Subscriptions have taken over. For a monthly fee, you can access DAWs, plugin bundles, sample libraries, and other music production tools. In this Arcade by Output review, we’ll see how the ever-growing virtual instrument/sample library stacks up against the most popular sample service, Splice.
What’s Arcade Do?
Arcade is a loop-based sampling instrument with a continuously growing library of sounds. It consists of Sampler Kits and Note Kits; Sampler Kits contain 15 samples with their own unique modifiers, and Note Kits contain polyphonic keys, plucks, and more so you can play your own melodies/progressions instead of using samples/loops.
Output’s proprietary modifiers let you chop up loops and samples, making it a versatile instrument for expression. There are enough possibilities with the modifiers and 11+ effects to create something new from an existing loop. Arcade’s workflow is designed to be inspirational and quick — everything is locked to your session’s key/tempo, and you can download new kits and play them all within the same plugin. You can also drag/drop your own samples for manipulation, and they’ll automatically slice/map into a new Kit.
At the time of writing, Arcade by Output comes loaded with over 40 kits. Output adds new kits and loops daily as part of the subscription, so it’s a “living” instrument of sorts. Many producers call Arcade an “idea machine” — a tool that makes it easy to go from 0 to 100 on a production.
Arcade VST Price: How Much Does It Cost?
The instrument costs $10/month. That gets you everything Arcade has to offer. There are no tiered subscriptions ranging from limited to full access based on price. Just subscribe for 10 bucks, and you’re in. Additionally, Output offers a 30-day free trial to give it a shot yourself.
Arcade vs Splice: Which Is Better?
In this Arcade by Output review, we’d like to compare it to the most popular sample subscription service, Splice. Although these are two very different models, many beginning producers are unsure where to start.
First off, Arcade is an instrument. It contains libraries of loops, and Note Kits to play your own MIDI. It’s a playable, creative station to get ideas going quickly.
On the other hand, Splice is a sample library that also offers pre-generated MIDI packs for use with your favorite virtual instruments, and a rent-to-own plugin program. The growing Splice library contains millions of royalty-free one-shots, loops, effects, and more, for everything from music to post-production.
Splice’s subscription model provides monthly credits in exchange for cash, which lets you download samples, MIDI, instrument presets, and Splice content. Subscriptions go for $10/month, $20/month, and $30/month at the highest tier.
For the sheer number of samples available, Splice is a clear winner. Even at the lowest tier, which gives you 100 monthly credits to spend, you can keep yourself busy with 100 samples a month. But that’s where engagement with Splice stops — you have the sample, now figure out how to use it.
For the creative aspect and workflow, Arcade by Output is in its own lane. This is a hybrid sample library/virtual instrument, with an innovative design that makes production that much easier. Overall, we’d take Arcade over Splice, especially for beginners, since it’s a playable instrument itself. Further down the road, you can pick up Splice to expand your own sample library.