The Best Music Production Plugins

The Best Music Production Plugins

September 6, 2017 — We surveyed 45 expert music producers to get their very best music production tips… and the result was awesome!

The experts recommended a ton of great music production plugins… so many, in fact, that we decided to organize them here for easy reference.

We asked each member of our panel to give us his/her #1 favorite music production plugins, and to explain why he/she loves them. All told, 28 music production plugins were recommended.

So here they are: 28 of the very best music production plugins currently available, according to our panel of expert music producers.

Scott Hawksworth's signature
Scott Hawksworth
Founder, AudioSkills

Click here to view the entire list of our expert contributors, including links to their social media profiles.

We asked the experts: What’s your favorite plugin for music production right now? And why do you love it?

  1. My favorite plug-in for music production right now is Ableton’s multiband dynamics. While it is great for compression, I use it to split instruments or tracks into different frequency ranges and then apply FX only to certain frequencies. — SoundOracle,
  2. Not a ‘plug-in’ per se, but Ableton’s Operator is an INCREDIBLE sound design tool. — Thomas Glendinning, ELPHNT
  3. Fabfilter’s ProQ 2. Great EQ with a great interface, works for any EQ tasks. — Cristofer Odqvist, Magnetic Sound
  4. Granulator 2 – because of its bottomless potential to create bizarre / unheard sounds with minimal effort. — Nolan Petruska, Frequent
  5. Right now I’m obsessed with iZotope! Nectar makes every vocal sound radio ready without even breaking a sweat… — Kate, K808
  6. … and Insight has been really helpful for spotting potentially clashy spots in my mixes before they become a problem. — Kate, K808
  7. Izotope Ozone. It is the most transparent mastering plug-in I’ve used to date, with an interface that’s easy to use. — Phil Ber,
  8. iZotope RX (currently up to RX6). it’s an audio repair plugin that works like magic to repair audio. I use it for denoising, declipping, removing clicks, and removing crackles. It does a million other useful things too, and you can even get creative with it. Such as using the ‘removed crackle’ (set to ‘output crackle’) as crazy detailed and unique top layers. — Adam Pollard, Multiplier
  9. Magic A/B. I love it because it allows for easy referencing with my own tracks and other people’s tracks. — John Lavido,
  10. Melda MMultiAnalyzer. This thing is the best. Put it on multiple channels and each instance will talk to the others, showing you what each channel looks like on the audible spectrum, so you can see where things are clashing. There’s probably other plugs that can do this as well but this one happens to be my favorite. It’s helped me clean up my low end a LOT. — Noah Neiman,
  11. N.I.’s Kontakt, because it has very very very few limits. A game changes plugin! — Mauro “Kenji” Serra, Music Producer
  12. Komplete Ultimate. Has so much variety and collections of awesome sound libraries. — Pedro Esparza, Music by Pedro Productions
  13. Soundtoys Echoboy. Delay is fundamental to creating motion and interest and I wind up using Echoboy on every track I work on because it does everything I need it too plus a lot more. It pulls of both analogue and digital. It would be quicker to list what it can’t do. — Rick Snoman, Dance Music Production

    I always have the most fun with Echoboy. I usually open it with a specific sound in mind, but given how many options and how creative you can get with it, I end up with something I could have never predicted, which I love! — Marc Plotkin,

  14. For audio – Soundtoys Decapitator – not specifically for dirt, but when used sparingly, it’s amazing for tones, when eq is not appropriate. — Alex Salzman,
  15. For synth – Spectrasonics Omnisphere II – it’s on everything I do that requires synth. An amazing selection of sounds for any genre, highly programmable. — Alex Salzman,
  16. Sylenth. Bread & butter for synths and amazingly warm filters. — Ark Patrol,

    Sylenth1, because I love subtractive synthesis. I also like FM8 for PM Synthesis, but I use that for EDM more than for hip-hop. I use Sylenth1 in every beat and make my own sounds with it. — Florin Mitru, Kugelbleatz

  17. TAL-NoiseMaker. I found this one some time ago. It’s simple, easy to use, but you can create really complex sounds. And it’s free! — The Strange Algorithm Series,
  18. I have many, but Track God is my Favorite because of it versatility and sound banks are incredible — Cairo Dyvine, CDyvine Muzik Group
  19. Universal Audio Ampex Tape emulation. Adds warmth and glue. Actually I own a ton of UA products. (and no I don’t have an endorsement). I just love their products. — Diona Devincenzi,
  20. I’ve been almost exclusively using UA’s Neve 1073 pre amp plugin. It’s got a ton of vibe and is great for thickening up sounds recorded in a digital environment. — James Nagel,
  21. My UAD Teletronix LA-2A compressor – an old classic compressor in a neat little plugin! This is a powerful compressor that adds a touch of colour and transparency to a vocal. I use it on most vocal tracks and it just adds that ‘chart’ sound to vocals. — Aubrey Whitfield,
  22. Valhalla Room. I use that plugin on almost everything I do. It’s very versatile and fits the type of music I prefer to make (stuff with a bit of ambience in it). — Ashton Price, Morph Productions
  23. Voxengo SPAN is a superb audio spectrum analyzer tool. Remember I said that you must learn about frequencies to avoid ‘brittle’, ‘flimsy’, ‘boomy’ or ‘muddy’ sounds? SPAN is free and legal and will help you with doing this for individual tracks, groups of tracks or on your master track. Also great for seeing volume peaks, ‘clipping’ etc…I love it! — Lee TNB, The New Beatmaker
  24. Waves GTR pedal stomps. A great sound design tool that enables you to simply create unconventional sounds by chaining together different effects and pushing them to their limit. Its also my go to delay and spring reverb because the controls are very limited which enables me to get the right setting within seconds. — Idan Altman,
  25. Waves Vitamin. This tool is amazing. It can take any track or master mix and make it pump and shimmer without sacrificing the integrity of the original signal. — Luke Denton,
  26. Xfer’s Cthulu is an amazing tool for getting some unique progressions and voicings happening very quickly. — Jeff Caylor,
  27. Xfer Serum. It is an incredible and very approachable synth. — Matthew Tryba,

    Definitely Serum. The amount of control over your sound is insane and the ability to drop in your own waveforms makes the possibilities endless, while making it easy to create something original. — Brett Edwards,

    I’d have to say one of my “go-to” synthesizer plugins has been XFER’s Serum. I designed some of the factory presets and beta tested it before release, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The flexibility of modulation (LFOs, Envelopes, Mod Wheel, etc.) and ability to work with samples and import wavetables is pretty awesome. — Paul Laski, P-LASK

  28. I have recently started using XLN Audio’s Addictive Drums in the most unconventional way. I use it to emulate a room sound which I’ll then blend with my already recorded drum kit or samples. I use it in every mix at the minute. It gives a natural sounding reverb to the drums and really thickens the track overall. — Kurt Martinez,