The Software That Skrillex and Diplo Use for Music Production

Skrillex and Diplo are two of today’s hottest music producers. Collectively they form the duo Jack Ü, and they have worked — both together and individually — with artists ranging from Justin Bieber to Madonna. Are you curious about the music production software used by professionals? In this article, we’ll profile some of the tools that Skrillex and Diplo have used on their tracks.

Diplo’s Music Software

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is among the most popular music production software used by professionals, so it should come as no surprise that it is Diplo’s primary DAW. He calls it a “real writer’s program” and particularly enjoys making drum kits out of samples taken from recent club hits. What computer does Diplo use? It’s safe to say that he prefers Macs. In this video, you can see him in the studio with a Mac Pro. More recently, Diplo has gone mobile. This video pictures him with a MacBook Pro.

For recording vocals, Diplo uses a setup including the Universal Audio Pultec EQP 1-A equalizer and 1176 compressor.

Native Instruments Massive

Diplo uses Massive by Native Instruments to create many of his synth sounds. You can hear Massive at work, for example, in Diplo’s remix of “Revolution” by Mad Descent. Diplo used Massive to create the repetitive synthesizer lead that plays after the first chorus.

Universal Audio Plugins

Diplo extensively uses plugins from Universal Audio including the Teletronix LA-3A audio leveler and the Roland RE201 Space Echo plugin. Diplo used the FATSO Jr./Sr. Tape Sim. & Compressor plugin on the track “Playground” by Major Lazer to emulate tape delay.

Skrillex

Ableton Live

What does Skrillex use to make music? Like Diplo, Skrillex prefers Ableton Live as his primary DAW. He does most of his production work on a MacBook Pro and says that Ableton Live is an ideal DAW for notebook users. He loves the fact that Ableton Live has an intuitive interface and says that making music with it is “fluid and quick.”

Skrillex used Ableton Live to create the flute-like sound after each chorus in the song “Where Are U Now” by Justin Bieber. He created the sound by modulating Bieber’s own vocals.

Soft Synths

Skrillex’s favorite soft synths include Massive, FM8, Sylenth1 and Tone2 Gladiator. Skrillex used FM8, for example, to create many of the bass sounds in his album “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” Skrillex adds distortion to synths and vocals using Trash by iZotope.

Vocal Processing

Skrillex uses Melodyne as the primary software component of his vocal processing chain. He rarely leaves a vocal alone, though — he feeds the output through a a variety of plugins to create stuttering effects and other unique sounds.

Mastering

iZotope Ozone is Skrillex’s preferred mastering software. Although Skrillex believes that mastering is a part of the music production process that’s “given too much credit,” he does use Ozone for equalization, stereo imaging and creating harmonic excitement.