Photo credit: M Maeghan Donovan
It’s been a long time coming Mac users, but here is a definitive guide to 5 free VST plugins for Mac OS X. 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: https://www.audiodamage.com/pages/free-downloads
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: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/sampletankfree/download/
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: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dmg07jsfpzo3qmj/King%20Dubby.dmg?dl=0
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.
- 16 Voices
- 4 VCAs
- 1 Filter
Download the Da Hornet here: http://www.dashsignature.com/download/daHornet%5b1%5d.dmg.gz (Use serial number TMKMKIHGNNKJFMKMKIHGNNKJF).
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: http://www.ohmforce.com/UseFreeSoftware.do?action=listFreeNonStandalones&productId=6
Please share any of your favorite free Mac OS X plugins you like to use in Ableton Live below!