Are you looking for the best drum sample libraries on the market?
You've come to the right place!
In this YMI guide, you'll learn:
- What Are Drum Sample Libraries?
- How Do You Use Drum Sample Libraries?
And much more!
Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
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DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2
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Nerve by Xfer Records
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Audio Imperia Cerberus
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The Blasting Room by Room Sound
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
Our top pick is the Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 because it's got such an extensive selection of options, on top of an amazing user interface.
While it does come with a higher price point than some libraries, I think it's worth it because it's got a fantastic mixing options and MIDI grooves.
If you're looking for a super solid library to add to your kit, this is the one for you!
If you’re someone that uses a computer to create music, chances are you’ll want to get some sort of drums and percussion into your tracks.
The problem is, to hire a recording studio, engineer and a drummer to play your music is incredibly expensive and leaves no room for experimentation (unless you’re made of money!).
Nowadays you can get incredible sounding drum and percussion tracks for your music using drum sample library plugins (also called drum VST’s).
In this essential guide, I’m going to take you through some of the best drum sample libraries for any style of music or music production.
Below is a quick list of all my top picks to suit any genre and budget. Keep scrolling to learn more about my best buying tips and tricks for drum sample libraries.
Top 5 Best Drum Sample Libraries
In a hurry? Check out my top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these sample libraries!
What Are Drum Sample Libraries?
A drum sample library also called a VST (Virtual Studio Technology), is a plugin that houses a library of individual acoustic and synth drum sounds, grooves, drum hits, and loops for you to use in your music productions.
Drum VST’s are a fantastic way to get high-quality royalty-free drum and percussion tracks for your music, without the hassle and financial outlay of a recording studio to record live drums.
Drum sample libraries come in many different shapes and sizes.
Depending on what music you write, there are drum libraries that will specialize in different genres to suit your specific needs.
Ranging from heavy rock drum kits to glitchy electronic EDM based beats, you’re guaranteed to find something to scratch that rhythmic itch.
Read More >> What Are The Top In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
How Do I Use Drum Sample Libraries?
To use a drum sample library to record, all you will need is a computer and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
The Drum VST will work as a standard plugin within your chosen DAW.
DAW’s such as Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton live are excellent for audio production.
There are some great free options such as Garageband and Audacity which will also work well.
Most computers will be able to handle some basic audio processing, however you’ll ideally want a computer that has at least 4GB of RAM (ideally 8GB or more) and a decent processor.
If your computer is struggling to run the software, try adding more RAM (if possible) or adjusting your Audio Buffer and Playback settings of your soundcard.
Read More >> How Do You Record Electronic Drums Yourself?
My Reviews Of The Best Drum Sample Libraries (2020)
Toontracks Superior Drummer is simply Nirvana for anyone looking to add great sounding, detailed and realistic acoustic drum tracks to their music.
It includes 230GB of highly detailed drum kit samples (both modern and vintage), recorded with 11 mics and in surround sound.
With the inbuilt mixer and effects section, you have a generous 35 insert effects to tweak your drum kit sounds as well as a huge library of MIDI grooves that you can just drag and drop into your edit window.
This makes throwing together drum tracks a breeze.
You can also buy extra drum sample packs to expand your library of sounds (not that you would need them, the stock library is huge!).
The plugin also allows you to build full drum tracks without having to ever leave the program itself.
Keeping your DAW workflow tidy and easy to use. (love this feature).
The advanced options for mapping MIDI mapping for use with an electronic kit are also excellent.
Overall if you’re a producer or drum enthusiast looking for the only thing you’ll ever need to create amazing-sounding acoustic drum tracks...Superior Drummer 3 has you covered.
- Huge library of high-quality samples
- Extensive mixing options
- Good user interface
- Large library of MIDI grooves
- High price-point
- Takes up a lot of HD space
Beat Machine by DopeSONIX is a fantastic one-stop-shot plugin for anyone looking for high-quality and inspiring Hip Hop beats for their tracks.
With a massive sound library of authentic hip hop beats spanning three decades (90’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s), you’re spoilt for choice. It does a great job of emulating some of those classic drum machines too.
The plugin includes 600 pre-mixed drum kits with over 1200 punchy pre-EQ’d samples ready to go for use in your productions.
This makes putting beats together huge sounding beats very easy, as you won’t have to spend time dialing in individual sample sounds.
It also comes with 50 ready-made MIDI hip hop grooves included as well as a host of effects such as reverb, flexible pitch and drive controls as well as individual panning and level controls for kick drum, snare, and hi-hat.
If you’re looking for a plugin to that’s going to make creating those huge Hip Hop beats feel effortless, then look no further than Beat Machine 2.
- Large library of high-quality samples
- Sounds great right out the box
- Limited effects and edit options
Nerve by Xfer Records is an excellent drum sampler and beat making tool.
It comes with a huge database of EDM based presets, drum kits, patterns, one-shots, and loops (created by top sound designers such as Richard Devine and Dom Kane) that will give you the freedom to craft any sounds you have in your head.
Nerve also has an excellent in-built step sequencer, that allows you to easily draw in or tap rhythms with your mouse.
This feature makes putting together beats super easy and intuitive, saving you time and creative energy.
It also has a massive range of effects and editing options, meaning you can really go deep when customizing, slicing, and layering your samples.
You can also drag and drop your own WAV samples straight into the plugin (awesome).
- Excellent sounding EDM samples
- Great step sequencer
- Highly customizable
- Takes some learning to use
Simply put, Cerberus for Audio Imperia sounds incredible. If you’re looking for dynamic, top-quality percussion and drum tracks to enhance your cinematic projects, then you can’t go wrong with this plugin.
With a deep library of drum ensembles, loops, tonal and SFX hits, you’re sure to find what you’re after to bring your video production to life.
Cerberus also has a good deal of sample ‘stacking’ options as well as customizable microphone positions, processed patches, and MIDI mapping.
Cerberus makes crafting immersive and dynamic soundtracks incredibly easy and rewarding.
If you’re into cinematic sound design, Cerberus is a must have.
- Amazing sounding samples
- Large library
- High price-point
- Needs NI Kontakt player
If you’re on a tight budget, but still want great sounding acoustic drum tracks for your tracks, then look no further than The Blasting Room by Room Sound.
This drum VST boasts 25 different interchangeable drums and cymbals, as well as a whole host of pre-made MIDI drum loops, ready to be drag and dropped into your session.
The acoustic drum samples included with this virtual instrument really do punch above their weight.
It also comes with a dedicated mixer and effects, allowing you to customize your drum sound within the plugin.
Another excellent feature at this price is the detailed MIDI mapper. Allowing you to seamlessly integrate electronic drum kits and sample pads.
A feature usually reserved for much higher-end drum VSTs.
For such an affordable plugin, it can’t really be beaten in terms of sound quality or features!
- Very affordable
- MIDI mapper included
- Limited amount of samples
My Top Pick: Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
Our top pick is still this epic acoustic drum sample library simply because it's so versatile and useful for the typical beat maker.
It truly is superior to most libraries even at the higher price point, it's worth it!
Final Thoughts On The Best Drum Sample Libraries
Obviously, there are a whole host of other excellent drum sample libraries out there, however, the ones on this list are a great place to start, no matter what your budget or genre.
So there you have it! An essential guide to the best drum sample libraries around for 2020.