10 Best Trap VST Plugins 2022


10 Best Trap VST Plugins 2022

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Trap beats are all the rage in popular music right now, and it’s not just in hip-hop. It’s often a practical and stylistic requirement for pop and other electronic genres too.

And whether you plan to program your own beats or take advantage of the many trap sample packs out there, the beat is just the beginning. There are other tools you’re going to need if you want to enhance those beats, add layers to your projects, and enrich your tracks with breathtaking effects. Whether it’s saturation, synths, or mastering tools, your needs will vary.

So, in this guide, we look at the best trap VST plugins to help you build out your VST library with powerful tools to take your tracks beyond.

Spire by Reveal Sound – Best Overall

Spire by Reveal Sound – Best Overall

Most producers agree – a solid, versatile synth is a trap must-have. At this point, it’s no secret that there are a ton of amazing options so far as powerful synthesizer VSTs are concerned (even free ones), but we shouldn’t downplay the greatness that is Reveal Sound’s Spire either.

Spire is popular, highly rated, and it lives up to the hype.

Its feature set includes four multimode polymorphing oscillators, Classic, Noise, FM, AMSync, SawPWM, nine unison voices on each oscillator, the ability to spread unison voices by chords and octaves, as well as supersaw and hypersaw unisons (and others).

Additionally – two multimode filters with analog and digital filtering, Perfecto, Infecto, Acido, Scorpio, Combo, effects (Shaper/Decimator, PhaserVowel, Chorus/Flanger, Delay, Reverb), modulation (four macros, four envelopes, four LFOs with morphing shapes), 15 Matrix slots with two sources and four targets, two steppers, arpeggiator, and over 800 factory presets with bass sequences and complex arpeggios, leads, pads, plucks, drums, and FX.

And thanks to all the presets, you’ve got a starting point for virtually every sound you can think of. And honestly, many of them sounds amazing right out of the box!

If that wasn’t enough, there are multiple UI themes – Original, Legacy, Light Grey, Navy Grey, and Dark. They all look great to my eyes, and overall, the user interface easily looks like it could be a real hardware synth module. I love the balance of colors as well as the way everything is organized.

Spire has already had an illustrious history because it has been around a long time. But it continues to hold up even now because of its great sounds. Have a listen to some of the presets in the video below.

This is obviously one of the reasons we selected Spire as the “best overall” plugin on this list. That said, there is another reason. There are several plugins on this list that are limited in scope. That doesn’t make them bad. It just means that they’re more specialized.

But Spire is one of those plugins you’re going to be able to use across a wide range of projects and genres. If your song needs a synth, you can pull up Spire and mess with the presets or start tweaking from scratch. That versatility is a big part of what makes this our best overall pick.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Auto-Tune Unlimited by Antares – Best Premium Option

Auto-Tune Unlimited by Antares – Best Premium Option

When it comes to vocal processing, for better or for worse (depends on who you ask), auto-tune is ubiquitous. This certainly has something to do with the industry’s obsession with perfect performance, but robotic vocal effects stemming from auto-tune are also beyond prevalent in pop, EDM, and hip-hop too.

Many try to duplicate what Antares’ Auto-Tune Unlimited can do, but if you’re tired of imitators that always seem to fall short, it’s time to turn to the source. And this is it.

Antares’ Auto-Tune is available at different price points, with different modules, but Auto-Tune Unlimited puts everything at your fingertips. You’ve got pitch correction, the now classic “auto-tune effect,” additional tuning effects, auto-key, auto-tune slice, auto-tune vocodist, harmony engine, mic mod EFX, articulator, warm, duo, choir, aspire, sybil, throat, punch, mutator, and more.

The GUI makes this plugin even more addicting. It’s sleek, smooth, and glowing. It instantly makes you feel like you’re improving your music by adding it to your effects chain. It’s obviously the work of a professional – someone who knows what they’re doing, inside and out.

As for the sound, quality, and functionality of Auto-Tune, well, that’s a thing of legend. There’s not much I could say that hasn’t already been said, but if you’re curious, be sure to check out the video below.

Auto-Tune Unlimited requires a yearly subscription, and it’s not exactly an amount to sneeze at. And like I said, while there are different bundles and packages at different price points, it’s fair to say that an annual subscription fee instantly propels the cost of this plugin to the top of the heap. But as I also said, sometimes, no other substitutes will do. If auto-tune is what you want, then Auto-Tune is what you need.

