What Software Does Deadmau5 Use (+ His Incredible Gear)

What Software Does Deadmau5 Use?

Deadmau5’s setup is next level, not surprising given he is one of the world’s superstar producers. With a reported net worth of $53 million he’s one of the most successful EDM artists around. He is hugely multi-talented in using all sorts of equipment and software. As aside from music, he takes an active role in creating the animations for his live productions. Let’s go over some of his favorites and answer what software does Deadmau5 use? As well as looking into his studio, live stream and animation setup.

What Software Does Deadmau5 Use Most?


Deadmau5 uses Ableton amongst other softwareDespite using many bits of software to write his tunes. It seems Ableton is his favorite. Producers like Deadmau5 love Ableton, in part, because of how quick it is to write songs in it. Because there is no master timeline, individual samples (called “clips”) can be looped independently, making it really easy and fast brainstorm ideas.

Playing these clips and dropping them in & out, producers are able to create loops on the fly. All the while actually recording their actions as they go. They are then able to go back and tweak and tidy up individual settings as well as add more layers to build up their finished track.

It is this ‘live’ method of writing tracks that makes Ableton fairly unique in the DAW world. Fully flexible software that is not just limited to the studio, Ableton also works well in a live setting. As producers are able to make live changes to previously produced material.

Deadmau5 is known to use different DAWs, as well as Ableton. In fact, he taught a masterclass (available here) in which he uses Logic and Cubase alongside Ableton.

Push to see the price on Amazon, Ableton is available in 3 levels: Intro, Standard, Multitrack.


Deadmau5 is known to use Cubase for his live shows. While Ableton’s future looks to be angling more towards live setups Cubase is very much geared towards composing. Fully flexible Cubase allowed to both record audio intuitively as well as write MIDI.

Because of how it was designed, Deadmau5 himself has talked about how much more reliable and robust Cubase is over Ableton. Particularly when it comes to latency issues.

Previously Deadmau5 has talked about how he performs live using Cubase whilst tracking is done through Ableton. Whether he still does this is unknown in his current tour setup.

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Bitwig Studio

As mentioned Deadmau5 is known to mess around with different sequencers to produce his music. He has talked about how much control Bitwig gives you compared to something like Ableton.

For example, in this video, he talks about how good he thinks the engine is. That, coupled with its ability to set and change VST parameters, makes it great for sound design and something that he is excited to use.

Avid Pro Tools

Deadmau5 has talked about Pro Tools on & off throughout the years and references to it pop up on his social feeds. Like everything in Deadmau5’s ever-evolving experimentations, the use of Pro Tools comes and goes depending on his current need.

Pro Tools is known as one of the industry leaders, particularly when it comes to recording audio. Although you are able to write and map MIDI in it as well. While it is run by most major studios, Pro Tools can be prohibitively expensive for home producers (due to its limits on channels etc).

Of course, this wouldn’t phase someone like Deadmau5 who I would assume has the top license available.

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What Software Does Deadmau5 Use For Plugins?

GlitchMachines Cataract

Cataract sound design softwareCataract is the sampler geared towards more experimental sound designers and EDM producers. By scanning and modulating or morphing existing audio producers like Deadmau5 are able to very quickly create new, unique sounds.

While Cataract has some good randomization features that can be a quick way to get out ideas, this isn’t the main draw. The benefit is to those that truly understand sound design and play with the many options to create sounds worth listening to.

After all, randomly creating alien noises is all well and good… but they are pretty hard to dance to.

Native Instruments Reaktor 6

Deadmau5 uses Reaktor software for creating racks and synthsObviously not shy of building his own sounds, instruments, and effects it is no surprise that Deadmau5 uses Native Instrument’s Reaktor software.

Put simply, Reaktor is described as a hugely powerful development environment. Not only does it act as a player for premade synths and effects but it actually lets you build them from scratch. You can literally go into edit mode and add individual elements like faders, envelopes or oscillators and then route and patch them in any way you like.

Reaktor also allows you to build virtual racks, much as you would build with hardware in the real world.

Given how extensively Deadmau5 has done this in his studio, who knows what he does with the unlimited power of Reaktor.

Push to see price on Amazon (FM8 is part of the NI Komplete suite which comes in 2 levels: Select with 13 other instruments/effects or Full with 50+ other instruments/effects. You can also buy an upgrade from Select to Full).

Native Instruments Absynth

Deadmau5 is known to use AbsynthDeadmau5 is well known to use Absynth and he can be seen playing with it during some of his live streams. Absynth is a diverse synth that lets you create different soundscapes due to the variety of ways you can generate sound in the first place.

Once a sound has been generated there are extensive feedback and mutation options to further affect the sound. Being so full of options Absynth is aimed at the type of producers, like Deadmau5, that like to design their sounds from scratch… and aren’t afraid of the learning curve that comes with it.

