This article will explore the best plugins to use when producing Hardcore genres like Doomcore, Breakcore, Terrorcode, UK Hardcore and Happy Hardcore.
Hardcore is a style of music that originated in Europe in the early 1990s. Its signature characteristics are faster tempos ranging from 160 to 200 BPM, long distorted kick drums, experimentation, distortion, and sound design prowess.
This list includes the best plugins to use when producing any Hardcore music genre. Whether you need distorted tuned kicks, crushing lead synths, textural pads, or complex bass sounds, this list will help you get the sound you’re after.
Top 10 VST Hardcore Plugins 2023 (Doomcore, Breakcore, Speedcore, Terrorcode, Happy Hardcore, UK Hardcore and more)
1. Audio Damage Kombinat 3 (MultiBand Distortion)
Kombinat 3 is a multiband distortion effect plugin by Audio Damage. It splits the incoming signal into three frequency bands and processes them individually.
Kombinat 3 is a very sophisticated and versatile distortion unit. Because of its multiband quality can achieve a wide range of sonic results, ranging from subtle tube saturation to total audio destruction.
- Series and multiband modes
One of the most exciting features of Kombinat 3 is the series mode. The frequency bands will be set up serially when you enable it, meaning the distortion engine affecting a band will be fed into the following band, therefore creating complex distortion effects. The other option is a multiband mode which utilizes different distortion engines for each frequency band for a more surgical control. The multiband mode is the best choice if you want a controlled and sophisticated distortion result. However, if you wish to create in-your-face distortion effects with gnarly textures, the series mode won’t disappoint you.
- 13 distortion modes
Kombinat 3 offers 13 different distortion algorithms. You can mix and match them since each frequency band can have a different distortion algorithm. Some available options are tube-style clipping, saturate, nerd rage, and thru. The algorithms are versatile and can often transform the audio completely by achieving aggressive and gritty textures. This makes it a perfect distortion choice for Hardcore genres.
- Filter mode
After the frequency bands have been distorted, the signal is fed into a resonant filter with 12 modes. You can find classic lowpass and highpass options and highpass and lowpass modes inspired by the Korg ms-20 and algorithms modeled after the AD Filterpod. While some filter modulation knobs would open up a lot of sound design potential, there is a wet/dry knob to help you create even more complex sounds.
Kombinat is available on Windows 8 or higher, macOS 10.12 or higher, and Linux Ubuntu 18 or higher in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU formats.
Kombinat 3 is an inspiring distortion effect plugin. If you are a distortion fanatic and always look for new ways to bend sounds and twist them into something chaotically beautiful, this plugin is the right one for you.
2. Nimble Tools – Nimble Kick (Design Your Kick)
Nimble Kick is a kick sampler by Nimble Tools. Its primary use is pitching hardstyle kicks.
Nimble Kick is a versatile kick sampler designed by the makers of Misstortion. It can help you reshape sampled kicks and transform them into new kicks with the aid of precise controls.
- Pitching algorithm
Nimble Kick features excellent pitching algorithms specifically designed to create hardstyle kicks. It enables you to pitch your kicks in key and modify the range and voices. Another excellent feature is tail separation. Once you enable this feature, the pitching algorithm will only affect the tail of the sample, leaving the punch intact. If this feature is disabled, the entire kick sample will be pitch-shifted. This is useful if you wish to have a high-pitched tail but a heave, boomy punch on your kick.
- Precise controls
With Nimble Kick, you have unparalleled control over your kick’s tail. You can trim it with the time and fade controls and ms values or stretch it for a more prolonged impact. There’s also a looping section that will keep retriggering your kicks and a transient section that helps you craft the initial punch of the kick.
Nimble Kick comes equipped with some essential effects to make your kicks mix ready. A limiter is provided for loudness and dynamic control, an equalizer for tonal shaping, a punch reverb that will help make your kick fit into any space, and a distortion effect for adding harmonic distortion to your kick.
Nimble Kick is available on Windows and macOS in VST3 and AU formats.
