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Looking to step into the world of AUv3 but on a budget?
We’ve included 25 free AUv3 FX…
…And 5 free AUV3 instruments to include in your AU hosts.
In this extensive list, we will be covering an eclectic mix of Audio Units that all happen to be free! If you’re just getting started with mobile music production on iOS, the terms Inter-App Audio and AUv3 might leave you feeling a bit confused.
AUv3 apps can be loaded directly into a host App, making it much easier to change settings quickly, eliminating the need to switch between apps.
You can also load multiple instances of the same app on a single track, a significant advantage that AUv3 has over IAA.
Nembrini Audio Chorus
Nembrini Audio has taken the guitarists’ most preferred analog and digital effect pedals and repacked it in a new rack style plugin, easy to use and extremely powerful at the same time, with the addition of a custom design tube preamp virtual circuit which colors the signal in a very special way.
It sounds more like a chorus pedal than a chorus plugin. The UI is fairly simple like most Nembrini products but that’s not to discount the sound quality that comes for free.
With only 4 knobs (Input, Output, Depth, and Rate) and 2 switches (Power and ‘Analog’), it keeps option paralysis at a minimum.
Hybrid amp design – rather than a model of an existing amp model.
Re-amping smart guitar in GarageBand is a clever application many producers overlook
IAA and AAX compatible
Nembrini Audio AR Noise Gate
This noise gate is great for eliminating ground hum in your guitar and synths that fills up the silence.
With only a threshold and noise knob it resembles something closer to a compressor, but don’t be fooled by the limited GUI, this effects unit is very capable. This is more of a utility plugin than an enhancer anyway.
Noise gate and hiss removal make for a perfect free clean up tool especially for guitars and vocals
Hiss remover preset really removes all hiss!
Nembrini’s noise gate is far more applicable than Gafageband’s noise gate.
With automation, you can alter the threshold over time like any other FX or meters via automation.
Nembrini Delay will have a very familiar interface if you’re used to dealing with Nembrini products; it boasts an input and output knob and respective VU meters. There are 4 Main Knobs ( Time, Offset, Feedback, and Mix).
Modeled on the Roland SDE-3000 rack delay unit, the new Delay3000 Vintage Modern Repeater plugin adds new features and an easy-to-use user interface that gives you a complete arsenal of delay effects at your disposal.
Bpm Sync is great for implementing polyrhythms over tracks
There’s not only a power switch but an Analog Switch
Great sounding delay for a free Auv
Matthew Caldwell – Muckraker
Muckraker is an experimental distortion auv3 plugin, boasting a silly and fun UI akin to a children’s toy.
Equipped with Wrack, Fuzz, Grunt, Ooze, Ruin, and Level. It also has switches for mute, bypass, and choke.
Muckraker is an abstract distortion so when compared to regular distortion units it takes a backseat and is more about audio degradation than amplified grit. All the knobs have multiple interacting effects, so play around to get a feel for how they perform.
The bypass and mute buttons make it easy to switch from your normal production to a modulated, fuzzed-out wall of swirl.
Perfect for producers who want to get experimental
Matthew Caldwell – Frobulator
Frobulator is a stereo modulated filter and spectral delay. Although I don’t really hear the delay so much, I believe that is the point.
Frobulator is a very creative plugin with a lot to offer. It boasts Feed, Mix, Tone, ‘Vexity’, Orbit, Doubt, and Master Knobs. There are transport functions and the bottom left sports a mute, bypass, and fail button.
The orbit knob works a bit like stereo or panning, the filter section also sports different EQ modes: High Pass, Band Pass, and Low Pass, and the vexity knob serves as a filter control and adjusts the stereo spread.
The doubt knob affects variation on panning phase and filter frequency, the orbit knob sets the principle underlying rate of modulation, and the fail mode uses a different mix of processing and modulation for more bleepy and glitchy randomization.
Q amount can be controlled unlike Garageband’s EQ, which is controlled rather intuitively.
