We’ve rounded up the 10 best plugins for EDM, as well as an additional 10 free plugins to help you get your sound just right.
It would be best to have plugins for drum tuning, great synth sounds, chord progression tools, compressors, equalizers, and different effects to create epic drops and drums full of tension. With that said, we’ve managed to round up the best plugins that help you from the start of your song to the final mix and master.
Most of these plugins have a trial version or a free version available, which can be helpful if you are on a tight budget.
Top 10 Best Plugins For EDM Music 2021
1. UJAM Beatmaker EDEN 2 Review (Drums)
The best way to fill the room with some crazy rhythms is by using the EDEN 2.
UJAM Beatmaker’s EDEN 2 is an excellent plugin for kickstarting your song. Producers usually start by laying out drums first. To avoid the hassle of drawing out each sample individually in the pattern, they created this plugin to bring all drum sounds together in one package.
This drum plugin has many features, allowing you to handpick the exact drums you want, then apply multiple effects to it, and have a mastering section to tweak the frequencies.
- A large Number Of Patterns
To make every song stand out and have a unique drum section, EDEN 2 gives you a vast list of rhythmic patterns to explore and construct however you want to fit your idea. These rhythmic patterns can be tweaked for each drum, ranging from the claps to hi-hats and kicks, and even allowing you to tweak custom breakdown and ending sections.
- Mastering Section
When you finish your drum section, the mastering section will help you fine-tune the color of the tone you want. Tweak knobs such as Sweep, Saturate, Maximize, and Ambience, or choose between a set of mix presets when you don’t feel like spending time adjusting values.
- Effects Section
Before applying the mastering tweaks, you might want to check out the Effects section, which gives you simple controls like Volume, Decay, Pitch, and Filter to change your drums. Try to apply a small amount of decay on your snares for that extra “wet sound.”
- Kick Pump
An iconic sound in the EDM genre, the kick pump is possible by applying a side-chain compression on your kicks. To make it easier for you, Eden 2 made that option available with a straightforward slider to help you quickly see the difference with or without the added effect.
EDEN 2 is available for Windows 8or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU 2, and AAX formats.
Aside from providing great drum sounds, the plugin gives you 45 different dance styles to incorporate into your beats. You can also drag the midi you’ve made directly to your DAW, reducing unnecessary steps in your production, as well as having the option to connect the plugin to multiple audio outputs.
2. UJAM Beatmaker HYPE Review (Drums)
When you need to perform at a significant festival event, HYPE and its top-notch Proggresive sounds have got your back.
The HYPE plugin, similar to the EDEN 2, provides a fresh taste of EDM and Progressive house samples. The plugin is centered around large-sounding drums and heavy kick thumps. UJAM Beatmaker focused on providing you a plugin that can help you rival the sound of famous EDM producers.
The plugin features 50 presets that fit into the Progressive house and EDM genre. It also lets you tweak the same options and has additional features such as the Riser knob and the Midi-based sample controls, which we will explain below.
- Riser knob
A Rising section is vital for making a massive drop after the chorus. To achieve this, you would typically have to apply 3 or 4 different automation. HYPE solved this problem by giving you a Riser knob that you can automate, which features a combination of a high-pass filter, delay, and reverb.
- Midi-Based Samples
HYPE made each drum loop in a MIDI format to allow full-on customization of your drum section. In this format, you can freely change every sound you don’t like by deleting them, tweaking their velocity, and stereo panning.
The Micro-Timing feature is a great addon that allows you to fine-tune the timing of your drum loops. Choose between 3-speed settings that will enable you to set the drums at half-time, average speed, or double-time. You can also use the Swing slider to incorporate some groove in your drums.
- 20 Drum Styles
The main feature for producers is the 20 different Drum styles available for you to explore. These styles range from Beachball, designed for lighter chill tracks, while Clapdome has a darker sound and is best for underground tracks. Each style is divided into 23 song parts that you can draw out in the MIDI section.
Hype is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU 2, and AAX formats.
UJAM Beatmaker made a great tool for festival music. With its easy-to-use interface, and simple controls, with the bonus of extensive sound customization, it can quickly become a must-have plugin in your arsenal.
3. Vital Audio Vital (Synth)
Create custom wavetables and apply interesting modulations with Vital.
Vital is an excellent tool for EDM producers who like to create their unique lead melody. The plugin features a deep creation system, allowing you to combine 4 different types of audio waves and tweak them with various effects and modulation controls. This plugin is perfect for unleashing your creative side.
