The 10 VST Plugins you Must Own as an Electronic Music Producer

Let’s talk about plugins?? It comes that time of the year when the sales are rocking high and I could not leave them pass by without showing them to you as well. You can watch these plugins in action in the video below, and these are the plugins we’ll talk about today

  1. Limiters
  2. Compressors
  3. EQs
  4. Saturators
  5. Synths
  6. Pianos
  7. Sidechain
  8. Wideness
  9. Resonance Suppressors
  10. Audio Repair (Vocal Repair)

DisclaimerI’m only posting about them because I love themI’m not being sponsored by any of these plugins to advertise them, but some of these are affiliate links, which won’t harm your purchase and will give this website extra support.

Limiters

My favorite limiter is the Ozone 9 Maximizer from iZotope. I use it in all my tracks, as I mention in this video and in this post, and I LOVE IT. I’ve tested several plugins, but, honestly, this is the one that I’ve gotten the cleanest results so far.

If you want to get Ozone, but you don’t want to spend that much right now, check the Community Appreciation Bundle, which features the Ozone Elements version, which is slightly limited, and 10 other plugins from iZotope


Compressors

I’ve listed two plugins in my compressors list. The first is The Glue from Cytomic.

The Glue is an amazing plugin for bus compression and I use it in ALL my master chains, as you can see it in the video below:

The second plugin is from Fabfilter and it’s the Pro-C 2. I really like this compressor because of how clean it sounds and how visual it is. Currently, I’m using it anytime I need to compress a single element and I use the presets that it offers a LOT as well. If you don’t have it yet, grab it over here.


EQs

This category is a no-brainer to me. The Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 is by far the best EQ out there in the market, not only because it’s super clean, but also because it comes with a lot of features. With it, you can:

  • Have as many handles as you want;
  • Perform EQ Matching, as shown in this video and talked about in this post and in this post;
  • Use dynamic EQing, essentially using it as a compressor.
  • Apply Linear Phase EQing;
  • Do “brickwall” low cuts.

Saturators

I love the Soundtoys Decapitator and the Fabfilter Saturn 2!

Decapitator

Starting with the Soundtoys Decapitator, I just love how it sounds and how harsh you can be with it. It comes with 5 modules and with a “Punish” button in which you can intensify the effect of the plugin. Currently, it’s selling for $49 USD, but this sale goes until June 9th, so hurry up. If you want to go big and get the full bundle, you can check this link and get Echoboy, Crystalizer, Little Alterboy, and a bunch of other amazing effects plugins

Second, the Fabfilter Saturn 2 is another amazing plugin that I really love, especially because of the presets. I must admit that I don’t tweak here as much as I tweak Soundtoys, but that’s because the presets are AMAZING. The Saturn 2 was recently introduced by Fabfilter and it was an instant upgrade to me because I already loved the first version of it. Check the showcase below:

And if you want to get all three plugins from Fabfilter, consider getting a bundle, as you’ll be able to pay less for them combined that all three alone.


Synths

My favorite synth is XFER SERUM. I love it so much that I even made a pack for it, that you can grab it right here.

In my sound design tutorials, I only use Serum because it is the most versatile VST money can buy and it just sounds amazing.

Especially if you’re into complex sound design, Serum will be a game changer to your music production because not only it features wavetable and fm synthesis, but you can also import your own wavetables and noises to the plugin, creating even more unique sounds.

An alternative, if you don’t want to spend that much, is getting Vital, which is FREE. However, since it’s free, it doesn’t have any presets and there aren’t many tutorials on Vital as well.


Pianos

The TruePianos from 4Front is an amazing piano!

Not only it sounds incredible, but it’s also the cheapest piano you’ll find for what it offers. I’ve tested it against the XLN Addictive Keys, the Arturia Piano V2, Kontakt from Native Instruments, and honestly, is the best bang for your buck. You can watch my description of the Truepianos in the video below:


Sidechain

For years, I’ve used the Xfer LFOTOOL because it was so simple that I loved it, but now I’m starting to move and recommend the Shaperbox Bundle from Cableguys, which comes with Volumeshaper (you can also get it alone here).

The reason why I’m recommending VolumeShaper over LFOTOOL is because it has more features and it looks more modern. For example, you can split the sidechain in different bands, which can come in handy when sidechaining the low end and mid lows of a bass differently. Not only this, but the Volumeshaper is also 16 USD cheaper than LFOTOOL… a no-brainer to me.


Wideness

To make stuff wider, you have a couple options.

If you don’t want to buy plugins, you can definitely use Wider or the Haas Effect. Wider is a free plugin from Polyverse and it’s amazingly good and easy to use. Not only this, but it also maintains the mono frequencies of your elements intact, something that the Haas effect messes up, as you can see in the video below:

However, when we’re talking about vocals, my recommendation is the Soundtoys Microshift, which is currently on sale for $29 USD until June 9th, 2021, i.e., $100 USD OFF. It just makes the vocals so smooth and open up the space you need for the main vocals to shine through, so definitely recommended, especially on background vocals.


Resonance Supressors

Last year, when I talked about plugins, I was considering buying Soothe2, and I did. Wow!

This plugin is so amazing that I can stress enough how much you should Oeksound Soothe2. What makes it so especial to me is that it does resonance suppression dynamically in frequency and volume, something that you can never achieve by yourself. I tried doing this with the Fabfilter Pro-Q 3, shown above, but it’s impossible.

Therefore, if you don’t yet have Soothe2, go check it it out because it’s truly a game changer.


Audio Repair (Vocal Repair)

Coming to out last category, the one and only plugin for Audio Repair and, specifically Vocal Repair, is iZotope RX 8.

The RX 8 is a full featured standalone app and vst for audio repair and highly used among podcasters, youtubers, including myself, and audio editors. Not only this, but you can repair a lot of vocals from background noise and/or sibilances with this tool.

The Vocal De-Noise, available in the RX Elements that you can get for $49 usd here, works amazingly if you want to clean your vocals from background. The song Take Me Away, released on Elliptical Sun Recordings, for example, had a lot of noise in the vocals and we had to clean it quite a bit, all made possible with this tool.

In addition, we also used the De-Ess module, which helps prevents sibilances. I used to use the Fabfilter Pro-DS for this, but recently I’ve gotten better results with the iZotope module. The De-Ess module, however, is only available in the Standard version of iZotope RX, but I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with it.

———————


Now it’s your turn

There you have it: my list of essential plugins that you need to own as a music producer

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which plugin from this list are you going to get first?

Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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