Auto-Tune Unlimited is cross-compatible with Windows and Mac. Learn more about the Unlimited version on Plugin Boutique.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

SubLab by Future Audio Workshop – Best Budget Option

SubLab by Future Audio Workshop – Best Budget Option

The Future Audio Workshop’s SubLab kick and bass synth was designed with hip-hop, future bass, and of course, trap in mind. Looking for that powerful 808 style sub-bass? Then look no further than this synth – SubLab.

Producer Richie Souf said SubLab is in a league of its own, and Audio Plugin Guy offered that this plugin “will lay the bass sauce thick” on all your tracks.

SubLab is a toolkit that allows you to sample, layer, widen, and distort kick sounds. It comes with the X-Sub psychoacoustic sub-bass oscillator, six signature Bass Packs, 250 kick samples, and the ability to import your own samples.

You also get delayed sample start, internal maximizer for expanding and distorting, loop mode, lo-cut and hi-cut filtering, various distortion types (Darkdrive with Fatness control, Overdrive with Tone control, Grunge with Fizz control, Tube with Heat control), distortion visualizer, low-cut and hi-cut for post-filter distortion, mix amount for parallel distortion, compression, and a great deal more.

SubLab is certainly no slouch in the design arena either. Their interface takes after the best aspects of flat vector design, and keeps it colorful with bright oranges, violets, and greens too. We like what we see!

If you love thick, power-packed, raunchy bass sounds, you’ll probably love SubLab. This VST plugin is easy to use, and it’s quite affordable too. Because there are several different types of plugins on this list, there’s really no way of comparing this the best overall or premium options we just looked at. That said, SubLab is a great plugin at a great price point. So, we simply couldn’t resist putting it here.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Ozone 9 Advanced by iZotope

Ozone 9 Advanced by iZotope

Mastering is a critical part of the recording project cycle, and if you intend to do it yourself, you should set yourself up with the best tools available.

iZotope’s Ozone 9 Advanced, as you probably gathered, is a well-regarded and potent mastering VST plugin that lives up to the iZotope name.

DJ Zinc called it one of the most powerful one-stop mastering tools he’s ever used, composer / producer / remixer Sebastian Arocha-Morton said this is the perfect plugin for bass-heavy music, and producer Joe Chiccarrelli thought it was impressive.

With almost two decades in mastering, iZotope developed Ozone 9 as a tool for low end processing, instrument separation in real-time, AI-powered machine learning workflows, and Master Assistant for adding vintage or modern vibes. Tonal Balance Control 2 lets you blend the worlds of mixing and mastering, and the resizable windows means you can fine-tune worry-free to the nth degree.

Tools like Spectral Shaper and Low-End Focus let you remove harsher frequencies and make your bass-heavy instruments pop. Any region you want to target can be selected and tweaked to your heart’s content. You can also load in your favorite reference tracks with the Match EQ function, a powerful tool for tapping into some of your favorite sounds.

Your Ozone 9 toolset includes master rebalance, low end focus, imager, equalizer, track referencing, maximizer, spectral shaper, dynamic EQ, exciter, dynamics, vintage tape, vintage limiter, vintage EQ, vintage compressor, CODEC preview, and dither.

And that makes Ozone 9 Advanced much more than just a limiter as some producers seem to think. This is as good as a comprehensive mastering module. You can even use it to give your projects vintage warmth and character.

Its graphical user interface is also top-notch. You might expect as much from a premium plugin like this, but either way, it’s meticulous and visually stunning. The color palette used might be limited, but it’s the living image of a simple yet appealing flat vector style design.

Windows and Mac versions of Ozone 9 Advanced are available at Plugin Boutique.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FabFilter Saturn 2 by FabFilter

FabFilter Saturn 2 by FabFilter

Distortion and saturation play a vital role in plenty of mixes, including those featuring trap beats. And what’s an 808 bass without distortion? Nothing, I tell you! You’ve got to draw upon the powers of distant planet Saturn to thicken up that kick!

Facetiousness aside, there are plenty of producers that will tell you that FabFilter Saturn 2 is one of their favorite distortion / saturation effects. And honestly, it’s not hard to tell why.

FabFilter’s reputation basically precedes them, but here’s the downlow on the FabFilter Saturn 2 anyway. This VST will take you from warm tube and tape saturation all the way over to multiband guitar amp effects. So, whether you’re looking for a little bit of dirt or gritty overload, this VST should do what you need it to do.

There are multiple distortion modes built in, inspired by vintage tubes, tapes, transformers, and even guitar amps. Match these up with five distortion styles and what you’ve got on your hands is one versatile effect! You can further tweak the multi-band per-band feedback, drive, tone, dynamics, and even modulation to achieve your dream “brown sound.”

Even the modulation section is controllable to a near unlimited extent. You can utilize the XLFOs, EGs, XY controllers, envelope followers, and MIDI sources to dial in exact the effect you want.

