Drum VST plug-ins are virtual instruments that you can use to create drum parts for your music, through your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
There are many drum VST plug-ins today. Some of them are free and some of them need to be purchased, so choosing the right one is not an easy task.
In this article, we will review the best drum VST plug-ins, so that you can more easily decide what suits you best.
What can you do with drum plug-ins?
Drum VST plug-ins are coming in the form of software which you can use to create your drum lines and samples. Through your DAW, you can create your custom drum beats, just select the adequate sample, or modify an already-made sample.
There are many things you can use drum plug-ins for. The first one to mention is to compose, mix and record drums for your music project. You can also make your samples, load them on the drum multi-pad or electronic drums, and use them for live playing.
Why use a VST plug-in and not real drums?
It’s much simpler and cheaper to use VST plug-ins than to pay for the recording of the real drums. Even if you have to pay for your VST plug-in, you can use it for other projects in the future.
You will have bigger control of your music project because you will be in charge of more things. The final project will look much more like you pictured it because you made your drum sequences.
You will learn much more about drumming, so your future projects will be better.
Here is the list of the 6 best drums VST plug-ins:
- Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
- Addictive Drums 2
- Toontrack EZ Drummer 2
- Steven Slate Drums 5
- Heavyocity Damage 2
- Native Instruments Studio Drummer
- Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
1. Superior Drummer 3
Superior Drummer 3 is considered to be one of the best VST plug-ins for some time. It has 230 GB of raw and unprocessed sound. This software has 7 drum kits recorded with multiple microphones in different placements. It has up to 11 channel surround sound, and a library of 16 kits, 25 snares, and many more electronic options.
Superior Drummer 3 also has a big MIDI library of different styles and fills. You can make your rhythms using a multi-track grid editor, and mix the sounds you made in the powerful mixing studio with 35 mixer effects and a wide range of presets.
- Exceptional sound quality
- Big variety of sounds
- Big variety of mixing possibilities
- Grid Editor
- Some features are complicated for the beginner
- Memory-heavy plug-in
2. Addictive Drums 2
This VST will provide you with fantastic kits, sounds, and groves. It is much simpler than Superior Drummer, and therefore easier to use.
It comes with three high-quality sounding kits recorded by well-known professionals in the form of 130 preset setups. You can build your kit, add effects, mix the sound, and even adjust the levels of the microphones for the individual components.
If you are not a drummer you will have to check the Grooves section. There you will find many already programmed patterns that you can use. With the integrated MIDI grove system you can drag and drop your patterns directly into your project timeline.
- Simpler to use than Superior Drummer
- High-quality sound
- Drag and drop MIDI feature
- Reported software problems
3. Toontrack EZ Drummer 2
EZ Drummer is made for songwriters, and it comes as easy-to-use software. You don’t have to be an expert to use this engine, but you will have everything that you need to create your music.
EZ Drummer comes with five drum kits that have a realistic sound of great quality. The library of grooves is very well made with so many options, so you will be able to compose drum parts for the entire song just by using those preset groves.
The software also has a powerful mixing interface and effects that will make your mixing easier.
- Easy to use if you are not familiar with this kind of software
- Great library of grooves
- Package price
- Too simple for the ones that want more
4. Steven Slate Drums 5
This VST plug-in has one of the best collection of the sample that includes:
- 135 snares
- 112 kicks
- 58 toms
- 11 hi-hats
- 14 crashes
- 6 rides
- 7 chinas
The sound is very realistic and comes in the form of 148 kits. You can sequence your bets but you can also use 2400 grooves.
You can use many different features of this product such as microphone customization, tuning, and routing. Velocity and dynamic curves could be adjusted for each drum. You can also use a powerful mixer to tweak your sound right where you want it to be.
This software is easy to use and it will provide you with everything that you need.
- Some of the best drum samples on the market
- Great tone
- Lack of in-built effects
5. Heavyocity Damage 2
The Damage 2 is one of the largest VST plug-ins. It comes with more than 40 000 built-in samples that will take more than 60 GB of memory.
The plug-in has samples or real drums of all sorts, but the producers also recorded the sounds of different pieces of junk bashed away in a scrapyard, and so they created the so-called damaged sounds. That is why this plug-in can be used for more cinematic use.
There are different kits such as epic organic drums, metals, ethnic drums, FX kits, and damage kits. This plug-in also comes with the 864 loops that you can use for projects that have to be done quickly.
- Great plug-in for heavy music
- Great for filmmakers and soundtracks
- Not for hip-hop-like genres of music
6. Native Instruments Studio Drummer
This software is known as one of the best sounds of acoustic drum kits. It has many mixing options which will be enough to satisfy the needs of a mixing engineer.
Studio Drummer has three drum kits recorded to make a library. There are 25 different velocity levels for each tone and around 17 GB of samples.
There are three ambient options to choose between Stadium Kit, Studio Kit, and Garage Kit. Stadium Kit brings a roomy atmosphere, Studio Kit brings more of a clean and crisp sound, and the Garage Kit brings a heavier and dirtier sound.
- Great studio-quality sound
- Not memory-heavy
- Not for hip-hop sounds
You don’t have to pay always for drum plug-in
Not everybody today has a couple of hundred dollars to spend on the VST drum plug-in. The good thing is that there are some good free alternatives out there.
The free VST drum plug-ins may not be versatile and loaded with thousands of different tones and mixing options, but they can still be useful.
Here is a list of 5 best free VST drum plug-ins:
- Stave Slate SSD 5,5 Free
- Mini Spillage
- MT Power Drum Kit 2
- Studio Linked Drum Pro
- Spitfire LABS Drums