This is a high-quality acoustic guitar sound. The tone is a little tinny, which makes it perfect for busy mixes. I find it works especially well for pop or pop-adjacent tracks. But if the acoustic is supposed to be a really focal part of your mix, it may not be the best fit. Ample Guitar M Lite II is available for Mac and PC. Best drum sets: buying advice. New drummers just starting out usually start with a five-piece kit: bass drum, two rack toms, a floor tom and snare drum.Often, you'll need to allow budget for cymbals too – hi-hats, a ride cymbal and at least one crash – and stands (also known as hardware), too.
- Best Free Acoustic Drum Kit Vst
- Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst Pedals
- Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst Plugin
- Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst 2020
- Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst
Sampling and Drum VSTs have been a part of modern music for many years. For a long time sampled drums were primarily limited to the electronic genre, but now they permeate mixes across all genres.
Drum samples can be integrated into mixes in a variety of ways from subtle to bold. They can be used to bolster a drum section on a rock track or to support the melody in a pop mix. Producers of all genres should have a go-to drum VST in their toolbox.
Now we’re going to go over some of the top drum VSTs currently available so you can get an idea which one might work best for your mixing needs.
The 12 Best Drum Plugins
1. XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2: Custom XL
Addictive Drums was first released in 2005, and it has only gotten better in the years since. Addictive Drums 2 builds on the original software with perfect recordings made in some of the most well-known studios globally. These are in addition to recorded sessions by some of the best session drummers in the business.
There’s a selection of more than 20 drum kits to pick from, and more are added to the library all the time. You also have the option to build your kit from the ground up with the convenient drag-and-drop interface. If that doesn’t interest you, there’s more than 5,000 beats available, categorized by BPM and genre. The time, feel, and tempo of these beats can also be adjusted.
Check out the onboard sampler to find a number of parameters for each kit piece. These include distortion, EQ, delay, transient shaping, reverb, and compression. Addictive Drums also features a parallel processing bus. Addictive Drums 2 is one of the top drum VSTs out there because of its constantly expanding inventory of drum kits for both electronic and acoustic drums.
- Drums sound amazing
- Goes easy on the CPU
- Impressive beat editing software
- Purchasing more kits can add up
2. Arturia Spark 2
If vintage sounds are right up your alley, you may already be familiar with the variety of workstations offered by Arturia. With the Spark, Arturia stays true to their roots with one of the most extensive libraries of vintage drum machines on the market. If you like an old-school sound, the Spark is calling your name. There are more than 2800 sounds to choose from. You’ll also find a range of patterns and banks contributed from pro sound designers.
The Arturia Spark 2 has something for everyone, but of course it is ideal for injecting a vintage vibe in your mix. Users will find that the step sequencer makes pattern making a breeze. You can also take advantage of several automation options to produce a more dynamic sound. As a bonus, the interface also includes a modular synth to push your sound that much further.
- High-quality vintage drum collection
- Awesome modular section
- Incredibly stable plugin
- REX support could have been prioritized more
- Genre-based content is a little inconsistent
3. FXpansion BFD 3 Virtual Drumkit
FXpansion first came out with an incredibly forward-looking drum kit VST in 1999. They didn’t offer their first BFD kit until 2003, and this newest version goes way beyond what was initially included in the software. You’ll find 160+ GB of samples available with detail levels of more than 80 velocity layers each.
The majority of kits in the BFD 3 come from recordings at Ocean Wave Studio made with a vintage Neve. There are also some kits that were made at Omega Studios. You have the option of working with either processed or raw samples according to your preference. You can shape your tone from the ground up if you want. Then you also have the option of working with the provided samples. These have been processed with the BFD built-in effects, which you can easily adjust.
You’ll have your pick of more than 40 expansion kits to further enhance your options. The BFD 3 Virtual Drumkit is so expansive that you’ll feel that your options are endless. No matter which genre you are working with, this drum plugin will elevate your sound.
- Impressive kit sounds
- Customizable Interface
- Power groove editor
- Lacks triggering capabilities
- GUI is a little small
4. Xfer Records Nerve
If you work within the EDM genre, you’re probably used to digging through countless sample packs in order to nail down the perfect drum sounds. You’ll be relieved to hear that the Xfer Records Nerve can save you time and effort thanks to its excellent design. It’s been created by top-notch dance music producers, and it shows.
