14 Best Rent To Own VST Plugins 2024

Best Rent To Own VST Plugins

Whether you’re on a budget, or can’t justify dropping a few hundred dollars on a premium VST plugin right now, wouldn’t it be nice if there were convenient financing options that would allow you access to top-shelf plugins?

Well, there is. And it’s called rent to own. With rent to own, you can make small monthly payments, while taking full advantage of some of the best synths, mastering suites, compressors, reverbs, and more.

In this guide, we look at the best rent-to-own VST plugins.

Serum by Xfer Records – Best Overall

Serum by Xfer Records – Best Overall

Xfer Records’ Serum set the standard for infinitely customizable virtual wavetable synthesizers. Whether it will remain on top, or it merely awakened a sleeping giant, however, remains to be seen.

Either way, what matters is that Serum is the industry standard today. If you’re shopping for sample packs, and they come with synthesizer presets, they’re more likely to be Serum presets than anything else.

Even Plugin Boutique, which doesn’t sell Serum specifically, has loads of Serum presets and expansion packs you can purchase for a moderate price.

Serum is still one of the most popular, versatile, and user-friendly synths of its kind on the market. And all things considered, its price is competitive.

God forbid you should only ever be allowed one synth, but if you did encounter such a scenario, Serum would be a solid bet.

Learn more: Splice

V Collection 9 by Arturia – Best Premium Option

V Collection 9 by Arturia – Best Premium Option

Arturia’s V Collection 9 seems like the perfect product for “rent to own,” with 32 high-quality keyboard and synthesizer instruments. Naturally, its price point reflects this fact, but the fact that you can pay for it in installments certainly makes the cost more digestible.

V Collection 9 comes with the brand-new Augmented Strings, Augmented Voices, Korg MS-20 V, and SQ80 V, furthering its compositional, sound design, and beat-making capabilities.

But several entries were also updated, including the Piano V, Prophet-5 V, Prophet-VS V, and CS80V.

Whatever it is you might be looking for, you can find it here – virtual analog synths, Arturia’s Augmented series instruments, digital synths, pianos, keyboards, or organs.

The downside? Well, there aren’t many. But if you’ve already got some of these sounds covered, you’re going to end up with some redundancy. Other than that, I can’t think of any.

It should come as no surprise, then, that V Collection 9 is our best premium selection.

Learn more: Splice

IHNY-2 by BABY Audio – Best Budget Option

IHNY-2 by BABY Audio – Best Budget Option

BABY Audio’s IHNY-2 (sequel to I Heart NY) is a dynamics processor with simple, analog-style parallel compression.

IHNY-2 makes it easy for you to add needed punch to your mixes without losing dynamic content. This is an aggressive compressor taking advantage of precision digital algorithms and the non-linearity of DBX-style analog units.

Where parallel compression generally requires a routing setup, IHNY-2 comes with an XY pad, which allows you to control the compression amount as well as the wet / dry signals. This makes finding your sweet spot a walk in the park.

While IHNY-2 is great for fast workflows, you can fine-tune the effect as well, using the Tweak Panel. Take control of attack / release times, compression ratio, drive, transient-shaping, and more.

Compression is a must-have for every producer. As for an affordable plugin that offers parallel compression without all the hassle of routing? That makes for our best budget selection.

Learn more: Splice

Backbone by Steinberg

Backbone by Steinberg

Steinberg’s Backbone is a drum re-synthesizer that allows you to layer up to eight samples and shape them to your heart’s content using classic subtractive synthesis techniques. You also use up to eight effects and two routable buses to further tweak your one-shots.

The built-in Resynth section acts like an oscillator and can be used to play your samples up to 800 times faster, slowed down, or frozen.

Backbone also comes with the AI-powered drum sample generator, DrumGAN. This technology can analyze your samples and create variations you can further alter and mangle to your heart’s content.

With the included Decompose function, you can split a sample into its tonal and noise components. That means you can keep the noise and punch while affecting the tonal part with distortion, pitch-shifting, and more.

If you’re looking to do more with your drum samples, Backbone will set at your fingertips the tools you need to do exactly that.

Learn more: Splice

Crystalline by BABY Audio

Crystalline by BABY Audio

BABY Audio’s award-winning Crystalline brings to the fore the future of lush, pristine reverbs with tempo sync (start and decay times) along with features that give you more control over the effect than you’ve ever had.

The ceiling on algorithmic studio reverbs was always computational powers. But with more processing power than ever, BABY Audio managed to crystallize a vision that has long been in existence for 60 years.

In addition to bpm-synced start and end times, Crystalline comes with a “Sync/MS” switch for classic control.

Additionally, you can control the room size, high frequencies, and stereo width using the Reflections section, the complexity, pitch variations, and high frequencies of the tail in the Depth section, and damping, high-pass filtering, and gating in the Clean-Up Section.

