Softube Modular vs VCV Rack (Modular VST Shootout!)

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  • Modular synthesizers are some of the most boundary-pushing tools music has to offer
  • They’re often pricey, but the Softube Modular and VCV Rack offer affordable options
  • In this article, we delve into the brilliance of them both…
  • Also check out our guide to the basics of modular synthesis

Modular Synthesizers are incredible instruments that push the possibilities of music production and creativity.

They also command high prices, often over $1000 USD for a small starting setup.

The learning curve can also be steep, and it can be frustrating to drop a lot of money on unintuitive hardware.

Luckily, some alternatives let you experiment with modular synthesis for a fraction of the price or even for free.

Enter Softube Modular and VCV Rack.

These are two popular software-based alternatives to hardware modular that offer the benefits of hardware modular, potentially without the massive cost.

Although both software options, VCV, and Softube have some key differences and features.

Here, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each to determine the best software modular synth available today.

Softube Modular vs VCV Rack: Which Is Better?

Overall, we find that the feature set and abundance of modules in VCV rack, as well as its accessibility and cost, make it the better offering. These 3 key features that make VCV Rack a clear winner over Softube Modular:

  1. While Softube has plenty of modules, it is more likely that you could find exactly what you are looking for with VCV.
  2. The interface of VCV is easier to navigate and has excellent user guides.
  3. With hardware modular being as cost-prohibitive as it is, VCV having a free version is greatly appreciated.

Softube Modular vs VCV Rack: What are the Differences?

Modular by Softube

Created in close collaboration with Doepfer, Softube Modular gives you both the sound, flexibility, and expandability of a true analog modular synthesizer.

Why We Love It:
  • Great for beginners and experts
  • True dynamic circuit-emulation
  • Frequently on sale
View Price On Plugin Boutique

Softube Pros

  • Frequently on sale
  • Instrument and FX versions included
  • Softube FX plugin integration

Softube Cons

  • More expensive modules
  • Less variety

VCV Pros

  • Free
  • Open source
  • Great learning tool

VCV Cons

  • Menu diving modules
VCV Rack

VCV Rack is a free and open-source cross-platform software modular synthesizer. 

Why We Love It:
  • Free to try
  • Open source
  • Great learning tool
View Price On VCV


The upfront cost can deter many users from modular hardware. Here we look at how these costs differ between our two software alternatives:

Softube currently retails for $89 USD. It also offers a selection of premium modules from manufacturers like Mutable Instruments, Intelijel, and 4MS. These add-ons can range from $35-99 USD.

VCV is free in its standalone software form, or $149 USD for the Pro version, which includes plugin support and additional modules.

More add-on modules can also be purchased, ranging from $15 to $30 USD.

If you’re ready to spend some money on a software modular system, the pro version of VCV and Softube with some add-ons come out to be pretty similar in price.

However, if you’re just looking to try out modular, it’s hard to beat the free version of VCV.

System Requirements

Softube requires Windows 10 or Mac OS X 10.1. Windows 11 support is reportedly on the way.

VCV requires windows 7 or later, or Mac OS 10.9 or later. It also supports Linux.

Both softwares have a wide variety of compatible operating systems, but if you’re a windows 11 user VCV might be the right choice.

DAW Compatibility

Softube VST is tested and works with these DAWS: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Ableton Live, Studio One, Reaper, and Cakewalk.

VCV is only compatible with DAWs in the pro version. It supports:

  • Ableton Live 9–11
  • Cubase 11
  • FL Studio 20
  • Reason 10-12
  • Bitwig 4
  • Reaper 6
  • Mixbus 6
  • Studio One 5
  • Cakewalk

This software will work as plugins with most DAWs, but the free version of VCV will not work as a plugin.

You’ll need to upgrade to the pro version for that compatibility.

Available Modules

Softube includes seven Doepfer-designed modules, including VCOs, LFOs, envelopes, and more, fifty stock modules add tons of additional functionality like MIDI conversion and delay.

Softube also features 20+ add-on modules that can be purchased separately.

These include offerings from brands like Mutable, Buchla, and Intelijel.

VCV has 2000+ free modules available, including emulations of physical modules, as well as original software designs.

These modules cover everything from basic VCOs to more complex sound sources and full-featured effects.

There are 300+ premium modules available for purchase as well.

Though VCV wins here by the sheer number of modules, Softube’s offerings are still top-notch in quality and functionality despite being less numerous.

VCV Rack

VCV Rack is a free and open-source cross-platform software modular synthesizer. 

Why We Love It:
  • Free to try
  • Open source
  • Great learning tool
View Price On VCV

Other Features


  • Native Kontrol Standard – Softube works with no setup required with Native Instruments devices like Maschine and Komplete Kontrol.
  • Roli interface – Expressive Roli controllers like the Seaboard are also very easy to integrate with Softube.
  • Rack presets – Softube lets you save any patch as a preset and instantly recall it. This is a very handy feature that is impossible with real modular synths.


  • Polyphony – VCV has polyphonic virtual patch cables. these allow you to connect several parameters from module to module with only one cable. You can achieve unique effects like polyphonic voices or surround sound and stereo with this feature.
  • Templates – There are a variety of pre-made patch templates available in VCV. These can help you start making music right away, as well as learn what each module does and how it interacts with others.
  • Touch screen compatibility – If you have a touch screen device, you can use your fingers to move and patch cables in VCV. This can be a much more intuitive and comfortable way to interact with the software.