13 Best Rompler VST Plugins 2022

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Best Rompler VST Plugins

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Loving the sound of classic romplers? Or do you come from a time when technology was more analog than digital, more hands on than automatic, grittier rather than cleaner?

Whether you’re familiar with the earliest romplers available, or you’re new to the entire concept, there is something about classic gear and early VST plugin developments.

If you haven’t explored this category in a while, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to find what’s available today, and what has evolved out of simpler ROM bases samplers. Here are the best modern rompler VST plugins.

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Analog Lab V by Arturia – Best Overall

Analog Lab V by Arturia – Best Overall

Arturia’s Analog Lab V is sure to be a dream workstation for classic synth and keyboard lovers, with 2,000+ curated sounds from Arturia’s much praised and great sounding V Collection instruments.

Getting up and running fast isn’t a problem, because Analog Lab V includes thousands of presets for the timeless vintage instrument samples, as well as modern classics, aboard this creative lab.

If you’re interested, you could certainly investigate Arturia’s soft synths individually, or purchase their entire V Collection at a higher price. But for those who want easy access to just the best sounds, the easy-to-use Analog Lab V is ideal.

This plugin includes plenty of other features to ensure a smooth and fun user experience – parameter mapping, searchable and intuitive browser, controller integration, three views (library, studio, and stage), playlist functionality, and even a Sound Store function to keep your sound library fresh.

Analog V is inspiring, powerful, and convenient, and is a great fit for those who want to tap into beautiful synth and keyboard sounds.

We love the unique concept of Analog V, always find it useful, and for what it is, its price is more than reasonable. That makes it our best overall pick. But if you’re interested in other types of samples, don’t worry – we’ve still got plenty of rompler VST plugins to explore.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Omnisphere by Spectrasonics – Best Premium Option

Omnisphere by Spectrasonics – Best Premium Option

Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere is a bit of everything. In addition to being one of the most powerful, used, and almost universally revered synths, some consider it the best rompler VST plugin available today.

Once you’ve seen all that it can do, you may be convinced yourself.

Omnisphere features 14,000+ sounds, 500+ DSP waveforms and wavetables, 64 GB worth of sampled content, 58 FX modules, eight LFOs, 34 filters, up to 20 oscillators per preset, arpeggiator, sound lock, sample import mode, and a preset browser. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Originally, romplers were samplers with their own built-in sounds. But Omnisphere is exactly what classic machines and plugins evolved into. And this titan of a synth includes samples too numerous to mention. There’s virtually no way you won’t find exactly the classic sounds you’re looking for.

With advanced sampling options and synthesis capabilities well beyond most soft synths, customization is but a few clicks away, making Omnisphere an incredibly attractive option.

That said, this baby is not for you if:

  • You don’t have a sizable budget to spend on a modern rompler
  • You don’t plan to also use it extensively as a synth (…why?)

Omnisphere costs far too much to use as a toy unless money isn’t an object! We don’t think there’s much danger of that happening, though, because if you take it out to play with it, you’ll be hooked to it before you know it.

Omnisphere is our best premium pick.

The only other downside, if you can call it that, is that Omnisphere takes up its share of hard drive space. Better expand that memory if you’re worried.

Learn more: Spectrasonics

Ascension by W.A. Production – Best Budget Option

Ascension by W.A. Production – Best Budget Option

While it didn’t land the highest marks with everyone, W.A. Production’s Ascension is a highly ambitious endeavor, loaded with a lot of great features, and expandable via various bundles. Which is exactly why we thought you might like to learn about it.

As with Synths 1 DX (appears later in the guide), Ascension is what you get when you combine a high-powered synth with a rompler, as Ascension comes with four multi-select oscillators combining subtractive, wavetable, FM, and ROM based synthesis capabilities.

The ROM section comes with a 6.5 GB library, including synths, pads, basses, dance pianos, ethereal chords, and more.

Oh yeah, I hadn’t gotten to this yet, but at core Ascension is a dance music workstation. So, this baby might not be for you if you’re not into EDM, or you’re working on other types of projects. But otherwise, keep reading.

In total, Ascension includes four subtractive, waveform, and ROM OSCs, arp with MIDI player mode, drag and drop MIDI, light and dark skins, multi-FX unit, drag and drop FX chain, ADSR envelope and filter envelope, four auxiliary envelopes, 32 modulation destinations, 16 filter types, 1,522 presets, 1,311 waveforms, and of course the 6.5 GB worth of sampled content mentioned earlier.

While Ascension is obviously a niche dance music plugin and it may not deliver on all your rompler hopes and dreams, at this price, we have no choice but to include it as our best budget pick!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Phalanx by Vengeance Sound

Phalanx by Vengeance Sound

Phalanx is well loved by producers everywhere, and it’s not hard to see why.

