The 1990’s saw the first true successes of electronic dance music in modern culture outside of 80s synthpop. Key to this was the proliferation of more affordable gear as well as the rise of the computer and early DAW’s like FL Studio (still called FruityLoops back then) and Logic. Synthesizers and drum machines like the Roland’s SH-101, TR-909, 303, Juno, and for the sake of not feeling like Roland ran the dance music production game, Korg’s M1 workstation. These were all in addition to classic already vintage synthesizers like the Moog Model D, ARP2600, and Prophet.
Here’s five essential VST plugins that accurately recaptures the vibes of nearly thirty years ago.
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1. Korg M1 V2
The Organ 2 preset for the Korg M1 VST is what defined deep house and UK Garage, and still is consistently utilized on chart topping tracks.The most notable and recognizable melody using this sound would be from Robin S. – Show Me Love from 1993. If you’re a Splice user, the Korg M1 and Triton VST’s are available on a rent to own plan.
An emulation of the now classic Roland SH-101, this VST plugin from D16 group pretty faithfully recreates the thick sound from this originally underrated monosynth. If you have Rob Papen’s SubBoomBass plugin the SH-1 preset can also achieve the sound that this plugin is known for on basslines. It also does well as a lead synth and is great for pads (albeit it is a mono synth so epic chords aren’t feasible without tuning one of the oscillators).
Who can deny the legacy that the Rhodes electric pianos have had on not just dance music, but music in general over the last 60 years. What started out being developed from scrapped airplane parts to teach wounded soldiers to play pianos while in bed. eventually morphed into one of the most sought after electric pianos from the 60’s onward. Lounge Lizard EP-4 by Applied Acoustics Systems accurately recreates the vibes that a real Rhodes can lend to your music production projects and songs. If you have the Arturia V Collection bundle, the Stage-73 V VST synth plugin is also a fantastic option to add some jazzy flair to your tracks.
Any analog inspired synthesizer with a couple oscillators and a decent filter and modulation system is great to be able to create any array of sounds that will fit right in with some 90’s inspired house and garage all at different price points. If you can learn how to operate a synthesizer then you will be able to reduce your reliance on sample packs and generate unique original ideas in your music.