Best VST Plugins For Trap – 2020 Guide

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Trap music is the youngest music genre at the moment and it’s no wonder that people are really biased about it. But, that’s a good thing. 

When you’re working in the music business you know that the worst thing that can happen after your performance is to get a flat line response.

Our Top Picks for VST For Trap

  • Modern and advanced
  • Versatile Match EQ module
  • Unique Master Assistant
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  • Blend 4 sound sources
  • 800 samples in 290 presets
  • 36 sets of Motion Designer
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  • Huge collection of samples
  • 458 one shots & 323 loops
  • Minimal, Deep House & RnB
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Comparison of the Best VST Plugins For Trap

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Modern and advanced mastering suite
  • Very handy Match EQ and Master Assistant modules
  • Stunning visuals and very responsive interface
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  • Creatively blend any 4 sound sources
  • 800+ multi-samples in 290+ playable presets
  • Polyrhythmic Motion Designer with 36 patterns
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  • Huge collection of samples suitable for Trap genre
  • 458 one shot samples and 323 loops
  • Suitable for Minimal, Deep House and RnB, too
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  • Best Sample Pack for Trap
  • 190 Drum Shots and 100 Drum Loops samples
  • Acoustic piano chords and themes
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  • Hardcore trap music sample library
  • 310 Loops and 290 one shot samples
  • VST presets for Sylenth, Spire and Massive
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  • Best Trap Synth VST
  • VA, wavetable, and granular synthesis
  • Polyrhythmic sequencer and arpeggiator
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  • Best Trap Drum VST
  • 1,200 drum samples included
  • Might work for hip hop as well
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  • Best Trap Bass VST
  • 217 waveforms in 350 factory presets
  • 3 FX modules with 3 band EQ and tape saturation
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  • Best Voice Trap VST
  • 6 vocal modules with XY pad real-time controller
  • Unique Auto-Motion melody generator
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  • Best Trap VST for Beginners
  • 315 chord and note samples in 550 presets
  • Several genre-specific expansions available
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Trap Music - Characteristics Overview

You have probably heard for this genre but you might get wrong regarding its main traits, so let us help you define what are the key features for this genre:

Complex Hi-Hat

Hi-hat sound derives straight from the Roland TR-808 samples. But unlike the usual 8th or 16th note playing, the trap genre insists on the sudden change of beat by applying a short break in hi-hat pattern with a complex mixture of various notes length that may include 32nd notes and various triplets.

Half Time Beats

While hi-hat sequence is usually quite busy, kicks and snare are laid out to build a basic structure and could be even considered as a typical half time groove. Simply put it’s a form of extending one bar groove over the length of two bars for basic drum elements such as kick and snare while leaving the rest of the music, including hi-hat pattern is performed regularly.

The Drop

Probably the most important trait of trap music is the moment that comes after the drum build-up. First, you create some intensity with the usual build-up, just like you would do in commercial house music, but instead of getting into a full groove you go quite the opposite and drop everything in an anticlimactic manner with a lot of sub-bass movement.

Grim and Dark Tunes

Melody wise, they are mostly based on minor or sustained chords reflecting a darker vibe. Melodic content can be often described as haunting and hollow and more oriented in creating an atmosphere than an actual melody.

Vocal Creativity

Vocal performance could probably be used in many hip hop songs as acapella. But apart from this similarity, they are usually heavily pitch-shifted or even used as an instrument with a lot of step-based sequences using a small chunk shifted through the song key signature.

What Makes a VST Plugin Great For Trap? 

Here’s a quick breakdown of why VST plugins are an important element for making Trap music:

Vintage Drum Modules

You probably know that Trap sound has that unique TR-808 drum kit. Well, VST drum instruments may come not just with the 808 sound, but with the pre-programmed patterns specially designed exactly for the Trap genre so you can build your song instantly. Also, they may provide you with the options you won’t find at the original 808 hardware.

Synth Sounds

Synth sounds are an important part of the Trap music and VST synths are probably the most versatile instruments ever made. They may include several syntheses, the ability to load your own samples, and a bunch of LFO and modulation panels so that your song sounds modern and unique.

Experimental

VST plugins are capable of making unique effects or instrument options. Most of those effects weren't even available before, but with modern technology, developers finally got enough resources to make those features possible.

