Step into any studio today and you will see how essential VST plugins have become. This technology is even more prevalent in home studios where it can be difficult to record original instruments due to a lack of resources.
Thankfully, VST plugins are a great way of getting realistic instrument sounds. Drum VST plugins may be the most popular of the lot, especially with more sampling taking place.
There are hundreds of drum VST plugins available but we have dwindled these down the top 24 currently available. These include percussion libraries, beat machines, virtual drum libraries, and more for a selection of genres.
Let’s not wait any longer. Here are the 13 best drum VST plugins so you can start making those hits!
Best Drum VST Plugins
OUR TOP PICK
FXpansion’s Geist 2 has to be one of the best drum plugins on the market. You can create endless beats with this plugin and create new ideas for a range of genres.
It features deep sample manipulation to suit your style and an arrangement feature to fit into any song you’re working on. Geist 2 comes with an amazing 8 sound engines with 64 pads of sounds in each with an additional 8 layers.
The sound is unreal! We love its direct record feature as it allows you to directly sample any sound and then save it straight onto your hard disk. This is a truly mind-blowing piece of equipment.
- Can create a range of modulation effects - Its TransMod helps your creative process with serious modulation effects to improve any song
- Direct record feature - Can record direct samples and save them to your hard disk
- No option to save your workspaces - Need additional software to save your work
This is one for dance music producers. Xfer Nerve is an outstanding VST plugin machine and was created by experienced dance music veterans.
You are spoilt for choice with Nerve thanks to a colossal 2GB library full of presets, patterns, one-shots, kits, and loops. As soon as you see the list of designers responsible for this plugin, you will know how serious this software is.
These include SampleMagic, Richard Devine, Dom Kane, Bitword, and more. If you want to adjust the rhythm, simply click your mouse to your desired rate or drag on the interface.
- Huge library of presets - Can choose from hundreds of kits, loops, and patterns
- Designed by dance music veterans - Everything a piece of dance music requires is in this preset
- Only suitable for dance music - This isn’t made for other genres
Momentum from Impact Soundworks is ideal for budding film, TV, and game composers. For all of your percussive needs, Momentum has you covered. Need big cinematic drum rolls? Done. Require soft, moody cymbals? Done. A truly perfect tool for composition.
Made by Impact Soundworks, Momentum has a substantial collection of over 2,500 unique percussion performances that are totally organic. Every one is also simple to find thanks to categories and tags.
- Ideal for film scores, TV, and games - Has all the drum sounds for a wide range of compositions
- Easy to use - Thanks to simple categories and tags, you can find your specific sound quickly
- Sounds may not be suitable for contemporary music - Best suited for cinematic compositions rather than rock, pop, or dance, etc
Let Audio Modern take you out of this world with their sci-fi drum plugin Sync 3. This is a loop-based sampler for Kontakt and it is perfect for electronic, futuristic, trip-hop, and other trippy genres.
Included are 28 construction kits with a huge 1.19GB of sounds. If you’re a film composer, Sync 3 could be the best choice for sci-fi sounds as well as in video games. Coming from award-winning Audio Modern, you are guaranteed to be blown away by this plugin.
- Versatile - Can be used for electronic, trap, trip-hop, futuristic sounds as well as sci-fi projects
- Large amount of sounds - With 1.19GB of sounds, you can create a wide range of fascinating music projects
- Not as many kits as some plugins - With 28 construction kits, you are limited to what you can use
Hip hop producers rejoice! Drum Weapons 3 by Music weapons is here to give you all of your percussive needs for your music. Perfect for genres from trap to boom-bap, the kits included here are real and very usable.
Its library has a mammoth 530 kits with 12 separate sounds per preset and 3,500 various sounds altogether! Every preset also has functionality for the MP60 and Sp1200.
- Huge library of sounds - You will never use all of these sounds but we challenge you to give it a go
- Perfect for hip hop - Very useable kits that would make any hip hop track stand out
- Only suitable for hip hop - Not the best choice if you need drums for rock, classical, or certain film scores
We love the affordability of Tony Coleman Drums. R&B legend Tony Coleman knows what you need when it comes to percussion having worked with the likes of B.B. King, Etta James, and many more legends.
If you’re a fan of his, you will love how this plugin perfectly captures his sound.
His big and open drum sound is evident throughout this plugin and you don’t have to put up with any dampened drum samples here! The overall tonal quality is very real and world-class.
- Captures Tony Coleman’s sound - Provides the wide and open distinct sound of Coleman’s playing
- Ideal for various genres - Although best suited to R&B, you can use this to great effect on rock, pop, jazz, and more
- Has one player’s style - If you’re looking for more versatility, this may not be the one for you
Come on, you were waiting for this one! Addictive drums has to be one of, if not, the best VST plugins for real drum sounds.
