What Plugins Should I Buy First?

As a beginner music producer its always good to know the tools that you’ll need in order to carry out your work.

Plugins are essential in music production and they make up the tools necessary to execute almost all production processes.

For someone starting out, budgeting everything is very key because it will help you have a general direction of the stuff that you really need.

This post will dive into the very first plugins that you should consider purchasing with a few good examples of each.

SYNTHS

A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that is able to generate sounds.

It uses a variety of synthesis methods to achieve this and will be a very valuable tool.

For composing music, having a synth can help you come up with good chords and melodies, plus most synths allow you to digitally design your own sounds.

This can be quite beneficial and is the reason why a good synthesizer should be part of your first time plugin list.

Below are some good synth plugins:

Serum

Serum is a hybrid synth that is one of the most modern and most equipped.

Check it out on the manufacturer’s website

Absynth

This is synth plugin developed by Native instruments, it is quite the handy tool for a producer at any level.

Dune 3

Dune 3 is a 3-oscillator synth that has a variety of built in effect, arpeggios etc.

It covers all synthesis which is great for sound design.

Multi Instrument Plugins

Apart from synth plugins you also need to have good Multi-Instrument plugins that generate a variety of instruments.

With synths, you’re basically restricted to synth-y sounds but with Multi instruments plugins you have different kinds of instruments e.g Pianos, guitars, bells etc.

Below are some Multi Instrument Plugins

Nexus 3

Nexus 3 is a Rompler plugin developed by REFX. It is a multi purpose haven for a variety of instruments.

Check out Nexus 3

Omnisphere

Omnisphere is a diverse multi instrument plugin that is a must have for anybody interested in music production. It is easy to use and great for beginners.

Purchase Omnisphere

Reverb

You also need good reverb plugins. Reverb is great for creating space in the stereo image of a mix, it is also great for smoothing out dry sounds that may be too harsh without reverb.

Below are some good reverb plugins:

Valhalla Room Reverb

Valhalla has great reverb’s that are popularly used by composers.

Check out Valhalla Reverb here

LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven

This is another great reverb choice which can be used in a variety of ways.

With certain reverb’s, it is quite difficult to get the perfect modification with Seventh heaven, you can get pretty close.

Check out Seventh heaven reverb Here.

Delay

Delay plugins are also a definite must have for someone looking to build their initial plugin library.

There are a number of quality delays that can get the job done and I’ll recommend the best two that work really well for me.

Delay is used to make the mix a lot more interesting and a lot less boring.

Below are two of my favourite Delay plugins:

Repeater

This is a great delay plugin, it’s quite useful because of its emulation of classic delay machines from the old days.

It is a great option for somebody looking for good delay options.

Check out repeater here

Echo boy

This is another great option for a delay plugin, and it also emulates vintage effects whilst offering a warm analogue sound.

Check out echo boy here

Compressor

High quality compressor plugins should be one of the first plugins you purchase.

Compressors fix the dynamic range in audio by maintaining a uniform volume through out.

Below are two of my favourite compressor plugins:

Fab Filter Pro C

The Pro C is an industry standard compressor that has a highly informative interface great for somebody just starting out or somebody that has their feet a little wet.

Check out the Pro C compressor Here

Softube CL 1B

This is one of the best tube compressors on the market today. Its a little pricey but worth all the money.

Its Tube style compression will give an analogue touch to any audio you run through it.

EQ

Equalization plugins are essential for any music production process.

It is responsible for controlling frequencies within sounds to make them meet a specific criteria.

EQ is what you’ll use to tame high, mid and low frequencies.

Below are two of my favourite EQ Plugins:

Fab Filter Pro Q

This EQ plugin is a little bit on the pricey side but is worth every penny because it will handle even the most delicate and difficult equalization situations.

The Fab Filter Pro Q is my number recommendation for an Effective EQ plugin.

Check out the Pro Q here

Melda MAutoDynamicEQ

The Melda is great for vocals and will handle all issues involving dynamics of audio.

This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a clean mix.

Check out the Melda EQ here

De-esser

You need a De-esser to control sibilance within your mix.

Below are some of the best De-Essers:

Fabfilter Pro-DS

Fabfilter has a great association with high quality.

The Pro-DS will swiftly handle any harsh sibilance.

Check out the Pro-DS De-Esser here

Waves Sibilance

This is a great choice for standard De-Essing.

Check out the Waves Sibilance De-Esser here.

Limiter

Limiters in music production are what are used to avoid sounds clipping above the 0db threshold which may result in distortion.

Below are some of my favourite limiters:

Ozone 8 Maximizer

This limiter will give your mix the loudness it deserves whilst adding a nice polish to it.

Check out the Ozone 8 Limiter here

FabFilter Pro L 2

This another excellent peak limiter that will work in either beatmakinf, mixing or mastering.

It is an all-in-one tool that can help you make your mixes peak but not distort.

Check out the Pro L2 here

Saturation

Saturation plugins are important because they’ll help you improve your mixes.

The design of saturation is to give more harmonics to audio by using a slight distortion.

Below are some good saturator’s you can check out:

Fab filter Saturn 2

If you’re looking for a diverse saturation plugin, Saturn will definitely over deliver.

Check out Saturn 2 here

Izotope Trash 2

Izotope trash 2 is a great saturation plugin that will give your audio a warm analogue sound with a variety of harmonics.

Check out Trash 2

Stereo Imager

You can also invest in some good stereo imager that give you a more visual control over it.

The best Stereo imagers you can start with are:

The Ozone Imager and The Fab Filter Pro Q