Over a period of three decades, the 808 has become an important sound for hip hop, trap, and other electronic music genres. Not many sounds in modern-day music have had quite an impact like the 808.
With the birth of the internet, plugin manufacturers and sample creators have flooded the market with their products, making it difficult to find the perfect 808.
If you’ve been searching (and who hasn’t?) then look no further. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best 808 plugins available right now.
Let’s check them out.
Top 808 VST’s
- Future Audio Workshop SubLab
- Niche Audio Planet 808
- Wave Alchemy Revolution
- DopeSONIX Bass Engine 1
- Synsonic Instruments BD-808
- DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2
- D16 Group Nepheton
- Wave Alchemy Transistor Revolution MKII
We find that it’s much easier to use plugins when they have a single purpose, making it simpler for music creators to…create! That’s why we think that the SubLab from Future Audio Workshop is great. It lets you make just about any sub tone you can think of for almost any genre, but more specifically trap and hip hop.
Sublab is more or less a hybrid VST, consisting of both an analog synth and an X-sub synth layer, which can be routed to a kick drum fairly easily. The easy-to-use (and attractive) interface provides great feedback from the spectrogram and oscillator waveform. You can blend together, three different layers in the “mixing” section.
The plugin gives every musical “genius” the ability to play with multiple layers (synth and sample) to create massive sub tones without destroying the bottom end of your mix. If that isn’t enough, you can always add in some dirt with the compression and saturation modules.
Let’s be honest, no plugin is perfect, and SubLab is no exception. There are only 69 presets included, which might be limiting for some producers. On the flip side, it’s not too difficult to build new tones from scratch, making it beginner-friendly.
- Generate sub tones without sacrificing the bottom end
- The compression and saturation are very high quality
- Three layers to play around with
- sampler section has no visual feedback
- Not velocity-sensitive
If you ever surf the web for samples, you’ve probably seen about a million different 808 kits out there. While that’s all good for modern music producers, many of the kits lack the necessary processing for when they are used in the context of full-on productions.
Niche Audio Plant 808 combats this by providing a number of different vibe-driven 808 kits for just about any music genre. Each of these 808 kits has been sampled, edited, and processed with care. While there are additional patches for a number of soft samplers, the Niche Audio Planet 808 is best used in Ableton Live or Maschine 2.
There are thirteen standard kits and two special kits included, as well as an array of low-end subs and percussion to add a bit of flair to the kits. Every kit has starter patterns to help get some ideas down right off the bat. Each one also comes with different pitches so that you can fit the samples with your music in any key.
Overall, this 808 VST is known for its authenticity. It is meticulously sculpted for Ableton Live and Maschine to make it a viable 808 asset for any kind of modern music producer.
- Versatile pack of 808s
- Meticulously sampled, edited, and organized
- Comes set up for Ableton Live and Maschine
- You lose many ease of use features in other DAWs
Wave Alchemy says that their Revolution plugin is one of the most accurate virtual drum machine plugins available right now. Included in the VST are a number of classic machines like the OB-DX, 908, 606, 78, etc. but the 808s are what stands out.
In order to capture the original tone of each analog drum machine and every little nuance, Wave Alchemy injected thousands upon thousands of samples into the sound engine of the Revolution. The end result is the subtle differences that make analog so unique.
Each sound was captured through a balanced Radial JDI and a NEVE 1073 preamp, which resulted in sounds with a full frequency range response – think warm, punchy and dynamic! Another thing to note here is that each sound was also peak matched to help in the auditioning process.
A really cool feature is that you can load the different drum sounds into the 14 drum voice modules, effectively giving you a frankenstein kit of sorts. Use an 808 kick, a 909 hat, and an OB-DX snare. Get creative!
- A lot of high quality samples to play around with
- Comes with FX like reverb and saturation
- The interface is nice to look at 😉
- Not as beginner-friendly as some of the other options
If you make hip hop beats and you’re looking for a HUGE all-around bass plugin, the Bas Engine 1 might be what you’ve been missing. DopeSONIX went to the trouble of studying the last 30 years of hip hop to get a good representation of every bass sound through each era. You’ll get everything from a classic 808 to a vinyl-style upright bass.
The plugin comes arranged with the sounds in order from the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. In the 90’s collection, you can expect to see samples from machines like the MPC 60 MKII and SP-1200. Those were the days when bass lines were sampled from soul, jazz, and funk records.
By the time we hit the 2000’s, producers started getting their hands on hardware bass synths for more powerful bass tones. Some of the more popular samplers included the MPC 3000 and the ASR-10. Included in the Bass Engine 1 are 100 presets to give you those deep, dirty Y2K bass sounds.
