December 24, 2007

Ugh... AudioUnits Give Me Headaches...

by Chris Randall

So, here I am in Phoenix, and we have a report of an issue with Replicant and Numerology 2. No big deal, really, but I have some down time, and I thought I'd take a quick gander and see what's what.

So, I download and install Numerology 2, whereupon I discover that the only AU synth I have on this laptop is Massive. Why I installed it I can't remember, but it is kind of a drag because, well, it is rather massive. (I don't normally use this or any laptop for anything approaching music, and since music is work for me, when I'm on vacation I don't make any; thus I don't need a whole passel of software on this machine.)

I thought to myself "hey, self, why don't we just go grab a freebie drum synth of some sort and we'll have a little fun with Numerology or whatever." This turns out to be essentially impossible. My choices are (a) nothing, (b) downloading and installing Kontakt 3 on this machine and then finding some samples, or (c) something tedious, I'm sure, like creating a drum synth in Bidule or something equally ridiculous.

So, AU users. WTF? Is there not a single free AU drum machine out there, worth a shit or otherwise? Being largely a Windows VST user, I can, of course, find stacks and stacks of free plugins for most any task. About 98.4% of them are utter crap, because you get what you pay for, usually, but they're there if I need them. Apparently the same is not true in the hippy, trippy land of AU.

Oh, Happy Holidays to the Americans now, too.



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Dec.25.2007 @ 12:21 AM
Well, there's always CM-505 from Computer Music magazine, but that's not entirely freeware, as you need a subscription. But, at least it's an AU instrument.

I think there's less crapware AUs out there for Macs because (a) Mac users seem less tolerant of crapware and (b) the consumer pool is smaller and thus a piece of crapware is unlikely to generate the goodwill requisite to invest in the paid versions of things that people eventually sell. Aside from Crystal, I can't think of a free AU instrument that isn't part of a larger scheme to sell something that isn't free off the same site.

Also, many Mac users use Logic Pro, and Logic's free Ultrabeat drum machine is probably better than anything a free-AU-producing programmer might come up with.

Also, there's no popular equivalent to SynthEdit on the Mac (SonicBirth is just not quite there yet), hence none of the SynthEdit "hey gee I can make a synth plug-in too" instruments.


Dec.25.2007 @ 8:55 AM
You don't need a subscription to use CM-505, just any old issue.

I think Apple has effectively eliminated the need for free low-end plugins in creating Garageband, and anyone who's looking for something specialized and rare is most likely willing to pay.


Dec.25.2007 @ 10:37 AM
The only free AU I can think of is Crystal, I think. Some freeware. Check KVR, but you know that already. I use iDrum from iZotope, but it's not free.


Dec.25.2007 @ 10:50 AM
Porco Rosso
Speaking of magware. Urs Heckman of Zebra/Filterscape/MFM2 fame has a line of drum machines out for "Sound and Recording" readers.


Dec.25.2007 @ 12:03 PM
I'd suggest either Automat or Orca (requires registration with FXExpansion to download). Orca is pretty nice for a free monosynth, not hardware nice, but not bad.

Crystal crashes my copy of Ableton now.

The real lack of OS X freeware is in effects territory.


Dec.25.2007 @ 1:21 PM
I know it's not freeware, and it can be annoying being suggested shit one already knows about, but let me just put in a shout out to microTonic - link []">link [] - a totally fun, useful and versitile drum synth & sequencer, with a relatively tiny footprint. It's reasonably priced and it just got an OSX spit polish. I can't think of a plugin instrument I've used more; it's probably in about 70% of my tracks, however sparsely.

Oh, and merry birthday.


Dec.25.2007 @ 2:19 PM
Maybe audiodamage will make one? Merry Xmas

Dec.25.2007 @ 6:42 PM
Free plugs are the #1 reason I have a license for FXpansion's VST-AU adapter.

Now back to playing with my native Mac OS X build of SFXR on my parents couch....


Dec.25.2007 @ 6:53 PM
Never regretted sticking with Cubase for mac..never!

AU, the format NOBODY if we needed any further proof Apple is now Microsoft


Dec.25.2007 @ 8:05 PM
Solipsist Nation
I can't think of any freeware AU drum machine plugins, and I pretty much live on free AU plugins... There are enough softsynths to keep me pretty happy, plenty of effects of various sorts (regardless of what the fellow above says), but no drum machines that I can recall, or even any generic samplers that could be used with drum samples. CM505 is there, but it's only technically free.

Hello from Stayton, by the way. The valley-dwelling flatlanders wish happy holidays to the denizens of the gorge...


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