Splice Review 2023
Is the subscription sounds/samples service worth the money?
Last Updated: January 2023 | Article Details: 3607 words (18 – 20 minute read)
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In this review of the Splice sounds marketplace, we’re going to dive into the vast library of sounds and plugins and see if it’s actually worth a monthly subscription.
We’ll go over how much Splice costs, the quality of the sounds and packs, what the marketplace and additional features are like and whether or not it’s worth your money.
Let’s get into it…
Review Table of Contents
4.5/5 Stars Overall
Key Decision Making Factors
- Website Interface – 4/5 – clean and well designed user interface, easy to navigate/use
- Ease of Use – 5/5 – layout of website and desktop app make choosing/downloading/using sounds very fast
- Sound Selection – 5/5 – some of the best sounding samples/loops in the world, packs from biggest producers in the game
- Cost – 5/5 – reasonably priced with different membership tiers, updated and added to constantly
- Bonus Features – 4/5 – nice-to-have extras like the desktop app, bridge plugin, SKILLS tutorials, etc.
- Updates – 4/5 – new sounds, patterns, plugins, tutorials, etc. added on a regular basis
Is Splice Worth It? Our Recommendation:
With the reasonable price and almost unlimited selection of sounds and loops in every genre imaginable, it’s like being in a candy shop as a little kid. Becoming a member is a no-brainer for anyone that makes music. It’s a great resource to have in your arsenal.
In a nutshell – it’s worth every penny. But it’s not something you’ll always need. And you may even get bored/tired of it after a while. And that’s fine. The way I use it is I subscribe for a month or two when I need to (if I’m looking for new loops or drum kits, etc). This may cause issues with licensing/use of the sounds for commercial purposes, but I’m not 100% sure on that.
What Is Splice
So what is Splice exactly and how does Splice work? Splice.com is probably the world’s largest “sounds” marketplace for music producers and songwriters.
It has an incredible selection of one-shots, drum/perc samples, melodic and rhythmic loops, MIDI patterns and plugins for use in every imaginable genre of music.
You subscribe for a specific number of credits which can be used to download and use individual sounds/loops/etc.
They’ve also got a new SKILLS creator program with tutorials, online synth and beat maker apps and a downloadable app to manage/use all your Splice sounds. You can also rent-to-own some third party plugins (for an additional monthly fee) that often have very high price tags.
All of the downloadable sounds, presets and patterns are top-of-the-line in terms of quality. And using the website/software/downloads are extremely easy.
More About Splice
In other reviews out there, I haven’t seen many people mention that the amount of content is overwhelming. That can be a problem, but it can also be a nice problem to have. The biggest drawback that, as a subscription service, you have to continue paying monthly for continued access. And having too many options for things can lead to “analysis paralysis” where you don’t make a choice because there’s too many options to consider.
The sounds are all VERY high quality because they’re essentially curated by the team at Splice and created by professionals (some of whom are relatively famous).
But depending on how heavily you use it, it’s really easy to run out of credits each month. There’s just so much content and new content being added all the time.
The biggest benefit to the platform is that you don’t have to download a full pack – just the individual sounds/loops you like. And you can preview them all before you do.
And although most people hate that the Splice pricing model is subscription based, it has it’s benefits. It’s much different than how we’d traditionally get new sounds – having to pay $20+ PER pack for the entire pack and not getting a great idea of what was included.
If you’ve got a little extra cash and want some of those amazing (but expensive) plugins you see everywhere, they also have a great “rent-to-own” program where you can get expensive synths and VSTs for a low monthly cost until it’s paid off.
There is a caveat, though – don’t let it become a crutch for you, relying on it for every thing, every time.
And remember, you may find a diamond in the rough that no one else has used, but more often than not you’ll hear something out there in public that has used an audio sample you heard (and maybe even used) on Splice. That’s because everyone has access to these sounds and loops.
Bottom line, Splice is a FANTASTIC resource for music producers and songwriters and we highly recommend it if you’re looking for a steady supply of new sounds.
Splice Price / Cost:
So how much is Splice every month? The Splice price structure isn’t too bad, but if you unsubscribe you do lose your unused credits at the end of your subscription term. They do let you pause your subscription for a few months at a time, though, which is nice.
