Best Physical Modeling VST Plugins

Hello Composers, Mike here! :smiley:
I am a huge fan of physical modeling instruments, meaning VST Plugin Instruments that use advanced algorithms and synthesis to re-create “real” instruments as accurately as possible. This technology has been around for ages, but in the recent years advancements in computer power has made physical modeling take a huge leap forward!

Please share your experience on Physical Modeling Instruments you have used, and add suggestions of plugins. Here is a list I’ve compiled of all the “best” Physically Modeled Instruments as VST Plugins on the market:

List of the Best Physical Modeling VST Plugins (in the world)

  • Drums - MODO Drums
  • Bass - MODO Bass
  • Piano - Modartt Pianoteq
  • Piano - Piano V
  • Keys - V Collection
  • Acoustic Guitar - ?
  • Electric Guitar - Iron Axe
  • Strings - SWAM Strings
  • Strings - Sample Modeling Strings
  • Strings - Arché Collection
  • Brass - Sample Modeling Brass
  • Woodwinds - SWAM Solo Woodwinds

Again, please share any tips, tricks, or personal experience on Physical Modeling Instruments! :slight_smile:

I will start by sharing my top tips regarding using many of these physically modeled instruments. The main advantage imho is the incredible control over the sound, tone, expression and performance you get compared to “sample libraries”. Simply because samples are “burned in”, like a bunch of pictures (even though there are 1000s of them). While physical modeling at least tries to be more like a real instruments, meaning unlimited variation in every aspect of the sound. :smile:

My Top Tips

  • Use a Breath Controller
    It really makes a huge difference on the authenticity and expression on instruments that are naturally performed with your breath (brass and woodwinds)
  • Assign CC-faders and knobs
    Use all the added power of expression and control that comes from physical modeling, by assigning controllers to various aspects of the instrument
  • Use extra Expression Controllers
    If you have more ways of inputting (recording) expression in the performance, use them. This can be a sustain pedal, an expression pedal, or any add-on MIDI controller for expression.

Please share your own tips on using and performing physical modeling VST instruments! :slight_smile:


As a BFD user , I was chewing at the bit to try MODO Drums…
Theres a Video on YT, and for me, Id buy the Plug just for the Hi Hat articulations… The way it goes from closed to open is well… fking Voodoo…

PSA for Users of Computers with CPU’s pre 2011 (generally)
Im a fan of the cMP’s… Personally I have a 4.1 , flashed to 5.1, Hex core 3.46, evga 980 GPU, PCI SSD’s USB ect ect ect…
Its 10 years old, and with all the updates As a Logic User, and a Mac user, its never failed me… I did an entire Score for a feature even with its original 4 core 2.66 cpu… Though , cue by cue…

So its upon me… AVX…

So far, MODO Drums and Massive X are not viable…

Damn, its painful, just hope all these companies dont start only supporting AVX capable CPU’s…
Afterall, Most the stuff ive read, its mainly for the gui side of things…

As for Physical modelling…
Cant go wrong with Sculpture, especially for sound design…
But overall, I have the Arturia V6 collection…
No doubt, as a Suite of plugs, Arturia really have brought it.

1 Like

I’m glad to hear your studio computer lasted that long without failing you. Even though I suspect you will see more new plugins not being viable due to performance issues and not compatible. =/

MODO Drums is intriguing, I think they did a fantastic job on MODO Bass which is now my go to for all electric bass sounds. The amount of detail you can do in sound design and customizing the tone is insane! :smiley:

I believe we are at a new frontier for physical modeling. I am hoping Arturia will continue in this field too as they have a great reputation and the resources as a “bigger company in this field” to do it.

Wouldn’t it be magic If Yamaha released the VL1 as a VI…

Unless they have and ive missed it.

1 Like