Best 808 VST Plugins – Complete Guide

The main difference between modern and vintage music is that it relies on a powerful bass sound. Let’s be more precise, it's the sub-bass sound that we’re talking about. Interestingly enough, one of the most powerful sub-basses comes from a very old drum machine called the Roland TR-808.

Comparison Chart of the Best 808 VST Plugins

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Ideal bass solution for hip-hop and trap tracks
  • Flexible ADSR editing
  • Tube EQ for additional warmth
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  • Excellent sub bass quality
  • Sidechain compatible
  • Built-in sequencer
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  • High quality analog & digital bass samples
  • Fully editable ADSR envelope
  • 7 types of distortion
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  • Simple but intuitive interface
  • Original sound palette
  • Extra 808 loops and MIDI files included
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  • Mixed and processed 808 samples
  • Fully pitched across all keys
  • Kontakt 5 compatible
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History of 808 

Roland TR-808 was created back in 1980. It was a drum machine alternative to Linn Drum and sounded very synthetic. But, as that wasn’t the mainstream sound, it was considered as a failure with only 12.000 sold units.

But, as it was very simple to use, hip hop artists such as Run-DMC and Public Enemy created their signature sound around it and popularized it. It even resembled a heartbeat. They even found out that you can generate basslines by increasing the decay from the bass drum sound. 

This technique created trap music and made 808 the most used drum machine ever.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best 808 VST Plugins 

Let's take a look at this year's top picks.

PROS

  • Flexible ADSR envelope controls
  • 150 presets of pure 808 bass sound
  • Includes acoustic and electric bass sounds
  • Comes with analog synth bass sounds, too 
  • Can be played in both mono and poly options

CONS

  • Mac version supports only 64-bit OS
  • Live bass sounds are nothing special

Features and Specifications

Bass Engine 2 comes with 300 presets. 150 are dedicated to 808 sound, 75 are analog bass synths, 50 are dedicated to real bass sound and 25 are specially designed for sub-bass sound. All sounds were processed through Drawmer 1961 Dual Vacuum Tube Equaliser for an extra warmth you would expect to get from an 808 bass sound.

There are standard options such as editable ADSR and option to play it polyphonic or legato besides regular monophonic mode that can be played with or without glide option.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This 808 VST is optimized very well. Patches load very fast and it takes very small CPU usage so you can run it on any computer. And on top of that, it still doesn’t come short with anything 808 bass-related. It provides you everything you would expect to get from such software and DopeSONIX decided to get even further so they provided you with analog and live bass sounds. This way you can have all in one bass solution under one VST instrument.

The ability to play it polyphonic makes it interesting for creating subtle and experimental movie soundtracks.

PROS

  • Built-in sequencer mode
  • Sampler mode allows you to load or change samples
  • Bass synth with two oscillators and additional sub-oscillator
  • 80 presets of 808 bass synth and option to store your presets
  • EQ, dual filters and LFOs and three effects per preset, including sidechain option

CONS

  • Works with 64-bit OS versions only
  • 4GB of RAM might be a little bit too much for such VST instrument

Features and Specifications

Every preset is made from two oscillators and a sub-oscillator. There are two filters, one is dedicated to the oscillators only, and there is another, “master” one, that can be put anywhere inside of the effects chain. The same is applied to EQ, compressor, and distortion or overdrive effects can be stacked in any desired order.

Sidechain option allows you to layer the bass sound with the kick sound in a way that is very common in modern music production while mod Envelopes and LFO can be also linked to different controls to create sort of a modular approach.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We approve the ability to store user presets as well as the option to load your own audio samples. While it excels in 808 sounds, this VST is capable of creating much more thanks to its engine. And with the given pre-made bass line patterns that come inside of a built-in sequencer, you can make a good head start for your songs.

Initial Audio was thinking in advance about modern computers so much that this VST has a resizable user interface. This can come very handy if you’re planning to use 4K monitors at some point.

Best for the Money:
Diginoiz Subdivine

PROS

  • Seven types of distortion 
  • Standard ADSR envelope available
  • Analog and digital type of bass sounds
  • Authentic Sample-based 808 bass line VST
  • Perfect VST instrument for modern music genres

CONS

  • Doesn’t support 32-bit OS or VST2
  • Requires a lot of HDD space for a bass VST

Features and Specifications

Presets are split into two different categories - analog and digital. These categories are based on the sampled source Subdivine is using for creating specific sounds. The Drive effect is made from 7 different distortion types giving you a different sound flavor. 

