Most popular music tracks would be incomplete without a significant drum component. This is because, along with bass, drums make up the core element of the rhythm section in many contemporary music styles. So it’s no wonder every producer needs to have a good selection of drum plugins at hand.
The best free drum VST plugins, such as Sennheiser DrumMic’a, offer a large number of samples. Others – like the MT Power DrumKit – provide excellent ease of use. If you’re looking for natural-sounding drums and are into hip-hop, Spitfire LABS Drums plugin is the go-to option.
Keep on reading if you’re looking for high-quality, reliable drum VST plugins that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. No matter what your needs are, you’ll find something on this list that meets them.
There’s a reason Sennheiser is a household name among audiophiles the world over. Their gear is top-notch, and their brand is synonymous with quality. The Sennheiser DrumMic’a drum plugin is no exception to this rule.
With the DrumMic’a, Sennheiser has created a phenomenal plugin that sounds natural, offers excellent flexibility, and is compatible with most DAWs. Incredibly, Sennheiser is also giving away the DrumMic’a drum plugin for free!
The DrumMic’a plugin comes with 13,000 samples recorded by professional musicians in a studio, ensuring that the sound you get from this VST plugin is natural and as close to real drums as you can get. This feature is not very common among free virtual drums, so getting DrumMic’a is like hitting a musical jackpot.
What’s more, within your DAW, you can adjust other fine details – like microphone positions, for instance – to make your drums sound distinct and lifelike. Such rich features allow you to fine-tune your sound and give you control over your recording, just like an engineer recording real drums in a studio.
The DrumMic’a’s mixer allows an even greater degree of customizability. Here, you can tweak the volume of every channel you record and get the exact mix you wish to hear. You can also change MIDI mapping and velocity performance.
The plugin also comes with pre-made grooves, which you can combine in any way you want and create unique drum tracks more easily.
The only downside to this plugin is that it requires you to register and use the code the company gives you to activate the product. Don’t let this dissuade you; we can assure you that this wonderful product is really available for free.
The Sennheiser DrumMic’a drum plugin works on both Windows and Mac, so you’ll be able to use it no matter what operating system you use.
MT Power DrumKit 2
The MT Power DrumKit 2 plugin looks and feels like much more high-end and expensive products, such as EZ Drummer. It’s effortless to use, very versatile and sounds exceptionally good for a free drum plugin. It’s also a particularly good choice for beginners just starting to create drum beats on their computers.
Some users have complained that it sounds a bit synthetic, which is a common problem with drum plugins, particularly the free ones. However, this problem can be solved by careful mixing and adding a few effects to enhance the sound.
The software relies on simple drag-and-drop methods to string grooves and fills together, making it very convenient to use for novices. It is also powerfully customizable, so you can always change and edit your beats to make them sound exactly the way you want.
The MT Power DrumKit 2 also allows you to use a MIDI keyboard to play your drums, giving you finer control over your playing and allowing greater freedom of creative expression.
The plugin is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac, which makes it very versatile. It can be used with most DAWs, including the most popular options such as Reaper or Fruity Loops.
This drumkit is best used for rock and metal, as it was made to emulate the drums you can typically find in such music. However, you could probably make it work for other genres with some careful tweaking.
Spitfire LABS Drums
Spitfire LABS is an excellent choice if you’re looking for natural-sounding drum samples that were professionally recorded and offer a lot of variety. Spitfire LABS comes with loads of great drum samples, and when you download it, you get access to additional sound libraries that can help you in your music journey.
Spitfire’s drums have a slightly lo-fi sound, making them excellent choices for hip-hop and alternative music producers. The bass drum sounds thick, the toms are roomy, and the snare has a crisp, chunky sound.
The interface is very simplistic, stylish, and easy to use. The plugin is compatible with windows and mac, but it doesn’t work on Linux, unfortunately.
The downside of Spitfire LABS is that there isn’t much customizability. What you see is what you get, and you have to work with it. You can customize the sound once you mix the drums in your DAW, but the range of options is still somewhat limited.
It’s compatible with all the major DAWs, so you don’t have to worry about that. You’ll get an excellent drum sound, even if you can’t do much to tweak it.