Of course, you get everything you’ve come to expect from FabFilter as well – MIDI Learn, perfectly tuned knobs, Smart Parameter Interpolation, full-screen mode, interface resizing, Avid control surface support, GPU-powered graphics acceleration, SSE optimization, interactive help hints, and more.

And as with all FabFilter effects, we love the design of the plugin. This is everything futuristic design should be, and it adds to the usability of the effect besides. The animations enhance the experience too.

As the video will demonstrate, you can get all kinds of sounds with Saturn 2. It works on individual tracks as well as full mixes. You can instantly create all kinds of dirt and grit, harmonics, and atmosphere. It’s all in how you dial in your sounds.

It’s a killer effect for Mac or Windows and it’s useful in a variety of situations too.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Gross Beat by Image-Line

Gross Beat by Image-Line

Ever wanted to manipulate time? Well, you’re certainly not alone! And while we don’t have access to the font of youth or a DeLorean time machine for that matter, FL Studio creator Image-Line’s Gross Beat is a popular time manipulation effect that’s loved by plenty of producers.

Gross Beat comes with MIDI controlled envelopes, two bar audio buffer, real time effect (for live performance), 36 volume and gating envelopes (user-controlled smoothing), linked or independent volume gating and slot operation, and an abundance of presets.

In simplistic terms, this plugin will affect the volume and time of the signal. And that means you can create rhythmic patterns out of static synth parts (or anything else you send through it), kind of like a noise gate. These types of effects are used on electronic productions all the time. It’s an essential if you don’t already have something like it.

As for its design, it’s reminiscent of classic Imagine Line plugins. Nothing out of the ordinary and kind of old school, but it does the trick.

Take note – Gross Beat only works on Windows machines.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VocalSynth 2 by iZotope

VocalSynth 2 by iZotope

Most music producers will agree that the vocals are the most important part of a song. And it’s always nice to have some variety as applied to vocal processing.

iZotope’s VocalSynth 2 certainly fits the bill, as it is highly versatile. Grammy Award nominee Sasha found it a powerful VST for taking melodies and turning them into something more.

This vocal transformer lets you tweak your vocal tracks to your heart’s content. Onboard are stompbox style studio effects – Shred, Ring Mod, Chorus, Filter, Distort, Transform, and Delay. These effects can be ordered and dialed in any way you want.

It also comes with Vocoder, Compuvox, Talkbox, Polyvox, and Biovox modes. Whether you’re looking to achieve your favorite classic sounds, or want to explore new sonic territory, VocalSynth 2 will follow the direction you give it.

VocalSynth 2’s new and improved design helps you achieve better sounding results faster. The Anemone offers interactive visualization – a colorful animation that changes with the shape of your audio signal.

This plugin also plays nicely with other iZotope products like Ozone, Neutron, and Tonal Balance Control, and is available for Windows and Mac.

Although all this might sound a little complicated, a closer look at the graphical user interface will give you a better idea of how these features come together. The creative vocal effects are all lined up at the top of the interface and are fully controllable using the built-in dials, and the stompbox effects are at the bottom, again fully controllable.

And while it does feel a slight bit busy (there’s a dropdown menu for each of the five creative effects too), its design is well-balanced and attractive.

There are multiple vocal plugins on this list. At the end of the day, you might need to prioritize which one you need most now, given that each plugin can run a fair bit of money. But there’s no denying that VocalSynth 2 is quite amazing and is one of a kind.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Bass Master by Loopmasters Plugins

Bass Master by Loopmasters Plugins

Is bass important to trap? Obviously, right? And with a name like Bass Master, you know that this plugin brings the heat.

Award-winning, highly rated, and much praised. Bass Master will give you instant access to bone-, speaker- and room-rattling basses.

Producer / engineer / mixer / musician / writer Rik Simpson said this plugin sounds fantastic, MJ Cole says he uses it loads, and Computer Music magazine called it genuinely awesome.

Bass Master has two layers, 217 wave forms (for a total of nearly 50,000 combinations) from a variety of sources – hardware classics, alien-science synths, and basically everything in between. The 350 mix-ready presets should also keep you busy for days and days without the need for endless tweaking.

The filter section comes with 13 filter types with various low-pass, band-pass, high-pass, ladder filter, and comb filters. ADSR envelope and LFO gives you even more control over that weighty bass you need for your tracks. There are also three effects to add color to your bottom end, with Distortion, Stereo Chorus, and Reverb.

Additionally, you’ve got the Frequency Booster (for overcooked sounds), direct out, and Legato and Portamento with glide time (pitch bend range of up to 12 semitones).

