's what I have in mind but I already have it and use it a lot (btw I use it without it's sound library so it's a really tiny install and it's quite light on the cpu as well)

Why limit myself ?? Many factors in play..I make music using my i7 MBP with 128GB SSD drive so clearly space is of my concern, secondly I actually don't appreciate using samples for sound creation, so that's why no sample based big installers..And then, I make music keeping all my synths live (freeze them at best) because I keep tweaking and tweaking each sound and the automations etc. till the very last stages of the track..And although the i7 is a rather strong cpu, when you are working with midi-only projects (that means every individual sound in my music is generated by a synth in real time including kicks,hats,snares,percussion etc. etc.) and you start adding loads of effects /automation, things can start to get heavy...

Why out of all the other mentioned synths I can't find any to my liking is that none of them are actually "full fledged" for me..For example none of them do FM, which I use a lot...Also supporting high bit rates, featuring oversampling, having strong modulation matrices / fast envelopes, interesting filters like formant or comb etc. are features I want to see in what can be called a modern, cutting-edge, full fledged synth..

So my current arsenal of Alchemy,Surge,DiscoveryPro,Element,Albino,Synplant sort of do all those what I want, they are all tiny installs and rather cpu friendly..For example I also have cyclop which is a complete major drainer..

I'm pretty sure there are more synths out there that fit my description . . .C'mon sluutz
Old 28th July 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murat Lahur View Post
Why out of all the other mentioned synths I can't find any to my liking is that none of them are actually "full fledged" for me..For example none of them do FM, which I use a lot...Also supporting high bit rates, featuring oversampling, having strong modulation matrices / fast envelopes, interesting filters like formant or comb etc. are features I want to see in what can be called a modern, cutting-edge, full fledged synth..

Our posts crossed in the bitstream, but Zebra has all that.

(And FM8 does FM...)
Old 28th July 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimwolf View Post
U-He Zebra. A beautiful, flexible, and deep synth; no samples and doesn't guzzle the CPU.
Yes ! Zebra is spot on , thanks...I used work with it around 2005 but then somehow I moved on to other stuff ..

Maybe I should add it back in the arsenal..

But yes I'm after stuff like that, thanks...


Anything else guys ??
Old 28th July 2014
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimwolf View Post
(And FM8 does FM...)
Ok, I was avoiding native instruments all together because they tend to make the biggest sample based synths out there but now that I checked fm8 seems to be just a 100+ MB install..so I'll definitely get that, at least to give it a try anyway..

Thanks heh
Old 28th July 2014
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persemone View Post
Helix, FM8. But seriously, why deliberately limit yourself to miss out on some of the best stuff? Omni, Trilian, Alchemy, Kontakt... All superb and worth the installs.
Ok, this Audjoo Helix that I never saw before seems to be quite a nice synth as well, will give it a try thanks..
Old 28th July 2014
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Thor in Reason. You can rewire it in, but you seem like you wouldn't like rewire in your workflow. I frekin love Thor though.
Old 28th July 2014
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Sample libraries take up lots of space.

NI's installers include VST 32/64 bits, RTAS, AAX, AU versions - the same plugin copied a few times. If you only need one variant, of course it's not going to take up much room. Same thing for any other software house if it's algorithm-based. Ignore the versions you don't need and it's not going to be taking up lots of room.

Code complexity and executable size have nothing to do with eachother. Installers can be bloated. Vector drawing frameworks can take up space and go largely unused. GUI images will be displayed uncompressed and are much easier to handle if they're not turned into awful little JPGs. You want your plugins to do quite a bit - that versatility has to go somewhere.

Or just bite the bullet and upgrade your SSD
Old 28th July 2014
  #13
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GeminIAm's Avatar
I like the Korg Legacy series, the above mentioned TAL synths, and am rather partial to the Nexus 6 vst as well.
Old 29th July 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
*"Sample libraries take up lots of space."

*"Ignore the versions you don't need and it's not going to be taking up lots of room"

*"Code complexity and executable size have nothing to do with eachother.
*"You want your plugins to do quite a bit - that versatility has to go somewhere."

*"Or just bite the bullet and upgrade your SSD "
*I know that's why I don't use them and also it's lame in my world, if you can't generate a sound using a synth either you or the synth needs to upgrade..that's how I see it

*that's exactly what I do, I use only vst(vst3 if available) plugins so I either don't install others if given the option or just go and delete them after..

*that is my starting point anyway, I have synths that are rather complex, sound rather good, but the plugins are rather small..That's what I call clean and efficient coding..
*now that's a little contradictory :P

*it's got nothing to do with my budget..I can easily afford another 1gb ssd and whatnot..it's more a principal thing...It's like I'm too lazy to tidy things up in my house and it looks like things are everywhere while you are advising me to buy a bigger house you get me ??
Old 29th July 2014
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vascillate View Post
Thor in Reason. You can rewire it in, but you seem like you wouldn't like rewire in your workflow. I frekin love Thor though.
Yes, you've read me right .. no rewire here ..I did like thor though as I've played with it for quite a while...
Old 29th July 2014
  #16
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:Metaphor:'s Avatar
 

OP, you never mentioned what kind of sounds you want to make with these synths, what duties they will perform, or what kind of character you prefer in a soft synth.