Selecting multiple EQ bands is a plus for shaping multiple sections at once.
Neon Silicon Phase Delay Array
This is a creative auv3 FX unit that combines phaser, delay, reverb, vibrato, and extra cool stereo effects.
On the top left, there’s a menu to access presets and for users to save their own. If anything, this unit is a modular FX unit wrapped up nicely in one; In the first section boasting vibrato (Depth, Delay, and Rate sliders).
The following set of controls focuses on delay (Feedback Delay, Feedback Level, Notch Quality). The third set of controls has a few options (Chopper, Ping Pong Delay, Panner, and Tremolo).
Below the options of effects, there are sliders for effect LFO rate and effect width. The last option lets you hear the track affected or unaffected with a slider for dry/wet levels. The top left features menu controls to access presets.
It provides stereo width by either applying delay time to the right to the left and the feedback passed through a matrix before going back into the input. It is also noteworthy this is Blue Mangoo’s first plugin.
The function of the rotation matrix is to change the pan so that every time an echo repeats it comes from a different location in the stereo field; this is really unusual and a little different to your traditional ping pong delay effects. With the rotation matrix method, you can have many different echoes coming out of the echoes together at the same time and each of them is panned differently.
The stereo lag effect creates the effect of a widened stereo image
Infected Mushroom / Poly Verse Wider Touch
This is another plugin that performs a single function very well – it creates a wider sound using all-pass filtering, and thus is characterized as a Stereo Expander.
Most other widening effects degrade sound or become thin when widening mono signals. The widening can also be automated throughout a track to create widening crescendo effects or build-ups.
Wider is a unique stereo plugin in the sense that it is completely “mono-compatible”, meaning that any signal that has been extended will always remain in phase with itself, even if summed to mono.
Many stereo effects currently in use have the nasty habit of knocking signals out of phase, which can quickly make mixes sound muddy and out of phase or make sounds seem flat or lacking dynamics if one isn’t mindful of the effect.
Thanks to Wider’s all-pass and comb filtering algorithm, no phase in any mix or affected audio will be compromised, even at its broadest setting!
Instead Wider cancels itself out when summed to mono, so the original signal is left intact: a feature you won’t find in any other stereo plugin.
Wider utilizes a specialized array of all pass and comb filters
Accessible and easy to use
Get creative with stereo effects
Caellem Tape Cassette 1 + 2
Tape Cassette 2 was birthed by the less than savvy UI received for the original Tape Cassette, albeit they are both fantastic apps.
Featuring controls for Saturation, Wow, Flutter, Noise, Filter, plus stereo VU meters, there’s no scarcity for any tape-related quirks. It’s also equipped with an Auto Gain Switch and an IR toggle which brings in the input response from a Type-1 cassette.
An amazing utility suggested for any iOS producer wishing to connect their MIDI-enabled or modular hardware to their iOS devices and DAWs seamlessly
Only recommended for use with hardware MIDI devices
Connecting to apps is possible, but may lead to a poor user experience due to software challenges
Svep is a real-time modulator with two main parameter wheels and two dry/wet sliders. One can choose from chorus, flanger, or phase and make a whole performative bit of a show just by exploiting the effects in this app.
From the Klevgrand site: “Svep is a stereo modulation filter effect suitable for any sound. All parameters are easily editable on one screen and the clean and responsive user interface encourages creativity. Tweak it to produce anything from old-school phasers to subtle choruses.”
A seamless hybrid between chorus, flanger, and phaser
Korg BLE MIDI Bluetooth Midi Control
Korg’s Bluetooth MIDI control is a utility app used to control MIDI controllers wirelessly. This lets you link up controllers that normally wouldn’t be controllable via iOS with Bluetooth MIDI i.e Xkey Air, Roli Lightkey blocks and Seaboards, and Sensel Morph to name a few.
There’s a set layout per every DAW you’re currently in so there’s no need to MIDI map incessently.
Parameters on the MIDI controllers change seamlessly with instruments and effects on iOS DAW or app.