Push to see price on Amazon (FM8 is part of the NI Komplete suite which comes in 2 levels: Select with 13 other instruments/effects or Full with 50+ other instruments/effects. You can also buy an upgrade from Select to Full).

FXpansion Strobe Software Synthesizer Plugin

What software does Deadmau5 use? He is known to use Strobe2 as a synthFXpansion’s Strobe was a game-changer when it came out.

Visual editing and the ability to alter each individual voice and modulation made Strobe super realistic when it came to analog modeling. This was expanded upon in version 2 allowing producers, even more, control and variety.

By creating several patches within the same instance of the plugin, producers can now add extra expressions and texture to individual notes. Previously this would have been done by sampling sounds, tweaking settings and then sampling again.

Meaning, once the audio was recorded, it would be difficult to go back and change any individual parameters. In Strobe2 producers are able to save and change anything on the fly.

It is details and options like this that Deadmau5 and similar producers to create such sonically, detailed bass and melody lines.

GlitchMachines Convex

Deadmau5 uses Convex SoftwareConvex is a dual multi-effect processor that Deadmau5 uses inside Ableton. Based around 3 basic effects (Pitch shifter, Filter & Delay), where Convex differs from most, is that it gives you 2 instances of each effect.

This allows producers to build out 2 layers of sound and crossfade between using Convex’s modulation options. Making it useful for affecting everything from drum patterns to synth lines.

It also processes incoming signals in real-time, meaning that you can input hardware and affect the sound immediately. And Deadmau5 is definitely a fan of analog hardware.

Waves H-Reverb

The H-Reverb by Waves is designed to be an advanced reverb plugin. In fact, it has been described as giving you so much control as to be mind-boggling and you basically have to be a sound engineer to use it.

Again this complexity and granular control is probably what makes Deadmau5 use the plugin. The level of control comes from the fact that H-Reverb is a hybrid between impulse response libraries and a traditional delay engine.

Impulse response libraries use samples of acoustic spaces while delay engines let you affect and control parameters to morph and create different sounds. Giving the producer both styles in one plugin is what makes the H-Reverb so rich in options and renowned in the producer community.

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What Software Does Deadmau5 Use For Effects?

GlitchMachines Cryogen

Cryogen is a multi-effect plugin that you can use within Ableton. Highly customizable, Cryogen can make hugely chaotic sounds from inputs as well as being used to design sound from scratch.

The reason Deadmau5 probably likes this software is because of how programmable it actually is. Aside from the built-in range of presets you can tweak and modify every single parameter. Allowing you to create highly personalized sounds, ranging from the subtle to the abstract and deranged.

What Software Does Deadmau5 Use For Drums?

Xfer Nerve Drum Machine Plugin

Deadmau5 uses the Xfer Nerve Drum Machine PluginDeadmau5 is known to use the Nerve Drum machine, probably because of how powerful and ahead of the game the software is.

Along with the classic drum machine controls (such as velocity, cutoff, resonance & pitch) you also have plenty of individual sound design options. Hidden under the “Precalc” menu you have all sorts of options to adjust things such as bend, ring modulation, Sine, Saw and many, MANY more.

Then there is the sequencer side of Nerve.

This allows you to quickly slice loops into individual hits and visually rearrange them. There are also some pretty clever and intuitive opt/ctrl options such as slicing individual hits in multiple sections. Which is great when you want to roll on a high hat for example.

All of these options allow you to take an otherwise ordinary drum sample and morph it into something completely new and unique. And, because of the innovation baked into the plugin, the workflow is incredibly quick.

KICK Drum Synthesiser Plugin by Sonic Academy/Nicky Romero

Deadmau5 uses Kick software for his drumsDeadmau5 has been seen using KICK during one of his studio live streams and it’s pretty obvious why.

As you’ve probably gathered from this article Deadmau5 likes to get in and either create sounds from scratch or, at least, be able to tweak every minute aspect of a sound. And this is exactly what KICK lets you do.

The aim of KICK is to replace using premade sample packs, in that, it allows you to design drums from scratch. While the name implies that it specializes in kicks drums you can also use it to create snares as well.

You essentially start with the basic wave and then you design everything from the key of each section of the kick, through to the pitch envelope and amp. You can even design the click frequency of a kick drum in minute detail, making it clear why Deadmau5 uses this software for his drums.

The amount of control you have in KICK is next level.

What Software Does Deadmau5 Use For Vocals?

Waves CLA Vocals

CLA Vocals is a software used for vocalsCLA is a plugin that is way more powerful than the simple interface will have you believe. At its base level, it gives producers like Deadmau5 control over the Bass, Treble, Compression, Reverb, Delay, and Pitch of their vocal lines.

