Making Mac Plugins

How to export a SynthEdit plugin to run on Mac OSX

Get latest SynthEdit 1.4 (64-bit)


Export your plugin using the VST3 option in the export dialog box. In addition to a VST3 plugin, SynthEdit will export a Mac Audio-Unit plugin. The Audio Unit will be exported to the folder ...\Documents\SynthEdit Projects\Mac Export\ , The plugin will be a folder (Mac users call these folders "bundles") named for example like MySynth.component.

After you've exported, open the exported MySynth.component folder and check the file sem list.txt, this lists all the modules (SEMs) needed to run this plugin on Mac. The file will indicate which Mac SEMs have been successfully found and which were not (if you don't have Mac versions installed). If you don't have Mac-compatible SEMs, the Mac plugin will not function correctly.

IMPORTANT: You MUST use Mac SEMS on a mac. These are SEMS built specifically for Mac-only use.

Mac SEMs are installed in C:\Program Files\Common Files\SynthEdit\modules_mac (3rd Party) and in C:\Program Files\SynthEdit 1.3\mac_assets\modules (SynthEdit Ltd).

Copy plugin to Mac

Copy the entire MySynth.component bundle (folder) to your Mac, place it in folder /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components/ on your Mac.

Copy presets to Mac

During export, SynthEdit will create a presets folder, e.g. ...\Documents\SynthEdit Projects\Mac Export\Presets\MyVendorName\MySynth\, copy this folder to your Mac to the user's ~/Library/Audio/Presets/ folder. for example on my mac the full path is /Users/Jeff/Library/Audio/Presets/Jeff McClintock/PD303/

Note that the Library folder on a Mac is a hidden folder. More information:

To run your Audio Units you will need an Intel Mac computer running operating system version 10.8 "Mountain Lion" or better. "Mountain Lion" was shipped on Macs built since 2012.

If possible it's preferable to have a machine capable of running MacOS Version 10.11 "El Capitan", which is the minimum to be able to run the new Version 3 Audio Unit spec. SynthEdit may move to AU Version 3 in a future update. "El Capitan" was shipped on Macs built since 2015.

Using Plugins on macOS Catalina (V10.15.4)

macOS now requires applications and plugins to be 'notarized', which means they need a digital signature to identify who made them. Plugins that are not notarized are blocked from running, you will see a message like "Plugin cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified". There are two workarounds that can help:

  1. In your DAW, hit <Cancel> to the message, then open System Preferences/Security & Privacy, you should see the plugin mentioned at the bottom. Click 'Allow Anyway' to enable it.
  2. Open Terminal. Type the following three commands, hitting <return> in between.
    sudo spctl --master-disable
    auval -a
    sudo spctl --master-enable

Limitations on Mac plugins

Parameters (e.g. sliders and knobs) must have not use an inverted range. For example, a typical slider with a minimum value of zero and a maximum of 10 will work fine on Mac, however a Slider with a maximum of 0 and a minimum of 10 will fail to validate on a Mac. This was not a problem on Windows.