5 Best Plugins for All EDM Producers

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To the point. Crisp. Informative. That’s what this article is. EDM producers have numerous plugin options to choose from to aid them throughout the various aspects of music production. The list below consists of the 5 best plugins that are hand-picked to suit the needs of EDM producers across a plethora of such aspects.

These plugins will definitely help you, as a producer, up your game while making your workflow efficient and your output immaculate.

So hold tight and hope you enjoy the read!

1. SERUM

Serum is one of, if not, the most powerful and widely used synthesis plugins. It is a sound synthesizing plugin, which means it helps you ‘create’ sounds. 

Image Credits: Xfer Records | https://xferrecords.com/

WHY IS SERUM ON THIS LIST? 

  • Serum is a plugin with a fairly simple learning curve compared to other plugins of the ‘Synthesis’ category. It relies on real-time visual cues that help you understand what exactly is happening to the sound. Its ‘Drag and Drop’ features also make using the plugin a comparatively easy experience. 
  • Serum comes with FOUR oscillators and comes loaded with 144 wavetables and 450 presets. You also have the option to download and run any compatible preset available on the web.
  •  As far as effects go, Serum comes with 10 different effects such as EQ, reverb, delay, compressor, distortion, flanger, phaser, chorus, filter and hyper/dimension.
  • It is a perfect combination of a simple UI and powerful functionality.
  • Serum can also run the LFO tool presets. This opens up doors to endless possibilities with regards to synthesizing bass, saws and super saws which are vital aspects of EDM music.

PRICING:

  • Serum is available on the Xfer records website for $189.
  • It is also available on Splice for $9.99 per month for 19 months ( IT IS usable during this time period ) after which you will own the plugin permanently.

Serum is one of the most widely used synthesis plugins and rightly so. The flexibility it provides to you as an EDM producer is virtually invaluable. This is definitely a plugin that must be added to every EDM producer’s arsenal.

2. OTT

Another Xfer records staple is the OTT plugin. Splice describes it as a re-creation of an aggressive upward/downward compressor set-up used by many dubstep and EDM producers.

If your sounds require a bit more ‘oomph’ and need to tear through the mix a little more, OTT is your solution. 

Xfer Records OTT
Image Credits: Xfer Records | https://xferrecords.com/

WHY IS OTT ON THIS LIST?

  • The principle on which OTT works is that it pushes the loudest parts of your sound down while pushing the quietest parts up in volume resulting in a highly ‘squashed’ sound.
  • Say you have synthesized a bass for your EDM track through Serum but you’re just not able to get it to sound right. It sounds bleak and is not pushing through the mix as much as you would like it to. OTT ( Over-The-Top compression ) fixes this issue for you by pumping up the sound dynamics. 
  • This plugin can also be used on atmospheric sounds and strings, saws, etc. It greatly enhances them, makes them sound ‘fuller’ or ‘bigger’ and helps them be a little more present through the mix. 
  • Using this plugin is also a piece of cake, 99% of the time you’ll just need to play with the ‘Depth’ knob to achieve the desired output. 
Image Credits: Ableton | https://www.ableton.com/

Read this next: 10 Best Plugins For Melodic Techno

PRICING:

OTT is a free plugin which can be downloaded from Splice as well as the Xfer records website.

3. SITALA

Are you someone who uses FL Studios, Pro tools or any other DAW apart from Ableton and have been searching for an alternative to Ableton’s ‘Drum Rack’? Well, look no further! 

Sitala is a standalone plugin that lets you create your own drum kits from your own sound collection. It is a drum sampler which comes with 16 pads!

Image Credits: Decomposer | https://decomposer.de/

WHY IS SITALA ON THIS LIST?

  • Sitala’s ‘value-add’ lies in its simplicity. It quickens your workflow without any compromise on audio quality.
  • Allows you to make your own personalized drum kits which you can open at the click of a button.
  • Provides you with 6 knobs that can be used to manipulate each audio sample separately. The control parameters include: Shape, tuning, pan, volume, tone and compression. 
  • Each drum kit can hold a maximum of 16 audio samples and allows ‘drag and drop sound management’. 
  • It also acts as a beat slicer identifying individual hits that can be assigned to any pad in the plugin. 
  • It allows MIDI mapping and comes with a built-in File Browser. These attributes help you customize it as per your liking and systemize your drum kits. 

PRICING:

Sitala is a free plugin and can be downloaded from decomposer.de and other online plugin vendors.

4. TRANSIENT MASTER

Drums and percussive elements are what help set the bounce of the track. They also play a huge role in how we, as listeners, perceive it. Therefore, it is safe to say that they are one of the most important aspects of a track and need to be mixed and mastered perfectly to bring about the most out of the track. Transient Master helps you do just that!

Transient Master
Image Credits: Native Instruments | https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/effects/transient-master/

WHY IS TRANSIENT MASTER ON THIS LIST?

  • Transient Master is an extremely powerful tool that helps you manipulate transients of percussive elements. Transients are found at the onset of percussive sounds which dictate the character and brightness of the sound and affect how the sound is perceived. 
  • The plugin also lets you manipulate the perceived distance of the sound. Using this plugin, you can place the sound/sounds as far as you want in the mix that effectively alters its perceived distance. 
  • Transient Master can be used on the drums to establish their presence in a mix. It can also be used on single drum sounds like the snare drum or the kick drum. 
  • The plugin can also be used on instruments with a percussive onset such as guitars,etc.
Transient Master 2
Image Credits: Native Instruments | https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/effects/transient-master/

PRICING:

Transient Master is available on the Native Instruments website for $49.00. At the time of writing this article, it is on sale for $24.50.

5. REFERENCE

POV: You just got done making a track and are super excited. You start the mixing and mastering process. You have an idea about how you want your track to sound in your mind. You put in hours and hours of effort but in vain. The track isn’t sounding the way you envisioned it would, you just don’t know where you are faltering and having an ‘idea’ in your mind is not helping you. Enter Reference by Masteringthemix.

Reference 2
Image Credits: Mastering The Mix | https://www.masteringthemix.com/products/reference

WHY IS REFERENCE ON THIS LIST?

  • Reference helps you switch between your track ( original ) and any reference track of your choosing and gives you an accurate idea about what your track is missing.
  • It shows a real time comparison of the EQ spectrum of the tracks and helps you figure out which frequency band needs to be boosted or quietened. 
  • Reference gives you a lot of flexibility with regards to switching back and forth between tracks and helps you pin-point where exactly it is where your track is lacking.

PRICING:

Reference is available on the Masterthemix website for $49.00. At the time of writing this article, it is on sale for $34.30. 

Read this next: Top 5 Melodic Techno Sample Packs

The list that I have put together is purely based on my opinion of the essentials required by an EDM producer in today’s day and age. I hope this article has helped you in any way possible and has at least shown you one new plugin that you can add to your arsenal.

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