Everything you do in this plugin is visualized so you can clearly understand what the change you are applying is doing to your audio wave, as well as it having a great LFO tool for changes that occur in chorus drops.
- LFO Tool
A generic-sounding synth can become a bit repetitive when you are working on a lead melody. To avoid that, Vital Audio implemented a great LFO system that allows you to draw out the modulation and tweak additional values such as the stereo placement of the LFO, the delay, and the smoothness of the signal.
- Audio Wave Combination
Aside from offering you a list of preset sounds, the main feature of this plugin is that it allows you to create a custom synth from 4 different audio waves. Choose from a list of classic waves such as sine, saw, or square wave, or for a more personal approach, try the wavetable editor, which allows you to create wavetables from a simple text.
- Stereo Modulation
When you are looking for a more ambient sound, try using the built-in stereo modulation. The plugin offers you a way to separate the audio wave, which you can later modulate to create a wave effect that travels through your speakers, adding a unique characteristic to your song.
Everything in the plugin is visualized to help you better understand what the configurations you are making do to your audio signal. The screens are beautifully animated, with each running at 60fps for increased clarity. Additionally, they focused on making it easier for your GPU so that you can use it even on lower-end PCs.
- Drag and Drop Workflow
You might not be sure if an effect will sound right on your created synth. Vital did a fantastic job at helping you avoid accidental changes by giving you a preview ability with the drag and drop system. This system allows you to hover an effect over the synth to see how it changes your sound, and if you like it, you can release the mouse and apply it.
For a precise producer, tones and semitones won’t provide the exact sound they desire. Vital audio addresses that by allowing you to quickly load up files that end with .scl, .kbd, and .tun, so you can try playing microtones to get maybe that perfect Turkish folk music sound in your EDM tracks.
Vital is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, and AAX formats.
In addition to the features mentioned above, Vital features very high-quality oscillators and has full support for MPE for your ROLI keyboard. This is an overall great plugin for anyone looking to create their sound from scratch.
4. LennarDigital Sylenth1 Review (Synth)
Built for maximum control and quality sounds, Sylenth1 is the plugin that will become your go-to software for melodies.
LennarDigital focused on creating a plugin from the producer’s point of view to appeal to every new and experienced EDM producer. They added 4 oscillators that you can customize and added various filters and modulations to enhance the sound you’ve made.
When you’ve explored all those options, you can focus on the master effect section, which allows you to apply different arpeggiators, reverb and compression effects, and a phaser, distortion, and chorus effect.
- 4 Oscillators
To achieve a unique sound, the Sylenth1 gives you 4 oscillators. Each oscillator provides a distinctive analog sound that you can tweak to provide you with up to 32 voices per note. The plugin also features a polyphony option to expand the sound even more. Additionally, you can tweak each tone with the volume, phase, detune, stereo, and pan knobs.
- ADSR And LFO Envelopes
Sometimes you want to make sounds that don’t have a harsh attack but instead slowly enter your song without being in the way of other sounds. To achieve that, you can use the ADSR controls, which allow you to tweak your sound’s attack speed, decay, saturation, and release, and use the LFO to make interesting low-frequency additions.
- Mastering Effects
When you are about to finish your sound, you might want to try adding some arpeggio to it or maybe give a bit of delay. Those modifications are all possible by using the mastering effect available in Sylenth1. Explore different options such as a Phaser effect, or try using the built-in compressor to reduce unnecessary signals.
- Built-in Mixer
When you have more oscillators working at once, you might notice that one specific sound needs to be a bit lower than the other. To help you with that, Lennar Digital implemented a simple mixer that lets you tweak the sound with 3 sliders. You have a Mix A and Mix B slider for the tones separately and a Main volume slider for the final product.
- Analog Filters
Since this is an homage to older hardware used in electronic music, the Sylenth1 features 2 sections for an analog filter integrated into the plugin. The first section gives you control of the filter’s loudness, resonance, and cutoff, while the second section gives you different cutoff and resonance tweaks, a key track knob, and a warm drive mode for an even better analog feel.
Sylenth1 is available for Windows 2000 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VSTi, AU, and AAX formats.
Sylenth1 is an excellent plugin for achieving an interesting analog vibe in your tracks, but at the same time, it offers great sounds that you can customize extensively. In addition to that, the plugin is also wonderfully optimized and temporarily turns off any effects you aren’t using to keep the CPU usage to a bare minimum.
