Hope the new year is treating you good, what better way to start it off here than with a new synth review?
Today I’m checking out the latest in the “Brute” family, the MicroBrute
Let’s check it out
So what is the MicroBrute?
Well if you were to say it was the smaller sibling of the MiniBrute, that would be accurate.
However, don’t imagine this as a scaled-down verison of the MiniBrute, just like any sibling, this synth has it’s own personality and style, as well as some similarities to the MiniBrute.
It’s “micro” in terms of size, it’s quite a bit smaller than the MiniBrute, and it has 25 “mini” keys as opposed to the 25 full-sized keys on the MiniBrute.
It doesn’t have as many faders/sliders as the larger MiniBrute, however there’s still plenty of hands on control right there in front of you.
In addition, it has something the Mini doesn’t…a patchable mod matrix!
- main features: monophonic, 100% analog, Steinber Parker filter, Brute factor, Metalizer, Ultrasaw, arp, 2 LFOs, Oscillator mixer, 2 envelopes
- hardware: 25 mini keys, external audio input, CV in/out, MIDI in/out, USB MIDI in/out, 1/4″ output, headphone out
- price: $349 (329 euro)
- product page: http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/microbrute/intro.html
How does it sound?
This thing is HUGE, raw, thick, warm, funky, wild, crazy, and smooth….yes it can be all of those things!
I really dig the sound of this synth and how easy it is to dial in the ideas you have in your head.
I love the new Overtone circuit, basically a Sub Oscillator but it’s a bit more flexible in that it can do 5ths as well. However I like using it on it’s own too and messing with the sub/fifth knob to get some weird tones.
Speaking of weird, you can get some pretty funky stuff once you start using the mod matrix, that little thing is seriously fun and also feeds (or increases) the appetite for modular synthesis.
Each waveform in this synth has it’s own character with it’s own “manipulator” as I call it. For the saw you have an ultrasaw knob, the square wave has a pulse width knob, and the triangle wave has the metalizer.
Oh yeah…the Brute factor is still here and sounds as good as ever. I find there is an actual point where it goes from a nice warm/thick sound to totally crazy. Of course it all works in conjunction with the other knobs and modulators, but it’s a really sweet knob.
I like the sound of the filter still, it definitely has it’s own sound and is not a “me too” filter like so many other hardware and software synths. The MicroBrute sounds like the MicroBrute and that’s exactly how I like it.
So what’s the bottom line?
It’s really an awesome time to be a synth fanatic, because products like this make it very affordable to get real analog synthesis into your setup
I really, really, REALLY dig the size of the MicroBrute, the sound is monstrous and it doesn’t take up a bunch of space to give you that analog love so many of us crave.
I give the MicroBrute 4.5 out of 5 subs, it’s a super powerful, fully analog synth with it’s own unique character at a price that is less than many major software instruments
The mini keys will take getting used to if you haven’t used them before, they are a bit “spongy” for my tastes, but again I’m a very light player. I would like to feel a little more “give” but they aren’t stiff in any way, and feel pretty typical for “mini” keys.
I would have loved to see a “hold” button and a swing knob for the step sequencer, it makes editing sounds so much fun when you can latch the sequencer. I do think there is an option with the firmware update and the “MicroBrute Connection” editor software to latch the sequence, but that’s from the computer and I’m all about being hands on so that would have been awesome to have a dedicated switch or button for it.
That said, overall this thing is a hit, the addition of the that mini patch bay section is genius! It really ups the fun factor of this synth. It also gets my speculative juices flowing as to what else Arturia could have up their sleeves…..
I’m a fan, I admit it with no hesitation, I love what Arturia is doing with their synthesizers and I’m excited to see where they take it next.
Oh and do not think just because you have a MiniBrute you have a MicroBrute. While they do share some similarities, they compliment each other greatly and differ enough that you should try both for yourself. Each does things I love, and I find myself creating different sounds on each synth simply due to the layout and features.
Poly….(hint hint), or keyless? Maybe a real analog version of the Spark concept?
Who knows, but I can tell you that I will certain be watching and waiting to get my hands on whatever it may be!
Go on over and checkout the site for more info on the MicroBrute: http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/microbrute/intro.html
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think