Soft Synths (aka Software Synthesizers)

Software synthesizers, commonly known as soft synths, are speaker computer programs or plugins that produces digital audio. Over the years, there have been many advances in terms of processing speed. These have allowed them to achieve the same tasks with simpler hardware. In brief, today soft synths are more affordable, more portable, and easier to use and combine with music sequencers.

Soft Synths vs Dedicated Hardware

Soft synths have more advanced algorithms than digital hardware synths do, as shown in the fact that they tend to be faster. To begin with, dedicated hardware tends to be more stable. In addition, it commonly has a physical user interface, such as knobs and sliders. Truthfully, it is easier to operate during live performances. In contrast, soft synthesizers often have mathematical algorithms that mimic the electronic elements and the circuitry of the hardware synth. Because of this, soft synths produce authentic sounds. They perceive the tiny errors from the original hardware, like the oscillator drift caused by the thermal sensitivity of the components.

Synthesis Methods

Soft synthesizers involve many synthesis methods. Some of these are, for example, subtractive synthesis, analog modeling, FM synthesis, physical modelling synthesis, additive synthesis, and sample-based synthesis. Popular hardware synths are not in production anymore. New software that contains graphics that model the exact location of the original hardware controls replaced them. Many simulators are able to match the sound patches from the original synth.

Soft synthesizers are usually sample-based. They have more capability than hardware devices. The reason for this is that computers usually have fewer restrictions in terms of memory. Some sample-based synths involve sample libraries that have many gigabytes. Some others mimic actual instruments. Also, you can use sample libraries with the majority of sampler-based soft synthesizers. They are available in many formats, such as .wav, .sf and .sf2.