French company Arturia have made waves in the software world for music producers over the last few years, for their emulation of classic analogue synths old and new. Last year however saw them enter the analogue world of synthesizers themselves and in doing so creating the now very popular monophonic ‘Minibrute’ synth. This incredible success of this had led them to launching another synth called the ‘Microbrute’. It is reduced version of the Minbrute but I guess you would have figured that out yourself. In reducing it however don’t be fooled Arturia have done an excellent job in keeping the fundamentals which made the ‘Minibrute’ such a success.
The synth is fun and is well built coming in with an overall weight of 1.75kgs and dimensions of 325x221x60mm. It operates on mains power something which could not be avoided due to voltage requirements for certain parts. It does however have USB & MIDI capabilities to carry midi messaging both ways and all of this can be access through the ‘Microbrute Connection’ software. There is also CV/Gate Input should you decide to add to your eurorack modular setup if you fancy it.
The synth is monophonic and for the price of £249 it would be unrealistic to expect it to be polyphonic. There are alternatives in that price range but are virtual analogue. The audio produced comes from a single multi wave oscillator which is deceptive as it can utilise a mix of sin, saw and triangle waveforms to produce an array of sounds and textures. Similar to the Minibrute it too has a Sub-Osc to produce those deep phat basslines.
Arturia decided to use the boutique like Stenier-Parker filter again and can operate in low, band and high pass modes. The filter has got 12dB/octave cutoff in the lowend and contrary to belief that to achieve thick basslines you require a 24dB/octave. This simply is not true. The filter can then be mangled and adjusted using its Brute Factor, Metalizer and Ultrasaw giving you all sorts of sonic distortion and effects with further modulation in the LFO section.
A nice addition was the inclusion of a sequencer and arpeggiator, offering upto eight different patterns and can store upto 64 steps. Recording of them is easy via the keyboard. The recorded sequence is then played back by pressing on a note which is then transposed as you move along the keyboard.
To have been reduced in size I was expecting a lot more to be cut to appease the price but Arturia have been shrewd in their design and done a fine job implementing it and for that price you cannot complain. Superficially its small but can produce some massive sounds and is an excellent introduction for a beginner into the world of subtractive synthesis.