M a k i n g v a p o r w a v e o n a b u d g e t
This guide is outdated!
I will make a new one in the future!
This guide wont teach you how to make vaporwave, but it will give you some resources for creating vaporwave on a budget of $0.
For more information on the creation process itself I'd recommend r/makingvaporwave.
I personally use SunVox, which is a mix of a tracker and a modular synth.
I've also used another tracker called OpenMPT, which as VST support.
Trackers aren't that popular outside of chiptunes these days, so below I list only "modern" DAWs.
These are all free, but I don't have any experience with them myself, so I can't tell you much about them.
I have only included free versions of commercial DAWs when the limitations are few.
Tracktion 6 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
LMMS (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Podium Free (Windows)
These are all the VST synths I've personally used for making vaporwave.
Dexed is a clone of the classic Yamaha DX7 FM synth.
That synth is responsible for the sound of the 80s.
Perfect for metallic bass sounds, electric pianos and bells.
This is definitely the synth I use the most.
SQ8L is based on the Ensoniq SQ-80, a late 80s wavetable synth.
This synth is perfect for pads, brass and bass.
Also, the SQ-80 stored waveforms on floppy disks, and that's vaporwave af.
PG8X is based on the Roland JX-8P, a nice mid 80s analog synth.
What sets this synth apart is its modulation and sync features.
These features allow it to recreate sounds closer to FM synths, but with a warmer quality.
Pads and strings are where it really shines, but it can also do nice bells and bass.
Based on the classic analog synth Roland Juno-60.
This synth works really well for thick pads and strings.
It has a very thick chorus effect that sounds very 80s.