In this article, we will review the 19 Best Drum VST Plugins in 2021. if you are searching for the best drum plugins then sit back and read this article till the end.
VST plugins are the essentials in today’s studio technology. Especially in home studios, where we can’t record original instruments due to the resources, VST plugins are the lifeline for us.
But in the ocean of VST plugins choosing the best ones is not an easy task.
So, from time to time, Recording Base compiles and publishes listicles on VST plugins which help you to choose the best ones from them. It’s our duty to provide you with the best solution to your problem.
Some of them are,
- 31 Best Synth VST Instruments For Indie Producers 
- Top 52 VST Plugins Under $100 For Home Studios 
- Top 50 FREE VST Plugins For Vocals 
Do checkout the abvove articles as well.
In this article, we will review and compare the 19 best drum VST plugins in the market so that you could decide to choose one of them.
I have compiled free and paid plugins in this same article. Whether you are searching for free drum plugins or a paid one, this article will benefit you to the same extent.
These drum VST plugins are for those who want the realistic drum sound in their mix but don’t have the infrastructure to record drums in their studios, such as acoustic rooms, drum mics, and multiple channel audio interfaces.
These drum plugins have the ability to produce nearly the same drum sound like real drums.
But before jumping into the list, let us get some quick information about,
- What are VST plugins?
- Why should you use Drum VST plugins?
- What equipment do you need to use them?
What are VST plugins?
VST is the short form of “Virtual Studio Technology” and this term is used for the recording software (DAW) plugins.
VST plugins are of two types – effects and instruments.
Effect plugins are used to add virtual effects in DAW tracks such as reverb, delay, etc, while VST instruments are virtual instruments just like real piano drums, etc.
We need MIDI controllers to play these instruments. I have also written an article on the best MIDI controllers. You can check out that article here.
Why should you use Drum VST plugins?
VST instruments make it very easy to record instruments in a small size studio because they don’t need studio space, mic placements, and other common things when recording real instruments.
You may not own the real instrument, but thanks to VST instrument plugins, you can record without having them.
What equipment do you need to use them?
With a small set of equipment you can use Drum VST plugins. Such as,
- MIDI Controller – A MIDI controller is required to play VST instruments. These can be connected through USB or a traditional 5-pin MIDI port.
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) – A DAW such as Logic Pro X or Cubase is required to host and record your Drum VST plugin. You will refer to my article, “11 Best DAWs in the world” to get more information about DAWs.
- Studio Monitors or headphones to listen to your creations.
- A computer – As we are recording through a digital medium, a computer is required to install the DAW and plugins and other processes. You may check out some cool recording computers here.
- Audio Interface – Audio Interface is the heart of the digital recording setup. You will connect the computer, MIDI controllers, studio monitors, microphones, and other equipment with the audio interface. Here is the guide to choose the best audio interfaces as per your need.
So, without taking more time let us jump into the ultimate list of 19 drum VST plugins.
The first 11 plugins are paid drum VSTs and the rest of them are free.
Best Paid Drum VST Plugins
1. Geist 2
FXpansion’s Geist 2 is one of the best drum plugins on this planet.
Equipped with a streamlined environment, Geist2 is ideal for beat creation and sound sculpting which provides us the inspiration and new ideas for our audio production.
There are features like deep sample manipulation, arrangement, and modulation capabilities with a workflow powered by the intuitive and faster user interface.
Here is the key feature of Geist 2 drum VST plugin.
- We can load or record samples directly to pads, slice them, and intuitively sequence beats as well as manipulate our sounds faster.
- You can retro-capture performances and trigger scenes to take the pressure out from the recording.
- You can also create evolving polyrhythmic beats with individual tracks. There are features like event portability and the new TransMod modulation system helps us to create a good composition.
- You can resize, rescale, and reconfigure the vector interface as per your needs.
- The new Circuit-modeled filters, effects, loop point modulation, 64 pads for slicing longer loops, etc provides its samples extraordinary depth.
- Need some old-school touch? Use its Vintage sampler emulation mode.
Geist 2 comes with 8 sound engines of them everyone is a standalone full version of the Geist 2 environment.
