As a music producer or beatmaker, you’re likely familiar with many of the top VST plugins. Some of them are even free. One thing I also wanted to show you guys is some underrated plugins for music producers.

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Tape Stop by kiloHearts

Tape Stop by kiloHearts is super underrated. The reason why I like this plugin is because everyone always talks about how in Pro Tools you can use Verify to do tape drop effects. This plugin can also do that. And this is the best one I’ve seen do it. It’s so simple, both the UI and functionality and you can adjust the start and stop time. Say, I want to do a quick drop. All you’d do is automate the play. I normally don’t automate the stop time, but you can adjust that however you want.

Nicky Romero’s Kickstart from Cableguys

Another go to plugin of mine is Kickstart from Nicky Romero. This one is pretty underrated as well. Immediate side chain effects. You can adjust the mix level, the speed, the rate, and quickly get a different sound.

Portal by Output

This VST plugin is amazing for sound design and getting a different sound. I don’t know if this one’s truly underrated, but I don’t hear it talked about a lot, so I’d position it in that category. It can be cool to come up with turnarounds or different things you wouldn’t expect. What I also like about this plugin is you don’t really need to know that much about it. You just can run through the presets and come up with cool sounds. 

SP950 from waveTracing

What this underrated plugin for music producers does is emulate an EMU SP1200. This plugin is pretty accurate. And for those of you who don’t know, the SP1200 is a 12-bit sampler that came out in the eighties. And it’s what gave a lot of those old school Hip-Hop records their sound. It’s a combo between the SP1200 and the vintage AKAI S950 sampler. The thing that was loved about the S950 was the filter. So, it has the filter from that, and the slider from the SP1200.

Tonal Balance Control from iZotope

This plugin is great to put on your master. What I like about this one is you can pick a preset, like Hip-Hop, for example.  What it will do is give you the range that your level should be in. It gives you a breakdown of where you should be based on the ranges. It’s a good way to reference a mix. It’s not perfect, but it is a good reference tool. So I highly recommend Tonal Balance Control made by iZotope. Definitely an underrated plugin.

Trackspacer from Wavesfactory

What I like about this plugin is that it’s essentially a side chain plugin. If I’m mixing vocals and I want to carve out space in a track, for example, say I have a melody that’s clashing with the vocals. What I want to happen is when the vocals hit, I want that melody to quiet down in volumes. And if you want vocals to take priority, this plugin enables that for you. Definitely one of the underrated plugins for music producers and engineers to take a look at.