8 Best TB-303 VST Plugins 2024

Music Industry How To is supported by readers. When you buy via a link on our site, we’ll possibly earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

If you’re looking for a TB-303 style VST plugin, then I assume you’re looking for classic bass synth sounds. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

In addition to near perfect emulations of the original TB-303, we’ll also be looking at plugins that emulate TB-303’s close cousin, the SH-101, and a couple of other capable synths.

Here are the best TB-303 VST plugins.

Phoscyon 2 by D16 Group – Best Overall

Phoscyon 2 by D16 Group – Best Overall

D16 Group’s Phoscyon 2 is easily one of the best TB-303 style soft synths out there, based on the scarcity of supply alone. Of course, it’s a killer synth too – it’s achieved perfect ratings in sound quality, value for money, ease of use, features, and even presets on Plugin Boutique.

D16 Group says this may well be the last 303 you’ll ever need. An improvement on Phoscyon 1, Phoscyon 2 features a new signal path, and thanks to that, it sounds more accurate than ever before.

The interesting thing about the legendary 303 is that all of them sound a little different. Phoscyon 2 wants to put all the power at your fingertips with the included calibration parameters, which will help you find all your favorite sounds without having to build an entire collection of TB-303s.

D16 Group also decided to take the synth to the next level, adding vibrato and an array of other controls.

Additionally, Phoscyon 2 comes with 19 distortion models based on popular hardware, reorderable insert effects (algorithmic reverb, four-band parametric EQ, delay with tempo sync and multi-mode filter, chorus with two delay lines, limiter with compression like characteristics), and a sequencer / arpeggiator.

If that wasn’t enough, they’ve included a randomizer, drag and drop export, pattern trigger modes, over 800 presets and patterns, and more.

People often ask if this is the ultimate TB-303 style virtual synth and to cut to the chase, the answer is yes. Which is why it’s our best overall selection. But hey, you’re welcome to check it out and decide for yourself. We encourage it!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Strobe2 by ROLI – Best Premium Option

Strobe2 by ROLI – Best Premium Option

ROLI’s Strobe2 admittedly has more in common with the SH-101 than the TB-303 but given that the two have quite a bit in common, you will find plugins that follow in the footsteps of both classic synths here. If you’re a 303 purist, this may not be your jam, but otherwise, it’s worth a look.

Strobe2 is a virtual analog synth that takes oscillators seriously. Its one oscillator design may seem offputting, but this is no ordinary oscillator. It comes with multiple waveform faders, noise generator, hard-sync, phase-reset, key tracking tone controls, and a sub osc with a waveshaping circuit and wider range. All based around the SH-101 oscillator.

It also comes with analog modelled filters with 22 responses as well as classic and modern modes, direct envelope control, and analog quirks.

Additionally, you’ll find effects (like reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger, distortion, compression, EQ), a modulation section (that allows you to modulate any parameter), six-slot effects rack, TransMod advanced detuning system, step sequencer and arpeggiator, 1,100+ presets, and preset morphing and randomization.

Sometimes overlooked, Strobe2 is a legitimately great sounding synthesizer, and it’s our best premium selection.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Ultra Analog Session by Applied Acoustic Systems – Best Budget Option

Ultra Analog Session by Applied Acoustic Systems – Best Budget Option

Ultra Analog Session is almost exactly as it sounds – a soft synth featuring an array of presets (arpeggio, bass, lead, pad, polysynth, Richard Devine signature) representing classic synth tones.

It also comes with an arpeggiator, tap tempo and sync to host clock options, mono or polyphonic modes, up to four-voice unison, glide and legato, vibrato, and a variety of built-in effects.

The synth covers quite a bit of ground in terms of sounds, and not all sounds or presets are going to be of especial interest to you. But it does have numerous 303 presets, and it does work splendidly as a bass synth, so we thought it was well worth a mention.

It doesn’t have much in terms of features, and its preset selection could be bigger and better, but that’s probably getting a bit nitpicky.

Ultra Analog Session is our best budget option, and what you can get at this price point is quite stunning.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

RetroMod LoFreq Classic by Tracktion

RetroMod LoFreq Classic by Tracktion

Tracktion’s RetroMod LoFreq Classic isn’t exactly a well-known synthesizer, but we honestly think it might be a bit of a hidden gem.

It brings together samples of some of your favorite classic synths (70s to 90s), including the SEM, CS-30, Odyssey, MS-20, SH-2, MG-1, TB-303, SH-101, Bass Station, MS-404, and CMU-810. These were all captured with top-of-the-line Avalon and Universal Audio gear, alongside other classic hardware.

The retro feel is evident, but Tracktion added on a multimode resonant filter, second oscillator, and XY pad. You also get 16 voice unison, an arpeggiator, and 350+ presets.

Those who are in the market for synths that only do TB-303 style sounds, this plugin may not float your boat. We still think it’s worth checking out, though, because it delivers an array of quality, classic synth sounds at a modest cost.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Egoist by Sugar Bytes

Egoist by Sugar Bytes

Sugar Bytes’ Egoist is a bit of an outside the box selection, but trust me when I say its presence here is warranted.

This groovebox lets you use samples or full songs as a sound source to create all kinds of grooves. But there are several other built-in tools that make it great for sketching ideas, creating demos, and even making beats.