Sub-Bass Quality

Not so many hardware gears can generate such a low-range sound like software. Even if they somehow match all the features available in VST instruments, they would probably cost you a real fortune compared to what you would spend on VST plugins.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best VST Plugins For Trap

Trap music requires a certain set of plugins that may differ from the rest of the genres, so let’s see what may work the best for you in this case:

PROS

  • Works in stand-alone mode
  • Modern and advanced mastering suite
  • Stunning visuals and very responsive interface
  • Vast collection of standard and vintage modules
  • Very handy Match EQ and Master Assistant modules

CONS

  • No bypass option
  • Modules can’t work as VST plugins

Features and Specifications

Ozone 9 is a mastering suite made out of a dozen plugin modules. Every module is dedicated to a specific effect such as Maximizer, EQ, Exciter, Dynamics, and Stereo Imager. Match EQ and Master Assistant, the A.I. learning modules are also included in this version.

Besides those standard modules, there is a special set of Vintage modules in the form of Limiter, Compressor, EQ, and Tape Saturation in case you want to add some colorization to your mix.

If you would like to use those modules as a plugin, consider upgrading to the Advanced version instead.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Modern mastering software doesn’t require so many skills as you may expect. Sure, knowing a thing or two about music production will certainly help you as you can go really in the deep-editing stage, but thanks to a very unique Mastering Assistant, you can provide the A.I. with the reference track of the sound you want to achieve and it will tune the overall sound of your track based. 

Luckily, professional trap music has unique sound characteristics, so Ozone won’t have a problem matching the general song flavor while the given presets will do the rest of the magic, especially in the dynamics module.

PROS

  • Creatively blend any 4 sound sources
  • 800+ multi-samples in 290+ playable presets
  • Polyrhythmic Motion Designer with 36 patterns
  • Assign parameters to 8 Macro Sliders by drag and drop method
  • Extremely powerful XY pad with morphing between up to 64 parameters

CONS

  • May feel overpriced
  • Extremely large sound library of 11 GB

Features and Specifications

Bass synth requires 11 GB containing samples of analog synths, modular basses, heavily processed bass guitars, wavetables, live brass sections, low winds & strings, and wavetables just to name some.

Bass synth engine allows you to stack up to four voices and blend the sound between them. Every voice has a dedicated filter, three ADSR envelopes, and 4 LFOs. If you need more controls, 8 Macros can control almost any parameter you assign to it.

You can also apply up to 4 Insert Effects, 2 send effects with the dedicated knob and apply 6 Master Effects in global. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The number of low-freq sounds available at this collection is outstanding. It comes with all the sounds you may need for your trap songwriting including those infamous low brass sounds with a long decay. Of course, 808 subs are also there as well.

But, that’s not what impresses us. It would be a real shame to use this synth just as a sample player. The ability to mix all those sounds with such ease and intuitively is really outstanding. Thanks to the Motion Designer and XY pad functionality, you can create a forever evolving sound.

Best for the Money:
Loopmasters Deep Trap

PROS

  • FM and TR-808 bass sounds inside
  • Chopped vocal sequences included
  • 458 one-shot samples and 323 loops
  • Suitable for Minimal, Deep House and RnB, too
  • Huge collection of samples suitable for Trap genre

CONS

  • Melodies may not be grim enough for all type of songs
  • Some vocal samples would be better if provided with the dry version

Features and Specifications

Deep track sample collection comes with 1.5 GB of the loop and one-shot content packed into 52 soft sampler patches recorded at 24-bit resolution. 458 one-shot samples and 323 loops to be precise. 

Loops are made from more than a hundred full drum kit patterns and kick & snare with hi-hat variations. Dozens of percussion loops are also included.

Apart from rhythm sounds, you can also find FM and TR-808 bass sounds and dozens of RnB inspired melodies. You can also pick one of 25 vocal loops.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Samples are ready to be applied directly to the track with minimal post-processing required. Vocal samples are quite inspiring and come with reverb and delay already applied and it’s quite obvious they were recorded by professionals while hi-hat patterns are just what you would expect from such a library.

