The 12 Best Plugins for EDM In 2021

Here is the complete list of the best EDM VST instruments, synths and effects plugins (updated for 2021):

  1. Xfer Serum
  2. Xfer OTT
  3. RC-20
  4. u-He Diva
  5. FabFilter Pro Q3
  6. Valhalla Supermassive
  7. Camel Crusher
  8. Auburn Sounds Couture
  9. Smart EQ:3
  10. Xfer LFO Tool
  11. Little Alterboy
  12. Baby Audio Smooth Operator

Xfer Serum

Xfer serum vst

Serum is a two oscillator Wavetable synthesizer, with heaps of modulation capabilities, awesome creative tools as well as great built in effects.

The oscillator engine is incredible, with over 150+ Wavetables available, as well as the option to drag in samples, to create new and unique wavetables. In addition to this, you can also get a wavetable from a PNG image, by just dragging the image onto the wavetable editor.

No doubt in our, and we imagine your mind as well, Xfer Serum is one of the best plugins for EDM available today.

If you want to learn more about this incredible synth, check out our review on why Xfer’s Serum is still one of the best synths in 2021!

Pros

✅ Incredible sound engine for the money

✅ Flexible and creative wavetable oscillators

✅ Support for 3rd party skins

✅ Splice rent-to-own

✅ Lot’s of tutorials & learning resources

✅ You can craft anything from realistic sounding drums, to wild basses, pads, cinematic impacts and more!

Cons

❌ Default factory skin looks dated

❌ Can be difficult to comprehend for beginner producers

Audio Examples

KEYS – Purple Chupa Chup (preset from our free Lo-Fi pack)
PAD – Nostalgia, BASS – Guitar Sub (preset from our free Lo-Fi pack)

Xfer OTT

Xfer ott edm plugin

Another Xfer offering, OTT is more simple than Serum, rather than being an in-depth synthesizer, OTT is a simple FX plugin.

Designed to emulate the Multiband Compressor – OTT preset from Ableton Live, Xfer’s OTT is the answer to getting this ubiquitous effect, onto DAW’s that aren’t Ableton Live.

If you like the sound of OTT, and are not using Ableton as your main DAW software, you should pick it up, OTT is just as good!

Pros

✅ FREE to Download

✅ Simple way to excite dull sounding tracks

✅ Easy to Use

Cons

❌ Using OTT less subtly can start to sound weird.

❌ Useless, if you already have Ableton Live

Audio Examples

RC-20

xln audio rc 20 plugin

XLN Audio’s RC-20 is a plugin that everyone and your gran has. It’s become so popular, that it’d be hard to find someone that doesn’t know much about the RC-20 (Retro Color).

RC-20 is a creative FX unit, designed to inject a warm and cozy vintage analog equipment feeling into your audio.

Featuring 6 effects modules : Noise, Wobble, Distort, Digital, Space and Magnetic, RC-20 is pretty much all you’ll need to make your music have just the right amount of warmth and imperfection.

Want to learn more about RC-20, check out our awesome in-depth review on why XLN’s RC-20 is so good!

Pros

✅ Impeccable sound quality and color

✅ Beautiful GUI

✅ Tons of Presets

✅ 4K Support for both Windows and Mac OS

Cons

❌ Distortion and Digital modules don’t tend to be too useful.

❌ 4K on Windows feels like an after-thought

Audio Examples

off (automated on towards end)
on (whole take)

u-He Diva

diva analog edm synth plugin

u-He’s Diva is a synthesizer plugin, that nearly ends all discussion on Analog vs Digital.

With an award-winning analog sound quality, Diva is, without exaggeration, one of the best sounding VST synths ever. In fact, in our top 50 VST plugins list, Diva takes the number 1 spot.

Diva is also semi-modular, with 5 oscillators, 3 filters and 3 ADSR envelopes as well as tons of modulation and effect options to choose from, to build any analog sound you might want.

With over 1200 incredible presets, an awesome, Analog-inspired UI and stunning audio quality, Diva is one of our favorite synths ever made.

