This article will look at the best plugins to use for Trance music production and all its subgenres like uplifting, tech, progressive, vocal, dream, and hard trance.
Trance focuses on long structures that build crescendos based on harmonic and melodic elements. Trance DJs often mix in key because of this very reason: musicality, harmony, and melodic elements are crucial in creating effective Trance songs.
This list includes tools to help you create those melodic elements, process them, mix them, and create drums and basses that are Trance-appropriate. We added extra synth plugins to this list so you can find your favorite one. They were tested first and are ideal for any subgenre of trance music.
1. Vengeance Sound VPS Avenger (Trance Music Workstation)
Avenger is a hybrid synthesizer by Vengeance Sound and with its features could be considered a trance music workstation.
Avenger combines analog, sampled-based, and wavetable synthesis in a single package. This results in an impressive range of sounds, styles, and sonics that suit Trance and all of its subgenres.
- Multiple oscillator modes
Avenger can host up to eight oscillators, where each one can have its own synthesis model. Some of the model options are virtual analog synthesis, freeform (where you draw your oscillator shape), wavetable synthesis, FM, granular synthesis, multisample, feedback synthesis, and many more. You also get an inspiring model named drumkit, which is loaded with real recorded drumkits. Another interesting addition is the option of summing all your oscillators together like a traditional synthesizer would or treating each one as a separate sound source, which enables you to send each oscillator to different effects, filters, etc.
- Infinite modulation possibilities
Avenger has a complex modulation system that provides an infinite amount of modulation configurations. Overall, it has eight-pitch envelopes, four filter envelopes, four LFOs, three macro knobs, the usual velocity, aftertouch, pressure controls, dedicated oscillator wavetable envelopes, vibrato LFOs, and math functions. The modulations can be set up through a familiar drag and drop modulation system or the mod matrix. Every parameter inside Avenger can be modulated, including the arpeggiator and effects. The 17 LFO shapes and the ability to draw your own are worth mentioning.
- Effects and arpeggiator
A powerful arpeggiator is included that can hold eight different sequences within a single preset. The effects can be grouped into four distinct groups to create unique flavors and be used as send effects or master effects. The effects cover a wide range of sounds. Some are designed to emulate vintage effects, like the chorus, rotary effect, and reverb, while some are more modern, like the bit crusher and multimod.
- Huge bank of sounds
Avenger’s most appealing feature, especially to beginner producers, is its huge bank of presets and sounds. Avenger comes with over 930 presets and over 2000 wavetables, waves, and samples. Truly a sound designer’s paradise.
Avenger is available on Windows and macOS in VST, AU, and AAX formats, 64-bit only.
Avenger is an excellent choice for Trance producers. The arpeggiator will help you achieve those signature Trance sequences, the oscillators cover multiple synthesis styles, and the modulation system and effects guarantee you will create unique sounds. The huge bank of sounds and presets make this the perfect synth for the producer who doesn’t like too much fiddling.
2. FabFilter Saturn 2 (Saturation/Distortion)
Saturn 2 is a saturator effect plugin by FabFilter. It’s one of the most sought-after saturators in the music industry.
Saturn is appealing because of the amount of control it offers during the saturation process. Its multiple frequency bands ensure you control the overall tone of the sound you are saturating.
- Unparalleled control
Saturn 2 can hold up to six frequency bands. This is an incredible feature since most saturators tend to muddy the sound when pushed hard since they affect the sound as a whole. Saturn’s bands let you tweak the tone of the saturation to perfection. You can blend the bands with the level knob, drive them individually, and blend their dry/wet signal. Finally, you get crossover controls from 6 to 48 dB/oct, letting each band “bleed” into one another, creating even more exciting saturation results.
- Interactive MIDI-learn and LFOs
Saturn 2 is much more than just a saturator. It’s capable of MIDI mapping, so you can control its parameters through velocity, aftertouch, and any MIDI cc you wish to employ, which will lead to expressive patches, perfect for unique performances. There are also LFOs included, which can be mapped to various parameters. There are traditional shapes like sine and square, but also unique ones like heartbeat. The LFOs can run freely or synchronized to the DAW’s BPM.
