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Electronic music is ever-evolving, so having a suite of creative and technical VST plugins will help keep your tracks sounding fresh and modern. It’s a good idea to have a range of go-to plugins that you use for specific production purposes. This helps you master your plugins over time and learn to get the most out of them. By ensuring that you have a solid foundation of plugins you can use them to tackle most production jobs. The best plugins for EDM that I’ve chosen below will help you do just that, bringing you closer to crafting your signature and making the EDM tracks you want
Come dive in and explore 11 of the best plugins for EDM on the market today.
How I Picked My Best Plugins for EDM
The best EDM VST plugins chosen in this guide may be a little different than the norm, perhaps with a few surprises. I’ve based my decision on 20+ years of making EDM and have chosen a range of VST plugins that will help you in the following stages of production; Sound design, Composition, mixing and mastering.
I’ve picked plugins that provide great value for money, are highly versatile, will help you make great sounds, improve your mixes, provide a large variety of sonic possibilities and have the scope for you to keep getting more out of them as you grow as a producer.
Ableton Live can handle so much of the production workload these days that any new VST plugins you add to your setup have to stand out and do something special. I hope you find these plugins do just that.
Summary of the Best EDM VST Plugin
Serum – Massive EDM synth that is almost an industry standard. Exceptional versatility and sounds incredible. Sounds good out of the box or can be studied to create your signature sound.
Reaktor 6 – Excellent synth patches and effects. Allows users to build their own effects and instruments. Solid user community providing amazing free patches. Highly versatile synth engine.
Soundtoys Effect Rack – Excellent value for money FX bundle which provides subtle to CRAZY effects for sound design and mixing purposes.
Valhalla Vintageverb – Beautiful sounding reverb that won’t break the bank. Likely to become your go-to reverb. Excellent for adding warmth and space to mixes, and can be used for more adventurous sound design.
Fabfilter Mastering Bundle – Recommended for mixing, dynamic control and frequency balancing jobs. Super simple plugins that sound great. I still prefer these tools over Ableton’s default. Can also be used for sound design and of course DIY mastering.
Unfiltered Audio Bundle – These effects are my secret weapon. Idnet will add so much character to your sound and quickly bring to life stagnant drum sounds. The effects are perfect for sound design. I bought these plugins one by one, now I discover the whole bundle is available at rent to own for £7.99 a month! Exceptional value.
Waves SSL Master Buss Compressor – Maybe the least exciting entry in the EDM VST Plugin list is a bus compressor. The SSL G Channel does the job of shaving a few db and gluing your mix together so well though. Very easy to dial in and beef up your drums. Keep an eye out for discounts.
Izotope Ozone – A one-stop shop for mastering. I use it for balancing out a mix before I send it to a mastering engineer. I find the tools within the Ozone suite useful for general mixing purposes and also for adding colour to my mix bus.
Eventide H3000 – Plugin emulation of the classic hardware effect unit. Highly versatile pitch, delay and filter effects. Offering amazing sound design capabilities and general mixing duties. Decent value too.
Brainworx Subfilter – Cracking free plugin for bass end enhancement and control. Often used to punch up my kicks and low end.
Fablfilter Saturn – As an EDM producer, you’re going to need a good saturator. I think Saturn is one of the best Saturation VST plugins available. Perfect from individual channels, the drum, and mix bus.
Table of Contents
1. Serum – Xfer
Xfer’s dual oscillator wavetable, Serum, has long held its space at the top of the hierarchy for Synth VST plugins. With tons of built-in effects, a versatile modulation matrix, and plenty of creative tools to build unique sounds, many electronic dance music producers rate it as one of the best EDM VST plugins.
Beyond having more than 150 wavetables in the oscillator engine, Serum also allows producers to drag their own samples in to create brand-new wavetables. You can even drag a PNG image file into this synth VST to create a wavetable from it.
You’ll also find a vast collection of presets in the stock library, which can be a solid foundation for further sound design. It certainly helps that the interface, as in-depth as it is, is relatively easy to use.
