The highest ranked FM synthesizer on this year’s list is JuceOPLVSTi (phew, should have copy/pasted that instead of typing!), a charming little virtual instrument that emulates the legendary Yamaha OPL sound chip. JuceOPLVSTi (also known as AdlibBlaster on Mac OS X) is actually based on the two popular MS DOS emulators, DOSBox and ZDoom, using their sound chip emulation algorithms as the core of its synthesis engine. Much like the original Yamaha OPL chip, JuceOPLVSTi is a simple 2-operator FM synthesizer which works best for creating those nostalgic lo-fi sounds you’d expect to hear in an 80s video game.
Although programing new patches in JuceOPLVSTi is very easy, the coolest thing about it is that the plugin is distributed with a huge collection of retro preset sounds from old video games, adding up to over one thousand retro FM synth patches! Browsing through these old sounds is a blast and there are some true gems hidden in there, waiting to be discovered.
More info: JuceOPLVSTi (1.6 MB download size, ZIP archive, contains 1,339 instrument patches in SBI file format, 1 virtual instrument in 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin formats for Windows & Mac OS)