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The Best Drum VST For Every Genre & Skill Level

There are a TON of drum VST plugins available on the market today, and choosing which one will work for your needs can feel like guesswork.

Choosing the drum sound that is best for your music is certainly nothing to take lightly. After all, the drum set is the driving force in so much of the vast frequency spectrum, it’s important to give it proper attention.

It’s well known that producers will work on getting a dignified drum sound first in the studio, before recording any other instrument. We should show the same dedication to choosing our drum VSTs.

Pricing

Drum VST price ranges vary significantly. The ones I cover here range from $49-$419.

Every option on this list has a trial companion that is significantly lower in price, if not free. 

Where pricing really matters, is how much you can save by having a virtual instrument rather than the real gear.

Each instrument is different, but drum VSTs are absolutely more cost-effective than purchasing the real thing.

Compatibility – System Requirements

All the VSTs mentioned in this list are compatible with all the popular DAWs available. When adding a VST to your system, always check you have the recommended space and hardware to get the best use of your VST. 

DAW Compatibility

All of these plugins will work on any standard DAW: Logic Pro X; Cubase; Pro Tools; Adobe Audition (included in Adobe suite); Reason; FL Studio; Studio One.

Frequency of Use

Drum VSTs can be used during any session, any time; even simultaneously with other plugins as often as you’d like.

It’s important to note that VSTs, in general, test your CPU usage, so using them individually is sometimes more efficient.

Skill Level

Every new piece of gear requires us to spend time “fellowshipping” with it.

In fact, this is one of the many beautiful parts of recording and producing music — pushing creativity and skill to the limit finding sound you didn’t know was there.

That being said, once you understand the layout of any standard drum VST, you will notice similarities from plugin to plugin.

Our recording friends who are just getting started on this journey can easily take on any of these plugins, and our more advanced producers may find the different expansion options useful when dealing with a variety of musical styles.

9 Best Drum VSTs

The list below was designed with a variety of musicians in mind. Thankfully, many drum libraries come with an array of drums, cymbals, and percussion instruments, giving us access to drum samples that fit a decent variety of musical genres.

However, there are drum VSTs that are better designed for certain styles.

Several of the VSTs mentioned here will be perfect for our heavy rock writers but may limit those producing more nuanced music, and of course vice versa. 

Here are the best 9 drum VSTs available today.

1. Smack Attack

Smack Attack

A transient shaper is a very useful tool when mixing drums within the context of a song. Smack Attack by Waves helps focus the hits and wash out the sustain of a drum track, helping it stand out in your mix. 

Most transient designers have the essential dials within the plugin: sustain, attack, duration, and adjustments for mix level. The component in Smack Attack that is most unique is the ability to toggle the sensitivity threshold for the sustain and attack levels.

The effect this type of plugin has on a snare drum, or a whole drum kit, can be a remarkable improvement to a song’s groove.

  • Who’s it for? Novices and advanced mixers will find plenty of use for this.
  • Tone: This plugin is universal enough to be used in multiple genres. The opportunity to be creative with this plugin and enhance your drum sound is worth so much more than the price tag.
  • Price: $29.99 – On Sale
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, VST, AU & AAX support.

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUIntel Core i5 / i7 / i9 / XeonIntel Core i5 / i7 / i9 / Xeon / AMD Quad-Core
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating SystemOS 10.12.6 – 10.15Windows 10 64 bit
Screen Resolution
Minimum: 1024×768
Recommended: 1280×1024
Not Supported: 1600×1024 USB displays as the primary display.
Minimum: 1024×768
Recommended: 1280×1024
Not Supported: 1600×1024 USB displays as the primary display.

Get Smack Attack.

2. MODO DRUM

MODO DRUM

If you feel passionate about your drums sounds, this is a great VST for you to release your inner drum-nerd. MODO DRUM is IK Multimedia’s first drum virtual instrument.

Each drum can be altered significantly within the program; shell dimensions, species of wood or metal, bearing edges, hoops, hardware, drum heads, tuning, and more, can all be shaped. Not to mention, the visual representations are astonishing.

For those who recognize MODO, perhaps from the MODO BASS VST, the drum modeling software truly represents the authenticity and realism that comes with the family name.

It contains 10 iconic drum sets that cover multiple styles, an integrated groove manager, with 1,400 grooves in different styles, flexible when adjusting specific drum components. 

  • Who’s it for? Those looking for a VST with a visual representation.
  • Tone: Truly, the 10 drum sets included, cover many different styles. Though, the freedom to manipulate the drums in such detail can allow for genre-crossing combinations that are sure to inspire.
  • Price: $199
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Soundtrap.

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUIntel Core i5 with support for AVX instructionsIntel Core i5 with support for AVX instructions
Memory8GB of RAM (16 GB suggested), 20GB of available hard-disk space8GB of RAM (16 GB suggested), 20GB of available hard-disk space
Operating SystemmacOS 10.9 or later. USB port (3.0 suggested)Windows 7, Windows® 8 or Windows 10. ASIO compatible sound card. USB port (3.0 suggested)

Get MODO DRUM.

