Today we’re going to go through 6 of what we consider to be the best plugins to make Latin music in 2021.
Let us address the elephant in the room here, and let’s first clear out what these “Latin sounds” actually are. As we know, Music has infinite genres, styles, messages, and everything in between. Latin Music is a global term that takes music genres like salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton, more related to Caribbean countries from Latin America, and groups them based on the consistent use of specific percussive elements and grooves.
So, now that we’re on the same page, let’s go on our list to find out the best plugins for Latin Music to make your tracks sound great.
Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2021
1. Audio Thing Latin Percussion Review
Audio Thing’s Latin Percussion plugin is a sample-based sequencer that emulates the Sound Master Latin Percussion, a rare analog drum machine from the ’80s.
It features six different instruments that you can shape, pan, pitch shift, and mix independently, and a rhythmic pattern board. You can also randomize each instrument individually on the pattern creator board to shape your very own patterns. Without further ado, let’s dive right into its key features:
- 6 Individual Instruments:
Latin Percussion plugin comes with six different instruments with individual pan, pitch, and volume mix knobs, which is a time saver if you already have something in mind. It also features a randomizer button on the pattern sequencer area that comes in handy if you want to spice things up a little. You can randomize each instrument separately.
- Pattern Creator:
It’s possible to get creative and build nice grooves within this feature. It makes it very easy to adjust, allowing you to modify every aspect of the sequence pattern, like the number of steps, by just clicking on the step numbers above. When you’re done, you can also throw the pattern into your DAW and see it instantly, as Midi notes.
- FX controls:
It also features overdrive and reverb effects to shape unique sounding sequences. You can add reverb to create dimension on a specific instrument in the groove and give it a different vibe.
- 20+ Presets:
There are about 20 different presets in this plugin that will accelerate your workflow with different classic Latin rhythmic patterns (including Samba, Rumba, and Chachacha) that you can modify and customize to taste when creating nice new grooves.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, and macOS 10.6 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST2, VST3 AU, and AAX formats.
Audio Thing’s Latin Percussion is a versatile, efficient, and CPU-friendly rhythmic sequencer. It takes nearly no time to figure out, enabling you to let your creativity go without holding you back. The fact that it has separate controls for each instrument to shape both sequence patterns and tone makes it really practical to achieve exciting rhythms to flavor your productions. Although it might seem limited, possibilities are infinite, and from my personal experience, it helps spice things up quite nicely when producing.
2. METALES VSTi Latin Brass Review
Metales VSTi Latin Brass is a virtual sound module developed by Producers Vault using their SOMOTO sampling technology.
Featuring individual horn patches and ensembles that include all articulations used on today’s and classical Latin music, all played by a highly-skilled group of Latin musicians, this plugin provides highly realistic sounding Latin brass. Let’s talk about its Key Features:
Metales VSTi plugin features 27 different instrument libraries, including individual instruments and ensembles, 13 synthesized bonus sounds, and a Juno brass emulation.
- Key switches & Articulations
All libraries include Key switches with different articulations allowing you to have more control over performance. This is a fantastic feature if you’re scoring and need to send a high-quality draft to a client.
- ADSR envelope & controls
You can also use this plugin to sound design using the ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, and release) envelope control, which enables you to create entirely different sounds from any preset or library of your choosing. Metales VSTi also features a Pre-Amp control panel that includes gain, panning, pitch, and strutting knobs, plus a reverb FX. On this panel, you can also switch the synthesizer mode to polyphonic or monophonic.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher, runs on 32 and 64 bit and comes in VST and AU formats.
Producers Vault’s Metales VSTi provides a lot of room for creativity, as it gives you many different tools to create original brassy sounds without much struggle. It features many presets that you can go through and modify to taste and offers a straightforward, optimized user interface that keeps everything at your fingertips.
3. Latin Urban VSTi Review
Latin Urban VSTi plugin is an all-in-one instrument workstation with everything you need to build great sounding tracks within minutes.
