Review: Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld


Sonic Underworld leads us into Hive’s digital playground to deliver Hive Varinox – a solid offering that can be used for sci-fi underscore, 80s-inspired tracks and more. The Hive Varinox basslines can beat and grind you into submission, while its ARPs can deliver plenty of creative fodder for your tracks.

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Jump to the Demos of Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld


Review: Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld

Hive Varinox delivers 150 digitally crisp patches from Sonic Underworld for u-he’s excellent Hive 1.2+. From bell-like ARPs and keys to growling basses and pounding basslines, Sonic Underworld coaxes plenty of Hive’s crisp, digital character into Hive Varinox.

Hive Varinox sells for $35.00 from Sonic Underworld


I have really enjoyed the work of Sonic Underworld and would say he is on the shortlist of sound designers I look to when trying to freshen up my favorite synths with exciting new sounds. In Hive Varinox, Sonic Underworld leads us into the digitally crisp and clean air of u-he’s Hive 1.2+ with a good collection of patches. As is my customary practice when reviewing a soundset, below I will offer my thoughts as I present a breakdown of the categories you can find within Hive Varinox.

ARP = 20 Patches
One of the beauties of Hive is its crystal clear and sharp digital sound. The ARPs of Hive Varinox make good use of this digitally clear quality and deliver plenty of crisp sounding digital patches that can cut straight through a mix. However, as with many soundsets, it is important not to take each sound completely at face value. One of the qualities I love about Hive is its super-simple, easy to use arpeggiator and sequencer. I was initially somewhat dismissive of some of the ARPs found in Varinox, as I wasn’t particularly fond of all the programmed patterns. However, when I began to experiment with the sequencer a little myself, and try out my own patterns, these sounds began to come alive to me and reveal just how useful they can be. Again, there is a great lesson here to play around a little with your sounds instead of always moving to the next patch. I do not normally tweak the patches I find in soundsets, as I don’t normally like to dive into sound design. However, 30 seconds in the Hive sequencer yielded some great results here. If you are wanting some good digital sounds that can easily be tweaked to fit into your track, Varinox is a good place to start.

Bass Lines – 20 patches
Wowzer! Varinox includes some of the best basslines I have yet heard in a sound set! Staying true to the digitally sharp character of Hive, Varinox delivers strong, digital basslines that are! I like to use u-he’s color-coded tagging system to identify my favorite patches, with green being my “look no further” indicator. I can’t remember when I’ve placed so many green tags in a single category within one sound set. If you are looking for deep digital basslines that can go from deep and clear to distorted and dirty with a simple flick of the modwheel, Hive Varinox will be a treasure trove of digital deep goodness for you!

Basses – 20 Patches
Much like the previously mentioned basslines, the basses within Varinox are deep, dark, and digital. These patches vary from dark and rich to distorted and dirty, but they all are filled with digitally dark goodness. Some of these can make for great bass pads too. Hive’s digital personality shines through again!

Drum Loops – 15 Patches
The drum loops within Hive Varinox are unique and could take you in a number of different directions. From fully prepared dancefloor grooves to a tribal tech groove and several things in between, this is a fun set of drum loops that you might reach for when looking for something fresh and different to add to your track. I would like to have seen a lot more of these within Varinox, as Sonic Underworld does an excellent job of utilizing Hive to spice up your drum tracks with its crisp, clean quality.

FX – 15 Patches
I don’t normally use many FX patches from synth sound sets, but they can come in handy from time to time to freshen up your sound and avoid the stereotypical whooshes, hits, etc. we’ve grown used to from trailer tool kits. There are some fun FX patches in Varinox that vary from deranged bells to digital circuit sounds. Again, these are sounds I probably won’t end up using myself but could come in handy for some.

Keys – 5 Patches
There aren’t many keys patches within Varinox, but these are some useful ones. There are dusty sounding bells along with several wavetable keys. These weren’t standouts for me in the sound set, but still useful.

Leads – 10 Patches
The leads within Varinox are varied and useful. The digital and clean sound of these means they can cut straight through a mix, while there are several gliding and layered lead sounds that could be fantastic for lending a Stranger Things, 80s vibe to your track.

Pads – 30 Patches
The pads within Varinox continue the theme of digital coolness with a little warmth mixed in. The standouts in this group for me were the pulsing, rhythmic pads like “Cycle Drone” and “Driven Solitude.” Many of us likely have hundreds or even thousands of pad sounds by now, so it’s important to me to always ask if the sound set is giving me something I don’t already have elsewhere. In this case, the rhythmic pads are the best example of that. These rhythmic pads have a movement you don’t often find in pad sounds and could be useful for underscore work or for adding a unique characteristic to a track.

Soundscapes – 5 Patches
The soundscapes within Varinox feel like they were made for being in the next space-based sci-fi thriller. These are industrial, digital sounds that would work great for underscoring an edge of the seat scene in which the protagonist walks through the dim red light of the spaceship’s server room to figure out what that noise was…

Synth Leads – 10 Patches
The synth leads within Varinox are standard for what you might expect in a digital-sounding Hive sound set, but they are indeed good. There is some nice variance here in tone and character from digital crispness to even a little analog-style warmth. My favorite among these synth sounds was a patch entitled “Virginia Plain”, described as a “Wavetable poly synth with effects.” A very fitting sound for an 80s style synth patch.

Hive Varinox is a nice collection of patches that will launch you into the digital ecosphere of u-he’s Hive. While there are a number of good sounds here, I will especially be reaching for the basslines within Varinox in the not so distant future.


Hive Varinox is a collection of 150 patches for u-he’s excellent Hive synth (1.2+). You can purchase Hive Varinox for $35.00 from Sonic Underworld.

Hive Varinox sells for $35.00 from Sonic Underworld


Demos of Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld

Videos of Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld

Contributor Raborn Johnson reviews Hive Varinox by Sonic Underworld
“A solid offering that can be used for sci-fi underscore, 80s-inspired tracks and more . . . Basslines can beat and grind you into submission, while its ARPs can deliver plenty of creative fodder for your tracks.”