Best Drum VST List: Yes, They Are All FREE!
Oh hey there. Are you looking for the best drum VST? Then you are in luck!
I know how hard it can be to pick a sound when you have thousands and thousands of them available at you fingertips in your digital audio workstation (DAW).
You have a few built-in drum machines and many VSTs on the Internet, free and paid. In fact, FXpansion BFD3, which is one of the top choices of a lot of big-name producers, costs around $350.
Are you ready to cash in yet? Yeah, me neither. I’ve tried FXpansion in one of my friend’s studio. It’s truly impressive and lets you customize their top quality sounds like no other plugin does.
However, I wouldn’t personally buy it. I just don’t think it’s a necessity at all. Think of it as of a nice car. You need it to impress your friends and strangers, but that’s about it.
Same with this particular plugin. It’s my opinion, of course, and if you feel like it’s a must-have, go for it! Anyways, let’s keep going.
I handpicked these VSTs for you based on the two factors.
1) They have to be simple, yet interesting and tweakable. The fewer controllers you have, the faster you will come up with the sounds. It’s all about time management.
2) They have to be free (because let’s be honest, you didn’t come here to spend your hard earned money).
Free is not always bad, and I am here to prove it to you. You don’t have to spend $100s of dollars (at least not yet) to get those fancy drum machines.
Alright, let’s get to the list!
1) MT Power Drum Kit 2
I actually bought this plugin back in the days for $39 before it became free. So I am kind of bitter because of this. You guys just got lucky, okay?
I think it has been made free because the new paid drum VSTs are a lot more advanced and tweakable, and it would’ve taken a lot of time and money to bring it to the next level.
As an alternative, they left it as it was and made it free for everyone. As you probably realize, this sparked a lot of interest among beginners who didn’t want to spend any money on a plugin.
And the plugin is excellent!
Again, don’t let the “free” tag fool you.
You get the high-quality sounds of an acoustic drum kit which have already been processed with compressors and EQd, so they fit in pretty much any mix.
As the developers themselves state, they put an emphasis on making the sounds stay crystal clear and refined in any mixing situation. This was done by using the high-quality drums and microphones.
Moreover, there is a compressor built into the channels, so you can tweak it and make it sound the way you want it to.
Where can you get it? Just follow the link!
2) Vintage Drum Elements
This bad boy has been modeled after Yamaha RX5. Very popular in the late 80s, it adds that old school disco vibe to your tracks because of the warm analog sound.
You can either use a bunch of the top-notch presets or just tweak it to your taste. With 12 pads, you have a lot of flexibility.
On the website, it prompts you to donate before you download it, but if you set your donation to 0, you will be able to get it for free.
I do encourage beginners to donate at least something, even $1, but it’s entirely up to you, folks.
Want to check it out? Click here!
3) Sennheiser’s DrumMic’a
If you have clicked on the link before reading this, you are probably a little bit lost. The website is entirely in German, and there is no way of translating it with Google for some reason.
I was very lost myself when I just stumbled across this VST and decided to try it.
Basically what you need to do to get this plugin is registered. It’s free, but you have to find your way through because everything is in German. Honestly, shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.
The plugin itself is very flexible and functional. As usual, you get your kicks, snares, cymbals and hi-hats.
There are a few knobs and a mixer, so you can quickly make them “sit” on the melody.
The unique feature of this particular drum VST is the ability to change microphones. Hopefully, by now, you know a thing or two about mics, but here is a quick overview.
All the microphones have different specs, such as sensitivity, frequency range, and resistivity. Moreover, even mics with very similar specs can record things differently (more vintage and warm or more clear and cold for example).
With Sennheiser’s DrumMic’a you can change the microphones and their proximity and patterns (think cardioid for example), so you can set up the same drum to be recorded entirely different depending on the settings.
The input sound will be the same, but the output is going to change depending on the settings as mentioned earlier. I think that’s a pretty neat feature, especially if you know what you are doing.
One little note, you will also need the Kontakt 5 Player (get a free version) to run this drum VST.
Want to download it? Use this link!
4) Line of Legends
No, I didn’t include this to mess with you all. I know the Line of Legend drum VST may kind of look like a joke.
I can understand the pictures of the drums, so it’s easier to see which one is which (for beginners mostly), but they had to add clapping and snapping hands!
If I were just starting out, I would prefer at all those lit up, neon colored drum plugins with a bunch of knobs I didn’t know how to use rather than Line of Legends.
Let’s be honest here, it because the design is so bad!
However, don’t let the poor design trick you into thinking it lacks functionality. The functionality here is superb if you are a beginner. You don’t just get eight sounds, and you get whole 47 high-quality samples.
And don’t overlook the eight output channels with punch, attack, and release knobs to personalize the sounds.
It’s a great drum machine for beginners. Don’t forget that it’s free also, so might as well at least try and see. It will meet, if not surpass, your expectations.
Get this bad boy here!
5) T.REX 606
This VST plugin looks so basic, doesn’t it?
There are no tricks. It’s this simple. Modeled after the Roland TR-606 drum machine from the 80s, it has seven drum pads and two knobs, that’s it. You are probably wondering how it even got on the list? Easy, it offers you all you need in the beginning.
You may think that everybody’s drums would sound the same, but it’s not true. Because of very few built-in processing functions (just the reverb), there is some post-processing that has to be done.
And that’s when everyone’s workflow and preferences are different.
Moreover, it’s not like everyone is using the same drum machine. In my opinion, 808s are so much more overused right now than 606s.
If you have a MIDI keyboard, it’s nothing but a pleasure to use. You assign drum pads on your keyboard to these plugin’s pads, and you are ready to go!
Download it here!
Conclusion: Best Drum VST List
To finalize my thoughts, I think that the five plugins above are one of the best drum VST on the market that I’ve used or tried.
The free market is free for a reason, so it’s mostly just word of mouth. The developers don’t spend money on advertising or marketing.
That’s why there can be a lot more, possibly even better, drum plugins out there, and I am just not aware of them.
If you are a beginner, don’t think that buying the expensive plugins will make you another Metro Boomin. Better drum patterns come with experience.
And the more complex doesn’t always mean better. Listen to 21 Savage’s “Bank Account,” the beat is very simple. The song, however, blew up like crazy.
Don’t take shortcuts and take your time to learn everything.
These free plugins are more than enough to start. Even a single one of them is more than enough to start.
The hardest thing is, ironically, to get to do something, rather than just getting ready to do.
Good luck producing and tune in for more!