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Unison Audio Introduces FREE Lo-Fi Plugin Zen Master


Unison Audio has just launched its first free plugin, and it’s a Lo-Fi one called Zen Master.

As a reader, you may be submersed by many questions and doubts.

Firstly, is it legit?

There’s been a lot of talk about Unison Audio online, and their reputation isn’t perfect, to say the least.

You might also ask yourself, do I need another Lo-Fi plugin in my collection?

And finally, what’s the catch?

Unison Audio doesn’t have the best reputation inside the audio community, including popular forums, YouTube channels, and subreddits. This is mainly because of the company’s often overpriced products and questionable marketing strategies.

The product that made them very popular was the Unison MIDI Chord Pack, which has been extensively promoted for many years as their flagship product.

Tantacrul did a great critical analysis of it in this comprehensive video:

However, Unison Audio just released a freeware VST plugin, and we took it for a spin to see if it’s worth your attention.

The TLDR is that Zen Master is a decent lo-fi multi-effect plugin with simple macro controls and an animated interface. It offers bit-crushing, reverb, tape-style pitch wobbling, detuning, and noise blending.

It’s not an original concept since we’ve seen numerous similar plugins in recent years from other developers. Also, the interface looks very similar to the infamous Delay Lama plugin.

But it can’t hurt to add another lo-fi multi-effect to your arsenal if you’re into this type of sound design.

Following the increasing popularity of lo-fi music genres, many developers have tried to summarize a selection of audio processing tools for intentional audio deterioration in a single plugin. These plugins add organic textures, pitch imperfections, saturation, and similar effects to grasp that crunchy lo-fi vibe.

Zen Master follows this trend, and the included effects have been creatively renamed, so it’s not immediately obvious what the knobs are doing.

“Hypnosis,” for example, is a detune and stereo widener effect, while “Electrify” is a simple bit-crusher.

The fourth knob starting from the left, is the easiest to understand since it presents the name of the sampled texture you can add to your source signal, with options of Vinyl, Crackle, and White (implicitly white noise).

The effect modules are not interchangeable, and the signal path is fixed.

However, the plugin provides handy options on the bottom right of the interface where you can blend the overall processing in parallel with the Mix knob, filter the processed signal with a lowpass/highpass filter, and adjust the output Gain (it shows a red light on top when approaching 0dBFS, but there is an internal limiter to avoid clipping).

To download the plugin, you need to sign up for the Unison Audio newsletter and create an account on their website.

Also, if you fancy having 50 extra free factory presets for Zen Master, you must follow a series of social media actions to promote Unison Audio.

So, to answer the questions from the beginning of this article. Yes, this is a legit plugin. There’s no catch, apart from having to sign up for Unison Audio’s newsletter and share on socials to download extra presets.

Do you need Zen Master in your DAW? Not necessarily, but it’s worth trying if you like lo-fi effects.

Before buying any products from any company, including Unison Audio, always read reviews and ask other producers for their opinion on forums and other communities. Our comments section is a great place to get answers from fellow music producers.

Download: Zen Master (requires subscribing to the Unison Audio newsletter and creating an account)


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About Author

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Fabio is a sound designer, sound engineer, and electronic music producer from Italy. His works can be found under the name HydraTek.


  1. Tomislav Zlatic


    Reading the negative comments on this article, I realize that some people either don’t read the content (apart from the headline) or accept bad language and aggression as the only form of critique.

    Anyone who reads the article above will surely notice that it covers Unison Audio’s negative reputation, provides useful links for readers to learn more about the issue, and even includes a video that exposes Unison Audio’s flaws. This information is provided in the first part of the article, right after the introduction.

    Then the article covers the freeware plugin itself from a neutral standpoint, also mentioning the download process (newsletter subscription requirement). No superlatives are used – the plugin is described quite plainly and compared to similar software.

    Lastly, the article warns the readers to always inform themselves as much as possible when purchasing anything from Unison Audio and other companies.

    The piece doesn’t promote Unison Audio or their new freeware plugin. It’s a news article that puts all the necessary information in one place and ticks all the journalism boxes: accuracy, balance, independence, verification, etc.

    Despite all of the above, the article received several comments accusing BPB of promoting Unison Audio or not putting effort into curating its content. Both claims are completely false, and simply taking two minutes to read the article is enough to realize this.

    I’m trying to understand why this is so and why some people (including an acclaimed plugin developer) would react to the article in such a way. My only conclusions so far are that they either didn’t read the article or only accept aggressive language and public bashing as a form of critique.

    In other words, I think that only posting something along the lines of “f****king scammers [enter whatever company name here] release a piece of s*** plugin, but they can stick it up their a**.” would count as a critique for them.

    Yes, I’m sure that would get some virtual high-fives and social shares, but I don’t want to communicate like that on BPB and never will.

    There is so much negativity online, so much sensationalism, so many YouTube dramas, public bashing on social media, name-calling, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

    I believe in sharing facts (as shown in this article) and treating readers with respect. This includes the tone, language, and the way in which the articles are presented.

    I also believe in being positive towards others, both online and offline, because you never know what someone is going through in their private life.

