To help you avoid making music that sounds like everyone else’s, I want to tell you about some premium-quality soft synths you may not know about. Although none of these instruments are terribly obscure, each deserves more attention than it normally gets. Some are relatively new but haven’t gotten much ink, while others are all but forgotten by anyone who doesn’t use them already. Every one of them runs as a plug-in on Windows and Mac OS X, and two — Tassman 4 and Circle2 — run standalone, as well. Each is unique and probably very different from other soft synths you’ve used. When you’re looking to stand out from the pack, different is good.