Synthesizers : Arturia Minibrute

After years of playing both hardware analog and digital synthesizers, samplers, drum machines and workstations, the desire for a straightforward portable analog synth was a growing desire (keyword being “portable”).   Arturia known for their wonderful VST, AU, AAX plugin recreations of legendary analog synthesizers such as ARP 2600 (ARP 2600 V), Moog’s Mini Moog (Mini V), Roland’s Jupiter 8 (JP8 V),Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 + Prophet VS (Prophet V), and Yamaha’s CS-80 (CS-80 V),  have also created an arsenal of useful analog hardware synthesizers and controllers.

Being a user of Arturia’s V Collection series products which come awfully close to the patches I create in my own original ARP 2600 and Roland Jupiter-8, I was excited at Arturia’s leap into analog hardware synthesizers.

Having seen the Vince Clarke YouTube video on Arturia’s MiniBrute (below), my intrigue grew further.

I first experienced Arturia’s MiniBrute at a NAMM show, and having purchased a unit shortly after,  Arturia’s MiniBrute quickly became a go to synthesizer for creating fat bass sounds, fast transient percussive sounds, and sounds that felt both Lo-Fi and unique simultaneously.  Mind you, this is a mono analog synth, so no polyphony is involved.  Which, frankly given the other amazing features is still an almost unmatched value in the market.

Key features of the MiniBrute;

1. Oscillator/Sub:

Sawtooth, Pulse, Triangle waves with unique modifiers. Ultra Saw makes for huge sounds, Metalizer adds complex harmonics to the triangle wave. Sub Osc will rattle the house.

2. Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter:

Beefy filter with Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, and Notch modes. Resonance can be pushed into self oscillation.

3. Brute Factor™:

The Brute Factor™ can add subtle drive effects to full blown intermodulation havoc.

4. Two 4 Stage Envelopes:

ADSR Type Envelope generators with a fast/slow mode allow for the sharpest attacks or for extra long release times.

5. Arpeggiator:

Flexible arpeggiator allows for instant melodic phrases. Syncs to MIDI clock over USB and MIDI In to play in sync with your favorite DAW.

6.Two LFOs:

The main modulation LFO supplies 6 waveforms and can run in sync to the Arpeggiator. Bipolar modulation destinations allow for an amazing variety of sonic possibilites. The Vibrato LFO allows for trills and standard vibrato.

7. Performance Controls:

Mod Wheel & Aftertouch destinations, Glide and Pitch Bend amounts can all be set.

8. Keyboard with Aftertouch:

25-note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. Octave buttons allow a range of 6 octaves.”

9. Oscillator Mixer:

Allows for mixing the levels of the suboscillator, the individual waveforms of the main oscillator, the noise generator and the external inputs.

10. CV Gate In/Out:

Connect MiniBrute with your vintage analog gear.

11. Audio In/Out:

Process audio through MiniBrute; connect it to your favorite audio devices.

12. MIDI In/Out:

Connect and sync MiniBrute to any DAW or hardware MIDI equipment.

13. USB In/Out:

Control MiniBrute from your DAW or use it as a master keyboard.

I MUST share that the Steiner-Parker Filter is AWESOME!  Deep and wide with plenty of tonal range before self resonance.  The dual LFO and assignable performance control of Mod wheel and aftertouch make this keyboard even more useful for performance as well as for sound design and recording.

The MiniBrute‘s ability to control a modern MIDI synth as well as an analog CV/Gate unit whether legacy from 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s or modern Eurorack CV/Gate units is fantastically useful!

Additionally, the portability of the MiniBrute make it easy to cart along for jams with your band.  The unit stays well in-tune, has many great oscillator and LFO functionalities to help sculpt your sound, as well as an on-board arpeggiator.  My only wish is that the unit could also contain a user-generated pattern with selectable gate length.

For the suggested price of $599  $399 USD, the Arturia MiniBrute is an AMAZING value.

Usefulness: 5/5

Sound: 5/5

Arpeggiator: 4/5 (Could use a user defined patterned w/ varying gate length)

Stability: 5/5

Value: 4.5/5

Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Hope you find yourself in front of an Arturia MiniBrute in short-time.  You’re sure to put this great portable analog synth to great use as I have.

Link to MiniBrute on Amazon;

Happy synthesizing!