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In the world of music production, the tools that producers arm themselves with are a crucial aspect of their creative process. Mastering workflow and maximizing time spent in the studio is imperative for all successful producers. That’s why so many greats have their “go-to’s” in terms of sounds and effects in which they know exactly what sound they’re expecting out of the software, and are extremely familiar with how to use it effectively. Here are a few VST’s and effect plug-ins that are extremely useful and should be staples of your production arsenal.

  1. Wider - Polyverse Music

This plug-in is not only a great effect insert but your a few clicks from downloading it right now for free. When you slap this effect on ANY of your sounds, vocals, or drums, you will not believe you paid no money to have this in your DAW. Wider is a stereo imager with a simple and beautiful interface that intelligently separates the audio it’s manipulating into your left and right speakers. You can adjust how wide you want to send your sound, and find that sweet spot giving your piece of audio that depth and fullness you were looking for.

  1. Effectrix - Sugar Bytes

This effect plugin is a must-have. Sound design and manipulation are crucial to making your production sounds unique. Slightly altering audio in a way that inspires you will add so much more than just leaving your sound the way it was when you first recorded it or dragged it in. Effectrix is a multi-effect plugin that can use a variety of timed alterations like reversing and filtering with ease. Another beautiful interface with easy-to-use programming, Effectrix can change how you manipulate your sounds. There are around 14 different effect options you can use: Loop, scratch loop, reverse, stretch, vinyl, delay, tone delay, stutter, crash, phaser chorus, and more. The best part is your one click away from having those effects automatically automated into your audio. You can select the whole audio file to distort or just a piece of it, and Effectrix will handle both with ease. When it comes to sound design, ear candy, and making loops your own, Effectrix is a true staple of the industry.

  1. Serum - Xfer Records

Ahhh Serum. Some love it. Some need it. Some live it. Serum is the absolute standard for bass design in the production industry. A classic synth that can be manipulated in any way imaginable. Don’t know how to use synth wavetables and LFO’s? No problem. The countless presets and more importantly 3rd party presets that are available when purchasing this plugin, will boost your production level without a doubt. If you’re on the fence about picking up this virtual synthesizer, just know when it comes to Serum you literally cannot go wrong.

  1. Arcade - Output

The only thing I could say when I first downloaded arcade and loaded some sounds…. Was wow. For 10 dollars a month, you gain access to Arcade's ever-updating library of extremely high-quality sounds and loops. With possibly the most intuitive interface for playing back and manipulating loops, arcade will provide you with the inspiration you couldn’t find elsewhere. Arcade intelligently locks into your projects tempo and key and plays back loops in perfect time. The sounds that come out of your speakers when going through the different “lines” arcade has setup, will blow your mind. Adding these elements to your track can and will improve your production sound.

With these 4 plugins alone, you can begin making knocking beats and moving compositions that can impact many. Audio manipulation with effectrix and wider, along with these top-of-the-line sounds coming in and out of the track, you won’t believe what new ideas are cultivated through these pieces of software.

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