As Serum is one of the most popular synth plugins on the market there is a wide user community and a wealth of third-party presets and libraries available for almost every sub genre of electronic music. Have a look at here.
Even after almost a decade of being on the market, Serum remains one of the best VSTs for EDM around.
Check out Splice as they are currently offering Serum as rent to purchase, this means you can spread the cost of the synth out over a few months. Handy 🙂
2. Native Instruments – Reaktor 6
Native Instruments is one of the most prominent VST plugin developers in the industry, and those who are looking for an in-depth creative toolkit for electronic dance music production should set their sights on Reaktor 6.
This unique VST plugin is architectural in nature, allowing users to build custom synthesizers, samplers, sound design tools, and effects. Everything is wrapped up in a modular, rack-style design, using “Blocks” as the individual building pieces.
Even if you’re not into sound design or synth building, you’ll find inspiration from the 70+ included instruments & effects in the Factory Library. Of course, beyond what you find in the base version of Reaktor, it also acts as the heart for other Native Instruments synth plugins like Monark and Razor, as well as a number of additional third-party effect plugins from developers like Blinksonic and Tim Exile.
With a thriving online community also providing user-made instruments, it’s a truly limitless music production tool no matter what style of music you make.
Reaktor 6 is an excellent choice for synth and effect lovers, allowing huge scope for making your own custom effects and synths.
Related: Best Free Synth Plugins
3. Soundtoys Effect Rack
Those who want to take advantage of the “analogue” sound while working ‘in the box’ will find what they’re looking for in the diverse lineup of Soundtoys plugins. Effect Rack, in particular, is a wonderfully creative multi-dimensional effects system that allows you to use all of the individual Soundtoys plugins in the lineup to build out custom effects chains. Its one of the most cost-effective ways of getting your mitts on the Soundtoys plugin range.
When you purchase Effect Rack, you get access to 14 of what I consider my favourite plugins on the market, including:
- Echoboy Jr.
- Devil-Loc Deluxe
Radiator and Decapitator provide rich, warm analogue saturation, PrimalTap and Echoboy offer endless delay styles, and FilterFreak and Tremolator provide powerful filtering and modulation capabilities. Start to combine all these effects together and you’ve got a massive effects resource that you can keep coming back to.
Effect Rack offers a Mix knob for parallel processing and a range of global controls to treat the entire effects chain as a single unit. While there’s nothing more analogue than letting your rhythmic effects run free, the Effect Rack gels well with modern electronic music production in that it allows you to lock every plugin in the rack to tempo.
With this suite of cutting-edge, EDM production plugins at your disposal, you don’t really need anything else to find inspiration for your dance music production game.
Related: 100+ Free Effect Plugins
4. Valhalla’s VintageVerb
Valhalla has some of the best time-based VST plugins around, from delays to reverbs to out-of-this-world spatial effects. The reason I’m recommending Valhalla VintageVerb is that it gives otherwise modern and potentially sterile-sounding electronic music a touch of that warm, old-school hardware reverb sound.
Within Valhalla VintageVerb, you’ll find 20 classic reverb plugins and three unique colour modes, all of which were inspired by some of the most iconic hardware reverb units of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The MODE control allows you to flip through 18 different reverb algorithms, while the COLOR control allows you to quickly change the sonic artefacts and tonal characteristics of your chosen reverb style to make it sound more like it came from a specific era.
Even with its easy-to-use interface, you still get access to plenty of useful controls, including Damping, Diffusing, Modulation, EQ, and a Mix knob for parallel processing. At the bargain price of £/$50 it’s easily one of the best EDM VST plugins and well worth the investment!
If you’re looking for a cheaper, slightly more experimental alternative check out Valhalla’s free Reverb plugin Supermassive. It’s well worth getting for massive sounding reverbs and sound design work, though it’s a little wild for more subtle applications. You can see more of Valhalla’s free plugins in my article 100 Free Effect plugins.
