8 Awesome Free Audio Plug-in Synths for Mac Musicians

It’s that time of year - your wallet rinsed by the holiday season, and nothing inspirational under the tree. So, find yourself a bargain or two, and maybe reinvigorate your inner composer...  

It’s that time of year - your wallet rinsed by the holiday season, and nothing inspirational under the tree, it’s time to head out and find yourself a bargain or two, and maybe reinvigorate your inner composer. Happy New Year!


#1 - Zebralette

Zebralette

Zebralette

A ‘taster’ version of u-he’s Zebra2 synth, Zebralette has one oscillator (to Zebra2’s two), two LFOs, multi-stage envelope and on board effects, but that’s just what it says on the website! What I like most about Zebralette is that it has a superb ‘in-yer-face’ analog sound unlike anything that comes built into your DAW, and an interface that helps you understand what is going on, rather than a swarm of meaningless knobs (although it has some of those too of course!)


#2 - Alchemy Player

Alchemy Player

Alchemy Player

Alchemy Player comes with 1 GB of free samples organised into 200 free instrument presets, with a heavy emphasis on the ‘evolving pad’ approach. These can be tweaked via two X-Y pads and eight ‘remix’ pads, and if you own Alchemy Mobile you can remote control Alchemy Player from your iPad.


Reaktor 5 Player

Reaktor 5 Player

Reaktor 5 Player

The full version of Reaktor comes as part of Native Instruments’ Komplete, but you can sample the power of Reaktor’s modular approach to sound generation by downloading this free Player. Make sure you also download the free Factory Selection which includes three free instruments, but for some reason isn’t spelt with a ‘k’!


# 4 - Kontakt 5 Player

Kontakt 5 Player

Kontakt 5 Player

The free version of NI’s industry standard sample player. You will also need to download Factory Selection, which is the free 560 MB sample library, also mysteriously missing a ‘k’.


#5 - MiniSpillage

MiniSpillage

MiniSpillage

Three drum pads, three synthesis models, MiniSpillage is a percussion synthesiser designed to tempt you to buy its big brothers, Elektroid and DrumSpillage.


#6 - Scythe

Scythe

Scythe

Just to balance the books - a VST only synth that uses ‘grain manipulation’ (does this mean you can morph between wheat and barley in real time?) and has given rise to the GrainBender app for iOS. Love that sexy UI!


#7 - Free Alpha

Free Alpha

Free Alpha

Linplug make some great synths, used by tweak-gurus such as Vince Clark and Rob Papen. To dip your toe in the water get this free versions of Linplug Alpha


#8 - 10 free Synths for Logic Pro

10 free Synths for Logic Pro

10 free Synths for Logic Pro

A fantastic set of FREE Instrument Channel Strip Settings for Logic Pro programmed by MPVHub's very own Toby Pitman.


Do you have any more free synths you'd recommend? Share them in the comments below...

Mike has been obsessed with music software since he first saw Fairlight's Page-R, and has tracked its development through his work as a performer, composer and producer. As a writer he has contributed articles to Sound On Sound since 1999, and currently writes their Apple Notes column. As well as being a certified Logic Pro and Pro Too... Read More

Discussion

ksandvik
U-He has other excellent free SW plug-ins such as the recently re-vamped Podolski, Triple Cheese and Bazille. You could pretty much set up a big software synth system with just U-He freebies.
Rounik
U-he do create amazingly playable plug-ins. Triple Cheese is kinda tasty! Thanks Ksandvik :)
quadrasynth
have to agree, U-he have several ones that are good. But also so much soundware out now that keeps coming out. Lots of freeware and plugins, like the LinPlug Alpha (http://www.linplug.com/download/fullversion.html) or keys like Keypleezer Livingroom upgight http://keypleezer.com/ or the IK MM Sample tank (http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/cat-view.php?C=family-sampletank). The later not being plugins, more of soundware though.

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