Audio Unit is a plug-in that is provided by Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems. This plug-in is a collection of application programming interfaces (API). It offers various services, like generating, processing, receiving, and manipulating audio streams. Audio Units are packed with various plug-ins, like EQ filters, dynamic processors, delay, reverb, and a Soundbank Synthesizer Instrument. Several applications that are compatible to work with macOS use Audio Units. These applications are GarageBand, Logic X Pro, Final Cut Pro, Ableton Live, Amadeus Pro, Logic Pro, and many others. The following are the top ten Audio Units (AU) plug-ins for macOS operating systems, along with their features.
1. Synth1 AU/VST:
Synth1 AU/VST is one of the most popular and fully-featured audio units for macOS operating systems. It has more advanced features incorporated in it. Synth1 AU/VST is ranked at the 59th position in instruments. The features include two oscillators, FM modulation, ring modulation, synchronization, modulation envelope, etc. Additionally, this audio unit has four distinct types of filters and distortion. There are two different LFOs, 16 notes polyphony, and 128 presents incorporated in it. It uses SSE instructions, and it is highly optimized for CPU load. The other features include tempo delay, automation, arpeggiator, stereo chorus or flanger, legato mode, and portamento.
2. OBXD AU/VST:
Another popular and robust plugin for audio units is OBXD AU/VST. It is based on Oberheim OB-X. It is freely available and works well with macOS operating systems. It has more revolutionary features incorporated in it and primarily executes micro random detuning. However, many of the features are taken from Oberheim OB-X. The best feature of this audio unit is its continuous blendable multimode filter. This filter is available in 12 dB mode and 4-1 pole in 24 dB mode. Additionally, OBXD does not have any internal sound effects. Users can enhance and improve the sound using effects like reverb, chorus, delay, and many more.
3. Tyrell N6 AU/VST:
Tyrell N6 AU/VST is one of the robust and easy to use audio units. Tyrell N6 implies Tyrell Nexus 6. This plug-in can be used for macOS as well as Microsoft Windows operating systems. The features of this plug-in include two oscillators, one sub-oscillator, one noise generator, one ring modulator, one signal feedback, two LFOs, two ADSR envelopes, and one modulation matrix. This audio unit is available freely and can be used by anyone. Users can download it from the Amazon.de website. The Tyrell Nexus 6 audio unit is a virtual analog synthesizer. The sound engine present in it is based on a circuit-model.
4. FreeAlpha AU/VST:
Another audio unit plug-in for macOS operating systems is FreeAlpha AU/VST. Apart from macOS operating systems, it also supports Microsoft Windows operating systems. But, the only requirement to install it requires macOS or Windows systems of 64-bits processor. It is an open-source and free-to-use audio unit plug-in. This audio plug-in is based on a classic subtractive design. The features include two-oscillator modules, one filter module, two envelopes, three LFos, one chorus effect, and one modulation matrix. Additionally, the FreeAlpha audio unit has 32 note-polyphonic synthesizers. It has a flexible user interface, and it is easy-to-use.
5. Crystal AU/VST:
Crystal AU/VST is the other well-known audio unit plug-in for macOS operating systems. The best part of this plug-in is it combines twin reverse pitch shifters with reverse delays and reverb. As there are two pitch shifters, each pitch shifter has a four-octave range. The two-octave ranges are upwards, and the remaining two are downwards. Additionally, it has two independent delays. Each delay is of up to four seconds. The Crystal AU/VST for macOS is available at the price of $99, and for iOS mobile devices, it is available at $14.99. The features of this software include the ribbon and the flex.
6. TAL NoiseMaker AU/VST:
TAL NoiseMaker AU/VST is the newer version of the TAL Elek7ro. This audio unit plug-in is a fully-featured plug-in compatible for macOS operating systems. Additionally, it also supports Microsoft Windows operating systems. This plug-in can be installed on 32-bits as well as 64-bits processors. The features of the TAL NoiseMaker AU/VST include three oscillators, one PM for pulse waveform, two FM modulation, adjustable master tune, transpose, six voices, portamento modulations, 4x filters, ADSR filter, ADSR volume, two LFOs, adjustable pitch wheel, one pole HP filter, a built-in reverb, a built-in delay, bit crusher, detune, panic button, 256 great presets, etc. TAL NoiseMaker AU/VST has an easy to use interface.
7. Dexed FM VST:
Dexed FM VST is another more powerful audio unit plug-in for macOS operating systems. This plug-in is a cross-platform and multi-platform audio unit. It is modeled on Yamaha DX7. The features incorporated in it are highly advanced and revolutionized. The best feature of the Dexed FM VST is it is compatible with macOS, Microsoft Windows, as well as Linus operating systems. It has a sound engine called music-synthesizer-for-android. Additionally, it has 144 DAW automatable parameters, supports DX& input and output Sysex messages, etc. Each operator present inside this plug-in has a realtime VU meter. Users can store a single program in multiple SysEx files.
8. MiniSpillage AU:
MiniSpillage AU plug-in is yet another robust plug-in for macOS operating systems. It is freely available and is a professional drum synthesizer. The best feature of this plug-in is it incorporates three different drum synthesis algorithms. These algorithms are bass Drum, Wood Drum, and Hi-Hat. There is a single oscillator bass drum synth, flexible wooden drum model, and six oscillators closed and open hi-hat generators. Though this plug-in is very simple, it is highly powerful. It incorporates three editable drum pads. These drum pads can create a wide range of drum sounds. Also, it has a 64-bit DSP engine in it.
9. Foo-YC20 AU/VST:
Foo-YC20 AU/VST is an audio unit plug-in for macOS operating systems. Additionally, it is also compatible with Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. It is a physical, virtual synthesizer. The features of this plug-in are highly robust and powerful. The features include physical modeling, nor polyphony restrictions, two major vice sections, a switchable bass section, and a realism control to add flaws in the real organ. It is simple and easy to use. It offers the best experience through its interface to the users. This audio unit plug-in is available freely, and it is written in FAUST language.
10. TripleCheese AU/VST:
TripleCheese is another top and the best audio plug-in for macOS operating systems. However, this plug-in is the winner of the KVR Developer Challenge in the year 2006. It is a freeware synthesizer that is available freely. Like traditional AU plug-ins, it does not have oscillators, wavetables, FM, phase distortion, and analog-modeled filters. It has more advanced features, like three comb filters for sound generation, eight different modes for each comb module, polyphonic up to 16 voices, duophonic, monophonic, legato mode, VCA, skinnable user interface, and 170 factory presets. To install it, the systems should have 1GB RAM, 50MB free disk, and host software.