List of my favorite plugins

I saw that Riban asked for a list of the best plugins, here is my favorite list

It is not exhaustive. Please tell me, if other plugins are interesting, i will add to this list. We can also remove some if they have issues.

Note that this is my personal use.

The other plugins are either too crappy, with digital artifacts, either I haven’t used them enough, or I don’t like them. But I think it’s a good start for a default list. Not a lot of plugins but enough to get started with Zynthian.

LV2 Instruments :

Dexed : emulation of DX7
Foo YC20 Organ : inspired by Yamaha YC-20 combo organ from 1969
JX10 and DX10 : very simple to modulate, very clear. Try to emulate JX series from Roland, and DX series from Yamaha.
Nekobi : Inspired by the legendary TB-303
Noizemaker : Virtual analog synth, very powerful and versatile. Chorus, reverb and delay included !
OBxd : Based on the Oberheim OB-X, powerful synth, sounds analog.
Raffo : I think raffo is good, but not really a high quality instrument. I deactivate it.


Chorus :
YK Chorus : Very Loud. A chorus audio effect plugin taken from TAL Noisemaker. Little digital click when to activate.
Zynchorus : Chorus/flanger with LFO, not bad but sound very digital

Compressor :
CS10QS : the compressor from the EQ10Q package, easy to filter the control signal with a HP/LP.

Delay :
GxEchoStereo : very simple, and stereo.
MDA DubDelay : Delay with character, very special, with an interesting LFO. A delay that bounces in a soft and weird way.
Modulay : From Shiro, very spatial delay. the time delay can be modulated live without clicks.
TAL Dub 3 : My favorite delay, very warm and versatile. Cutoff and drive included !
Tape Delay Simulation : Too crappy, many digital artefacts, totally don’t act like tape delay.

Distorsion :
GxBaJaTubeDriver : The GxBajaTubeDriver is a tube distortion plugin based on the BK Butler 911 Tube Driver. Good distorsion, it is useful to make the sound warmer, more dirty but not too distorted.
GxTubeScreamer : Simple, very distorted, good for bass, but the sound seems a bit messy.
DS1 : Emulation of BOSS DS1, very bright, sharp, metalic, cold.
Open BigMuff : inspired by the classic Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. Very heavy ! No ByPass.
ZynDisto : Stereo. Not so much character, but good for synth.

Dynamics :
TAP Stereo Dynamics : compressors, limiters, expanders and noise gates

Equaliser :

Filter :
TAL Filter : One of my favorite ! Add LFO, cutoff and resonance to your sound. Very simple but very versatile !
TAL filter 2 : interesting but too complicated for Zynthian use.

Gate :
abGate : Noise Gate

Calf Flanger : Nice flanger, « Slow Resonant » and « Tooth Killer » are very cool presets.
Larynx : Vibrato
Tal Vocoder II : Nice plugin. Good for voice to make radio crappy effect.

Phaser :
ZynPhaser : One of my favorite ! very nice sound, but no Bypass.

Pitch Shifter :

Reverb :
TAL Reverb II : Ideal for ambient reverb sounds. It’s a super diffuse and lush reverb effect with a fast build up time
TAL Reverb III : stereo reverb plugin. very diffuse sound. It has an additional signal feedback path.
Mverb : Simple and efficient.
Shiroverb : SHIMMER REVERB ! This shimmery reverb is based on the “Gigaverb”-genpatch and the “Pitch-Shift”-genpatch from Max MSP.

Simulator :
X42 Whirl : A rotating loudspeaker « Leslie » emulator
TAP Tubewarmth

Spatial :
PingPongPan : one of my favorite, fades the sound from left to right.

Spectral :
MDA SubSynth : Add loud sub to your sound !

Utility :
ALO Looper : Good looper, can sync with zynSeq. If it had external synchronization and loop backup, it would be an EHX 45000 killer
SooperLooper : Cannot Sync, but you can save your loop (with snapshots)
Gain 2x2


That’s amazing!! You can’t imagine how pleased i’am with your review!!

It’s a fantastic contribución, Mr. @Tabula !!

BTW, do you usually play the YC-20? We need a few LV2 presets for It … :innocent:

Thanks a lot!!


Thank you @jofemodo it’s a pleasure ! I’ve updated the list a bit. Regarding the organ, this is a good plugin, but I haven’t used it a lot. if I have some times,I will try to make some presets !

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I just added tabula’s list to the github tracker:

BTW, Can somebody give some feedback about DragonFly reverbs?


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I would add these 2 FX’s to the list:

  • Argotlunar2 => I don’t have a lot of experience with granulators, but i find it funny. Also, AFAIK it’s the only decent granulator we have.
  • MDA Delay => I like this simple delay.

Also, it would be nice to have a review from a guitarist. Could we look for a guitarix review some where? (@rod_amaral, can you help with this?)



About guitarix…
I’m more keytarist than guitarist, but I know this plugins even before I discovered Zynthian. And these plugins (especially amp and cabinet simulators) are pretty decent replacement for my all time favourite Poulin’s plugins + custom IRs.
GxAmplifier-X (and stereo version) are plugins that I enable after each fresh image installation.


