Best Free Synth VST AU plugins for MAC OS X

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

Synth1 AU for Mac !!

Synth1 AU for Mac !!

http://www.geocities.jp/daichi1969/softsynth/#down

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 :-D
=>
http://blog.wavosaur.com/synth1-presets-chris-bank-volume-2/  &
http://blog.wavosaur.com/chris-bank-synth1-reup/
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

OBXD AU

OBXD AU

https://obxd.wordpress.com/

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

Tyrell N6 freeware

Tyrell N6 freeware

http://www.u-he.com/cms/tyrelln6 
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

FreeAlpha AU

FreeAlpha AU

http://www.linplug.com/alpha.html

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

Crystal Synth Plugin

Crystal Synth Plugin

http://www.greenoak.com/crystal/dnld.html

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!

 

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Random Jingle Maker : Crakbone (resurrected from the dead)

I was doing some hard drive archeology, when i found this little funny application : a random music maker.
It’s called Crakbone and was floating around the internet some years ago.

Crakbone by Stephen Cronin

Crakbone random song maker software

Crakbone random song maker software

info + download original + download custom version

download the Random music maker !
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Standalone version of VSTSpeek

Here is the standalone version of the famous VSTSpeek plugin !
See here for more information : http://blog.wavosaur.com/text-to-speech-vst-vst-speek/

 

VSTSpeek standalone executable for Windows !

VSTSpeek standalone executable for Windows !

 

The standalone version is an application for Windows, no installer, just unzip and let’s go !
The program works under Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10

–> download here !! <–

–> the manual ! <–

 

Feel free to suggest improvements for the standalone version :
render as wav ?
MAC version ?
Linux version ?

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Extract vocals from song with kn0ck0ut VST

Another question our users often ask is “how to extract voice from songs ?”, “how can i make an acapella of this song” ? etc..
Vocal isolation is a black science, it’s the voodoo of audio processing… or just a good old spectral substraction !

The principle is basic, find a part of the song without the voice, and substract it from a part with the voice, so you are left with only the voice part. The ideal situation is where you have the normal song (voice + music) and an instrumental version of the same song.

The magic voice isolator plugin exists !! and it’s free. Continue reading

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Free VST emulations of famous synths / hardware

The magic of software virtual instruments ! Recreating known piece of hardware, emulating famous synth, trying to capture the spirit of a machine, attempting to copy the sound and feeling of an instrument!

Here’s a compilation of all the articles about free VST plugins that try to emulate the most famous synths, plus links to the freeware plugins that are the only one to recreate a kind of machine (they didn’t get an article). Below is a list of best free VST emulations.

TB 303 + cat in space

TB 303 + cat in space

Here you can find free virtual alternatives to the classic analog synths :
MiniMoog, Arp 2600, Arp Odyssey, Synthi VCS3, Obeirheim OB-X

There are also your favorite FM / Vector Synthesis / “digital” synths :
Yamaha DX7, Prophet VS, PPG Wave, Ensoniq SQ80

The usual techno/trance suspects are here too :
Roland TB303, Alpha Juno, Juno 60, JP-8000, Korg Mono / Poly, Clavia Nord Lead 2

We did not forgot the Jazzy/Funky/Rock famous instruments :
Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B3 organ, Farfisa combo organ, Hohner Clavinet, Wurlitzer E-piano, Mellotron & Arp Solina.

And even the antic Theremin + some funky toys : Speak and Spell & Stylophone.

This is work in progress, i’ll add free VSTi plugin if we find some new free recreation of well known synthesizers.

All the VSTi in this list are freeware.