Nimble Kick is as good as a kick sampler can be. Kicks are crucial in Hardstyle genres, and having a sampler specifically designed to create them can be a massive weapon in your arsenal. The pitching algorithms sound great, the overall control over the tail and punch is unparalleled, and the effects add an extra touch of taste.
3. FAW SubLab (For Subs & Bass)
SubLab is a sub synthesizer created by FAW. It’s dedicated to creating bass and sub-heavy sounds that fit contemporary music styles.
SubLab is unlike most synthesizers; it has three distinct sections and focuses entirely on bass. Its sole mission is to create earth-shaking sub-bass, making it a focused and concise synthesizer. Add a clean and attractive interface to that, and you get the perfect modern sub synthesizer.
- Three engines
SubLab’s main sound section is split into three sound engines. The first one is a single oscillator synthesizer that includes sine, triangle, saw, and square waveforms with eight octaves. There are three ADSR envelopes to tweak the volume, pitch, and filter. The second engine is a sampler and comes with a selection of kicks. Here, the idea is to layer kicks or percussive sounds with the synth layer to create 808-like sounds. You can also drag and drop your own samples. You can also pitch your samples to fit the key of whatever song you’re making.
The third sound engine is called X-Sub, and it’s a new technology developed by FAW to enhance your bass. Its intelligent algorithm gives you control over the psychoacoustics of the bass. It will add harmonics to your bass to be felt and heard on all possible playback systems, from the most high-end club systems to the cheapest phone speakers.
Finally, SubLab includes a few effects to make your bass shine. Compression and distortion are two of the most popular effects used on bass sounds, and they are both included here. The distortion comes with a built-in filter to help you shape the tone with precise control, while the compression comes with a sidechain feature to help you duck the synth signal out of the way when the sample is playing. This is a great feature to have when designing 808s from scratch. Finally, a limiter is included for reaching your preferred loudness and a stereo imager that will help you create super-wide 808s without compromising your sub’s mono compatibility.
SubLab is available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats (64-bit only) for Windows 7 and higher and macOS 10.10 and higher.
SubLab is one of the most well-built bass synthesizers in the current market. The X-Sub algorithm maintains your sub’s integrity across all playback systems. The synth and sampler engines are versatile and easy to use.
The effects included add all the necessary touches to create polished bass sounds—an excellent choice for producers of all bass-focused genres.
4. Lenar Digital Sylenth1 (For Leads & Pads)
Sylenth1 is a virtual analog synthesizer designed by Lennar Digital.
Sylenth1 needs no introduction to anyone involved in electronic music production. It’s one of the most popular synthesizers for EDM, Hardstyle, and contemporary electronic music genres. It’s easy to use and has been around for a long time, which is great because of all the available presets scattered around the internet waiting for you to discover.
- Four oscillators
Sylenth1 has four identical oscillators that are divided into two groups. The oscillators include triangle, sine, saw, pulse, noise, and trisaw waveforms. Each oscillator is capable of 16 voice polyphony and has dedicated detune, phase, volume, stereo, and pan controls. In addition, each group of oscillators has its amp envelope, and a mixer lets you blend the two groups. As a result, the sound is rich and warm, perfect for bass synths. Once you push the polyphony and detune, you can achieve wide tones with sizzling top-end, perfect for supersaws and Hardstyle leads.
- Powerful filter
There are two oscillator filters inside Sylenth1. Each of them affects a group of oscillators. You can choose which oscillators are routed through the filter, meaning some oscillators can remain raw. You get the usual cutoff, resonance controls, and a drive knob to thicken the sound. There’s also a third master filter that affects the entire sound. This filter has a warm drive switch for analog saturation and a key-track control that enables all notes to be heard, even in low cutoff frequencies. The filters sound amazing and add pleasant bite to the sound with high resonance values.
- Useful effects
The effects included in Sylenth1 have a simple interface and are easy to use. Classic options like EQ, reverb, delay, compression, and distortion are included. The phaser is particularly powerful and can be modulated through the onboard LFOs. The arpeggiator is excellently built and always a great choice in a synthesizer. It has a lot of modes, including up, down, random, and lets you sequence the note’s pitch and velocity.