5. PluginBoutique Scaler 2 Review (Chord Progression Tool)
Create custom wavetables and apply interesting modulations with Vital. Make sure you are getting your chord progression right with the Scaler 2.
Music theory can sometimes be boring, so PluginBoutique decided to create a plugin that will help you make your melodies (especially choruses). Featuring an intelligent system that suggests you the next chord based on what note you entered while also determining the exact key of your melody.
The plugin also offers you multiple choices depending on the type of sound you are looking to achieve. You can also try out the Arpeggio and strum features and make your melodies sound more believable with the humanize option.
- Huge Library of Chord Sets
When you draw in the first chord, the plugin’s software offers you a list of scales, and within each scale, you can use a list of chords varying in style to follow up the notes you wrote. The list of chords is vast, even giving you some notes that legendary EDM producers such as Carl Cox and Mitekiss like to use frequently on their tracks.
- Arpeggio And Strum Features
To add an exciting touch to your chords, you can use the Arpeggio and Strum features, which do a great job of filling in blank space. The strum feature mimics a guitar strum, which is excellent for acoustic sections of your track, especially on your choruses.
- Humanize And Quantize
After adding chords in your song, you may find them to be a bit too “machine-like.” To avoid that, you can use the Humanize option, which mimics the non-perfect way of a real-life pianist playing, with each note playing at a slightly different time to make the music feel “more alive.” If, however, you like the digital way more, use the quantize option to make sure everything is precisely on the beat.
- Melody Mode
Every significant chord section needs a lead melody to follow. The Scaler 2 gives you an option to create that melody by using the notes it suggested from the chords you’ve used. PluginBoutique allows you to always be on the tune and never miss a note. This feature also allows you to follow the scale you’ve selected, to retain the same vibe of the song.
Scaler 2 is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
This plugin can quickly become a staple in everyday use for producers that didn’t take the time to learn music theory or are out of fresh ideas. With its ability to export the MIDI directly to your DAW in a quick press of a button, and great modulation suggestions, Scaler 2 is an excellent addition to your arsenal.
6. FabFilter Pro-C 2 Review (Compressor)
Visualize your compression by using the Fabfilter Pro-C 2.
Most compressors on the market don’t offer you that much visualization, where you can see precisely how the soundwave changes with your configurations. The Fabfilter series primarily focused on providing that visual experience, with their vast line of great mastering tools featuring extensive options to tweak your sample.
The Fabfilter Pro-C 2 is no exception, offering you 8 different compression styles, low and high-pass filters, audition triggering, and many more features that help you get the right sound for your song.
- Compression Styles
Aside from offering the standard compressor experience, The Fabfilter Pro-C 2 gives you 8 different compression styles to choose from. The styles range from a Clean, overall sound to more personalized options that make mixing bus channels or vocals a better experience. For your EDM tracks, it’s best to use the Pumping style, which gives an added deep character for your kicks and bass lines.
- Side-Chain LP and HP Filters
The low-pass and high-pass filters are great additions to the plugin because they allow you to cut off some excess frequencies that interfere with other elements in your song. When applying your side-chain to the sample, you might find that the bass is creating a solid pumping sound, which can be great for EDM, but the high frequencies might interfere with the sound you are looking to get, which the filters do a fantastic job at helping you achieve what you want.
- Audition Triggering
It might be a bit harder for a new producer to hear exactly where the compression applies to their sample. To address that, FabFilter Pro-C 2 has an option called Audition Triggering. This option allows you to see where precisely the compression takes place and how much of it is applied to your sample. This action is all done on a large screen that shows your audio sample, helping you understand what compression does.
- Side-Chain EQ
When you need to apply a pumping effect to your sound, the Pro-C 2 has your back with the added side-chain function. Side-chaining alters the sample volume to create a “wave” effect or sort of like a repeated “whip” effect. You can tweak how strong you want this effect to apply to your sample, and you can even cut off some unnecessary frequencies with the added low and high-pass filters.
- Variable Knee
To avoid having a punchy compressor, you can use the variable knee option to tweak how the compressor will apply itself to the sample. A hard knee is best for drums because it keeps that punchy feeling, while the soft knee is probably best for melodies, especially in your chorus. Although, if you want to create an interesting effect, try applying the soft knee to your bass line to get a more ambient vibe.
FabFilter Pro-C 2 is available for Windows XP or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.10 or higher 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX, and AudioSuite formats.