Light blocks seamlessly change colors per parameter on the app
Audio Damage Rough Rider 3
Rough Rider 3remains many iOS producers’ favorite go-to compressors. It’s not your average run-of-the-mill compressor… it adds character, crunch and a certain bite not available with other compressors.
It comes equipped with input level, output level, Attack, Release, Mix level (dry/wet), Ratio, Makeup, Sensitivity Knob, and Sidechain HPF knob.
Its unique approach to pattern creation is sure to have you finding new grooves, rhythms, and beats.
It allows you to load four lanes of one-shot samples and then get beyond creative with the randomization options. You can even shorten or augment the sequencer to make polyrhythms in real-time or create 32 bar sequences.
All sequences can be saved as scenes and recalled later. The infinity button, when pressed, will create new randomization options every 8 (or however many selected) bars to potentially randomize infinitely.
“The Creative MIDI sequencer”, Riffer is a smart MIDI tool that generates musical riffs and sequences by combining pitch, duration, velocity, and note density. Generate fresh ideas, sequences, melodies, riffs, and musical patterns.
Turn it into something of your own or let it run endlessly using the infamous infinity mode. When using the app version you can send MIDI over WiFi, or select core MIDI for IAA communication and to feed any compatible hardware.
You can still pick up the original hardware units on eBay, although it’s not a reverb, it’s a delay, a bucket brigade device known for its grit. It doesn’t have that many controls so it is in turn easy to operate. It has 5 faders and the first one is called ‘Microphone’.
When you turn it up, you will introduce clipping into your sound because it actually boosts your signal.
There is a bypass mode for this though on the right between a Mic and Line signal. The next set of faders are the delay time controls, left and right respectively.
They can be set independently or have a switch to sync them so they respectively move as one. Next is your ‘Repeat’ fader which is just a feedback control.
The final fader is ‘Depth’ which works like a blend or mix control of how much you hear the affected signal. Lastly is the on/off switch which will let you bypass your signal chain entirely.
Ratshack Reverb is a detailed model of that classic of classics, the Realistic Electronic Reverb. Now, you can have the sound of everyone's first analog delay unit, without ever having to change batteries.
An emulation of the old RadioShack Reverb, it carries along with it the old fuzzy characteristics of the 80s.
Audio Modern Filterstep
This is a completely free filter plugin for iOS, Windows, and macOS; it is a creative motion filter plugin that provides a multitude of complex rhythm movements to any input in real-time.
If you’re familiar with Playbeat or Riffer, the GUI will feel at home. It can give you incredibly nuanced and complex results based on various filter settings, and almost infinite possibilities for sonic exploration through filter randomization.
The audio bandwidth knob controls the target sample rate and analog-digital circuitry, with an exquisite, yet remarkably subtle, aliasing effect. The filter knob controls the S950’s infamous steep low-pass filter.
Use it on separate elements or on any output bus or master section. The switch button is for mono operation (as the original S950) with a 50/50 mix – great for checking your mix.
Meet the RX950 Classic AD/DA Converter, our first effect plug-in, designed to perfectly mimic the whole AD/DA conversion process of the Akai S950 in order to give your music this vintage, warm and crunchy sound.
The lowpass modes offer the same frequency response as the Moog ladder filter. The plug-in offers all of the modes available in the famous Oberheim Matrix 12 and Xpander synthesizers.
The Zero Delay Feedback algorithm provides the latest in DSP filtering technology. F-16 Filter gives you a wide variety of options with pristine fidelity.
The display area shows the filter frequency response. The X-axis is a logarithmic frequency ranging over the frequencies of human hearing. Frequency can be thought of as pitch, from low to high as the graph goes from left to right.
The Y-axis is magnitude in decibels; Magnitude represents the loudness at a particular frequency. Where magnitude is above zero, the filter is increasing the loudness, below zero the filter is attenuating those frequencies.
Use the frequency response display to control cutoff frequency and resonance simultaneously.
The same filter modes are found in the popular Reason Rack extension for Propellerheads Reason.
