In all honesty my favoritism tends to shift on a at the moment need.
I'm currently into Native Instruments Maschine. It's sort of fxpansion's Guru but with a dedicated controller. Since I tend to mangle as I create, I like the idea of having knobs and a pseudo drum machine controller. I think a big part of the creative process is in getting tools that make you feel comfortable. So while there are competitors that basically kind of do the same thing you tend to want to work with the current fruit you're digging at the moment.
When i'm looking for a clap i'm not just randomly go through presets till i find them. Most who know me....know that i have a particular sounding clap in my head when i make the drums. I usually mimic it by vocalizing it. I then go about finding a clap that has close to the timbre makeup that i'm looking for. This is where a bit of educating yourself in the process of synthesis comes in handy. If the clap is too long ...I straight away reach for the ADSR(attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) and adjust. Most of the times i'll tune the clap down a few steps and then adjust the adsr to suit. Next I'd play around with the cutoff filter and envelopes to see if anything interesting comes out of that. If i'm in ableton then this is where it gets fun as Live allows you to mangle to your heart's content. If i'm in Nuendo then it's more a traditional approach where I begin to maybe put in a compressor...maybe a short 40ms delay with hardly any feedback. You sort of invent as you go...sometimes it works sometimes it won't. That's what makes making music fun. You just don't know where a process will lead you until the magic moment where you go..
OH SH!T That's HOT!
BTW Compression is over-rated. You don't need it on everything...trust me. You only use it as a.) a sound creation tool or b.) to control amplitude variances and if so just enough to keep it in line...not crushed(unless that's what ya want..then see a.) ) lol
"you bust your ass to make all the money you can...thinking it solves shit...and then you realize..when and if you get there at all...you got more problems and you missed out on the one thing you can't buy or get back...your life! Spend time with friends and family...You can be broke in other ways too!...."