3. EZdrummer 2

EZdrummer 2 

EZdrummer 2 is the second installment of an abundant and versatile drum library by Toontrack.

The program itself, without any expansion, comes with five complete drum sets arranged in two separate sound libraries: the vintage drum kit, and the modern drum kit.

It also includes a MIDI song creator, which is a comprehensive way to experiment with mixing and matching your drum sounds.

  • Who’s it for? Beginner or advanced producers and songwriters will enjoy the modesty of this plugin; with the addition of any EZX expansion kit, we can bask in that clarity with even more variety in our sound library.
  • Tone: This library contains samples with a familiar and comfortable sound, but elements such as pitch, compression, and reverb can be altered within the plugin. And of course, EZX additions can be made to widen the choices in your drum library.
  • Price: $179
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good fit for Logic Pro X.

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUIntel-based Mac with 2 GB RAMPentium 4 or Athlon processor with 2 GB RAM
Memory4 GB of free hard disk space4 GB of free hard disk space
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.6 or higherWindows 7 or newer 

Get EZ Drummer 2.

4. Perfect Drums

Perfect Drums

Perfect Drums has something for everyone. The on-board mixer also allows for isolated microphone adjustments per instrument—direct, overhead, and room mics; a great way for budding engineers to work on their mixing chops.

The Perfect Drums bundle from Naughty Seal comes with 131 sampled drums and cymbals from some of the best manufacturers currently out there.

The drums include 13 kick drums, 12 snare drums, 29 toms, creating 8 complete “matching” drum sets.

The cymbals include 9 hi-hats, 11 rides, 31 crash cymbals, 13 china cymbals, 8 splash cymbals, 2 custom stack cymbals, and 2 bells. There are also 12 preset configurations of these instruments included, which are arranged logically.

  • Who’s it for? From up and coming digital musicians to our most advanced sound engineers.
  • Tone: The drum samples pack a great amount of punch, very apropos for contemporary rock and metal music.
  • Price: $150
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Cubase

System Requirements:

MacWindows
CPUDual Core Intel processor or higher Dual Core processor or higher
Memory4 GB RAM, 8 GB strongly recommendedMinimum 5 GB free4 GB RAM, 8 GB strongly recommendedMinimum 5 GB free
Operating SystemMac OS 10.6 or newerWindows XP or newer OS (64 bit only)
Screen ResolutionMinimum: 1280×1024Minimum:1280×1024

Get The Perfect Drums.

5. Superior Drummer 3

Superior Drummer 3

SD3 includes immaculately recorded samples of drums and cymbals that fit a wide range of musical styles, and you can import your own drum samples into a drum set, although over 350 individually sampled electronic drum sounds are provided.

Toontrack has an admirable reputation for drum VSTs and Superior Drummer is a big part of that. Currently, on its third edition, Superior Drummer contains over 230GB of raw, unprocessed sound and allows access to implements for more textured playing, such as rods, brushes, and mallets. 

The user interface in this software is very impressive and can be a great asset to your workflow. The interface is highly customizable, the windows can be detached like a browser, and the advanced mixer contains 32 channels that can be routed and enhanced with industry-standard plugins, included.

  • Who’s it for? Recording musicians of all styles can find countless use for this inspiring program.
  • Tone: Immersive drum experience
  • Price: $419
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Adobe Audition, which is included in the Adobe Suite.

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUDual Core Intel processor or higher Dual Core processor or higher
MemoryRAM: 8 GB, Free hard drive space: 236 GBRAM: 8 GB, Free hard drive space: 236 GB
Operating SystemOS X 10.6 or HigherWindows 7 or later

Get Superior Drummer 3.

6. Get Good Drums-Modern and Massive

Get Good Drums-Modern and Massive

Many plugins and VSTs require a third party program installed on your computer. This plugin uses the legendary Native Instruments to power it.

 For the metal fans out there, this VST was created by Adam Nolly Getgood, an integral member of the heavy metal band Periphery. He has made an excellent drum sample library that has the power to cut through a wall of distorted guitars and has an impressive sonic identity. Built-in processing allows your drum track to be mix-ready in minutes so you can evaluate in context almost instantly.

  • Who’s it for? Beginner and intermediate mixers
  • Tone:  Getgood Drums, including its many admirable expansions, are ideal for metal and heavy rock music. The Modern and Massive pack has a surplus of snare drums, bass drums, toms and cymbals that may help breathe some fresh air into your sound. 
  • Price: $99
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Reason

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUIntel i5 processor or higher Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
Memory4 GB RAM (6 GB recommended for large KONTAKT Instruments)4 GB RAM (6 GB recommended for large KONTAKT Instruments)
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.12 or 10.13 (latest update) or aboveWindows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit) 

Buy Get Good Drums Modern and Massive.

