Trap is a sub-genre of hip hop and rap music. Trap can be lyrical or non-lyrical and ranges from styles more in keeping with it's rap and hip hop influences all the way to the more clubby EDM inspired types.
It was born out of an expression of the raw US street life and much of the styles and themes include themes of drugs, crime and survival.
Like its hip-hop and rap influences it often relies heavily on sampling of traditional instrumentation such as brass, flute, bells, vibes and piano, often being sampled and re-sampled and pitched or effected. Trap also often employs pure synthesis relying on simple oscillator tones for synth cuts and basses. Its beauty is often within its stark desolation coupled with its varied yet simple tone choices.
The instrumentation itself is often simple, repetitive to help emphasise the lyrical content. As such tone generation is sought by a range of synth style vst plugins from the traditional romplers to the modulation heavy wavetable synthesizers.
Trap is almost always underpinned and driven along by 808 style drums, distorted and with 1/8 or more commonly triplet hi-hats repeating non-stop through-out.
With this in mind, which plugins are ideal for trap production? We round-up the best in this top 10 plugins for trap production.
Xpand!2 is a multitimbral workstation offering four active sound slots and uses everything from wavetables and FM synthesis to sample playback.
With two FX processors with over 50 effects to utilise Xpand!2 covers a wide range of trap utility covering the traditional instrumentation and more synth-based tones really well. If you're looking for a one-stop plugin with a wide pallet of tone potential Xpand!2 is where it's at.
There's over 2500 presets to start dropping tones with allowing the focus to be on stage setting for the lyrical content rather than getting bogged down with the details of specific sound design.
Future Audio Workshop Sublab
A fat 808 and sub-bass plugin. Combining both a synth and sampler engine presenting a plugin that's just bang on for trap production. There's analog style oscillators providing sine, triangle sawtooth, square and supersaw options with the sample engine providing features from pitch detection, fade for quick click removal, delayed sample starts for using 808 kicks as bass and an internal maximiser for expanding and distorting the sounds.
This is essentially trap production in a plugin and if you're not content with the above feature set then there's a load of genuinely useful FX to help maximise your trap sound and impact.
It comes pre-loaded with really good range of packs to get you going in no time.
Synapse Audio DUNE 3
DUNE is a virtual-analog synthesizer. using traditional oscillator, filter and ADSR concepts with a complex but easy to use modulation system. The synth engine supports Virtual analogue, FM and Wavetable synthesis.
There is dual multimode filters on tap. Dual arpeggiators and in Dune3 an enhanced FX section providing distortion, chorus, phaser, EQ, delay and reverb.
Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
Being a rompler based sound generator, Omnisphere 2 sports a similar feature set Xpand!2. Arguably focussing more on traditional instrumentation and a higher degree of sound accuracy there's a lot of first and third party sound pack expansions available for almost all genres and a tone of tutorials on which Omnisphere sounds and packs are best for Trap music production.
Many big name trap artists have dipped into sections such as Ethnic, Bells and Vibes from Omnisphere factory content to define their sound whilst others utilising packs from DrumVault and others. Whatever you need Omnisphere is likely to provide it in the factory content and for everything else there's almost guaranteed to be an expansion to get you where you want.
Absolutely the go-to for sampling and resampling. TAL Sampler plugin provides an unparalleled sandbox to sample what you want from where you want helping you to quickly build your own libraries of sounds for various sources such as YouTube, Vinyl, CD's, Synth outputs, Mics and even its own output!
Apply effects and traditional sound sculpting to your sounds such as filters, amp envelopes and reverbs delays and EQ.
Not content with that? Hit up some of the vintage DAC modes to really give you the old-school MPC crunchy warm Hip-Hop vibe.
Every Trap producer needs at least 1 sampler and TAL Sampler is your answer.
Electra2 is another workstation equipped VST plugin with a high-end quality sound engine with multi-layer support and a wide range of trap production features. It's friendly, easy to use interface allows newcomers to the genre the ability to quickly start producing tones and sounds whilst those with more experience can pick beneath the surface to tweak their sound into something even more special.
Sporting a multi-layered sound engine supporting samples, Subtractive, FM, Phase, Wavetable and more. in fact Electra2 has 15 different types of synthesis on tap!
Two multi-mode filters with over 40 filter types. There's a big range of FX and an extensive modulation section for each layer based on the easy to grasp drag and drop style modulation.
Electra2 comes with over 1300 sounds much of which can be quickly re-purposed to fit your Trap music style.
Vital Audios Vital
Vital is a spectral warping wavetable synthesizer.
Vital uses warping to manipulate the makeup of a wavetable allowing producers to create a complete new set of sounds. With stretch, shift, smear and skew harmonics up, down and around the spectrum to explore new timbres and create sounds that were previously not possible with traditional wavetable synthesis.
A very visual synth giving you excellent visual feedback on each tweak and dial move. Vital uses its animated graphical displays to the fullest with everything moves in real-time so you can see what's going on behind the scenes.
Sporting the excellent drag-and-drop modulation style with a really unique modulation preview to give you an idea of what things will sound like before you lay the modulation connection down.
Two voice filters supporting different analog style mods, unison and audio rate (read: very fast) lfo modulations and the ability to use your own samples as sound sources making Vital a solid plugin for Trap production.
Trap music just wouldn't exist without that pounding 808 drum, classic 808 triplet hats and everything in between. And when looking for the right 808 plugin there's none any better than the Nephteon offering from D16
Meticulous recreation brings you an uncompromising 808 sound packed with a case full of additional features only available on the plugin.
Flexible individual outputs for each channel full midi control for your midi keys, pads and controllers and ultra-tight midi timing to help the groove really cut through, D16s Nepheton plugin improves on the original 808 at every turn and with 17 individual drum modules at your disposable you get the full spectrum 808 sound experience in the advantage of the drum-plugin format.
This is 808 on steroids.
Serum, the ubiquitous Synth that's found its way intro commercial tracks ranging from hardcore D&B to chart topping pop songs it's also secures a well earned place for Trap production. It's those ultra simple yet ultra clean sounding tones it can produce coupled with the gnarly modulation and big bed of FX on tap that really lend itself to Trap production.
The easy GUI coupled with a deep modulation system and ability to import your own wavs as wavetable oscillators means it works well for both newcomers wanting quick sounds and experienced producers looking to twist and mangle their own Trap sound.
Native Instruments upgrade to the popular Massive Synth. Updated with new and improved features.
It's been a staple for styles such as D&B, Dubstep and EDM and since Trap often draws heavily from those genres it makes sense that Massive X is a go-to synth for many Trap producers.
Another wavetable banger with another host of Trap ready features like Serum Massive X too sports a really clean cutting sound.
Over 170 different wavetables and 10 ways of using them to generate sound from the aggressive to hardsync and formants.
There's a solid aftermarket sound pack library for Massive X and much of them geared towards or made specifically for Trap music production.
With the above list there'll undoubtedly be a synth or sampler plugin to support your style, intent and budget.