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Splice and Loopcloud are two of the biggest sound libraries available to producers.
Which service is best for your needs?
We look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.
The Battle Of The Libaries
With cloud-based storage technology and easy internet access becoming more readily available to people across the world, it’s no surprise that companies like Loopcloud and Splice have popped up and used these technologies to capitalize on the creative audio industry.
It also bears mentioning that if you are a Beatport user, Loopcloud has also partnered up with Beatport to offer a selection of cross-platform style services including access to samples, tools, and plugins.
In short, the only really distinct effect this split had was that around 2 million samples previously available on both platforms, became exclusively available on Loopcloud and that Loopcloud released an ‘app-style’ portal which lets your DAW communicate directly with their library – but I’ll say more on this later.
Loopcloud Vs Splice: Who Wins?
The key differences between these two sites are few and far between. They both have nearly identical pricing and both offer cloud backup, free downloads, and what can only be described as an enormous collection of sounds and samples.
Loopcloud leans towards being a more creative platform overall with its inclusion of extra software, VST plugins, and DAW integration. The added VST plugins, sample auditioning, effects rack and other bits and bobs definitely lend themselves to those out there who have a strong workflow and don’t want anything to get in their way when creating.
Splice still stands up to Loopcloud and manages to hold its own against most of Loopcloud’s services, but it lacks the DAW integration features. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as not everyone will be using these services for strictly music production; they could be using these services for film, tv, and video applications, amongst other things.
Splice would be ideal for those who might not be creating or producing every single day, but who will actively create and will find themselves digging in at various times throughout their month of membership.
One of the notable differences exists in the area of free downloads. Loopcloud offers its users a free daily download amount while Splice offers its users download ‘credits’ on a monthly subscription basis, meaning that if you’re not going to be on Loopcloud every single day, you might miss out on freebies.
In this case, Splice might be more suited to you, as you can stash your credits until you feel like using them instead of being compelled to use the program on a daily basis to get your free downloads.
Both Loopcloud’s and Splice’s handy DAW integrations are a lovely touch, and work fairly well without any bugs.
To begin with, the fundamental question is how much do these sites cost to use, and is there a free option?
Both Splice and Loopcloud offer a free ‘full access trial’ membership upon signup, with the hope that after your free initial trial period, you will enjoy the service and sign up to continue using it.
Splice begins with a free 14-day membership while Loopcloud begins with a 30-day membership. If you want to be clever, stack these freebies back to back for 45 days of total access before making a decision on which one you want to use; if not both.
Both services offer monthly and annual subscription options and both begin with the same starting price of $7.99 per month, with the middle tiers being 13.99 for Splice and 11.99 for Loopcloud. Both platforms again have the same final ‘tier 3’ price of $21.99 per month.
These packs offer you a number of free daily downloads (Loopcloud) or monthly ‘credits’ (Splice) which can be used on any of the sounds or samples of your choosing, with a more premium ‘pay per download’ feature for those who somehow manage to use up all of their daily or monthly freebies.
This makes the choice tough as both entry-level and pro-level packs are priced the same, with the middle tier being the only point of difference.
Both Splice and Loopcloud have millions of sounds and samples each, and give users the ability to keep everything they’ve downloaded even after canceling their memberships; meaning that you aren’t stuck with dead projects or stuff you cant work on if the subscription ends.
It stands to reason that most people would pick either the beginner or the pro subscriptions when choosing what to buy, although Loopcloud remains the most competitive in terms of the longer free trial and the cheaper middle tier, along with the inclusion of their app-style interface.
Interface & User Experience
Loopcloud has a very streamlined interface that operates as a standalone service or as a downloadable VST plugin. This allows you to access Loopcloud from directly within your DAW and offering features that help users match tempo, warp audio and make it super easy to audition sounds and samples from within the mix while working on a track, but without having to first buy them and import them to your track.
The Splice desktop service (although still cool and rather functional) doesn’t have as deep a level of DAW integration as Loopcloud. Being able to seamlessly audition files in the right key and BPM of your project is a neat feature that they offer.
Splice offers a ‘cleaner’ interface to its users but comparatively lacks in overall functionality, despite its rather pleasant GUI.
The Splice interface is honestly a lot cleaner than the Loopcloud interface and offers some exclusive features such as plugin rental, collaborative portals, and a different pool of sounds.
The Loopcloud portal can (initially) be hard to navigate but makes up for its jumbled nature with its tight integration to other DAW software suites.
Loopcloud has a number of more impressive features including an 8-track editor, which allows you to stretch and manipulate sounds and samples, and apply effects like reverb, delay, and filters, all before you’ve even downloaded the content.
Loopcloud offers a free cloud storage backup service as part of their membership costs, which can be handy when working remotely or on a different computer. Loopcloud also offers a number of other plugins including the Loopcloud Play synth/sampling engine and the Loopcloud Drum sequencer, which adds even more value to their service as an overall creative tool rather than just a sample buying portal.
Splice, on the other hand, has a downloadable desktop client that doesn’t necessarily offer as much creative flexibility but still has purchasable presets for well-known plugins like NI Massive, Xfer Serum, and a wider range of others.
With Splice, you’ll find some cool collaborative features, a ‘plugin rental’ system, and included cloud backup services, which can be extremely useful for those out there who aren’t in the healthy habit of regularly backing up their work or are prone to killing their computers. Serum can be rented for $9.99 per month instead of paying its normal upfront cost of $189.00.
It is worth noting again that upon cancellation of your subscriptions, both websites will let you keep everything you have downloaded and you won’t be left with projects that you cant work on or sounds and samples that won’t work. Everything you download during your active membership becomes yours to keep, forever.
Ultimately both of these services are extremely good value for what they offer, and both have features that will suit some more than others. It is tough to recommend one over the other due to their highly competitive pricing, unique end-user functions, and dedication to their users.
Although it could be said that for more active ‘full-time’ producers, Loopcloud might be a better option as its DAW integration and VST plugin suite are extremely hard to beat for the price point.
Furthermore, despite there being a difference of “only” 1 million or so sounds, Loopcloud does have more total content, giving its users what can ultimately be considered a wider range of creative options when combined with all the bells and whistles.
Splice is ultimately recommended for creatives and producers who want access to premium sounds with a more casual approach to membership.
Thanks to the free trial offered by both services, you’ll have plenty of time to think over your choice, and you may very well decide to settle for both!