In the Shape section, you get a tilt EQ, smoothing EQ, and transient response warping. In the Output section, you get a ducker, reverser, freeze, dry / wet, and wet lock controls.

You can access additional helpful tools in the top panel, and Crystalline comes with a resizable window too.

Naturally, Crystalline also comes with 300 presets created by the likes of Michele Canova, Eric J. Dubowsky, Damian Taylor, Matt Sim, and M-Phazes.

Learn more: Splice

KORG Collection 4 by KORG

KORG Collection 4 by KORG

Known for their MS-20 mini, Prologue 8, Volca, and many others, KORG is legendary when it comes to crafting and delivering killer synths and keyboard instruments to the market.

Here we have many (if not all) of the best KORG soft synths, all in one place. KORG Collection 4 is a must if you need access to vintage to modern KORG sounds, and everything in between.

This collection comes with an impressive list of synthesizers, beat-makers, and effects racks (14 to be exact), and Collection 4, specifically, comes with three new entries – microKORG, ELECTRIBE-R, and KAOSS PAD. But don’t worry, we’ll offer an overview of everything included.

The microKORG was originally released in 2002, only to become a fast hardware synth favorite. The software version reproduces its analog oscillator, filter, amp, and effects sections, as well as the arpeggiator and vocoder.

ELECTRIBE-R came to fruition in 1999 and is a beat-making favorite. With a step sequencer that made the unit an instant classic, this plugin comes with patterns, mutes / solos, accents, effects sends, and motion sequence input. It features a few extras not available with the hardware version, like drag-and-drop MIDI export.

KAOSS PAD also came out in 1999. With a unique “touch and trace” effect and modulation system, the included version lets you allow for the manipulation of the internal structure.

From 1995, Prophecy came with a Multi-Oscillator Synthesis SYSTEM (MOSS) with five oscillator types. While the synth looks a little complicated, it only has three sections – SYNTH, FX, and ARP, making the soft synth perfect for fast workflows.

Then comes the 1974 miniKORG 700S, their first-ever analog synth. Rather than an ADSR-style envelope, this baby came with two sliders – an attack and decay time slider, and a sustain level and release time slider. KORG brought the same quirkiness to life in the virtual domain with this entry.

TRITON Extreme is another name that’s synonymous with KORG. This synth made its first appearance in 2004, incorporating a vacuum tube into the workstation keyboard. Nothing like it had been done before, at least not by KORG.

The collection also comes with the TRITON, featuring the Hyper Integrated (HI) synthesis system, with filters, EQ, insert FX, master FX, and a dual arpeggiator.

Next up is M1 featuring PCM tone generation, the technology that defined the sound of the late 80s and early 90s.

The WAVESTATION rode to the shore in 1990. And its claim to fame was its ability to combine and shift between several complex waveforms simultaneously.

MS-20 is the monophonic, analog, patchable synth from 1978. KORG reproduced its two oscillators, patch section, and high-pass / low-pass self-oscillating filters.

Polysix is a six-voice polyphonic synthesizer from 1981. KORG faithfully reproduced it in its entirety, with its waveforms, effects (chorus, phaser, ensemble), chord memory, unison, arpeggiator, and more.

Mono/Poly came along in 1981 as a four-VOC mono / poly synth with level, waveform, pitch, and octave. The Synchro and Cross Modulation features allow for an array of creative uses.

2015’s ARP ODYSSEY takes after the original 1972 classic and its transistors, capacitors, and resistors. Now, the synth is available as a plugin.

Finally, the MDE-X takes advantage of TRITON’s effect algorithms, including 128 effects.

Learn more: Splice

Pigments 4 by Arturia

Pigments 4 by Arturia

If you already have Arturia’s sublime Pigments, then there may be no reason to upgrade to Pigments 4, which is not lightyears ahead of its predecessor. Otherwise, you’re in for an awakening with this state-of-the-art synthesizer / virtual instrument, perfectly suited to electronic music and composing, scoring, or sound design purposes alike.

The latest addition to Pigments 4 is the streamlined workflow, including a light / dark mode option, the simplified Play mode, and quicker navigation.

With Pigments 4, you don’t need to choose which type of synthesis to use. You can use all – virtual analog, additive, wavetable, and granular. It also features a dedicated sub-oscillator, near-limitless modulation capabilities, and even noise players.

The drag-and-drop modulation feature lets you choose from a variety of sources – keyboard velocity, LFOs, envelopes, random generators, and more.

Classic Arturia filters are also included, with emulations of the M12, SEM, Jup-8, and others.

Naturally, there are plenty of effects to take advantage of – EQ, reverb, delay, phasers, bit crushers, multi-band compressor, flanger, chorus, Super Unison, and others.

Of course, it would not be complete without presets and banks, and Pigments 4 comes with professionally created presets via Jeremy Savage, Starcadian, Cubic Spline, Robert Dudzig, and others.

