Techno could save the world, say some people in the underground techno & club scene. While it’s largely apparent that techno has evolved over the course of the past two decades, it’s now become a global phenomenon and a widely loved genre of music. Read more to learn about melodic techno and best plugins for melodic techno.
In the vast spectrum of techno music, melodic techno is perhaps an amalgamation of some of the most popular aspects of the broader genre. You have the drums and percussion that borrow from minimal tech and the melodies and progressions of trance.
If you’re starting out trying to produce melodic techno your choice of plugins could define how your mix & tracks eventually sound. Here is a list of the 10 best plugins for melodic techno that are sure to make your workflow and sound better and even more appealing, banging, on-point, and creative.
Synapse Audio Dune 3
Synapse Audio’s Dune 3 is perhaps an essential techno/trance synth that’s just so power packed with presets and features that can get your sound really kicking and evolving. Especially for melodic techno which needs arps and progressions that are unique and interesting, Dune 3 has some formidable sounds available.
And it doesn’t stop with just arps, pads, and leads, its preset bank has got some thumping drums and bass, and sequencer sounds as well which make it a complete package. But perhaps a critical feature of Dune 3 is that it has 3 oscillators (virtual analog, wavetable, and FM frequency modulation) in the left top corner along with 10 tuning modes for the waveforms. With all its features, Dune 3 offers lots of room for creativity, especially for melodic techno production.
- Full version with over 1000+ patches
- Virtual Analog, Wavetable and FM Synthesis
- Extensive Wavetable Editor
- Two oscillator stacks with 32 oscillators each
- Third oscillator and white/pink noise generator
- 8x Unison = up to 520 oscillators per note!
- Dual filter with Balance and serial/parallel routing
- Analog-modeled zero-delay feedback filters
- Four graphical envelopes (MSEG)
- Three low-frequency oscillators (LFO)
- Two Master FX busses
- Dual Arpeggiator
Arturia Pigments 4
Arturia’s Pigments 4 is right up there with the best digital synths available in the market today. It’s also a very powerful softsynth & has an excellently designed, evocative interface that’s easy on the eye while also ensuring depth and functionality. If you’re looking for subtler and organic sounds, and granular synthesis & the ability to easily create patches for your melodic techno needs, Pigments 4 is a complete solution. With two sound engines – wavetable and virtual analog followed with four synthesis engines Analog, Wavetable, Sample, and Harmonic, Pigments 4 is a versatile and exceptional synth VST to buy.
- More than 1300 presets
- Complex wavetable engine with morphing and import
- Virtual analog engine with 3 oscillators per voice and multiple waveforms
- Granular synth engine
- Two filter modules with 10 filter types
- Polyrhythmic Sequencer and Arpeggiator
- CrossMod for extreme modulations
- Industry-grade FX
Reveal Sound – Spire
In-spire(ing) that’s Reveal Sound’s Spire synth in a nutshell. But bad wordplays aside, Spire is a perfect end-to-end polyphonic synth for melodic techno production. It’s a powerful synth with over 1000+ presets, and four oscillators with the modes – Classic, Noise, FM or Hard FM, AMSync, and SawPWM. It’s lush in analog-sounding arps, sequences & drums & leads, pads, & basses, which are ideal for pushing your melodic techno sound.
- Over 1000 presets
- 4 types of multimode polymorphing oscillators
- Compelling unison engine with 9 voices per oscillator
- 4 macros, LFOs & envelopes
- Arpeggiator & step sequencer
- Multiband compressor
Dawesome Tracktion Novum
Another granular synth that rivals Arturia’s Pigments and perhaps is designed similarly to it, especially in its look & feel when it comes to UI, Novum is an excellent VST for melodic techno production. While its patch bank is on the lower side with only about 300 factory patches, it’s still a very powerful synth that is great for working with samples and can provide ambient & evolving background textures for your melodic techno needs.
- 300+ factory patches
- Granular Synthesis with up to 6 layers.
- Unique algorithm breaks samples into layers.
- Disentangled editing of timbre and temporal evolution.
- Timbre flower allows spectral modification of timbres.
- Cross synthesis via drag and drop
- Advanced subtractive with SYNTIFY, analog filter, and comb filter.
- Powerful and intuitive modulation system.
- Full MPE support.
- Highly optimised for CPU efficiency
U-he Hive 2
U-he are well known for their widely popular synths. They continue to push their design and functionality and are a staple for most producers. Hive 2 is a synth with lush warm analog sounds & great functionality. Hive 2’s preset bank is perhaps one of the most vast patch banks out of all the synths on this list, boasting over 2400 presets. If you dabble through the patches, & the synth’s capabilities, there’s a lot of room for tweaking and creating unique sounds for your melodic techno mix.