Fabfilter is an excellent compression plugin, especially for producers who don’t quite understand what compression does to their sample. The additional 4x oversampling and auto gain and release options do a great job at helping you apply the compression in the best possible way.
7. FabFilter Pro-Q 3 Review (Equalizer)
Like the Pro-C 2, the Pro-Q 3 offers you a similar visual experience but on an equalizer plugin.
When your lead melody takes up too much of the audio spectrum or when you need those punchy kicks after a drop, the Pro-Q 3 is an excellent plugin for helping you do those tweaks.
The plugin is best used for mixing and mastering your sound, allowing you to draw out the EQ you want to apply to your sample. In addition to that, it offers you features such as spectrum grab, improved filter shapes, and audio support up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2.
- Spectrum Grab
The main feature of the FabFilter series is the ability to grab the exact part of the audio spectrum you want and edit it freely in real-time. This feature is better than using sliders since it offers much better information on what you are doing.
- Various Filter Shapes
Sometimes you want to cut all frequencies behind a specific range, while sometimes, you want some frequencies to be slightly lowered so your snare can pop. To address this, the Pro-Q 3 gives you various filter shapes to use, such as the flat tilt, bell, high/low cut, notch, and high low/shelf.
- Per-Band Stereo Configuration
After grabbing the spectrum section you desire, you can split it into multiple bands, allowing you to apply the EQ to each stereo side separately. This feature is excellent when you want to make more space for some new melodies on your left side, for example, or if you’re going to make the middle pop more than the sides.
- Display Ranges
When using the FabFilter Pro-Q 3, you might need to do some quick work and altogether remove a frequency range in your sample. It’s best to use the higher display ranges, as they let you hear the difference very quickly. But, when you are handling the mastering of your track, try using the 3db range, as it allows you to make minor adjustments more precisely.
- CPU Optimization
Apart from being a great EQ, the Pro-Q 3 offers you excellent CPU optimization. This feature is vital as typically, for EDM tracks, you would have many EQs running at once for that perfect track.
FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is available for Windows XP or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.10 or higher 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX, and AudioSuite formats.
The plugin also offers an extremely steep “brick wall” filter shape when you want to make sure that any frequencies you don’t wish to pass through. You can use this feature on both the Low-pass and the High-pass filter types.
8. Valhalla VintageVerb Review (Reverb)
Inspired by reverb hardware used in the ’70s and ’80s, The Valhalla VintageVerb will add a unique characteristic to your pads.
Valhalla wanted to create a plugin that allowed you to experience reverb such as Plate reverb, Concert Hall, Nonlinear, and many more in a straightforward plugin. These are lovely variations for EDM, as You can beautifully combine them with snares and transition effects to create a giant sound.
Aside from offering that, the plugin lets you tweak each reverb section with simple knobs, from the primary Mix knob to advanced options such as 4 Damping knobs and EQ and modulation knobs.
Valhalla created an option to choose if you want 1970’s, 1980’s, or present reverb sound to separate themselves on the market. The older ones have downsampling enabled to produce interesting artifacts in your sound, while the present retains the crystal clarity of the newer systems.
- Reverb modes
When you don’t feel like manually tweaking each knob, try using the many presets available to help you understand how your sample will sound like in a Concert Hall, or maybe in a Sanctuary or a Dark Chamber.
The list of presets Valhalla implemented is well enough to satisfy your reverb needs. You can enjoy different sounds like the Bright Hall, Room, Random Space, Chorus Space, Sanctuary, Chaotic Chamber, and Smooth room settings and see if they fit the idea that you wanted to try on your melodies.
- Main Section
The real magic happens when you try to tweak each of the many knobs included in the plugin. You are given controls of the Damping, Shape of your reverb, as well, as the attack. Try tweaking the huge Decay knob for a more prolonged reverb effect, or use the mod and EQ sections to modify some frequencies.
Valhalla VintageVerb is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, and AAX formats.
We recommend Valhalla VintageVerb for anyone who likes to add a throwback feel to their tracks, especially if they want to add vocals, which can sound exceptionally well before a drop.
9. SoundToys Decapitator Review (Saturation)
The compressed sound of tubes can be enjoyable to your ears if it’s done right; well, Decapitator does it right.
When you are looking to add some character to your song, try the plugin made by SoundToys. They realized that you had to use saturation for a melody to sound fuller, richer, and more in line with the music of older generations.
