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The 12 Best Plugins for EDM In 2024

Creating electronic dance music (EDM) is an exhilarating journey, blending artistry with technology. However, producers often grapple with a common challenge: finding the right plugins to elevate their sound.

The digital landscape is saturated with countless options, making it difficult to identify which tools truly enhance the creative process.

This guide will cover each plugin’s strengths and how they can solve specific production challenges, ensuring your music stands out and resonates with your listeners.

Here is the complete list of the best EDM VST instruments, synths and effects plugins (updated for 2024):

Xfer Serum

Xfer Serum
4.4
$189, or $9.99/month

The most versatile, user-friendly wavetable synth on the market. Serum is easy to use, sounds incredible & is extremely affordable.

Sound Quality:
4.0
User Interface:
3.5
Ease of Use:
5.0
Presets:
5.0
Features:
4.0
Value for Money:
5.0
Pros:
  • Highly regarded by music producers and sound designers due to its exceptional sound quality output
  • The interface has been designed with ease of use in mind, striking a balance between simplicity and advanced functionality, ensuring that anyone from a novice to an expert can use it without difficulty.
  • Serum offers a vast collection of presets in its library, which serves as an excellent foundation for those who are into sound design and seeking new possibilities.
  • With its impressive wavetable synthesis feature, Serum provides users with a multifaceted synthesizer that makes it effortless to produce and modify intricate waveforms.
  • Serum's modulation capabilities are very advanced, offering a plethora of options that permit the effortless creation of sounds as they dynamically evolve over time.
  • Splice's rent-to-own option, provides an economical $9.99 per month, with the ability to pause at any time
  • Best user base and community, thousands of tutorials and presets available online
Cons:
  • Not cheap!
  • CPU and RAM hungry (not the worst though)
  • No built-in arpeggiator, you need to chain it with another plugin or tool
OS Compatibility: Win7, Win10, Win8, Win11, Apple Silicon, macOS 10.11+
Plugin versions: VST, VST3, AU, AAX
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 2024!

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
FREE

Xfer's OTT is the answer to getting this ubiquitous effect, onto DAW's that aren't Ableton Live.

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
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, VST3, AU
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!

Audio Examples

RC-20

RC-20
4.7
$99.95

A stellar, vintage effects unit that injects all kinds of warmth, color & analog oddities into your tracks with the click of a few buttons.

Lofi Noise Generators:
5.0
Wah, Wow, Flutter & Wear Quality:
5.0
Effects & Filtering:
4.0
Presets:
4.5
User Interface:
5.0
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
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AU, AAX
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!

Audio Examples

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

u-He Diva

u-he | Diva
4.8
$179.00

Diva is without a doubt, the best Virtual Analogue (and even digital) synth VST plugin available. It sounds ridiculously good, has a phenomenal set of presets & a simple interface. What more could you want?


Sound Quality:
5.0
User Interface:
4.0
Presets:
5.0
Features:
5.0
Value for Money:
5.0
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.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, VST3, AU, AAX, LV2, 32-bit / 64-bit
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.

Audio Examples

arp
bass
chords

FabFilter Pro Q3

FabFilter | Pro Q3
5.0
$169.00

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is designed to help you achieve your sound in the quickest way possible. 

Sound Quality:
5.0
Features:
5.0
Ease of Use:
5.0
Presets:
5.0
Value for Money:
5.0
Pros:
  • Very versatile equalizer, capable of handling a wide range of audio sources with ease.
  • Great, easy-to-use interface. No need to look for anything for ages, everything makes sense.
  • Level of precision that is unmatched by many other equalizers. You can adjust frequencies and levels with incredible accuracy, and the real-time analyzer allows you to see exactly what's happening to your audio.
  • A transparent and natural sound that doesn't color your audio in any way.
  • Mid-side processing capabilities, which allow you to adjust the stereo image of your audio with incredible precision.
  • Zero latency technology which allows you to make edits on the fly
  • Fantastic dynamic EQ mode which can shape your sound without removing the resonances that are crucial to the sound.
  • Brilliant curve-learning mode where you can play the audio of another track and get Pro-Q to create the curve it hears automatically.
Cons:
  • Quite expensive, but that's about it. Pro Q3 is the best EQ for a reason!
OS Compatibility: Win Vista Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, 10.12+
Plugin versions: VST, VST3, AU, AAX
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!

Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla Super Massive
Free

Valhalla is famous for providing extremely high-quality plugins at a fair price.

Pros:
  • Unique and ethereal reverb sound, which adds a dreamy and atmospheric quality to audio.
  • Can be used on a variety of audio sources, including vocals, guitars, and synths, and can be applied to different musical genres.
  • Simple and intuitive, making it easy to adjust settings and experiment with different sounds.
  • Affordable compared to other reverb plugins on the market, making it accessible to a wider range of users.
  • Low CPU usage, meaning it can be used on multiple tracks without causing any performance issues.
Cons:
  • Limited control over the reverb parameters, with only a few basic settings available for adjustment.
  • Plugin can be used on a variety of musical genres, it may not be suitable for all styles, as its unique sound may not fit every mix.
  • Plugin comes with a limited number of presets, which may be a drawback for users who prefer a wide variety of preset options.
  • Lacks advanced features such as EQ, modulation, and early reflection control, which may limit its versatility for some users.
  • Not compatible with all digital audio workstations (DAWs), which may limit its accessibility for some users.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: AU, AAX, VST, VST3,
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!

Audio Examples

Camel Crusher

Camel Audio CamelCrusher
Free Download

Camel Crusher is perfect for any electronic music production.

Pros:
  • Powerful distortion and saturation
  • Works well both subtly, and on full-blast
  • Warm and analog sound
Cons:
  • Interface can feel dated
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: AAX, VST2, VST3
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.