7. BFD 3 Expansion Pack

BFD 3 Expansion Pack

FXpansion, a well-known creator of appealing synth expanders, has a drum VST with a vivid user interface. The BFD3 library contains over 162GB of material, but it only takes up 55GB of hard drive space. The alluring visuals at your fingertips in this plugin can spark workflow and creativity. 

  • Who’s it for? This is great software for novice and advanced creators, but this would be a great addition for those who include visuals in their productions; live-streaming, tutorials, and mix-with-me sessions, for example.
  • Tone: Fine-tune details
  • Price: $340
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for FL Studio

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUQuad-core processor or faster (Core2Quad, i3, i5, and i7, or equivalent)Quad-core processor or faster (Core2Quad, i3, i5, and i7, or equivalent)
Memory3GB DDR3 RAM or higher3GB DDR3 RAM or higher
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.11 or higherWindows 10 or higher  (latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit) 
Screen Resolution 1280X8001280X800

Get the BFD 3 Expansion Pack.

8. Steven Slate Drums 5 

Steven Slate Drums 5
Steven Slate Drums 5 

Steven Slate samples are notorious for being some of the most utilized plugins in the professional studio scene. The newest pack, Steven Slate Drums 5, continues to raise the bar.

Producers will often use sample replacement or add a sample to help a drum cut through the range of instruments occupying the same space in the frequency spectrum. The SSD unit also works well as a stand-alone player and as MIDI drum track recording software.

It’s easy to recognize that this pack, and its predecessors, contains “that” snare and kick sound that we’re always hearing on professional recordings. This software can truly be used for any genre of music. Some of the primary draws in this package are: 

  1. 148 preset drum kits, which are models of legendary professional drummers around the world.
  2. Versatile drum kits for Rock, Indie, Jazz, Reggae, and more.
  3. SSD’s previously unreleased one-shot drum samples.
  4. Its quick MIDI mapping and learning.
  • Who’s it for? Rock music producers
  • Tone: Customizable tone via setting up your own drum set
  • Price: $99
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Pro Tools

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPU1 GHz Intel Dual Core Processor or AMD Equivalent1 GHz Intel Dual Core Processor or AMD Equivalent
Memory4 GB of RAM4 GB of RAM
Operating SystemmacOS 10.9 or higherWindows 7 or higher  
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 or higher1024 x 768 or higher

Get Steven Slate’s Drum 5. See all Steven Slate products.

9. Tony Coleman Drums 

Tony Coleman Drums
Tony Coleman Drums 

SONiVOX has a plethora of virtual instruments in its catalog, including many drum packs. Perhaps the most extraordinary is the Tony Coleman Drums software package.

This VST captures the sound, and “soul”, of legendary blues drummer Tony Coleman; who is a monster drummer, by the way.

In each sample, you can really hear the sound of the drum; the punch, the resonance, and the definition, all due to Tony’s incredible touch on the drum set.

This package contains over 20 GB of expertly captured drum samples; a feature called Intelligent Rhythm Control that corrects note timing without sacrificing musically; comprehensive part editing; pitch, compression, filters, and EQ, and more.

The interface of this software is very straightforward and user friendly; beginning DAW users and advanced producers can find ease with this plugin.

  • Who’s it for? Styles of music like funk, blues, R&B, Hip-Hop, or music where a solid, nuanced groove is a primary factor.
  • Tone: Soulful
  • Price: $99
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Pro Tools

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
CPUDual Core Processor Dual Core Processor
Memory20 GB20 GB
Operating SystemMac 10.8, 10.9, 10.10Windows 7 and 8

Get Tony Coleman Drums.

Pay Respects

All reputable drum VST plugins are recorded professionally. This means that a professional studio drummer or percussionist, who surely has been hard at work honing their craft for years by performing on first-rate albums, is invited to a professional studio — sometimes several. 

At the studio, a distinguished audio engineer and crew set up the room: this includes hours of routing cables, testing out microphones, sound treatment, and so much more.

Each part of the drum set is recorded meticulously capturing sound from every angle. The performer brings the sound out of each instrument at every possible dynamic level, and the engineer painting the sound artfully with the massive console in front of them. 

This is a beautiful process that takes tremendous time and hard work. Thanks to this process, and the subsequent production, we are given access to professional sounding drums right in our DAWs.

Compare Drum VST Pricing

PluginManufacturerPrice
Smack AttackWaves$69
MODO DRUMIK Multimedia$199
EZdrummer 2 Toontrack$99
Perfect DrumsPerfect Drums$150
Superior Drummer 3Toontrack$249
Get Good Drums-Modern and MassiveNative Instruments$99
BFD 3 Expansion PackFXpansion$315
Steven Slate Drums 5 Steven Slate Drums$149
Tony Coleman Drums Sonivox$99