But it actually goes further in that under each of the above is a further 3 levels of control and manipulation. This allows you to adjust every single aspect of a recorded vocal line.

The ultimate aim, of course, is to ensure that the vocal sits perfectly within the mix of your track.

This is very important in EDM as tracks can get very noisy so it would be easy to lose vocals or have them overpowered by the bassline for example. In this case CLA would allow you to lift the vocal’s frequency so that it doesn’t clash and get phased out.

What Microphones Does Deadmau5 Use?

Neumann TLM 103 D

Neumann’s TLM 103D is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone and is a popular choice among producers and many large studios. This is due to the 103D’s versatility.

By integrating a preamp into the mic, Neumann have made it suitable for recording both vocals and live instruments. They have also done an excellent job of blocking background noise which makes it incredibly clean when recording. Either as a room mic or for individual instruments/vocals.

In Deadmau5’s case, it seems he actually uses the mic mostly during his live streams.


The C414 is another industry-standard mic used in many different studios. Like the above, it serves as an all-rounder that can be used to record everything from vocals to acoustic instruments.

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What Does Deadmau5 Use For His Live Shows?

Monome Grid 256

Deadmau5 used to use an Monome for his live showsThe Monome was pretty unique when it came out but has since been mimicked by several companies. Not least the Novation Launchpad.

Deadmau5 used to use the Monome for his live shows but with the progression of technology, plus the technicality of his cube shows, it has become virtually redundant. Still the Monome, and it’s most recent iteration (the Grid 128), is a highly customizable, and playable midi controller.

It was one of the first that truly turned Ableton into an instrument. This was the reason it became favored by producer/performers like Daedelus and Deadmau5.

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments Maschine Push image to check price on Amazon

Another piece of equipment that was a long-standing part of Deadmau5’s live setup was a Maschine.

Being both a standalone unit and MIDI-enabled, the Maschine is highly versatile and reliable when it comes to live performance. Again, the Maschine has taken more of a backseat due to the scale of Deadmau5’s recent live shows but chances are it is still knocking around the studio.

Funktion One E25 Two-Channel Amplifier

Funktion One are legendary in the club scene and their speaker stacks are often found in the best clubs worldwide. So it’s no wonder that Deadmau5 uses some of their products in his live setup.

Specifically, he has been known to use the E25 amplifiers. Designed with the touring artist in mind, the E series are lightweight while still delivering high-quality sound and the reliability needed from equipment to withstand the rigors of constant moving.

Like everything in Deadmau5’s set up the E25 deliver great power and clarity across the entire audio frequency range. They are also adjustable meaning that the low distortion limiters (for example) can be set to his individual needs.

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What Does Deadmau5 Use for Mastering?

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Plugin by Universal Audio

The Shadow Hills mastering plugin is the go-to for many established artists, not just Deadmau5.

Built to emulate hardware, the plugin gives you the option of switching between various types of hardware construction. Literally. You can switch between Steel, Iron and Nickel transformer types, all of which have their own characteristics when it comes to distortion and limiting.

Essentially built as three compressors in one unit, producers can switch between and finely manipulate multiple compression sounds.

This means the plugin is able to produce a weighty and loud bottom end that does not overpower the highs. This makes it perfect for the type of music that Deadmau5 produces.

What Headphones Does Deadmau5 Use?

SOL REPUBLIC Deadmau5 Track5 HD On-Ear Headphones

SOL REPUBLIC Deadmau5 Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones
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Sol Republic are a highly respected headphone brand, and these were special editions, created specifically with the help of Deadmau5.

Aside from the unique design, featuring Deadmau5 branding, they have also been tuned in a way specific to Deadmau5. Built with V10 drivers they have an excellent bass response and are built with detail in mind, giving you clear response across all frequencies. This makes them ideal for DJing.

They are also incredibly durable and the headband itself can take a lot of abuse. The cables are also replaceable. This makes them great for gigging DJs given that headphones are often just thrown in bags that can break the cables.

The fact that you can switch out and replace the cables means that they’ll be well worth the investment and should keep you going for years.

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V-Moda Crossfade LP2 Over-Ear Headphones

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V-Moda are another manufacturer with a great amount of respect in the DJing world. So is not surprising that Deadmau5 uses them for DJ headphones.

Aside from the durable build LP2’s are designed to clamp the ears to block out ambient sound. This will helps artists like Deadmau5 focus during his gigs as, obviously, things can get very loud.

One of the reasons V-Moda are well known is due to their sound quality and excellent clarity across the entire frequency range. However, the LP2s are tuned with a little bit of a bass bias. Again this makes them ideal for Deadmau5’s style of music.

This is because a DJ/Producer needs to be able to hear the bass clearly in order to mix without having the bass blowing out or muddying the rest of the sound.