Saturation allows you to emulate old circuitry on any DAW you have on your PC. The Decapitator does that exceptionally well, and we will dive into some of its key features.
- Modeled Tone Control
The saturation might sound harsh for some of your samples, and to adjust that, the Decapitator offers you a Tone knob. You can tweak the tone knob to the left to give a darker sound, perfect for building up your drops, or you can turn it to the right to provide a brighter sound that is typically used after choruses.
The plugin implemented a punish button to kick that saturation gain into overdrive to give you a sense of more significant destruction. This feature allows you to make crunchier sounds and could work great on harsh basslines or lead melodies.
The 5 styles in the plugin emulate different real-life hardware (except for the last two, which simulate 2 different settings on the same hardware). The first style emulates a Tape Pre-amp, the second an EMI pre-amp, the third emulates a NEVE 1057, which are great for Vocal mixing, while the last two emulate the Culture Vulture hardware for a subtle change in your drums.
Decapitator is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
After you’ve created a track, you might find that it lacks a certain analog feel, which the Decapitator takes care of quickly. Aside from its beautiful old hardware design, it also gives you 5 different styles of saturation to choose from if you don’t want to mess with the controls too much.
10. reFX Nexus 3 Review (Synth)
A staple in every genre, Nexus 3 has got a little bit for everyone.
When you need to create a melody for your song, the Nexus 3 from reFX has got you covered. This plugin allows you to finish the whole melodic act of your songs, from simple bell melodies to a live loop menu and extensive effect controls. The plugin also allows you to use a fantastic arpeggiator that’s great for when you are looking to create that tension-filled drop on the chorus.
The Nexus 3, like its predecessors, is predominantly used for EDM and progressive music, but it also has seen its fair share of use in Trap music. With its crisp-sounding synths, it is considered a great all-around plugin for melody creation.
- Variety In Sound Presets
Nexus 3 gives you tremendous variety when it comes to sounds you use for melodies in your songs. The plugin gives you everything from digital-sounding arpeggiators to more natural-sounding guitars and woodwind instruments. In those presets, you also have different bass tones, bells, brass, chords, lead tones, trance gates, and everything required for a great EDM track.
- Extensive Effect Controls
After you’ve chosen the sound you want, you might want to add some additional effects to it. Nexus 3 offers you a simple effects page that visualizes each effect and helps you understand what you are applying to your sample. Effects range from reverb, ring mod, delay, EQ, impulse, and a limiter. Each effect has at least 4 different sliders for you to tweak, making it the perfect tool from start to the end of your melodic act.
Most plugins offer an 8 to 16 step Arpeggiator, but the new Nexus 3 gives you up to 256 steps if you look for significant variations in your songs. The new arpeggiator design is improved to make it easier for you to work on, resembling a piano roll that you can draw on.
One of the more exciting features, the Trancegate, will make your drops have more suspense. You can choose different speeds (1/4, 1/32, etc.) and draw out your custom gate, or choose from some presets that reFX included. You can add various effects such as the delay or fade in for a “wave” effect.
Nexus 3 is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and LV2 formats.
reFX Nexus has been a great plugin since the first version, offering great synth sounds and sufficient controls for producers who like to create their unique sound. The new and improved Nexus 3 expands on that, offering faster load times, as well as a beautiful vector-based GUI. This plugin can quickly become a much-needed tool in your library since it gives you the ability to create almost every sound for your EDM track, making it worth the higher price.
The 10 Best Free Plugins For EDM 2021
1. Matt Tytel Helm (Synth)
For a minimalistic approach, try the Helm by Matt Tytel.
Aside from being free (which is already great), The Helm is a wonderfully simple tool for creating your custom synth. Almost every option you would have on a paid synth plugin you have on this plugin.
The options include 2 oscillators, and a step sequencer, to complex options such as the mod envelope and LFO modulations.
- System Compatibility
Apart from being an excellent synth tool, the Helm has excellent system compatibility. It allows you to run it on every system starting from the standard Windows and macOS to Linux/GNU.
- 3 Different Effects
As with any powerful synth plugin, the Helm has got 3 different effects to help you alter the sound. The effects available are the classic Distortion, Delay, and Reverb. Each effect has 3 separate controls to tweak, and each can be easily turned on or off by a press of the button.