Each of them has 64 pads of sounds and each one has 8 layers. The direct record feature is just awesome n which you can directly sample any sound and save anywhere in your hard disk.
Each pad of all 64 pads has its own effect modules which include FX like Distortion, Dynamics, EQ, Filters, Reverb, Delays, Flangers, and FX of that nature.
On top of that, if you do purchase Geist 2, there is an option to choose 2 free libraries apart from the factory content that comes with Geist 2.
2. Xfer Nerve
The 2nd one in our list is Xfer Nerve. However, it has a super basic user interface, it’s an amazing product, which definitely worths your money.
There are such huge names stand behind this software, including SampleMagic, Dom Kane, SampleSquad, PowerFX, Richard Devine, etc.
When you look at it you will think that it comes from 2 decades ago, which is obvious because of its super simple UI.
Apart from the simple design, this plugin has the capability of producing extraordinary drum sounds.
Patterns like single hits, kits, MIDI mapping, step sequencer are very easy to use.
There are three main sections of its GUI.
- Pattern Editor
- Pads and Waveform section
- Mixing section
Due to the super simple GUI, everything is very transparent and you won’t find any trouble in locating and using any of these functions.
Xfer Nerves Feature
- Powerful plugin – Nerve is equipped with a diverse sample library by top sound designers. You can also create your own beats entirely from scratch in format (AIF/WAV/REX/RX2/AKAI .SND), as well as utilize the factory Drum Kits, Presets, Patterns, and Sounds.
- Powerful Internal Step Sequencer – Nerve features an ergonomic mouse-driven Step Sequencer in which you can program your beats visually or by clicking rhythmically.
- Compact, hassle-free interface – With a compact and hassle-free simple interface you can create everything you frequently want to control in Nerve.
- Tons of Original Sounds Included – Nerve’s library contains a large, comprehensive 2-Gigabyte library containing full presets, drumkits, patterns, one-shots, and loops made by top-class sound designers.
- Sculpt your own original sounds – You can sculpt the sound files you already have on your hard disk. On-board editing with 22 simultaneous pre-calculated DSP types helps us to slice/trim, sculpt, stretch, and bend, and re-synthesize sounds into completely new sounds, with no load on the CPU.
- Slice and Re-arrange loops – Nerve allows you to up to 16 slices of a loop, with adjustable slice points, which will automatically get read from REX/RX2 files.
3. Arturia Spark 2
Arturia is one of the leading VST plugin manufacturers in the music world and known for the high-quality VST plugin range.
Spark 2 is one of the best drum plugins by Arturia which is a notable drum creation software drum computer.
Equipped with analog synthesis, sampling, and physical modeling, the generator which supports a mix of three engines, Spark 2 will provide the real feeling of drum machines.
Compared to other hardware drum VST, it comes with a wide variety of high-quality sounds that are suitable for several styles of music.
Arturia Spark 2 Features
- Step Sequencer – With a dedicated built-in step sequencer, Spark 2 allows you to go creative quickly and start producing your patterns.
- Automation – Automation is one of the best features of Spark 2. This plugin features multiple ways to create and edit automation; such as, you can use the Pencil and Line tools or the XY pad.
- Mixer & Effects – The mixer in Spark 2 provides a familiar interface to control the level, pan, insert effects, and sends of your instruments.
- Modular Engine – Equipped with a modular synth, Spark 2 is the direct descendant of our TAE® technology.
- Macros – Provided with 6 assignable macro knobs allow you to control several types of sounds and loops in real-time.
- Plug-in & Standalone – We can use this software as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in within Digital Audio Workstations such as Steinberg Cubase, Digidesign Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Apple Logic Pro X, MOTU Digital Performer, Cakewalk Sonar and Bitwig Studio, etc
- Import/Export -You can import AIFF, Wave, MIDI, and REX2 files in Spark 2.
- MIDI Controller – You can seamlessly use it with any popular MIDI controller.
4. Toontrack EZdrummer 2 Drum VST
Toontrack EZdrummer 2 is one of the oldest players in Drum VST plugins.
If you are searching for a fully professional plugin under $150 then EZdrummer 2 is can be the best choice.
