Are you looking for U-he Diva alternatives? The software synthesizer is regarded as one of the best-sounding analog emulations on the market. But maybe it’s too expensive for you? Maybe you want a VST with a different GUI or less CPU load? We’ve got the five best U-he Diva Alternatives for you. Is your favorite on our list?
Originally published on Gearnews.de by Julian Schmauch. Translation by Julian Schmauch.
The best U-he Diva alternatives need to offer these features
U-he Diva has been on the market for about ten years. And the VST is still widely regarded as one of the best-sounding plug-ins. Especially when it comes to epic synth pad sounds for all things Synthwave and film scoring, Diva is close to unmatched. Just hold three notes and go on to an endless journey into the universe.
Diva (Dinosaur Impersonating Virtual Analogue) combines emulations of a variety of legendary synthesizers in its oscillators, filter module, and envelopes. For its oscillator, you get a choice of a Minimoog model, one from a Korg MS-20, and three Roland synths: Jupiter-6, Juno-60, and JP-8000. Among the five emulations for Diva’s filter, there is a legendary Minimoog ladder filter, an emulation from Korg’s MS-20, and models from Roland Jupiter-6, Roland Juno-60, and Oberheim SEM.
For the envelope module, you get three emulations. One is, again, a rather snappy version of Minimoog’s EG and two from legendary Roland synths. The cool thing is that you can combine them. A Jupiter-6 oscillator going into a gnarly MS-20 filter with a snappy Minimoog envelope? Why not?
You also get over 1,200 excellent presets in Diva and a giant selection of third-party presets packs, both commercial and free. So maybe you don’t even want any of our U-he Diva alternatives anymore? Get it from Thomann*!
What do you need U-he alternatives for?
Why even bother looking for U-he Diva alternatives, when there it sounds so good and offers so much? Its price might be a reason to look for alternatives. Compared to giant VSTs like Omnisphere or bundles like Native Instruments Komplete, 159 Euros isn’t that much. But you’re only getting a single instrument with that – no DAW to record with, no effects for audio recordings.
Also, Diva’s superb sound quality comes at a price: CPU load. If you’re looking for a similar sound, but you’re willing to live with an alternative that’s maybe a little less excellent, and you’re working with an older computer, we have a couple of suggestions on our list.
Or maybe you’re just looking for a plug-in with a different user interface (GUI). Diva’s GUI is brilliant, but that does not mean it’s for everyone.
One of the best U-he Diva Alternatives for pad sounds: Universal Audio PolyMax
If you’re mainly looking for epic pad sounds, which is what Diva is popular for, Universal Audio PolyMax gets pretty close in the race for the best U-he Diva alternatives. The VST is loaded with bittersweet, gloomy pad sounds full of analog imperfections.
Along with PolyMax, you get 300 presets, 3 modulation effects (Chorus, Phaser, Flanger), and 3 spatial effects (Delay, Spring, Hall) each in UAD quality. The VST is rather light on your CPU as well – it ticks a lot of boxes! There are quite a few pad sounds on PolyMax that get pretty close to Queen Diva.
UAD PolyMax is available at Thomann*.
TAL-J-8 – THE Synthwave VST
Where Diva draws inspiration from a variety of synthesizers, TAL J-8 focuses on one legendary synth only: Roland Jupiter-8. The original hardware of this polyphonic eighties’ monster sells for eye-watering prices these days. But TAL J-8 does get pretty damn close to emulating it.
Jupiter-8 was known and popular for many things, but its buttery, epic pad sounds were pretty much unmatched. TAL J-8 creates these sounds with ease and offers a variety of modernized additions. It offers microtonal support and can also be played very expressively with MPE controllers. In addition, you get over 300 presets.
TAL J-8 is available at Plugin Boutique*.
U-he Diva Alternatives with a unique sound: D16 Lush 2
The more seasoned synth nerds among our readers might get ready to angrily point out, that Lush 2, as an SH-101 emulation, has no business in this list here. And in this list of U-he Diva alternatives, it’s more expensive than the original?! Hear me out. Because when it comes to two of our reasons to look for alternatives, “epic pad sound” and “different workflow”, Lush 2 offers a lot in both regards.
Each sound can be layered, up to eight sounds at once! So you can combine up to eight presets into one gigantic pad sound. You also get EQs and compressors for each of the layered sounds. It’s almost a mini DAW! Oh. and there are over 1,600 presets included.
You can get D16 Group Lush 2 at Thomann* right now.
Native Instruments Super 8 – A Diva alternative in the Reaktor universe
Even plug-in dinosaur Native Instruments (NI) has something to offer in the pad game. And with Super 8, the manufacturer ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to sound quality and versatility. It should be mentioned, however, that NI shelved plans recently to release Super 8 as its own VST3 version. That means that you have to load and play it inside an instance of Reaktor or Reaktor Player. Bummer.
Because when it comes to price and sound, Super is one of the best U-he Diva alternatives. The VST comes with 550 presets and offers a unique workflow that is rather refreshing compared to the GUIs of many emulations that are loaded with knobs and parameters. And it’s pretty cheap for what it does.
You can either get Super 8 as a single instrument directly from NI’s webstore for 99 Euros. But if you’re looking to broaden your sonic palette anyway, take a look at the bundle Native Instruments Komplete. Super 8 is included.
The biggest of the U-he Diva alternatives: Arturia V-Collection
32 virtual instruments, over 14,000 presets, hardly any synth legend missing – Arturia V Collection 9 is one impressive instrument bundle. And when it comes to synth emulations, it offers some of the best emulations on the market. Arturia not only add new emulations with each update of V Collection. They also continuously update and improve the existing synths.
And among those, both JUN-6 V and JUP-8 V are regarded as some of the best-sounding VSTs in the bundle. Remember which synths Diva emulates? Right! Roland Juno and Jupiter. And if you get the whole bundle, you not only get these two emulations but 30 other excellent synth emulations as well!
Arturia V Collection 9 is available at Thomann*.
Freeware alternatives to Diva
We do want to mention a couple of free U-he Diva alternatives. It goes without saying that, while these VSTs do sound good and offer unique features, they usually don’t quite match the quality and versatility of the paid plug-ins.
We can’t not mention Tyrell N6 by Diva’s maker U-he. There is also Noisemaker from TAL, who are already on our list with their excellent J-8. If you put in a bit of work and do a bit of tweaking with these two, you can get quite a good pad sound out of them for all your Blade Runner scoring needs.
A third alternative worth mentioning is Odin 2. The VST needs a bit of manual diving and patience, but it can get pretty close in analoge sound goodness, if you put in the work.
It does not really matter these days if you choose Diva or one of the alternatives we suggested: it’s never been easier to achieve a convincingly analogue sound in the box. Especially when it comes to epic pad sounds or phat basses, there are quite a few digital options to choose from.
Videos about Diva
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- TAL J-8 - one of U-he Diva alternatives: TAL
- pb: Plugin Boutique