- Multiple distortion modes
There are 28 different distortion styles included. The styles can be subtle, like warm tube, which offers analog styled saturation, or broken, which introduces artifacts through a complex makeup gain algorithm.
Saturn 2 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher in VST2, VST3, and AU formats.
Saturn 2 is the ultimate saturator and distortion unit. Its ability to modulate parameters with LFO and MIDI cc makes it ideal for Trance music, which requires long structures with complex and evolving melodic sequences.
3. Tone2 Icarus 2 (Synth 2)
Icarus 2 is a multi-technique synthesizer capable of wavetable synthesis and resynthesis.
Icarus 2 has a wavetable section that’s quite impressive, 60 effects, two excellent filters, a sequencer, and an arpeggiator, which make it an excellent choice for Trance production.
- Powerful wavetable oscillators
The three oscillators included can tackle wavetable synthesis in impressive manners. There’s a sizeable selection of wavetables included, and you can also import your own single-cycle waves, samples, and wavetables. This feature offers a lot of sound design flexibility, as does the wavetable editor feature lets you adjust the wavetable by drawing shapes on it.
- Superb filters
The three oscillators are fed into two twin filters that offer a staggering 62 types of filters. Classic options include low pass, high pass, bandpass, and notch, and creative choices like comb, ring modulation, and physical modeling options. The filters let you route each oscillator individually for more control.
- Huge sound
Most importantly, Icarus 2 sounds unique and huge. You can set the oscillators to chord mode for thick chord sounds or hypersaw. Hypersaw will offer multiple detune arrows that enable you to spread or narrow multiple voices of the oscillator to create bigger-than-life sounds, perfect for Trance music. The 60 effects, which include options like reverb, delay, distortion, chorus, and dynamics, let you enhance the sound even further.
Icarus 2 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher in VST and AU formats.
Icarus 2 is a very unique and powerful synthesizer. It’s perfect for producers who want to experiment with multiple synthesis styles and achieve thick sounds suitable for modern electronic music production. The multiple effects, oscillators, and filters offer exciting sound design options to experienced producers.
4. Eventide Split EQ (Pro Mid/Side EQ)
Split EQ is an equalizer plugin by Eventide. It analyzes the incoming signal and helps you make EQ adjustments with excellent precision.
Split EQ splits the incoming signal into transient and tonal components. This enables you to create EQ bands that can increase the punch of a sound’s certain frequency and reduce that frequency’s tonal information.
- Tonal and transient control
Let us say you have a snare drum that needs more punch. You achieve more punch when you boost at 1kHz, but the sound gets muddier. Split EQ will let you boost the transient of 1kHz while creating a separate EQ node for the tonal information of 1kHz. This node will take away the muddiness of the snare when reduced. It’s an excellent feature that provides precise control while mixing. Once you set up some EQ nodes you like, you can lock them so that they won’t change if you wish to scan through the numerous presets included.
- Pan and mid/side EQ mode
Split EQ is also capable of pan, mid, and side processing. The transient and tonal nodes can be further split to the left and right or mid and side. This can achieve some interesting spatial effects, with the side processing exaggerating a sound’s stereo information to make it wide. In contrast, the mid-processing will keep it centralized and focused on avoiding phasing issues.
Split EQ is available on Windows and macOS in VST and AU formats.
Split EQ is an excellent mixing tool. It’s perfect for advanced producers and engineers looking to solve intricate issues while mixing. It’s also a great creative tool since it can produce interesting stereo width effects with pan and mid/side processing.
5. Boom Library LiftFX (Transition Tool)
LiftFX is a generator plugin by Boom Library. It is dedicated to creating risers and transition effects, perfect for electronic music production.
LiftFX has multiple effects that will help you create unique risers and sweep effects. It’s also loaded with a huge bank of presets organized in a neat menu.