The Nerve comes packed with presets and patterns, and if you want to harness your own creativity, you can easily develop your own custom beats and sounds. The effects section does not disappoint with its many varied options. You’ll also find up to eight stereo outputs so that you can transfer your sounds to external processing.
There are three primary sections that make up the GUI. These are the Pattern Editor, the Pads/Waveform section, and the Mixing section. Xfer Records keeps it simple, which translates to greater efficiency and less effort required on your part. One of the most notable features is the impressive step-sequencer. With this you can program your beats visually or by clicking your mouse rhythmically. With the Nerve, versatility is the name of the game.
- An awesome collection of high-quality sounds
- Simple, user-friendly GUI
- Advanced effects section with sidechain compression
- MIDI mapping can be tricky
- Takes up a good amount of CPU
5. D16 Group Drumazon
If the Roland TR-909 is among your favorites, just wait until you get your hands on the Drumazon. It would be difficult to find a more authentic-sounding drum machine out there. It faithfully reproduces vintage sounds to the point where you might forget you’re working with a VST.
There’s also plenty of controls for you to play with to make the software work for your producing needs. For just one example, the kicks offer both pitch and tune depth controls—something you wouldn’t get with the TR-909. The decay times are also significantly longer, almost enabling you to transform your 909 kicks into expansive 808-style subs. You’ll also find reverb knobs for the handclaps and decay controls for the cymbals.
The Drumazon doesn’t offer much range, but if you want to faithfully recreate the Roland TR-909, look no further.
- Authentic 909 sounds
- Flexible sequencer modes
- Improved sound control over the original machine
- Not a lot of versatility
6. BeatSkillz Synthwave Drums
Drum machines from the 1980s were primarily characterized by a ton of reverb. If you’re looking to recreate the iconic drum sounds from the 80s and the new wave genre, the BeatSkillz Synthwave Drums will not disappoint. As we know, trends have a way of circling back around, and the 80s drum sounds have resurfaced in a big way over the last several years. If you are a producer of pop music, you’ll want to have retro drum sounds at your disposal. With Synthwave Drums you’ll have access to 63 amazing kits that each offer 12 individual sounds.
This drum plugin also comes complete with 13 combinations of kick and snare. Synthwave Drums features four banks for cymbals, twelve for toms, four for effects, four for claps, four for percussion, and eight for hi-hats. You can choose from more than 1,350 one-shot samples to further enhance your drums. These drums are already processed, so they deliver the iconic 80s sound immediately without any additional tweaking.
You’ll find that the GUI is quite basic, but it gets a boost from its neon coloring and its user-friendly arrangement. This VST makes it exciting and easy to produce drum sounds that will transport you to a different time.
- Authentic 1980s sounds
- User-friendly interface
- Lacks grooves and beats
7. D16 Group PunchBOX
With the Group PunchBOX you’ll find an awesome library of drum sounds, but D16 takes it a step further. There’s also a great collection of modules, effects, and synths, which makes this VST an attractive option. Finding the right drum sample to fit with your mix is no easy task, but the samples on the DST will make your job that much easier. You’ll be able to find just about anything you might be looking for.
The PunchBOX is a rack module with a design that will boost your creativity. You’ll find three sample layers along with a synthesized layer to work with. Then take advantage of the effect modules to develop authentic sounds that can be adapted for any type of music. The compression and EQ modules make it easy to add in bold snares, rich bass drums, and a range of other intriguing percussion sounds.
You’ll find an abundance of presets conveniently situated based on their sound characteristics and musical style. The PunchBOX offers incredible versatility and everything you need to take your mix to another dimension.
- Versatile four-module design
- Amazing sounds and samples
- High-quality processing
- Controls could be bigger
8. SONiVOX Tony Coleman Drums
The Tony Coleman Drum VST is perfect for those who want authentic drum sounds without breaking the bank. If you’re not familiar with Tony Coleman, just know that he is a bit of a legend in the R&B realm. His drumming talents have backed artists like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Etta James, and Albert King. With Tony Coleman Drums, you can perfectly replicate his unique tone.