Notes About Splice Plans: Free Trial Available for New Users | Get 2 Months Free on Annual Subscriptions
How much does Splice cost?
- $9.99/month for 100 monthly downloads
- $13.99/month for 200 monthly downloads
- $29.99/month for 500 monthly downloads
- Rent-to-Own plugins start at $9.99/month until paid off
- Literally unlimited (and ever-growing) selection of sounds, loops, and MIDI patterns
- Sound packs from some of the biggest producers and beat makers in the music business
- Search/filter by tempo, type, popularity, keywords, etc.
- Preview + download individual sounds/loops/patterns instead of entire packs
- Unused monthly download credits roll over every month
- Contains sounds for every genre imaginable
- App integration with FL Studio and Ableton
- New Skills tutorials and online beat/synth app
- Get sounds from the biggest names in the game (ex/ KSHMR, Boi-1da, Murda Beats, etc)
- Overwhelming selection of sounds/loops – not easy to make a decision sometimes
- Unused credits are lost if you unsubscribe
- Easy to run out of credits on lower Splice plans (many packs have hundreds of sounds each)
- Desktop app doesn’t work with every DAW (best for FL Studio or Ableton)
- Splice cost is subscription based – you do lose un-used credits if you unsubscribe.
Who Splice is Best For:
- You are a music producer, songwriter or make beats
- You want a continually growing library of professional sounds/loops to use in your productions
- You don’t like buying full sound packs but want to pick and choose the individual sounds you buy
- You want a new expensive plugin but want an easy monthly payment vs. a one-time payment (plugin payments are separate from sounds subscriptions)
- You want sounds from famous producers you love
How it Stacks Up to the Competition
Splice is in a hot product category nowadays. There are several competitors who want your dollars for their sounds. But there are only a couple who have a similar business model of a subscription-based, constantly updated library.
Splice vs Sounds.com
Sounds.com is a company owned by Native Instruments that works similarly to splice. It is subscription based and you get credits where you can download sounds for your productions. It’s meant to integrate with popular options for beat making software like Maschine, but can be used regularly as well.
Sounds.com has some good packs and sounds and even has celebrity producers (like Brian Michael Cox and TrapMoneyBenny) who have curated sounds available. But having browsed and downloaded from both sites, Splice still comes out on top.
Splice has a better selection of sounds, better integration with DAWs and is easier to use and navigate. They also have a better structure when you save samples to your computer.
All in all, if you have to choose one or the other, choose Splice.
Output Arcade vs Splice
The next competitor that comes to mind when thinking about Splice is Arcade – a VST instrument by the company Output that is similar in concept to Splice, but functions much differently.
While Splice is a library where you download individual sounds, Arcade is actually an instrument that you can play which features a constantly updating library of sounds and samples.
Each kit has several samples that get laid out on your keyboard. You can also mess with the samples using the black keys on your keyboard or adding/removing on-board effects.
Bottom line – Arcade is a BEAST. And it’s a literal cheat code when it comes to making beats.
I highly recommend subscribing to BOTH Splice AND Arcade – you won’t ever need anything else to make bangers all day. But if you had to choose only one, Arcade would be my first choice.
What’s Included in the Monthly Subscription?
Splice offers 3 different plans at different price points.
Here’s what’s included in each:
- Access to Entire Sound Library (drums/perc sounds, loops, VST presets, MIDI patterns)
- 100 Monthly Download Credits
- Desktop/Mobile App to Manage Sounds
- Bridge Plugin to Integrate into DAW
- Artist curated packs/collections
- AI-powered sound discovery
Creator Plan (best value)
- Everything Included in Sounds+ Plan
- 100 Additional Monthly Download Credits (200 Credits Total)
- Access to SKILLS section with lessons and tutorials from pros (with project files included)
- Online “Beatmaker” Plugin (create drum loops from any sounds)
- Online “Astra Synth” Plugin
- Everything Included in Creator Plan
- 300 Additional Monthly Download Credits (500 Credits Total)
How to Use Splice
So how does splice work, exactly? When you first sign up for an account (Get a FREE trial with download credits here) you’re dropped right into the marketplace.
Browse around by what’s new or the top sellers on the site. Or you can dig deep into genres or perform keyword searches.
