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6 Must-Have Plugin Subscriptions for Audio Engineers in 2024

With the ever-growing library of high-fidelity tools available to mix engineers, it’s no longer frowned upon to mix “in the box”. 

On top of that, the best plugin subscriptions for sound engineers are more affordable than ever before!

With an ever-growing library of high-fidelity tools on offer to mix engineers paired with an unprecedented amount of computer processing power easily accessible, the must-have audio plugin subscriptions for mix engineers have never been easier to use. 

Spotify and Uber have proved that people care less about owning things and more about having access – a shift that plugin developers have slowly gotten on board with as well.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can take advantage of this selection of accessible audio plugins to push your mixes to the next level without pushing your bank account into the red. Let’s get into it!

Related Article:
13 Best Vocal FX Plugins & Software (2024 Expert Picks)

The Best Plugin Subscriptions for Audio Engineers Highlighted

  1. Splice Start your subscription
  2. LANDRFree Plugins
  3. LoopcloudFree Trial
  4. WavesFree Trial
  5. Avid ProtoolsBuy it now
  6. Slate
  7. Gobbler
  8. McDSP

With the world of music-making fighting the same levels of piracy as the world of music, these are the best subscription services for audio engineers.

1. Splice Sounds

Splice is a website where you have access to a multitude of tools to enhance your mixing, editing, and songwriting capabilities. You can get plugins, samples, find advice, see what the pros are using, and even find DAW’s to try out. Splice provides a great community to share your own creativity as well as hear other artist’s work to hopefully inspire yourself.

There are always new samples coming out and articles being released that can help show you how to sound more like the pros.

Type of Subscription: Monthly

Who’s it for? Every level of experience would benefit from using Splice.

What’s included:

  • Exclusive access to every aspect of Splice
  • Unlimited Auditioning
  • Either 100 or 1000 Splice Credits
  • Create your own collections


PC or Mac?

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • Endless Samples
  • Royalty-free
  • Free and paid plugins


  • Monthly credits do not carry over

Check out our review of here.


LANDR is an all-encompassing brand geared toward artists looking for plugins, samples, mastering services, and music distribution. 

With LANDR, you gain access to 12 plugins – 11 which are completely FREE! Any musician on a budget, looking to experiment with plugins, or change up their sound should check them out. These free plugins are built by major brands like iZotope, Valhalla, and Flux. 

Type of Subscription: A user is able to access 11 plugins free of charge, and 1 paid plugin at the rent-to-own price of 9.99/ 20 months ( $199.80 total)

Who’s it for? Beginners and budget-conscious musicians

What’s included:

  • 11 Free Plugins: 
    • Boogex by Voxengo 
    • SPAN by Voxengo
    • Voxengo by Voxengo 
    • MFreeFXBundle by Melda
    • Freeware Plugins Pack II by Blue Car Audio 
    • Frohmage by Ohm Force
    • Triple Cheese by U-HE
    • Bittersweet by Flux
    • FreqEcho by Vallhalla
    • Vinyl by iZotope
    • OTT by Xfer Records
  • 1 Rent to own Plugin
    • Lethal Pro by Lethal Audio 9.99/ month for 20 months
  • Free Mastering Tools
  • Managed Distribution 


PC or Mac?

  • PC and Mac apps available as well as a browser-based application. 


  • Access to Free Plugins: LANDR gives anyone looking for free plugins access, no signup necessary.
  • More than just plugins: This application has a ton of resources like samples, mastering, distribution, and musician’s network. 


  • Plugin Library is Small: although LANDR’s plugins library is mostly free, it will be nice to see them add more free or paid plugins to their platform.

2. Loopcloud

Loopcloud is brought to you by the same group behind Loopmasters and Plugin Boutique.

Loupcloud is their sample subscription model that packs in a ton of value, and also allows you to seamlessly sync up purchases made on either Loopmasters of Plugin Boutique.

Type of Subscription: Monthly

Who’s it for? All levels of experience & their guided video tutorials are well suited for beginners.

What’s included:

  • Up to 50 free sounds each day — depending on your Loopcloud plan
  • Access to their unique plugin suite including Loopcloud Drum & Loopcloud Play
  • A 30 day free trial for the Studio plan

Packages – Currently Loopcloud offers 4 different package plans ranging from free to $21.99/month

  • Free: Basic access with limited capabilities, but a good way to try out the product
  • Artist: $7.99/month will full capabilities on the platform. The free trial is not included in this plan.
  • Studio: $11.99/month with an increase in points (to cash in for sounds, plugin expansions, etc) and the free trial is available with this plan.
  • Professional: $21.99/month and the max setting for storage, points, free daily sounds, and more. The free trial is not available with this plan but is always available as an upgrade if you need more.

PC or Mac?

  • Native desktop applications for both PC & OSX


  • Exclusive sounds: Access to unique sample sounds and plugins in one place.
  • Sync: Seamlessly sync other purchases made from Loopmasters or Plugin Boutique in one dashboard.
  • Plugin Suite: Exclusive included plugins with Loopcloud Drum & Loopcloud play. Both of which provide an endless selection of instruments, presets, and more.
  • Carry Over: Monthly points do carry over if you are not to use them.