- Mixing Controls
Having 2 different oscillator sounds at the same level might sound a bit monotone. To create an interesting dynamic, you can use the mixing controls that allow you to tweak the sound of each oscillator and the sub noises. You can also add a layer of artificial noise to the sound if you are going for an analog effect.
- 3 Types Of Envelopes
For your melody to sound truly unique, we recommend checking out the 3 different envelopes in the plugin. You can draw out the envelope for the amplitude, filter, and modulation and have the option to tweak them using classic ADSR sliders.
Helm is available for Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux 32bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST/3, AU, and LV2 formats.
The Helm is an excellent plugin for anybody looking to learn how synth modulation even works. The plugin also features an open-source code, so if you have any experience in programming, you can make some changes and freely distribute it to other producers.
2. u-he Triple Cheese (Synth)
Apply some cheesy sounds to your EDM track with the Triple Cheese.
U-he wanted to bring a new way of making synths by removing all classic frequency modulations. They managed to achieve that by having you tweak different comb filters to get the sound you want.
The Triple Cheese features exciting options, such as a delay-based effect and a Vibrato that gives your waves a “human-voice” characteristic.
- Comb filters
U-he decided to base their synth production on a new method. The comb filter can create 3 unique sounds, either by having a new wave for each or following the previous output signal. Each oscillator has several knobs to tweak the sound wave to your liking.
- Delay-Based Effect
Choose to apply a delay effect to your synth, and tweak it with the Speed, Mod, Feedback, Damp, and Mix knobs. The damp and mix knobs determine the “wetness” of the signal, while knobs such as the feedback and mod determine the effect’s strength and duration.
The Triple Cheese offers an excellent vibrato effect that typically appears on human vocals to add to your synth. You can choose in what waveform the vibrato applies to the synth and determine the effect rate and the effect’s strength.
- ADSR Envelope Controls
For each envelope you add to the oscillator sounds, you can use sliders to tweak how they change the sound. You have the classic Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release sliders and a Velocity knob to control the strength of the envelope.
Triple Cheese is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit, macOS 10.9 or higher 64-bit, and Linux. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
For producers looking for a fresh way of making their synths, the Triple Cheese by u-he will offer just that. The plugin provides extensive parameter modulation, so you can ensure that every sound you make will be unique.
3. Newfangled Audio Pendulate (Synth)
Check out the Pendulate for some chaos in your songs.
Different from other Synth plugins, the Pendulate creates a random chaotic wave that You can extensively customize.
The interface provides simple information that everyone can easily understand. The plugin features controls such as a low pass gate, a wavefolder and has beautiful animations for each setting to explain better what each command does.
- Double Pendulum
Based on the physics of a real-life Double Pendulum, the first leg of the pendulum goes in a regular circle, while the other second pendulum attached to it will move freely based on the chaos amount you choose to add. This feature creates a synth sound that constantly oscillates in totally random intervals.
For a more distorted sound, try using the wavefolder, which folds the waves to the amount you choose, creating a steeper curve between each wave. This feature is excellent for grimy synths that you can add during the intro or chorus of your track.
- Low Pass Gate
When you notice that the low-end of your sample is beginning to interfere with other sounds, but you want to keep some of its characteristics, try using the low pass gate to address that issue. Easily tweak the sound by using the frequency, resonance, and poles sliders and having access to standard ADSR controls.
Pendulate is available for Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The Pendulate by Newfangled Audio is a plugin that does things differently from other synth software but keeps its simple controls and visually engaging animations to help inexperienced producers understand what changes with each setting.
4. Valhalla Super Massive (Reverb)
As it says in its name, the Valhalla Super Massive does provide that colossal sound.
Like the Valhalla VintageVerb, this plugin gives you simple knobs to tweak and many preset effects to test on your samples. When you start working with it, you will notice its outstanding features such as the MOD rate, Width control, and Warp knob.
We will be diving into those features to explain them better and what they can do to change your sound.
- Modulation Rate and Depth
These simple knobs allow you to tweak the duration of the delay effect and give you the option to control the depth of the modulation. The rate depth controls are excellent when turned down, as they allow you to hear more of the artifact sounds produced by the plugin.
- Large Sound
To achieve that large sound the plugin offers, you might want to try using the width knob. The Width knob allows you to expand or narrow the sound of the reverb by tweaking it from zero percent (which is mono) to lower or higher values, with lower values swapping the channels and the higher providing an arena-like feel to them.
