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The 5 Best Drum VST Plugins for Music Producers in 2024

The 5 Best Drum VST Plugins for Music Producers
May 13, 2022
Equipping and treating a drum recording room is difficult, time-sensitive, and pricy. And truth be told, there's fewer and less good quality recording studios for exactly those reasons. Because of this struggle, artists are starting to reach out for digital solutions when it comes to “recording” their drums and handling an instrument with so many different elements.

Since many new music producers want advice on the best VST drum instruments on the market, in this post we'll be narrowing it down to the best 5 drum VST picks you can opt for.

5 top drum VSTs for music making

Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that drum VSTs aren't a true copy of a real drum recording.

If you have the opportunity to record your real drums live in a recording room – go for it!

But if you don't have such a luxury, a great VST is the next best thing.

And since you're looking for drum instruments, you might also be looking for something to help out with your guitars - make sure you check out our article for that here!

(Psttt, remember - there's still some great free VST options out there too. Read our list of the top free VSTs for more on that)

So without any further ado, let’s dive into our hand-picked review of the best 5 drum VST instruments for music producers in 2022!

1. Addictive Drums 2

Type: Drum Machine

Price: $178.00

Addictive Drums 2 is a music standard in terms of drum libraries. You can expect a lot of the world’s leading composers to be experts in the Addictive Drums assortment.

The libraries are available in quite a lot of titles, including rock, pop, indie, jazz, and electro.

Best Drum VST Plugins - Addictive Drums 2

And here's the best news - you don’t have to be a drummer to make the most of Addictive Drums 2 sample libraries!

Every library comes with presets and pre-recorded grooves, which means you can find lots of inspiration and get to work in seconds! Whether you're a music production beginner or you're a seasoned drummer, Addictive Drums 2 is one of the most user-friendly VSTs out there for getting your desired drum outcome.

One of the many standard kits this library includes has actually been recorded with the acclaimed Fairfax package, at the LA studio previously known as Sound City.

Another very nice function is the bundle feature, which has 130 presets, each with clear, raw samples, alongside processed, already-mixed plug-ins. The preset window will be filtered to point out a certain style of preset, and you can even save your own personal presets too.

To rapidly differentiate presets that are clean to heavily processed, the library has added a nifty function known as ‘Sound Ideal.’ Plus a fader that goes from ‘Natural’ to ‘Excessive.’

2. EZ Drummer 2

Type: Drum Machine

Price: $179.00

EZ Drummer 2 takes the welter-weight championship belt respectfully in hand and steps up the sport significantly.

Sporting a brand new, alluring tab-based interface, the UI has undergone a “from-the-ground-up” makeover. The considerably blasé pop/rock equipment has been replaced by the default kit in lieu of not 1 - but 5 - new characterful drum kits.

Categorized as ‘Modern’ and ‘Vintage’, the varied pieces can also be easily combined and matched for “customized” kit configurations. These new kits are samples of DW, Yamaha, Gretsch, Sonor, Tama, and naturally, Ludwig. Taking a cue from other drum VI contenders, EZD2 now hosts an array of great-sounding percussion elements as well, including tambourines, cowbells, maracas, shakers, and handclaps.

Best Drum VST Plugins - EZ Drummer 2

The audio engine has been completely overhauled and refitted with a much higher degree of AI and expressiveness. The brand new “Tap2Find” characteristic allows you to shortly beat out a groove through a midi-controller or mouse, before the software program takes off on a gallop to retrieve the appropriately matched patterns.

EZ Drummer 2 comes straight from the factory with huge, characterful drum sounds straight out of the box. 5 distinct, successful drum kits are express-shipped straight to your desktop or DAW!

Not to mention they're dripping with vibe, class, and coolness. An absolute pleasure to use!

3. Steven Slate Drums 5 (SSD5)

Type: Drum Machine

Price: $119.00

Steven Slate Drums 5 (SSD5) is the follow-up to the already known SSD4.

This digital drum plug-in contains a big sample library, an interesting sample player, 400+ instruments (together with acoustic, digital drums and percussion), and over a thousand all-new MIDI grooves!

Many instruments have multiple mics (for instance, snare drums on top and bottom), and all are recorded in a 24-bit format with up to 24 velocity layers. To avoid successive drum hits from having an identical sound, every velocity layer accommodates 12 alternate drum hits.