With the bassline, drum machine, and multi-effect sequencer, you can build out your grooves to the nth degree.

Egoist features a slice arranger that makes it possible for you to change the sound of every step. With the bass function, you can create TB-303 or SH-101 style basslines on the fly and sculpt the tone with essential controls. The drum machine has more than 1,000 sampled kicks, snares, and hi-hats organized into 15 kits.

You can also alter the effects on a per-step basis, taking advantage of filter, reverb, delay, chorus, lo-fi, tape stop, and looper effects.

For those who like the idea of messing around with sounds to come up with unique creations, and complement them with TB-303 style sounds, Egoist is must-see.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

TAL-BassLine-101 by TAL

TAL-BassLine-101 by TAL

Fair warning – we are getting a little less relevant as we go down the list, but the TB-303 and SH-101 have quite a bit in common, and we haven’t run out of SH-101 style soft synths yet, so let’s continue.

We’ve covered the TAL-BassLine-101 (clearly a SH-101 emulation) many times before because it is excellent value for the money. There isn’t a whole lot to be said about it that hasn’t already been said, but this monophonic bass synthesizer is surprisingly versatile and great sounding.

This analog sounding synth comes with a self-resonating zero feedback delay filter, arpeggiator with several modes, step sequencer with up to 96 steps, MIDI learn and automation, alias free oscillators, original and portamento modes, six-voice poly mode, de-clicker, over 300 presets, and more.

This straightforward synth should prove very satisfying to anyone hunting down classic bass synthesizer style sounds.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Go2 by Rob Papen

Go2 by Rob Papen

With Go2, creator Rob Papen set out to develop a synth that literally had all the controls on one screen – no pages, no menus, no hidden controls, just WYSIWYG. In this regard, it took inspiration from the SH-101 and other classic synthesizers. But it’s fair to say this is where the similarities end.

Go2 comes with presets organized in bank folders, the oscillator section, XY section, filter section, high pass filter, amplifier section, play mode section, free LFO section, free envelope section, modulation matrix, FX section, and bank manager section.

In practice, Go2 is a very practical synthesizer for a variety of genres. Its standout features include great sound, an awesome oscillator, and over 600 presets. There aren’t many downsides to the synth, though some would probably like to see parameter modulation visualized.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Diva by u-he

Diva by u-he

It seems fitting that u-he’s Diva should be the closing entry in this guide. This is not a TB-303 or SH-101 clone. It’s more of an all-in-one analog synth capable of delivering all your favorite classic sounds. It’s consistently rated one of the best plugins you can buy too.

And sound quality is one of Diva’s strong suits. Despite being an older product, there’s a reason why so many people still praise it. Diva is also easy to work with and it has stellar presets besides.

The only downside to Diva is that it is a bit of a CPU hog. Shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve got a state-of-the-art computer, but it’s worth noting.

And yes, it has plenty of killer bass presets too. From tame and mild to growly and unruly, if you like the TB-303, there’s probably no reason you shouldn’t also like Diva.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A TB-303 VST Plugin?

So, you need your classic bass synth sounds. We know where you’re coming from. Sometimes there’s a specific sound you need for your production and nothing else will do. The TB-303 is worth obsessing over.

We suspect that, by now, you’ve narrowed your options down to two or three products. But homing in on your final purchase decision can still be a bit of a challenge.

So, in this section, we’ll consider the main criteria to look at when shopping for a TB-303 VST plugin. They are:

  • Sound quality
  • Versatility
  • Features
  • Budget

Let’s dive in.

Sound Quality

How does the synth sound to you? Check out the videos and audio samples and come to your own conclusions.

Every producer, songwriter, or composer would say that sound quality is important. But what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Which is why it’s critical that you do some of your own homework.

If authenticity is what you’re after, you’ll probably want Phoscyon 2. But if you’d like something with a little more versatility, an option like RetroMod LoFreq Classic may be of interest to you too. Which brings us to…

Versatility

u-he’s Diva is among the most versatile synths here. Does that make it the best? Phoscyon 2 is the most authentic sounding TB-303 emulation there is. Does that make it the best?

In choosing a synth, you’ve got to select what’s right for you. You’ve got to ask yourself how much you value versatility. Would you prefer a synth with a sound that’s closer to the original synthesizer, or would you prefer a plugin that may have similar sounds but offers way more tones and presets overall?

While there are only so many TB-303 style VST plugins to choose from, it is possible to strike a bit of a compromise if versatility is important to you.

Features

Features will vary from one synth to another. No doubt you’ve already come to some of your own conclusions, but just in case – don’t forget to check the quantity and quality of presets available. Having some jumping off points can make the overall experience more enjoyable.

If you’re going to comparison shop, then make certain you’re comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Strobe2 and TAL-BassLine-101 may be an apt comparison. Even RetroMod LoFreq Classic and Diva might have certain things in common. But Phoscyon 2 and Go2 are two very different beasts.

Budget

What can you afford to spend on a TB-303 VST plugin? Consult your budget and avoid going into debt for any project related purchase. If you can’t afford the product, you want right now, either purchase a plugin that is within budget, or save up for the one you want.

Also remember that checking in with your budget is a good way to narrow down your options, especially if you’re stuck.

Top TB-303 VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

We hope you found the bass synth you were looking for. The TB-303 is a classic, and there are few things like it. We wish you all the best on your recording 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!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *