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
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!