Over the last five years, EZdrummer has evolved from an instrument to a real drum kit solution.
It can be the backbone of a home or mid-size studio with respect to the rhythm.
Far beyond just a collection of MIDI loops, its an integrated mixing software, kit customization, and more.
It’s one of the best drum plugins for Logic Pro X, so if you are using EZdrummer with Logic Pro X then you will be amazed by the friendship of these two legendary audio software.
Such a best bet to your studio.
- You can tap your rhythm directly into EZdrummer 2 and list the closest matches.
- The power hand feature lets you instantly preview different leading instruments, while your groove is playing.
- You can choose one of the many included presets and, if needed, continue to tweak it to fit the track.
- There are 5 complete kits and additional instruments included.
- A completely new mixer and collection of chain preset help you out the vintage feel.
- Powered by EZmix 2 effect engine includes effects like compressors, reverbs, delays, and EQs.
- More than 40 expansion kits are available to purchase.
5. Image-line Drumaxx Plugin
Image-Line is known as the manufacturer of the legendary DAW software FL studio.
Apart from the FL Studio DAW, Imagine also manufactures a variety of VST instruments and plugins for music enthusiasts and professionals.
Drumaxx is one of those superb VST instruments which supports all VST 2.0 hosts including, Cubase, FL Studio, etc.
Drumaxx has some great features and specifications which differ from the other Drum VST instruments.
Image-Line Drumaxx Key Features
- A Cool interface
- Equipped with 16 Physically modeled drum pads
- Huge range of modeling possibilities covering sounds from kettle-drums cymbals
- Multi-output for individual effects processing on each pad
- Integrated Step sequencer with trigger-key playback
- Velocity modulation matrix for detailed expressiveness
- Integrated effect with presets
- Single-pad version ‘Drumpad’ available supports tight integration with FL Studio
- 130+ drumkits, 900+ drum patches, and 200+ drum patterns
- Runs with any VST2 compatible host.
6. Spectrasonics Stylus RMX Drum Plugin
Stylus RMX is my favorite Drum machine VST in this list.
I personally use it to create my grooves and beats.
As an Indian, I realized that if you want to create some Indian grooves then this is the best drum VST plugin for you.
You can arrange Bollywood style realistic grooves with it just with a few clicks.
The best thing I like about it is, you can create your own library by sampling sounds and even sell those libraries to others.
No matter in which genre you want to arrange your grooves and beats., with a sleek and easy to use GUI it will transform your recording to the next level,
Let us see the core features of Spectrasonics Stylus RMX
- Powered by award-winning S.A.G.E. technology (Spectrasonics Advanced Groove Engine).
- Innovative Time Designer® helps you to grooves to adapt to any feeling, genre, and time signature.
- Musical variations and “improvising” within stereo audio grooves.
- 14GB Core Library included with the original Stylus core library.
- Includes all five Spectrasonics SAGE Xpanders – Backbeat, Retro Funk, Liquid Grooves, Burning Grooves, Metamorphosis.
- Automatic Groove Simplifying and Pattern Variations.
- Realtime auto-sync to the beat helps grooves to be always on time, especially for live performances.
- Groove Control is always active for optimum sound quality with any tempo.
- Expandable with REX files, which allow a user to import their own audio loops via ReCycle™.
- Unique edit features: You can control the pitch of the snare inside a stereo loop, add ambiance to just the backbeat, reverse specific slices in the loop, etc.
- World-Class integrated Effect Racks: Tube Limiter, Tape Slammer, Modern and Vintage Compressors, Wah-Wah, Power Filter, Stereo Imager, Flanger, 2 different Phasers, 3 BPM Delays, Retroplex Tape Delay and Radio Delay, 6 different Vintage/Parametric/Graphic Equalizers, Flame Distortion, Valve Radio, PRO-Verb, EZ-Verb, Spring Verb, Gate Expander.
- 250 Kits and 500 Multi Grooves.
- MIDI Learn and easy MIDI Control of all 20,000 parameters.
- Hardware MIDI Controller Templates.
- To quickly learn Stylus RMX features, over 9 hours of Video Tutorials are available.
- Multiple stereo outputs (with supported software).