- Intricate transition effects
Transition effects are crucial in long-structure genres like Trance music. LiftFX is capable of crafting unique-sounding and intricate risers, downfilters, or rhythmical effects. The built-in lowpass, highpass, and bandpass filters are perfect for crafting evolving effects since they can be automated internally. Their duration can be in seconds or bars when synced to your host. There are also internal reverb and delay effects to add interest, a stereo width knob for creating space, and an LFO that can be mapped to various parameters.
- Inspiring preset menu
The preset menu is truly inspiring. There are upfilter, downfilter, and modwheel categories, all further split into tonal, noise, simple, or complex types. There are countless presets that you can tweak to create unique effects.
LiftFX is available on Windows and macOS in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
LiftFX is a refreshing plugin that will solve your transition effect issues. Sourcing unique effect samples can be frustrating, and creating your own from scratch can be time-consuming and underwhelming. This plugin is so exciting and useful, especially for Trance music production.
6. sonible smart:comp (Compressor)
Smart:comp is a smart compressor by sonible. It consists of a regular compressor and an AI feature that analyzes your song and adjusts the compressor’s settings for you.
Its intricate algorithm analyzes your song and sets the parameters to achieve clean and smooth compression.
- Smart feature
Smart:comp’s interface will be familiar to you if you’ve worked with a compressor before. It has the classic threshold, attack, release, and ratio controls and a handy visual representation to keep track of the dynamic range. Things get exciting once you get the AI working. You select the style of your track from a dropdown menu (vocals, guitars, drums, etc.), and you press record. Smart:comp will listen for a while and then adjust all the parameters to suit your track’s needs. You may need to adjust the threshold to your liking, but it gets the job done for the most part. The compression is clean and smooth and sounds excellent on guitars and vocals.
Smart:comp is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats, 64-bit only.
Smart:comp is a perfect choice for beginners or producers who are not experienced in the art of mixing and need a compressor that will help them get the job done. The compressor is simple enough to use and sounds clean.
7. Tone2 Saurus 3 (Synth 3)
Saurus 3 is a virtual analog synthesizer plugin by Tone2.
It has all the usual features you need on a virtual analog synth and can perfectly achieve excellent warm sounds that suit Trance music.
- Warm sound
Saurus 3 offers an analog-accurate sound that is warm and rich. It emulates accurately sounds like the iconic Hoover sound and has presets that emulate the iconic Roland Alpha Juno 1 “What the” preset. It’s a love letter to analog synthesis while also modern and refreshing.
- Useful features
Saurus has two oscillators with two extra sub oscillators and a filter with a dedicated envelope. The filter has handy keytrack controls and a drive knob for saturating the sound. You also get two LFOs with a modulation matrix and three master effects. The effects are chorus, reverb, and delay, and they are also analog-modeled. The oscillators are capable of ring modulation, and the detune controls will help you achieve classic Trance synth sounds.
Saurus 3 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher in VST and AU formats.
Saurus 3 is an excellent analog-modeled synthesizer. It is perfect for you if you are interested in analog synthesis, warm sounds, or classic synth emulated sounds. The features are familiar yet inspiring and easy to use.
8 FabFilter Pro-MB (MultiBand Compressor)
Pro-MB is a multiband compressor by FabFilter. It is the famous company’s take on a multiband compressor, so it’s more than it originally looked.
Pro-MB is a multiband compressor with a few extra controls and features that set it apart from others of its kind.
- Dynamic phase filtering
One issue that most dynamic compressors have is phase shift caused by the filtering that happens to split the signal in frequency bands. This can give you the sense that the sound is affected even when no compression happens. To fix this, Pro-MB introduces a dynamic phase filtering technology that avoids phase shifting and also introduces no pre-ringing of extra latency.
- Excellent bands
Each band has the expected controls: threshold, range, attack, release, and output. The bands are color-coded, making keeping track of everything happening so much easier, and adjusting and repositioning each band is very easy and intuitive. Furthermore, you get features like stereo-linking and sidechaining under the expert tab. External sidechaining is also available, which opens the door to many mixing avenues: you can duck the guitar’s mid-frequency band to create space for your lead vocal by sidechaining them together.
Saturn 2 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher in VST2, VST3, and AU formats.
