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A plugin is a software synthesizer which can be accessed within a DAW. Usually the plugin is loaded on a MIDI track.

Instrument plugins interface with your DAW through one of a handful of standards. Steinberg's VST is a standard supported by many DAWs. AudioUnit (AU) is widely supported on Mac computers. RTAS is used by ProTools. Put simply, you should check your DAW's user manual to see what kind of plugins you can run.

Check out and add to this open Google spreadsheet for the latest version of this table.

Synths to add: all Homegrown Sounds synths, Virtual CZ

Name
Description
Platform
Tuning ability
Tuning method
Cost
Aalto





alphacanal Automat
Subtractive synthesizer with FM and waveshaping
Mac, AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
Free
Applied Acoustics Chromaphone 2
Physical modelled percussion
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/AAX/RTAS
Full-keyboard microtuning
Scala file import (is kbm supported?)
$199
Applied Acoustics Lounge Lizard EP-4
Physical modelled electric piano
Windows/Mac,
VST/AU/AAX/RTAS
Full-keyboard microtuning
Scala file import (is kbm supported?)
$199
Applied Acoustics String Studio VS-2
Physical modelled strings
Windows/Mac,
VST/AU/AAX/RTAS
Full-keyboard microtuning
Scala file import (is kbm supported?)
$199
Applied Acoustics Ultra Analog VA-2
Virtual analog
Windows/Mac,
VST/AU/AAX/RTAS
Full-keyboard microtuning
Scala file import (is kbm supported?)
$199
Big Tick Rhino
Hybrid FM
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$99
Cakewalk Dimension Pro





Camel Audio Alchemy
Additive synthesizer/spectral sampler
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$249
Garritan Personal Orchestra 4
Sample-based orchestra library
Windows/Mac, VST/other?
Supposedly full-keyboard microtuning, though nonoctave scales are buggy
scl/kbm file import
$149.95
Humanoid Sound Systems Enzyme
Scanned synthesis
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$79.99
LinPlug Alpha
Subtractive synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$79, €59
LinPlug MorphoX
Subtractive synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU (and Mac-only RTAS)
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$129, €99
LinPlug Octopus
Modulation synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$129, €99
LinPlug Organ 3
Organ emulation
Windows/Mac, VST/AU (and Mac-only RTAS)
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$99, €79
LinPlug SaxLab
Saxophone emulation
Windows/Mac, VST/AU (and Mac-only RTAS)
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$99, €79
LinPlug Spectral
Additive/subtractive synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$149, €119
Mark Henning AnaMark
Virtual analog/modulation synthesizer
Windows, VST
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
Free
Modartt Pianoteq
Physical-modeled piano
Windows/Mac/Linux, VST/AU/RTAS/standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
scl/kbm file import
€249-€399
Native Instruments Absynth
Virtual modular subtractive synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX/standalone
Limited to 12 note scales, each note ±50 cents from 12-edo
User input
$199
Native Instruments FM8
FM synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX
Limited to 12 note scales, each note ±50 cents from 12-edo
User input
$199
Native Instruments Kontakt 5
Sampler
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX/standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
Kontakt script
$399
Plogue chipsounds
Emulation of classic arcade/console sound chips
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX
Full-keyboard microtuning
(IIRC buggy with nonoctave scales)
scl/kbm file import
$95
Plogue Sforzando
Sampler, .sfz soundfont format
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX/standalone
Limited to 12 note scales
scl/kbm file import
Free
Rapture





Rapture Pro





Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Rompler/synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$499, €379
SynthFontVSTi
Soundfont player (sf2, sfz, sfark, gig, dls, etc.)
Windows, VST
Limited to 12 note scales
Manual entry or choose from a list
Free
TAL sampler
Sampler/Synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/AAX
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$60
u-he ACE
Virtual modular analog synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
€69
u-he Bazille
Virtual modular synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU/AAX
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$129
u-he Zebra
Various synthesizer
Windows/Mac, VST/AU (and Mac-only RTAS)
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$199
VAZ Modular
Virtual modular synthesizer
Windows, VST/standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
£129.99
VAZ Plus
Virtual analog synthesizer
Windows, VST/standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
£14.99
Vogue MK2
Virtual analog and wavetable
Mac Standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
MTX
Free
Xen-Arts FMTS2
FM/spectral synthesizer
Windows, VST (32-bit)
Full-keyboard microtuning
MTS messages, or import MIDI tuning dump
Free
Xen-Arts IVOR
Virtual analog synthesizer
Windows, VST
Full-keyboard microtuning
MTS messages, or import MIDI tuning dump
Free
Xen-Arts Xen-FMTS
FM/spectral synthesizer
Windows, VST
Full-keyboard microtuning
MTS messages, or
import
MIDI tuning dump
Free
Xen-Arts XenFont
Soundfont (sf2) player
Windows, VST
Full-keyboard microtuning
MTS messages, or
import
MIDI tuning dump
Free
Xfer Serum
Wavetable synthesizer
Windows, OSX, VST/AU/AAX 32/64-bit
Full-keyboard microtuning
Tun file import
$189
Z3TA+2





ZynAddSubFX
Various synthesizer
Windows/Linux, VST/standalone
Full-keyboard microtuning
Direct input of values, or import
scl/kbm file
Free