- Favorites Menu creation of user-defined suites of grooves, perfect for project-by-project work.
- Built-in Mixer 8 channels, mute/solo, level, meters, 4 Aux sends output assignments.
- Drag and Drop MIDI files.
- Allows multiple grooves to be played live on a single MIDI channel
- Half Time / Double Time groove modification
- Build Multitrack Grooves in realtime
- Real-time Jamming in sync
- Powerful sound design features include: Multi-mode Power Filter, 3 sync-able LFOs, 3 AHDR envelopes, Reverse, and more
7. XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2
XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2 VST plugin my best drum machine for live performance and studio recordings in for rock and blues genre.
If you are searching for a plugin that could deliver the original drum machine feel then Addictive drums 2 is can be the first choice for you.
With the sleek drum style GUI, it will sound just like an original drum machine.
Addictive Drums VST Plugin 2 Features
- You can use this Drum software as a plug-in or standalone operation
- Provides 3 drum kits: Fairfax Vol. 1, Fairfax Vol. 2, and Black Velvet
- More than 5,000 MIDI grooves to help you create drum tracks in any style
- You can fine-tune the character of your drum sounds with Transient Shaper and Tone Designer.
- Unique reverb, delay, and EQ give you lots of options for shaping your sound
- You can easily link kit pieces together
- Add depth to your kit with specialty “Trigger” kit pieces like white noise, sine wave or one-shot samples
- You can make any MIDI groove which fits with your track’s rhythm and beat
- A grid search facility helps you find the right MIDI groove
- Drag and drop finished drum parts as audio directly to your DAW or desktop
8. Native Instruments Studio Drummer
If you are a fan of acoustic drum and wanna sequence some cool real drum beats, then you should go with Native instruments Studio Drummer.
When you start making beats in STUDIO DRUMMER you will realize that a real drummer is playing the drum.
You will get top-of-the-line drum kits library, a detailed mixing options, as well as a ready-to-go groove library, all packed with authentic beats of all colors and flavors.
All the samples are recorded from real drums. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced music producer it helps to produce lifelike, dynamic drum tracks.
Key Features of Native Instruments Studio Drummer
- Studio drummer is equipped with 3 superior kits ie; The stadium kit, the session kit, and the garage kit.
- There is a state of the art mix options available in this plugin such as SOLID G-EQ, SOLID BUS COMP, TRANSIENT MASTER, TAPE SATURATOR, and CONVOLUTION REVERB.
- Library section has more than 3,300 grooves all included with pop, rock, funk, jazz, indie, metal, ballads, blues, or country. Also, you can choose fills and variations for each groove.
- Drag and drop feature available for library grooves.
- You can customize and map the grooves.
- You will get over 35,000 samples
- 7.4 GB(compressed) library size.
- You can add up to 25 velocity layers as well as up to 6 variations of drum hits at the same velocity.
9. iZotope BreakTweaker Advanced
iZotope is a well-known name in the music production plugin industry. They have been consistently creating a state of the art plugins and samplers for music producers.
iZotope BreakTweaker is one of there first line samplers which allows you to shred, splice, and alter every note that you place in the drum grid and helps us to create complete rhythmic reinvention.
BreakTweaker is a hybrid sampler which combines the power of sampling and synthesis for extra versatility and uncompromising creative potential.
Features of BeatTweaker You Should Read
- Traditional sequencing is so 1984: BreakTweaker can slice and manipulate audio at a resolution that would blow your DAW’s mind. The MicroEdit Engine within BreakTweaker, makes each step repeated or chopped at an infinitesimally small rate, and allows you to create buzzing musical harmony, with extra rhythms, as well as use rhythm as a synthesis tool.
- Evolve and transform your patterns: BreakTweaker is driven by the patterns you define in the Sequencer to easily create drums, bass, or abstract noises. Pre-defined time signature helps BreakTweaker’s Sequencer to program anything from basic patterns to unique tracks.
- Advanced drum design: The Generator tool is an added benefit to drum synthesis. In this, you’ll get two Morphing Wavetable Oscillators which allows you to reproduce anything from the simplest to the most complex sounds.