Coleman prefers his drums, including his snares, toms, and kicks, to be large and open with a rich, deep tone. If you’re searching for an awesome drum sound that will overwhelm you in the best way possible, you’ll find it here. What you’ll get with this VST is 20GB of drum samples from recordings made at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
This acoustic drum VST includes a Mapex Black Panther snare, a Sabian 22” AAX ride; 10”, 12”, 13”, 14”, and 16” toms; a Sabian 18” AAX crash; Sabian 16” AA hi-hats; an 18” AAX Fast Crash; a 20” vault, and a Mapex Saturn Series 22” kick.
- Ideal for jazz, funk, and blues
- User-friendly interface
- Authentic brush samples
- Lacks versatility
9. BeatSkillz Soul-Tastik Drums
Beatskillz has introduced a unique VST full of smooth drum beats that come straight from classic boom-bap songs and beats. Soul-Tastik Drums includes 50 drum kits with 12 different samples each. This means that there are more than 600 high-quality samples to choose from.
The GUI has been organized to optimize workflow and make it easy to manipulate sounds. The controls you have at your disposal like panning and pitch give you so many ways to shape your sounds. Also it’s super easy to translate these sounds into your DAW. We are also pleasantly surprised at how solid the built-in reverb sounds. With this VST BeatSkillz gives you everything you need to create the beats you want.
- Great selection of drum kits
- User-friendly parameters
- Intuitive GUI
- Sample manipulation capabilities are somewhat limited
10. Heavyocity DM-307
Heavyocity has built a great reputation based on their range of high-quality VSTs. Many producers are drawn to Heavyocity because they have some of the best Kontakt instruments available like Gravity and Forzo. The DM-307 stands out because of its incredible range of samples that include live percussion, analog, modular synth drums, and so much more. In fact, there are 3,600 sounds to play around with in addition to 1,500 presets to get you where you want to go.
The DM-307 can be utilized in just about any style of music, including hip-hop, cinematic, electronic, industrial, and everything in between. One stand-out feature is the 16-step sequencer that provides you with eight extra 16-step bars. This basically means that you will have a 128 step-sequencer at your fingertips to create incredible beats.
- Great selection of top-end samples
- Works great for just about any genre of music
- One-of-a-kind step-sequencer
- A good number of the loops sound quite generic
- Some might be overwhelmed by the expansive sample library
11. Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
Toontrack’s EZdrummer 2 software is known for making it super easy for non-drummers to add drum beats to their mixes. With the Superior Drummer 3, Toontrack offers more expansive software that is ideal for authentic drum programming. Superior Drummer 3 provides more than 250 GB of sounds and ultimate control for the user. Its cross-grade capabilities allow you to move presets and sounds between Superior Drummer 3 and EZdrummer 2.
If you’re a songwriter, you’ll appreciate the advanced grid-editing tools like the piano roll editor. You can choose from a great selection of top-notch samples, or you can use samples you have created. No detail is overlooked in the mixer, and you’ll find that the routing capabilities are incredible. One clear sign that you are working with a real kit is the separate channel that’s specifically designated for microphone bleed.
One of the most exciting tools on this drummer VST is the Tracker function. With this you can identify certain sounds and hits from drum audio tracks that you drag into the software. Superior Drummer 3 should be towards the top of your list if you are looking for ultra-realistic drum sounds and a number of exciting features to enhance your mix.
- An incredible 230+ GB of quality sounds
- Drum sounds are very realistic
- Sample replacement
- Workflow can take some getting used to
12. DrumDrops The Vintage Funk & Disco Dual Kit
DrumDrops brings together two of their amazing drum kits—the Vintage Funk Kit and Vintage Disco Kit—in one exciting VST. And if you’re on a budget, you’ll be happy to know that these kits can be used with the Kontakt Player, which is available for free. The founder of DrumDrops is Mike Pelanconi, who has played with reggae artists like Big Youth and Gregory Isaacs as well as other artists, including Blur and Lily Allen. His extensive experience helps him ensure the quality of the kits included on this VST.
