Archive for January, 2014

Arturia MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer

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The Arturia MicroBrute has a two octave mini-size keyboard and a footprint that is about half the size of the MiniBrute. Nevertheless it is still playable enough to do the job. The MicroBrute pumps out some of the most beastly sounds you’ll ever hear. It gets a lot better once you peruse the control panel, which is filled with high quality knobs, sliders and switches that are big and firm enough to redress the quality balance.

This is an analog monosynth so that means it can only play one note at a time, and that means no chords. However, there is a control to add a “fifth” note or a duplicate note one octave down. Everything on the front panel is directly connected to the circuits that make the sound, so every control is live. While it has the classic look of a Roland SH-101, MicroBrute is keen to assert its own character and style and it is a synth that begs to be pushed beyond the normal limits. Such as in the filter section there is a control called Brute Factor. This adds a kind of low frequency feedback loop into the signal which has the effect of overloading the sound with a deep, growling rumble.

On the MiniBrute the Pulse Width and Metalizer amount have independent envelope modulation parameters as well as their own depth controls in the LFO section. However, the MicroBrute does add the very neat Mod Matrix panel, which allows you to patch the envelope and LFO depth to different locations using the 3.5mm mini-jacks.

Another fabulous feature is the flexible sequencer section. It is very basic but that also makes it easy to use. Crank the dial to select one of the eight memory slots, switch into Record mode, and then tap out the notes your sequence on the keyboard, using the Rest button to insert steps without a note. Flick it into Play mode, hold down a key and your sequence will be played back at whatever tempo you have selected. You can get more from the sequencer, such as triggering the sequence with different keys and jumping up and down the octaves.

The Arturia MicroBrute has many connectivity options. 100% analog signal path. A fine-sounding and flexible synth in a small, but highly useable package. The Arturia MicroBrute is the perfect introduction for anyone who has never tweaked a real hardware synth.

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