-For a more "modern" sound, I strongly suggest checking out Z3ta 2. It sounds great, does modern & aggressive tones really easily, but can do pads and softer sounds well too. I think if it like a better sounding, CPU friendly version of Massive.

-As said, Zebra 2 is a good candidate.

-Perhaps a bit of a compromise, but for a "vintage" sound, Arturia's Oberheim SEM sounds great, is fairly cpu friendly, and has enough going on feature wise to be worthy of consideration.


It seems to me that you have a misunderstanding re: NI, that their installations take up a lot of room. Not true at all regarding their synths. That's only true for kontakt, battery, etc.


-FM8 is excellent for everything, but perhaps not the most immediate for tweak ability. Otherwise a great choice.

-Consider Reaktor 5, which has probably the most diverse set of synth sounds available in software, and can be very cpu efficient, depending on the synth you're running. It's plenty modern & sounds great, and I'm pretty sure the core library is less than 1 GB. If not, it's not much more than that. For what you get, it's not that much room taken up, and probably could be lessened if you deleted the samples used with the drum ensembles.

-KV331 Synthmaster? Modern, does about every style of synthesis, sounds great. Moderate cpu use.

-Rob Papen's new Blue 2. Sounds Gorgeous, FM friendly, tons of options, and really reasonable on cpu for being so new

-Synapse Dune 2. Amazing sound. In between sylenth & massive. A perfect workhorse synth.

That's all I got, but all of these sound great, are not primarily sample based, and use up less than 10% of my cpu on a 2011 macbook pro for a patch with 3-4 note pads.

Good luck.
Old 29th July 2014
  #17
:Metaphor:

"does modern & aggressive tones really easily, but can do pads and softer sounds well too"

this is quite close to what I have in mind .. .

I've been using reaktor since it's initial release and while I truly love sailing in the reaktor ocean as a vst plugin it's not exactly what I want..I find more that it satisfies my inner tronix nerd who doesn't have neither an electronics workshop nor the patience to sit down and solder diodes and resistors for ever to make an FM radio

Blue,zeta,zebra are all fine and I've already spent loads of time with them ...This thread is more of an attempt to dig out unseen/missed synths out there..

I've never heard of the synthmaster and now that I look at it it looks like quite a miss that one...So I guess I'll be getting that ..Also the dune 2 looks interesting..

So, the ones that hit the spot so far are: Synthmaster, Dune 2, Helix and maybe even FM8 . .

But still .. .How about some rather unique stuff ?? Like synplant ?? (it does FM incredibly well) Also as a producer I try to use synths that are not sooo mainstream so that other producers that listen my tracks can't go "ooh that's an albino FM" if you know what I mean . ..

For example back in my windows days I used to love gargoyle and vurtbox box from krakli software..it's a shame there are no mac versions though..
Old 29th July 2014
  #18
Registered User
+1 for Zebra2, Z3TA+2, and Oddity.

At present, I would not own a computer that could not run Omnisphere.

And, like you, I always prefer to have everything in MIDI. But yes, I have to freeze tracks with Diva. But this is not the end of the world.

I would not refuse to use Diva simply because I have to freeze tracks.


OP, sounds like you already have a bunch of great synths. Too many choices aren't always the best idea. More is not always more.
Old 29th July 2014
  #19
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:Metaphor:'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Blue,zeta,zebra are all fine and I've already spent loads of time with them ...
That's good & all, but are you current with the V2's of these synths? I wouldn't normally push the point, except that in this case the V2 of all 3 of these is really a significant upgrade, and in a couple of cases, more like a complete re-write. If you're not current with Blue 2, for example, I strongly suggest taking the time to check it and the other 2 out.
Old 29th July 2014
  #20
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

I think finding a handful (or fewer) older soft synths and exploring them in depth is limiting yourself in a really constructive way. The sooner you stop thinking "that will sound bad because apparently there is better stuff around," the sooner you'll actually hear what a synth sounds like (this is a story which gets played out again and again). Besides, something like Alchemy is far from "limited." You could probably make a whole album of music with nothing other than alchemy.
Old 29th July 2014
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by :Metaphor: View Post
I wouldn't normally push the point, except that in this case the V2 of all 3 of these is really a significant upgrade
Point taken, I haven't looked at zeta for like 6 years maybe and the other two also a few years likely..So I'll re-consider those...thanks a bunch for the push

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
I think finding a handful (or fewer) older soft synths and exploring them in depth is limiting yourself in a really constructive way. The sooner you stop thinking "that will sound bad because apparently there is better stuff around," the sooner you'll actually hear what a synth sounds like (this is a story which gets played out again and again). Besides, something like Alchemy is far from "limited." You could probably make a whole album of music with nothing other than alchemy.
Words of wisdom my friend Well said.. I do have alchemy and although I mainly use it for it's grain story I know that it's a really versatile synth..
The concept of making tracks using with just one synth ,is where I'm at anyway..(I'm working on a track that plays from a single midi file to my hw synth running in multi mode with 16 parts without nothing else currently)

I'm the proud owner of a waldorf blofeld desktop with sampler upgrade and to be frank that REALLY is all you need ...It's a really powerful synth and it also supports all the samples you might ever want to use..And because it's the only synth I've ever paid for (I hope the are not reading these, with my real name and all ) sometimes I sit down with my other fav paid tool, cubase, and tell myself "hey, you've paid for this stuff so make them pay back !"..