Steven Slate Drums
Steven Slate Drums is another excellent VST drum plugin. It’s characterized by professionally recorded drum samples that sound natural and closely mimic the sound of real drums. It has a plethora of options for customizing, so you can simulate a lot of the controls you have in a studio when recording your drums.
Steven Slate Drums allows you to customize almost every component of a drum kit: cymbal size, microphone placement, and drum tuning; the options are endless. This makes it one of the most versatile drum plugins in existence.
The Steven Slate Drums plugin can be connected to electronic drums to make it even more versatile. This option allows you to make your electronic drums sound like any drum kit you can think of.
The plugin is compatible with Windows and Mac but not with Linux. You can use it with pretty much any DAW.
The biggest downside to Steven Slate Drums is that the plugin is only available on a “freemium” basis. The basic version is free, but there are additional options that you have to pay for. However, even the basic option offers a lot, especially if you’re just starting out on your recording journey.
Line of Legends
The Line of Legends drum plugin looks extremely basic at first glance but offers much more control than you’d expect. The plugin comes with high-quality samples and offers fantastic customizability, allowing you to get precisely the sound you want.
Its interface includes eight output channels and 47 different sounds. You can also use release, attack, and punch knobs to shape these sounds, allowing you to create a realistic drum sound easily and quickly.
While there aren’t as many sample sounds as in some of the other plugins on this list, they’re all usable and can be found within seconds, which speeds up the production process and makes it effortless. Plus, the range of sounds is adequate for most enthusiasts, despite their low number.
The Line of Legends sound particularly favors hip-hop sounds, offering a good selection of tools producers working in the genre might need. Its main downside is that it has a clunky interface is quite clunky. However, don’t let that put you off; with a little practice, you’ll be making amazing grooves in no time.
Beat DRMR is a beast of a drum plugin for anyone looking to create smashing drum tracks for electronic music. There are 178 drum kits in the plugin, and they cover everything from techno to minimal.
There are also 2,000 sounds you can play with, expanding your creative range. It also offers a lot of customizability, with 12 pads and controls for each drum sound. Using these, you can further customize pan, volume, attack, and decay settings on your recordings.
The Beat DRMR interface and controls are user-friendly and logical, so it’s an excellent choice for beginners or more experienced users who want to use something simple but efficient.
The biggest drawback of this plugin is that many of the free samples that come with it are mediocre and not particularly useful. So you may end up scrolling through dozens of boring samples until you find something that works for you.
EXD-80 Drum Synthesizer
The EXD-80 Drum Synthesizer is a great vintage drum synthesizer that offers a lot of flexibility and customizability. It has excellent analog drums and lots of percussion sounds, so you can really get a lot out of this drum synth once you get used to it.
The EXD-80 Synthesizer includes the following instrument sounds:
- A Kick drum
- Snare drums
- Closed and open hats
- And five other percussion instruments
Its recording environment also allows for four separate stereo pairs and other special stereo effects. These include the Granulator and Waveshaper, which are fun to play with if you enjoy working with unusual sounds. You can also choose to define MIDI key mappings for greater customizability or use the available presets to make things easier.
The biggest downside to the EXD-80 Drum Synthesizer is that it has quite a distinctive sound, so you can’t use it for all kinds of productions. It’s also only available for Windows, so if you’re a Mac user, you’ll have to choose something else.
Synsonic Instruments BD-808
The Synsonic Instruments BD-808 drum plugin was designed to emulate the sound of the legendary 808 bass drum on Roland drum machines. This makes it particularly handy when working on hip-hop and trap tracks that require a heavy bass drum sound.
The Synsonic Instruments BD-808 has a simple but attractive and easy-to-use GUI, which makes it very easy to work with. It also has many controls which allow you to customize your sound and mold it the way you want.
In addition to the sounds you’d expect to hear from an 808 emulator, there are some additional sounds that you can pepper on your tracks and give them a unique twist.
One drawback of the Synsonic Instruments BD-808 is that it does not come with distortion or saturation units, making it less customizable than some other drum plugins.