- Distort, mangle, and morph effects: The custom-designed LFO and Envelope provide us some of the most creative modulations you’ll find anywhere.
- Core Library: With BreakTweaker, you will get over 2GB of royalty-free sample content designed by BT and top sound designers along with 4 additional themed sample packs that keep your rhythmic creativity flowing.
You can also checkout my article on other iZotope products like,
10. Sonic Charge MicroTonic (a.k.a. µTONIC)
Microtonic AKA µTONIC is an eight-channel drum and percussion synthesizer that allows you to produce a really great EDM production and sound design work.
You can use Microtonic as a sound module for your MIDI keyboard or sequencer, as well as you can use the built-in pattern engine.
If you are searching for a drum and percussion synthesizer combined with a pattern based drum-machine engine then your search will end at Microtonic.
Here Are Some Features of Sonic Charge MicroTonic
- You will get an eight-channel drum and percussion synthesizer.
- 100% synthetic sound, rendered in real-time.
- Equipped with over-sampled oscillators and sample-accurate triggering features.
- Need very low CPU resources
- Pattern-based drum-machine engine, best for EDM producers.
- Easy to use interface best for beginners.
- All creative editing options available like morphing, smart alteration, and randomization.
- It comes with a large sound library – tons of factory sounds and patterns.
11. Rob Papen Punch 2
Rob Papen punch 2 is a great drum machine plugin with tons of features and a vast sound library. It’s best drum machine for guitarists and indie producers who want to record in their home.
This drum machine features drum synthesis models, which allows you to quickly create unique new drum kits.
It allows you to import your own REX files and samples to turn into your own loops.
Features like EQ, Compressor, Limiter, Stereo/mono split filter, and layout mixer are helpful when adding effects to grooves.
Features of Rob Papen Punch 2
- You will get separate Stereo and Multi-output versions installed upon installation.
- great GUI for quick and easy editing for all pads.
- Freely selectable mode for each pad. These are from a choice of model, sample-based or
based on Slices/REX.
- Each pad features a ‘distortion module’ with 19 different types.
- 900+ Drum kits (presets), 1300+ pre-installed HQ samples, 2500+ Drum presets (presets for various drum types), 150+ pre-installed Loops/Rex files, 400+ integrated HQ samples
- Supports PC and Mac. 64bit AU/VST/AAX
Free Drum VST plugins
12. T.REX 606
T.REX is a compact and simple-to-use drum VST that is modeled from the legendary Roland TR-606 drum machine. As recommended by several top row artists it’s the best drum machine for home recording.
Its simple interface allows you to produce beats on a basic level. The simplicity is necessary for today’s scenario where most of the VST plugins offer complicated interface useless for beginners.
You’ll get only 2 knobs (volume and reverb) and 7 classic drum sounds.
I know, that’s not enough for an advanced beat maker, yet it’s a powerful drum plugin for a better start.
T.REX 606 Features
- Simple to use interface.
- T.REX is a rompler of classic 606.
- You will get 7 Classics Sounds.
- 2 Knobs for Main Volumen & Simple Reverb.
- Supports both X32 & X64 OS architecture.
- Available in Audio Units & VST for Mac OS X
13. Drum PRO
If you are searching for a free drum VST with lots of drum kit presets and sounds, then Drum Pro is for you.
Drum Pro is created by Studio Linked and a great free drum VST for beginners. In Drum Pro, you will get 12 pads and global effects and 20 built-in drum kits, everything you need to from a standard drum machine.
No matter what is your genre you can use Drum Pro in your music. But, it best fit to EDM, Techno etc.
Let talk about the features of Drum Pro
- You will get 16 drum pads and 20 built-in drum kits.
- Drum Pro is equipped with ADSR envelope for the volume.
- Each drum pad has its dedicated volume and pan controls.
- Global reverb mix control and volume control.
- An advanced yet easy-to-use user interface.
14. Beat Factory Drums
Beat Factory Drum VST is another advanced drum machine plugin available for free. You’ll get a pack of serious punch and quality in this plugin.
But the best thing is Beat Factory Drum is tt has fully tweakable to ADSR parameters which were not there in the Drum Pro. So you can customize each and every kit individually.
