Best drum VST plugins

Best drum VST

One of the key factors determining the success of a track is the high-quality and powerful sound of percussion instruments. However, drums can present one of the most difficult challenges in the music production process: not everyone has the skills to play percussion instruments, and it is not always possible to place an acoustic kit in limited living conditions, especially in Russian apartments.

Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of VST drums – virtual libraries of drums and percussion instruments. VST drum instruments do not require a MIDI keyboard or a physical installation of drums – just download the library you like, install it and integrate it into your project.

We can discuss the pros and cons of real and virtual drums for a long time, but the fact remains: recording a game on an acoustic setup is not accessible to everyone. That’s why many musicians and producers are looking at high-quality VST drums, and we’re bringing you an overview of the best libraries available on the market.

1. Analogue Drums

Analogue Drums

Little-known but high-quality VST drums. Samples are recorded in WAV and packaged in the Native Instruments Kontakt sampler library. In total, there are up to 48 sound options for each element of the drum kit. What’s interesting: for snare, toms, hi-hat and ride, you can choose a left-handed or right-handed drummer.

Users can select different models of cymbals and drums themselves, control volume, panning, microphone balance and pitch of individual elements in the built-in mixer. Analogue Drums includes 23 presets and a set of MIDI grooves to make writing drum parts easy.

VST drums from Analogue Drums are distinguished by affordable prices and a large selection of settings for various styles of music. Some kits cost as little as $10, while for $300 you can purchase the Analogue Drums Everything Bundle, consisting of 20 drum libraries for different styles.

2. DrumDrops


DrumDrops are not just ordinary VST drums, but a real treasure trove of samples of various drum instruments. Their concept is surprisingly simple: instead of limiting musicians to one type of drum, the developers offer the ability to create unique compositions using a variety of drums. The entire range is presented in WAV format (44.1 kHz/24 bit).

They offer many purchasing options, which makes their store even more attractive. At DrumDrops you can purchase:

  • Samples in WAV format, available as sets;
  • Libraries for Kontakt;
  • Presets and kits for FXpansion BFD3;
  • Reason ReFill kits;
  • Sets for Studio One and Steven Slate Trigger;
  • And even separate sound “one-shots”.

The DrumDrops collection includes a wide range of drums suitable for various musical styles: rock, reggae, dub, funk, jazz, afrobeat, metal, hard rock and many other genres. In addition, the developers also offer collections of MIDI grooves and even ready-made multi-track drum parts, recorded and mixed by professionals.

3. EastWest ProDrummer Vol. 1-2

EastWest ProDrummer Vol 1-2

EastWest PRODrummer is a rich collection of percussion instruments, combined into two parts, with a total volume of more than 100 gigabytes. This powerful tool integrates seamlessly into your DAW or functions as a standalone application. According to the developers, only outstanding sound engineers participated in the creation of this library, which gave this virtual instrument many professional presets.

First part, EastWest ProDrummer Vol. 1, features a variety of samples and MIDI grooves recorded by Matt Chamberlain, who has collaborated with stars such as Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen. This part of the library contains over 40 gigabytes of cymbals and drums from Ludwig, Slingerland, Gretsch, Istanbul, Zildjian, recorded in three different acoustic rooms.

Part two, EastWest ProDrummer Vol. 2, features performance by Steven Sidelnik, known for his work with Madonna, Seal and Massive Attack. In this part you will also find the same brands of cymbals and drums, but they were recorded in five different rooms, which increases the library size to about 60 gigabytes.

Both parts include a built-in mixer, a variety of effects and a total of over 14,000 MIDI grooves. In addition, ProDrummer features a Songbuilder mode for easy creation of musical parts and an integrated routing system that allows you to work more flexibly with drum instruments. However, please note that to take full advantage of all the sounds and functionality of this instrument, you need powerful hardware on your computer.

4. FXpansion BFD3

FXpansion BFD3

BFD3 is one of the best VST drums available in the market. The high price of this instrument is justified by the presence of an extensive 55 gigabyte library containing natural and realistic samples. It’s important to note that the BFD3 engine strives to simulate human gaming as closely as possible, and it often does this at a high level.

BFD3 offers the user seven different drum kits, recorded in two different acoustic rooms, as well as an extensive set of presets. These presets are specially tuned for various music styles such as rock, metal, jazz, country and blues. Users have the ability to customize the sound of each drum, change the position of the microphones, the waveform and the applied chain of effects.