Pro-MB is another excellent plugin by FabFilter. It’s an incredible mixing tool, especially in genres with multiple sound layers that inhabit similar frequencies, like Trance.
9. Audiority XenoVerb (Reverb)
XenoVerb is a multi-algorithm reverb plugin by Audiority.
XenoVerb can provide all kinds of reverb styles and effects with its multiple reverb algorithms. Space is very important in Trance music, so a reverb plugin like this will be a great asset to Trance producers.
- Ten reverb algorithms
XenoVerb offers ten reverb algorithms for both classic and creative reverb processing effects. Some of the algorithms are room, hall, plate 1 and 2, bode, formant, and glass. Each algorithm has eight parameters you can tweak, and some have different and unique controls too. The sound can be subtle and short or endlessly long, perfect for setting hauntingly beautiful atmospheres.
- Sound design freak
XenoVerb excels in sound design purposes. The freeze button will create a loop in the internal buffer, which you can resample and do crazy effects with. Furthermore, the bode and formant algorithms are designed specifically for sound design. Bode has a frequency shifter that produces metallic tones, perfect for drones and atmospheres. Formant has a formant filter that produces resonances similar to vowel sounds produced by the human voice and can lead to some choir-like sounds.
XenoVerb is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 11.0 or higher in VST2, VST3, and AU formats, 64-bit only.
XenoVerb is a versatile reverb plugin perfect for all purposes if you need a comprehensive mixing reverb tool or even a creative sound design tool.
10. D16 Group Syntorus 2 (Chorus)
Syntorus 2 is a chorus plugin by D16 Group.
Syntorus uses three delay modules to create three distinct choruses and blend them for a unique effect.
- Detailed chorus controls
Syntorus 2 gives you full control over the chorus effect. You can tweak each of the three delay modules that produce the chorus effect and set individual filtering frequencies, tremolo, depth, and modulation amount. You also get access to three LFOs which can modulate the three delays for even more interesting results. The LFOs can be synced to the host’s BPM and have six shapes.
- More than just a chorus
Even more impressive is the range of sounds you can get from Syntorus. It can create stutters, rotating-speaker effects, rhythmic chopping, and flanger effects. This is mostly thanks to the LFOs, which can modulate a range of parameters. They also give you access to each chorus’s left and right phase position, meaning you can create wide or narrow chorus effects.
Syntorus 2 is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU formats.
Syntorus 2 is excellent at creating analog-like chorus effects and creative effects that will help push your sound design skills to the limit. It’s an excellent tool for widening or narrowing sounds, creating space, and adding interest to long sequences and patterns.
11. LennarDigital Sylenth1 (Synth 4)
Sylent1 is a virtual analog synthesizer plugin by Lennar Digital. It’s one of the most iconic plugins in electronic music production.
Sylenth1 is the perfect cross between old and new. It has four analog-modeled oscillators that provide a rich and warm sound. It also has built-in effects and an arpeggiator to help inspire new sounds and patterns.
- Rich sound
Sylenth1 is an excellently well-built analog-modeled synth. The four oscillators are grouped in pairs and can achieve a warm and rich low end or full and bright top end. They are polyphonic oscillators capable of 16 voices each, making them perfect for the signature Trance supersaws. The detune parameters on each oscillator will also help spread the sound and create full-body synth sounds, perfect for Trance.
- Arpeggiator and effects
The built-in arpeggiator is another perfect tool for Trance music production. It’s capable of multiple modes and lets you sequence the oscillators’ pitch and the velocity of each note, making it a powerful tool. It also has swing and hold controls for added variation and style. The effects are simple but well built and provide the tools needed for basic sound sculpting. The phaser is particularly powerful and can be modulated by the LFOs.
Sylenth1 is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Sylenth1 is an iconic synthesizer, perfect for Trance music and all EDM genres. It can provide warm bass sounds, bright top end, and thick synth leads. Its built-in arpeggiator can offer signature Trance melodic sequences, and the simple interface makes it ideal for beginners.
12. Baby Audio Comeback Kid (Delay)
Comeback Kid is a retro delay plugin by Baby audio.