With the Vintage Disco Kit, you can faithfully recreate that vintage 1970s sound with small hi-hats, a fat low-end kick, and a warm snare. The sounds produced bring to mind gaffer taped heads and dampened dustcloth drums. With the Vintage Funk Kit, you can expect additional percussion and a bit more of a kick overall. The GUI is user-friendly, so you’ll be able to handle all of the processing elements without any trouble.
- Ideal for disco and funk sounds
- Compatible with the free Kontakt Player
- Lacks versatility
Finding the Right Drum VST
That wraps up our list of some of the best drum VSTs currently available. Our goal was to highlight a range of VSTs with specialties that provide a lot of value to producers of all genres. To find out which best matches with your musical needs, you’ll have to get under the hood and test these out for yourself. You might be surprised which one will be a perfect match for you.
This review is all about the best drum VST plugins of 2020. Drum VSTs come in all shapes and sizes. Finding the right drum VST for you depends largely on your goals musically. We will look at some of the most advanced and expensive drum VSTs, as well as some smaller free ones.
It’s worth pointing out that it’s perfectly possible to get up and running right away with a basic drum VST and in many cases these come at no charge whatsoever. If you consider yourself a bit of a nerd when it comes to an authentic drum sound then you’ll find our rundown of the top drum VSTs essential reading.
As with all VSTs, it’s important to have a suitable setup with which to run them on. Many of the higher budget drum VSTs are quite heavy on resources and so will require fast computing speeds with lots of free disk space. If you plan on connecting controller kits such as electronic drum kits to the setup, it’s advisable to have a good low-latency sound card or audio interface. So, let’s crack on with the review.
Here are the best drum VST plugins 2020:
1. Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
First up on our list of the best drum VSTs is Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3. This plugin is a behemoth when it comes to sound and detail. Toontrack have equipped this VST with practically everything you will need to create your own real-sounding custom drum tracks. There’s everything here, from thousands of acoustic drum samples to a host of vintage drum machine sounds.
Toontrack enlisted the help of musiclegend George Massenburg when putting together this catalog of drums. Georgerecorded the sounds at Galaxy Studios in Belgium, which is known for having oneof the best live rooms in the world. He has previously worked withinternational superstars such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Linda Ronstadt.He’s also credited with inventing the parametric EQ, so he’s bound to know hisstuff when it comes to getting a good sound.
In total there are 230 GB of samples onboard the Superior Drummer 3 VST. That will give you some insight as to the level of detail which is available here. Some of the drum kits used are from world leading brands such as Ludwig, Ayotte, Gretsch, Pearl, Premier and Yamaha. There are also 350 classic drum machine and vintage sounds to play around with should you wish. But with Superior Drummer you don’t just get one sample per drum or cymbal. Each instrument is played with several different drum sticks, from regular hickory sticks to mallets, brushes, blasticks and rods. Adjusting the velocity of the stroke will in turn change the response of the sample sound.
Mic placing is also catered too. With Superior Drummer 3 you can choose where you want to position your microphones about the drum set. There’s also the option to set the level on mic bleed. This is an extremely useful feature for increasing the realism of a drum track. Mic bleed is a natural occurrence in studio and live drumming and something that usually is impossible to replicate with a standard drum machine.
When it comes to the microphones, Toontrack have used only the best. Some notable names include Neumann, Sennheiser, Ehrlund, Beyerdynamic, AEA, Sanken, and Schoeps. There are also 35 studio effects which you can use to further enhance your drum tracks. These effects range from classy reverbs and delays to studio standard compressors.
Navigating around Superior Drummer 3 is quite intuitive. There is a handy search feature which can get you up and running right away if, for example, you need to find a genre of beat or kit type. You can search and browse to choose import sounds from the vast 230 GB of files or simply tap to find the tempo and begin that way instead. Superior Drummer 3 is compatible with 3rd party samples too and has full MIDI support. It even has a cool audio to MIDI conversion tool which lets you rid MIDI drum parts from audio files.
|Image credit: ToontrackCheck and Download|
There’s no doubt that Toontrack have knocked the ball out of the park with Superior Drummer 3. It has everything that a recording studio aficionado should need for creating professional sounding drums at the click of a mouse. It has full multi-screen support and is rock solid when it comes to stability. A great drum VST and there’s no surprise that it’s regularly top rated by users.
2. XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2
If you like the look of Superior Drummer 3 but find it a little out of your budget, you’ll be happy to know that this VST is just a fraction of the price. Addictive Drums 2 is aimed at home recording enthusiasts who need a database of high-quality drum kits on a moderate budget.
This VST has won awards and plaudits around the world for managing to create an impressive library of kit sounds. There are over 5000 drum beats and fills in total in Addictive Drums 2. This is a lot of drums, by anyone’s standards.
If you’re not the most technically minded when it comes to music you’ll find the numerous presets extremely useful. They’re laid out in a way which makes it easy to pick and choose what type of drummer you want. You can choose the genre and customize the beat and kit sound. On the other hand, if you prefer to take full control over the kit from the get-go, then you can import your sounds, bit by bit and build the drum track that way instead.
Addictive Drums 2 has lots of effects to play with too. There are EQs, reverbs, delays, compression, distortions and a few others. You also have mixing capabilities such as buses for any parallel processing.
|Image credit: XLN AudioCheck and Download|
For the money XLN Audio’s Addictive Drums 2 packs quite a punch. It’s one of the most popular drum VST plugins around. The spec says it will work with most setups on only 2 GB of RAM (although they recommend at least 4 GB). To put this in context, Superior Drums 3 by Toontrack requires at least 8 GB of RAM. This makes Addictive Drums more suited to amateur setups and also explains the pricing. It lacks a few of the elite features of Superior Drummer 3 but makes up for that with value for money.
3. FXpansion BFD3
BFD is a drumming VST which has been around for some years now. It’s widely considered one of the top drum VSTs around. BFD has a huge collection of drum samples and loops which you can incorporate into mixes at the click of a mouse. The main man behind the sound sourcing on BFD3 actually worked for 2 years with George Massenburg, who we previously mentioned with Superior Drummer 3.
In total there is 162 GB of sample sounds, but wait, just before you throw your arms up, the makers have managed to squeeze this down into a mere 55 GB. How they did that, we’re not quite sure, but it does mean that you can now carry this entire portfolio of drumming goodness around on a tiny 64 GB flash drive. This makes it super-convenient when working across different setups.
BFD3 contains grooves played by legendary drummers such as Steve Ferrone, Brooks Wackerman, Peter Erskine and more. They’ve added 12 new effects too, which brings the total up to 33. Some of these include DCAM overdrive, new reverbs and envelope shaping tools.
When seeking to get started with a drum track you can choose to build your own kit or pick from one of the finely crafted presets. There’s a fully editable groove engine with a very handy rudiments tool. This tool allows you to work with many of the standard drum rudiments in order to create drum fills. Each rudiment is further explained through drum notation.
|Image credit: FXpansionCheck and Download|
BFD3 is an impressive drum VST. While it’s not quite as expensive as Superior Drummer 3, it’s not far off the price. It has many cool features which make it a pleasure to use, and lots of slickly edited samples and loop which are a breeze to work with. This VST works well along with a DAW or as a standalone. It also has full MIDI operational compatibility.
4. Steven Slate Drums SSD5
If you’re after a quick and convenient drag and drop type of drum VST then you may like the SSD5 by Steven Slate Drums. This VST comes with lots of different kit sounds which are split up into different categories and styles.
There are kits such as the Spicy Rock kit, Old ‘n’ Dusty, the Thick Metal kit, the Pure 60’s kit, Steven’s Oldie kit, the Savage kit, the Ribeye kit and more. You can probably tell from the names as to how these kits sound. It’s pretty straightforward. In total there are around 100 drum presets and a couple of cool features such as ‘Rimshot’ mode. This allows you to replace drum accents with rimshot hits for added attack.
|Image credit: Steven Slate DrumsCheck and Download|
Overall, the SSD5 by Steven Slate Drums is a decent drum VST with a lot going for it. It’s easy to use and quite light on computer resources too.