Here we have an excellent combination of high quality, resources, and malleability, all packed into an interactive interface that allows you to navigate through the plugin and get things going quickly. There’s so much to say about Latin Urban VSTi features, so let’s jump right into it.
- 112 instrument presets:
Latin Urban VSTi already comes with a massive list of presets that include various instruments, textures, and styles. This plugin contains synths, pads, keyboards, brass, pianos, guitars, plucks, drums, and percussions. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Producers Vault modeled some of the preset samples included in this release after iconic sounds used by major artists like Rosalia, Pitbull, and Lady Gaga.
- Drum Module:
Just as any other synthesizer, you can shape tone, waveform, sustain, and so on. Still, Latin Urban took it to a different level and added a virtual drum machine with several things, like kicks, hats, and snares to vocals and percussive sound FX. It’s also possible to add your samples to this feature.
Practicality is an outstanding feature of this plugin. It’s far more organized and comfortable to have everything in one place. It enables you to use your drum module while simultaneously playing notes and chords on the keyboard, which is very helpful when producing because you can try things out on a preset rhythm and start working from there.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher, runs on 32 and 64 bit and comes in VST, and AU formats.
Easy to use, versatile, and practical are three words that would perfectly describe Producers Vault’s Latin Urban Workstation. This plugin provides you with a large variety of possibilities with tools that permit you to get high-quality results in no time. Presets already give you a solid head start, and its fully customizable features will make your life way easier when producing.
4. Marimba Latina Virtual Review
Producers Vault’s release, Marimba Latina Virtual, emulates the classic Marimba sound from Central America, Nicaragua, and Chiapas (Mexico).
Producers Vault attempted to recreate a perfectly accurate Marimba sound. They carefully tracked, sampled, and post-produced all sounds to achieve this goal and got some of their best gear. Recorded with the legendary Neumann U87 and the good old Sennheiser MD421, through some Neve1081 Preamps, this plugin offers an authentic, high-quality Marimba sound for each one of its sampled pieces. They mainly focused on three variations of the Marimba: Marimba de Arco, from Monimbó, Nicaragua, the Mexican Marimba Chiapaneca Tenor, and the Vintage Mussier Studio Grand Marimba. Now, let’s talk about key features.
This is one of those plugins that you can just open up and get straight to business. You’ll find reverb, pitch, attack, release, sustain and decay knobs to manipulate the sound of the Marimba to whatever you might need.
Marimba Latina Virtual comes with ten different Marimba sounds, including classic and contemporary instrument variations from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Chiapas, Mexico.
Supports Windows XP or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher runs on 32 and 64 bit, and comes in VST and AU formats.
Marimba Latina Virtual is effortless to use. As soon as you load any of their carefully recorded samples, you can hear this plugin’s top-notch sound quality, even for today’s standards, which is a relevant trait of this plugin, considering it is five years old.
5. Producers Vault TROMPETA LATINA Review
Trompeta Latina is a customer request VST plugin that includes different Latin playing styles, articulations, and velocity layers developed by Producers Vault.
This is an autonomous plugin built merely on Producers Vault’s customer requests. They gathered suggestions and ran straight to their studio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, where they recorded different trumpet sounds from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Mexico.
- Simple controls:
You can control LFO Depth & Rate, strutting, Pan, and ADSR Envelope through knobs that work like any other Dry/Wet control. You also get a reverb FX, input gain, and pitch knob. What makes all these control knobs stand out is their versatility since they can either be transparent or drastically change the sound.
- Sound and playability:
There are 12 amazing sounding presets carefully recorded and post produced, which makes Trompeta Latina VSTi stand out amongst many other VSTs and even Kontakt libraries when it comes to sound quality. On this presets, you’ll find multiple key switches and velocity layers with articulations that include: long sustain, Crescendo, Falls, shakes, swells, valve flutters, and a lot more.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher, runs on 32 and 64 bit and comes in VST and AU formats.
Trompeta Latina is an absolute keeper for Latin music producers and sound designers. However, it does require you to take the time to adjust dynamics and articulations to sound realistic. That being said, it sounds incredible, is easy to use, is easy to work with, and makes it even easier to get results.