- Routing system
Sylenth1 has a simple routing system with enough modulation sources to achieve intricate sound design results. There are two envelopes, two LFOs, and two Misc modulation sources that can be manually assigned. The modulation destinations can be chosen from a drop-down menu, and a modulation amount knob is included to achieve the desired intensity.
Sylenth1 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Sylenth1 is an excellent virtual analog synth that needs no introduction to modern music producers. The oscillators and filters are analog-accurate, and the modulation system is easy to use. The effects add flavor and character to your sounds, with the arpeggiator and phaser standing out.
However, the most critical aspect of this synth is the number of videos, presets, and tutorials created over the last 15 years dedicated to helping users get the most out of Sylenth1.
5. SPL TwinTube (Tube Saturation)
TwinTube is an analog-modeled saturation effect plugin by SPL. It mimics hardware SPL tube modules that achieve saturation and harmonic enhancement.
TwinTube is designed to replicate the saturation effect of tubes. The original hardware module used two different tube circuits to affect the incoming signal in two different ways. The user would then blend the two effects to create a complex saturation effect.
The name twin is not a coincidence; just like the original hardware, TwinTube uses two circuits to affect the incoming signal in two different ways. The first way is saturation, which helps fatten up sounds and add audible coloration. The second way is by applying harmonic enhancement to the signal. It basically uses a circuit that adds overtones to the signal in relation to its dynamics. The harmonics button lets you choose the frequency focus of the enhancement, choosing from 2, 3, 6, and 10 kHz.
TwinTube allows you to load up to four different presets in one instance of the plugin. You can switch from one to the other to compare and settle for the best one. There’s also a power button for comparing the dry and wet signal with ease.
- Analog sound
An essential thing in saturation plugins is the overall sound tone and quality, and TwinTube delivers on its analog promises. The saturation will add pleasing roundness to your low end and thicken up your higher frequencies without getting fuzzy or gnarly. The harmonic enhancement similarly adds pleasing overtones. However, this is not a plugin for over-the-top distortion, so look elsewhere if that’s what you are looking for.
TwinTube is available on Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher in AAX, AU, VST2, and VST3 formats.
TwinTube is a rich and warm-sounding analog-modeled saturation plugin. It will sound great on vocals and guitars and offer pleasing roundness to your bass and drums. It’s not meant for nasty distortion, fuzz, or gnarly sounds but rather for subtle and tasteful analog-style saturation.
6. Eventide SP2016 Reverb (Reverb)
SP2016 is a high-end reverb plugin by Eventide. It’s designed after the hardware module of the same name, famously known as the first-ever programmable effects unit.
This plugin is all about high-quality sound combined with an easy-to-use interface. It features modes straight out of the iconic hardware SP2016 and a modern mode for cleaner reverb sounds.
- Six reverb algorithms
SP2016 has six reverb algorithms: room, stereo room, high-density plate, modern, plate, and vintage. The room and stereo room algorithms work similarly, with the only difference being the mono input of the room, while the stereo room is fully stereo. Plate emulates a heavy plate reverb that sounds beautifully on drums, and the modern algorithm functions on a higher bit-depth, achieving a much brighter sound with more diffuse. The Vintage mode is significantly darker and much more lo-fi due to its lower bit-depth.
- Easy controls
The main controls of the reverb include four sliders for pre-delay, decay, diffusion, and position. The pre-delay can go up to 999ms, which opens up a world of sound design possibilities. The decay can run for up to 100 seconds, creating intricate textures perfect for atmospheric pads or ambient effects. Finally, the position affects the early and late reflections of the reverb to simulate a signal that moves towards the front or back of a room.
- Built-in EQ
The built-in EQ is necessary to clean up the reverb signal and shape the overall tone of the effect. It’s split into low and high sections with faders that let you set the frequency range and amount of signal boosted or cut.
