Operating System: Mac; AU or VST? How to install VST or AU plug-ins on Mac; AU or VST? Live on Mac supports both the Audio Unit (AU) and VST2 and VST3 (10.1 and later) formats. Which format you choose to use is up to you, bearing in mind the following tips: If sharing projects with Windows users, it's better to use VST. The VST format is cross. Search for free VST Plugins, quality Effects, great Synths and Instruments. All plugins are here in one place and categorized. Some examples of instrument sounds would be a Piano, Violin, Trumpet, etc. Some examples of free VST effects would be Choruses, Phasers, and Reverb. How do I install VST Plugins? Tutorial: How to Install VST Plugins on Windows, Mac, & FL Studio. Do VST Plugins Work on Both Mac and PC? Most VST instruments will run on Windows computers. Download free VST plugins, instruments, effects, and samples for PC and Mac by Native Instruments. Play and produce with 2000 sounds and 6 GB of free content. Pluginboutique is the place where the best music software companies come to sell their VST Plugins, Virtual Instruments, Synth Presets and Music Plugins to Producers, Musicians and DJs worldwide. Customers can browse Best Selling and Top Rated plugins and can download Free VST Plugins, Demos and Trial Versions before purchasing.
This post is for the Mac users.
When it comes to Mac OS X, the number of freeware plugins is very low, compared to the Windows world.
The popular “Save as VST” softwares (Synthedit and Synthmaker) are Windows only.
The “upgrade” politic of Apple is a sort of nightmare for developers (and sometimes users!), so many old free plugins don’t work anymore…
I have searched for free MAC plugins over the web and then tested !
– only free synth (not effects), in VST and or AudioUnit (AU) format
– the OS used is Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
– i tested the plugins in Ableton Live 9 / Renoise / some free VST & AudioUnit host softwares (Pedalboard, the JUCE open source plugin host, VSTLord, AULab, Ugly VSTi Interface…)
It’s a selection with free virtual analog synths, organ emulations, epiano emulations, drum synth, bass synth, FM synth, emulation of Oberheim / NordLead / DX 7 synth, chip synth, guitar emulation…
and here a list of 25 free synth plugins for Mac OS X :
1. Synth1 AU/ VST
The must-have free synth plugin is available for Mac since one or two years, it is in beta state, it still have some minor bugs with the UI, but it’s usable and you can benefit from the incredible amount of presets created for Synth1, including these 😀
I had some problems for saving preset in Ableton Live.
Synth1 can do an incredible variety of sounds.
The most versatile Synth in this list
2. OBXD AU / VST
The free Oberheim OB-X OB-Xa OB-8 emulation !
work without any problem in my AudioUnit / VST hosts on Mac.
3. Tyrell N6 AU / VST
DL here : http://www.amazona.de/amazona-de-freeware-synthesizer-tyrell-n6-v3/
U-He loves the Mac, don’t hesitate to have a look at the other freeware on the Website, all are working without problems in VST or AudioUnit format. I have also selected Triple Cheeze and Zebralette from the same developer. These plugins are good and full featured.
TyrellN6 plugin comes with a big amount of presets, and a deep variety of sounds. It’s powerful and easy to program. It’s rock solid stable and have a nice UI too!
4. FreeAlpha AU / VST
This freeware from LinPlug sounds very good, it has punch and is easy to tweak. It can do punchy bass, but also nice pads and clean leads. Despite its simple look, it’s powerful and funky!
5. Crystal AU / VST
The old Crystal Synth is still top, and one of the best synth for complex / evolving PADS, with its multipoint envelopes, and the complete modulation matrix.
One of the best virtual synth, for more than 10 years!
6. TAL NoiseMaker AU / VST
Like U-He, TAL has many freebees for Mac OS X.
I have selected Noize M4k3r and Elek7tro but you also have other interesting plugins.
The “Noise Maker” plugin has two osc + sub, a good filter and the famous Chorus “a la Roland”, so you have all you need for your fat bass/lead. Certainly more agressive than Crystal, it completes well the sonic arsenal.
7. Dexed FM VST
The famous free Yamaha DX7 emulation ! It’s VST only (no AU for the moment).
Use the cart / load / save button to browse or import presets.
It can read / write sysex files for and from the DX7.
Now all your FM needs are fullfilled: you can do pop ballad or Detroit techno, vive la FM !
8. MiniSpillage AU (Drum Synth)
Now that we have the FM synth, the Pad synth, the Bass synth and Lead capable synths, we need a DRUM synth. The Minispillage plugin has three dedicated algo for bass drum, wood drum and hihat.
I tend to prefer “Drumatic” but Drumatic is Windows only.
9. ComboF organ AU / VST
After all these synths, we now need an emulation of our prefered organ : the Farfisa combo organ!
ComboF gives you the sound of the Italian electric organ we all love. Available for Mac and windows, in AudioUnit and VST!
10. MrTramp 2 e-piano AU / VST
After the organ emulation, we need the electric piano! MrTramp 2 is the best (free or not) emulation of the Wurlitzer electric piano. It’s raining again ! Now you can sound like Supertramp ! Breakfast in America !! There are not so much controls but you don’t need more, and the sound is excellent.