The highs are also slightly tuned down. This allows Deadmau5 to turn up the volume in the headphones without destroying his hearing. Often, on other headphones, the highs can become sharp at high volume and this can be dangerous for an artist’s ears.

That said, it is still a subtle change so it doesn’t affect the DJs ability to mix. In general, the clarity and superior sound balancing of these headphones make them perfect for DJs and sound aficionados.

V-Moda feature on our list of best DJ headphones, if you’re looking for a new set be sure to check the article here.

What Monitors Does Deadmau5 Use?


Deadmau5 has these monitors in his studio and they are popular amongst many producers and mastering houses. This is because of their clarity and weight of sound.

Rather than being weighted towards bass. The SCM300ASL’s are tuned to give a clear response across the whole range of sound. They are well balanced so as not to be booming and blow out the bottom end.

To get those really low lows they are often paired with a separate subwoofer. If anything, the monitors are tuned towards being able to clearly hear the mid section. This allows producers to ensure their track will sound good when played through the cheaper speakers that most people have in their homes.

Genelec 1034B Main Control Room Monitoring System

These are popular studio monitors. Given that they allow you to listen and master tracks volumes, normally found only in nightclubs, while still being accurate to a level normally only found in other near field monitors.

What DJ Equipment Does Deadmau5 Use?

Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 Mixer

Deadmau5 is known to have used tje Pioneer DJM900NXS2
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This is an industry-standard mixer so it’s not surprising they come when considering what DJ equipment Deadmau5 uses. Especially given their reliability and the range of features available.

Having an industry-standard mixer allows artists like Deadmau5 to go into virtually any live setup or DJ booth and replicate everything that they’ve been practicing at home.

With all the features you’d expect from a top-flight DJ mixer, the DJM900NXS2 includes things like effects and loops across four available channels.

Including many new and refined options, the NXS2’s are a big step up from the previous iterations of the mixer. And, like many of the things in Deadmau5’s setup, the biggest draw in the NXS2’s has to do with the level of control available.

For example in tweaking effects. Previously you could only apply effects to a whole channel. However, now you can actually access a frequency selector and apply effects to the base mids, or highs of a channel. Giving DJ like Deadmau5 granular control.

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Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1 DJ Controller

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Designed primarily as an addon controller the Kontrol F1 is a highly functional unit for playing live. It allows you to directly control several aspects of the Traktor remix deck including triggering samples, searching and scrolling the grid and manipulating filters and slot volumes.

The Kontrol F1 is split into 3 sections, each with specific purposes. The top controls are dedicated to filter knobs and volume faders to control a slot’s (i.e a channel’s) levels.

The middle section is dedicated to different function buttons that control things like reverse and capture capabilities. This is where you can edit samples and switch between various modes.

The bottom section is dedicated to the 16 pads (plus 4 mute buttons) used to trigger tracks and samples. These also have extra functions like changing slot parameters (when used along with the function buttons).

The Kontrol F1 is designed to be used with a single remix deck, and this is probably why Deadmau5 is known to have at least three. This will give him quick access to multiple decks and allow him to build up and manipulate complex layers to create his tracks live.

What Laptop Does Deadmau5 Use?

Microsoft Surface Hub

Deadmau5 uses the huge Microsoft Surface hub as a central piece of his Cube shows. Amongst other things, he uses it to control FX and the actual movements/hydraulics of the cube itself.

Highly programmable, the main function of the surface hub is that it is all touch screen. This means Deadmau5 can have custom-designed screen layouts and control multiple aspects of his show without needing to use any form of mouse or keyboard.

This is vital for speed when in the middle of a show and having so many different things going on.

You can see the Surface Hub as part of Deadmau5’s live setup here:

What Cameras Does Deadmau5 Use?

Black Magic Micro Cinema Camera

Deadmau5 uses the Black Magic Camera for his live streams
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Deadmau5 uses the Black Magic primarily for his live streams. One of the main benefits of this camera is how small it is. This makes it easy to mount anywhere in the studio to get different angles.

The camera is similar in size to a Go-Pro but that is basically where the similarity ends.

Like everything in Deadmau5’s audio setup, the Black Magic is highly customizable in terms of settings available. It is much more of a cinema type camera than a ‘set and forget’ (like a Go-Pro). You can adjust everything from focus and depth of field to being able to switch between RAW and Pro-Res recording formats.

While all of these options might be overkill for most people’s live streams, it’s no surprise that Deadmau5 loves the flexibility that it provides.

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Conclusion… What Software does Deadmau5 use?

LOADS! And he is trying new stuff all the time as part of his immense and ever-evolving studio, and live, setup. The one common theme that runs through virtually all his software and equipment, whether audio or graphics related, is the granular control they offer.

Deadmau5 obviously loves to be able to get under the hood and adjust every single setting he needs to in order to achieve the result he’s picturing in his head.

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