This drum and synth sampler comes with over 6,000 samples and sounds, with over 3,000 sounds via Manuel Schleis of Vengeance Sound.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Phalanx also features a large library browser, 32 stereo sample slots in 16 channels (routable up to 16 individual outputs), 128 voices (up to 16 times polyphony per pad), 12 types of filters (6 dB, 12 dB, and 24 dB for each), poly portamento and legato portamento.

You also get an anti-alias free sample mode and ultra-high mode, undo / redo, real-time display of waveforms, editable envelopes (amp, filter, pitch, ModEnv), BPM syncable envelopes, drag and drop insert FX with 17 types, four-band parametric EQ, MIDI-learn, and more.

What it gives you is the ability to tweak, morph, distort, and transform samples in a variety of ways. That is certainly the hallmark of a good sampler, but not many boast the volume of options Phalanx puts at your fingertips.

For rompler fans everywhere who didn’t know that this level of customization would ever be available, Phalanx merits a serious look.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Serum by Xfer Records

Serum by Xfer Records

Just as Omnisphere is like a modern take on the classic rompler, Serum is also a powerhouse synth revered for its unparalleled wavetable capabilities.

There are features too numerous to mention, whether it’s the dual wavetable oscillators, filter module, effects, modulation, or otherwise. Quite simply, its greatness is a little hard to put into words.

But let’s focus on what it does best – wavetables. Serum comes with 144 wavetables and over 450 presets. So, right out of the box there isn’t any shortage of material for you to work with.

Perhaps the greatest thing about Serum – and you generally wouldn’t find this in a classic rompler – is that you can import your own audio and create custom wavetables. It’s even possible to morph between a variety of wavetables with crossfading. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But if you’re going to buy Serum, don’t just buy it for the wavetables and presets. Buy it because it’s one of the best soft synths available. That’s what makes the price worthwhile.

Learn more: Splice

Synths 1 DX by Karanyi Sounds

Synths 1 DX by Karanyi Sounds

If you like romplers, then the entire Kontakt ecosystem is probably something that would interest you. If you haven’t heard of it already, know that Kontakt Player is free to download and explore as you wish. That should be music to your ears.

Either way, we thought we’d take a look at the 80s inspired Karanyi Sounds’ Synths 1 DX Kontakt instrument, because the idea behind the synth was to create a rompler-like sampled instrument. And with 1,600+ samples, we’d have a hard time imagining how or why you wouldn’t have a good time with this baby.

The samples were recorded key-to-key in 24-bit 48 kHz using analog gear with as little software post-production processing as possible, to preserve authenticity.

Of course, with a name like Synths 1 DX, it would have to be a feature-rich synth too, right? This VST includes a collection of sounds perfectly suited to film, video games, synthwave, and more. It has 60+ instrument presets, and these can be exploited to find your ideal tone.

The library consists of nine analog and PCM synths like the Dave Smith OB6, Moog Sub 37, Moog Minitaur, Novation X Station, Nord Lead 2, Oberheim Matrix 7, Oberheim Matrix 1000, Roland Super JV, and Yamaha DX7. Tasty!

Synths 1 DX is of course compatible with Windows and Mac machines but will require the full (paid) version of Native Instruments Kontakt to work (could be a worthwhile investment if you want to go deeper into the substantial world of Kontakt libraries).

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Sektor by Initial Audio

Sektor by Initial Audio

This polyphonic wavetable soft synth is more than meets the eye. With a built-in Heat Up 2 multisample engine, Sektor is like the meeting place of a modern rompler with an advanced wavetable synthesis engine.

Of course, it’s got plenty of synth specific features worth talking about too, whether it’s the modulation envelopes, ADSR controls, LFOs, modulation matrix, or otherwise.

Also included are 16 voices per wavetable oscillator with OSC+, two effects racks (with reverb, delay, compressor, chorus, distortion, phaser, trance gate, stereo shaper, four-band EQ), and more.

Perhaps most importantly, Sektor comes with 200 wavetables, 750 factory presets, and as mentioned earlier, a built-in sampler engine with hundreds of samples.

Sektor should prove a fun option to anyone who’s thought to themselves, “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a highly customizable rompler that was also a powerful synth?”

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

CR8 Creative Sampler by Waves

CR8 Creative Sampler by Waves

As its name would suggest, Waves’ CR8 Creative Sampler lets you get creative with your samples quickly and easily.

With over 2,500 samples and 800+ creative sampler presets, building a beat with this baby will be like a walk in the park.

Of course, it comes with some solid features, including eight sample layers (stack, mix, and split), five stretching options (voice, beats, melodic, harmonic, classic), play and launch modes, root and BPM detection, as well as drag and drop four LFO / sequencer and four ADSR modulators on any CR8 control.