Blamsoft DC-9 Overdrive
DC-9 Overdrive is a circuit modeled overdrive that emulates the famous Ibanez® TS9 Tube Screamer, as a clone pedal would. The DSP algorithms in DC-9 take into account the entire schematic, using the latest modeling techniques.
This gives you an authentic analog sound that matches the character of the physical circuit. DC-9 gets its name from the Diode Clipper circuit used to create the distortion.
The accurate modeling of this part of the schematic gives DC-9 an edge over the common distortion plug-in. The effect was carefully tuned using A/B comparisons to the original stompbox.
The Tone knob adjusts a low pass filter that sweeps from a low to high frequency. When Tone is at high settings, the filter boosts high frequencies. It’s easiest to understand what happens by looking at magnitude plots at different Tone settings.
The Drive knob applies gain to a diode clipper circuit which is mixed with the input. As more gain is applied the signal is distorted more.
Note that the distortion is not a hard clip but rather a tube-like overdriven sound.
With only four knobs, the interface makes it extremely easy for users to distort in no time.
The DC-9 delivers the clone of a tube screamer as advertised.
Another no-nonsense effect unit with minimal fuss and maximum effect.
Blamsoft Zero Chorus
Zero Chorus is a Roland Dimension D style chorus algorithm in the Audio Unit Extension format. The same algorithm is found in the popular Zero Hybrid Synthesizer Rack Extension for Propellerhead Reason.
Zero Chorus can thicken up guitar or synth sounds and add that classic chorus effect box sound. In addition to the standard chorus controls, there is a feedback control for flanging style effects.
The goal of the Chorus effect is to create the sound of multiple instruments playing in unison but slightly out of tune. The DSP Chorus effect is based on time-varying taps from short delay lines.
The taps oscillate back and forth. The tap modulation frequency may be set to achieve a frequency shift via the Doppler Effect. So in plain English, the Chorus effect makes out-of-tune copies of the original sound.
Another no-nonsense alternative to replacing your stock chorus.
Blamsoft Zero Reverb
Zero Reverb is a high-quality Feedback Delay Network reverberator in the Audio Unit Extension format. Once again, the same algorithm is found in the popular Zero Hybrid Synthesizer Rack Extension for Reason.
It has rich feedback with smooth decay for a modern hall-like algorithmic reverb character. The available parameters allow you to dial in a wide variety of reverb textures, positioning itself as a replacement for your stock Reverb Auv3 plugins.
Viking is an emulation of the Moog Voyager Monophonic Synthesizer. This new AU Comes with 178 presets. It has three continuously variable wave oscillators and boasts a menu for presets.
Each tab grants a new series of knobs and sliders. The mod tab controls LFO modulation, routing, and amount. The Oscillator tab controls the wave, amount, and sync of respective oscillators.
The mix tab simply controls the mix of the 3 oscillators. The filter tab contains a pretty run-of-the-mill 20k-20,000hz filter with an option for pole numbers, cutoff, resonance, KB amount, Spacing Amount, Circuit Mode, and Filter Mode.
The envelope tab is just macros for the filter and amp. The final tab – Global – contains parameters for tuning, keyboard, and noise.
Created by over 100+ volunteers around the world this app includes MIDI support sequencer, vintage-inspired analog filters, expressive arpeggiators, warm analog delays, and, over 300+ presets to get you started.
Expand your musical horizons by playing Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, Persian, Balkan, European, Greek, Mediterranean, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Klezmer, Latin & South American sounds, scales and rhythms.
SynthMaster Player for iOS is the mobile player version of the award-winning SynthMaster software synthesizer. It is targeted towards users who prefer to use presets rather than designing their own sounds during music production.
SynthMaster Player for iOS received the “2016 Editor’s Choice Award” from Electronic Musician Magazine!
This synth is for those who don’t wish to fiddle with knobs and parameters; they want presets straight out of the box to spark instant creativity, with accessible, iconic sounds from the get-go.