Every music producer knows the right plugins can make or break a track. By 2024, groundbreaking software has transformed the scene, offering unprecedented efficiency and creativity in music production. Dive into our curated list of the ten essential plugins every producer needs to transform their soundscapes. From iZotope’s Neutron Advanced revolutionizing mixing to Kontakt’s unprecedented instrument banks, we’ll take a look at how these essential tools can redefine what you thought was possible in making music.

Neutron Advanced by iZotope

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Imagine having a mixing suite so smart, it’s like having Einstein twiddle your knobs. That’s Neutron Advanced for you. This toolkit is brimming with savvy audio refining modules, transforming the art of mixing into an enchanting experience far removed from mere speculation.

Its innovative features, such as the Mix Assistant and the Sculptor module, use artificial intelligence to suggest levels, place elements in the stereo field, and sculpt the tone of individual tracks, drastically reducing the time and effort typically required in the mixing process. 

The software’s intuitive visual analysis and seamless integration of traditional mixing tools with advanced digital processing allow engineers to achieve a polished, professional sound with unprecedented precision and ease. With its comprehensive suite of audio processing capabilities, Neutron Advanced empowers mixing engineers to tackle any mix scenario, from subtle adjustments to complete overhauls, making it a truly versatile and valuable asset in the modern digital audio workstation (DAW) environment.

FabFilter Pro-Q 3

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is a premier choice for mixing engineers and producers looking for precision and flexibility in equalization. 

Renowned for its clean, intuitive interface, and exceptional sound quality, Pro-Q 3 makes detailed frequency sculpting accessible and straightforward. Its key features, such as dynamic EQ modes, per-band mid/side processing, and an extensive spectral analyzer, offer unparalleled control over the audio spectrum, allowing users to make both broad strokes and surgical adjustments with ease. 

The ability to create up to 24 bands with a variety of filter shapes, combined with real-time spectrum analysis, makes it incredibly efficient for identifying problematic frequencies and applying corrective measures. Whether mixing in the studio or mastering a final track, FabFilter Pro-Q 3’s precision, and user-friendly design ensure it remains an essential tool in the audio professional’s toolkit, delivering high-quality results every time.

For more insights and tricks on using this versatile tool, dive into FabFilter’s guide.

Universal Audio Teletronix LA-2A

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

The Universal Audio Teletronix LA-2A plugin is revered among audio professionals for its faithful recreation of the classic hardware compressor’s warm, smooth compression characteristics. Esteemed for its simple, intuitive controls and the musical way it treats signals, the LA-2A plugin brings the legendary optical compression sound into the digital realm, allowing mixing and mastering engineers to imbue tracks with the rich, cohesive sound that made the original unit a staple in studios around the world. 

Its ability to effortlessly smooth out vocals, bass, and other key elements, while adding a desirable character and density, makes it an indispensable tool. The plugin’s meticulous modeling captures the unique behaviors and nuances of the hardware, offering users the vintage warmth and dynamic control that have defined countless hit records. For those seeking to add a touch of classic analog magic to their mixes, the Universal Audio Teletronix LA-2A stands as an essential and unmatched choice.

Valhalla DSP VintageVerb

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Valhalla VintageVerb offers music producers and mixing engineers a versatile and high-quality reverb plugin that captures the essence of classic digital reverb units from the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. 

With its wide range of reverb algorithms, including plates, halls, chambers, and more, VintageVerb provides users with a palette of spatial effects that can add depth, atmosphere, and texture to any track. Its user-friendly interface and extensive customization options, such as modulations, decay settings, and color modes, allow for precise tailoring of the reverb to fit the mood and style of the music. 

The plugin’s ability to emulate the vintage character and sonic imperfections of early digital reverbs, while still delivering a clean, modern sound, makes it a favorite among producers looking to blend nostalgic vibes with contemporary production values. Valhalla VintageVerb stands out for its exceptional sound quality and affordability, making it an invaluable tool for creating expansive, immersive soundscapes in any music project.

Serum by Xfer Records

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Serum by Xfer Records has firmly established itself as a cornerstone in the world of digital synthesizers, beloved by music producers and sound designers for its comprehensive wavetable synthesis engine. Its intuitive interface, coupled with an expansive set of features, allows users to create, import, and morph wavetables, offering unparalleled flexibility and creativity in sound generation. 

Serum stands out for its ultra-clean oscillators, which eliminate the unwanted artifacts that can occur with digital synthesis, ensuring high-fidelity sounds across the audio spectrum. The synthesizer also includes an extensive modulation system, a suite of effects, several custom LFO shapes, and real-time wavetable manipulation. 

These features, along with its visual workflow, make Serum an indispensable tool for producers seeking to craft cutting-edge sounds, from lush pads and intricate leads to heavy basses and beyond. Serum’s sound quality, combined with its user-friendly design, secures its position as a must-have plugin for anyone serious about electronic music production.

Ozone 10 by iZotope

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Ozone has always been at the forefront of combining advanced audio technology with user-friendly interfaces, allowing you to achieve polished, professional-sounding masters efficiently. 

The features include a suite of powerful modules for EQ, compression, harmonic saturation, stereo enhancement, and limiting, along with AI-driven assistants that analyze audio and suggest optimizations for the master. With each iteration, iZotope consistently enhances Ozone’s functionality, integrating cutting-edge audio processing technology to address the evolving needs of modern music production. 

Ozone 10 continue sthis tradition, offering new tools and improvements to help users master tracks with precision and creative flexibility, making it an essential tool for anyone looking to finalize their music to commercial standards.

The magic starts with Master Rebalance, which allows you to fix issues without needing to dive back into mixing, such as vocals getting lost in the track or drums being too loud.