Related: Best Free Reverb Plugins
5. Fabfilter’s Mastering Bundle
Many electronic music producers view mastering as a dark art with a high barrier to entry, often requiring exceptional skill and pro-industry hardware. FabFilter’s Mastering Bundle bridges the hardware gap making it easier to bring your mixes to life with its suite of affordable ‘mastering’ plugins. Although the bundle is advertised as a mastering bundle, these plugins aren’t just for mastering purposes. Each plugin is a highly versatile tool that can be used for a host of other applications such as sound design and during the mixing stage of your production.
The bundle contains 4 of Fabfilter plugins:
Fabfilter’s Pro MB – Multiband Compressor Plugin
FabFilter Pro-L 2 – Limiter Plugin
FabFilter Pro-Q 3- EQ Plugin
FabFilter Pro-C 2 – Compressor Plugin
Most DAWs such as Ableton Live will have a stock version of these tools, it’s just that Fabfilter does them so well! These are my go EQ, compressor, Limiter and Multiband when I’m mixing because they are so easy to use and sound incredible.
You can buy all these plugins individually, I just think that the bundle offers the best value for money. Keep your eyeballs peeled for Black Friday sales as they are often heavily reduced 🙂
FabFilter Pro-C2 is a high-end, standard compressor plugin with eight program-dependent compression styles, all of which use 4x oversampling and smooth lookahead for transparent control. It features a beautifully simple user interface and is a delight to use.
FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 simple plugin might be the most highly used plugin in my current arsenal. With a 24-band design, an extensive set of features and phase modes, and one of the best interactive EQ displays around, I can’t think of a better EQ VST plugin for mixing or mastering.
Fabfilter Pro L2 Limiter
Having a true peak limiter is a must, especially if you want to get loud, transparent masters. With an extensive array of loudness metering, highly advanced limiting algorithms, and professional noise shaping and dithering capabilities, it’s an insanely versatile limiting plugin.
Fabfilter Multiband compressor
Last, in the mastering bundle, we have the FabFilter MB, which is one of the best multiband compression VST plugins on the market today. Multiband compression can be notoriously difficult to use, though FabFilter makes it easy with its intuitive multiband display and band-centric design that moves from the traditional crossover workflow.
Related: Best Saturation Plugins
6. Unfiltered Audio Bundle
Unfiltered Audio is not a big-name VST plugin company by any means, though this Southern California company is one of the best out there for electronic music producers who want to expand their creative arsenal. There is a reason these VST plugins are favoured among many famous names, such as Junkie XL and Richard Devine. The Unfiltered Audio Bundle is a musical playground of creative VST plugins for all of your sound design needs. You can get the bundle on rent to own via Plugin Alliance for around £/$7 per month which is great value. The main VST plugins I rate are:
As we all know, having solid low-end in your EDM track is key to a pro-sounding mix. It can be a tricky part of the mixing process to get right, which is why you often need the right tools for the job. Bass Mint is that tool and will offer you the ability to gain more control of your bass. With the simple interface, you can shape, manipulate, augment, and enhance the low-frequency information in your mix with multiband-style controls. It can be used on individual tracks or becomes a very powerful tool when placed on a mix bus of kick and bass.
Sandman Pro is somewhat of a Swiss Army Knife of a delay plugin, giving you access to a wide array of delay modes, ultra-smooth reverb modes, and several built-in effects to take your spatial processing to the next level.
Those in need of a diverse distortion and saturation plugin should investigate Dent 2. Beyond its numerous user-selectable distortion modes, from hard clipping to tape saturation and beyond, there is also a wide range of modulation modes that you can use to get experimental. What is great about this is that the modulation can be routed to most parameters in the plugin, and tempo-synced. This allows you to add very subtle, synced variation to your effects. This production technique can then become part of the sound design. I find this really useful on drum loops as you can create a subtle evolution of distortion over a few bars which adds more interest to your mixes.
