Last Updated on May 12, 2022.
Looking for ways to improve your trap beats? Well, I got you covered!
In this article, I will be listing 10 Free- as well as 10 premium VST plugins for your productions.
Here’s a quick table with the plugins I consider to be the best ones:
|Plugin Name||Format||Operating System||Price|
|Omnisphere 2||64-bit VST2/VST3/AU/AAX||Windows and Mac||$499|
|Scaler 2||64-bit VST2/VST3/AU/AAX||Windows and Mac||$60|
|Hermes Synth||64-bit VST2/VST3/AU||Windows and Mac||$25|
|MRythmizer||64 & 32-bit VST2/VST3/AU/AAX||Windows and Mac||$58|
|AutoTune Pro||64-bit VST3/AAX/AU||Windows and Mac||$399|
|Surge||64-bit VST3/AU||Windows, Mac, Linux||Free|
|Iota Mini||32/64-bit VST2/VST3||Windows and Mac||Free|
|Tyrell N6||32/64-bit VST2/VST3/AU||Windows and Mac||Free|
|GSnap||32/64-bit VST||Windows, Mac, Linux||Free|
|Guitar M Lite II||32/64-bit VST/AU/RTAS||Windows and Mac||Free|
Note: Paid plugins aren’t necessarily better than free ones and, in fact, there are a couple synths I listed in the free section that will blow some paid ones out of the water. I would recommend checking those out before spending your money.
Let’s get started!
10 Best Paid Trap VST Plug-ins
I’m starting off with the paid plugins, but I honestly think that you should give the free ones a try first, especially considering that they sound fantastic and should get you almost identical results, but for free.
Click here to skip directly to the Free Plugins Section.
Spectrasonics was founded in 1994 by Eric Persing, a sound design savant responsible for more classic Roland patches that you can shake a stick at. His pride and joy is Omnisphere, a synthesizer which has been lauded by trap producers for its remarkable balance of power and simplicity.
Omnisphere’s GUI has a proud and neat feel to it, 14,000 sounds have been included as well as the ability to upload your own.
Although there is a plethora of windows offering tweaking possibilities, it never gets overwhelming thanks to it being so user friendly.
Omnisphere’s 4 layers of synthesis offers the ability to use a staggering 64 LFOs, 64 filters, 96 envelopes, and 160 oscillators per instance! It also features 9923 pre-set patches,58 effects, and 5439 sound sources; you won’t be getting beat block any time soon!
Omnisphere 2 can be downloaded as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Windows and Mac. An Omnipotent synth has a value of $499.
You can download as many synths and sample packs as you like, but the truth is if your notes aren’t flowing, your credits won’t be growing. Scaler 2 is a music theory tool which allows those who know nothing of crotchets and quavers to compose articulate progressions and melodies.
Scaler’s interface is well organized, with a keyboard visual giving you a clear picture of your melody melding. It can detect the key of audio and MIDI you feed it, and offers up tons of chord progressions and scale recommendations.
Scaler also features 200 mood and genre-based chord sets, 200 artist chord sets, and a powerful arpeggiator. Other note-worthy features are its circle of fifths modulation suggestions, and the ability to lock to a particular key, which ensures no bum notes are ever played.
Scaler 2 comes as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Mac and Windows. Thankfully, its price doesn’t tip the scales too much, it costs $60.
Busy Works Beats is a producer who has gained respect throughout the trap community for spreading a ton of knowledge when it comes to beat making. He created Hermes Synth by sampling some of the rarest synths you could only dream of getting your paws on. This is a super affordable and simple to use plug-in with sounds suited for any beat brewery.
Hermes Synth’s GUI presents visuals of Greek gods (à la Hermes). Busy has trimmed the fat of this VST with just over 150 sounds on offer. Hermes Synth contains 5 modules: filter, delay, reverb, amp, and a master section. If this isn’t enough, there are also 2 moderately priced expansion packs available: Dark Trap and Rare.
Hermes Synth comes as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Windows and Mac and will only set you back $25.
If you find yourself getting trapped in a rhythmic rut and need something to give your trap a brand-new strut, give MRhythmizer a try. Melda Production have created a time effect that can fill your songs with spicy stutters and skips.
MRhythmizer’s interface has a somewhat dull look to it; it is however extremely user friendly, offering large graphs and meters. MRhythmizer comes jam packed with effect presets for repeats, glitching, gating, and scratching. You can also combine all of them to invent some enigmatically interesting inflections.
