10 Must-Have VST Plugins For EDM Producers in 2021
When you’ve been producing music for over 10 years like I have, you’ll inevitably see plugins come and go. The DAW stock plugins are nice, but they don’t really give you the sounds you need to stand out in the crowded world of EDM. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 VST plugins for 2021. Each and every one of these plugins will make your music sound more powerful, unique, and exciting.
The uncontested #1 synth in electronic music is without a doubt Xfer Serum. Used by Kygo, deadmau5, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, and many more, this wavetable synthesizer is something every electronic music producer needs in their arsenal to produce professional sounding tracks.
While its design may seem a little complex at first glance, especially to new producers, it’s actually really simple once you get the hang of it. And thanks to the enormous user-base, there’s a vast amount of resources available online. Whether you want tutorials on how to create your own sounds or you want to buy pre-made sound banks, the possible sounds you can make with Serum are endless.
Do you want to give your sounds a more retro vibe? When you run your sounds through RC-20, it’ll make it sound like it was filtered through a vintage tape recorder. Not only does this give your stock sounds more texture, but it’ll also make your music sound more unique as a whole. Some notable musicians that use this plugin are FINNEAS, San Holo, Ariana Grande, Mesto, and Bad Snacks.
Note: Keeping your sound unique is what’ll help your music stand out from the crowd, allowing you to catch and hold your listener’s attention.
What if I told you there was a plugin that could instantly make your drums hit harder, drops sound fuller, and chords more emotional? Well, good news, it exists. And even better news, it’s free.
Xfer OTT is an incredibly simple upward and downward compressor with unmatched capabilities. With a turn of a knob, you can instantly transform flat and weak sounds into powerful, hard-hitting sounds that shoot life into any song you’re working on. That’s why almost every top DJ in the world keeps this plugin handy on their toolbelt and you should too.
Just like every chef needs a sharp knife, every EDM producer needs a quality delay. Luckily, Valhalla Supermassive fills that need perfectly. Whether you want to create complex soundscapes or shimmering reverbs Valhalla Supermassive has got you covered.
Originally a homage to the digital reverb hardware of the ’70s and ’80s, Valhalla VintageVerb has become the current standard for creating epic reverbs on your tracks. Producers like Illenium, KSHMR, Kendrick Lamar, and Disclosure are just a few of the big names that utilize this plugin on their tracks. Trust me, this is not a plugin you want to be caught sleeping on.
What if you could have a talented producer giving you mastering suggestions on every one of your songs? In a nutshell, that’s what Ozone 9 does. Using AI, this plugin streamlines the mastering workflow, all while giving you suggestions based on what you’re going for. And in the end, you’re left with a clean, loud, and professional-sounding song ready for release. Used by multiple GRAMMY-Winning producers, this VST stands alone as the best mastering plugin out there.
Keyscape is an incredibly versatile piano plugin that’ll give you the urge to delete your stock piano. 10 years in the making, the developers at Keyscape took their time, hoping to create something truly special--and they did. You have the option to choose between 36 deeply-sampled classic instruments or create your own unique hybrid sound with a duet. Whatever the case may be, there’s more than enough to make any keyboard player giddy. With this high-quality plugin, you’ll be able to inject authentic, compelling, and warm sounding notes into your production that you can’t get anywhere else.
When it comes to distortion plugins Output Thermal brings the heat. With its massive library of 250+ pre-sets, 9 built-in FX, and its intuitive XY distortion control parameters this plugin easily beats out all of the competition. When you add Output Thermal to your repertoire, you’ll be able to quickly find a distortion setting that uniquely matches the vibe you’re going for. With the wealth of possibilities it offers you, Output Thermal makes it easy to find the perfect sound for your production in just a few clicks.
Taking the production world by storm, soothe2 is there to take your recordings to the next level. Whether you’re recording vocals, instrumentals, or trying to clean up someone else’s, this VST makes it quick and easy to do it right. This resonance suppressor uses incredibly designed AI to filter harsh frequencies commonly residing in any digital recording in just seconds, leaving you with an incredibly smooth and studio-quality recording. So if you’re looking to record your own audio and you’re not in a professional studio, Soothe2 is a plug-in you can’t pass up.
Every one of the VST plugins listed above can help you instantly improve the sound of your tracks, but plugins can’t create the track for you.
If you’re interested in learning how to build an EDM song from the ground up, check out my EDM Bootcamp. In this 6-week course, I’ll reveal the tips and tricks EDM’s biggest artists use to create their tracks from scratch. Not to mention, when you sign up, you’ll get immediate lifetime access to our exclusive community slack channel with over 400 producers. Once you’re in, you’ll receive unlimited feedback on your tracks, tips from experienced producers, and unique networking opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, click here for more information.