Comeback Kid is excellent at providing analog-like delay sounds while also letting you tweak various parameters to fine-tune its unique character.
- Analog sound
Comeback Kid has an excellent analog sound that is accurate and tasteful. There is also a cheap mode, which will produce lower bit-rate delays that sound crushed and distorted, but delightfully.
One thing to love about this plugin is the amount of control over the sound. The shaper section lets you filter out lower and higher frequencies you may deem unnecessary, and it also sets the attack and release of the delays. The stereo section will let you pan, widen, or narrow the delayed sound, and the flavor section gives you access to the unique character of Comeback Kid. The tape knob adds saturation, the swirl adds phasing, and the sauce knob adds reverb to the delays. There’s also a ducker knob that will “duck” the delay out of the way when the incoming signal is above the set threshold, which is great for keeping vocals in the forefront and allowing the delay to fill in the gaps.
Comeback Kid is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Comeback Kid is an excellent delay unit. It has what a lot of delay units out there lack: character. It’s the perfect plugin if you are into analog sounds or need a delay capable of a few more tricks.
13. FabFilter Pro-DS (De-Esser)
Pro-DS is a de-esser plugin by FabFilter.
Pro-DS does everything a regular de-esser does but has a few extra tricks up its sleeves to set it apart from the rest.
- Smart de-essing
Many beginners are afraid to use de-essers because they fear they might remove the wrong frequencies. Pro-DS has a smart algorithm that will listen to your vocal track and determine which frequencies are sibilance. It will track them and remove them, so you won’t have to worry about messing up your vocal. A lot of cheaper de-essers in their attempt to remove sibilance may introduce a lisping quality to your vocals, but Pro-DS avoids that with its excellent algorithm. The visual feedback is also quite comforting since it shows you exactly how much signal you are removing from your track.
- All-around use
Pro-DS is not built just for vocals. There’s an all-around mode that focuses on a selected sidechain range. This mode is perfect for removing harsh high frequencies from any sound and is especially useful on drums. A split band option will separate the upper and lower frequencies, making Pro-DS excellent at taming drum loops or for mastering.
Pro-DS is available on Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher in VST, VST3, AU, RTAS, and AAX formats.
Pro-DS is the ultimate de-esser. It’s perfect for beginners new to de-essing and professionals due to its varied and in-depth controls. The smart algorithm is also refreshing, as is the ability to process multiple types of sounds, not just vocals.
14. Leapwing Audio StageOne (Stereo Width)
StageOne is a stereo width plugin from Leapwing Audio. It processes the mono signal separately to create a rich stereo field that’s also mono-compatible.
Stereo widening tools are very useful in trance genres, which rely on rich stereo fields to take the listener on a journey.
- Width and depth
The first two sections of StageOne are width and depth. Width lets you select a frequency range and then widens it. The algorithm uses a combination of different processes to achieve this, and when set to the maximum, it achieves an astonishingly wide sound. The depth section introduces early reflections to the sound to achieve a sense of depth. You can also set the tone of the reflections through the color knob.
- Mono spread
The most interesting section is the mono spread. This is where StageOne will process the mono signal to make it wider. If fed a stereo signal, it will also analyze it and identify the mono information to help widen it. The center gravity control allows you to shift the focal point of a stereo signal to the left or right. It’s excellent for balancing an unbalanced stereo signal or creating some interesting stereo effects that are also mono-compatible.
StageOne is available on Windows and macOS in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
StageOne is a powerful stereo width processor that can create stereo width from mono recordings or create extreme stereo effects that are also mono-compatible.
11 Best Free Trance Plugins 2022 (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Dream, Vocal & Hard)
1. Daichi Laborarory Synth1 (Video)
Synth1 is a virtual subtractive analog synthesizer plugin by Daichi Laboratory.
Synth1 is one of the most downloadable free synth plugins of all time. Despite being free, it’s capable of some seriously intricate sound design and has excellent sound.