Bass Master’s user interface is also praiseworthy. It’s very well balanced, and it isn’t afraid to be a little more modern than many developers are willing to go. And it just feels good.

Despite all the built-in features and controls, the one thing users wanted more of was more control over their bass sounds. That said, they weren’t dissatisfied with or critical of what’s on offer here. Let’s just say, for the price, it does a more than competent job.

Check out some of the sounds in the video below.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

WIGGLE by 2nd Sense Audio

WIGGLE by 2nd Sense Audio

While 2nd Sense Audio’s WIGGLE might not be at the level Spire is at, it’s also about half the price. And, aside from some minor issues concerning ease of use and presets, many consider WIGGLE a superb synthesizer VST with some great sounds. Honestly, it might even be a little underrated.

Ask Audio Mag called it a “superior software synth,” Beat Magazine liked its authentic design, and Computer Music found it remarkable.

So, what does WIGGLE offer?

With WIGGLE, you get four sound generators (along with waveshaping, phase distortion, and randomization tools), eight free drawing LFO / envelope and four modulators, morphing (take up to four snapshots of a sound you’re working on and morph between them), color-coded FM Matrix, step sequencer, and sampling functions.

As you’ll discover in the video below, WIGGLE is amazingly versatile and great sounding too.

WIGGLE’s graphical user interface is glowing, bright, sleek, and smooth. It is big and maybe a little complex, but certainly no complaints here. We think it’s awesome.

WIGGLE is available for Windows and Mac.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio

RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio

If you’re looking for a quick and dirty effect that can add vintage warmth, character, and color to your tracks, XLN Audio’s RC-20 Retro Color is worth a look.

Sound on Sound magazine said RC-20 Retro Color brings life and texture to audio, producer / composer / songwriter David Das found it to be quite musical, and DJ Zinc thought it was great on “anything that needs a bit of mojo.”

This creative effect was inspired by classic gear to add that much sought-after warmth, noise, wobble, distortion, filtering, and a variety of other vintage and analog style sounds and effects to your guitars, keys, drums, bass, and even full mixes.

There are six built-in FX modules that can help you replicate vinyl records, VHS machines, and other familiar and classic sounds. The Flux Engine lets you inject all FX modules with analog style fluctuations. Also included is a Magnitude slider for controlling the intensity of processing, and various presets based on instrument type.

The user interface is a thing of beauty too. We like the flat vector meets semi-realistic looking design, and we haven’t seen it pulled off with such elegance either. It’s colorful without being too loud, and it is very nicely balanced.

RC-20 Retro Color might be best known for helping achieve neo soul guitar and other lo-fi sounds, but it’s proven itself versatile in a variety of applications, be it keys or even the mix bus. Experiment for yourself and you’ll see.

You can get the addicting RC-20 Retro Color for Windows and Mac.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Do I Need All The Above Plugins To Make An Awesome Trap Beat?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is that many samples come pre-processed. So, if you’re taking advantage of sample packs, your beats may be mix-ready already. It might be a different story for your other tracks (vocals, synths, bass, etc.) mind you.

All Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) come with competent, built-in effects as well. Stock plugins aren’t always the best, but they often do a good job, and in some cases, an exceptional job. The basics of reverb, delay, compression, EQ, chorus, and so forth should be more than covered by your DAW. And some DAWs come with other powerful (sometimes top shelf) plugins.

So, the trick here would be to look at where you want to elevate. What plugins don’t you have? Which ones do you have that aren’t quite cutting it? Where’s the gap in your VST arsenal, and which plugins would fill those gaps?

Understand that some gaps can also be filled by free plugins, as the bar for free virtual effects and instruments is quite high these days.

Either way, it would be wise to outfit yourself with a solid synth, a distortion / saturation effect, vocal processor, and mastering plugin. These will prove staples in your workflow.

Beyond that, don’t be afraid to think a little outside the box. There are many ways to achieve an end in any production, and you can learn a lot by solving creative problems in different ways.

And most importantly, get to know your tools. The best producer can do amazing things with the most basic of tools, and the inexperienced producer can butcher a mix using the best tools. It’s a difference in knowledge and experience.

Top Trap VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

And now you should be loaded up with all the VST plugins you need to go and make awesome trap beats. That said, don’t be afraid to explore, to experiment, to try something different. Just because no one has done it before, or no one uses a certain virtual effect or instrument for trap doesn’t make it wrong. Experimentation is how new ideas – and sometimes new genres – are born!

You’re in control, and you can make choices that suit you. There are plenty of synths, vocal processors, mastering, and other plugins out there. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of what works for you.

Happy shopping!

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