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Weekend Inspiration: Top 5 plugins for producing EDM & Beatmaking

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Plugin Boutique has published another Top 5 Friday video in which Tim Cant takes a look at some of the best plugins for producing EDM.

If you want to get that polished, highly professional EDM sound, you’re going to need to use the right tools, and at Plugin Boutique, you can find some of the most helpful VST plugins out there. But which are the best plugins for EDM? In this rundown, we’ll shed some light on the top VSTs for crafting tearing leads, solid basslines, and

Whether you’re looking for EDM plugins for FL Studio, Ableton Live, Logic Pro or any other DAW, here’s our take on the best VSTs for EDM that you can grab at pluginboutique.com.

Here is Tim’s top 5:

XO by XLN Audio

An innovative new way to get the right drum sounds, XO analyzes your one-shots and groups them by similar sound on its intuitive GUI. The straightforward interface makes it easy to find the sound you’re after, and XO also features a huge library of one-shots to get you started.

XO even includes a powerful step sequencer so you can make beats right in the plugin, plus it’s got convenient drag and drop export, and can work as a standalone application. The cost? $180.

Nectar 3 by iZotope

This intelligent channel strip was designed just for vocals, and so it’s a key part of any EDM tune’s workflow. The modules available are EQ, gating, compression, delay, reverb, harmonisation, pitchshifting, auto-levelling, dimension, and even the Breath Control processor from iZotope RX. Any of these can be run in any order you want, mixed and matched exactly how you like them.

In the Advanced version of Nectar, there’s also a Vocal Assistant tool that helps recommend processes based on the sound of your input vocal. You can also deal with masking in Nectar 3, cutting down on clashing frequencies.

Nectar 3 comes in Advanced, Standard and Elements versions, with the cheapest one coming in at $140, and the most expensive at $270. Elements offers a stripped back set of tools with a lot of the same effects onboard.

Spire by Reveal Sound

Spire has loads of oscillators and synthesis types to give you a diverse range of sound sources, and an impressive level of control over morphing those sounds with two Ctrl knobs, which change their function depending on what type of synthesis you’re running. There’s also 9x unison for each of the two oscillators.

Next come dual filters, a total of four LFOs, and another four envelopes. All that modulation power can be harnessed thanks to the five pages of modulation assignments in Spire’s matrix. There’s also an effects section featuring a Shaper/Decimator, a Phaser, a Chorus and flanger, a Delay and a Reverb processor.

If you’ve got any extra attention or cash after dealing with Spire itself – it’s €170 – you can also check out a huge number of third-party presets available for the synth too.

ShaperBox 2 by Cableguys

If music is all about melody and rhythm, ShaperBox has the second one well and truly covered. It offers six effects that you can run individually or independently, to control your audio’s Filtering, Panning, Volume, Width, Bitcrushing and even Timing.

Each of these is controlled over time using a draw-your-own curve to apply the amount different over a few bars or beats, meaning that you can animate any of the six processors to make rhythmic or slow, evolving changes, with MIDI control thrown in too. Each Shaper can also operate in multiple frequency bands, Lo, Mid and High, to add yet another dimension to the effects you can get.

ShaperBox 2 is £80 or $100.

SubLab by Future Audio Workshop

For powerful electronic music, you’ve got to have yourself a powerful sub bass, and SubLab is one great way to get it. Starting with Synth, Sampler and X-Sub sound sources, and running threm through filtering, distortion and compression stages, all designed to suit working with bass tones, this is one specialized little synth, and it will only set you back about €65 Euros.

Let’s go in-depth on those oscillators, where you get a choice of three. The Sampler lets you choose from 250 kick and 808 bass sounds, and also lets you import your own. Standard sampling functions such as choosing your loop points are included here, too.

The Synth module gives you a more standard way to generate your own tones from a basic sub oscillator, taking in volume, filter and pitch envelopes along the way.

The X-Sub bass source is psychoacoustically constructed to keep your lowest lows tight, no matter what note you’re playing.

Top 5 Beat Making Plugins

If you’re looking for some plugins to help you advance your beat making skills, you might want to check out the previous episode of Top 5 Friday as well.

When it comes to beat making VSTs, which are the essential selections that’ll get you slick, professional and vibey beats? From drum machine plugins to instant retro-ising effects, here we’ll take you through the best beat making plugins for getting that professional edge on your beats.

Far from the abilities of your DAW’s stock plugin collection, these are the best beatmaking VST instruments and effects out there…

  1. StiX by XILS-lab.
  2. Three Compressors You’ll Actually Use by Arturia.
  3. PunchBox by D16 Group.
  4. RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio.
  5. DrumComputer by Sugar Bytes.

You can check out all of these plugins at the Plugin Boutique website and download free trial versions to have a try yourself.

More information: Plugin Boutique

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