When you think 808, you immediately think of Trap, Hip-Hop and EDM. Although the roland TR808 was not designed with that intent, it has inspired an endless amount of genres and styles.
Samples can only get you so far with 808s. You can completely change the sonic characteristics of an 808 where in sampling, it would’ve been impossible.
In this article, I have picked out the 5 best 808 VST plugins available.
‘Samplephonics 808’ – Kontakt instrument by Samplephonics
There are many components of Samplephonics 808 that make it an awesome synth.
The best element is that alongside sampler patches for all fundamental DAW’s, Samplephonics has thought of a custom sequencer for Kontakt 5, which has precisely the same feel of the original 808, in addition to various additional elements that make it much more unconstrained and simple to use.
The intelligent pattern script allows the user to play stored patterns on the keyboard without going out of time or losing their place in the beat if played legato.
Once the keys are released the pattern resets can be retriggered. A lot of time was spent tuning and servicing this brilliant piece of hardware until it was as practical and clean as possible.
‘Bass Engine’ – Synth by DopeVST
Over the last three decades, Bass Engine has meticulously studied the Hip Hop production and has then selected the most representative bass sounds of the genre.
They include a range of basses; from dusty jazzy upright bass to floor shaking 808’s and everything in between, which makes it very unique.
The first 100 presets in Bass Engine resonate the distinctive sounds of MPC 60 MKII and SP-1200.
The second 100 presets in Bass Engine represent the smoother sound of the Emu Mo’ Phatt, ASR-10 and MPC 3000. The final 100 presets include 15 different 808s, Moog Prodigy Subs, Warm MS-20 ambience and an entire assortment of low end, heavy basses.
Other great features that make it brilliant are as follows: 300 Pre-equipped Hip Hop bass instruments including 20 fat 808′s, and an unrivaled collection of the finest practical Hip Hop bass instruments ever.
Furthermore, 50 Hip Hop MIDI bass lines include featuring a selection of styles and keys, with built-in pitch, pan and volume controls, and built-in ADSR controls.
To top this off, it includes a built-in analogue style reverb, and has ultra-low CPU usage and ultra-fast patch loading which allows you to flick through patches in lightening quick times.
It also lets you choose whether to program your bass lines manually or use a MIDI/USB controller/keyboard/MPD.
‘Nepheton’ – Drum Machine by D16 Group
Nepheton includes 17 fully synthesized instruments with perfectly scaled knob ranges, enhanced control of sounds and dynamic signal routing from instruments to outputs.
It also provides user defined output configurations (master out, instruments outputs, and trigger output), mutes/solos for each instrument, preset manager and quick MidiCC assignation with MidiLearn function.
It is fully controllable via MidiCC while the note velocity controls instruments’ levels.
The device can be controlled through external mode (note mode), internal sequencer (pattern mode) with 2 sub modes and the user defined MIDI map can be used as well.
Other great features include the fact that the internal sequencer has 96 simple patterns, 16 extended patterns with 4 segments for each pattern.
Furthermore, there are two ways to go about synchronization; exact synchronization to the native tempo and synchronization to internal clock – tempo is controlled in the range 30-303 BPM (+-0.1), which makes it versatile.
‘Transistor Revolution MKII’ – Kontakt Instrument by Wave Alchemy
MKII allows you to recreate every shade of the original analogue drums or if you want to really get creative you can record your own sounds using one of the best sampling engines available, Kontakt 5, and smoothly scan through thousands of multi-layered samples.
The peak level of each drum was carefully synchronized and the samples were recorded at 24-bit 96 KHz to retain the full frequency response.
What is truly brilliant about the MKII is the fact that it has a huge amount of exciting features. It comes with single unified instrument samples and a GUI that is quite intuitive. It also features a TR style 16 track step-sequencer.
It has a dedicated 10-track mixer with volume control, individual processing and a pan for each drum sound, along with dual delay and reverb units loaded with custom built Impulse Responses, and a Master processing section that includes compression, a multi-track Tape machine and master EQ modules.
The complete collection of the 808 and 909 drum sound can be found in the presets and can be used to design your music.
Whether you’re a producer, drummer or a DJ you can do live performances naturally and with a fluidity that was never possible before, thanks its Live Performance features.
‘BigKick’ – Generator by Plugin Boutique
BigKick was created with the sole intention of allowing you to achieve great bottom-end bass.
It allows you to get more out of your existing kick drum sample collection and start from scratch or use presets from D-Product, the Freemasons, Kris O’Neil and many more.
It combines synthesis for flexibility and samples for extra-character.
The drag-and-drop provides an instant sample import and export to your DAW or Desktop. BigKick replicates most electronic kick drum sounds – with creative options to help you create the sounds of the future.
It includes features such as Factory library which includes 300 attack types and 110 presets, tuned kick drums that set the pitch to match your bass-line, and with a MIDI keyboard you can also play the kick drum.
You can use your own samples; they easily integrate with your existing sample libraries.
BigKick is an easy-to-use, auto-play program that comes with bonus samples of 100 free kick drums from the included Loopmasters library.
A high pass filter takes care of the sub-bass. Also includes great new preset handling features, with folder creation, renaming, easier preset browsing, preset-pack creation tools and much more.
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These were our picks of the most versatile, reliable and high-quality 808 VST you can find out there.
We hope this helps you choose which plugin is right for your production!