6. Brazilloops Tuca Review
Brazzilloops Tuca is an authentic Brazilian drum machine with 62 essential instruments that allows you to load custom samples as .wav files.
All 62 instruments are layered in 8 tracks to get any Brazilian rhythm, like Bossa Nova, Samba, and Latin flavors. Users can automate filters and pitches, insert new beats in the editor, create their own kits, and do just about anything you need to develop better tropical-sounding grooves.
- Save new drum kits:
This feature is highly convenient, as you can create a new drum kit only by selecting different instruments for each track and then store it as simple as labeling it and clicking the save button. It allows you to save up to ten drum kits and recall any previously saved drum kit by pressing the User button at the right.
- Load your samples:
It’s possible to upload samples on Tuca as long as they’re saved as .wav files and have a 44.1khz sample rate with a 16bit depth, which is a fantastic feature on this plugin. This becomes extremely helpful when producing Chillhop, EDM, or even Trap music, and you want to spice things up and add a different vibe to your drum sound.
The good thing about Tuca’s interface is that you only have to look at it, and you already know what you’ve got. It’s got eight different channels that include volume fader, pan, mute, and pitch controls. You can change samples by pressing the track number button at the top. There’s also a Filter and Efx panel at the bottom that you can assign to channels 3-6, and it’s effortless to customize and create unique sounds within minutes.
- Factory samples and drum kits:
Tuca comes with over 100 factory samples, drum kits and midi templates. It includes 20 Brazilian-style beat templates, 20 drum kits for sambas, batucada, bossa, partido alto, salsa, afro, and 62 real traditional Brazilian percussion instruments, such as pandeiros, surdos, zambumbas, and more.
Supports Windows, and macOS both 64 bit only, and comes in VST3, AU format, and as a Standalone version.
Summing up, Tuca Drum Machine has many unique features. It sounds terrific on its own, allows the user to go further and save custom samples and drum kits. On the downside, considering Tuca was not primarily intended to be a dedicated sampler, some DAW’s restrictions may cause malfunctions like some effects not working during playback after storing new samples. Nevertheless, it is a valuable tool for any music producer and beatmaker.
Best Free Plugins For Latin Music 2021
1. D’Pinga Timbal Review
D’Pinga Timbal is part of the D’Pinga salsa percussion plugin series, developed in Germany by Pulpo Audio.
D’Pinga (which, to clear this out, is a Caribbean manner of speak that means something like “cool”) Timbal is one from a three plugin series developed by Pulpo Audio. Its sound quality is exceptionally high for a free plugin and offers a convenient and adjustable set of controls. Let’s dive into more details and talk about its key features.
- Stroke controls:
It’s easy to tell that Pulpo Audio went the extra mile when including the complete timbal set and gave separate controls to each possible sound you can make with a set of these. The UI is self-explained at first sight, but it’s worth mention that you can adjust volume, pan, and tune. You’ll find two separate tune controls (cents and semitones), allowing the user to detune each instrument from -24 to +24 semitones with the St knob or from -0.5 to +0.5 cents with the Ct knob, depending on the need.
- Tweak it:
D’Pinga Timbal gives you a variety of control over strokes and overall sound. On the upper left corner, it’s possible to control velocity sensitivity, tune semitones and cents, as well as general volume. You’ve got legato controls on the upper right side, where you can change general release, offset, and attack individually, and there’s also a global envelope control at the bottom.
This plugin is the largest of all three (there’s also D’Pinga congas and bongo), featuring a wide range of 37 different stroke types that will go from G1 to D7 on the midi map keyboard. This would cover just about any sound a real player could make on a Timbal set. Each sound has six velocity layers for a more realistic performance. Timbal comes with a basic set of patterns and enables users to build their own and store them.
Supports Windows 10, Supports macOS 10.11 or higher, runs on 32 and 64 bit, and comes in VST, AU formats.