Chord solutions found in this pack are very interesting and may help you to switch from your usual mindset. We also find that most of these samples can be also used for any Minimal genre such as deep house chill tracks or RnB and Lo-Fi as well.

Best Sample Pack for Trap:
Loopmaster Organic Deep Trap

PROS

  • Chopped and pitch-shifted vocals
  • Acoustic piano chords and themes
  • 190 Drum Shots and 100 Drum Loops samples
  • 40 specific trap loops for top and drum elements
  • Trap dedicated sample pack captured with hardware equipment

CONS

  • No Maschine presets
  • Limited number of sweeping effects

Features and Specifications

All samples are royalty-free and captured at 115 BPM and 24-bit quality using both hardware and software equipment such as Korg MS20 and Virus TI2. It takes around 1.13 GB of storage space. 

Apart from the usual collection of various drum and bass loops that includes individual samples of kicks, claps, and snares, this pack also comes with dozens of tunes and chords of an acoustic piano and processed guitars. 

Percussions and FX noises are also included and there are also dozens of MIDI loops of synths, bass, and guitars.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This sample pack is different from the rest of the market. Most packs provide you with a bunch of rhythms and analog synths playing either melodies or pad textures. This one went a step further.

There are acoustic piano samples and additional MIDI tracks included that you could use with your own VST library. It may go well not just for Chill Trap, We would also recommend it for RnB, Ambient, Liquid Future Bass as well.

Its content is very melodic and there are some really useful chopped vocal and rhythmic samples along with a bunch of pitch-shifted vocals.

PROS

  • Dozen of vocal phrases included
  • Hardcore trap music sample library
  • 310 Loops and 290 one-shot samples
  • VST presets for Sylenth, Spire and Massive
  • Bunch of FX impacts and sweeps provided

CONS

  • Leaves you craving for more vocal phrases
  • Samples might be too aggressive for some songs

Features and Specifications

Surefire Trap library comes with 1.52 GB of samples recorded at 24-bit resolution and 140 BPM organized into a range of musical keys.

It contains 310 loops and 290 one-shot samples in total. Apart from usual bass and drum loops, there are special build loops containing build-ups and synth drums and for build-up purposes, you may utilize dozens of FX impacts and long and short sweeps going up and down.

Besides samples, this pack also contains 80 MIDI-generated bass lines and themes with dedicated presets for Sylenth, Spire, and Massive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love how producers of this collection were thinking ahead and provide you with both kick and sub and no sub-variations.

Also, this library is trap-specific, meaning it doesn’t derive from other genres so you will get samples designed for trap music specifically with all the bite real trap music requires. So, expect no chill or deep house compromises here. Once you listen to the demo song on the site, it should blow you all the way up.

We are also pleased to see that this sample pack goes even beyond and provides you with the MIDI loops with the dedicated soft-synth presets.

Best Trap Synth VST:
Arturia Pigments 2

PROS

  • Sample import supported
  • Polyrhythmic sequencer and arpeggiator
  • Dual filter collection derives from Arturia’s V Collection
  • Advanced modulation system with nice graphical display
  • Polyphonic synth made of VA, wavetable, and granular synthesis

CONS

  • Steep learning curve
  • Effects may be basic for some users

Features and Specifications

This polyphonic synth is made out of 3-oscillator virtual analog, granular, sampling, and wavetable synthesis. Filters are the best Arturia made so far and they all derive from the acclaimed Arturia V Collection along with the detailed preset searching by tags and categories. 

Speaking of other features, sample import is provided and the modulation matrix has been reworked compared to the usual matrix interface. The modulation matrix has a unique display option and a very handy ability to assign an LFO to a certain parameter by a simple drag and drop. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Everything regarding this plugin is modern and somewhat advanced. That’s why it seems logical to expect sound-wise that this plugin will deliver us with decent trap sounds. And it’s not just that we got it right, Arturia provided you with a lot of genre-specific preset banks as an add-on purchase.

Granular synthesis may provide you with the interesting melodic results while wavetable will make you excel in nailing the atmosphere with deep evolving pad layering.

It allows you to express yourself creatively. This credit goes especially to the sequencer as its randomization seems to work excellent for any kind of live improvisation.