Beat Factory is a good choice for those who are searching for advanced beat maker plugin for free.
Features of Beat Factory Drums
- Sampled and modeled from MPC 2500
- Created with High-End Outboard Gear which is quite rare in free plugins
- Volume and Pan for Each Sample Pad (ADSR parameters)
- 10 Kits Included with the plugin
- Built-in REVERB
15. MT Power Drum Kit 2
MT Power Drum kit is like a free replica of Addictive Drums. It’s not just a beatmaker plugin but a fully pre-programmed groove library that allows you to add the classic drum machine feeling to your song.
With this free drum plugin, you can compose your own patterns, or use its presets to produce the best drum beats.
This drum VST supports most of the popular DAWs and 32/64 bit operating systems.
Overall you will get a full packed drum groove machine free of cost.
MT Power Drum Kit 2 Features
- Pre-processed the sounds with compressors, EQs, and other effects to make them a perfect fit for any mix.
- Natural sounding kick and snare drums.
- Built-in compressors into the channels.
- Thousands of assorted rhythm patterns in the comprehensive Groove Library.
DJinndrum VST plugin is emulated from The Linn LM-1 a classic drum machine that is used by the legends like Peter Gabriel, to Prince, to Michael Jackson.
If you don’t have the money to own the original Linn LM-1 then this free plugin is built for you.
Here are some of the features of this great drum machine plugin.
- It has a more dry sound, you may need to add EQ + COMP after mix.
- It doesn’t features anything like the “ride” sound nor the “crash”.
- It has pitch control for some sounds.
- It comes for 32 & 64-bit version for Windows
- It also has a free VST MAC OS X version
17. Line of Legends
Line of Legends is a simple to use and don’t looks like as technical as others. Yet, it’s a powerful drum machine plugin for beginners.
In this plugin, you will get 47 high-quality samples, and punch, 8 individual output channels, release & attack knobs for some serious tweaking.
It is a Hip-Hop drum kit hence better for Hip-Hop composers.
The interface of Line of Legends is divided into 8 sections (Kick, Snare, Clap, Snap, Toms, Hi hat, Ride, Crash). Each of them uses their own individual outputs for easier handling.
- 8 individual outputs.
- Punch knobs for attack sculpting.
- 47 high-quality samples.
- Release and Pan knobs (not labeled).
18. Sean Pandy Drums
Sean Pandy Drums is inspired by the heavy metal drummer Sean Pandy. It’s based on the sample pack made by drummer Sean Pandy.
If you are looking for heavy drum sound in your mix then this drum machine plugin will help you.
Sean Pandy Drums machine plugin comes in 2 flavours: stereo or multi-channel.
The stereo plugin will give all drums over channels 1+2, while the multi-channel plugin will give all drums on separate channels.
- VST/AU drum rompler plugin
- 6 velocity layers and up to 10 random-robin samples
- Comes in 2 flavors: stereo or multi-channel.
Kickmaker is specially built for crafting kick. We all know that kick and bass are important things in a song. So, we can not neglect them.
Kickmaker helps you crafting the best kick for your song.
- Four independent oscillators
- ADSR curve for mixed signal
- Each oscillator has its own ADSR curve
Final Verdict: 19 Best Drum VST Plugins 2021
Well, here we have compared the 19 best drum VST plugins. These 19 plugins are the top most drum plugins in the world. Each of them has their own X-Factors.
If you want me to choose one of them, first of all, I will tell you to identify your own needs.
When you find out your needs, it would be easier to choose the most suitable drum VST plugin from all of them.
Some people’s need is a specific genre, some want for live setup, some of us want an overall good plugin which could help in their home studio recordings.
For example, iZotope BreakTweaker is one of the best drum VST for EDM and hip-hop genres, where Addictive drums are best for Rock and blues.
So, first, identify your needs and then choose the one which could suit the best.
Now, it’s time to share this article with your fellow recordists and music enthusiasts on social media. Do share this article with others so that they could get the authentic knowledge of choosing their drum VST.
And, don’t forget to ask us your questions in the comment section.
Have a good recording session…
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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.