Pros

✅ Incredible sound quality

✅ 1200+ Analog inspired presets

✅ 4K Support

✅ Packed full of features and customization

Cons

❌ Can be Quite CPU hungry, especially with more complex patches.

Audio Examples

arp
bass
chords

FabFilter Pro Q3

fabfilter pro q 3 eq plugin

FabFilter’s Pro-Q3 is easily one of the best EQ Plugins ever made. Pro-Q3 is incredibly precise, leaves no sonic characteristics on your audio and is honestly, the best solution for a surgical digital EQ.

With a stunning interface, that’s quick and easy to use, Pro-Q3 offers every feature you might need in an EQ plugin. From Dynamic EQ Points, to Mid/Side processing, to Spectrum Grab.

Probably the best solution for manually taming problematic frequencies and resonances, Pro-Q3 is our go-to EQ, almost 100% of the time.

If you want to learn more about this incredible plugin, check out our FabFilter Pro-Q3 review!

Pros

✅ Surgical precision

✅ Spectrum Grab allows for easy resonance control.

✅ Mid/Side processing

✅ Very Low Memory Usage

Cons

❌ Nothing we could think of

Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla supermassive reverb plugin

Valhalla DSP are our favourite makers of all things spatial. From Reverbs, to Delays and completely crazy spatial modulations, Valhalla seems to be awesome at everything.

Their free offering, Valhalla Supermassive, is arguably one of the best plugins that Valhalla has to offer. Both an incredibly powerful Delay and Reverb machine, Supermassive can completely replace your other free Delays and Reverbs.

The sound quality and the sheer amount of control you get with Supermassive, make it one of our favorite Delay/Reverb units, ever!

Pros

✅ 8 processing algorithms

✅ Reverb and Delay in one

✅ Vast reverb and delay capabilities.

✅ FREE

Cons

❌Easy to create infinite reverbs, that can be annoying, if not automated

Audio Examples

Camel Crusher

camel crusher free vst plugin

A favorite of EDM producers, as well as any other electronic music producers, Camel Crusher is an awesome distortion unit, that is entirely free!

Camel Crusher features 4 modules : Distortion, Filter, Compressor and Master, which are amazing, if you’re destroying your sounds. Camel Crusher is super powerful, in contrast to it’s low-key interface, so you might be quick to jump for the Volume and Mix controls.

That being said, Camel Crusher is also great when used subtly and can introduce different types of saturation into your audio.

One of our favorite free distortion and saturation units, Camel Crusher is an awesome little plugin. If you want to learn more about it, and download it, we have a review & download page here.

Pros

✅ Powerful distortion and saturation

✅ Works well both subtly, and on full-blast

✅ Warm and analog sound

Cons

❌Interface can feel dated

Audio Examples

Auburn Sounds Couture

auburn sounds couture transient shaping plugin

Couture by Auburn Sounds is one of our all-time favorite free transient shaper plugins. With absolute control of your transients and an extremely transparent sound, Couture doesn’t feel like a free plugin.

At it’s core, Couture is very simple and easy to use and understand. The GUI you’re greeted with, is also very unique and looks great.

You get 3 transient detection modes, in addition to your Transient controls, to customize your transient characteristics to your liking.

For a free transient shaper, look no further than the Auburn Sounds Couture.

Pros

✅ Great GUI

✅ 3 Transient Detection Modes

Cons

❌Saturation module doesn’t work in the FREE version, and you’ll need to pay $19 for the full version to access it

Audio Examples

Here’s some audio examples of how Couture will act on your drums. These are sounds from our Solero Exotic Hits pack, coming for free download soon!

without couture
with couture

Sonible Smart:EQ 3

smart eq 3 plugin

Sonible’s Smart:EQ 3 is the latest, in their line of “smart” plugins. Sonible make some of the best AI powered mixing and mastering tools out there and smart:EQ 3 is no exception.

Using Spectral matching, smart:EQ 3 analyzes your signal and alters the EQ settings based on the audio input. Smart:EQ 3 is an impressively sharp and accurate EQ tool, which can instantly clean up unwanted resonance, as well as improve mix clarity and more.

