Top 10 Next Level Instrument Plugins For Producers

1. Izotope – VocalSynth 2

In a market full of “novelty” vocoder plugins, VocalSynth 2 stands out with it’s futuristic vocal shaping abilities, a user-friendly interface and musical tone. With a wealth of modern and classic style vocoding options, throat modeling, pitch correction and a modular fx section, this one is sure to spark new ideas for your productions.

2. Spectrasonics – Omnisphere 2.6

More than 10 years following it’s original release, I’ve still yet to fully explore everything this “Power Synth” has to offer. The latest version includes deep hardware synth integration, allowing you to utilize many renowned and sought-after vintage synthesizers as control surfaces for Omnisphere. Not to mention, an all-new 1600 preset Hardware Library, designed by using the actual synthesizers, is included in the latest update for all users.

3. ReFX – Nexus 3

ReFX’s popular keyboard workstation-like instrument features an incredible library of inspirational presets and expansions, designed by many of the world’s top sound designers. The latest update includes a completely redesigned scaleable user-interface, librarian for organizing and previewing sounds, a sequencer mode, new factory presets and more.

4. Output – Arcade

Arcade is the “Netflix for Producers”, providing cloud-based access to themed “kits” and “lines”, which are album-like collections of professionally produced and curated loops that can also be manipulated on the fly. Arcade locks to your songs BPM and key for easy previewing, allowing you to browse and load an inspiration-filled loop palette for your new productions.

5. Toontrack – EZKeys

Not only does EZKeys have an extremely high-quality library of piano and keyboard instruments, it also provides one of the most intuitive songwriting tools in a plugin instrument for producers. Using an interface based on the “circle of fifths” in music theory, producers can build complex chord progressions easily within the built-in sequencer and then drag and drop to the DAW of their choice.

6. Future Audio Workshop – Sublab

Modern music calls for serious low-end that translates well to smaller speakers like phones, laptops and earbuds. Sublab provides all the tools needed for producers to create massive sub bass and 808 styled sounds from scratch; a synthesizer for core bass tone, a sampler for layering sounds and kick transients, unique X-Sub module for generating harmonic content, a fantastic distortion effect, built-in sidechain compression and much more.

7. Splice Sounds

While many producers might see Splice as simply another pool of loop and sample content, coupled with your DAW and other plugins, it’s a very powerful instrument and source of inspiration for new productions. For a low subscription fee, producers have access to an endless supply of premier, royalty-free samples and musical phrases, created by famed and respected producers from all over the world.

8. Xfer Records – Serum

Serum made an appearance on my previous top 10 list and returns for good reason; it’s still flat-out one of the best sounding synthesizers available, virtual or hardware. Creator and producer, Steve Duda, is constantly adding new features and free updates for users that keep Serum not only relevant but excelling in a flooded landscape of soft synths. I’ve released two preset packs for Serum; 8oh!8 and Urban Dreamscapes, covering the wide sonic range of this must-have instrument.

9. Xfer Records – Nerve

Nerve has become an essential part of my production workflow with tons of quick and intuitive solutions for sequencing next-level drum and percussion lines. Not only is it an extremely powerful tool for triggering and processing samples, it also handles loops and sequences with ease, filling in many production gaps left open by less capable stock drum plugins.

10. Korg – ARP Odyssey

Korg’s plugin version of the famous vintage hardware synth received a surprisingly small amount of attention from producers upon it’s release. Now included with the value-packed Korg Legacy Collection, ARP Odyssey is a synth plugin full of character and is arguably the best sounding synth in their software line up. It features a smooth, analog-like filter section, fun and unique “slider” style sequencer with tons of modulation options and a complete FX section, including modern reverbs, delay and more.

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