It is a favorite amongst many composers around the world and has one of the most extensive drum libraries out there. The samples are outstanding and XLN continues to add expansion packs all of the time!
- Extensive drum library - One of the largest selections of drum sounds in any VST plugin on the market
- Real drums - There are no fake drum sounds here as each kit is recorded by a professional drummer
- Quite expensive - Compared to other VST plugins, this isn’t one for those on a budget
FXpansion have brought out their third generation of virtual drum software with BFD 3. We love the realism this plugin offers such as the tom resonance, snare hits, and cymbal swells.
This latest installment has more features than ever with mix-ready presets, a rudiment tool for certain drum patterns, an improved interface and grove engine, a much faster audio engine, and a wide variety of drum grooves from famous players such as Bobby Jarzombek, Steve Ferrone, and Stanton Moore.
- Huge level of detail - Many samples contain up to eighty velocity levels
- Large library size - Totaling 160GB, FXpansion have created a lossless compression engine to shrink this down to 55GB for more computer space
- A little tricky to understand at first - May take some time to get used to the interface
Heavyocity’s DM-307 is an impressively powerful drum machine. It includes 3,600 sounds including live percussion and modular synth drums. If that wasn’t enough, you are also blessed with 1,500 different presets to make the most out of your production.
If you like to make cinematic, hip hop, electronic, or industrial sounds, then DM-307 is one to consider. One highlight of this plugin is that you can program an additional eight bars of sixteen steps. This effectively results in the DM-307 being a 126-step sequencer.
- Very powerful - Over 3,600 unique drum sounds at your disposal and 1,500 presets
- Multi-genre - Ideal for different genres so you can mix things up
- A little difficult to use - May find it hard to get used to its interface but over time, this becomes easier
If you’re on the lookout for a VST drum kit for trap soul productions, then Soul-Tastik Drums by BeatSkillz is the one for you. Each sample is unique so no two productions will sound the same.
The GUI (graphical user interface) is very easy to use and when you delve into the plugin, you will find 50 different drum kits, each with 12 samples. You are also treated to pan and release settings with each of these samples.
- Easy to use - Incredibly simple to use by just moving a few knobs
- Each sample is unique - No drum sound is the same so you can create distinct sounds in each production
- Not suited to genres other than trap or soul - Would have to look elsewhere for rock, pop, classical, hip hop drum sounds
As you can guess from the name, these kits are primarily for funk and disco productions. If you’re a big fan of kits from 70s records by artists like Steely Dan (we are), then you are in for a treat with this plugin from DrumDrops.
We love the dry-sounding drums this plugin has to offer. As the two kits on the plugin run off the Kontakt player, you will also have to purchase this if you haven’t already.
Although only two kits, there are a total of 25,537 samples altogether with the Vintage Funk & Disco plugin.
- Very real sounds - Includes round robins and velocities that maximize the realism of the drum sounds
- Large range of samples - 25,537, to be precise, to keep you entertained for, well, years
- Dry sounding 70s kits - Although we see this as a positive, many producers may want something a little more contemporary
Here, we have an all-in-one solution for all of your drum needs. Its setup is very similar to Addictive Drums and is certainly one of the best on the market.
Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 was recorded by George Massenburg in Belgium and he must have put some work in as there is a colossal 230GB in size in this plugin.
SD3 offers six drum kits, over 300 vintage drum machine sounds, and unique percussion instruments. We love the detail that went into these recordings as Toontrack set up eleven additional microphones for a lifelike surround sound experience.
- Incredibly lifelike and authentic - Surround sounding drums that feels like you’re in the room with the percussive sounds
- Large library - Has a 230GB library with over 300 vintage drum sounds and six drum kits
- May not be suitable for contemporary dance music - Sounds are lifelike and may not be the best choice for more electronic genres
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have probably noticed that 80s drum sounds are back in fashion. If you’re a fan of this, then you will love Synthwave Drums. It brings the large synth sounds of the 80s right to your DAW!
You can get processed and dry samples with this plugin and with a total of 63 kits on offer, you are truly spoilt for choice.
You could record for years and not touch half of the sounds such as its thirteen kick-snare combo kits, four cymbal banks, four percussion banks, five clap banks, and a total of 1,356 one-shot samples.
You may want to get some of those questionable 80s outfits back out to fully immerse yourself in the music!
- Budget-friendly - Cheaper than many plugins with just as many sounds compared to other similar products
- Large selection of 80s synth sounds - Ideal for bringing the 80s back to your productions with 63 kits on offer and over 1,350 one-shot samples
- Not for those who dislike synth - Only suitable for synth-driven productions