I’m not a guitarist either, and I think we need a review of the distortion effects. In order to select the best of them.
Concerning the default list, @jofemodo you can remove ‘tape delay simulator ’ because is too crappy and it’s not working well and ´tal filter 2 ’, because it’s too complicated for zynthian use.

I could try to do small guitar review/comparison with some of my pedals. Hope I find some time to do it this week.


They are not marked with the “X”. They wont be enabled by default in the next realease.


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I use DragonFly Hall a lot, and I like it. The controls are pretty simple, and it sounds good. It seems to be pretty efficient, but I can’t say for certain.

I think we should keep Hall at least.


So I tested a few of guitar oriented FX:


  • gxAmplifier X - It’s really good. It should be in the default list.



  • gxTubeScreamer (I don’t have real one, but it did the screamer thing and it sounds good. Should be in the default list)
  • gxDS1 (I think it sounds like a rather good distortion. Not sure if it’s a faithful copy. Either way I think it should be in the default list)
  • gxVoodooFuzz (it’s probably a Dunlop Fuzz face thing. Not sure if it’s faithful. But sounds like a fuzz. It’s usable. It’s a YES for me)
  • gxDistortionPlus (it’s a YES)


  • gxTimRay (sounds great with strummed chords or single note lines. But it’s not dynamic at all. (It sound like velocity of playing is changing drive wet amount of drive not the character of the distortion itself. Hope you understand what I mean.) It’s a shame because I really like Vemuram stile drives. I’m so torn with this one)

  • gxTubeDistortion (it ok for those who like tube stile distortion pedals. I don’t know anyone who uses this stile of distortion… I like it but I don’t think it is worth of filling place in default effects list)

  • gxColorSound tonebender (if I’m not mistaken. Tonebender is a British fuzz pedal. There is no way for me to get fuzz sound out of this pedal. For me it sounded like lite overdrive at best. It’s a NO for me)


  • gxLuna (it’s hot mess with my setup)
  • MDA Overdrive (with guitar it sound terrible… maybe it’s ment for synth usage but I don’t know about that. It’s a NO for me)



  • ZynChorus (althou it has 3 pages I find quite nice to use)
  • gxChorus (it’s a YES)
  • YK Chorus (it’s a YES. Juno style chorus it’s just good thing to have)


  • String machine chorus (I like the sound. But as a guitar player I dont like 3 pages of settings for chorus. I’m torn with this one)


  • C* Chorus! (it’s OK, but I think it’s a bit too complicated one - NO for me)
  • Multivoice Chorus (Don’t work at all for me. With “number of voices” set to 1 there’s no effect. After changing “number of voices” my input zynthian stops outputing audio and restart of whole unit is needed.)



  • gxTremolo (it’s a YES. Just works)
  • gxWahwah (i’m not much of a wah wah user. But it looks like it works a it does what it sais.)
  • Calf Flanger (Sounds good… also bit overwhelming for me. Overall I think It’s best flanger we have so YES)
  • gxPhaser (It’s the one I would use. Simple. Sounds good to me.)


  • Calf Phaser (Sounds good… But 4 pages of settings… It’s overwhelming.
  • GxFlanger (Simple, but sound thin. Maybe it’s modeled by some specific flanger. I mean it sounds good but maybe too specific sound)
  • The Pilgrim (It works. Could be nice with expresion pedal. But I don’t think we need it.)
  • ZynPhaser (It sounds good but 4 pages of setings… )
    -ZynAlienWah (also I don’ think we need it)


  • Retro Flanger (sounds messy to me)
  • Auto Phaser (did nothing to my sound - maybe its some kind of phase correction tool? :smiley: not sure.)



  • Ping Pong Pan (just works)


  • Argotlunar (I really like granular and experimental stuff… But 10 pages… If there were some presets for it it could be much more usable. Also I would move It to special layer or something and would try to find way of routing signal to it effectively)


  • Gxoc (analog style octaver. I don’t think it’s good enough)
  • Vihda (It’s nice to be able to widthen your sound in stereo. But from guitarist perspective I would rather have less effects in the list and actually use them - also by the name I wasn’t shure what the FX does so I wouldn’t use it. Since probably I would be looking for… reverb, chorus, delay ect.)


  • Shiroverb (Good shimer)
  • Tal-Reverb (It’s good enough for me)
  • DragonFly Hall Reverb (Have had a lot of fun with it yesterday. It’s complex but usable for me.)
  • DragonFly Plate Reverb (I don’t find it as characteristic as some other plate delays that I heard but it’s only plate we have.)
  • MDA Ambience (I wouldn’t pair it with guitar but I used it with piano before it ads a little bit of space whith is needed with sampled instruments otherwise they feel sterile)
  • Roomy (It’s so so simple I think there are people who would like to “just add a lil bit of reverb to the signal and this is the way. :robot:”)

**I think we need some kind of lexicon style multireverb for character sounds


  • Calf Reverb (It is just OK. I don’t think we need it)
  • MVerb (It the same case as the Calf reverb for me.)


