James de Torres’ 7 favorite plugins for producing dance music
Producing dance music is a totally different monster than producing other genres of music. Because dance music thrives on nuances in sound, groove, texture and sound design far more than more commercial genres.
This means that the tools you use to produce dance music have to be the best!
And no one knows that better than Ibiza-based DJ and producer James de Torres, whose latest release is a masterclass in all that can be achieved through this style of music production. So let’s listen to the track, then ask James to explain how it came together…
Stream James de Torres’ latest single below.
Released on Paul Thomas’ UV NOIR, James de Torres’ latest single bridges the gap between underground dance music and melodic progressive. It’s dark and disturbing as well as melodic and emotional.
It does everything techno originally intended to do, but does it in a way that only James de Torres can. Pushing the boundaries of what constitutes modern dance music, this recent release is a true work of art.
Buy your copy of the disc here before diving into the best plugins James uses to make techno music below…
For me, Sylenth will always be at the top of my list. It changed my life when I started producing; I first wanted to try it in my productions, and now it’s the synth I feel most comfortable with.
There is a huge bank of presets that you can use for any type of sound, and the way you can create your own by changing the parameters is very simple and intuitive.
Vengeance-Sound has great preset folders, like Avenger for Melodic Techno or presets from some producers who release their sounds. Presets from Sunny Lax, Sean Tyas or Dj THT – and many more – are available for other producers to get that fantastic sound they have.
Need free Sylenth1 presets? We have you…
When it comes to musical genres, I would go for Serum, because it’s the synth I use the most for progressive sounds, next to Sylenth.
There are others, but I try to favor this one for its modernity. It’s not as easy to use as Sylenth, but the sounds are unique. The skin differs from that of Sylenth, which looks more analog, while Serum is more futuristic.
Serum helps you manage the waveforms and texture of sounds; it gives you the chance to work from another point of view, not only with your ears but also with your eyes. It’s not the same as using a knob to be able to edit the wave you’re working with, with just a few clicks.
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Need free serum presets? We have you on that too…
NICKY ROMERO KICKSTART
An LFO is essential to give the high frequencies that space when needed, and I love this plugin because it’s simple to use, intuitive, and works flawlessly.
I recommend it for all melodic genres; no need to create side chains with DAW audio effect; just drop this simple plugin and choose where you want this side chain to affect.
Check out our full Nicky Romero plugin review here
Valhalla is probably the best reverb on the VST market, in my opinion.
It is easy to use, which makes it even better; with presets or create your own effects, you can provide a fantastic atmosphere to your productions.
Is perfect for those big breaks or solo melodies, it gives more sonic space, and sometimes you can work with the natural reverb of real places like cathedrals or caves.
Haven’t you clapped inside a church to hear the echo and reverberation of such a beautiful place?
FAB FILTER PRO Q
In terms of equalization, I always choose this one, the huge panel and the way you can work the frequencies make it my favorite. This is perhaps the most widely used plugin in the industry; it works for all genres if you want to create a great mix.
It gives you many necessary options; you can still use your DAW’s parent plugins, but this one will sound much better, and its skin makes it much easier to use.
I discovered this one thanks to a class at the Sonic Academy. It is a plugin with which you can create your kick sound or use presets from some essential trance scene names.
It gives you more possibilities to play with and can be one of the essential parts of any track.
For delay, the Soundtoy Echoboy is one of my favorites, without a doubt. I remember discovering it at the MIKE/Push studio a few years ago, and I really like how it works. Easy to use, and you will get significant changes in your files. I want to use it in progressive and melodic genres when long melodies and breaks come in.
The delay you get gives more suspense to what will happen next.