Essential beat making plugins

Plugins are an incredible way to improve the capabilities of your DAW. They come in many forms—instruments, effects, compression, saturation, EQ and more.

The cool thing about plugins? Many of them are free. That means you can add capabilities to any DAW, no matter which one you use.

Beat makers should look out for a few kinds of plugins in particular—free synths and drum production plugins that are great for creating new tracks, for example.

If you’re into lo-fi beat making, look for a vinyl emulator, tape saturation, compression and sampling plugins.

We’ve written about lo-fi friendly plugins before too, if you want a guide.

Trap and hip-hop artists might want to look at an 808 sound design plugin like SubLab or Grossbeat.

There’s so many new plugins that are constantly coming out, so don’t be afraid to explore all the free (and paid) plugins out there right now.

Hot tip: If you’re a newsletter subscriber we send out a roundup of the best new plugins each month.

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