Top 5 Free VST Plugins For Ableton Live (Mac Edition)

by Ryan

  • File Under: Tutorials
  • |

It’s been a long time coming Mac users, but here is a definitive guide to 5 free VST plugins for Mac OSX. They can be used in any music production program that support VST, but since this is a blog dedicated to Ableton Live, these are – of course – geared towards electronic music production.

1. Audio Damage Fuzz Plus

Audio Damage make some amazingly high quality VST plugins. It’s no surprise then, that even their free plugin selection is top notch. My favorite out of the batch is their version of a simple vintage fuzz pedal. Try loading it onto your newly created Roland TR-606 in Ableton. (See How To Create An Analog Drum Machine Collection In Ableton.)


  • Fuzz knob: This controls, as you might imagine, exactly how much fuzz is applied to the signal.
  • Tone knob: This controls the brightness of the distorted signal.
  • Output knob: This is the output volume of the device, when it is active.
  • Bypass button: This works just like the switch on a stomp box. When the orange light is lit, you’re money. When it’s not, the input is passed directly to the output. This can be automated for a slightly different vibe than automating the effect bypass of your host.

Download Audio Damage’s Fuzz Plus here:

2. Sample Tank Free

It’s nice seeing even the bigger companies joining in on the freebies. Sample Tank is IK Multimedia’s renowned sampler. If you’ve used it, you already know the amount of quality this unit brings. If you haven’t used it, now is your chance to, for free! Although it requires registration, you can’t beat the price.

  • Over 500 MB samples for over 200 sounds included.
  • 16 part multitimbral with easy layerable/mixable parts.
  • 3 synth engines.
  • One of the most powerful multi-effects section in a virtual instrument.
  • 33 built-in DSP effects derived from award winning audio processors like T-RackS and AmpliTube.
  • Part and Master Loop Sync.
  • Imports WAV, AIFF, SDII, AKAI S-1000/3000, SAMPLECELL.
  • Available both as a standalone application as well as a plug-in.

Download Sample Tank Free here:

3. King Dubby

For all of you lo-fi freaks out there. This emulates the classic dub delay sounds. Using analog tape delay as it’s main inspiration, it has amazing User Interface and a screaming sound make it a unique, simple and elegant plugin you definitely want to have in your Ableton Live set up.

  • Delay time: automatically synchronized with your song’s tempo and allows a delay time of up to 1 bar (with a maximum of 4 seconds) in 96 discrete steps.
  • Delay feedback: controls the amount of signal which will be reinjected in the delay unit. The higher this control is set, the longer the echoes will take to decay. In conjuction with other settings, it can also create some cool Larsen effect!
  • Delay degradation: mixes the clean digital delay with the more vintage tape delay channel. When you increase its value your echoes will be fully passed through our degradation filter, which is controled by the next section.

Download King Dubby here:

4. Da Hornet

A soft synth that has its roots strongly tied to the analog world. This is a stripped down bare bones sound machine that can get quite nasty (especially if coupled with the Fuzz Pedal mentioned above). Hours of fun with only a few knobs.

General Features:

  • 16 Voices
  • 4 VCAs
  • 1 Filter

Download the Da Hornet here: (Use serial number TMKMKIHGNNKJFMKMKIHGNNKJF). Click here to support NUSofting, the creators of Da Hornet.

5. Frohmage

From Ohm Force, another great plugin creator, comes one of the best sounding filters I have ever tried. Lay this on top of a synth or drum part and you will get some truly inspiring sounds. Again, this one requires an account, but it’s well signing up for.


  • Highly resonant low-pass filter.
  • Cutoff frequency unit selection : Hz or musical note.
  • Up to 15 additional bands, harmonically distributed.
  • Delay on each band for unique phaser effects.
  • Distortion stage, with two routing schemes.
  • Very fine MIDI control (PRN and NPRN sent or recorded by Frohmage are 14-bit accurate).
  • Low CPU load.

Download Frohmage here:

Please share any of your favorite free Mac OS X plugins you like to use in Ableton Live below!

15 Responses to “Top 5 Free VST Plugins For Ableton Live (Mac Edition)”

  1. datendisco Says:

    November 18th, 2010 at 12:49 am

    All the TAL stuff is excellent:

  2. MarkTheis Says:

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Nice.. Keep it coming 🙂

  3. matt Says:

    November 19th, 2010 at 3:31 pm


  4. matt Says:

    November 19th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    for some reason my computer is saying da hornet link contains malware. so I didnt DL. this happen to anyone else?

  5. Ryan Says:

    November 21st, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Please let me know if anyone else is getting the Malware message that matt is talking about. If so, I will remove it immediately and replace it with another plugin.


  6. Daniel Says:

    November 22nd, 2010 at 8:36 am

    I’m getting it on my work computer too. Oh well. Throw in another plugin! Possibly another VST instrument? pleeeease? 😉

  7. Pittoul Says:

    February 7th, 2011 at 4:05 am

    And don’t forget to use the SMARTELECTRONIX plugs in Live Cut and Suppa Trigga !
    They are so classic and so groovy 🙂


  8. Chris Says:

    April 17th, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I think daHornet may be for power pc only?

  9. Kara Says:

    July 4th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I’ve been looking for help with Ableton for a while, studying the manual laboriously. It’s nice to have someone out there who helps us cut to the chase.

    So plug-ins are like the features you see in protools, they open in different windows and stuff right? Essentially they’re all effects or digital instruments right?

  10. Kara Says:

    July 4th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Looking for help with Ableton for a while, studying the manual laboriously. It’s nice to have someone out there who helps us cut to the chase.

    So plug-ins are like the features you see in protools, they open in different windows and stuff right? Essentially they’re all effects or digital instruments right?

  11. James Says:

    September 5th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    would love a good drum machine plug in (not feeling the abelton ones atm)

  12. zach Says:

    September 29th, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    couldnt figure out how to install sampletank. everytime i did said it was outdated and sent me to an authorization manager.

  13. Diego Says:

    October 20th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I copied the au and vst files on my HD vst and components folders and Live can’t find it! anyone else has same problem?!!

  14. John Says:

    June 2nd, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Thanks for the list.

  15. falconjab Says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 5:32 am

    amazing website. Thank you!

    But, how does the DaHornet installation work with the serial-number?
    Sorry, don’t use my mac that long 🙂


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