Here we’ve got an example of an excellent free plugin to produce Latin music or just adding some flavor to your tracks, regardless of the genre. On the down side, there’s a catch: some functions of this plugin will only work through a host plugin called Tentacles, also developed by Pulpo Audio. So if you were looking for the pattern player/creator, or need any multi-output features, heads up. There’s also a possibility that it doesn’t work properly on some DAWs, as the developer initially created it to fulfill his needs and not for commercial use.
2. Elektro Studio Rhytmus Review
Rhythmus is a straightforward, vintage rhythm machine.
If you produce lo-fi, EDM, R&B, or trap music, you probably need to know more about this plugin. Elektro Studio’s Rhythmus is simple, straightforward, and works a charm. Inspired by an old rhythm machine, it has a smooth, well-balanced, vintage lo-fi sound; this is an excellent option for experimenting with new sounds and creating cool new rhythms.
It offers 20 rhythmic loops, such as tango, mambo, waltz, and rumba, and 16 rhythmic components, including Tamborine, Guiro, and Quijada. If you were thinking about something to optimize your workflow, then keep reading.
As soon as you open it, you can hit start and go through all of its twenty different loops, which you can combine or play individually by pressing any of the ten white buttons below. Each white button can play two different rhythm sections that you can switch with the red button on the bottom right side of the interface.
- The “open” tab:
When you click the open tab at the top right, you’ll be able to change volume, pan, and tune on each of the 16 rhythmic components, including bass drum, cowbell, snare drum, hi-hat clave, etc. You can also mix all elements with Tamborine, Guiro, and Quijada sounds.
Supports Windows OS only, runs on 32bit only, and comes in VST format only.
Rhythmus does a fine job as a vintage loop machine. It offers some exciting features that make it sound unique. I would suggest trying it as a background beat with a filtered reverb to add excitement to a chorus section of an EDM track. This plugin is an original option to add some flavor without much time and effort and get results.
3. Klevgrand Guiro Review
Guiro is a free Christmas giveaway that you can play in real-time with the modulation wheel of your MIDI controller.
A Guiro (or “Güiro” in Spanish) is an Indianism from the Arawak linguistic family, which referred to the fruit from a tropical tree called Güira that was typical in northern South America and the Caribbean. Is classified as a percussive instrument consisting of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut on one side. This Klevgrand release is a simple yet effective plugin that emulates a Latin plastic guiro sound.
You only need to hold down any MIDI note on your keyboard to set the stick down, then use the modulation wheel to scrap and start playing the instrument. Do notice that you require a MIDI controller that contains a Modulation wheel or that’s capable of sending MIDI CC#1 to use this plugin.
- CPU friendly:
In accordance with its minimalistic interface, Guiro offers excellent sound quality and doesn’t require much CPU processing, which makes this plugin extremely practical and reliable.
Supports Windows 7 SP1 or higher, macOS 10.9 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, AU and AAX formats.
It’s always good to have efficient tools and high-quality sounds when producing. Klevgrand’s Guiro is a minimalistic plugin that provides an excellent sound of a plastic guiro without demanding too much hardware processing. From a documentary score, where a tropical vibe is required, to a jungle noise sound FX design, or a Latin music production session, this plugin will give you what you need without wasting much time.
4. MEESHA Rhythm Master Review
A rhythm machine with external sound triggering
Rhythm Master is an analog drum machine emulation developed by Meesha. It’s modeled after the Whippany Rhythm Master and other Rhythm machines from the early 70’s but also allows users to play, record, and even trigger samples from an external source. It has three distinctive sound presets and seven percussive instruments, as well as ten classic rhythmic patterns. Let’s talk about some of the key features of this release.
- Three different drum kits:
There are three different drum sounds to choose from. The first sound has an acoustic but heavily distorted sound, similar to drum sounds from 80’s synthpop. The second sound has the richest low end and midrange of all three; it has a deep kick sound and a rough, aggressive snare sound, more like a Run DMC style beat. The last drum kit is more contained on the lows and primarily focused on the high-frequency range and adds a Latin vibe to the table.
