We love free stuff for audio engineering. So we are constantly on the lookout for the best ones to share with our music production school students and our studio session engineers.
Here are 5 awesome soft synths for mac:
1. Green Oaks Software – Crystal (Mac AU/VST & Win VST)
Crystal is a killer semi-modular synth with extensive modulation features. In addition to dedicated envelopes for amps and filters you get six assignable envelopes, and each can have up to eight stages! The six assignable LFOs are also very tweakable with settings such as swing and center offset. There’s even a unique feature called “breed” that lets you randomize the settings of two presets into one preset baby with optional mutation.
2. Togu Audio Line – Noise Maker (Mac AU/VST & Win VST)
Togu Audio Line (TAL) makes a variety of plug-ins and many are free. The Noise Maker synth is an improved version of their Elek7ro synth and features a simple and easy to navigate interface. It also comes with some great presets including some really cool arpeggiator type patches and old school drum sounds. My favorite feature is the easy to use and highly editable envelope generator.
3. U-he – TyrellN6 (Mac AU/VST & Win VST)
U-he has been producing a lot of cool plug-ins over the past 10+ years and offers a number of them for free. TyrellN6, largely based on Roland’s classic Juno 60, is my favorite of their free soft synths. Recently it has been updated with a new user interface and I’ve found it very easy to navigate and program. You can get a wide range of classic ‘80s sounds and more out of this synth. It also comes with a lot of presets organized in an easy to use preset browser.
4. U-he – Zebralette (Mac AU/VST/AAX & Win VST/AAX)
Another wonderful free offering from U-he the Zebralette is a stripped down version of their awesome paid synth, Zebra. It features an additive waveform editor for creating up to sixteen custom waveshapes which can then be smoothly swept through using the morph knob. You can also run two of U-he’s acclaimed spectral effects at once for added awesomeness!
5. U-he – Zoyd (Mac AU)
Zoyd was one of the earliest synthesizers for Apples’ Audio Unit format. The soft synth never made it beyond the beta stage, but was released for free and is still available for download on the U-he website.