Audio Examples

Auburn Sounds Couture

Auburn Sounds Couture
Free Download

Auburn Sounds' "Couture" is a versatile transient shaper plugin designed to finely manipulate the dynamics and transients of audio signals, offering precise control and creative sound design capabilities.

Pros:
  • Couture is designed to offer precise control over the transients in your audio, allowing you to enhance or soften them as needed. This can be especially useful for shaping the attack and sustain of drums, percussion, and other transient-rich sounds.
  • The plugin typically provides various modes and algorithms, giving you flexibility in choosing the type of transient shaping that suits your audio material. This versatility can make it useful for a wide range of applications.
  • Couture, like other Auburn Sounds plugins, is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface. This can make it accessible to both beginners and experienced audio engineers.
  • The plugin often includes visual representations of the audio waveform, making it easier to understand how your changes are affecting the audio signal.
  • Transient shaping can be used creatively to alter the character of sounds. Couture's features can help sound designers achieve unique sonic results.
Cons:
  • Intensive transient shaping can be CPU-intensive. Depending on your system's processing power and the complexity of your project, using multiple instances of Couture or other similar plugins might strain your computer's resources.
  • Like any audio processing, extreme or incorrect settings might introduce unwanted artifacts or distortions into your audio. Careful adjustment is necessary to avoid these issues.
  • While the interface is designed to be user-friendly, transient shaping itself can be a complex concept, especially for those new to audio production. It might take some time to understand how to effectively use the plugin.
  • Depending on the version and features, Couture might have a cost associated with it. This could be a consideration for those on a tight budget.
  • Like all software plugins, compatibility with your digital audio workstation (DAW) and operating system is important. Ensure that Couture is compatible with your setup before purchasing or using it.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU, 32-bit, 64-bit
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.

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

Sonible Smart:EQ 3
4.4
$129.00

An extremely accurate and precise AI-powered EQ tool that can make intelligent decisions in context, clean up unwanted resonance, provide mix clarity & speed up any engineer’s workflow.


Ease of Use:
5.0
Value for Money:
4.0
AI Decision Making:
4.0
Workflow:
5.0
Profiles:
4.0
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.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AU
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!

Audio Examples

drums before (from our free lofi pack)
drums after

Xfer LFO Tool

Best Sidechain VST for Sound Design
LFO Tool
$49.95

LFO Tool by Xfer Records is a versatile modulation plugin allowing precise shaping of modulation curves to control various parameters in audio and MIDI, ideal for adding movement and dynamics to tracks.

Pros:
  • Many different MIDI-controllable features.
  • Great flexibility.
Cons:
  • Not outwardly glamorous.
  • More moduation processing effects would be nice.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU, 64-bit
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.

Little Alterboy

Soundtoys Little Alterboy
4.6
$99

Little Alterboy is a wickedly brilliant, creative sound design tool, pitching & formant VST. Use it to get a pushed autotune sound or for creative sound design possibilities.

Sound Quality:
5.0
Features:
5.0
Value for Money:
4.0
User Interface:
5.0
Presets:
4.0
Pros:
  • Easy to use interface, with a couple of buttons to alter formant, drive, pitch and mix
  • Very creative and characterful sounds, with great sounding pitching and formant - fantastic for sound design
  • 3 different mode types that give you different styled sounds. Robot for auto-tune robotic style, transpose for simple transposition etc.
  • Great value for money
Cons:
  • Does not work in real-time
  • Not a good choice for tuning vocals or instruments, more made for designing sounds.
OS Compatibility: Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11, Apple Silicon, MacOS 10.12+
Plugin versions: AAX, VST 2, AU, 64-bit
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!

Audio Examples

Baby Audio Smooth Operator

Baby Audio Smooth Operator
4.3
$79.00

Baby Audio’s Smooth Operator is an all-in-one mixing assistant that can help clean up your audio. It uses spectral compression, resonance suppression and equalization to clean up your audio, and it does it exceptionally well for the price.


Ease of Use:
5.0
Sound Quality:
4.0
Value for Money:
5.0
Presets:
4.0
Resonance Cleaning Ability:
4.5
Customizability:
3.0
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
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, VST2, AAX
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!

Audio Examples

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

All Best VSTs

All Best Free VSTs

VST Effects

VST Instruments

Misc

Verdict

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

Plugin NameTypeNotable Feature
Xfer SerumWavetable SynthesizerOver 150+ Wavetables, ability to create wavetables from PNG images
Xfer OTTFX PluginEmulates Multiband Compressor – OTT preset from Ableton Live
RC-20Creative FX UnitFeatures 6 effects modules for a vintage analog equipment feeling
u-He DivaSynthesizer PluginAward-winning analog sound quality, semi-modular with extensive modulation options
FabFilter Pro Q3EQ PluginHigh precision, no sonic characteristics alteration, dynamic EQ points, Mid/Side processing
Valhalla SupermassiveDelay/Reverb UnitPowerful Delay and Reverb capabilities, free offering
Camel CrusherDistortion UnitFeatures Distortion, Filter, Compressor, and Master modules, free plugin
Auburn Sounds CoutureTransient ShaperOffers absolute control of transients with a transparent sound, free plugin
Sonible Smart:EQ 3EQ ToolAI-powered, spectral matching, sharp and accurate for improving mix clarity
Xfer LFO ToolModulation PluginCustom modulation possibilities, over 100 presets, fully customizable LFO shapes
Little AlterboyVocal ProcessingOffers transposition, quantization, and saturation options for vocals
Baby Audio Smooth OperatorSignal BalancerIntelligent EQ combining EQ, spectral compression, and resonance suppression

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. Additionally, you can check out this post to learn more about BOOM Library ENRAGE – a plugin with a great sound library.

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

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