Diginoiz wanted to make this VST as compact as possible, so only two octaves of instruments are sampled. This will be more than enough for most typical basslines so it requires only 10 gigabytes of storage space and is recommended at least 8 gigabytes of RAM memory.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a perfect VST for your hip-hop, trap, R’n’B, or Neosoul project. It has enough “beef” so you can create solid bass lines right from the preset picking and every preset is designed to give you something completely different. But, the biggest difference between Subdivine and other 808 VSTs is the drive effect that provides you with very good distortion emulations.

This can give you a lot of interesting sound combinations and allow you to create some very aggressive patches that can’t be done without third-party VST effects. It also comes with a basic user interface that is designed in a futuristic eye-candy way.

Best 808 Bass VST for Trap:
808 Bloodline

PROS

  • Comes with 75 bass 808 presets
  • Basic user interface that allows you fast editing
  • One of the most affordable 808 VST on the market
  • Simple envelope editing with adjustable glide effect
  • Additional vocal traps loops and MIDI bass lines provided

CONS

  • macOS Catalina not supported
  • Minimalistic design may not be for everyone

Features and Specifications

This is quite an affordable sample-based 808 VST. It has a minimalistic design and is supposed to be played based on given presets with a few tweaking options available. You can adjust high and low EQ to match your song correctly, adjust the ADSR envelope in general and add a glide if you need one and that’s about it. On the other hand, it gives you another pack of vocal chants and 808 MIDI bass line loops so that you can start working on your project straight away.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Sometimes you don’t need all the additional options VST may provide. You need plain and simple 808 bassline sound so you can do a track in a minute instead of an hour of tweaking and auditioning the sound changes you’ve done. That’s exactly where Bloodline is good at. It comes with a minimalistic user interface that simply puts a focus on songwriting. And instead of providing you with typical 808 VST sound patches, they made a bunch of patches from the scratch. This type of VST can help your project to stand out from the crowd.

Best 808 Bass VST:
808 Warfare

PROS

  • 41 Kontakt bass patches
  • 169 samples of 808 bass sounds
  • Plain and straightforward user interface
  • Mixed and heavily processed for modern music
  • Factory presets made from the success with Urban 808 pack

CONS

  • Requires Kontakt player
  • No effects or built-in filters

Features and Specifications

808 sounds in this pack are completely redesigned based on the huge success with the Urban 808 sample pack. The interface is very simple with minimal control options in terms of ADSR envelope editing. All samples are pitched correctly so there is no need to tune samples.

It was made to be used with Kontakt 5 sample player. But, in case you don’t have it, all the sounds are made in .wav format so you can load it up directly into your DAW or use any other sample player.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This sample pack was designed by people who know how to utilize 808 bass sound to perfection, especially creating modern music trademarks such as trap basslines. For modern music lovers, it’s also considered as the best 808 collection available. It was designed in that way so that you won’t have any need to tweak anything.

Bass sounds can be both “phat” and aggressive or subtle but massive patches which can make a huge difference to your song in general. Also, all the patches inside of 808 Warfare are ready to be put directly into your track with minimal tweaking.

When Would I Use an 808 VST Plugin

Let us name you some of the most usual situations where you can benefit a lot if you use 808 VST plugin:

Layering Kick Sound

Every modern song can benefit from a solid low end. And sometimes, you don’t need radical changes to achieve that. It may happen that all you have to do is to layer an additional 808 bass drum beneath your recorded drum and the whole image will get a different vibe and sound full.

And luckily there are many VSTs today that automate this layering process for you.

Layering Bass Sound

As said for the drum tracks, we could apply the same for the bass. In case your bass sound thin or weak it may happen that it’s lacking frequencies in sub-bass. 

And just to remember, the 808 sound that we’re talking about is not just about the audible part, but the “rumble” that we can feel as well.

Electronic Music Foundation

While the most obvious use of 808 influence would be the trap signature bassline tunes, the truth is that even 808 handclap also got wide reception in different electronic music genres - house, hip hop, trap, like, for example, Usher “Yeah” tune intro.

Conclusion

We hope that you have learned something new today from our article and that you may consider using an 808 VST even if you’re not recording trap or hip-hop music. There is a (musical) reason why 808 outlived all the other drum machines and you can bet it wasn’t by coincidence.