Pigments 4 comes with more presets, 63 new wavetables, 36 new noise types, 67 new samples, and much more. You can browse all of it using the built-in genre and type filters.

All this and more goes to explain why Pigments is much loved and much sought after. The fact that you can rent to own it? Well, that’s new-level lucky.

Learn more: Splice

Phase Plant by Kilohearts

Phase Plant by Kilohearts

Kilohearts’ Phase Plant is a semi-modular synth that’s quickly becoming the new go-to in studios across the world.

The latest version comes with a granular generator. You can use any sample as the input and create all kinds of textures and sounds, which are especially great for adding interest to or filling out a mix. You can even combine, cross-modulate, and add FX to your granularized samples.

Phase Plant is all about flexibility, and its design allows you to create the kind of synth you need for your projects. The GUI is intuitive, and it makes it easy for you to combine generators, modulators, and effects in any way that pleases you.

Phase Plant comes with a bevy of wavetables, waveforms, samples, and noise, and you can even take advantage of the factory wavetables or create your own using the built-in Wavetable Editor.

The modulation section was also built for versatility. Connect modulators and utilities in any way you want, for all kinds of movement in your sounds.

Phase Plant also comes with FM synthesis capabilities, and if you rent to own the powerhouse synth, you also get access to Kilohearts Essentials – over 30 effects plugins, which can be used as standalone mixing effects or add them to Phase Plant as snapins.

As I said earlier, I’m not sure if Serum set the standard or merely awakened a sleeping giant, but Phase Plant gives credence to the latter theory.

Learn more: Splice

Ozone 10 Advanced by iZotope

Ozone 10 Advanced by iZotope

iZotope’s Ozone 10 Advanced is ridiculous. Why? Because it was designed to streamline and automate the creation of professional masters.

This advanced mastering suite comes with a Master Assistant, which will automatically match the width, tone, and dynamics of your favorite songs or hits.

Ozone 10 comes with 16 tools. You can use the entire kit as a mastering chain or pick and choose what you need to make your project come alive.

The Stabilizer module acts as an adaptive EQ, endowing your mix with a natural, clear tone with added smoothness.

The Impact module can enhance the rhythmic feel of your tracks, add punch, bring out the dynamics, and even act as the glue to your mix.

Master Rebalance will help you identify issues with your mix balance and automate the levels of your tracks in real time.

These and other great features take the mystery out of mastering and put the power back in your hands.

Learn more: Splice

Equator2 by ROLI

Equator2 by ROLI

ROLI’s Equator2 is a hybrid MPE synthesizer with six source slots. You can take advantage of a wavetable oscillator (along with a waveform library), a granular engine, a multi-sampler, and FM synthesis for ultimate flexibility.

Equator2 comes with 42 multi-sampled instruments with 220 variations and articulations, including vintage synths and acoustic instruments. You can import your samples too.

The built-in modulation system – taken from the Equator, Cypher2, and Strobe 2 engines – lets you modulate any parameter, and you’ve got a bevy of LFOs, envelopes, key-tracking sources, and macros too.

Additionally, Equator2 features various arrangeable and reorderable dynamic processors, filters, and effects, with drag-and-drop functionality and a versatile routing system.

Finally, Equator2 comes with 1,400 presets, with 570 new MPE sounds and 890 MIDI presets.

Learn more: Splice

Rift by Minimal Audio

Rift by Minimal Audio

Versatile distortions are especially popular in electronic music, and Minimal Audio’s Rift is one such entry.

Rift lets you distort and modulate positive and negative segments of the waveshape, create multiple stages, and blend to suit your needs.

It has 24 built-in filter types with morph and spread controls for adding width and movement to your tracks.

The feedback processor allows for the creation of twisted delays and tuned resonators. Feedback can be locked to scales or incoming MIDI.

You can create custom modulation shapes and set them to any parameter for creating exciting movement in your tracks.

In total, Rift comes with a multipolar distortion engine, over 400 presets with deep macro control, 30 distortion types (with six stages of processing), physical modeling feedback and delay, morphing filters, modulation sequencing, pitch snapping, preset scales, MIDI tracking, intelligent randomization, oversampling, and flexible routing.

All these features and more make Rift a flexible and powerful distortion tool, and in the absence of Trash (which is surely making a comeback), this is a good direction to turn your head to.

Learn more: Splice

Addictive Keys Complete Collection by XLN Audio

Addictive Keys Complete Collection by XLN Audio

When it comes to quality piano and keyboard instruments, XLN Audio has got the formula done.

Addictive Keys Complete Collection comes with all their addictive best – Studio Grand, Mark One, Modern Upright, and Electric Grand. And you may as well get them all in one fell swoop, especially if you’re planning to rent to own.