MRhythmizer is available as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows or as a 64-bit VST/VST3/AU for Mac, and it will set you back roughly $58.
Octave Deluxe was created by My Best Friend Jacob (Travis Scott, 21 Savage) with the aim to provide a one-stop-shop for trap producers. This plugin is perfect for those who want good-to-go vibes and care not for obsessing over oscillators.
Octave’s GUI is sleekly minimalistic with a keyboard visualization. There are 7 parameter pots to pinch: HP and LP filters, reverb, attack, release, vinyl, and vinyl depth. Octave contains over 300 premade sounds, a virtual drum kit, a MIDI pack, and 22 loops. The bass sounds in this plug-in are incredible, they sound as dark and wavy as a 2AM tsunami.
Octave Deluxe comes as a 32/64-bit VST for Windows and as a 64-bit VST for Mac. Sorry Avid adherents, Octave isn’t available for Pro Tools. A note from Jacob’s octave is $69.
An interesting hi-hat pattern is the unsung assistant whose sizzle deserves celebration. AudioThing’s Hats is a powerful cymbal synthesizer which is sure to keep your listeners eardrums guessing. It will make all those “flashy” hi-hat rolls you’ve learnt seem like child’s play.
Hats’ interface is colorful, and parameter packed. Noise, sample, short + long envelopes, LFO, ring modulator, crusher, filter, reverb, and master modules all allow for intricate rhythmic molding.
AudioThing have sampled both classic analog drum machines as well as acoustic kits. Some of these samples have been processed through an Aphex Aural Exciter and recorded to a Revox B77 MkII. Hats offers up 55 samples, 80 processing pre-sets, as well the ability to upload your own samples to blend with its synthesis engine.
Hats comes as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Mac and Windows and will set you back $58.
The list of elite producers who use Output’s Arcade is longer than Gucci Mane’s rap sheet. Hit-Boy (Travis Scott, Juice WRLD) and Larrance Dopson (T.I, Jeezy) have lauded it as an absolute game changer. This is a sample-based plug-in which amazingly has new sounds added to it every day….and I mean every day!
Arcade’s GUI features ultra-artistic visualizations and meticulously organized parameters. It’s capable of playing 15-voice samples and comes with 11 effects, 4 macro sliders, and a 15-channel mixer. Arcade also lets you upload your own sounds to mash together with theirs. You might think that a lot of the sounds released daily must be throwaways, you’re wrong! These samples are being created by some of the best sound designers in the game today.
Arcade can be downloaded as a 64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and Mac. And now for the catch, Arcade is only available for a monthly subscription fee of $10.
Auto-tuned vocals are as synonymous with trap as 808’s and intimidating face tattoos. It’s an essential tool, for both a mild pitch-correction or an over-the-top T-Pain vibe. Antares Auto-Tune Pro is quite simply the best pitch correction plug-in on the market today.
Auto-Tune Pro’s interface is astutely clear, with large keys and a note indicator in your sights. It features 3 modes: auto mode for real time corrections, graph mode for detailed editing, and classic mode for an Auto-Tune 5 algorithm. Auto-Tune Pro also includes key and scale detection, flex tune and humanize for setting transparency, as well as a throat modelling replication.
Auto-Tune Pro is available as a 64-bit VST3/AAX/AU for Mac and Windows. Perfect pitch is priced at $399.
TrackGod is another plugin in the same vein as Octave and HermeSynth, it’s a sample based VST designed specifically for trap music. TrackGod has some excellent sounds which have been used by names such as Atlanta artist/producer Russ and TM88 (Gucci Mane, Future).
TrackGod’s GUI features a pleasant color combination of matte black and neon green. It gives you control over: reverb, delay, high and low-pass filters, an ADSR envelope, pluck, wobble, glide, legato, vibrato, and a mono switcher.
Parameter wise, TrackGod overtakes Octave and HermeSynth by a country mile. Sample wise, its keys and bass are a bit lackluster; it does however feature some of the evilest sounding bells any trap plug-in has on offer.
TrackGod comes as a 64-bit VST for Windows and Mac. Unfortunately, this plug-in doesn’t operate on Pro Tools. Godly tracks are going to cost $59.
To round off the paid portion of this list, I have Cableguys with HalfTime. It’s a time manipulation effect which has been used by a plethora of big-name producers such as Nard and B (Future, Migos) and Hussein of 808 Mafia (Young Thug, Riff Raff).