  • ZamVerb (Short freeze and Xrun while changing “room” setting. Anyways its just another room reverb)
  • ZynReverb (Can’t find mix or dry/wet option. Maybe I’m just blind… I don’t think we need it)



  • GxTubeDelay (I think it is modulated after Echoplex. I like it)
  • GxDigital_Delay_st (Nice digital delay with BPM and Divisions option)
  • MDA Delay (Simple delay)
  • ZamGrains (Love grains stuff but I would need more time to judge if this one works for me or not. *after playng with it for another 10 seconds I fell in love it’s great for Zynthian)

** We need analog style delay. Delay with modulation would be nice as well.


  • Delayorama (I want crazy delay so bad. I would love to figure this one out but I didn’t.)


  • ZamDelay (It has BPM synch option but it’s not implemented with Zynthian correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t think we need this one)
  • ZynEcho (I don’t find it interesting)
  • Other delays in default list were either not interesting for me or missed some crucial feature

Plugins were testet with a strat and Twin Rever Style amp from GxAmplifier X.

If you know some other good FX in the LV2 list let me know also If you think I should give some plugin another try.

Hope my effort will help.

@Tabula @jofemodo


Fantastic @Vrtel !! I just updated our “official” list on the github tracker:

Also, i’ve updated the default list on the zynthian-sys repository. You can force your zynthian to use the new default list by running these simple commands:

rm /zynthian/config/jalv/plugins.json
systemctl restart zynthian-webconf
systemctl restart zynthian

I’m thinking about how to add a good description for plugins and improve the rating process.



This list is provisional, so please, keep sending feedback and reviews. The more feedback we get, the more curated the list will be. If your favourite plugin is not in the list and you think it should be, don’t hesitate to send your rationale.


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Here are some that I use all the time:

To turn a mono synth into Stereo I use
Calf Stereo Tools: This device is a toolbox for handling stereo signals. It is able to change M/S microphone signals to L/R and vice versa. Switching the phase, muting a channel, widening the stereo base or delaying one of the channels up to 20ms are some of the features of this input or mastering tool.

For the Synths I regularly use
Black Pearl 5 and Red Zepppelin 5 drum sounds (samples). Do include for an out of the box drum.
Kars : Simple karplus-strong plucked string synth. Very capable physical modeling string synth. a single preset, only 3 parameters: sustain, release, volume. Still sounds incredible. The power of physical modeling, we need more of those. Do include this one.
miniopl3: used in Sound Blaster Pro sound cards; very efficient and light FM Synth. Lots of presets; 70+ more presets available (not in lv2 format, not on Zynthian). 15 pages of parameters, lots of config possible. PC Nostalgia sounds.I would recommend including this one.

+1 gxamplifier X !
+1 miniopl3

We can remove mverb, if we add some of dragon fly’s reverbs, and tal reverb 1 because tal reverb II is a improvement of it.
I think we need a short and selective list.

define short & selective?

Could you describe this as favorites and would we be wise to think in terms of 8, 16,32 as a structure or would we see it in terms of what we expect the ‘Average’ ( The current official kit) would display in one screen?

Page Scrolling in lists is something that quickly becomes tiring.

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I’m all for a publically distributed favourites lists. with an ability to place your favourites into a default place with user identity ( there’ a minefield) or anonymous (much easier).

There much to learn in all this :smiley:

I think we should not artificially restrict the length of the list. If it is worthy of inclusion then it should not be omitted. We should remove duplication, i.e. chooses the best / simplest / most versatile / whatever of similar plugins. We should cut the crap and anything that doesn’t work well. There will be disagreement on what constitutes the best plugins but it will come down to a decision from the product manager driven by user feedback based on experience. Saying, “I like this one” is of little benefit. Saying, “this plugin gives a natural sounding reverb with a wide selection of presets ranging from small room to cathedral. All the presets ate useable and the parameters provide effective configuration. It has medium CPU and memory usage.” is much more useful feedback.

I have enabled all the distortion plugins but not had time to test them yet. Someone made a good point that we may want different distortion for guitar than for keyboard so both need testing. It is worth qualifying feedback with what sounds it was tested with, e.g. compression on a guitar may sound fine but the same effect on vocals may sound terrible. (There is a reason a Boss pedal costs a fraction of a studio processor.)

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I went through all the distortion effects, testing with a single coil pickup guitar and narrowed down but then tried GX-Amplifier and wow! The distortion and overdrive you can get out of that as well as a whole lot of tonal colouration is fantastic. I will probably use just this for most of the guitar sound. I added Roomy reverb and got this:

I am finding it quite tricky to audition stuff using the standard UI, having to add and remove effects which is awkard so I started to use Mod-UI which makes things simpler.

MDA delay works well and C* PhaserII sounds just like my old pedal I had back in the 1980’s. dRow Audio Tremolo seems okay - not played too much but seems to work.

I want effects that can be bypassed or mix adjusted so that I can set up a chain then adjust the parameters to add / remove / alter effects in that chain. Mod-UI allows bypassing any effect but the normal Zynthian effects chain does not so you need this feature within the plugin.


Yes this is a problem. You need to be able to select different effects in a layer easily.