Studio Grand takes after the infamous Steinway Model D. Mark One, of course, was based on a Rhodes Mk. 1, and it was placed through a vintage tube combo amp and recorded using much sought-after vintage microphones.

Modern Upright is the perfect selection for pop, jazz, and other musical situations where the grand sound of the grand piano simply won’t do. And Electric Grand will handle pop, house, rock, R&B, and more.

With a powerful sound engine, four instruments, ExploreMaps, streamlined workflow, plenty of presets, and the ability to mix and match mic setups, Addictive Keys Complete Collection is sure to keep you hooked.

Learn more: Splice

Nectar 3 Plus by iZotope

Nectar 3 Plus by iZotope

As you’ve likely seen already, iZotope tools are powerful. Nectar 3 Plus is their vocal mixing suite, featuring 12 modules that let you dial in the perfect tone for the all-important vocal tracks.

Nectar 3 Plus has a couple of enhanced features, like Unmask using the Vocal Assistant and the pitch module, which will automatically detect the vocal register and serve up three possible pitch correction keys.

This vocal sweetener also comes with the Vocal Assistant, which automatically applies effects to your vocals to ensure they are sitting right in the mix. The Relay modules, specifically, were designed to place your vocals front and center in the mix.

You can also lock Follow EQ to your vocals for real-time adjustments.

With RX 8 Breath Control, dynamic EQ (with Follow EQ), Auto Level, Relay plugin, hundreds of professional presets, 12 vocal-focused modules (reverb, gate, compression, pitch, harmony, de-esser, dimension), and more, Nectar is the sweet nectar that will make your vocals sweet and juicy.

Learn more: Splice

D16 FX Bundle by D16 Group

D16 FX Bundle by D16 Group

Now here’s a goodie you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Sure, there are other D16 Group collections out there, but not the D16 FX Bundle specifically, which appears to be a Splice exclusive.

For all your bit crushing, distortion, flanging, reverb, and delay needs, D16 FX Bundle comes with Decimort 2, Devastor 2, Antresol, Tekturon, and Toraverb 2.

Learn more: Splice

What Should I Look For In A Rent To Own VST Plugin?

There are only so many rent-to-own VST plugins out there. The good news is that they represent some of the best virtual effects and instruments available.

When shopping for a rent-to-own VST plugin, though, you should still consider your needs. What is lacking in your current VST arsenal? Where could you use an upgrade? What functionality or features do you not have currently?

Having answered these questions, it would also be wise to look at the following criteria:

  • Sound quality
  • Features
  • Budget

Let’s consider these in more detail.

Sound Quality

The great news about rent-to-own plugins is that most if not all represent the very best in their respective categories. Whether it’s Xfer Records, Arturia, D16 Group, iZotope, or otherwise, these are some of the biggest names with some of the biggest plugins in the industry.

The downside? Well, there aren’t any major downsides. But we still suggest carefully evaluating what you’re planning to buy. Get a hold of any video demos, reviews, tutorials, or audio samples you can. Because you still want to listen to the plugins, you’re thinking about buying before buying them!

Look, the above all sound great. But it’s more a question of what works for you. Some producers work on machines that are 20, 30, or even 40 years old for crying out loud. They have a workflow and a process that works for them.

So, be curious. Listen intently. Figure out what’s going to work for you.


VST plugins aren’t created equal, and different plugins (even those in the same category) come with different features.

It’s worth taking your time to explore what’s available before committing. You may not need all the features a plugin comes with, and conversely, there may be times when a plugin comes with more than you need.

Sometimes, you can problem-solve creatively. For instance, if a plugin doesn’t come with the exact effect you need, you can add the effect to the signal chain in your DAW or find another VST that will do what you need it to do. That can save you some money.

Either way, features are like sound quality in that it’s best to have a good idea of what you need and buy on that basis.

If you aren’t sure what you might need, then you should not fear doing some additional research. Features are often wrapped in complex, proprietary terms, but they’re rarely as intimidating as you might think.

In addition to sound quality (and in the absence of useful sound quality-based assessments), features are always worth considering as you’re looking to purchase new virtual effects and instruments.


Your Budget is admittedly slightly less of a concern with “rent to own” VST plugins. Assuming you plan well, and have a relatively consistent monthly income you’ve budgeted, you should not encounter any issues with making payments.

Things always come up in life, of course, so it’s still a very good idea to stay within budget and preferably have an emergency fund built up for a rainy day. Most importantly, though, we don’t recommend going into debt for any studio-related purchases. Please don’t overspend.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying that rent-to-own puts many premium VST plugins well within reach, even for producers who are working on a tight budget. It’s nice to know there are options, isn’t there?

Of course, you’ve still got to work on your skills as a producer to make the most of the tools available, and it usually takes some time to figure out your workflow and draw the best out of the plugins. So, spend plenty of time experimenting and practicing.

Have fun and let us know how it goes!

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