11. Cheeze Machine AU
A dedicated string synth plugin for Mac ! The Cheeze machine from Big Tick is a kind of Arp Solina emulation. It has this phaser / chorus creamy sound.
it’s AU only and should work with your favorite Mac host software.
12. TripleCheese AU / VST
Cheese again !
The U-He contribution to the first KVR Developer Challenge. It’s an original synth with unusual sound generation. Nice for plucked sounds. Works well on my Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Thanks to the comb filter, you can generate very original sounds.
13. Zr3 organ VST
We have ComboF for the Farfisa emulation, and for the Hammond B3 organ lovers, there’s Zr3.
It’s VST only and works nice in Ableton Live 9.
The only good free Hammond B3 emulation for Mac OS X.
14. TAL Elek7ro AU / VST
A perfect free synth for bass and perc sounds.
Don’t forget to check the other TAL plugins !
15. VST Speek AU / VST
Coming from here ! the funkiest text to speech in plugin format !
The best C64 Sam oldskool text to speech emulator, for all your techno voices.
Available in 32 & 64 bit, VST & AU
16. Zebralette AU / VST
Coming with the demo of Zebra, the famous synth by u-He, Zebralette is a nice synth, with unusual sound, and powerful possibilities and plenty of special waveforms to play with.
17. Model – E VST
The antic VST from Steinberg, now free, and now available in VST format for Mac OSX.
It has been surpassed in all domain by many other synth (freeware included). But it can be useful and you can get some nice sounds out of it if you tweak it with love.
18. VB-1 virtual bass VST
Another prehistoric virtual synth from Steinberg, this virtual bass plugin is free and available with Model E in the same package (see link above). Very simple sound, can be useful.
Freeware for Mac are rare so we take it!
19. MDA Piano ePiano DX10 & JX10 VST
These free VST work for Mac OS X, they don’t have UI, you’ll have to use the default interface supplied by your host.
– Piano & ePiano are sample based synth, the ePiano is very good, it’s a kind of Rhodes emulation.
– DX10 is a FM Synth, it has only two operators, but you can still get nice bell sounds out of it.
– JX10 is a very nice virtual analog synth, despite some bugs (the Windows version has the same), it can do some very nice leads.
20. 4Front R-Piano AU / VST
Another free electric piano emulation for your Mac!
It’s simple and has a nice clean sound. Perfect for deep house chords.
21. Chip32 AU
Chip 32 AU
This is the URL where you can also find the Cheeze Machine VST, and also the very good Clavinet emulation by Big Tick (TickyClav). Chip32 is a very simple plugin, perfect for your chip tune needs.
22. Spicy Guitar AU / VST
A free Audio Unit / VST emulation of an acoustic guitar ! It’s use a physical modelled synthesis, and is a great emulation. Here are coming the ukulele / banjo / Flamenco guitar !
23. Scythe VST
A very simple VA Synth (VST only), with two oscillators, a filter, modulation envelope & some embedded effects : bitcrusher / phaser / chorus / delay.
It’s simple but efficient.
You can also generate random presets!
See Full List On Whippedcreamsounds.com
24. Automat AU
A virtual substractive synth with 3 osc, and filter for each osc, + many effects and modulations.
It’s audiounit only, and like Scythe, it has a random preset generator.
25. VOPM VST
VOPM VST synth
A VST emulation of the Yamaha YM2151 Chip that was used in many arcade games, and is similar to the chip in the Sega Megadrive. It’s a 4 operator FM synth, with 8 algorithm.
here’s a lot of preset for VOPM : http://truechiptilldeath.com/blog/2010/05/04/opm-patches-out-of-most-genesis-games/
26. Bonus tracks ?
1) there’s also kickmaker, a free kick drum synthesizer in VST and AU format : http://teragonaudio.com/KickMaker.html
and C700, that can load sample in aiff and wav format :
2) I also tried other free VST plugins for MAC , but with no luck (no one working in any host on my Mac OS X Mountain Lion), i think these are too old plugins, or maybe ppc plugins (even if they were said to work on Mac OS X).
For example :
the Delay Lama ! http://www.audionerdz.nl/download.htm
AU303 & AirySynth : http://airy.andre.online.fr/AU/index.html#au303
3) I’m working on a port of Rave Generator VST for MAC, here you can find a beta (x64 only, VST only) :
3) I’m also working on a port of CreakBox (the TB303 plugin) for MAC OS X (i already have converted it to VST2.4 then to 64 bit), see link ( @ 6. and in the comments) :
4) i’ll do another posts with the free effect plugins for MAC ! It seems there are more effects available for free than synths.
Virtual instruments are software emulations of traditional instruments or hardware electronic musical instruments.
There is a staggering range of virtual instruments available nowadays, covering multi-timbral rompler modules to dedicated emulations of guitars, basses, drums, keyboards, and more.