Among the interesting features of BFD3, it is worth highlighting the ability to select the perspective of the sound of the drum kit, as well as adjust the accuracy of the virtual drummer while maintaining the rhythm. Acceptable rhythmic imprecision, if applied within reasonable limits, gives more life and dynamics to the performance.

Users also have access to an extensive library of grooves and a play creation mode. Your own grooves and musical fragments can be exported not only in MIDI format, but also in WAV format. Notably, when exporting in WAV format, the audio data is separated by channel, allowing you to work with BFD3 in your project as if it were a real drum recording.

5. GetGood Drums (GGD)

GetGood Drums (GGD)

GetGood Drums is the project of Misha Mansour, known as the “father of the djent”, and Adam “Nolly” Getgood, one of the preeminent sound engineers in modern music, who worked together in the progressive metal band Periphery. Mansur and Getgood’s collaboration has resulted in a collection of VST drums that sound great in any mix.

Some may feel that GetGood Drums’ libraries are compressed to the limit, while the company’s marketing department describes them as “polished and meaty.” In fact, virtual drums sound quite neutral, and the final sound of GetGood Drums depends on the processing and adjustment of internal parameters.

During the existence of the GetGood Drums brand, Mansur and his team have released several libraries:

  • Universal Modern & Massive;
  • Heavy Invasion;
  • Powerful P IV Matt Halpern Signature Pack;
  • Multi-genre collection One Kit Wonder;
  • Suitable for a variety of styles including metal, fusion, classic rock and many more.

Depending on the settings, the drums can sound both powerful and compressed, and natural, suitable for different musical styles. These VST drums remain very affordable, the quality matches the price, and they are easy to use.

6. IK Multimedia MODO DRUM

IK Multimedia MODO DRUM

IK Multimedia MODO DRUM is an innovative solution that eliminates the need to use samples to create drum sounds. The drum sound is physically simulated using the plugin’s powerful engine, making the plugin small in size – just a few hundred megabytes. This instrument synthesizes sound based on an internal base of sound waves, and the final sound depends on the parameters selected by the user.

The main feature of MODO DRUM is the ability to customize physical parameters. The user can independently determine the size, materials and coating of drums and cymbals, set the desired performance style, adjust the density of the drum material, adjust vibration characteristics and many other parameters that affect the final sound of the entire drum kit.

However, despite all the advantages, sound synthesis and a rich set of parameters can require significant time to set up, and the process of physical modeling itself is demanding on computer power. If you don’t delve into the details of the settings, the sound of the MODO DRUM can leave much to be desired, especially considering its price of 200 €. The same goes for the bass synthesizer MODO BASS.

7. Mixosaurus


Mixosaurus has served as the benchmark for percussion libraries for many years, providing musicians with the most extensive and realistic selection on the market. The developers began to call Mixosaurus the “Sistine Chapel” of virtual drums and set themselves the task of providing musicians with the best VST drums that are as close to real ones as possible.

To achieve the highest accuracy and natural sound, the developers focused on sampling only one drum kit. Mixosaurus includes a huge amount of data – 145 gigabytes of samples (over 90,000 files) of raw drums. The kit includes 20 elements, each of which was recorded using three different sets of overhead microphones. Each of the drums and cymbals has at least seven variations, which the engine randomly selects during playback, providing a variety of sounds.

Mixosaurus is positioned as a tool for professionals, which is reflected in its interface, which can be difficult for beginners due to the large number of windows and options. Overall, achieving the outstanding sound of “Mixosaurus” will require significant time, effort and experience, as well as careful tuning of the drum playback.

8. Native Instruments Studio Drummer

Native Instruments Studio Drummer

Another long-standing but still popular drum library from Native Instruments is Studio Drummer. Despite its age, this VST tool remains easy to use, fast and reliable.

The developers have set their sights on creating the most versatile and outstanding VST drums on the market, and given the time, they have succeeded in doing so. Studio Drummer is suitable for a wide variety of music styles, including pop rock, alternative, funk, fusion, classic rock and hard rock. However, for more extreme and heavier genres, this instrument may be less suitable, as its drum sound can sometimes be too soft.

The Studio Drummer library provides an excellent selection for both beginning musicians and seasoned professionals. Mastering the use of this “studio drummer” will take only a few hours, and a wide range of articulations will allow you to solve a variety of tasks related to drumming. The variety of grooves available in the library will speed up the process of creating drum rhythms.