- MIDI interface:
Rhythm Master features a MIDI input and output to trigger samples from a keyboard or drum pad. This plugins MIDI output also transmits your rhythmic sequences as MIDI notes allowing you to record and edit each drum sound individually. It’s also worth mentioning that all MIDI note numbers correspond to the GM Map standard from Steinberg Cubase and Nuendo.
Supports Windows OS only, runs on 32 bit only, and comes in VST format only.
Drum machines were used a lot during the ’80s to achieve a futuristic sound, which was a significant characteristic in music back in the day. Nowadays, we use drum machines to achieve vintage sounds. Rhythm Master offers you a simple yet efficient UI that’s ideal when you need to be creative on demand, and you need to get things done fast with the best possible quality. Soundwise, despite you probably wouldn’t want it as your main drum sound, you might want to layer it and get a unique drum sound that will stand out from the rest.
Bonus: Latin Library For Kontakt
Native Instruments Cuba Review
Native Instruments “Cuba” is the ultimate Latin sound library.
Native Instruments did it again and brought us this incredible library they called “Cuba,” which gathers authentic rhythms, harmonies, and complete ensembles from the Caribbean island. On this addon instrument plugin possibilities of creation are infinite. It’s packed with a mind-blowing sound quality that will make you feel as if they were playing right next to you. Cuba has a lot of things to offer, so let us waste no more time and let’s talk about its key features.
Cuba offers both percussive and melodic ensembles as well as single percussions and melodic instruments of all kinds. With various articulations and expressions on each library, you can access every component on each ensemble individually. You also have many classic, traditional, and contemporary arrangements, grooves, and rhythms at your disposal, all beautifully recorded and sampled.
- Built-in sequencer:
There’s no need to waste any time trying to figure out how to play like a Latin percussionist with the pattern generator. It comes with a massive amount of patterns that you can use and customize on the sequencer/ editor function, where you can solo/mute any instrument and add or switch between articulations by touching each spot. You can also manipulate performance by modifying the groove, feel, and intensity. This feature also lets you choose the length of your sequence from 1 to 4 consecutive bars.
- Sound Mixer:
Cuba’s built-in mixer feature gives you complete control over the mix, pan, EQ, width, drive, and a parallel reverb FX send on each mixer channel. This sound mixer also enables the possibility of choosing different algorithms for the reverb FX. You can store your mix as a preset after tweaking and getting everything sounding just like you want it.
The library features an insane amount of presets to boost your workflow and waste no time, including mix, ensemble, instrument, sequence, groove, melodic, and rhythmic presets, all of them with multiple articulations that you can switch and adjust to taste in seconds.
This library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt, which requires Windows 7 or higher, or macOS 10.13 or higher and runs on 64 bit only.
This library is filled with authentic, incredible-sounding samples, rhythms, harmonies, and just about anything you could ask for when looking for a sample library that provides you everything you need in just one place. Its hyper-realistic articulations, crystal-clear recorded samples, variety, and absurdly intuitive and straightforward interface make Cuba a tremendously helpful tool to optimize your workflow and get instant results with top-notch quality.
Wrap It Up
Everyone needs tools that can quickly adapt to any given situation and provide the best possible sound quality. We’ve gone through many options that you can get and add to your workflow to optimize your production process.
If you’re a film score producer, and you’re looking for an all-in-one workstation to develop melodic and rhythmic ideas faster, you should check out Latin Urban VSTi or Cuba since they feature different instrument sound banks and many different presets made to accelerate your workflow. If you work with sound design and need something that gives you control over the sound and envelope controls, you might want to try Melates, Trompeta Latina, or Marimba Latina Virtual. If you’re a music producer and want to add some excitement to your grooves, then Latin Percussion, Tuca, and D’Pinga Timbal will be great additions to your arsenal.
I have a B.Sc. Degree in Audio Engineering and +5 years of work experience. I specialize in Audio Post-Producing and Sound Design to help brands and online businesses stick out delivering top-notch audio quality for advertisement, podcast, films, and music.