HalfTime’s GUI is pleasantly glossy; although at a first glance it may seem feature bare, it soon reveals itself as an extremely powerful plugin.
Loop lengths between 1/16 and 8 bars can be chosen, and it features 3 speed modes: 2x, 1.5x, and 4x. HalfTime features a band pass filter, a smooth dial which can do everything from click prevention to a rhythmic fluttering sound, and a dry/wet knob which yields surprisingly amazing results.
HalfTime can be downloaded as a 32/64-bit VST for Windows and as a 64-bit VST for Mac and will cost you about $12.
10 Best Free Trap VST Plug-ins
Free plugins are generally frowned upon and I never understood why, since there are plenty of freeware VSTs out there that sound just as good as their premium counterparts, and this is exactly the case with my first pick for this list.
Surge is one of the best free synthesizers out today, it’s been celebrated by Roger Linn (Inventor of LM-1, MPC) who has even designed some patches for it. Once you get an earful of its brass sounds, the urge for Surge certainly won’t purge.
Surge’s interface is cheerfully bright with a lot of parameters on offer to tweak. It’s a subtractive hybrid synthesizer that splits its patches into two scenes, allowing you to create layered or split patches.
Up to 3 oscillators can be used in a scene, and each oscillator can be switched between algorithms of sine, FM, classic, wavetable, window, S&H noise, and audio input. If slaving over oscillators isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry; Surge comes with a generous 2116 patches and 614 wavetable presets.
Surge can be downloaded from github.io as a 64-bit VST3 for Mac and Linux or as at 32/64-bit VST3 for Windows.
Trackbout have a fantastic free MIDI effect for constructing chord progressions. Ripchord is a simple but crucial tool which will expand your beat batches tenfold. Ideal for those who aren’t exactly Beethoven on the keys but have the hunger to build a banger like you won’t believe.
Ripchord’s GUI keeps it simple, showing you 2 keyboard visualisations: one for input and one for output.
This plugin does not generate any sound itself; it must be fed by another instrument. Ripchord comes with basic MIDI chord progressions, but what’s really cool is that there’s community presets available to download; progressions from artists like Travis Scott and Juice WRLD can now be played and rearranged with just the poke of your index.
Ripchord can be downloaded from trackbout.com as a 64-bit VST3 for Windows and Mac.
AngelicVibes’ Iota Mini is an incredible plugin designed specifically for trap that I cannot recommend enough. In my opinion, the sounds Iota Mini offer are even better than HermeSynth and Octave; and you won’t get charged a cent!
Iota Mini’s GUI is bland, but it’s crazy simple to learn, with just 4 dials to twist: reverb, a low-pass filter, attack, and release. It features 50 presets including keys, bells, pads, and guitars.
Iota Mini also features 60 drum samples with adjustable panning and levels for each individual part of your kit. Its standout feature are the sounds themselves, AngelicVibes have really provided an instant avalanche of Atlanta awesomeness with this one.
Head over to angelicvibes.com and you can download Iota Mini as a 32/64-bit VST2/VST3 for Windows and Mac.
MeldaProduction have a fantastic panning automation plug-in that will run rings around any DAW’s sequencer. Mautopan is perfect for juggling hi-hat sizzle throughout the stereo field or creating some playful peek-a-boo vocal placement.
Mautopan’s GUI has surprisingly detailed visualizations for a free plugin, with large graphs and meters on display. You can sync your panning to either be note value dependent or to a Hz rate.
Mautopan uses oscillators to modulate your panning with changeable wave shapes: sine, square, triangle, rectangle, saw, and many more are on offer. Mautopan allows for incredibly detailed editing of these shapes and features a highly customizable step sequencer.
Mautopan comes as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and as a 64-bit VST/VST3 for Mac.
Tyrell N6 was born on the forums of Amazona.de, originally intended to be a hardware emulation of the classic Roland-Juno 60, somewhere along the way it morphed into a fantastically powerful software synth.
Tyrell N6’s interface is feature packed but exquisitely organized; its skin on the other hand is quite lackluster; it could do with some brightening up color wise.
It features 2 oscillators, noise and ring modulators, and 2 LFOs with 8 changeable wave shapes to choose from. Also on offer are a filter, 2 envelope modules, a mixer, and a matrix system. For those who aren’t exactly synth savants, don’t stress; Tyrell N6 comes with 580 fabulous preset sounds.