    I know I’m not the best writer, editor, or music producer in the world. However, I always put extra effort into BPB’s content, and this article is a testament to that.

    You just have to read it.

    • Why the anger?
      If people don’t like Unison (which is completely understandable), don’t read the article and don’t use the plug in.

    • Just want to say… well said, good on you, thank you and much love Tomislav & all at BPB, i really appreciate you guys 🙏😊❤️

      Thanks to BPB i have built a great virtual studio on my computer and wouldn’t have done it so easily without BPB news section over the years.
      To be honest, not everything featured in BPB news interests me, but its still good to be in the know, and well informed which i for one appreciate more than not knowing.

      Looking forward to reading more BPB news in the future.
      Great work guys, keep up your good work as it is very much appreciated by many (even if they don’t leave feedback)
      Many thanks, P 🙏☘️❤️

    • Rafael Oliveira


      Thank you for creating this important content portal for hobbyists and lovers of music production. I’ve never posted comments on the forum, but seeing this letter, I’d like to say that I’m 100% grateful for your dedication to providing us with this content, always keeping us informed about new plugins and free plugin offers from big brands. Thanks to your work, I’ve been listening to more music again and learning more about music production techniques, something I stopped doing years ago because of depression.
      My sincere greetings from Brazil.

    • Scherbenfabrik


      Good statement, and great article, as always.

      Thank you for all the work you did and do with BPB!

      Much love

    • <3 <3 <3 Much love to you guys. Thank you for the (indirect) help over the years. It's amazing how you can help so many individuals without ever meeting even one of them directly (though I'm sure you have met at least one or two by now haha), thanks to human ingenuity. I deeply appreciate everything about what you said here and it's honestly refreshing. With all the negativity it can get really claustrophobic and miserable. Also helps to step outside and walk and breathe to reset a bit! That's something I think when I see the endless strings of ad hominem and strawman-based "debates" online. It's so easy for these people (anyone who's in the digital realm a bit too long, really) to forget about their humanity, and that of the one on the other end of the data stream. Doesn't help that there are botnets galore either, so it can even be hard to tell which comments are indeed typed by a real living human.

      What a world, huh? Thank you for doing what you can to improve the parts you're able to with this website. It's certainly helped light up my life! :) Best wishes to all of you and your loved ones.

      • Tomislav Zlatic


        Hi Mike, thank you for your support and kind words! And, of course, thank you for reading BPB. :)

  2. Thanks for posting the entertaining video!

    And for sure, I was curious and went to the side and found this: “The new Free Lofi Plugin that gives you PRO QUALITY results”!

  3. They should made a button which generate random lofi effects,plus a fancy animation.price with $299 and free for limted time,and I will try.

  4. Unison: Buy my midi pack for $$ that took minutes to make.
    also Unison: Get this plugin that took hours and hours for a dev to make …for FREE!


  5. Wow, just when you think this blog could not stoop any lower, why in the world post this?
    Do you not claim to be for the producer community? This company is the exact opposite of such claim. They don’t need any promotion, if anything, we expected a post warning about them a long time ago. Sure other blogs mentioned this, but they mention EVERYTHING. You guys, on the other hand, claim to only post “selected, curated, relevant things that producers will actually use” (which obviously has stopped being true a long time ago). Such a disappointment to see this supported here

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      If you read the entire article, you will notice that it covers everything about Unison Audio, including its online reputation, online discussions about them, testimonial videos, and more.

      We also explain the download process, that it requires a newsletter subscription and optional social shares if you want more presets.

      We also tested the plugin and explained that it’s not a must-have, but it works, so if someone needs another free lo-fi tool, they can check it out.

      That, to me, is thorough journalism, and it’s exactly how I want BPB to be as its editor and founder.

      • don’t pay attention to the haters, for many this blog is very important, thanks for helping bedroom producers..

        • I would like to concur with Kobraji and think that actually it is good that you have posted this balanced article. Why? Because personally, I have never heard about Unison Audio. But since reading this, watching the vid and generally looking on their website, I have decided to personally stay well away from them and their freebie. THIS ARTICLE has allowed me to come to that decision. Balance is important. Let people make their own minds up. Democracy!

          • Some would even say that is true Anarchy, in other words “You don’t speak for me.” As said by Michael Malice. But to be fair, Democracy is probably the word that would come to most minds because of how public education taught us.

            Never thought I’d be saying this in a music blog. But to my mind it’s relevant, since you are pointing to the principle of freedom of thought and expression. Your brief anecdote here is a perfect example of why the approach taken by a website like this is pretty much ideal for journalism in general. It’s free of brain rot and it’s free of condescension.

            Thank you for existing, and I hope your journey in life has been, and will continue to be, fruitful and fulfilling. :)

      • Hi Tomislav,

        Looking at your answer to the previous comment (MIKEMOZAIK) I understand your intentions, and I respect that. I appreciate the work that BPB does, and I check it regularly.

        I guess my point is that considering the huge amount of free plugins nowadays, I would *prefer* that there was a higher threshold regarding what plugins to present (as in not presenting a plugin that has no contribution to the current landscape of free plugins), but on reflection it seems that apart from quality issues, this may also have a fair dose of personal preference.