Some of these VSTi plugins (as they’re also called) are free. So in this article we’ll take a look at some of the best free virtual instruments you can download today. Many of which are pro worthy.
Find more great gear here:
Intro: About Virtual Instruments
The benefits of virtual instruments are fairly obvious. They take up much less space than their hardware equivalents, they don’t overheat, and many of them have virtually unlimited polyphony. They are also much easier to edit and they almost never break down.
Free Vst Instruments For Mac
Here we run down some of the most intriguing virtual instruments currently available. Although some purists may scoff at the idea of these replacing their well-loved guitars or keyboards, there is no denying that they provide a surprising range of great sounds at a price that even professional musicians will appreciate.
Best Free VSTi Plugins
Free Vst Instruments
Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player is arguably the Don of all free virtual instrument plug-ins. Based on the company’s own hugely successful Kontakt sampler, Kontakt Player effectively hosts all sample-based instruments developed for its more fully-featured big brother.
The compatibility goes the other way as well. All free instruments developed specifically for Kontakt Player will load up and play in the full version of Kontakt. Between the two, there is a staggering assortment of free and paid instruments, all boasting of the trademark Native Instrument quality.
To get budget-savvy musicians and producers started, NI offers a free Kontakt Factory Selection consisting of 50 premium instruments. Some of these are slightly cut-down versions of the instruments developed for Kontakt, while some are full versions developed specifically for Kontakt Player.
The 8 Best Free VST Instrument Plugins (2020) - Producer Sphere
While Kontakt Player focuses mainly on standard instrument libraries, Native Instruments’ Reaktor Player is geared more towards the synthesis side of things.
Reaktor is of course the full-blown modular synthesis environment that gives users unparalleled and unlimited opportunity to design virtually any type of synthesizer, sequencer, or signal processor they could think of from scratch. With Reaktor Player, users are able to play back a wide variety of instruments and effects developed in and for Reaktor, with a more modest set of editing capabilities.
As with Kontakt Player, there is a huge range of ready-made instruments available for use in Reaktor Player. NI even offers two free devices to get you started: the Blocks Wired pre-patched modular synth and the Mikro Prism synthesizer.
Reaktor Player obviously doesn’t come close to providing the depth of power and customizability offered by the full version of Reaktor. Nevertheless, it is a good introduction to modular synthesis. Furthermore, the availability of hundreds of Reaktor instruments cover a board range of sound-crafting options.
Ample Guitar M Lite is the free version of Ample Sounds’ popular AGM guitar simulator. Emulating the warm, rich tones of the Martin D-41 acoustic guitar, Ample Guitar M Lite is now on its second version.
For the price of a free download, you get an enhanced set of features that now match the capabilities of the full version. The note range now spans E1 – C5, and the plug-in now works as a standalone instrument. Even if you do opt to use the instrument in your DAW, multiple instances will take up much less resources than before, and they will load up faster as well.
As you may have guessed from the name, Ample Bass P Lite is Ample Sound’s free bass guitar sample player plug-in. A cut-down version of the full Ample Bass P II component of the company’s Bass Series product line, this plug-in has fewer samples and fewer round robin variations than the full version. It also has a smaller note range than the paid product, covering D1 to F4. Nevertheless, the Ample Bass P Lite does a good job of cranking out the distinctive tones of the Fender Precision Bass, which it models.
Manda Audio’s MT Power Drum Kit is a free drum sampler that has a fairly wide selection of acoustic drum kit sounds. Great care has been taken to record and process the original samples, giving users a range of high-quality drum sounds perfectly suited for pop, rock, and even metal.
Those who wish to process their drum sounds with their own plug-ins might not appreciate the fact that the MT Power Drum’s sounds are already processed. Nevertheless, EQ and compression were applied quite tastefully, and the sounds should fit in well in most mixes.
Togu Audio Line has garnered quite a bit of acclaim for its excellent line of synthesizers and effects processors, a number of which are free. NoiseMaker is one of these, and it compares favorably to the company’s own paid emulation of the Roland Juno 106 analog synth, the TAL-U-NO-LX.
The NoiseMaker incorporates some of TAL’s more popular effects processors on board. There is the Juno-derived chorus with two modes for starters, along with a reverb, a delay, and a bitcrusher, all of which exist as free standalone plug-ins.
DistroCore’s DC Bazz::Murda is a bass and kick synthesizer that is capable of a surprisingly wide array of sounds. Although aggressive and distorted industrial sounds are its forte, it can be dialed back for more subdued tones as well. Even so, this is one plug-in that was obviously designed to get as loud and nasty as possible. For some users, that could be a good thing!
Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player and Reaktor Player are a couple of the best free virtual instruments that you can get, without a doubt. They provide a superb one-two punch that simply can’t be beat.
Between the two, you pretty much have all your bases covered, whether you need bread-and-butter rompler sounds, exotic World Music libraries, or synthetic sounds ranging from vintage to cutting-edge.
Given the wide range of sounds they cover and the trademark NI quality, these two are neck-and-neck as our top picks for best virtual instrument plug-ins.