Tyrell N6 can be downloaded from Amazona.de as a 32/64-bit VST2 for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
If the only way you’re going to afford Auto-Tune Pro is if you skip eating food this month, don’t fret! GVST have a free pitch correction plugin that can mend even the most mangled melodies.
It might look flimsy at a first glance, but GSnap can make a stagnant 16 bars slap hard.
GSnap’s interface isn’t overly flashy, but it does offer clear keyboard and note graph visualizations. It allows you to snap your pitch to selected notes from keys and scales, or MIDI values.
A band-pass filter and a gate are also on offer, so your pitch correction can be frequency or amplitude dependent.
GSnap features several controls to create unique unnatural vocal effects, such as vibrato, pitch bend, and tuning calibration.
GSnap operates as a 32/64-bit VST for Windows and Linux, and as a 64-bit VST for Mac.
Guitar M Lite
Acoustic guitars have become a surprisingly common occurrence in trap production; the interplay between an 808 and six strings paints a pleasant contrast that can bring a sophisticated mellowness to even the most ratchet rhymes. Ample Sound’s Guitar M Lite contains samples of a Martin D-41, an acoustic renowned for its full-bodied brightness.
Guitar M Lite’s GUI gives a pleasant visualization of a guitar with strings reacting to your playing, and a keyboard with all your parameters to control. It contains 866 samples, recorded with 2 microphones which can have their levels adjusted. M Lite offers 5 articulations: hammer on, pull off, palm mute, popping, and sustain. It also comes with 8 built-in effects, a strumming sequencer, and the ability to upload Guitar Pro tabs for recreating your favorite riffs.
Guitar M Lite can be downloaded as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Mac and Windows.
Related: Here’s my list of the best Guitar VSTs and Amp simulators currently available.
Dexed is an emulation of the classic Yamaha DX7, a digital FM synth released in 1983 which despite its discontinuation has appeared in many modern producers’ work, such as Kenny Beats (Gucci Mane, DaBaby). Dexed is an excellent software reincarnation; it captures the nice and icy vibe of the DX7 perfectly.
Dexed’s GUI is a bit dull looks wise and the number of parameters is quite overwhelming at first (144 in total), but after some getting used to this synth starts creating amazing sounds. 6 oscillators can be used with automatable controls such as modulate, detune, and coarse. If you are a synth noob but desperately need that DX7 sound, don’t get vexed.
Dexed has a plethora of pre-sets available online to play through its cartridge system, which can store up to 32 patches at once.
Dexed can be found on github.io as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and Mac.
I take you on a trip to the carnival now with Freakshow Industries’ Backmask! It’s a reverser plugin which is perfect for sprucing up your cymbals or creating darkly unique transitions. This plug-in can create sounds so spooky it would give the heebie-jeebies to Hannibal Lector himself.
Backmask’s interface is delightfully disturbing; all features are unlabeled at first, but when you hit the question mark button all secrets are revealed. There are 6 reversing trigger types available: note value, millisecond, gate, all, alternate, and random. Backmask also features a stuck mode which will freeze your audio for some repulsive reversed repetitions.
Backmask comes as a 64-bit VST/VST3 for Mac and Windows. You can steal it from Freakshowindustries.com or donate $20 if you’re feeling generous.
I round of this list with Spitfire Audio’s Labs, a massive collection of VSTs that feature excellent samples of excellent musicians, playing excellent instruments, in excellent rooms, that were recorded with excellent microphones… So it’s just a tad bit on the excellent side! Labs suits a variety of genres; but its pads and strings could take any small-town trap tinkerer into the big league.
Labs’ GUI is classily minimalistic. Parameters vary by instrument, but generally offer control over expression, dynamics, reverb, attack, and release. Labs contains 34 instruments: tape orchestra, guitar harmonics, trumpet fields, percussion, scary strings, synth pads, soft piano, and many other sultry samples have been slung your way by Spitfire. The sound quality and sheer quantity of these samples is unrivalled, an essential for pro and penniless producers alike.
Labs is available as a 32/64-bit VST2/VST3 for Windows and Mac. Spitfire Audio’s app will have to be downloaded first to use Labs, but don’t worry, it’s also free.
Additional articles you might find useful
I wrote dozens of articles related to plugins, especially free ones, so here are a couple of the ones I think you might find useful.