- Professionally built presets
Eventide has recruited some top-class names from the music production and engineering world to design presets for SP2016. Dave Pensado, Sasha, George Massenberg, and Richard Devine are just a few professionals who designed presets.
SP2016 is available on Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in AAX, VST2, VST3, and AU formats, 64-bit only.
SP2016 is an excellent recreation of the hardware module. The sound is rich, and the numerous reverb algorithms make it suitable for all styles and genres. If you are looking for a powerful reverb plugin that oozes character and personality, invest in the SP2016.
7. iZotope Trash 2 (Multiband Distortion 2)
Trash 2 is a multiband distortion plugin by iZotope. It’s one of the most sophisticated distortion plugins on the market.
Trash 2 offers a selection of different distortion algorithms that can achieve any distortion effect. The signal is then sent to filters that can be modulated, and to make things even better, there’s a convolution module to further process your sound in unique ways.
- Six modules
Trash 2 is more than just a simple distortion unit. Instead, it offers six modules laid out serially that process the signal in different ways. The first is a filter, then a multiband waveshaper, another filter, a convolver, a multiband compressor, and a delay. You can turn each one of these on or off, and the sum of them gives you insane control over the tone and character of your sounds.
- Subtle or gnarly
Trash 2 can subtly color your sound or destroy and reshape it. Over 60 different distortion algorithms can be applied to up to 4 different frequency bands. In addition, there are options like Delicate Harmonics, Blues Driver, Elastic Trash, Faulty Transistor, and many more. The aggressive nature of Trash 2 suits Hardstyle genres perfectly.
The convolver comes equipped with 50 impulse responses to help you process your signal. You can also drag and drop your own impulse responses for more experimentation. Furthermore, it includes cabinets and amp speaker styles to help you achieve the right distortion character.
The dynamics module has a sidechain detection filter to tailor your compressor’s response to your signal, upwards and downwards compression. The graphic interface is excellently built and makes compression much easier to understand.
The two filters are identical and come with more than 20 filter types. In addition, the filter types include formant-like vowel styles for those sought after hardcore wub basses. Finally, both filters include modulation, which unlocks a vast range of sound design options.
Trash 2 is available on Windows XP -10 and macOS 10.8.5-11 in AAX, AU, RTA, VST, and VST3 formats.
Trash 2 is a powerhouse distortion unit. The different bands ensure control over the distortion process and a sophisticated result. In addition, the convolver, compressor, delay, and filters are welcomed tools to help you create different distortion effects and completely reshape your sounds. If you produce any Hardstyle genre, this distortion unit is a must-have.
8. FabFilter Pro-Q 3 (M/S, Dynamic EQ)
Pro-Q3 is a dynamic equalizer by FabFilter. It’s one of the most commonly used equalizers by professional engineers and producers in the industry.
Like any FabFilter product, there’s more than meets the eye on Pro-Q3. Besides being capable of precise cuts and boosts over the frequency spectrum, it’s loaded with extra features that make mixing a more straightforward affair.
- Identify frequency issues easily
Pro-Q3 has an excellent visual representation of the frequency spectrum that has a handy mixing feature. When you hover your cursor over the waveform while your track is playing, it will analyze the spectrum and create a list of all resonant frequencies. Often, these frequencies will cause mixing problems by standing out too much and interfering with other instruments. By clicking on one of the resonant frequencies detected by Pro-Q3, you create a band that will help reduce it.
- Dynamic features
Each of the frequency bands you create inside Pro-Q3 can be a dynamic band. Simply right-click on it and select dynamic mode. Then you can set the attack, release, and threshold of the band. Dynamic EQ is a handy feature to use while mixing, especially on frequencies that get out of control only at certain moments throughout the song.
- Easily detect clashing frequencies
One of the most common issues when mixing is clashing frequencies across various tracks/instruments. Pro-Q3 makes detecting these frequencies much more manageable with its external spectrum visualization feature. It allows you to view the frequency footprint of one instance of Pro-Q3 over a different one. This means that you can see your bass’s frequency footprint over your kicks, making mixing bass and kick as easy as ever.
