PRODUCT REVIEW: Soundly
Price: $14.99 per month
Our Rating: 4.7/5
Cutting edge sound effects search software Soundly, combines Scandinavian minimalism with lightning fast editing workflows.
Installation and Setup
Soundly comes as a compact software package, which installed quickly on our Windows 7 system. Once launched, and a subscription is purchased, users can scan their entire hard drive for audio files (there is a free version with limitations too). This will take some time, but once scanned, Soundly can automatically update new audio files within folders when relaunching the software.
The interface is very slick, and is comfortable to look at for long periods with it’s dark colour scheme. It offers a stripped back set of preferences, and has a very useful ‘dock-mode’, which adjusts the window to a laptop friendly size automatically. Screen real estate is massively important when sound editing, and Soundly can function very well on laptops.
There is support for a variety of audio formats, including WAV, MP3, OGG, AIFF and FLAC up to 192 kHz 32 Bit. Soundly also includes these features:
Shared network database for easy team collaboration. Easy to setup and no need to run a separate server
Spot to Pro Tools with handles
Mono, stereo and multi-channel
Smart, lossless compression from our servers gives you lightning fast transfers
Built on Google's infrastructure for unparalleled redundancy, safety and speed
Option for lower resolution files on slow connections
Access the extensive Freesound.org library directly from within Soundly
Reads meta data from sound effect and music libraries
The 'Sounds' tab has various controls for searching, editing and spotting audio files. At the left side of the interface is the Libraries section, where users can toggle the cloud/local libraries on and off, as well as create custom playlists - very useful for building those project specific folders!
In the lower area of the UI, users can reverse, adjust pitch, speed and the level of chosen sound effects before dragging them into a DAW or NLE. The majority of the screen is filled with search results, displaying file names, lengths, formats, channel configurations, libraries and descriptions.
The 'Store' tab allows users to search for sound effects to purchase from boutique libraries. The 'News' tab allows customers to comment on update releases directly, which shows that Soundly value the opinions of working professionals.
Soundly is a dramatic workflow enhancement for Pro Tools Sound Editors. Not only can you drag files straight into the timeline, but you can adjust in/out points and spot to Pro Tools all without exporting additional files.
One of Soundly’s major advantages is the online library that comes with subscriptions, it includes over 10,000 audio files, which sound great and are a useful addition as a general library.
On top of that, Freesound integration makes trawling through the website a thing of the past! You can even search for CC0 only effects, which helps avoid those ‘doh!’ moments when you can’t use a sound effect due to attribution licensing.
The ability to drag audio straight from the cloud is painless with today’s fibre optic broadband connections, and Soundly makes it feel like an offline library, amazing.
Users also have the option to purchase boutique libraries from multiple vendors within the software. Sound effects creator’s will also be happy to hear that extensive Metadata authoring is also on the feature list, and it couldn’t be simpler for beginners, simply right click a file and hit 'edit metadata'.
Searching for More
The best way to describe the current release of Soundly is that it feels complete as an offline sound effects search software. It is fast, adaptable and painless to use.
However, now that 2.0 has added many practical features, Soundly need to focus on partnerships to really help their Store section shine. More free libraries need to be available in the app, such as the Sonniss GDC bundles, Zapsplat and more.
Soundsnap integration would also be a huge addition, as well as a partnership with ASoundEffect and Pro Sound Effects. The difficulty in obtaining this is evident, but the app specialises in sound effects from the cloud, and the $15 per month subscription feels harder to spend with these omissions - as the cloud library won't cover every specific scenario.
That brings us to the next point, subscription models. Hate them or love them, they are here to stay, and can be worthwhile if constant value is added month by month - Soundly provides this by updating their cloud library.
The inclusion of a pricing option for users who want the full offline search options, without the cloud library, would position Soundly as a knockout competitor for Soundminer and Basehead, which it definitely can be.
The Bottom Line
If you prefer to pay monthly for software, Soundly promises immense value straight out of the box. It would take over 2 years of subscription to spend as much as the cost of Soundminer HD PLUS; and you get 10,000+ audio files included.
If you hate subscription models, it is still worth a look, especially as there is a free version available for download with limited features.