Once you land on a specific pack you’re able to do a few things:
- preview demos of the pack
- preview individual sounds
- add the pack to your favorites list
- drill-down to to only see the sounds you are interested in
- download the full pack or individual sounds
How Does Splice Work?
The shopping experience in Splice is pretty fantastic. Beyond the great search function you’re actually able to drill down into specific types of sounds you’re looking for.
Say you need a thick snare drum with a metallic quality – you’re able to set filters to specific sound types or qualities/textures. And then you can preview all the available options before you decide to download the perfect one.
And once you download a sound, you’ll always have access to it. So if you ever accidentally delete it or lose the file, you can easily download it again from the Splice cloud servers.
The desktop/mobile app is great for managing your sounds from Splice. You can use it to preview new sounds or download ones you’ve already used credits on. The Skills program has some pretty interesting lessons included from dope producers like Kenny Beats. The included online plugins like BeatMaker and Astra are cool, I guess, but pretty basic and I can’t see myself ever using it “for real.”
The Rent-to-Own Program
Splice also offers some of the best plugins out there in a convenient rent-to-own program. So if you’ve been eyeing Serum for a while but can’t drop the $200+ all at once, you can download it today and pay a monthly fee until you’ve paid it all off.
This is a super useful service by Splice, but unfortunately not all the plugins available are on “rent-to-own” (like Omnisphere, dammit). The program does feature some great plugins, though.
Here’s a list of all our favorite plugins available on rent-to-own:
- RC-20 Retro Color
- Izotope Ozone + Neutron
- Arturia’s V Collection
- Korg Synth Collection 2
- Output’s Movement and Portal FX
It should be obvious, but in case it’s not, Splice rent-to-own plugins are NOT included in the monthly credits’ subscription. It’s separate and EXTRA money. You do not need a monthly Splice subscription to do Rent-to-Own.
The plugin’s start at $9.99/month depending on the price of the plugin until you’ve paid for it in full.
The Extras Included in Splice
This wouldn’t be a proper look if we didn’t talk about the “bonuses.” There are a few extras that are included on the Splice website, but none of them are anything to really get too excited about.
Splice Studio is a feature where you can start and store your projects in the cloud. You can also setup collaborations with other Splice users and easily share the stuff you need to share (projects, sounds, etc.).
The community section isn’t really a “community” in the forum/message board sense of the word. But it is where all the contests on the platform take place.
Splice also has a fantastic blog that they update regularly with tips and guides on making music. But now with their changeover to a monthly model they have a new SKILLS area where subscribers get access to exclusive tutorials and guides. Their first artist in residence was the world-renowned Kenny Beats – so it’s a pretty legit extra you get (probably my favorite).
Finally, they have a downloadable desktop app you can use to sync your projects/collaborations with the cloud and your DAW (if you use a compatible one). You can also download sounds from the app, but you can’t really browse new stuff and find sounds. For that you still have to use the website.
That was kind of a let down, but recently they released a Bridge plugin to let you preview and download sounds from within your DAW. That is a GREAT feature and makes using Splice easier than ever.
The Evolution of Splice
Splice was first launched as a piece of studio software in 2013 and was made available to the public in 2014. The software allowed musicians to collaborate remotely with each other.
A year later in 2015 is when it became what we know today – a subscription-based sound library. And that’s when things really started to take off. There have been many attempts at studio software for remote collaboration, but the idea of an ever-growing library of sounds you could use like an actual library was pretty novel.
The plugin rent-to-own program was then launched in 2016 which was another much-welcome way for producers to acquire new sounds for their productions.
And although the library has been constantly updated since, the innovation has not kept pace. There have been new additions like an AI algorithm to help you find sounds, a couple of plugins and mobile apps, and even the SKILLS section of the site. But none of these have been as exciting as the initial innovations the company made (in our opinion).
We’ll see what the company does in the future.
Product Design and How it Affects Use
The developers of Splice really took the time to design the website and software in a way that was intuitive, easy to use and fast.
The charts and category pages are cleanly designed and easy to scroll/skim to find something that catches your eye/ear. The navigation on the website is very easy to use, with several filtering criteria up-front and center – making finding your exact need easier. The sample list is also very well designed. You’re able to see a list of matching samples in a clean database-like structure.