- Wider sounds
Another feature of Pro-Q3 is mid/side EQ. This lets you split any band into stereo and mono bands. You exaggerate a sound’s stereo information by boosting the stereo (side) band for a more expansive sound. In contrast, by boosting the mono (mid), you boost its mono information—an excellent tool for solving mono-compatibility issues or creating cool stereo effects.
Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, 64-bit only, in VST, VST2, VST3, and AU formats.
FabFilter Pro-Q3 is one of the most advanced equalizers out there. It’s a very surgical EQ plugin loaded with features dedicated to making mixing an easy affair. The mid/side feature is excellent for adding depth and space to your sounds, while the dynamic option can tame even the most stubborn sounds—a must-have mixing tool.
9. G-Sonique Analog Tape ASX-72 (Tape Emulation)
Analog Tape ASX-72 is a tape emulation saturation plugin by G-Sonique. It brings the warm character of hardware tape machines to your productions.
G-Sonique created a plugin that can be used in various applications across different genres. For example, it can add subtle analog warmth to modern productions or achieve rowdy and noisy sounds. This extreme behavior makes it ideal for Hardstyle genres and gives it an edge over other similar tape emulations.
- Deep control
ASX-72 emulates two kinds of tape: A421 and C24. The interface has a comprehensive set of controls that will help you achieve with precise control your preferred tape saturation effect. Flutter and wow add necessary pitch modulation to make your melodic elements feel straight out of the 60s, while the hiss knob will add noise to your mix. The drive knob colors the sound beautifully, and the fatness knob will make any sound jump out of your speakers.
- Versatile tape sound
ASX-72 is a very versatile plugin because it can achieve a wide range of effects. For example, it can subtly saturate your signal and give it the so sought-after analog warmth or distort and completely transform it. The addition of two different tape speeds, at 30lps and 15lps, also backs this up.
- Excellent interface
The graphical interface is spotless and appealing to producers of all levels. Everything is clearly labeled, and you won’t have an issue feeling right at home after a few minutes of tweaking ASX-72. The addition of a power switch is convenient for comparing your dry and wet signal, as is the addition of output and device limiting knobs.
Analog Tape ASX-72 is available on Windows XP-10 only in VST and VSTi formats.
ASX-72 is an excellent sounding tape emulation plugin that doesn’t sacrifice versatility and multifunctionality for the sake of nostalgia. The saturation is warm and rich and can be subtle or over-the-top.
10. Schaack Audio Technologies Transient Shaper 2
Transient Shaper is a transient shaping tool by Schaack Audio Technologies.
Transient Shaper uses two famous processes to shape the envelope of a sound: a gate and a compressor. By using both of these effects and then blending them, Transient Shaper achieves a unique effect that precision shapes the transient of a sound.
- Precise transient shaping
Transient Shaper uses a compressor and a gate to affect the transient of the incoming signal. This double process ensures maximum control. The attack and release knobs are responsible for finetuning the overall shape of the transient. A slow attack has a fat effect on your drums, while a slow-release gives you a heavy compression feel. A fast attack has a more subtle effect on the transient, while a fast release enters you into gating territory.
An exciting addition is the drive knob which adds harmonic saturation. Increasing the drive values will color the sound differently depending on the attack and release values, which is an exciting choice.
- Creativity over hustle
Traditional transient shapers are level-dependent, meaning that you have to spend some time tweaking a threshold fader to get the right level response. Transient Shaper saves you the trouble by doing all the hard work internally, leaving you to worry about the creative decisions. This plugin will work excellently on drums, but you can also throw it on reverb send channels to shorten or lengthen your reverb. You can also use it in extreme settings to transform sampled sounds into new, exciting ones. It’s truly versatile.
Transient Shaper is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST and AU formats.
Transient Shaper is so much more than just a transient molding tool. Aside from giving you unparalleled control over your sounds’ transient, it can shorten or lengthen any sound, transform sounds into new material, and make weaker sounds cut through the mix—a necessary mixing tool.