Best Trap Drum VST:
DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2

PROS

  • Expansions available
  • 1,200 drum samples included
  • Might work for hip hop as well
  • 30 years of groove boxes in one unit
  • 50 MIDI drum patterns pre-programmed

CONS

  • Minimalistic effect selection
  • No sample editing or dedicated sequencer

Features and Specifications

This drum plugin comes with 600 sounds of drum machines used in the last 30 years. Sounds are categorized by decades and every category has 100 matching presets. 

There are more than 1,200 drum samples in total and all can be loaded into 5 pads dedicated for kick, snare, hi-hat, crash, and miscellaneous suitable for the rest of the samples. Every pad can control volume and pan independently and you can apply pitch shifting, filtering, and reverb on global drum track that can be played in stereo or with flexible sub-mix routing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum VST is oriented towards all kinds of hip-hop music. But, as hip hop and trap share the love for TR-808 sound it will feed you with all drum samples necessary for the trap as well. It will also work great for newbies because there are no in-depth options and the user interface couldn’t look simpler.

We love the fact that all the drum sounds come pre-produce so you won’t have to mess around the sound too much. Due to the incredibly low CPU footprint, it will also be quite logical to load two or more instances and override the 5-channel limitation.

Best Trap Bass VST:
Loopmasters Bass Master

PROS

  • 13 resonant filter types
  • Monophonic dual-layer bass synth
  • 217 waveforms in 350 factories presets
  • Dedicated controls and output routing for Top and Sub Layers
  • 3 effects modules with dedicated 3 band EQ and tape saturation

CONS

  • No dedicated filter for Top or Sublayer
  • Sub Layer is missing Decay and Sustain parameters from Amp Envelope

Features and Specifications

Bass Master is a monophonic sample-based VST that comes with 350 factories presets of bass loops and one-shots. There are 10 category types you can pick from and you can even store your own presets.

All presets are made from the top and sub-layer combinations. These layers have a mixer with a dedicated slider on the mixer and can be linked together if needed. 

Right beneath there is an FX unit with 3 modules for Distortion, Stereo Chorus, and Reverb along with tape saturation and 3-band EQ  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The idea of splitting the master output into top and sub-signals will come quite handy for your studio work as you can apply additional third party effects on any part of the source signal, so, for example, you could move the top signal to the sides while leaving the subpart in the center.

Sounds are really nice and thanks to the wonderful resonant filter it may sound even more professional. It can sound both really hard or smooth and moving depending on what sample you have chosen and how much of a pre-drive you have applied.

Best Voice Trap VST:
iZotope VocalSynth 2

PROS

  • Supports real-time performing
  • Unique Auto-Motion melody generator
  • Multi-FX unit with full Auto-Tune feature
  • Professional presets with up to 4 modules
  • 6 vocal modules with XY pad real-time controller

CONS

  • Delay and reverb effects missing
  • Module blocks and Auto-Motion patterns can’t be edited

Features and Specifications

Auto-Tune EFX+ is made from six effects organized in various presets made by professional users. 

All presets can hold up to 4 effects and those effects are Duet, Vocode, Tube Amp, Mutate, Filter, and Antares’ acclaimed Pitch and Throat engine that allows you both pitch and formant shifting. All effects parameters can be edited on the XY pad.

Apart from those effects, Retune Speed and Humanize are always included. Smaller Retune Speed values will generate a hard tune effect, while humanize will bring you micro-shifts that could be used for track doubling.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Antares invented the Auto-Tune effect, so they should probably know a thing or two regarding vocal editing. Also, you can rely on Auto-Tune EFX+ for live performances; it works perfectly in a real-time environment.

Also, if you love chopped voices, you’re going to love Auto-Motion as it will generate melodic patterns for you on the fly and the most fun part is that this feature can be assigned to be triggered only when you hit a specified pitch. So, instead of browsing through the sample packs, you can generate your loops thanks to various presets provided for this model.

Best Trap VST for Beginners:
Loopmasters KHORDS

PROS

  • 6 Choruses, 3 Delays, and 6 Reverbs
  • Monophonic sample-based chord builder
  • 315 chord and note samples in 550 presets
  • Several expansions available at the moment
  • 12 types of the filter with dedicated envelope and LFO

CONS

  • Doesn’t detect chords from a MIDI keyboard
  • MIDI Drag and drop would be an awesome update

Features and Specifications

KHORDS sound is built from a root key pressed on the MIDI keyboard. It contains two layers - one is dedicated to the chord and the other to the note layer. All presets are organized into 3 categories - Minor, Major or Root or Open feel

Settings are the same for both layers so, besides the transpose button and sample start slider, there is a stretch panel, amp envelope, and a filter section with another envelope and LFO controls. 