- Complex oscillators
The two oscillators inside Synth1 are capable of some serious sound design. They offer four wave shapes and can achieve ring modulation, FM, and sync. You can also fine-tune them, and you get access to a third sub-oscillator for some heavy low end.
- Trance Focused
The modulation system includes LFOs that can be sent to various destinations, a dedicated amp envelope, filter envelope, mod wheel, and MIDI cc mapping. The onboard arpeggiator has four modes, a four-octave range, and will provide the necessary melodic patterns of Trance music signatures.
Synth1 is available on Windows and macOS, 64-bit only, in VST and AU formats.
Synth1 is an excellent free synthesizer. The oscillators provide enough sound design flexibility to compete with premium synths, while the onboard arpeggiator and effects will help inspire new sounds.
2. Spitfire Audio LABS
LABS is a free sample library by Spitfire Audio.
The company describes it as a collection of free instruments made by musicians and experts. It’s brilliant for creating atmospheric pads and textures, soft felt pianos, and orchestral sounds.
- Simple to use
LABS is a Kontakt-free library. Once you download the software, it’s ready to use. The interface is simple and focused, and the few controls you have access to ensure you won’t get lost at any point. The volume and expression controls do an excellent job of keeping your job simple to focus on songwriting and production.
- Endless sounds
Once you download LABS, you get access to a huge, ever-expanding library of sounds. You can have free sample libraries focused on sound design, like the glass piano or modular piano, or libraries focused on orchestral sounds like the frozen strings or tape orchestra. There are constantly new sample libraries added.
LABS is available on Windows and macOS in VST and AU formats.
LABS is a refreshing sample library that offers sounds perfect for ambiance and textures. Most importantly, it is free and always evolving. There’s nothing else to say other than give it a try!
3. Braincontrol Tunefish 4
Tunefish 4 is a virtual analog synthesizer by Braincontrol.
Tunefish is a highly optimized plugin synthesizer designed to run efficiently on all machines, even slower PCs with lower specs.
- Hybrid oscillator
Tunefish 4 has a single oscillator, which may seem limited, but is capable of both additive and wavetable synthesis. The oscillator is polyphonic with 16 voices, and apart from the usual controls, it offers interesting features like damp, harmonics, noise frequency, and noise bandwidth.
- Multiple effects
Overall, there are seven effects inside Tunefish 4: flanger, reverb, delay, EQ, distortion, chorus, and formant. They can all be stacked in the effects stack column, which can host ten effect modules simultaneously. You can run multiple instances of the same effects for some interesting sonic variation.
Tunefish 4 is available on Windows 7 or higher, macOS 10.9 or higher, and Linux 16.04 in VST, VST3, and AU formats.
Tunefish 4 is a solid free synthesizer. Its single oscillator provides enough parameters to inspire new sounds, the modulation system is easy to use, and the effects steal the show. It is a good choice for those looking for a new instrument to refresh their sound design process.
4. Matt Tyler Helm
Helm is an open-source virtual analog synthesizer designed by Matt Tytel.
It’s a truly free software, meaning you can access its code, tweak it, and even redistribute copies of it.
- Sonic flexibility
Helm has four oscillators, two of which are sub and noise oscillators. They provide great sonic flexibility through the mod knob that lets you modulate the two main oscillators with each other. There’s also a mixer to blend all the oscillators and a filter capable of sample & hold.
- Interesting modulation and interface
The interface is very easy to navigate, and color provides needed feedback to remember your modulation sources. You get access to two mono LFOs, one poly LFO, amplitude and filter envelopes, and a modulation envelope. Almost every parameter can be modulated inside Helm.
- Fun effects
Helm includes a formant effect and a stutter effect, which are fun to play with. Other effects include reverb, delay, and distortion, while an arpeggiator and a step sequencer help construct interesting melodic and rhythmic patterns.
Helm is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Helm is a refreshing look at what plugins could look like in the future. Accessing its source code means that Helm can be anything you want it to be. You can collaborate with other producers online and exchange code ideas to create your unique synthesizer.
5 MeldaProduction MCharmVerb
MCharmVerb is a free reverb plugin by MeldaProduction.
