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Thread: A list of soft-synths, plug-ins and various recording vendors for Mac audio

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Chicago, IL 60610

    Default A list of soft-synths, plug-ins and various recording vendors for Mac audio


    This is provided without any particular order (except for MotU being at the top as I do particularly dig them). I have tried and used all of the products below, though I won't claim any profound expertise. Some of the lower-cost vendors provide incredibly high-quality products, so one can get a lot of bang for the buck nowadays:


    MotU: Mark of the Unicorn

    Digital Performer: one helluva tool

    MachV: a dynamite sampler, though I wind up using Kontakt (see below) more often
    MX4: great and flexible synth
    Orchestral: dynamite orchestral instrument...nicely complements others too
    Ethno: just getting into this, a very handy sampling of ethnic instruments

    Audio Interfaces: probably the best bang for the buck out there
    2408 mkIII: great workhorse
    24I/O: plug all those synths directly in!
    MotU also makes lots of standalone FireWire interfaces (i.e., that don't use the "PCI-424" interface) but I haven't tried them

    MIDI Time Pieces: the best MIDI interfaces
    Digidesign Pro Tools

    The 800lb. gorilla of recording. A subdivision of Avid. Great stuff but, in my opinion, incredibly finicky and demanding as regards system resources. Also incrediby expensive if you get into the HD stuff.

    However, PT is ubiquitous so one should at the very least be familiar with it and aware that you may have to transfer files to/from Pro Tools.

    The 800lb. gorilla of plug-in effects. Super clean stuff and arguably the basic toolkit for processing. Not inexpensive.
    UAD (Universal Audio)

    A great card for offloading effects processing from the computer's CPU. Excellent sounding stuff!
    TC PowerCore: another way to offload processing to a card

    Virus: runs on PowerCore, sounds fabulous
    Novation V-station: I really dig it
    Sony Oxford plugins: very high quality
    LinPlug: very cost-effective and very nice.

    CronoX3: atmospheric and great for sound design
    Octopus: extremely flexible FM-like synthesis...I'm just scratching the surface
    RMIV: drum module
    Albino3: if you were to get just one soft-synth, this could be it
    Rob Papen

    Blue: very, very nice and flexible: more moody (to my mind) than Albino or Octopus, but very cool

    Trilogy: bass samples...great bass module
    Atmosphere: various pad-like samples, super-handy and great sounding
    Stylus RMX: kick-ass remix tool

    Lounge Lizard: super-nice electric piano
    Tassman: sound-design monster
    String Studio: very cool string instrument emulation
    Ultra Analogue: great analog synth emulation
    PSP Audioware

    Great-sounding, very reasonably priced effects

    Vintage Warmer
    PSP Nitro

    PSP 608 MultiDelay or the Lexicon PSP 42 and 84 for an actual hardware emulation. The 608 is a monster
    Nomad Factory

    Great sounding effects...I think "Blue Tubes" is wonderful
    Audio Ease

    VST Wrapper: handy way of using VST synths in an AU (or MAS, like Digital Performer) host

    Elemental Audio/Roger Nichols Digital

    Roger Nichols is now selling the Elemental Audio plugs

    Melodyne is an amazing pitch-correction tool
    Audio Damage: very reasonably priced effects
    DB-Audioware: very interesting effects

    QFX can do amazing things
    Native Instruments

    FM8: like a DX on steroids
    B4: very cool Hammond emulation
    Kontakt: dynamite sampler
    GuitarRig: integrated interface for guitar recording
    Absynth: sound-design and synth monster
    Elektrik Piano: another great electric piano...this one based on samples as opposed to Lounge Lizard
    Korg Digital Legacy: those great old synths in software!
    Arturia; great emulations of legacy synths

    Moog Modular
    Sequential Circuits

    Moog Modular V2
    Yamaha CS80V

    Reason: standalone and Rewire compatible host

    Camel Audio

    Cameleon 5000: zany sound-design monster
    BIAS Peak: the standard audio editor
    DSP Quattro: very cost-effective and high quality editor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    1hr N/W of LA LA Land


    The 800lb gorilla of recording. LOL

    Good stuff. Thanks for puttin' that up. Good to have you back.

    Here's one for us PTLE users:

    Great sounding, simple, and cheap plugs. Who'da thunk?

    You know I think this should be a sticky.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Chicago, IL 60610


    Thanks for the note!

    I'll have to check out those plugs too, that sounds very interesting...indeed, anything at a lower cost in the PT world (RTAS or otherwise) is good!

    PT does sound great, and I use it as well...I just sometimes think they're less than the easiest company to deal with. ;-)

    A sticky would probably be a good idea, thanks for the suggestion!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by M.Brane
    Here's one for us PTLE users:
    I'll second that emotion. The Massey plugins are fine. I tried 'em, I bought 'em.
    "illegitimis non carborundum"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002


    Yeah, I'll be checking into those myself .... when a few other problems are out of the way!
    Thanks Brane!

    To change the subject alittle ..... anybody ever get a handle on the Waves scratch and click removal ....restoration?

    Wanting to use it on many cassettes?

    I've read and tried many times on the 9600/G3500 with little sucess, too much artifacts to tell if it's really good or not!

    Seems to damn slow ..... trying on the Chicagos first album ....
    Maybe due to the fact that one song trials into the next without any biank space inbetween.

    Might have to just separate each song and do independantly from one another.

    Which bearks up the flow of the total concept of the album.

    Any views on this? ....hopa hope!
    Thanks, h

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