The Master section comes with an FX panel for chorus, delay, and Reverb and also 3-band EQ and basic tape saturation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you’re a newbie, music theory might still be a foreign language for you. That’s why you would need all the help you may find along the way and KHORDS is exactly that type of plugin. And luckily for you, its interface is quite simple so you won’t have a hard time learning how to use it.

Sonically speaking, it’s nothing impressive, it’s slightly above the average synth plugin. But, chord options and that huge library of 550 presets make this unit unique. Even those who find them experienced may learn something new and useful from this software.

How to Use a Trap VST Plugin 

Let’s provide you with some useful tips on how to make professional trap beat:

Make Melodies Short

Focus on making small and simple melodies that will be looped. If you can put it into one bar, even better.

Hi-Hat Construction

The groove of the song is mostly based on the hi-hat pattern. Layout basic 8th note hi-hat first. Then, fill in with the occasional 16th note between until you like the pattern result. 

Besides creating a complex pattern the same hi-hat sound can be used in regular and pitch-shifted timbre as an additional percussion sound.

Sub-Bass Layering

Sub-bass works the best when it plays the same pattern as the kick with occasional note shifting. However, remember to always keep it in tune with the rest of the track.

If you can’t hear it, consider moving it to the upper octave first, and once you’re satisfied put it at least one octave down and doze the decay to your taste.

Add Reverse Effect

A wonderful thing may happen if you layer the same sound in reverse beneath with some subtle filtering

Aim For a Darker Sound

The trap works the best with a darker sound, so consider having a pitch shift on your snare and hi-hat as well.

Syncopate Kick

Instead of making a kick on the 1st and 3rd quarter, try with 1st and 4th instead and then place another one right between the 2nd and 3rd quarter note.

Keep Snare Basic and Mix the Sounds

The trap works the best with the simple snare patterns. A simple hit on the 3rd beat would probably be enough. You may mix it with the clap sound to get a different timbre, though.

Distortion on a Drum Bus

Apply a mild overdrive or distortion on a drum bus to get a bit of extra crunch out of your drum pattern.

If you would like to find out more, check the video link below:

Conclusion 

Maybe trap music will be just another fad, who knows. But, you can’t deny that if you look at it from a song arranging perspective it’s a unique and well-organized genre and, coming from the world where it’s really hard to be original, this fact is something you will just have to appreciate. 

People Also Ask

Now that you know much more about trap music, let’s review some of the most frequent questions starting from the term definition, a little bit of history

What Does the Term Trap Mean?

A trap is a slang word. It comes from the USA, Atlanta to be precise.

It describes an area in the ghetto where drug transactions take place and lyrically trap music revolves a lot about this kind of lifestyle. Think of a corner or some shady back alley. 

What Was the First Trap Song Ever Made?

Trap music as a term was first used by T.I. on his album from 2003 called Trap Muzik. But, the modern trap music as we know today starts somewhere around 2010 based on the Lex Luger production that got so famous you can even find the same samples he used just under his name.

What Does 808 Mean?

808 is a short term for Roland TR-808 drum machine, hardware that got legendary because of hip-hop musicians of the ’80s. It’s used for all kinds of rhythms sounds in trap music, including snare and clap, but, especially for those long sub-bass sounds and hi-hat patterns that made trap music famous.

How Much is a Trap VST Plugin?

Trap VST price may vary from $10 for a basic sample pack up to $200+ for a complete VST plugin or instrument. It all depends on how professional you want to go with your music production. Luckily, you don’t have to buy premium-only plugins to make a quality sound.

How Large is a VST Plugin For Trap?

Some VST plugins made for the trap are model-based, which means they only use fragments that are further modeled mathematically and may take up incredibly small storage space. The same goes for most VST effects. But, sample-based VSTs and sample libraries can take more than 3 or 4 GB per installation.