Popular EDM Sounds (Every Producer NEEDS to Know These!) - EDM Tips

Popular EDM Sounds (Every Producer NEEDS to Know These!)


These are the most common EDM instruments and sounds from across the decades! Sound selection and sound design is one of the key parts of electronic music production – and knowing some great sounds to use in your own electronic music will save you years of guesswork.

I’ve put together a list of the most common EDM instruments and sounds from the last 40 years – that are still used in modern tracks today – that you can use in your own music.

I’ve also included examples of existing music where these sounds are used, so you can hear them in context.

Of course, these aren’t the only sounds used in EDM production, but they are a solid base from which to build – and you’ll be surprised how many tracks use these EDM sounds. You’ll hear them in House, Hip Hop, Dubstep, Trance, Pop, Techno – and pretty much every other genre that uses any electronic sounds.

Many sounds you hear in modern electronic music will be either the original versions of these, or maybe variations with extra processing –or layered with other sounds. With regards to the synths – maybe some of the parameters will be tweaked or the waveforms switched around.

When you learn and know these, you can’t “un-know” them – and you’ll start hearing them in music EVERYWHERE.

As far as I can tell – these are the core sounds. If there are any I’ve forgotten or missed, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them!


Drums are the back-bone of any electronic dance music track – regardless of genre. House, Techno, Drum & Bass, Trance, Pop – they are all based on a strong rhythm section.

But where to start when it comes to finding drum sounds? There are literally millions of samples available, and it can be overwhelming as to which ones to use and in which genre.

Thankfully, there are some core drum sounds that work in pretty much any situation, and – although they might sometimes be layered (or a derivative of the original sound) – these are what I’ve identified as the most used drum sounds from the past 40 years of electronic music production.

Get these in your sample collection and you’ll always have some solid drums with which to start your new track:

Roland TR 909 Kick (a staple in almost every house music track since the dawn of time. Still used in Tech House a lot)

Roland TR 808 Kick (Hip hop powerhouse)

Linn Drum Kick (For more of an 80’s Italo Disco vibe)

Modern Kick

Hardstyle Kick

Hall Kick

909 Cymbal Crash (a staple in almost every house music track since the dawn of time)

909 Clap (a staple in almost every house music track since the dawn of time)

808 Clap

Linn Drum Clap

909 Snare

808 Snare

Shaker / Cabasa

707 Ride

909 Ride

707 Rimshot

808 Rimshot

909 Rimshot

909 Closed Hat

909 Open Hat (a staple in almost every house music track since the dawn of time)

808 Closed Hat

808 Open Hat


909 Drums Examples:

MK – 17

Rodrigo Serna – Hands Together (One of our Music Production Accelerator students)

Belfast – Orbital


Amen Break (the most sampled loop in history)



Funky Drummer



10 of the most sampled breakbeats of all time

EDM Instruments – BASS

Korg M1 Organ Bass


Robin S – Show me Love

Katy Perry – Swish Swish ft. Nicky Minaj

How to get it:

Korg M1 Plugin

Saw Pluck Bass (“Lately Bass”)


Haddaway – What is Love

Whigfield – Saturday Night

Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On

Minimoog (Not so common nowadays, but still cool for a 70’s vibe!)


Michael Jackson – Thriller

Todd Terje – Inspector Norse

How to get it:

Arturia Mini-V

FM House Bass


Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn

Duke Dumont – Won’t Look Back (Main Bass)

Slap House Bass


Dynoro – In My Mind

Zizzo World – Roller Coaster

Reese Bass (pretty much any sustained, rich, chorussed bass)


The original (from where it gets its name!): Reese – Just Want Another Chance

Duke Dumont – Won’t Look Back (Pre-Chorus Bass)

Wub Bass / Wobble Bass


Benga & Coki – Night

Yoi Bass

(The Dubstep / Brostep / Drum ’n’ Bass sound that sounds like a regurgitating computer!)


ATC – All Around The World ( S∆V∆GE Remix)

Hard House Donk (Can also be used in slower house genres)


Hard House mix:

Roland TB 303

(Arguably the daddy of EDM sounds since the 1980’s! Soft-synth versions still used today)


Josh Wink – Higher State of Consciousness

Fatboy Slim – Everybody Needs a 303

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up


Korg M1 Piano

You’ll recognise this from just about every dance track with a piano in the last 30 years!


MK – 17

The Prodigy – Your Love

SecondCity – All I want

Korg M1 Organ


Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman

Techno Stab


Inner City – Good Life

Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn

Saw Pluck


Deamau5 – Faxing Berlin

Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On

Adam K & Soha – Who Cares

Supersaw (often layered with other sounds, but creates huge, epic leads and chord stabs)


Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child

Avicii – Wake Me Up



ARTBAT – Horizon

Pizzicato Pluck (the sound of 90’s dance)


Faithless – Insomnia

Brainbug – Nightmare

Sustained String Ensemble (Used as a pad)


Camelphat, Cristoph – Breathe

Rave Hoover


Human Resource – Dominator

Rihanna – Phresh Out the Runway


White Noise Sweep




Formant Shift




Mylo – Drop the Pressure



Daft Punk – One More Time

Talk Box


Chromeo – Juice

Are there any good examples I’ve missed of any of these sounds (or indeed any sounds I’ve missed!) do please let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. The more, the merrier! Also, should I build this out to include common effects? 😀

If you want to know exactly how to create all of these sounds – and use them to create professional level electronic music, check out my Music Production Accelerator.

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About the Author

My name's Will Darling. I've been making and playing dance music for over 25 years, and share what I've learnt on EDM Tips. Get in touch on Facebook.

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