A simple delay effect will fade away rather quickly, gradually reducing its volume after a specific period. To achieve a different sounding delay, the Valhalla team added a Warp knob that changes the duration of each delay happening on the sample. You can achieve some attractive resonating echoes if you tweak the values just right.
Valhalla Super Massive is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The plugin also offers 12 different reverb modes for you to choose from, with each mode offering a different vibe. You can also create custom presets that you can save or copy for later use.
5. Baby Audio Baby Comeback (Delay)
Made as an alternative to Comeback Kid, the Baby Comeback is a great accessible delay plugin.
Although it has the same style as its paid counterpart, the Baby Comeback offers fewer controls for you to tweak. This lack of options shouldn’t be a problem, as the plugin gives you excellent sounding delays with its few presets available.
The main feature that stands out is the Ducking element which we will explain more in the section below.
The Baby Comeback offers a great feature called Duck control that allows you to reduce the effect volume when the input signal is present. This feature gives you more clarity and works exceptionally well with vocals and drum loops.
The Baby Comeback has 4 different presets that give you unique delay effects. The effects offer a different flavor, with Wide offering a delay that bounces at the ends of your stereo field, Analog giving you a retro hardware delay sound, Saucey is a hidden gem, and we will let you find out its characteristics. Cheap is, well, for a cheap-sounding effect that You can use in some break sections.
Baby Comeback is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The plugin also features a ping-pong switch, which bounces the delay signal through your speakers to fill some space. Additionally, you can use the classic Time and feedback knobs to tweak when the delay triggers and how strong it will be.
6. Xfer OTT (Multiband Compressor)
An aggressive compressor, the Xfer OTT is what every EDM producer needs in their tracks.
When you talk about distortion, you typically mention saturation and distortion plugins, but you can also use a simple multiband compressor as an alternative. To achieve that gritty sound, you can increase the input and output gain to get exciting results.
We will briefly explain some of the OTT’s features and help you understand why it might be an excellent tool for your future tracks.
- Upward/Downwards Compression
When you want to adjust the amount of compression happening in your track, you can alter the upward/downwards compression percentage in the OTT. The upward compression amplifies the signal below the threshold while keeping the signal above unaffected, while the downwards compression lowers any signal above the threshold.
Xfer OTT is available for Windows 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
The Xfer OTT is a perfect alternative to paid plugins that offer the Upward/downwards compression feature while retaining a simple-to-use interface. It is excellent for people who don’t like cluttering their DAW or for less experienced producers.
7. Analog Obsession BusterSE (Compressor)
Resembling older hardware, the BusterSE is the perfect plugin for nostalgia-driven producers.
As it states in the plugin, this is designed for someone obsessed with analog hardware. This plugin features a simplistic design, with no digital screens to monitor. Instead, the compression is observed on a standard analog VU meter.
But still, this plugin provides great compression settings that allow you to apply a side-chain filter and gives you access to control modules to try out.
Aside from offering you a standard compression experience, the BusterSE gives you the option to add an extra side-chain over your sample. This feature is typically a great addition for your kicks, but you can also try it on your melody to free up some space for vocals or other instruments.
- Control Modules
The control modules present in the upper right section are a great way to try out different compression styles. Main gives you a general bypass mode, Turbo will force the compressor to work on the entire audio sample, and the Xformer will change the impedance of the transformer sound of the plugin. Also, try clicking the Logo for a hidden mode.
BusterSE is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.
The plugin also features excellent stereo compression. The transient section of the side-chain allows you to tweak the Boost of the signal, the Tilt option decides what frequencies the Boost will affect, and the mix knob manages the dry/wet signal.
8. Tritik Krush (Distortion/Bitcrusher)
Sometimes all you need is a simple Bitcrusher in your bass lines; the Tritik Krush has got your back.
For an easy-to-use experience, try using Krush, which gives you great bitcrushing options while not overcomplicating the settings. This plugin is a free alternative to the Tritik Krush Pro mentioned in the Top 7 Bit Crusher Plugins article we published on our site.
For EDM production, you should use the distortion filters of this plugin on your bass lines, but you can also try to apply it to the lead melody to enhance your saw synth. You can also use the A/B section to compare the sample with or without the effect.
- Crush Your Sample
The main feature that you will use is the fantastic crushing effect that distorts your sample, leaving you with a unique sounding mess. A lighter percentage might prove to be better for the subtle crunchiness of your bass line, but you can freely max it out and create a “dubstep-like” bass that cuts through your speakers.