You can get a range of different sounds out of this module from subtle to more aggressive sounding distortion. It really sounds great on drum sounds, and will really lift up cymbals and hi-hats in the mix. I’ve listened to a lot of distortions over the years, I just love the sound of Dent, it’s now my go-to distortion.
SILO is a granular reverb plugin that uses the power of granular processing to give you rich, otherworldly reverb tones. It’s a truly multi-dimensional tool with tons of presets to get you started. Sound designer Richard Devine is a big fan 😉
“Build Your Own Modular Effect” is an effect plugin with over 40 effect modules to choose from. You can patch all the modules up with the flexibility that you normally only find in modular synths. This allows you to create some truly unusual sound designs and whacky effects. As an EDM producer, we are often looking at developing our own unique sound – this will help you do that.
You can learn this plugin and develop some amazing patches or start straight out of the box with one of the 400 presets. You’ll find libraries developed by professional sound designers Richard Devine, Glitchmachine, Mich Shultz and ignatius.
7. Waves SSL G Master Buss Compressor
When it comes to mixing, there’s nothing I love more than the sound of an SSL G-Master compressor on the master bus. It’s been a go-to compressor for glueing mixes together for many years, providing that cohesive yet hard-hitting sound that we’ve all come to know and love.
Even beyond its uses on the master bus, it’s an equally solid drum bus plugin, perfect for when you need that added bit of oomph. The team from Solid State Logic validated and licensed the plugin to Waves, meaning it offers pretty much the same tone and design as the original.
Related: Best Compressor Plugins
I love the fact that even though this compressor is super easy to use, Waves includes a wide range of presets from Grammy-winning recording and mixing engineers. You can really slam this thing hard without ever getting the sense that your mix feels “over-compressed.” Plus, they added the new Mix control to make parallel compression easier than ever.
Keep your eyes open for when this plugin is on offer – it’s often heavily reduced to around £/$40. This plugin is also included in the Waves Studio Classics bundle, if your budget can stretch to it it’s well worth the investment.
8. Izotope Ozone 11
On just about every mix I’ve used iZotope Ozone on my master channel to give it that extra sheen. Ozone is one of the most versatile and flexible mastering VST plugins on the market, offering a module-based design and an AI-powered workflow, allowing you to unlock potential in your tracks effortlessly.
You’ll find a wide range of modules with different uses, all of which you can mix, match, and arrange based on your track’s needs. The mastering suite contains the following modules:
EQ, Multiband Compressors, Dynamic EQ, a beautiful tape saturation, an exciter, spatial imaging, Low-End focus, Limiters, Tonal BalanceClarity and a Maximiser.
I like using the tape saturation and exciter on individual channels as well as the master bus as they sound great.
What’s truly impressive is Ozone’s AI mastering engine. You can ask the AI to ‘listen’ to your overall mix and it will offer you a mastered version. It does this by setting a professional-sounding mastering chain based on what it thinks your track needs. I should say here, that you will not be able to simply apply Ozone to your master channel and have the AI master it. It provides a starting point for you to work from should you wish to, I don’t think that the AI can do a better job than my mastering engineer… yet!
This AI functionality is a really valuable learning tool as you can delve into the mastering settings that it suggests and see what they are doing to your mix. With a little bit of reverse engineering, you can see what the AI is trying to do and understand what changes benefit your mix and which don’t.
Another useful feature is the Tonal Balance module. It analyses your masterbus and provides you with a visual representation of your track’s overall frequency balance. It can then map this against average frequency balances for your particular genre to help you see if your mix is meeting industry standards. You can also build up a collection of your own presets from tracks you have analysed the frequency balance of. This is really useful if you are tyring to emulate a sound of a certain genre or record label as you can build up a frequency balance library of tracks to reference against. It’s a handy tool to have for referencing a mix, but as always, you should trust your ears and not the plugin.
There are also plenty of presets you can get started with, which is great, as the plugin can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, once you get used to the workflow, you’ll find it a useful VST plugin for enhancing your productions.