And really I can push this debate very very far away, any synth with a few oscillators that run classic waveforms, 1 or two filters again with classic models,few envelopes and lfo's that you can assign here and there, will produce an incredible amount of sonic madness if you know what you are doing ..

but the point is,they all have characters because they are all differently coded..a saw-saw 2octave FM is a really basic and kind of fundamental sound which one would think pretty much all synths around -if played without any other stuff on top,just plain FM- should/would sound the same..I mean it's a really simple mathematical function and everyone should be able to get it right..but then the above example don't even sound similar to each other when tried on different synths ..As a matter of fact although they somehow magically all seem to agree on the sine and pulse waves, for any other waveform (saw,ramp,triangle etc.) they all seem to have their own opinion..Which is ok with me but all these are defined with strict mathematical formulas..There is such a thing as "theoretically perfect" waveform..

In my personal experience of many years of trying (I use cubase since 1992,that's pre-cubase audio) today I would say Lennar Digital's sylenth1 is the most precise and accurate synth out there available..Maybe too surgical,too mathematically perfect one might say but if that's what you need then there it is...

I'm an SAE graduate audio engineer who works continuously with oscilloscopes,spectograms,phase meters etc. and my main interest is sound design through mathematical perfection...I'm not someone who sits down and scrolls through factory presets to make music, you know ..

So what I'm after is , fully capable synths that are incredibly well coded and hopefully do something so unique that they can stand from the crowd of another 10000 out there...In that aspect synplant is unparalleled in my opinion..

Thanks all for giving support, please keep them coming, I know someone will blurb out my next dream synth very soon in this thread..
Old 29th July 2014
  #22
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Some great suggestions here. I would definitely agree with:


Zebra 2
TAL U-NO-LX (get the chorus effect while you're at it!) and BassLine-101
VAZ Modular (PC and 32-bit only, if it matters)
z3ta+ 2
Korg Legacy Collection
Old 29th July 2014
  #23
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Persemone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
At present, I would not own a computer that could not run Omnisphere.
Likewise. Such an incredible set of soundsources, even after 6 years I probably haven't explored them fully. It's the synth I dreamed of having in the 1990's.
Old 29th July 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persemone View Post
Likewise. Such an incredible set of soundsources, even after 6 years I probably haven't explored them fully. It's the synth I dreamed of having in the 1990's.

Awwww... it's a rompler
Old 29th July 2014
  #25
Here for the gear
 

+1 for zebra here.
i would also add to the list Vember Audio Surge...although it's ageing and it is not properly something that gets frequent updates, so i'm not sure how it would perform on newer OS's (still have snow leopard on my 2009 mbp!). But it will give you a LOT of options, and in my opinion has some of the best sounding osc's i found in soft synths-don't use them much recently though.
Worth a shot IMO.
Old 29th July 2014
  #26
I still load up the old ancient NI Pro53. It has a cool sound, and you can run hundreds of instances, it barely uses any cpu at all.
Shame it's discontinued. That and B4.
Old 29th July 2014
  #27
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Oddity, Minimonsta. Still my goto soft synths.
Old 29th July 2014
  #28
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All great suggestions, but if you want to cut to the chase, try Charlatan.
Charlatan | BlauKraut Engineering

Because not every patch has to be a super-modulated monster. This one sounds really good and gives instant results, with virtually no cpu hit.
Old 29th July 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murat Lahur View Post
Examples for what I think fits the above criteria (and therefore use a lot) are:
Lennar Digital's Sylenth1,Disco dsp's Discovery pro,Waves' Element, Vember Audio's Surge and Sonic Charge's Synplant..to name a few..
Quote:
Originally Posted by npc9000 View Post
+1 for zebra here.
i would also add to the list Vember Audio Surge...although it's ageing and it is not properly something that gets frequent updates, so i'm not sure how it would perform on newer OS's (still have snow leopard on my 2009 mbp!). But it will give you a LOT of options, and in my opinion has some of the best sounding osc's i found in soft synths-don't use them much recently though.
Worth a shot IMO.
Man, surge is quite a brilliant little synth actually..I'm on mavericks on my i7 mbp 2010 and 32bit vst runs like a charm..
Old 29th July 2014
  #30
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Persemone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murat Lahur View Post
Awwww... it's a rompler
Funnily enough, I know that already.

....That's why I suggested Helix and FM8 (which, by the way, I did some presets and banks for its predecessor FM7 back in about 2005).
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