- 2400+ factory presets
- 2 oscillators with standard waveforms or 2D wavetables, up to 16x unison, tunable sub-oscillators
- 12 x 2 modulation matrix slots with modifiers for curvature, rectification, quantization, sample & hold, slew rate
- 4 user-definable XY control pads
- Unique 8-step shape sequencer with 4 independent outputs
- Arpeggiator, step sequencer with real-time recording
- 2 function generators which can serve as extra envelopes, gate generators, LFOs, slew limiters
- 7 rearrangeable effects: distortion, chorus, delay, phaser, EQ, reverb, compressor
Xfer Records – Serum
Xfer Records’ Serum perhaps needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular wavetable synths available in the market and has been an industry standard for several years now. For any kind of electronic music production, Serum is the go-to synth for producers & there are thousands of custom-designed Serum presets available on a plethora of websites like Splice, Cymatics & others, that make your use of the VST easier. Serum comes with over factory 450 presets & 144 wavetables which is slightly on the lower side, but in terms of its functionality, sound design, & popularity it is unmatched.
- Over 450+ presets and 144 wavetables
- Oscillators with extensive modulation capabilities
- Customizable user wavetables to make samples into synth oscillators
- Drag and drop functions for modulation connections
- Wavetable warping capable of FM synthesis
- Unison settings with 16 voices of tuning per oscillator
U-vi Falcon is an essential hybrid synth that acts as a synth as well as a sampler. Falcon is very in-depth and feature-packed with cutting-edge oscillators, effects, modulators, granular synthesis, and event processors all packaged in one instrument. Falcon enables rich sound design and the tweaking of sounds from basic sample slicing to elaborate synth design which leaves a lot of room for experimentation for your melodic techno sound.
- Over 1200 presets
- Nearly 500 wavetables
- 17 oscillators, 100+ effects, modulation sources,
- MIDI processors with scripting in an expansive semi-modular sound design environment
- Advanced sample engine with timestretch, pitch-shift, slicing and granular
- Pure synthesis with subtractive, PM, FM, wavetable, additive and physical modeling
Diva is another essential plugin from U-he. Diva, as explained in this review, is a very feature-rich and powerful synth modeled on actual hardware synths like Moog’s Minimoog, Alpha Juno, Roland’s Jupiter & the Korg MS20. For your melodic techno production, it could be a great idea to have a synth that actually mimics hardware synths giving your mix a vintage and warm sound. Diva is an award-winning synth that’s almost like having the actual hardware at your disposal.
- Over 1200 factory presets
- Warm analogue sound
- Mix-and-match panels for custom layouts
- Per-voice oscillator detune and user-definable modulation source
- Zero delay feedback (ZDF) filter design for authentic resonance behaviour
- 3 ADS(S)R envelope models based on classic synth hardware with keyboard follow and velocity scaling
- 5 oscillators models based on classic synth hardware
- 5 filter models based on classic synth hardware
- 2 host-syncable LFOs with multiple waveforms, restart options and phase controls
- 2 stereo effects slots, each with chorus (3 modes), phaser (2 modes), plate reverb, delay, rotary speaker
Wave Alchemy Bassynth
When it comes to giving your melodic techno production some interesting & progressive basslines with the movement you require, Wave Alchemy’s Bassynth is perhaps the best and most easy-to-use dedicated bass-centric VST. It’s a one-stop solution for all your bass needs, to make your melodic techno basslines(which are often the heart of a great techno track) even more bouncing and groovy. It’s got great simplified UI and is filled with unique bass sounds, however, Bassynth works within Native Instruments’ Kontakt, i.e. as a Kontakt instrument, so you’ll need to have Kontakt installed.
- Over 300 presets
- 4-layer, multi-sample bass design
- 11GB of 800+ sounds
- Analogue synths, live instruments and Foley
- Wavetable engine with over 200 wavetables
- Filters & modulation
- Over 40+ effects
- 8 macros and a very responsive X/Y pad
- A 32-step Motion Designer
FabFilter Pro Q3
EQ-ing is an essential part of the music production process for your sound and final mix. Whether it’s the lows, mids, or highs that you want to tweak and adjust to make your mix sound better, ranging from the drums to all other instrumentation, Fabfilter’s Pro-Q3 is an industry-standard and a must-have plugin used by artists across the spectrum. While stock EQs may seem like a simpler option, Pro Q3 is rather powerful & intuitive and really pushes your EQ-ing to make your sound much more rich, so it’s a must-have plugin for your sound processing.
- Up to 24 EQ bands
- Optional Dynamic EQ mode for all bands (Bell and Shelf shapes), using any slope setting and with perfect analog matching, with optional external side chain triggering
- Band controls. Dynamic EQ.
- Solo. Full Screen mode, resizing, and scaling.
- ‘Brickwall’ slope setting for LP and HP filters
- Per-band mid/side or left/right processing, to EQ the mid, side, left or right signals separately
- Piano display. Stereo options.
- Surround and Dolby Atmos. Processing mode.
- Spectrum analyzer. EQ Match.
- Spectrum Grab. Output options
- Operates in zero latency mode, linear phase mode with adjustable latency or the unique Natural Phase mode
- MIDI learn. Undo, redo, A/B switch.
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