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Which Royalty-free Sample Subscription is Right for Me?
29 Nov '2022
There are plenty of sample subscription options out there if you're looking for high-quality licensed sounds, but some are better than others.
Which royalty free sample subscription is right for me 1310x737

Great tracks are built on great sounds, and fortunately for producers these days it’s easier than ever to find high-quality, royalty-free samples to inject straight into your projects. With over four million sounds (and counting) in Loopcloud’s sample library, you could spend a lifetime searching through it and still not have heard everything. Add Loopcloud’s suite of integrated instruments and music-making tools to the mix and you’d probably need several lifetimes to explore its full potential!

 

Alongside Loopcloud, there is a wealth of sample subscription services out there currently, with platforms like Splice, Cymatics, Noizz, Sounds.com, Output Arcade and ADSR Sounds offering their own collection of royalty-free loops and one-shots. A subscription to Loopcloud or any of these services gives you access to all the sounds you need, so which royalty-free sample library is right for you?

 

Loopcloud

Loopcloud is a sample subscription service that specializes in providing high-fidelity one-shot samples and loops, which are accessible via the website or through the Loopcloud app, which works as a standalone program or directly in your DAW.

 

AI-powered search technology

With a number of innovative features that put it at the forefront of sample subscription services. a Loopcloud subscription grants you access to over 4 million royalty-free audio samples. But don’t worry, finding the sounds you need is easy, thanks to Loopcloud’s AI searching and intelligent tagging features.

 

Despite having the largest sample library in this list, searching through Loopcloud’s multitude of sounds is a walk in the park thanks to its new sound-matching algorithm. As well as being able to search for sounds by key and BPM, this groundbreaking technology allows you to search for harmonic matches and rhythmic pairings with your favourite samples. 

 

 

In addition, Loopcloud’s new audio filters enable you to search for samples by characteristics such as tone, length, swing, attack and decay. You can even search for similar sounds, which automatically compares a sample with the rest of Loopcloud’s library, and suggests sounds that are alike.

 

Loopcloud Collections

While having such an expansive pool of sounds to pick from can seem daunting, Loopcloud recently introduced another feature that assists with the curation and management of samples. Loopcloud Collections is a tool that enables you to sort your samples into playlists for particular instruments, characteristics or projects. 

 

For example, if you find a pad you love but it’s not quite right for your current project, you can add it to a pad collection for later use. So the next time you’re short on inspiration, your Collections folders can be a great starting point for igniting fresh new ideas.

 

 

Cloud storage

In addition to the vast catalogue of samples included in a Loopcloud subscription, there are a whole host of features that set it apart from its competitors. Loopcloud’s sample management system not only allows you to securely store all of your Loopcloud samples online, but you can also upload your existing samples so all of your sounds are in one safe place. This frees up your hard drive space and means you can take your samples with you wherever you go.

 

Loopcloud also gives you the tools you need to convert samples to grooves at the press of a button. Its 8-track editor allows you to arrange, edit and process samples before you even buy them. Its ability to automatically transpose samples to remain in time and in key with your current project, make Loopcloud a secret workflow weapon. 

 

This seamless DAW integration allows you to try samples within the context of your project, so you can double-check that beefy new kick drum is compatible with your bassline before it hits your hard drive.

 

 

Plugin suite

On top of the expansive selection of samples and the 8-track editor, a Loopcloud subscription also equips you with its own software instruments, DRUM and PLAY. DRUM allows you to sequence and process rhythmic samples or MIDI within your DAW, while PLAY takes care of melody duties with its intuitive synthesizer-style interface. Both plugins let you quickly access Loopcloud’s huge sample stock, using its Genre, Label and Instrument filters to help you narrow down your search.

 

Subscription options

Loopcloud works by crediting your account with points that can then be spent on sounds and presets that you keep indefinitely. There are three subscription levels to choose from, starting at £5.99 a month and going up to £17.99 a month. 

 

Each subscription plan comes with a different points allowance and cloud storage capacity, so whether samples are a fundamental part of your productions or you just need to find that perfect snare to complete your latest track, Loopcloud has a subscription plan that suits your needs. To see how Loopcloud can aid your production process, you can try any of the subscription plans completely free for 30 days.