Regulate the dynamic range independently for every instrument, between delicate and loud drum hits so that they sit correctly in your mix.

Not sure how the sounds should sit in your mix? Check out our 5 top tips for mixing drums!

Regulate the instrument’s velocity curve to scale its dynamic response to incoming MIDI-velocity information; for instance, setting a value higher than 0.50 will make progressively increased velocities set off exponentially (as a substitute for proportionally) louder samples.

You can also delimit the highest and lowest velocities that may be triggered.

Best Drum VST Plugins - SSD5

SSD5’s all-new, minimally processed Deluxe 2 instruments and kits, as a whole kit, sound stunningly punchy, tightly centered and really detailed. That said, the brand new Deluxe 2 Vintage Kits dish out some 70s slop if you need that sound as an alternative.

We also rate the legacy drum kits from SSD4 and 3.5 accessible in SSD5, both with some gems in there as well!

4. Native Instruments Studio Drummer

Type: Drum Machine

Price: $326.00

Native Instruments Studio Drummer features samples recorded on premium drum kits. The library focuses on incorporating acoustic drum equipment into your track, together with mixing features and a big library of grooves, with fills that complement styles like funk, rock, blues, indie, and country.

Every sample has up to 25 completely different velocity ranges, resulting in a broad dynamic range. The three premium drum kits that have been recorded for the library embrace the Pearl Masters Premium Maple kit, Yamaha Maple Customized Absolute kit, and the Sonar SQN Drum System. These kits have been recorded at Teldex Studios in Berlin and include over 17GB of drum samples.

At the bottom of the interface window, you'll notice a tab named "Grooves." From here you'll be able to flick through and discover the right groove for your specific session.

Best Drum VST Plugins  - Native Instruments Studio Drummer

The grooves are categorized into 11 completely different styles, including pop, funk, jazz, hard rock, metal, blues & country, indie rock (among others). Choosing one of these many styles will present you with a brand new window of grooves in a number of tempos and variations.

The drums are recorded with separate microphones on each of the main components of the kit, which makes it much easier to balance out the levels in your kit. It's also possible to balance out the ranges of the overhead, room and mono mics.

As with different drum libraries, Studio Drummers features a wide range of built-in effects such as EQ, envelope shaper, transient master, bus comp, tape saturator, and convolution reverb, where you'll be able to alter the room reverb to studio, church, halls, or smaller rooms.

5. Superior Drummer 3

Type: Drum Machine

Price: $410.00

Superior Drummer 3 core sound library was recorded at the Galaxy Studios. It's primary studio, Galaxy Hall, is a 330-meter square, 8-meter high multi-purpose room with perfect acoustics. The hall has a reverberation time starting from 1.1 to 2.4 seconds that relies on curtains and extra acoustic treatments.

Best Drum VST Plugins - Superior Drummer 3

SD3 now supports importing third-party samples. This means you can substitute an existing drum by adding a customized sample as a brand new instrument (X-Drum), or adding it to a current instrument or Stack.

With the Stacking function in SD3, you can layer a number of sounds to playback at the same time and trigger them with one MIDI note.

TOP TIP: Stacks substitute MIDI Nodes for power SD2 users on the market.

The groove page retains all the songwriting features from SD2, however, the search performance has been improved enormously, making it a lot simpler to discover a particular groove.

Toontrack introduces it's Tap2Find operation to SD3. With it, you can manually tap in a beat and have SD3 search your libraries for grooves that match. Very helpful!

Superior Drummer 3 is a game-changer for many drummers. If you're serious about your drum sound and programming, then this has to be one of your top choices.

Whichever of these 5 picks you opt to go for, you can't go wrong!

While each of them have slightly different options and features embedded within them, after all, they're all pretty similar and any of them will carry out the job without any problems!

Nailing your drum sound is a crucial pillar in your track. So you need to be really careful about which sound you choose and spend some time working with your digital drums.

But we don't doubt that if you choose any of these plugins, you'll ease up your job and do it faster and better!

Author Bio

Toshe from Mixing Tips is the admin and content creator for Mixing Tips and account manager of the Instagram account. With over 15 years working in the audio engineering world, he decided to expand the horizon and help newcomers with some great tips and guides on how to improve their music production and especially mixing.

The 5 Best Drum VST Plugins for Music Producers in 2024

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