You also get individual cutoff, resonance, and drive for each sample (four assignable group filters), internal sample mixer, as well as COSMOS AI-powered sample finder integration.

CR8 Creative Sampler is an attractive option to those who want to do fun things with their samples, especially since it’s so affordable for what it is.

Learn more: Waves

Serato Sample by Serato

Serato Sample by Serato

The DJ community should be sufficiently familiar with the Serato brand, and Serato Sample has already proven a hit with the community at large. Some producers even call it the best sampler available.

As a rompler fan, you’ll love that Serato Sample comes packaged with The Art of Sampling Bundle, Sample+ Hip-Hop & Trap Bundle, Sample+ House & Techno Bundle, and Sample+ Jazz & Soul Bundle (exclusive to Plugin Boutique).

(Unless, of course, you’re not interested in modern music.)

Serato Sample’s key functions as a sampler include finding, chopping, key shifting, and time-stretching. It also has the infamous Pitch ‘n’ Time algorithm integrated.

It could be worth exploring on the merits of it being a great sampler alone.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Cataract 2 by Glitchmachines

Cataract 2 by Glitchmachines

Glitchmachines calls Cataract 2 a segment multiplexer for electronic music production as well as experimental sound design.

It comes with a sample bank and 100 presets, which may be the main thing you’re interested in if romplers are what you love. Of course, this thing is capable of so much more.

You’ve got everything from sample scanners and integrated effects to a global parameter sequencer, so you can tweak your sounds to your heart’s content.

Cataract 2 also features dual sample scanner modules, an XMOD crossfade module, multi-mode filter and delay, FX module and dedicated sequencer, randomization tools, and scalable interface.

The types of sounds that Cataract 2 can produce, for a lack of a better term, are mind bending. For creating a variety of unique, glitchy, unusual sounds, Cataract 2 hits the bull’s eye. That said, it might interest you less if this isn’t specifically what you’re looking for.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Palindrome by Glitchmachines

Palindrome by Glitchmachines

Glitchmachines calls Palindrome a “granular morph plotting sampler.” Like Cataract 2, though, it’s been built with experimental sound design in mind.

Rompler enthusiasts will obviously like the 1.5 GB of samples and 70+ presets. That’s plenty of material to mess about with.

That said, Palindrome is quite powerful, with four granular sampler modules, eight multi-breakpoint envelopes, two insert FX per sample, scalable interface, and a comprehensive randomizer.

If you’ve ever imagined being able to do crazy things to sounds, you will love what Palindrome has to offer.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Polygon 2 by Glitchmachines

Polygon 2 by Glitchmachines

With a specially curated factory sample bank and 100 factory presets, Glitchmachines’ Polygon 2, not surprisingly, is similar in concept to their other products we’ve already looked at.

This one they refer to as a “hybrid sampler” tailor made for the creation of unusual instrument patches and composite sound effects.

The latest version (2) features a new scalable user interface, granular mode, extended modulation options, and a dual oscillator.

Altogether, Polygon 2 comes with four granular samplers, dual oscillator with FX, four modulation sequencers, eight LFOs, modulation utilities, dual insert effects per sample, global filter, dual global effects, comprehensive randomizer, and variable polyphony.

Listening to the demos, Polygon 2 is unusual indeed. The sounds coming from this module are glitchy, robotic, alien, metallic, insect like, horrifying, and shades of everything in between.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Loom II by AIR Music Technology

Loom II by AIR Music Technology

Here’s another entry synth lovers will get an absolute kick out of.

AIR Music Technology’s Loom II is an iteration on the original Loom, with an expanded feature set that’s simply mind blowing.

This modular additive synthesizer comes with a Morph Pad, eight voices, Spectral Noise section, 750+ patches, Smart Sound Randomizer, 34 editable sound modules (combinable in 10 cells), two additional Subharmonic Optional Partials, 500 all-new patches with the original 350 patches (for a combined 850 patches), new wave parameter options, and more.

That’s a lot of patches! And while Loom II isn’t exactly a sampler, you could easily create some great sounding loops with the built-in sounds. With the technology most DAWs set right at your fingertips, about the only limitation is your imagination.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Rompler VST Plugin?

In the rompler VST plugin category, you’ve got everything from mega-powered synths all the way over to more conventional samplers, with plenty in between.

The ROM component of a rompler is sort of a triviality in this age, given that memory is more dependent on hard drive space than anything else. And with most computers, it’s relatively easy to expand. If nothing else, you can get yourself an external hard drive.

So, nowadays, ROM has come to refer to specific (vintage) sounds rather than memory. Memory isn’t really the concern anymore, though limitation certainly has its place in creative endeavors!