Sampleson SUB Free Analog Drums
The Sampleson SUB Free Analog Drums synthesizer is designed to mimic vintage analog drum machines. Using it, you can record many of the vintage sounds you’d expect from an old-school drum machine, including 808 sounds.
The Sampleson interface is quite simple. It has 18 different sounds, volume and pan knobs, and many other controls, giving you more freedom than you’d expect. The plugin is very lightweight, which means it can be used even on computers that aren’t fitted with expensive hardware.
The graphic interface also looks great, making the plugin quite pleasant. Overall, if you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use or if you’re a lover of vintage drum machine sounds, this is the right plugin for you.
Sean Pandy Drums
Sean Pandy Drums is a rompler plugin specifically designed for heavier genres. It includes a kick, snare, four toms, and a sub-blower, each of which comes with six velocity layers and up to ten samples.
It can be used in two modes: stereo or multi-channel. Multi-channel outputs individually recorded tracks to separate channels, while the stereo option plays everything through channels one and two. However, only the multi-channel option includes reverb and master controls, making it the more flexible and customizable of the two.
The output you get from the Sean Pandy Drums plugin can sound a little synthetic. You’ll have to mix it carefully and add some effects in the final mix to make it sound more natural. Despite that, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a simple rompler.
The Junn JM-1 emulates the sound of the LinnDrum, a legendary drum machine from the 80s that defined the electronic music of that era. It’s another great choice if you’re looking to emulate the sound of a vintage drum machine and recreate music styles from decades ago.
The plugin comes with lots of sample sounds, each with its volume and pan controls. It doesn’t allow much flexibility, but it’s a good option if you want something simple and easy to use.
You’ll either love or hate the user interface. It looks a lot like a vintage video game, so if you’re more into sleek modern interfaces, you will not be a fan.
The sound of the Junn JM-1 is not very natural, but it’s not intended to sound like a real kit either. So the Junn JM-1 is not a good fit for rock or metal production, but if you’re into electronic music, it can be a valuable addition to your arsenal.
Max Project T. Rex 606
The Max Project T. Rex 606 plugin was created to emulate the sound of one of the most iconic drum machines – the Roland 606. It was designed to be user-friendly and allow everyone to create incredible drum tracks in no time, making its simplicity its main attractive feature.
It comes with seven classic sounds you’d get from a 606 drum machine. Once again, these sounds are not meant to sound like a genuine drum kit, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this might not be the right choice for you.
The plugin comes with just two controls. You can tweak the master volume and reverb to add a bit of depth and life to your drum tracks. With a touch of creativity, that’s all you will need to create impressive tracks for your electronic music projects.
Organic Calfskin Kit
As its name suggests, the Organic Calfskin Kit drum plugin emulates the sound of a calfskin drum kit. However, you can also download other drum kits along with it.
The plugin is uniquely versatile and allows you to play with features typically unavailable with most other affordable drum plugins. For example, you can use brushes or mallets instead of typical drumsticks.
Apart from other controls, it also includes a weirdness knob that modulates the pitch of your recording in unusual ways. The interface is also very user-friendly and easy to use, so you’ll get used to it in no time.
Studio Linked Drum Pro
Studio Linked Drum Pro is another good plugin for those working on hip-hop and electronic drum tracks. The samples you get with the plugin don’t sound realistic, so they’re not a good fit for rock or metal projects. However, you can update its sound library to get more versatility from this plugin.
The interface of the Studio Linked Drum Pro plugin looks terrific. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and doesn’t take long to get familiar with. While the plugin doesn’t offer as much flexibility as other options on this list, it’s a great choice if you’re looking to create drum tracks quickly.
Djinndrum, the final plugin on our list, is another vintage drum machine emulator. It emulates the iconic Linn LM-1, made famous by legends like Michael Jackson. Original Linn LM-1 drum machines are tough to come by today, so using a free plugin is much simpler and cheaper.
The Djinndrum is a very faithful recreation that emulates the sound of the Linn LM-1 very closely. Sadly, it has no crash or ride sounds, which limits your creativity and the plugin’s versatility.