9. Steven Slate Drums 5.5 (SSD 5.5)

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 (SSD 5.5)

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 are one of the most renowned VST drums on the market that fit perfectly into heavy sounding music genres. This library stands out for its distinctive compressed sound, which was shaped by the work of Stephen Slate, a developer and audio engineer with extensive experience in recording studios.

The full SSD 5.5 Platinum library provides over 100 drum kit presets, including not only universal sounds for various styles of rock and metal, but also drums typical of such famous bands as Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dream Theater. Samples are provided in two versions: in their natural form and with processing from Stephen Slate, adding more compression and saturation.

Users can create their own setups by selecting any number of drums and cymbals, and the drum sound can be customized in the parameters section by adjusting volume, pan, pitch and signal penetration into various microphones.

There are two key features to note. First, Stephen Slate provides a free version of SSD 5.5 Free, which includes a high-quality library that can meet the needs of many musicians. Secondly, the virtual drummer is equipped with dozens of popular drum maps, allowing you to replace other well-known VST drums, such as NI Abbey Road Drums or Superior Drummer 2, with the 5.5 SSD without having to change or rewrite the MIDI drum part.

Despite the high sound quality, this library requires careful work with the MIDI part. Without taking into account various details such as overtones, attack intensity and other game characteristics, the SSD 5.5 can sometimes sound monotonous and unnatural. However, even with these shortcomings, the SSD 5.5 arguably remains one of the best VST drums for heavy-sounding genres, offering rich and powerful sounds.

10. Toontrack EZdrummer 3

Toontrack EZdrummer 3

The name of the virtual library says it all – the EZdrummer 3 is probably the easiest to use VST drums on the market. However, behind this apparent simplicity lies a powerful tool that is on par with more complex libraries from other manufacturers, and in some aspects even surpasses them.

Inside EZdrummer 3 there is a wide range of different drums and cymbals. Each drum element has multiple layers of sounds and multiple articulations that bring the EZdrummer 3 sound to life and make it sound so realistic that it can be compared to a live drummer. It is also worth noting the Bandmate function, which automatically selects grooves in accordance with the musical context of the project.

EZdrummer 3 VST drums provide balanced sound, high performance and ease of use. Percussion instruments are accompanied by dozens of virtual kits in one percussion kit and an extensive collection of live grooves. The sound can be brought to perfection using the built-in mixer with its own effects.

EZdrummer 3 covers a wide range of musical styles and genres – Toontrack have released many additions over the life of the library, and it is almost impossible to find a style that is not represented in their collection. Before purchasing, we recommend checking out the range of add-ons to find the right percussion kit for your project.

11. Toontrack Superior Drummer 3

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3

In 2017, Superior Drummer, which was already considered a legend, underwent a significant update and moved to the third version. The developers have completely redesigned the instrument, turning Superior Drummer 3 from a regular drum library into a full-fledged virtual studio for creating and working with drum instruments.

The drums were recorded in a majestic 330 square meter tone room at Belgium’s Galaxy Studios. The man behind it was George Massenburg, known for his work with artists such as Billy Joel, the Dixie Chicks and Earth Wind & Fire. The result of this work is 230 gigabytes of samples, including acoustic and electronic settings, which can be obtained in digital format or on a special SSD drive. The library includes kits from manufacturers such as Gretsch, Ludwig, Pearl, Yamaha, Premier and Ayotte, as well as presets from famous producers and engineers such as Bob Rock and many others.

Users are given the opportunity to create their own combined kits from various drums and cymbals, process sound using built-in effects and customize audio routing. There are also thousands of grooves and pre-made drum parts available inside that can be imported into a project and converted into audio files. Additionally, Superior Drummer 3 offers a responsive interface and supports multi-channel recording and playback (up to 11.1), making it one of the most powerful, versatile and best VST drums on the market.

12. XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2

XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2

Famous VST drums with a unique and easily recognizable sound. Addictive Drums 2 provides extensive customization options for every element of your drum kit, an intuitive and functional mixer, a diverse effects section and an extensive collection of MIDI grooves that are popular with musicians around the world.

The Addictive Drums 2 library includes 130 unique presets, offering a variety of sonic characters, ranging from crystal clear and natural sounds to distorted and fully electronic sounds. But this is just the beginning, as users have complete freedom to create their own kits from scratch, choosing drums and cymbals according to their own preferences. With a wide range of different drums, Addictive Drums 2 easily integrates into almost any musical style.

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