Best Free Plugins For Hardcore Music 2023
1. TheWaveWarden Odin II (Bass & Leads)
Odin II is a free hybrid virtual synthesizer designed by TheWaveWarden.
Odin II is a 12-voice polyphonic synthesizer that supports multiple synthesis styles. In addition, it’s built-in a way that supports endless modulation combinations.
- Flexible oscillators
The two oscillators included in Odin II are highly flexible. They support 11 different types of synthesis, including analog, vector, wavetable, FM, and many more. There’s even a waveform draw oscillator that lets you draw your own custom waveshape. This is an imposing feature, especially considering a free synthesizer.
- Modulation matrix
The modulation system is the crown jewel of Odin II. It provides multiple modulation pairings and combinations. The modulation matrix has nine slots that help you make connections and keep things clean and tidy. In addition, there are multiple loopable ADSR envelopes, multi-mode LFOs, MIDI sources, and filter output. All these can be sent to up to two different destinations.
- Impressive filter selection
Odin II has three filters that support multiple different types of filtering. Some are classic choices like lowpass, highpass, and bandpass, while options like comb are also on board. In addition, a few analog filter module emulations are included, like the legendary filters from the Oberheim 12 or the Diode Ladder filter. They all sound excellent and can provide taste and unique character to your sounds.
There are five built-in effects inside Odin II: a delay, an amp distortion, a phaser, a chorus, and a flanger reverb. The amplifier has a useful width control and a dry/wet knob for parallel processing. The delay has a built-in highpass filter for cleaning up unwanted rumble, and it’s capable of ping pong delay. Overall, the effects sound great and offer plenty of sound design options.
Odin II is available on Windows Vista or higher, Linux, and macOS 10.11 in VST3 and AU formats.
Odin II is a very flexible and versatile free synthesizer. It supports multiple synthesis styles, and the wide selection of filters adds a good amount of character. In addition, the modulation system is well built and resembles that of an expensive synthesizer.
These features make Odin II a great free synthesizer, especially for new producers who don’t want to blow their wallets on expensive plugins before they are sure they even like synthesis.
2. Press Play Wave Observer (Waveform Oscilloscope)
Wave Observer is a free audio level monitor and oscilloscope by Press Play.
An oscilloscope is always helpful when mixing. It enables you to locate problematic transients that might interfere with other instruments or clipping audio. Some additional features, like peak level metering and envelope mode, make it a much more versatile plugin than other oscillator plugins.
- Wide zoom range
Wave Observer has a very wide zoom range. It can show from a pixel per sample to four seconds of audio in a frame, allowing plenty of options when monitoring your waveform. Additionally, an algorithmic stabilization button fixes a specific waveform on the screen for closer monitoring.
- Freeze feature
One of the most impressive features of Wave Observer is the freeze feature, which enables the user to freeze the oscilloscope display. The user can scroll through history and closely inspect the audio’s waveform by doing so. It can be a handy feature to use when mixing buses that contain many instruments, and you need to focus on one sound. For example, if applied on a drum bus, you can isolate the snare transients and monitor how your compressor affects them.
- Ideal for mastering
Wave Observer is an excellent choice for your master chain. It has peak level metering, which is crucial when mastering. It also has an envelope mode that lets you observe a broader signal range. As a result, it can be a practical visual guide on your master track to show you how much dynamic range there is left and how much more compression you need to tame wild transients.
Wave Observer is available on Windows 8 or higher and macOS in VST, VST3, and AU formats, 64-bit only.
Wave Observer is an excellent oscilloscope and waveform display plugin. It can be used during mixing, mastering, or sound design, and it will help you identify and solve transient issues. In addition, it can be a great learning tool for beginner producers who are unsure what compression or saturation does and learn these processes by looking at the waveform.
3. CamelCrusher (Distortion Tool)
CamelCrusher is a distortion and saturation plugin by Camel Audio. It’s one of the most famous distortion plugins in the music production world.
CamelCrusher has been around for such a long time that it needs no introduction to music producers with any experience. It can achieve heavy and over-the-top distortion that’s instantly recognizable, making it a perfect choice for any Hardstyle genre.