Finally, you’ll get a collection of 808 and sub-bass sounds that we’re all taylored to modern trap, hip-hop, EDM, and dubstep. This is an absolutely impressive collection of hip-hop bass sounds combined with MIDI basslines, ADSR controls, and low CPU to boot.
- Quality bass sounds organized through the decades
- Interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Very low CPU usage!
- Not as many 808s as we were hoping (only 20)
If you hate sifting through tons of different 808 sounds to find the right one, then the Synsonic BD-808 might be right for you – simplicity at its best! The BD-808 is incredibly useful for creating dope 808 bass lines with very little effort.
Unlike other plugins on our list, the BD-808 doesn’t use any 808 samples, instead it relies on detailed analysis of the old school bass drum circuits. Furthermore, it makes use of a MIDI control, allowing you to operate the plugin like a bass synthesizer, something you can’t do with an 808 sample.
Included are a few parameters to tweak your sounds to perfection.
- Accent – emphasizes the attack
- Tone – which controls the amount of click on the tone
- Plus a few other standard controls, such as Level and Decay.
Besides those controls, there are some other sound manipulation possibilities, such as halftone tuning, fine tuning, extended decay, and MIDISync.
By our analysis, we feel like the DB-808 is one of the simplest 808 VST plugins around for anyone looking for quality 808 sounds. Also, the ultra low price means you won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
- Ultra low cost
- Simple to Operate
- Additional controls for shaping your sound
- Not as versatile as others on the list
- Some users have commented that it can be a bit buggy
The Beat Machine 2 by DopeSONIX is an upgrade from the DopeSONIX Beat Machine 1 on our list, though this one is more of a drum machine than a bass synthesizer. It was designed for producers who need a wide variety of hip-hop drums for different production styles from different eras.
There are 600 different kits onboard that have been EQ’ed and mixed ahead of time so that they can be used in your productions right off the bat. The days of spending hours on end looking for the right kit pieces are long gone.
The cool thing about the DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2 is that these kits were arranged by era. The first 100 presets bring you the dusty, chopped kit pieces from 90s hip-hop. The second 100 presets are from the 2000s, giving you the new Boombap sounds of producers such as Havoc and Alchemist alongside the 808 driven styles of Lil Jon, the clean-cut sounds of Timbaland, and the new wave West Coast sounds of Dr. Dre. Lastly, you get the 808 and 909 inspired sounds from hood trap producers such as DJ Mustard and Lex Luger.
There are 600 high-quality drum kits, 1200+ samples, 300 stereo kits, 300 multi-out kits, and 50 drum patterns, all wrapped up in a flexible and low CPU plugin.
- Hundreds of incredible drum kits
- Sounds arranged by era
- Low CPU usage
- The sheer number of kit pieces can be overwhelming
D16 Group is famous for their digital emulations of well-known, classic synths and drum machines. The Nepheton is a recreation of the famous 808 drum machine. Every sound that comes out of the unit is perfectly captured enabling you to import the original 808 sounds straight into your DAW.
The Nepheton uses hybrid sequencing, which should please both modern producers as well as the serious drum machine enthusiasts. Built in is a randomize feature allowing you to quickly dial-in some unique rhythms when the original 808 patterns start to get dull.
If you’re after a pure 808 emulation, the D16 Nepheton may be the best choice on our list.
- Classic 808 emulation
- Hybrid sequencing
- Randomizer feature for interesting patterns
- Modern producers may feel limited
For producers using Kontakt, the Transistor Revolution MKII is a perfect match. This plugin is a digital recreation of the iconic TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines from the 1980’s. Though this plugin has been around for quite some time, it has undergone some reason updates including a full re-script. Expect intuitive workflow and a beautiful interface.
The plugin comes equipped with a 16-track step sequencer, a 10-track mixer for individual drum processing, unified 808 and 909 instruments, reverb and delay defends, tape saturation, and volume and pan controls.
Thanks to the advanced sampling technology available in Kontakt, you can expect some 22,000 samples in this plugin for thick and fat sounds!
Carefully recorded with a Radial JDI and NEVE 1073 preamp, you can expect analog warmth and dynamics – top-notch analog sound at a relatively low price.
- Premium quality analog sounds
- Intuitive UI
- CPU hog!
Get Down With the 808
If your goal is to create chest-thumping trap, hip-hop or EDM, you need to get your hands on some quality 808s.
Instead of sifting through thousands of samples trying to create a good drum kit, why not pick up one of the best 808 VST’s on our list and get back to what you love doing – making music?