Here we go :

1. Minimoog

freemoog

http://blog.wavosaur.com/best-free-vst-minimoog-emulation/

 

2. ARP 2600

arppe2600VA

http://blog.wavosaur.com/2-free-arp-2600-vst-emu-preset-banks/

 

3. ARP Odyssey

oddsay

http://blog.wavosaur.com/4-free-arp-odyssey-vst-emulation-128-presets/

 

4. VCS3 Synthi AKS

cynthia

http://blog.wavosaur.com/free-ems-vcs3-synthi-aks-vst-emulations/

 

5. Oberheim OB-X / OB-Xa / OB-8

obxd

https://obxd.wordpress.com/

 

6. Roland TB 303

venom303

http://blog.wavosaur.com/best-free-tb-303-emulation-sotware-vst-plugins-standalone/

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7 free Arp Solina VST emulation

Let’s go crazy (diamond)

 

1 Cheeze Machine by Big Tick audio

Cheese Machine VST

Cheese Machine VST

http://www.bigtickaudio.com/goodies/cheezemachine

One of the oldest VSTi around the web, but still refreshing. You have the ensemble sound + the phaser + the reverb => you got the ARP Solina string sound. Kind of.
An Audio Unit version is also available for Mac OS X.
It just lacks a 64 bit version.

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3 Free Speak and Spell VST emulations

That is correct !

The Speak and Spell ! the toy that everybody love to “bend”.
You can hear the sounds of the Speak & Spell in countless songs, from LFO techno anthem “LFO” to obscure Japanese techno pop tracks. The magic of Linear Predictive Encoding + funky electronic = the sound we all need.
We found about three free VST plugins that are inspired by the 80′s speaking toy.
They’re all sample based, but funny :

1. Speak N Spell 80 by GrooveZing

Speak N spell 80 VST

Speak N spell 80 VST

http://www.groovezing.com/en/plugins/speaknspell80.php

Based on samples from the Speak and Spell toy, this plugin let you map the synthetic words on the MIDI keyboard; or play any word / combination of words like a sampler.
React to pitch bend, and is available in 32 & 64 bit for Windows!
The project is recent so let’s hope it will get some update, with more BEND options !

 

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2 Free Arp 2600 VST emu (+ preset banks)

We have searched on all the web for free VST emulation of the Arp 2600 synth :
unfortunately, there’s really only one. The good news is that it’s a very good emu!
**edit **: une fois n’est pas coutume we have not searched deep enough ! Thanks to BlackWinny (see the first comments), another Arp 2600 like emu is available for the masses!

Come on let’s do it :

 

1. Arppe2600va by Glen Stegner

Arp 2600 VA VST

Arp 2600 VA VST

http://glenstegner.com/softsynths.html

Based on the Richard brooks Synthedit source, the Arppe2600va is a must have, for all semi modular virtual analog lovers. Despite some bugs it has all you need : three oscillators, an ADSR generator, a LFO, a Sample & Hold Unit, a Filter, a spring reverb and many more!

If you are not familiar with the Arp 2600 you may have a look at the manual before programming some patches :
http://soundprogramming.net/manuals/Arp_2600_Manual.pdf

This (free!) eBook by Samuel Ecoff is also a must :
http://blog.wavosaur.com/download/arp2600fundamentalsofmusictechnology.pdf

The matrix on the Arppe2600va VST is less fun that “patch chord” but is very powerful and easy to use.

Bonus !! 2 Free Preset Banks for Arppe 2600 va :

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Best VST emulation of Clavinet D6 (freeware)

Let’s go funk:

 

1. TickyClav by BigTick

Ticky Clav

Ticky Clav

http://www.bigtickaudio.com/goodies/tickyclav

{postad2]

The most popular VST for free Clavinet emulation : it’s nice and does what we want.
here’s a demo from uproar24 on youtube :

 

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4 Free VSTi emulations of Farfisa Organ

Good old transistor organs from the 60′s, the Farfisa manufacturer is associated to the portable combo organ, the characteristic sound of the electronic organ is all you need.
So we compiled some free VSTi that are able to emulate electric organ.
portable organ 4 all !

 

 

1. Combo F by Martinic

Comob Model F

Comob Model F

http://www.martinic.com/combof/

The most popular free Farfisa VST emulation, it’s modelled after the Farfisa Combo organ, and available for Windows and Mac OSX, both 32 & 64 bit.

 


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