Top 5 Plugins For Electronic Music Producers

Electronic music has become incredibly popular around the world in the last decade. With electronic music producers responsible for producing some of the world’s most significant pop records, more individuals are seeking to create their own music in the genre than ever before. 

To accomplish this, a producer needs a suite of high-quality plugins suitable for the electronic dance music style. Having a great set of plugins is crucial to producing high-quality electronic music. However, the issue is not knowing which plugins are “high quality” or suitable for the genre. 

In the past, certain hardware was used on specific elements in a track because they sounded good and ultimately became known for how they would transform the tone of said element within the track. The same goes for electronic music

There are some plugins that sound great on a dance music kick drum and some that just don’t. We’re here to help you navigate the plugin landscape and help you choose the tools you’ll need to create a professional-sounding production. 

Picking just five plugins to make a top 5 plugin list for electronic music is challenging. There are a lot of variables to consider. However, with the following list, you should be able to produce and mix a quality record with industry-standard sound. 

Top 5 Plugins For Electronic Music Producers 

1. Serum 

Serum by Xfer is one of the most popular and powerful wavetable plugins on the market. This virtual synthesizer is used to create a wide range of sounds throughout any genre of electronic music. Wavetable synthesizers allow users to manipulate and blend multiple waveforms to generate any sound the brain can think of. 

The plugin consists of two oscillators you can blend while also allowing you to choose AM, FM, and ring modulation as additional processing options. The filter section has an intense selection of filters from your traditional low pass and high pass, allowing the user to draw in custom shapes directly on the synth’s filter section. 

Serum also has top-tier effects built right into the user-friendly interface. Do you need a hard distortion? No problem! A deep chorus followed by a lush reverb, it can do that too. Serum is a powerhouse of a plugin at a relatively affordable price. This is a virtual synthesizer that every producer should own in their library. 

2. Izotope Ozone 9 

Izotope Ozone 9 is a mastering plugin that can provide an all-in-one solution for mastering your track. The plugin comprises audio effect units such as EQs, compressors, stereo shapers, and limiters. This plugin is used by beginners to professionals to achieve a professional sound and output level. 

One of the latest features of Ozone 9 is the AI-powered Master Assistant. This analyzes your tracks and, in real-time, will provide suggestions for the processing and balancing of your mix. This makes it easier for producers to achieve a professional sound without spending considerable time “tweaking” a mix, only to find out that when you bring the high hats down, the clap is now too loud. 

3. Valhalla Room

This is one of my absolute favorite reverb plugins on the market, and for $50 USD, it’s an absolute steal of a deal. The Valhalla Room is a reverb plugin known for its high-quality natural-sounding reverb. 

This plugin works well on every element in your tracks, from vocals to drums. The plugin has one of the best user interfaces that allows you to easily dial in a reverb from a small room with a quick delay to the largest cathedral you could imagine. 

If you want to expand your plugin library and are unhappy with the stock reverb in your DAW, I highly recommend purchasing Valhalla Room. The company has numerous other reverb plugins available, as well. They also offer a free plugin called Super Massive which you can download for free any time! 

4. FabFilter Pro-Q3 

The company Fabfilter makes some of the highest-quality plugins on the market. In all honesty, I recommend picking up their entire suit, but for this blog, I’ll stick to recommending their state-of-the-art dynamic eq the Pro-Q3

This equalizer plugin has become a favorite among producers in every genre. Fabfilter is known for its friendly user interface that has a robust amount of features under the hood. The Pro-Q3 is perfect for sculpting sounds with the highest precision. 

Not only is this an eq, but it’s also actually a dynamic eq. This means the producer can create EQ curves that will respond to the frequencies in the bands selected. It’s essentially an EQ with a compressor built into each of the bands you create. This means you can create changes to the mix without affecting the overall dynamics of the track in a destructive fashion. Upon that, the large built-in spectrum analyzer provides real-time visual feedback making it easy to spot a problem in mix easily. 

5. Native Instruments Kontakt

The company Native Instruments has been a staple in the music creation industry for a considerable time. They manufacture both hardware and software for the modern musician. Kontakt is a plugin found in almost every producer’s arsenal. 

Kontakt is a software sampler plugin allowing users to create and manipulate virtual instruments. Not only does the plugin come with the factory library that will aid you in creating electronic dance music, but it can also run plugins that other companies have created. 

The sound library contains high-quality sampled instruments from classic synths to a full orchestra. It also allows users to import their own samples to play and save as virtual instruments.   

Summing It Up

It’s easy to get carried away with the number of plugins on the market today, especially with subscription models on the rise. Many new producers get plugin fever thinking a new plugin will improve their productions. In reality, this is not the case. 

I advise learning the plugins that come with your software first. You’ll be surprised how good stock plugins are. After getting your bearings and truly knowing what you’re missing, then look at third-party plugins. 

It’s essential to use a plugin to its full potential. When you purchase a new plugin, learning everything you can do with it before buying another is important. 

Serum, the first plugin mentioned on this list, can be manipulated to create pretty much any sound you can think of, so having four similar plugins isn’t going to make you a better producer, but understanding how and why they do the things they do absolutely will make you better.

And always remember why you started making electronic dance music, or any music for that matter; it’s something you enjoy doing! Keep practicing, put in the time, and study up. This is only the start!

If you are interested in a career in the music industry, Dark Horse Institute’s music programs: Composition and Songwriting, Audio Engineering, or Music Business, are a great way to take things to the next level!

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