Sonic Faction Archetype Ableton Bundle review

  • $200

Synth savvy Max For Live collection

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Our Verdict

A truly mighty bundle.

For

  • Excellent value for money. Great variety of predominantly very good sounds.

Against

  • Interfaces could be smoother.
Buying options

What we have here is a collection of all eight sample-based Max For Live instruments (and nested Live Racks) based on Sonic Faction's previously released Live Racks, plus a pair of step sequencers for use with the Akai APC40, Novation Launchpad and Ableton Push.

Each instrument is also available individually, making for a total of $491, although we'd question the value for money of some of them.

"The end result is a bonkers parade of flamboyant classic synth reimaginings"

Beatdown is a 16-slot drum machine powered by a high-impact, EDM-centric soundbank of over 40 kits, the Live Rack version of which we've covered previously. The synth-emulating (in the loosest sense) trio of Clone (Roland SH-101), Pulsator (Waldorf Pulse) and Rogue-One (Sequential Circuits Pro-One) have also had the   reviews treatment in the shape of the Mutant Synth Pack.

The remaining four are Sickness (Access Virus), EvilFish 303 (Roland TB-303), Hatchet (Arp Axxe) and Whoosh Machine (an original design, for generating riser FX).

Sonic Faction has multisampled every oscillator and waveform of the referenced machines, then bundled the results into a functionally consistent interface with certain sections customised to suit each instrument - EvilFish's filter morph, say, replacing the waveform mixing of Hatchet or Pulsator's X-Mod oscillator.

Controls and parameters common to all of them (except Beatdown, with its percussion-orientated alternatives) include a multimode filter; amp, filter and pitch envelopes; two LFOs; various effects; an arpeggiator; and preset morphing - indeed, they're far more intuitive and approachable than the vast majority of Max devices.

Nonetheless, the end result is a bonkers parade of flamboyant classic synth reimaginings - and an awesome drum machine - that dance producers in particular will get endless mileage from.

So, what you probably need to do is find 200 bucks and take the plunge, because Archetype is a monster.

Being Max For Live devices, the interfaces aren't always as smooth as we'd like (instrument loading/unloading and preset morphing are dismally slow/laggy, most pertinently), but the sounds that come out of these things are good enough to outweigh such negatives.

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Tech Specs

DescriptionCollection of sample-based Max For Live instruments
PlatformPC/Mac