Thus, the main contenders in the rompler category today are samplers and synths (logical, given that a rompler is a combination of the words “ROM” and “sampler”). In many cases, with today’s tools, you can even import your own sounds and alter them to your heart’s content.

With that established, maybe you’re not ready to buy a rompler VST plugin just yet. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out which is the best option for you. The confusion is understandable, because romplers today don’t really look like they used to!

Here we’ll look at the main factors to consider when shopping for a rompler:

  • Sample library
  • Sound quality
  • Features and parameters
  • Budget

With an in-depth look at each, you’ll be better prepared to make a purchase decision.

Sample Library

The size of the sample library is something most would consider when purchasing a sampler of any kind.

It’s still a going concern today, certainly, but samples are more readily available than ever, and any self-respecting sampler will let you import sounds you’ve purchased or downloaded off the internet too. Lack of samples isn’t much of a factor anymore.

Developers know this, and the cost of the sample library generally isn’t significant in the grand scheme of VST pricing.

Still, if you’d like a solid base of samples to kick things off with, it certainly can’t hurt to purchase a VST plugin with a starter library. Many of these are quite good, and they should be just as good if not better than the stock samples included with your DAW (if there were any).

Depending on the plugin, you might also look at things like the number of available wavetables and presets too. More isn’t always better, but not having to think about all the tweaking certainly lets you enjoy the creative aspects of working with samples more.

Either way, the sample library is a key consideration, especially if you don’t plan to make your own sounds, don’t want to find sample packs on the internet, or want to limit yourself to a few hundred sounds rather than building out your own library, containing thousands of samples.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is the essence of a rompler. It’s why we’re all attracted to such devices in the first place. There’s just something about that analog flavor.

As we always say, sound quality is worth considering, regardless of the plugin, virtual instrument, or effect. It’s got to do what you need to do, and you’ve got to like its sound, for you to even consider purchasing it, right?

In a weird kind of way, though, it’s a mere triviality as applied to modern day romplers.

Don’t get me wrong. Some samplers or synths are more geared towards certain sounds – vintage synths, sound design material, electronic music, or otherwise. And as a rompler lover, you’re probably more interested in vintage sounds than anything.

Plus, certain plugins will naturally have certain sound characteristics that you’ll favor over others – which is why it’s worth comparison shopping a little.

The counter to this is that first, you can transform, mangle, and distort your sounds in just about any way you want. So, even when you aren’t starting with “vintage” sound material, there are a lot of things you can do with sounds to make them sound more classic.

Second is that if you’re using a sampler, in most cases, you can load in your own samples. So, as an example, you could go and find a free vintage synth sample pack and import those files into your sampler to do with as you please.

See what I mean? Sound quality isn’t unimportant, but the worst-case scenario is that you dig up material you want to work with. Not hard at all.

Features & Parameters

The key question nowadays is really, “what do you want to do with your samples?”

Do you want to work with samples out of the box, making no alterations to them whatsoever? Totally understandable. In that case, you’d want to go back to the sound library question. Which plugin has a sound library best tailored to your needs?

Do you want to distort, transform, and mangle your sounds to the nth degree? Then you’d want to take a closer look at the samplers presented here and consider which are going to help you achieve the desired effect.

Another important exception is today’s ultra-powered synths, which are basically the modern counterpart of classic romplers. We’ve presented a few here, mostly focusing on ones that have been inspired by romplers or include some rompler-like functionality.

If playing the keyboard or MIDI sequencing takes you right out of your flow, then it could be that a synth would be the wrong fit for you. Meanwhile, if you love vintage analog synths, would enjoy unprecedented access to dozens of classic synths all in one place, and like to tweak and dial, you’ll enjoy the synth options presented here.

We do recommend going back to the description of each synth, though, because they’re all a little different, and you need to choose one based on your needs.

Budget

Plugins presented here range from $40 to $500. That’s a relatively big spread.

And while the plugins we’ve looked at basically fall under two major categories – samplers and synths – each one is a little different, except for Glitchmachines plugins, which seem to have more in common than not (though each was built with a slightly different purpose in mind).

If you were hoping to comparison shop, you’ve got some challenges, at least in the rompler VST plugin category.

That said, we still encourage you to factor budget into your equation, as it can help speed up the buying process. And, as always, do avoid going into debt to buy musical gear! It can put unnecessary financial pressure on you and that’s the last thing we want.

Top Rompler VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

Were you surprised to find how far technology has come? Were you astonished to find that samplers and synths are basically today’s equivalent of a rompler?

Some have preserved the essence of what a rompler represents. Some were merely inspired by rompler like functionality and behavior. Either way, there are options available now that were unimaginable just 30 to 40 years ago.

No matter what you need, though, we think you’ll find it here. With that, we wish you all the best on your sampling journey.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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