Image-Line Drumaxx, drum synth plugins

Image-Line Drumaxx


Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of FL Studio, Image-Line’s own range of plugins often fly under the radar. Drumaxx is a great reminder of why it’s worth paying attention to the rest of the company’s output. Like most of Image-Line’s output, this unique percussion instrument is available in the most popular Windows and Mac plugin formats; it’s not just for FL Studio users.

Drumaxx is the only physical modelling instrument on our list. The synthesis engine is based around what Image-Line describe as “good physics stuff” – in other words, complex mathematical models of the physical characteristics of percussion instruments.

In terms of their practical application, one of the big problems with physical modelling plugins is that they can all too easily fall into two apparently contradictory traps. Some prioritise recreating the exact physical characteristics of a real-life instrument at all cost, which is great if you want a perfectly accurate piano or string sound, but not much use if you want to experiment. Others lean too far in the direction of experimental sounds, justifying it on the basis that their sound is based on physical principles, no matter whether it sounds good or not.

It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but it’s one that Drumaxx manages perfectly. You can certainly push it to do some weird and wacky things if you want, but at the same time you’re unlikely to lose track of the fact that this is a drum machine first and foremost. It can do realistic drum sounds as well as any plugin on this list without resorting to samples, but it can also be pushed into brilliantly hyperreal territory, creating synthetic tones somewhere in between real drums and drum machines. The best of both worlds.



22nd May, 2015


  • I think Drumatic 4 deserves to be on that list!
    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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