The plugin was based on the powerful MTurboReverb engine designed by MeldaProduction, and it’s a lush reverb perfect for atmospheric and textural sounds.
- Simple interface
MCharmVerb is very easy to use due to its simple and effective graphic interface. The controls are the ones you’d expect on a reverb plugin, with dry/wet, length, size, low cut, and high cut being the main parameters you tweak to set the tone. There are useful meters to monitor the input and output levels, the width of the reverb, and even an A/B comparison feature which is always a welcomed addition.
- Damp controls
The two last sections inside MCharmVerb are the damp high and low panels. They are disabled by default, but once you enable them, you get access to powerful damping algorithms that help you fine-tune the reverb’s tone. Each damp panel has individual frequency, gain, and Q faders.
MCharmVerb is available on Windows and macOS in VST, AU, and AAX plugins.
MCharmVerb is a straightforward reverb plugin. It can be a solid go-to tool for those needing an all-purpose reverb plugin that doesn’t sacrifice quality for the price.
6. iZotope Imager 2
Imager 2 is a stereo width plugin by iZotope.
Imager 2 is a simplified version of the complex imager inside the iZotope Ozone mastering plugin. It’s designed to perform stereo widening tasks in simple ways but with a professional sound.
- Simple controls
The width fader will make your sounds wider if pushed upwards or narrower when pushed downwards. The excellent visual graphic interface will show you how wide your sound is and help you keep a mono-compatible signal.
The most interesting feature inside Imager 2 is the stereoize fader. It offers the ability to turn your mono sounds into stereo with the simple click of a switch.
Imager 2 is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11.6 or higher in VST, VST3, and AU formats.
Imager 2 is an excellent stereo width tool. It’s great for beginners who need a simple tool to achieve massive stereo sounds and professionals who need the polar sample interface for helpful visual feedback. It’s an extremely useful mixing tool to have.
7. Chowdhury DSP Chow Kick
Chow Kick is a kick drum synthesizer designed by Chowdhury.
It’s based on physical modeling of old drum machine circuits and can achieve excellent-sounding kick drums, perfect for Trance.
- Familiar interface
Chow Kick works just like a synthesizer. It has an oscillator to generate sounds and has an amp envelope to shape it into a kick. The resonant filter is the second main section of the interface and is perfect for adding thump or depth to your kick. The resonant sounds great, and it’s perfect for exaggerating the kick’s low end or adding interesting tones to its mid frequencies.
- Play it like a synth
The kicks you design are not only triggerable but can be played across the keyboard. This is particularly useful for creating classic 808 melodies that add interest to your songs or creating unique kicks that can work as melodic bass layers.
Chow Kick is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux in VST and AU formats.
Chow Kick can help you refresh your drum sample library by creating your unique kick drums. It’s easy to use, and the resonant filter adds interesting sonic flexibility.
8. Melda Production MSaturator
MSaturator is a tube saturator designed by MeldaProduction.
It’s a free saturator that can work as a distortion effect on extreme settings.
- Smooth saturation
MSaturator performs smooth tube-style saturation to the incoming signal. It adds harmonics to the signal in a musical way to sound clearer and richer. The harmonics section gives you four faders, labeled as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. They enable you to shape the musicality of the harmonics in a precise manner.
Like most MeldaProduction plugins, MSaturator includes a randomize button in the form of a dice. When you click it, all the parameters will be randomized. This can result in some interesting and unpredictable distortion and saturation effects.
MSaturator is available on Windows and macOS in VST, AU, and AAX plugins.
MSaturator is a great subtle tube saturator plugin that can also offer sound design flexibility in extreme settings. It sounds very musical and can be a useful tool to add variation and interest to long Trance sequences.
9. Techivation T-De-Esser Plus
T-De-Esser is a free de-esser plugin by Techivation.
It can remove the sibilance from vocals and harsh frequencies from other sound sources.
- Effective de-essing
The de-essing algorithm is well built and can remove sibilance from vocals with accuracy. The big knob in the center of the plugin lets you set the dB amount of the sibilance you remove, and the handy output and level metering faders show you how much the over signal’s level is affected.
