Entertainment Technology

Top Must-Have Music Plugins for Every Producer

Top Must-Have Music Plugins for Every Producer
Image by Becca Clark z Pixabay

There have never been more plugins available to producers today, and for those starting out, it can be overwhelming. First, we need to ask what plugins are in music technology. Plugins are software programs used in your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to generate or manipulate the sounds in your tracks. Here is our guide to the very best plugins every producer should have. 

The Power of Music Plugins: Revolutionizing Music Production 

Music plugins offer a world of sonic possibilities to the user and can help to manipulate sounds in ways that you may not have thought possible. Here are some of the ways plugins can help

  • Unleash your creativity – Plugins allow you to mould and shape your sounds the way you want; they open up a world of creative possibilities.
  • Cost  – Having the hardware version of some plugins would literally cost you thousands of pounds, not to mention the space and maintenance required to house these units.  
  • Convenience – As everything is within your computer, you can take all these amazing plugins with you wherever you go, eliminating the need for external hardware.  
  • Automation and Presets – You can access professionally designed presets from within the factory bank and discover how the pros have approached using your chosen plugin. You can also use automation to open a synth filter over a certain period of time in your song. The resulting ‘automation’ will be reproduced exactly how you programmed it.

Essential EQ Plugins for Perfecting Your Sound

One of the most used plugins in your music production software will be EQ. While stock EQs are good, sometimes you need a little more precision and flexibility. 

Fab Filter Pro Q 3 –  A beautiful interface, a very fast workflow, precision tools, and plenty of filter types.

Soothe 2 – Is like a “Magic Wand’ when detecting harsh and unpleasant frequencies in your mix. 

Mäag Audio EQ4 – This one will add character to your mixes if you have your conventional EQs sorted. The legendary ‘Air’ in this plugin can add a secret sauce to your mixes.

Unleashing Creativity with Innovative Synth Plugins

Sonic Academy ANA 2 – This iconic and game-changing synth has a host of features that mean you don’t really need any other synth. One of the most used synths in the world today.

Kilohearts Phase Plant – If you are looking for something a little different, then look no further. A hugely flexible modular-style synth can sometimes be a little daunting, 

DiscoDSP OB-Xd – An incredibly faithful recreation of the classic Oberheim OB-X synth, this is a free synth that should be in every producer’s arsenal.

Reverb and Delay Plugins: Creating Depth and Space

Valhalla Room –  One of the best sounding and simplest UI’s out there. Not expensive either.

Waves H-Delay – Great sounding workhorse for getting those classic tape echo delays into your tracks.

Eventide Blackhole – Not a conventional reverb, but one that will encourage you to experiment and create evolving soundscapes and weird ambiences. Originally an algorithm in Eventide’s legendary H8000 Ultra-Harmonizer.

Virtual Instruments: Realistic Sounds at Your Fingertips

You may hear the term “virtual instrument” when researching what are plugins in music. The term simply means a plugin that recreates the sound of real-world musical instruments. These can be guitars, electric basses, pianos, or even string plugins to help add a realistic dimension to your works.

Amp Simulators: Crafting the Perfect Guitar Tone

In these plugin styles, we have a digital emulation of a real guitar and bass guitar amp and pedals. They can add realism to programmed guitar parts but also add crunch or distortion to already existing synth parts and even drums. Go on, experiment.

MIDI Effect Plugins: Adding Groove and Movement

MIDI Effect plugins are inserted onto the channel strip and, in turn, process or generate MIDI data. They can be used to generate arps and chords or to change existing MIDI data.

Expanding Horizons with Unique and Experimental Plugins

On the hunt for something to inspire and give your music uniqueness? Fire up these plugins and see where you end up.

Sonic Charger Synplant  – a go-to inspiration source by top producers, this little synth has deep sound design capabilities.

Native Instruments Playbox – Overcome writer’s block with this nifty plugin, 900 samples packed into 6 clever cubes for you to mix and match.

Unplug Red Prisma – A wicked-looking multiband free plugin all wrapped up in a great-looking GUI!

In conclusion

There are so many plugins out there for your music production software. It can be daunting at first. Most plugins have free trials, so download these and use the trial period to assess whether the plugin is for you. Also, be on the lookout for free plugins that might add a unique flavour to your tracks. Experiment and enjoy your journey! 

So, do you agree with our choices and what are your favourite plugins? Lets me know in the comments below.