We run through our pick of the best drum synth plugins on the market, from basic kick drum generators all the way to full-on analogue emulations and physical modelling instruments.

D16 Nepheton, drum synth plugins

Until quite recently, if you loaded a drum plugin there was a very good chance that it would be based around samples. There are plenty of excellent options in that arena, from long-time favourites like Battery and Geist to recent hybrid options like Maschine or even acoustic drum replacement tools like Drumagog.

But what if you want something with more control? What if you want to sculpt your own sounds from the ground up?

The last couple of years have seen more and more developers latch onto the fact that adding more real-time synthesis options to their drum plugins provides a more versatile approach. Samples are all well and good, but combine them with some synthesis techniques and you get a more rounded, versatile instrument.

You can go even further, of course. Many of our selections here ditch the samples entirely and choose to synthesise all of their sounds entirely from scratch. Although that might now seem like a less common approach, it’s worth bearing in mind that there was a time – before Roger Linn introduced the sample-based LinnDrum – when all drum machines worked that way. Classic drum machines like the Roland TR-808 generated all their sounds in real time using analogue synth circuits.

drum synthesis options provide a more versatile approach than samples alone

In this feature we’ll run through ten of our favourite drum synth plugins. The only rule here is that we’re not talking about straightforward drum sample playback plugins; some combine samples with synthesis, but even those treat samples as just a starting point for generating original sounds.

As always in Ten Of The Best, our selections are presented in ascending order of price.



22nd May, 2015


  • I think Drumatic 4 deserves to be on that list! http://www.drumatic.info/
    Maybe even Maschine’s drum modules could be on the list.

    Other than that, great list! I learned that Kickr was for windows now as well.

  • vive le Drumazone

  • vive le Drumazon !!!, mais pour faire le râleur, il y a juste une différence de tonalité, mais sinon c’est le top quand on rêve d’acquérir une 909.

  • I agree with Sleepydog, Drumatic 4 is an amazing drum synth, would have like to have seen it on here

  • Can’t believe Audiospillage and their whole line of drum synths didn’t get included, especially with so many redundant entries that did make it in. Have to give them a plug, but I’m just as happy keeping these all to myself…

  • Yeah not sure why Drumspillage 2 and Elecktroid, both by Audiospillage did not make this list

  • Waldorf Attack was a great unsing hero of Drum Machine VSTs imo.

  • It would make sense to put Spark on the list as well.

  • Another vote for Drum Spillage. I’ve demo’d just about all of these, and Drum Spillage is easily at the #1 spot for me. For both sound, and the ability to dial in sounds and timbres.

  • Bazzism by Intelligent Sounds & Music – It’s my go to for kickdrums and its priced right!

  • Yeah, not sure why we’ve got two kick drum plug-ins on this list?
    I second Attack – It’s an oldie, but a goodie, for sure!
    Tattoo is okay, but pretty limited sonically, especially when compared to the Audiospillage stuff, which for some reason didn’t make it on the list.
    One omission I’m pretty surprised about is LinPlug’s RMV, which I think is totally underrated. I use it all the time… And it was one of the first plug-ins to combine drum synthesis and sampling – way before Punch or even Maschine!
    Anyway, my 2 cents.

  • Spark?

  • Report
  • You need to add Drumspillage 2 to that list.


  • ahem…
    Sonic Academy KICK was Future Music Gear Of The Year #1 and its not even in your list?



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