When you first get a digital audio workstation, you may wonder how anyone could need plugins. With so many features packed into most DAWs, it’s hard to believe there are more possibilities out there. Once you’ve learned the ropes of your workstation, it’s time to start searching for ways to take your sound to the next level. Learn about the top five essential plugins for music production.
At $400, the Spectrasonics Keyscape is a bit of an investment, but it’s well worth your money. With a wide variety of keyboards, pianos, and electric pianos, Keyscape will have you itching to try each one. Also, you can tweak any instrument in Keyscape to create brand-new, totally unique sounds.
Softube Saturation Knob
If you find that your DAW produces music that sounds too clean, Softube’s saturation knob is perfect for you. Turn the knob to increase distortion—it’s as simple as that. While some plugins cost a pretty penny, this one is free.
IK Multimedia Sampletank 4
For anyone who didn’t think their DAW came with enough knobs and switches, Sampletank 4 provides a massive sound palette with an intuitive interface. It costs $499, but you get 120,000 samples (yes, you read that right), over 8,000 multi-sampled instruments, and 7,500 loops. If all that sounds ridiculous, you’re absolutely right. You’ll never run out of sounds.
Xfer Records Serum
Serum is an advanced wavetable synthesizer with high-quality sound and a workflow-oriented interface. This synthesizer for the ages includes 450 presets and 144 wavetables, providing tons of value and inspiration. With total control over warp and frequency, Serum is a steal at $189.
Valhalla Freq Echo
We cap off our list with another free plugin—Valhalla’s Freq Echo. If you’ve been scouring the internet for a plugin that can turn any sound into “psychedelic, skull-melting chaos” (Valhalla’s words), look no further. This plugin has an incredibly simple interface coupled with almost limitless combinations.
All these plugins are compatible with Presonus Studio 24C, the interface available for use at our music studios in Houston, Texas—stop by and try it out!
Now that you know the top five essential plugins for music production, go forth and create your sonic masterpiece!