- Distortion and filter
CamelCrusher has an easily approachable interface that’s split into five sections. The first two are distortion and filter. Distortion is the main engine of this plugin and has two knobs, tube and mechanical. The combination of these two knobs offers the signature sound of CamelCrusher. The tube offers warm saturation that gets significantly harsher as you increase its value, while mechanical offers more harmonics. The filter section offers a lowpass filter that helps you eliminate harsh high frequencies. The resonance knob helps boost and accentuate specific frequencies.
- Compressor and master
The compressor section provides the opportunity to reduce the dynamic range of the sound and achieve a fat sound. The PHAT button included in this section will push your sound to new levels of loudness. Finally, the master section has functional utility knobs, like the volume and mix knobs. This plugin’s volume knob is a must since all the previous sections keep boosting your signal. The mix knob offers some welcomed parallel processing possibilities.
- Presets and randomize
The fifth section of CamelCrusher is the patch section. This is where you can select your presets from a drop-down menu. The presets are cleverly named and offer a myriad of different effects that showcase CamelCrusher’s wide range. The randomize button is one of my favorite features. It will set all knobs of CamelCrusher at random values. This is a valuable feature to have when you feel stuck or don’t know which direction to push a sound towards.
CamelCrusher is available on Windows and macOS in VST, RTA, and AU formats.
CamelCrusher is an excellent distortion and saturation plugin to have if you make bass music or work in any Hardstyle genre. The sound is always thick and full, and the addition of a filter with harsh resonance will add bite and grit to any sound. The presets are all inspiring, and while it’s been overused over the years, CamelCrusher still holds up perfectly as an over-the-top distortion plugin.
4. Voxengo SPAN (Spectral Analysis)
SPAN is a free audio spectrum analyzer designed by Voxengo. It’s an extremely powerful and versatile spectrum analyzer that will make your mastering workflow much more effortless.
SPAN has a few different modes in which it processes and displays the frequency spectrum and makes it a very versatile tool. It’s also equipped with output level metering, headroom estimation, and clipping detection.
A spectrum analyzer is helpful in any genre of music, but especially in heavy electronic genres where we’re dealing with extremely loud music, complex harmonics, and extreme limiting.
Having a plugin like SPAN will help you keep the right balance between your low end and top end, monitor the overall loudness of your track, and understand how saturation and compression affect your signal.
- Various modes
SPAN includes various modes to process and display your frequency spectrum. For example, you can set Fourier block size in samples and modify your spectrum’s visual slope. The FFT window overlap percentage is also adjustable, and the option of setting up a secondary spectrum is also available. You can set the secondary spectrum in different ways according to your needs, either as real-time maximum or all-time maximum.
- Perfect for mastering
The addition of output level metering makes SPAN ideal for mastering. You can meter in RMS and read your song’s true peak values. You can also adjust the ballistics and integration time. Finally, SPAN displays headroom estimation so that you don’t over-limit your song, clipping detection, and level metering statistics.
SPAN is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
SPAN is a phenomenal free tool by Voxengo. A spectrum analyzer is an essential tool for anyone who mixes and masters their own music, and this free option is a no-brainer. In addition, the number of features included in SPAN makes it the ideal choice for any producer looking for a spectrum analyzer.
Hardstyle and Hardcore genres are all about sound design prowess and mixing precision. Whether we are talking about heavy low end, gnarly mid frequencies, or hard-hitting drums, you will need the right tools to achieve a Hardcore sound.
This list is meant to guide the producer looking to start producing Hardcore genres or as an inspiration for the seasoned pro who needs new tools to play with.
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Alvinos Zavlis is an artist/producer from Cyprus based in Bristol, UK. With three albums under his belt and plenty of singles, his catalogue covers a wide range of sounds, from hip hop and trip hop to IDM and experimental electronic styles, all fused together to create unique blends of sounds. He works as a freelance mixing and mastering engineer in Bristol for artists of all styles.