- Main Section
The plugin is divided into 2 sections, with the main section having the bit crush distortion settings. You can alter 5 knobs, Drive, Crush, Downsampling, Filter frequency, and filter resonance. The main knobs you want to focus on are the Drive and Crush, which sound great on EDM Basslines.
- Down Section
The down section is where the actual fine-tuning begins. This section is for people who want to create that dynamic in their melodies by creating an envelope that goes over the original sample. You can tweak this envelope like a regular bitcrushing effect, but the effect will only appear at the peak of the frequencies. You can also sync the wave modulation to the sample to avoid irregular tempo.
Krush is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.6 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
In addition, the plugin offers great resonant filters and 4 different modulation waveforms, so you can expect to find an exciting sound that suits your sample every time. The plugin also comes with a fully resizable interface, and you can choose from a set of languages if English is not your strong side.
9. Voxengo SPAN (Spectrum Analyzer)
After finishing your track, you might want to check if any frequencies are peaking too much; the SPAN will help you with that.
Voxengo created a simple spectrum analyzer that gives you the exact information you need to tweak your sample individually or for the whole track mix. Spectrum analyzers are typically used at the end to see if any frequencies overpower other sections or if any excess signal needs to be reduced.
Aside from offering the standard spectral view, you can also see each stereo field separately and check out an A/B comparison of the audio signal.
- Left/Right And Mid-Side View
You are going to need extensive view options to mix your track the right way. Voxengo addressed this by giving you separate stereo field signals, which you can tweak independently to provide you with more or less information based on your personal preference.
- Block Size and Smoothing
You might notice that some information won’t show up clearly. You can choose to change the block size of the analyzer to show more details, upping the setting up to 65k for a detailed look. If you don’t need that many peaks showing up on your screen, you can always increase the smoothing of the analyzer.
SPAN is available for Windows Vista or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.11 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
SPAN is recommended for anyone who doesn’t have expensive studio monitors, as cheaper speakers can’t always produce the sub frequencies or the higher ones. But also, this plugin is excellent as it offers you a complete detailed look at your work, so you can make sure that the end product always sounds great.
10. iZotope Imager 2 (Stereo Analyzer/Imager)
Combine an excellent stereo analyzer and an imager, and you will get the iZotope Imager 2.
Even when you think you are all done with your song, you still need to check how it will sound in a large festival or your car. The iZotope Imager 2 gives you a detailed view of your work while also acting as a great plugin to increase or decrease your sound’s stereo separation and width.
The analyzing screen is divided into 3 sections (Left, Mid, and Side) to make sure you can see if your sides are equal and check if your bass isn’t straying away from the mid-section.
- Stereoize Slider
When you don’t know how to make your mono signal into stereo, try using the Stereoize option in Imager 2. This feature allows you to create a stereo image without adding additional reverb or duplicating your signal.
- Width Control
Aside from the Stereo controls, you can use the Width controls to expand a sound without altering it. You can also narrow the sound if it’s becoming a bit too muddy in your mix.
iZotope Imager 2 is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The iZotope Imager 2 is an excellent addition for finalizing your work. We solely recommend that you use it on snares to create that big snapping sound, or if your track is more Ambiental, use it on your melodies to fill up space in your frequency range.
A great track usually starts with a simple melody, which you can create using the Nexus 3, Vital, Sylenth1, Helm, Pendulate, and Triple Cheese. These plugins give you just enough options to make the sound you had in mind (or choose from a set of presets). For backing chords, we recommend using the Scaler 2, which helps you stay in tune.
After that, you need to apply the drums, and we recommend using EDEN 2 and HYPE as they give you a bunch of drum loops to choose from. During your production, you will need to add effects that enhance your sounds. The Valhalla VintageVerb, Decapitator, Super Massive, Baby Comeback, and the Tritik Krush give you various ways to alter each sample and melody you apply to your track.
Next, you will need compressors and equalizers such as the FabFilter Pro-C 2 and Pro-Q 3, Xfer OTT, and BusterSE to tweak unnecessary frequencies. When finalizing your track, use the SPAN and the Imager 2 to analyze the whole audio spectrum.
We hope that we helped you decide which plugins will help you shape your next EDM track.
Milos is an experienced Producer based in Kragujevac, Serbia. He started learning production five years ago at home and fell in love with it. Particularly good at making Boom-bap, Trap, Drill, Lo-Fi, and other subgenres of Hip-Hop and combining different genres to create a unique sound.