  • Still growing: This product has a lot of promise not as extensive in the quantity of plugins or samples compared to Splice.

3. Waves

The gold standard of audio plugins and FX now doesn’t have to cost you a bar of gold. Waves is always on the cutting edge of music production and audio engineering bringing some of the most versatile studio tools from the minds of producers and engineers into a digital form that most of its peers couldn’t even dream of. These are production tools that are built not only for perfect replication but extremely specific engineering processes.

Type of Subscription: A full collection of mixing tools ranging from audio cleanup to otherwordly FX.

Who’s it for? Novice to Expert Level Engineers of all Types

Packages – Waves has three different tiers of subscription packages that match their critically acclaimed plugin bundles that have been their bread and butter for well over a decade.

PC or Mac:

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • There isn’t a type of plugin that you would want that you can’t find in Waves’ catalog.
  • No iLok required.


  • No “grabbag” option: When moving into the world of digital subscription packages you would think that a brand like Waves that has allowed for the purchasing of one-off plugins for nearly a decade would allow people to choose what’s in their bundles to a certain extent.
  • CPU Intensive: Certain Waves plugins will completely eat up your CPU in a moment’s notice so make sure you save before you decide to load up 7 instances of Butch Vig.

4. Avid ProTools

There’s not much to say about Avid’s Pro Tools, it has been the industry standard for nearly 2 decades, because of this Avid is one of the only companies that also offers an educational discount for students and teachers alike which is more than half the cost of the standard license.

As one of the oldest and most comprehensive audio companies in the world, Avid’s ProTools subscription is perfect by itself or paired with a set of professional AAX plugins.

Type of Subscription: DAW, Plugins + Digital Instruments

Who’s it for? Everyone in music, novice or expert.

What’s included:

  • Any Version of ProTools 11 or 12
  • 6 Air Virtual Instruments
  • Over 70 Plugins covering everything from Dynamics to Delays

Packages – Avid offers an array of options for their subscription models that are all charged month to month with the exception of their perpetual licensing options.

PC or Mac?

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • ProTools access and functionality at a fraction of the cost of jumping all the way in.
  • Offline Bouncing: ProTools finally doesn’t force you to bounce everything in real-time which is not only a godsend but a real time-saver and sometimes lifesaver in a real crunch.
  • Make your iPad a EUCON controller: ProTools’ free Control iOS app allows you to turn your iOS devices into a real time wireless controller.
  • Revisions: As Logic X added it’s versioning to match all things Apple, Avid has brought it’s own version of Revisions to allow a real A/B experience for creation and experimenting with a mix.
  • Collaborate: The Avid Cloud allows for remote collaboration in real time without having to import, or email. It even has text chat.
  • Learn: Get 5 pureMix tutorials with whatever package you get.


  • Not compatible with RTAS Plugins: If you are still using PT10 and you want to switch to the newer ProTools options you will have to upgrade all of your plugins to AAX, which many companies will give you license to if you own the RTAS version, but not all plugins have converted to the new higher.
  • You have to have a 2nd generation iLok or later.

4. Slate

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Steven Slate and his Slate Digital imprint have been making waves in the audio industry for well over 20 years. From his original hardware masterpieces to the evolution of drum replacement and an unmatched mastery of hardware emulation, Slate is not only a force to be reckoned with but a pioneer in digital music creation space.

With Slate’s Everything Bundle you get just that, every single plugin Slate Digital creates. The plugins are used by some of the best in the industry and at everything bundles pricing, they cannot be beaten.

Type of Subscription: Plugin: Full Plugin Package

Who’s it for? Professional Tracking, Mixing and Mastering Engineers

What’s included? Over 26 audio plugins that range from de-essing to an array of emulated dynamic mainstays. Every digital plugin Slate makes, really.

Packages – Waves has three different tiers of subscription packages that match their critically acclaimed plugin bundles that have been their bread and butter for well over a decade.

  • Monthly: $14.99
  • Yearly: $24.99/Month
  • Yearly: $178.99

PC or Mac?

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • Free Generation 2 iLok (if you don’t have one)
  • One price for all things Slate: With Slates monthly subscription you get free updates and every new plugin they come out with while you pay for the subscription.
  • Learn: Free mixing and mastering courses from the Slate team.
  • Not a CPU hog: Slate plugins are relatively light on computing power, unlike their Waves counterparts.
  • Try before you buy: A 30-day trial is available for those who aren’t sure they that ProTools is for them.


  • Needs an iLok, but that’s free if you need it.
  • Steven Slate Drums tools are not available in the Everything Bundle
  • Slate is light in the FX department outside of standard Delays, Verbs and Filters, something I’m sure the company will fix in the near future.

5. Gobbler

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Gobbler is the original plugin subscription service that has partnered with a range of brands to bring the monthly payment model to audio professionals to help combat piracy. Unlike most other brand publishers like Avid and Waves, Gobbler is more of a plugin marketplace repository that pushes packages as opposed to plugin-specific options.

