February 8

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Sounds.com Review: Sample Library Service by Native Instruments

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The way your music sounds can literally make or break your career. As music creators, we are in the business of making beautiful sounds, and we need the best tools for that.

However, achieving this goal is easier said than done. Good music is in demand more than ever before, especially when you consider the fact that millions of tracks are released every passing day.

That’s why you need to be smart about the moves you make.

Finding the right sound that expresses your style and sounds unique at the same time can take ages. And it may not always come out the way you want it to.

It takes a lot of skill to get that one sound that elicits emotion in the listener, then string it with other similar sounds to make music.

Luckily, you do not have to stumble through the darkness and figure things out on your own anymore. Music production has come a long way thanks to companies that are offering a helping hand.

One such company is Sounds.com. This should be your go-to when you need to stir your creativity and get some inspiration in making your music.

The subscription service offers you royalty-free samples and loops from over 200 trustworthy suppliers.

Find out from this review how to own your unique sounds and get your music out in a fantastic way.

What Is Sounds.Com?

Sounds.com is a website that offers subscription service to musicians and producers. It enables you to download, create, and access a personal library of royalty-free loops, sound packs, and samples to use for commercial and personal purposes.

In 2018, Native Instruments (NI), a company that deals with music software and hardware, launched sounds.com in the US.

The company ensures any hardware it makes has software that connects with every product it produces. Sounds.com is no different as it integrates with all NI hardware, software, and your devices allowing you to make music from anywhere.

sounds library

How Sounds.com Works

To get started, you will either need to have an account either on Sounds.com or NI. You do not need two IDs to access either of them as one is enough.

You will use the same login information to access services and products from the two websites.

The single Native ID allows for ease of registration, receiving updates, and installation of products. You need the ID anytime you log in. After logging into the site, you can navigate and search for any sound and download it to your device.

When you first register to Sounds.com, you automatically earn yourself a free trial on the Essential plan for two weeks. With the free trial, you get 75 credits, while the other paid plans have different credits.

You can use the credits to download any sound of your choice from the library.

For the free trial, if you use up the credits before the 14 days are over, you can start on the selected paid plan. If you wish to cancel from the free trial, you can do so, but any unused credits will be lost.

In case you upgrade to another plan, your previous plan cancels instantly. The day you upgrade will also be used as the billing date.

You get to increase your credits once you upgrade: however, you lose your unused credits from the previous plan.

If you wish to downgrade before your plan is over, at the end of the billing cycle is when the downgrade will take place. You will still have the credits from the previous plan, and then they decrease when the lower plan starts. You, however, may not be able to cancel, upgrade, or downgrade until the downgraded plan starts functioning.

To save and download sounds from the website is easy, as you will find a download icon and a plus icon on each sound. When you log in and find a sound you like, use the plus icon to add it to your library. The sound immediately gets to your device, thanks to the download icon.

To pay for the sounds.com services, you can use any major debit or credit cards. You can use American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Discover, among others. Prepaid cards are, however, not acceptable at the moment.

sounds UI

Key Features

The following key features make Sounds.com stand out from other similar sites:

Massive database of quality sounds

With Sounds.com, you can access over a million high-quality loops. All the loops have been made by some of the top producers in the music industry, so you can rest easy knowing that everything you get from this platform will always be pro-grade.

Royalty-free sounds

Once you download from Sounds.com, you get a royalty-free license for all the samples and loops. It allows you to use, remix, reuse, and modify the sounds for commercial and personal productions. You, however, cannot distribute or resell individual sounds.

Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) support

NKS allows you preview sounds instantly, tag consistently, and browse easily. It also enables you to connect your tools with all NI software and other controllers from third parties. NKS also helps you to view all the sounds you have downloaded to your hardware automatically.

Powerful search engine

The website has a search engine that enables you to find any sound in your head within the shortest time possible. The search engine allows you to sort by genre, key, type, and BPM.

DAW compatibility

Sounds.com can sync and integrate with any DAW of your choice. It helps you search, navigate, and access your sounds samples library with ease. With a dedicated plugin, you can use the Native Instruments’ products such as Traktor, Maschine, Kontakt, among others.

sounds presentation

Other Features

Free trial version

Sounds.com offers its subscribers two weeks of the free trial, which lacks in other subscription services. The version offers you 75 credits, which you can use to preview sounds, access sound-recognition algorithms, and download some sounds.

More membership plans

Apart from the trial version, there are three other plans, namely Essential, Ultimate, and Pro. You can choose any of them depending on your use and budget.

Variety of genres

Sounds.com offers you different genres allowing you to choose any that suits your music preference. You will find cinematic, dance music, Americana, hip hop, techno, ensemble, R&B, among other genres.

Single Native ID

You only need one Native ID to log in to sounds.com or Native Instruments website. The unified login ID makes it easy for you to access any of the websites.

Sounds.com Subscription plans

There are three subscription plans in sounds website which are all charged monthly.

  • The Essential plan goes for $9.99 and offers you 150 credits and also has a 14-day free trial with 75 credits.
  • The Pro plan offers 500 credits for $19.99.
  • The Ultimate plan gives you 1000 credits for $29.99.

For each of these plans, you get to enjoy the following benefits.

  • Previewing unlimited sounds from top creators in the music industry.
  • Access to curated collections from top artists
  • Downloading selected free sounds.
  • You can save your favorite sounds in your device.
  • Weekly updates of collections and sounds, allowing you to experiment with new sounds instead of going through the old ones.

Pros

  • Royalty-free samples: Using Sounds.com or any other NI services offers you a royalty-free license for all samples. Once you download sounds, whether, on free or paid plans, they entirely belong to you. You can use the sounds without fear of being accused of infringing on copyrights.
  • Vast library: the sounds.com library was massive right from its inception. It had about 500,000 of royalty-free sounds, and it has grown over the short period it has been operational over a million unique samples and looms. You can choose any sound from different genres, including dance music, pop, orchestral, among others. The library is still growing, allowing you to access more presets, artist packs, and other exclusives.
  • Free trial version: you can try downloading sounds from the website without paying anything. You can access the service within 14 days and get 75 credits to start with.
  • Curated collections: The platform uses curation to create styles and themes by combining samples from various packs. You will easily find over 200 uniquely curated collections from famous artists, specific instruments, and genres. You can also create your collection and share it with your friends and the community at Sounds.com.
  • Original sounds: in Sounds.com library, you will find artists like Catnapp, Diplo, Kid Kapri, Junkie XL, among others. These artists’ sounds are readily available for you, and you can redo them to make them yours.
  • User-friendly interface: Sounds.com offers you an interface that is easy to use when browsing. You can go through different styles and samples within seconds, which makes the process quick and easy.

Cons

  • Previewing is a tedious and time-consuming process. There is no option of going straight to the main part of the sample you are looking for, and you have to wait for it to reach that point.
  • There are alternatives out there with better selections and options

sounds user

Verdict

As a music creator in search of quality and unique sounds, Sounds.com is the way to go.

The parent company, Native Instruments, has been around since 1996 and is passionate about what it does in the music industry. It has incorporated its vast experience into Sounds.com to deliver top-notch services to its users.

Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is a lot to benefit from Sounds.com. It will boost your workflow in a massive way.

The best part is that it has been priced to fit well into any budget, so no matter who you are, you can take advantage of this tool and take your music creation process to the next level.

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