Most popular synth VST plugins among Techno Music Producers
Analog drum machines and synthesizers such as the Roland TR-909 and the Behringer TD-3 are commonly used within the techno scene. The built-in circuitry adds harmonic distortion, pitch fluctuations, and noise to the sound source resulting in a vintage sound we’re all used to. Modern plugins are getting closer and closer to the identical sounds of analog gear. There are so many VST plugins out there and each of them have their own unique quality. As an upcoming producer, one always wonders what plugins do the professionals use. Recently we spoke to 70+ artists from different spectrums of the music industry and compiled their top plugins & gear in one single document. For the sake of this article, we have shortlisted all the popular plugins used by Techno music producers from the Essential: Plugins & Gear Catalogue.
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Most popular synth VST plugins among Techno Music Producers
‘The spirit of analogue’ is how the development company calls their Diva plugin. Its main components such as the oscillators, filters, and envelopes are modeled after a total of 5 decades of analog synthesizers in order to capture the best analog sound possible. What Diva holds on to: 5 oscillators, 5 filters, 3 ADSR envelopes, 2 effects slots (including chorus, phaser, reverb, delay, and rotary speaker), arpeggiator, 2 LFOs, and much more. Artists such as Agents of Time, Coeus, Fideles, Hannes Bieger Eelke Kleijn are huge fans of this plugin and have been using it in their music productions. Agents of Time also quoted “Diva is an amazing plug-in with which you can basically do everything in a great way“.
This flagship synthesizer of Spectatronics has been a common plugin within the Techno music scene, used by artists such as Fideles, NTO, Tinlicker, Eelke Kleijn & many more. Choose out of 14,000+ custom presets, categorized by ARPS, bells, distortion, electro percs, guitar, hits & bits, human voices, noisescapes, guitars, and so much more. Over 65 well-known hardware synthesizers will be functioning as hands-on controllers through the Hardware Synth Integration feature. Get your hands on 58 built-in FX units in order to shape the original sound the way you want to. Omnisphere is an absolute beast of a synthesizer and remains relevant no matter the genre of music you are making. The only issue with Omnisphere is the size of this plugin and it isnt something you would want to run if you are working on a low configuration laptop/PC/Mac.
Native Instruments Battery is a digital drum sampling plugin where you can store your own samples or choose out of many included samples by NI. Improve your workflow and sound design as you can control every inch of the sample. Get full control over the volume envelope, pitch envelope, velocity, filter, compressor, saturation, multiple LFOs, loop cutting, buses, limiter, reverb, and delay. Drag and drop your whole catalog of drum samples into Battery and assign them different colors for instant recognition. Hook Battery up to your favorite keyboard or control pad and be ready to push your boundaries. OXIA is a big fan of this plugin and quoted “It’s very easy to drag samples and create kits, and very easy to edit, change tone, envelope”
This 4 oscillator-based VSTi plugin has been an unmissable tool within the music industry. Lennar Digital created Sylenth1, especially for producers and it has been an iconic synth since day one. Its layout can be divided into several sections: Oscillator section, filter section (including 2 pure analog filters), modulation section, and the master FX section (including 7 FX). There are numerous hits whose iconic elements have been made using Sylenth1. Agents of Time, Miss Monique, Sultan+Shepard & many more extensively use Sylenth1 in their productions. While mentioning their favorite piece of plugins & gear, Sultan+Shepard quoted “Has it ever not sounded good on a record? So easy to use”
We can safely say that Xfer’s Serum belongs to the elite of plugins in music production. Serum can be divided into 4 tabs: oscillator tab (including a sub-oscillator, 2 ultra-clear oscillators, a filter section, modulation, 3 envelopes, and 4 LFOs), FX tab (including distortion, phaser, filter, flanger, chorus, delay, compression, etc.), Matrix tab (large mapping system), and a Global tab (unison, preferences, and settings). Maxim Lany recently shared his thoughts on Serum with us saying: “This is the single best synth plugin for me in the last couple of years. A real treat to work fast and create your idea without losing its essence.”
6. Arturia V Collection
The newest Arturia V Collection 8 holds on to a list of digital replicas of the most famous analog synthesizers. A total of 28 Arturia plugins are included, such as the Jun-6, Analog Lab, DX7, Jupiter-8, and the Prophet V. This 20 GB-sized collection covers a range of multiple instruments such as organs, pianos, violins, basses, and the most digital sounds you can imagine. The Italian duo, Agents of Time, mention that the Analog Lab plugin is the house. ‘You’ll be able to find any of the historical synthesizers in this plugin. From the Juno 106 to the Moog, from a pad to a bass. We totally love it.’
7. The Legend
The Legend made by Synapse was developed in association with Bigtone Studios, aiming for unprecedented precision in the field of analog circuitry. Its layout looks a lot like a crossover between Behringer and Moog, where every section of synthesis is well displayed. Have fun with the controls (glide, mod mix), tuning, output (detune, master volume), 3 oscillators, mixer (volume, noise, drive, feedback), filter section, and the amplifier envelope. The Legend comes with 530 patches, categorized into basses, synths, FX, and much more. Agents of Time & Fideles extensively use The Legend and mentioned it in their essential plugins & gear list.
8. Hive 2
U-he combined flexibility, audio quality, and creativity resulting in the second version of Hive, called Hive 2. Hive’s futuristic design includes 3 synth engines (normal, clean, dirty), 2 stereo oscillators, 2 filters, a wavetable display, 2 ADSR envelopes, 2 LFOs, 8-step sequencer, and 7 high-quality effects (distortion, chorus, delay, phaser, EQ, plate reverb, and compressor). New features have been added to the new 2.1 version, such as 4 additional filter types (comb, dissonant, reverb, sideband), stereo filter spread, modulation noise source, pan modulation for reverb and delay, new presets, and much more.
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Image Credits: Agents of Time Facebook