Type of Subscription: Choose your own adventure, you can literally choose whatever product you’d like.

Who’s it for? Plugin creators and audio engineering professionals

What’s included? That’s up to you, see above.

Packages – Waves has three different tiers of subscription packages that match their critically acclaimed plugin bundles that have been their bread and butter for well over a decade.

  • All audio packages are brand specific and range from $7.99/month to $499.99 / year.

PC or Mac?

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • Sometimes an iLok is needed depending on the bundle, but free with Slate Digital or Kush Audio subscriptions.
  • Subscribe to your favorite plugins: A critical mass of plugins that cover the entire spectrum of audio recording, mixing, mastering, and production.
  • Control subscriptions with one portal.
  • Exclusive Deals: Though certain companies that partner with Gobbler have their own subscription models there are a range of Gobbler specific bundles that bring brings


  • No “grabbag” option: Every subscription is brand-specific so there is no option to mix and match the plugins you’d like.
  • Sometimes an iLok is needed and with the exception of Slate and Kush plugins you would have to pay for it out of pocket.
  • Sometimes an unnecessary middleman: Though Gobbler brought the subscription model to many audio companies, certain companies like Slate and Eventide already have their own models that include the same options at the same price point.
  • Not enough of a range: Though there are a host of options for users, there isn’t a huge range of brands on the platform.

6. McDSP

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McDSP is a name that most new engineers may not know, but a staple for any engineer who has worked in a studio with ProTools HD. The powerhouse plugin suite has generally been completely out of reach for novice engineers because of its price point alone.

Type of Subscription: A range of tools meant for Mixing and Mastering Engineers.

Who’s it for? Professional Mixing & Mastering Engineers

What’s included?: Everything that McDSP creates while you’re paying for your subscription in Native or HD form.


  • Native:
    • Monthly: $29
    • Yearly: $295
  • HD (allows for use of DSP Cards / Hardware for extra processing power)
    • Monthly: $49
    • Yearly: $495

PC or Mac?

  • Both PC & OSX Compatible


  • A full deck of plugins: 24 high-fidelity signal processing, dynamic, and FX plugins.
  • DSP Ready: The power to use DSP modules to offset the somewhat CPU intensive plugins is available to HD subscribers.


  • A second generation iLok is required.
  • A bit of a CPU hog, but with the right computer configuration it should be no problem.
  • As an aesthetic note, McDSP plugins are workhorses, not Clydesdales.

Criteria for Selecting the Right Plugin Bundle for Audio Engineers

There are many things that go into an audio plugin subscription, and understanding those key factors will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the best audio plugin subscriptions for your work.

From considerations like support and compatibility to technical details from sound quality to versatility, there will always be tradeoffs and benchmarks. 

Knowing exactly what your work needs and where you need to focus (or where you can ease up) will make your decision-making much easier. 


A plugin subscription that only does one thing might be useful once in a while, and when you need it you’ll be glad you have it,

However, when it comes to long-term subscriptions, you’ll want a plugin that can be turned into a variety of different jobs. 

Look out for plugins that allow you to do more with less, rather than collecting every plugin you could possibly need!

Sound Quality

Sound quality is king. When you select an audio plugin subscription, you want to choose one that retains the quality of your audio files. 

There’s no sense in picking a tool that will compress or crush the life out of your audio or leave you with a huge amount of cleanup. 

User Interface

While you’re definitely clever enough to figure out any user interface when you have all the time in the world, the easier the user interface of whichever plugin you’re using, the sooner you can get to use it properly. 


Compatibility is a key consideration when it comes to the best plugin bundles. In your workflow, you’ll want to move from tool to tool as you bring your vision to life. 

If your main editing suite is incompatible with a plugin (or if one plugin is completely separate from the rest of your workflow), you’ll lose time and introduce space for mistakes as you switch between them. 

Support & Updates

Considering you’re paying an ongoing cost for access to a plugin, you’ll want to be assured that there is ongoing support to fix bugs or introduce new features. 

If you end up paying for abandonware, you’ll certainly be disappointed – so check the frequency of updates and the developer’s support schedule for any tool before you buy it.  

Final Thoughts

There are so many audio plugin subscriptions out there that can breathe new life into your workflow that it would be a shame not to experience them. 

That being said, knowing the difference between a crucial tool that will open up new possibilities and something more niche (or fundamentally flawed) that will see you wasting money will help you make the best decision about what’s right for you.

Keep our key criteria in mind, even if you don’t end up wanting or needing to use our suggested plugins. When you finally come across the right plugin for you, you’ll know it!

In any case, keeping abreast of the developments in audio plugin subscriptions will allow you to stay on the cutting edge of consumer mix engineering – so keep exploring! 

Try new products and learn how to hone your craft – and when you do find the tools you love, don’t forget to branch out once in a while to keep yourself informed.

Rent To Own Plugins On Splice

Gain access to premium plugins — all for one low monthly fee. Rent to own saving more money upfront, and even start with a free trial.