Best Free Acoustic Drum Kit Vst
5. GetGood Drums Modern & Massive Pack
For rock and metal fans we have a nice little drum VST without any additional fluff. GetGood Drums produce VSTs for the modern market and this particular pack is aimed at a bigger, punchier drum sound.
There is a nice selection of drum kits, all of which have been recorded at Middle Farm Studios in the UK. These kits certainly pack a punch, so if that’s what you’re after then this VST may be for you. It’s certainly one of the best-sounding acoustic drum VSTs around.
|Image credit: GetGood DrumsCheck and Download|
In total this pack contains 9 snares, 6 kick drums and 2 sets of cymbal packs. This may not sound like a lot but it’s plenty to get some nice rock or metal demo tracks off the ground. If you need more options, GetGood Drums also do other ranges of kit styles which are of an equally high-quality.
6. Tony Coleman Drums
Tony Coleman is one of the most famous names in blues drumming. He has played with legends such as B.B. King, Albert King, Etta James and Buddy Guy, among others.
With this collection from Sonivox we get access to an entire library of the great man’s sound and feel. This VST is aimed at lovers of blues, pop and rock. All sounds have been captured at Ardent Studios using only the best professional drum microphones.
Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst Pedals
|Image credit: SonivoxCheck and Download|
This entire collection is only 20 GB in size, so it’s not one of the more bulky drum VSTs out there. In that 20 GB you’ll find beats, fills and individual sample hits as played by Tony himself. This is certainly one for lovers of a great R’n’B groove.
The DJinnDrum VST is a nice little free drum VST plugin which has apparently been used by megastars such as Michael Jackson, Prince and Peter Gabriel. Listening to the beginning of ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ by Micheal Jackson will give you an idea of what this drum machine is capable of.
It’s very easy to use with 12 drum pads to play with. There are also slidable faders for the volume of each voice and knob controls to alter the sounds further.
Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst Plugin
|Image credit: SimpleRecorderCheck and Download|
For the money we can’t argue with the DJinnDrum VST. It’s free to download so be sure to check it out. It lacks gigabytes of sample libraries but is quaint and fun to use. Definitely one to have in your collection of VST plugins.
If you’re looking for a VST with a few more drum sound options, then the DrumTROOP might fit the bill. This VST is packed with 20 free drum kits. These kits are largely digital-sounding drum kits and perfect for lots of genres from hip-hop to dubstep to EDM and pop.
The layout is clean and easy with lots of controls to alter the sample sounds. A very cool electronic drum VST.
|Image credit: DUBturboCheck and Download|
DrumTROOPS is a cool little VST and is sure to help out budding music producers. Some users have complained about this VST being a little unstable on certain DAWs.
Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst 2020
In order to avoid any unwanted crashing we advise that once you have created your beat on DrumTROOPS, then you should bounce it down to an audio file. Next import that audio file into your mix, disable the VST and you should find no further conflicts.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this round-up of the best drum VSTs out there. Finding a good drum plugin can take time if you don’t know what you’re after or where to look. We’ve looked at acoustic drum VSTs as well as some electronic drum VSTs. Some of the more expensive options cater to both electronic and acoustic.
Whatever your preference, be sure to look at the spec and take note of the kits used in recording. There’s no point purchasing hundreds of gigabytes of pristine acoustic samples if you’re mainly going to be working in EDM. There are plenty more cheaper options out there, and as we’ve shown, some of them are free.
The spec of your setup matters greatly in how any particular drum VST will perform. A fast computer is essential in most cases, especially with the bigger drum VST plugins.
RAM is also important and it’s worth pointing out that you can upgrade the RAM in your computer or laptop in most cases. Some computers, such as certain iterations of the Mac Mini, do not allow you to upgrade the RAM, although the average PC will have no such issues. Having a fast system and plenty of RAM is always a good idea when making music on your computer. Processing will be quicker and you should notice a drop in any latency issues too.
Having a fast processor means that the VST and the DAW can work easily together and this means there will be less chance of your system crashing and you losing unsaved work.
Best Free Acoustic Drum Vst
Have fun on your quest for the best drum VST plugins!