The Low End Focus module is great too, as it makes everything sound tighter and more defined, especially when mixing EDM.

Start shaping up those sounds. And hey if mastering seems daunting don’t forget about our Mix Elite Academy.

Key Takeaway: 

Ozone 10 by iZotope makes mastering a breeze with AI-powered tools, turning complex tasks into simple adjustments. It’s perfect for both beginners and pros looking to polish tracks without the hassle. With features like Master Rebalance and Low End Focus, say goodbye to buried vocals and muddy mixes.

Soundtoys EchoBoy

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

EchoBoy by Soundtoys is widely celebrated as one of the most versatile and sonically rich delay plugins available to producers and engineers. Renowned for its ability to emulate a vast array of vintage echo and delay units, EchoBoy offers users an unparalleled depth of sound, from the warm, organic repeats of analog tape to the pristine clarity of digital delay. 

Its intuitive interface allows for deep customization of echo characteristics, including control over tape age, modulation, and saturation, enabling users to sculpt the perfect delay for any track. Furthermore, EchoBoy distinguishes itself with features like dual echo and ping-pong modes, which provide expansive stereo imaging options and rhythmic complexity. 

The inclusion of a comprehensive preset library, designed by industry professionals, ensures that users can quickly find inspiration and apply high-quality delay effects with ease. EchoBoy’s blend of historical emulation and modern flexibility solidifies its status as an essential tool in the digital audio workstation of any producer looking to add space, depth, and texture to their mixes.

Native Instruments Kontakt 7

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Kontakt 7 by Native Instruments is a titan in the realm of software samplers, and has a stellar reputation as an indispensable tool for producers, composers, and sound designers across the globe. Its expansive library, boasting an impressive range of instruments from traditional orchestral sounds to unique world music and cutting-edge electronic synths, provides users with an almost limitless sonic palette. One of Kontakt 7’s most lauded features is its deep scripting capabilities, which allow for intricate instrument behaviors and realistic performance articulations, enabling sounds that breathe and evolve in response to player input.

The interface of Kontakt 7 is both powerful and user-friendly. The updates were clearly made to facilitate creative exploration while also supporting complex technical demands. Users can easily drag and drop samples, manipulate them with onboard tools like wavetable synthesis, and utilize the comprehensive effects rack to process sounds within the sampler itself. The introduction of the Kontakt Play Series added a selection of easily tweakable, high-quality instruments, making professional sounds accessible even to those new to music production.

Of course, Kontakt 7’s true power lies in its vast ecosystem of third-party libraries, which range from meticulously sampled grand pianos and orchestras to niche and experimental sounds. This openness has fostered a vibrant community of developers and users, continually expanding the boundaries of what’s possible with virtual instruments. Whether you’re composing cinematic scores, producing electronic music, or anything in between, Kontakt 7 offers the flexibility, quality, and depth to bring your projects to life. 

If you’re new to the NI lineup, I recommend checking out the free plugins they offer as well!

Slate Digital VMR (Virtual Mix Rack)

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Slate Digital’s Virtual Mix Rack (VMR) revolutionizes the concept of channel strips and plugin ecosystems in the digital domain, offering you an unparalleled level of versatility and sound quality. VMR operates as a modular plugin system, allowing users to create custom signal chains by slotting in a variety of analog-modeled processors, including EQs, compressors, enhancers, and more, directly within a single, easy-to-use interface. 

What sets VMR apart is the meticulous attention to detail in its component modeling. Each module within the rack is crafted to replicate the nuances of the hardware it’s based on, offering users the warmth, depth, and character typically reserved for high-end analog equipment. From the punchy SSL-style compression to the silky smooth EQ curves of vintage Neve desks, VMR provides a comprehensive toolkit for achieving professional-sounding mixes in the box. Additionally, the ability to save and recall custom racks as presets makes transitioning between projects a breeze, ensuring consistency and efficiency in any mixing session.

If tweaking knobs and pushing faders until everything sits just right in the mix is your jam, then Slate Digital’s VMR might just be what you need to bring that secret sauce to your productions.

Arturia Pigments

10 Must-Have Plugins for Every Music Producer in 2024

Arturia Pigments stands out in the crowded field of software synthesizers by offering a remarkably innovative and intuitive approach to sound design. This instrument plugin combines the best of two worlds: the warm, intricate harmonics of analog synthesis and the limitless possibilities of synthesis, all within a visually stunning and user-friendly interface. This synthesis powerhouse enables producers and sound designers to navigate through, blend, and morph between different synthesis types effortlessly, creating complex and evolving sounds that are both unique and musically compelling.

One of Pigments’ most praised features is its modulation capabilities, which are both expansive and accessible. You can easily assign modulation sources, including envelopes, LFOs, or random generators, to virtually any parameter, visualizing the modulation in real-time. This level of control extends to Pigments’ dual filters, effects section, and sequencer/arpeggiator, offering endless creative possibilities. The software’s ability to import custom wavetables or samples further expands its sonic palette, making it a versatile tool for any genre of music.

Conclusion – Building Your Arsenal of VST Plugins

There 10 must-have plugins showcases just the beginning of what’s possible when you harness the power of today’s digital tools. However, understanding how to effectively use these plugins and integrate them into your productions is key to truly elevating your music. For those looking to dive deeper and expand their production skills, our Mix Elite Academy offers a comprehensive learning platform tailored to your needs.

By starting a free trial at Mix Elite Academy, you’ll gain access to an extensive array of resources designed to propel your music forward, including, 320+ in-depth lessons, access to top-tier sample & preset packs, and student discounts of up to -50% OFF on thousands of plugins.

Take the next step in your music career with Mix Elite Academy!