9. Eventide H3000
The Eventide H3000 might be one of the most iconic studio hardware racks of all time. The H3000 VST plugin delivers all of the same pitch, modulation, delay, and filtering opportunities as the original, as well as more than 450 presets to get you started.
The plugin is broken down into effects blocks, including pitch shifters, envelope followers, amplitude modulators, delay, and frequency oscillators, all of which can be mixed and matched to create unique in-the-box effects. For those who want to dive in deeper, the Function Generator includes 19 wave shapes, a MIDI control, a white noise generator, and a sidechain input.
Every effect in the plugin can also be locked to the tempo of your session. To take it even further, the developers included a number of selectable filters, including low-pass, high-pass, and bandpass, all of which can be swept with the variable Q filter without having to worry about any unwanted artefacts.
The main reason I chose this as one of the best edm VST plugins is that you can generate some absolutely bonkers effects with this baby. It may look a little intimidating at first, but as you get to grips with it, this plugin will really help you define your own sound. If you’re not ready to take that plunge yet, the default settings sound great too and have the flexibility to be used for mixing work too. It’s a multi-use effect plugin that you’ll get a lot of value from over the years.
Related: 100+ Free Effect Plugins
10. Brainworx subfilter
It can be difficult to get your sub-frequencies right in EDM tracks. Luckily, we have plugins like bx_subfilter dedicated to getting your low-end in control. This completely free plugin borrows from the Filter section of the bx_subsynth, delivering a unique approach to low-end filtering.
It cleans up low-end extremely well with the Tight Punch knob, which implements a resonant high-pass filter that cuts problems in bass-heavy mixes. It’s a far less complicated plugin than most low-end shaping or EQ plugins that do something similar, perfect for when you want to tighten up your mix in an instant.
Excellent for use on kicks or a kick and bass bus with a compressor added to the chain at the end. It’s one of the best free plugins out there, so check it out, it’s free! You can get it via Plugin Alliance by creating an account here.
11. Fabfilter Saturn 2
We’ve already discussed a lot of the best FabFilter VST plugins from the mastering bundle, though I couldn’t leave this list without introducing you to FabFilter Saturn. This distortion, saturation, and modulation plugin is one of the best and most versatile VST plugins on the market for adding warmth and harmonics sounds to EMD tracks.
Beyond the unique multiband design and the seemingly endless list of distortion capabilities, it also has an in-depth modulation section for all your sound design desires. Due to its flexibility, I’m sure this will become your go-to saturation plugin. It sounds great on a drum mixbuss too, helping gel your loops together.
Related: Best Free Saturation Plugins
What are the best EDM VST plugins?
A good place to start your EDM VST plugin collection is with Serum by Xfer. A solid software synthesizer that will be in your production arsenal for years.
Another one of the best EDM VST Plugins is Reaktor 6 – a highly versatile and exceptionally powerful tool for music production. Features synths, effects, the ability to build your own instruments and a thriving user community.
Soundtoys Effect Rack – super value effects rack that will help fill your EDM tracks with bucket loads of ear candy.
Valhalla Vintageverb – your EDM tracks need a sense of space, Valhalla vintage verb will provide a high-quality reverb that’ll do just that. Great value too.
Fabfilter Mastering Bundle – a must-have bundle of quality plugins for controlling your music’s dynamics and balancing frequencies. Best EQ plugins on the market.
Unfiltered Audio Bundle – These EDM VST plugins are the secret weapon for electronic producers. Unfiltered audio produces some quality effects and production tools They’re a decent price too 🙂
Waves SSL G Master Buss Compressor – Go to buss compressor to add punch to your mixes & EDM beats.
Izotope Ozone – an exceptional suite of plugins to add sheen and help you master your final mix.
Eventide H3000 – a highly versatile Effects unit. One of the best EDM VST Plugins for creating your own unique sound.
Brainworks Subfilter – One of the best EDM VST plugins because it’s free AND sounds great. Excellent for controlling your bass. Gives paid plugins a run for their money.
Fabfilter Saturn – One of the best saturation plugins on the market. Will help to add warmth to all your own tracks.