Sonic Faction Archetype Ableton Bundle review

Synth savvy Max For Live collection

  • $200
Dance producers in particular will get endless mileage from these synths

MusicRadar Verdict

A truly mighty bundle.


  • +

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


  • -

    Interfaces could be smoother.

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

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.

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.