        • TM: not everything following is for you, but your comment inspired it all. Yeah, it’s -YOUR- fault, mwahahaha! >:)

          While I agree on the general sentiment, I -must- emphasize a problem with it.

          To each his own.

          We all have biases. Whether we realize it or not. And you might prefer a big plugin that does everything, and wait for the next one that has everything +1. But it might never come. So why not bite the bullet and use parts you like of two plugins that compliment each other? Yeah, I know, it’s not perfect.

          We live in an imperfect world. Civilization has only a few thousand years behind it. The tools we currently have didn’t exist for a fraction of that.

          Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a simplistic “be grateful for what you have” speech that ends up in cheap mysticism. I hate those with a passion! ;-)
          Nah, on the contrary, ask for more, always.

          Again, I see you, there, in the back. Asking is not demanding. It’s a suggestion. Presenting arguments to convince people is the way to go. Expect to fail, it’s fine.

          Where was I? Ah, right. Did I like all the features on this plugin, maybe not. But some of it I might use. Parts of another. Because they all have different goals, and neither have mine. We all get inspiration from various sources. Why can’t it be different plugins? :P

          TLDR: Yes, it’s really too long, I know. Read it all if you dare! Enjoy anyways.
          If you want to skip that plugin, I really liked Linda’s Instavibe a few days ago which also has a nice tape/vinyl section and totally missed commenting on it before. Duh! Bad mrg, bad.

      • It really is. I just spent some time with it, it’s a decent plugin, it has some nice effects. I liked the Ascend fx most, because I’m not sure what it does. ;) My only complaint would be the fact that the noise (the white, vinyl, or crackle noise) section is always before the filter, it would be nice to be able to have it after also.

        Some quirks, the electrify/noise/ascend sections reset to 100% when double-clicking them, instead of the expected 0%, so beware on that. Not that it suddenly adds 24dB, but…
        The plugin (at least the VST3) exposes automation controls to what looks like a compressor/limiter that might or not be present. As it might be a bug, I didn’t play with them just in case it renders me deaf. More investigation is needed there. …Where the hell are my earplugs? ;-)

        Anywho, if you think this plugin might be in your ballpark, don’t pass it by just because reasons…

  6. VirusTotal gave a 2/71 score to the Windows installer.

    Should we be worried or these are just false positives?

  7. Hey, BBP writers! Don’t let it get you down. That’s just journalism, which everyone has to endure. You have already given me so many great hours that I could never be angry with you.

    Things that don’t turn me on at all because of the introduction I leave unread and forgotten. For example, I no longer react to plug-ins that are not available for at least three platforms (Linux, Mac and Win).

    So, thanks again for everything!

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Jacques Prestreau


    A big fuss about nothing.

    So many words by people who didn’t read correctly the article…

    So much stress, concern, anger over something that is not actually very important and which will be forgotten just a few hours later…

    I refuse to enter such vain discussions which are only the reflect of passions. There are things much more important happening in the world.

    Then I’ll just say ONE thing: Tomislav you have all my support for all the long and patient and free work you daily offer to us. Period.

    OM Shanti. Peace and love from and to everybody.


  9. I personally dislike Unison for what I consider to be predatory marketing tactics aimed at (I assume) young people or beginners who don’t know any better.

    That said I greatly appreciate the fair & balanced review of a Unison product as a contrast to the number of paid (sponsored) reviews they normally have for their products.

    We should want/support/encourage/demand integrity in journalism rather than criticize it, as it is becoming increasingly rare.

    Keep up the great work Tomislav!

    • Especially since negativity towards complete information has the the counter effect of journalists not giving you all the facts, just to avoid the possible poopstorm that might follow.

      Forget purity, forget perfection, they’re not of this world, the one we’re in. Yes, everything is fluid, a shade of grey, on a spectrum, including the thing you really really don’t want it to be. Whatever it is, today. Sorry. :D

  10. I really appreciate your work and I especially like the style of writing. Explaining the plugins objectively and giving me a good impression what to expect. So – for me – just keep on going just in the same way. I really have learned a lot from this blog.

  11. Long time supporter, first time commenter – I want to thank you not only for providing so much brilliant audio software and information over the years, but for the fantastic integrity in reporting that you uphold. There is a great journalistic merit in reporting something like this despite the negative public perception of Unison Audio, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of their reputation while still explaining the tools that they offer and the potential that those tools could provide. Your response to the community backlash was well-stated and concise. The emphasis on transparency, respect, and compassion instead of anger, name calling, and sensationalism is exactly why I and so many others love your website.

    That, and the astounding number of great articles and tools you have shared with us of course!

  12. It takes a special kind of person to complain about a free product, presented on a free informational website! I mean, how entitled must you be to write some of these comments? It’s pathetic.

    Tomasz does a great job on this site, grow up and have some respect.

  13. this plugin is actually pretty good. I’m wondering if after all the heat has anyone tried using it as a limiter like without the other effects active. I find the limiter part of this thing to be robust lol. thanks Tom

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