- Multi-frequency de-essing
You can essentially use T-De-Esser in any sound you wish to remove harsh frequencies from many sounds, not just vocals. The frequency range section is split into low-hi, mid-hi, high, and hi-end categories. These set the frequency being de-essed and can be effective on guitars or even drum groups with harsh cymbals.
T-De-Esser is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higher in AU, VST, and VST3 formats.
T-De-Esser is an effective free de-esser plugin that can remove harsh frequencies throughout the frequency spectrum. There’s a full-paid version loaded with more features, but the free one gets the job done. It’s great for beginners looking for a simple de-esser to get them started.
10. Audio Damage Rough Rider 3
Rough Rider 3 is a free compressor plugin by Audio Damage.
It’s an excellent choice for beginner producers since it features a handful of simple controls and a straightforward interface.
- Punchy sound
Rough Rider 3 is perfect for sounds that need a punch boost to cut through the mix. Its attack control can add lots of punch to drums, bass, or guitars, and the visual representation makes it a great learning tool for beginners.
There’s a sidechain section included with a highpass filter that helps you tame the compressor. It’s also capable of external sidechain, which is a welcomed addition.
Rough Rider 3 is available on Windows 8.1 or higher, macOS 10.11 or higher, iOS 11 or higher, and Linux in VST, VST3, AAX, AU, and AUv3 formats.
Rough Rider 3 is a straightforward compressor to use. It has a punchy character, and the onboard sidechain control makes it versatile—a good choice for beginners looking for their first compressor.
11. Slate Digital Fresh Air
Fresh Air is a high-frequency processor by Slate Digital.
It’s designed to boost high frequencies without overwhelming your mix or creating mixing issues.
- Vintage exciter technology
Fresh Air uses vintage exciter technology to add shine and brilliance to your top end. Many exciters overwhelm your top end and introduce harsh frequencies that cause mixing issues, but Fresh Air seems to avoid this. You can push the mid-air and high-air knobs fairly hard and maintain a clean mix.
- Useful on many sounds
Fresh Air can be used on vocals to add more presence and shine, but the mid-air knob makes it ideal for sounds, from drums to synths. Trance relies on bright high frequencies to draw the listener in, so this plugin could be a great tool in your arsenal.
Fresh Air is available on Windows and macOS in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU formats.
Fresh Air adds much-needed excitement to your high frequencies. It’s perfect for adding shine to vintage sounds, making elements cut through the mix, or enhancing your vocals.
Can you get high from trance music?
The short answer is no. Trance doesn’t get you high in the traditional sense since music induces no substances into your body. But it can make you feel a musical high which can be just as good.
Trance got its name from the trance-like state of mind that it emulates. When it was first formed, it was famous in the rave scene as the genre that gives you chills and causes euphoria to the listeners. This mostly happens through long structures that depend on melodic and melodic build-ups that play with tension and release. If you listen to a trance song with your headphones on and your eyes shut while lying down, you will experience this musical high.
Is trance and EDM the same?
Trance and EDM are not the same. EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, and Trance is a part of this scene. EDM includes many genres, like House, Progressive House, Dubstep, Trap, and Hardstyle.
Is trance music spiritual?
Every music genre can be spiritual, including Trance. Music has been a vital form of spiritual expression since the beginning of civilization. Every fan that feels highly connected to a certain genre can experience moments of higher consciousness.
Moments like these are more simply described as the essence of being in the moment. Trance music is effective since it focuses on creating uplifting energies that cause euphoria and erase all worries and stress while listening.
Trance music is all about creating a journey through all the senses to achieve euphoria. The atmosphere and long structures play a key part in Trance’s ability to achieve euphoria. Pads, subtle basses, supersaw lead sounds, and arpeggiated melodies make a Trance song effective.
This list is a place to source the tools needed to create these essential elements that make Trance music effective and hopefully emulate a trance-like state of mind for your listeners to be drawn in.
Other Plugin Roundups:
Reverb & Delay Plugins:
Amps & Preamps:
Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:
Processing & Sound Design:
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.