While Smart:EQ 3 isn’t meant to replace your main EQ plugin, it’s an awesome tool, to speed up any engineer or producers workflow drastically.

With Mid/Side processing, as well as an awesome spectral analyzer and surgical precision, Smart:EQ 3 is a new and unique take on EQ’s. If you’re interested to learn more about Smart:EQ 3 in depth, check out our awesome Smart:EQ 3 review!

Pros

✅ Mid/Side processing

✅ Cross channel processing and group mode.

✅ Re-sizeable interface

✅ FREE 30-Day Trial

Cons

❌ iLok Authenticated. You can alternatively user Sonible’s own PACE system.

Audio Examples

drums before (from our free lofi pack)
drums after

Xfer LFO Tool

Xfer lfo tool edm plugin

Xfer’s LFO Tool is another utility plugin they’ve made, similar to OTT, except this time, it’s all about LFO’s.

LFO Tool is freely assignable to any control in your DAW or plugin, to introduce custom modulation possibilities for almost any setting and control. From pumping sidechain, to reverb swells, LFO Tool lets you create awesome modulations.

With over 100 Presets, Fully customizable LFO shapes, a super simple interface and light CPU usage, LFO Tool will be a great addition to your modulation toolkit.

Pros

✅ Light on CPU

✅ Customizable LFO shapes and 100+ Presets

✅ Can automate both audio and MIDI

Cons

❌Interface looks quite dated

❌Note re-trig is annoying and doesn’t work all that well

Little Alterboy

little alterboy edm plugin for vocals

Soundtoys’ Little Alterboy is one of our go-to plugins for transposing vocals, or adding pitch-correction.

At it’s core, Little Alterboy is a very simple plugin, with 4 knobs and 3 modes of operation. Transposition lets you transpose your audio +12/-12 semitones, Quantize will get you the classic hard-tune vocal effects, while Robot will quantize your audio to a single pitch.

Additionally, you can route MIDI to Little Alterboy in Robot mode, to play your vocal melodies with your MIDI keyboard. Lastly, the Drive knob allows for some awesome saturation on the back-end of the chain.

All in all, a simple, but no doubt powerful and versatile plugin, good for all genres of music. Want to learn more about Little Alterboy? Check out our awesome review on it!

Pros

✅ Great sound engine

✅ Go-to tool for hard-tuned vocals

✅ Control audio pitch with MIDI

Cons

❌ Transposition only goes to +12/-12 semitones

Audio Examples

Baby Audio Smooth Operator

baby audio smooth operator resonance suppression plugin

Smooth Operator by Baby Audio is an “Intelligent Signal Balancer” designed to tame resonances and improve your tonal balance.

At it’s core, Smooth Operator is an intelligent EQ plugin, yet, unlike Sonible’s Smart:EQ 3, this is a bit more hands-on. Smooth Operator combines the concepts of EQ, spectral compression and resonance suppression into a single, beautiful plugin.

An awesome tool, to help you find and tame bad frequencies more efficiently, Smooth Operator is great to speed-up your workflow, check out our in-depth review on Smooth Operator!

Pros

✅ Stunning interface, with 3 color choices.

✅ Improve your tonal balance in seconds

✅ Side-Chain mode

✅ Full re-sizable interface

Cons

❌ No Mid/Side feature

Audio Examples

lofi sample smooth operator off (from our free lofi pack)
lofi sample smooth operator on

Verdict

To recap, here is the complete list of best EDM Plugins on the market:

  1. Xfer Serum
  2. Xfer OTT
  3. RC-20
  4. u-He Diva
  5. FabFilter Pro Q3
  6. Valhalla Supermassive
  7. Camel Crusher
  8. Auburn Sounds Couture
  9. Smart EQ:3
  10. Xfer LFO Tool
  11. Little Alterboy
  12. Baby Audio Smooth Operator

If you make any type of electronic music, these awesome EDM Plugins are for you, no matter if you’re into making EDM, other types of electronic music, or even acoustic stuff.

Hopefully you’ve found what you’ve been looking for, and are already downloading some of them.

If you enjoyed this list, we have some other tutorials, lists and articles you might like, below!