Previewing, downloading, saving and browsing samples is extremely easy. With all of the buttons close by so you can quickly grab what you need. The desktop app and bridge plugins are also well-designed and function in a way that makes using Splice easy. Once you download a sample (with one click from the site), the desktop app refreshes fairly quickly and you’re able to drag-and-drop the sound right into your project without any fuss.
The bridge plugin allows you to preview the sounds from the Splice webpage within your existing project – all tempo-matched and in-sync.
All in all the design of Splice works very well.
My Personal Experience With Splice
It may sound like I’m trying to shill the service for commissions (full disclosure: we do get commissions through our links), but I promise you I actually do like Splice and have used it on and off for years now. I confidently recommend it to anyone that asks about it.
It’s a fantastic marketplace with such a huge selection of sounds, loops and plugins that you’ll never run out of inspiration or get bored. The real problem is there’s just too much stuff. It can be hard to decide what you actually want to use.
If you’re still on the fence, why not take a test drive and get a free trial you can use risk-free. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth it.
Here’s some of my personal favorite sound packs on Splice:
- Boi-1da Soundkit: Bare Sounds for Your Headtop
- WondaGurl Sample Pack
- Tayla Parx Sample Pack
- Scott Storch’s Still Storch Vol. 1
- MURDA BEATZ QUARANTINE KIT
- Southside’s “I Invented Trap” Sample Pack Vol 1.
- PVLACE & RVSSIAN drum kits
- The Fantastic Sounds of Jay Dee AKA J Dilla
Do yourself a favor and get these packs at the very least. The sounds in them are GREAT.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is not legal advice, but according the official Splice website, the sounds you get from Splice are completely royalty free to use in “new” recordings or compositions. In other words, you can use Splice sounds royalty-free as a part of new material, but cannot sell or sublicense them alone.
Some of the sounds you get from Splice will, no doubt, be compressed and EQ’d by the sound/loop designer as part of their creative process. Other sounds, however, may be completely uncompressed. A good way to tell is to look at the audio waveform, and judge how dynamic the audio is using your eyes.
Splice works through a subscription model. You subscribe monthly or yearly for a certain number of download credits which can be used to get sounds/loops, presets and MIDI patterns. Once you spend a credit on a sound, you are essentially licensing that sound for use in your own compositions. You can then download the audio/data and use it in your own musical creations, essentially royalty free.
When you add a Splice sound to your downloaded library, the file will appear in the default Splice App download folder. This is often something like /Splice/packs if you’re on Windows and something similar if you’re on Mac. Visit the Splice app settings page to see the exact location where your downloaded/synced samples will appear on your computer.
The most popular plan is the “Creator” plan at $13.99 because it gives you a decent number of credits every month while allowing you to access some of the extras like “Skills.” If you’re someone that is going to EXCLUSIVELY and ONLY use the sounds you find in Splice and nothing else, then it makes sense to get the “Creator +” plan for extra credits. But if you’re only using Splice as one part of your other sounds/instruments, then the “Creator” plan should be fine.
Yes, Splice sounds are compatible with all beat making and digital audio workstation software. They use universal formats of files like WAV, MIDI, etc. However, the Splice Bridge App (which syncs projects and sounds within your DAW) is not fully compatible with ALL software. It works best with FL Studio and Ableton Live.
The Final Verdict on Splice
So… Is Splice worth it?
Bottom line, if you’re a producer or songwriter Splice should be in your tool-kit.
No matter what type of music you’re trying to create, you’ll find something that fits your vision perfectly.
Whether you’re looking for a starting point, better drum sounds, a perc loop or some ear candy to finish off your beat – there’s a HIGH chance you’ll find something perfect on Splice. I’ve used sounds from it for each of those scenarios.
As a matter of fact, if I was starting out making beats right now all I’d need is a subscription to Splice Sounds and a subscription to Output’s Arcade. With those two things alone you’ll be able to make the most fire beats EVER, FOREVER.
Don’t sleep, Splice is a fantastic solution for new sounds and tutorials!
For most people, I think the Splice Creator plan is likely the best option with the most value for the money.
If you’re new to making music, sign-up for our free Beat Making Cheat Sheets and you’ll get our 7-Day Course to Better Beats as well.
Thanks for reading this Splice review – I hope it was helpful.
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