 

Sounds.com

Launched in 2018 by Native Instruments, Sounds.com is a subscription service offering high-grade, royalty-free samples. As you’d expect, their library benefits from exclusive sounds from the Native Instruments catalogue, including curated collections from artists and producers and Maschine expansion packs, although it also features sounds from over 200 external partners and sample suppliers. Unfortunately, the platform isn’t currently built into NI’s Maschine and Traktor software, nor does it integrate with Kontakt and the rest of their Komplete products.

 

 

For a flat monthly subscription fee of $9.99, you get unlimited access and downloads, although when you hit 3,000 sounds you’ll be asked by Native Instruments if you really need all those sounds. Without paying the subscription fee, you’ll still be able to preview sounds and download a limited selection of loops and one-shots.

 

Cymatics

Without a subscription service model, Cymatics requires you to purchase and download individual sample packs in order to access sounds from their library. Sounds are organised in bundles, drum kits, melodies and one-shots, and they also offer MIDI files and Serum presets on the site, as well as a small collection of plugins. This isn’t a cloud-based platform like Loopcloud, so you’ll need to store all your downloads on your computer.

 

 

Cymatics has built up a large following on SoundCloud, where they share audio demos of their sample packs to over 133,000 followers. The cost of sample packs on the site ranges from free to $297 for their flagship Infinity Suite collection, which includes a large selection of samples plus add-ons. 

 

Splice

A subscription with Splice will give you access to a large library of high-quality sounds, which you can access from the company’s website or desktop application. The desktop application syncs with the cloud, so you can search for and audition sounds as well as browse through your downloads. The main drawback though is that it doesn’t integrate with your DAW, which means you’ll need to import sounds into your session and won’t be able to trigger loops in time with your project tempo or key.

 

 

Splice’s subscription plans start at $7.99 and go up to $29.99, with more expensive packages granting you more credits to use on the platform. As well as samples, Splice features tutorials from artists and producers, their own music-making plugins, and a cloud-based backup option for saving your DAW projects.  There’s also a selection of plugins and DAWs available on a rent-to-own basis, which involves paying a monthly fee until you’ve reached retail price. 

 

Noiiz

With a growing library of audio samples, loops and presets, a Samplephonics Noiiz subscription offers access to a huge range of high quality sounds. On top of that, early access to Noiiz’s own Connect Pro plugin instrument comes with every subscription level. Connect Pro is a creative sampler, synthesizer and drum machine which is connected to Noiiz’s sample library, giving you an effective tool for quickly transforming samples and loops.

 

 

Noiiz offers three levels of subscription, each with a different monthly limit on the number of sounds you can download. Noiiz’s most basic subscription costs $5 a month, while its most expensive plan costs $199 per year but offers unlimited access to the catalog of sounds. Noiiz also offers the option to buy sample packs individually, for those who don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription. While the selection of sounds on Noiiz is always expanding, it may not offer as many samples as some of the more established options in the market.

 

Output Arcade

Now on its second iteration, Output Arcade differs slightly from other sample subscription services in that it’s packaged as a software instrument as opposed to a sample library. Arcade contains sampler kits as well as polyphonic instruments called note kits, so you’re covered for drums and percussion, as well as melodic elements. The instrument offers a set of modifiers plus a selection of effects, sliders and modulation options, so you can transform your samples into unique new sounds. 

 

 

While Arcade’s cloud-connected browser is regularly updated with inspiring new samples, you also have the option to upload your own samples to make use of the software’s modifiers and effects. The automatic key and tempo detection make this particularly straightforward, and its inbuilt kit generator slices and maps your samples into a new sampler kit. Output Arcade can be used as either a plugin or a standalone application, and a subscription will set you back £9 a month.

 

ADSR Sounds

Production resource website ADSR is another source of sounds for producers of all styles and genres of music. The site has an extensive inventory of one-shot samples and loops, which can be filtered by genre and format for easy navigation around the website. ADSR is a sample store rather than a subscription service, so you buy samples outright rather than accessing them through a monthly fee. On top of audio samples, ADSR also sells midi files, tutorials, courses and plugins, making it a one-stop shop for all of your production needs.

 

 

Despite not offering a subscription service, ADSR have developed their own free sample manager which allows you to effortlessly catalogue your ADSR purchases as well as your own sample library, sorting them by tempo, key and your own tags. The application is standalone, meaning it doesn't integrate into your DAW like some of its competitors’ offerings. It is, however, Ableton Link compatible, so Ableton Live users can sync their samples with other Link-enabled devices.