Arturia's revolutionary MiniBrute is an analog synthesizer featuring a pure analog signal path and a host of unique features, setting a standard for what a hardware synthesizer should be. Its 100% ana... Read More
Arturia's revolutionary MiniBrute is an analog synthesizer featuring a pure analog signal path and a host of unique features, setting a standard for what a hardware synthesizer should be. Its 100% analog audio signal path features a VCO wave mixer, the classic Steiner-Parker multimode filter, as well as numerous analog innovations like the Metalizer, Ultrasaw, and the Brute Factor. Boasting complete MIDI, CV and USB connectivity, MiniBrute works easily with both your computer or your vintage synths. This makes the MiniBrute an ideal companion to deliver a pure analog blast anywhere you need it.
100% Analog Power
Combining the renowned savoir-faire of Arturia for designing professional musical instruments, and the expertise of synth guru Yves Usson in crafting fine analog modules. MiniBrute was built with a simple goal in mind: offer great analog sound, through a very easy-to-use interface, and without ever compromising on quality.
The result of fine R&D and skilled craftsmanship: a 100% Analog Audio signal path, delivering huge basslines, screaming leads, outstanding arpeggios and effects. Analog synthesizers of yesteryear are highly sought-after on the second-hand market for their warmth, fatness, slight instability, and their unmistakable sonic character. Digital synths, for their part, offer more possibilities but tend to sound sometimes too sterile and loose musicians in endless menus and boring sound digest concepts.
MiniBrute stands proudly among legendary analog machines like the Minimoog, Pro-One, SH-101, MS-20, and Odyssey. It brings fine analog sounds as heard on the most iconic electronic records, whilst imprinting its own unique features and strong attitude.
Forget about tiny LCD screens. Forget about menus and sub-menus. Forget about double functions and complex control. MiniBrute brings back the fun and the immediate hands-on experience of synthesis.
You want to make it stronger? Grab the sub-osc slider and move it up. You want it brighter? Grab the filter cutoff knob and turn it up. You want your sound to grow fangs and snarl like a beast? Grab the Brute Factor knob and turn it up. It's that easy.
Connect to the World
Thanks to its full MIDI/CV/USB connectivity, MiniBrute is designed to fit seamlessly in any modern or vintage studio.
MIDI In/Out: Sequence MiniBrute from your computer's MIDI interface and DAW, or any other MIDI-Out enabled gear you have. Alternatively use MiniBrute as a master keyboard for your DAW or other MIDI-enabled equipment.
CV In/Out: Chain MiniBrute to your vintage synthesizer, or modular, to get a beefier sound. Expand, control and sequence MiniBrute from your vintage equipment. Use MiniBrute to control your vintage synths (It conforms to the classic 1V per Octave scaling system). Use MiniBrute as a MIDI to CV converter.
USB In/Out: Sequence MiniBrute directly from your computer's DAW without needing a MIDI interface. Use MiniBrute as a USB-MIDI controller, use MiniBrute as a USB MIDI to CV converter.
Audio In: Process any external sound through MiniBrute's filter, VCA and Brute Factor circuit. MiniBrute can be used as an analog powerhouse for adding warmth, grit and filter effects to drums, guitars, vocals, and more. It will alternatively generate automatic basslines from percussive sounds by switching the Gate source selector to audio.
MiniBrute can also be used as a MIDI to CV Gate interface, ensuring the link between your computer-based studio and your vintage gear.
Sounds with an Attitude
MiniBrute is certainly not capable of producing every type of sounds, but it does very well with the classic analog sounds it was designed for, including powerful basses, hypnotic drones, screaming leads, acid sequences, ethereal monopads, 80's arpeggios, mind-blowing effects, and fascinating sonic experiments.
If you are more into deep funky basses, mellow leads, clavinet or woodwind-like sounds, MiniBrute can produce them as well, but the danger zone is always at a twist of a knob.
Your Sounds, Your Attitude
MiniBrute comes with no electronic presets. You build every sound you hear yourself. It is not only fun, but it's also creative, and helps make better music. It is no harder than browsing sub-menus on more complicated systems.
You can still play sounds made by other programmers, and you can also store your sounds. Arturia delivers preset sheets that fit on the surface of the MiniBrute. Following instructions set on the preset sheets, you get a preset sound in a minute. And if you want to store your sound, just take one of the blank sheets and make marks so you know where they were.
Oscillator On Steroid
No DCO (Digitally Controlled Oscillator) is used in MiniBrute - only a pure VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) for absolute authenticity. MiniBrute's VCO is classic in its sound and modern in its shape, allowing you to mix individually 4 different waveshapes, as well as white noise and external audio input. Add to that a sub-oscillator and several analog signal enhancers such as the Metalizer and the Ultrasaw, and you get custom shapes like no other.
Minibrute's Sub-Oscillator generates sine and square waves. It will allow you to rattle the house by descending as low as two octaves down.
The Ultrasaw brings shimmering sawtooth waveforms that will considerably enrich your tone. It basically builds two phase-shifted copies of the basic sawtooth signal. These copies have independent and ever-evolving phaseshifts with respect to each other, and are eventually mixed with the sawtooth signal.
This results in a lively, rich, and bright ensemble effect whose character depends on the modulation rates of the phase-shifted copies. This is the first time such a feature is offered in an analog keyboard format.
The Metalizer takes the basic triangular waveform and warps/folds it to create very complex jagged waveforms that are rich in high harmonics. This results in metallic pitched sounds that are ideal for harpsichord- and clavinet-type tones. Dynamic modulation (LFO or envelope) of the warping/folding parameters opens up a realm of "klangorous" sounds that will nicely cut through your mix.
Modulations are key to widen a synthesizer's sound palette. Whereas too many synths offer limited possibilities, and, in the end, very few different sounds, MiniBrute opens the door to a world of combinations that will allow you to create your unique and original sonic signature.
LFO1 waveforms include a collection of sine, triangle, sawtooth, square, random square and random sine. The modulation amounts are bipolar towards 4 destinations: PWM & Metalizer, Pitch, Filter, and Amplifier. This means you can really get creative and start, for example, modulating the Filter with a negative slope, while increasing the Pitch.
LFO range stretches from 0.1Hz to 100Hz allowing you to go anywhere from progressive evolutions to wild frequency modulation effects.
LFO2 controls vibrato, with adjustable rate and 3 different modes: trill up, trill down and oscillating sine modulations.
Two full ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelopes are available on MiniBrute - one controlling Filter and the other controlling Volume (Amplifier). The Filter Envelope can also be routed to modulate the Pulse Width of the Square wave, and the Metalizer amount. The Envelope fast/slow switch allows you to command ultra-fast 1 millisecond responses for snappy electro basses and leads, to more than 10 second responses for slow evolving soundscapes.
To extend the modulation routings further and link them to your expression of playing, MiniBrute benefits from Mod wheel and Aftertouch controls. Each one of them can be set to modulate either the Cutoff or the Vibrato. Mod wheel can also be set to control the general LFO amount.
Introduced for the first time in the Synthacon synthesizer, back in the '70s, this marvelous filter not only brings a Low pass mode like competitive designs, but also Band pass, High pass and Notch positions, making it a highly versatile and praised boutique filter.
The MiniBrute filter is based on the core of the legendary Steiner-Parker multimode filter and has been improved to deliver an even wider range of cutoff and resonance. Nyle Steiner himself has validated and approved these improvements.
Teamed up with the MiniBrute multiwave oscillator, and the wide modulation capabilities, the Steiner-Parker filter brings an extreme versatile and aggressive edge that will make your sound stand out.
The Brute Factor was inspired by a patch made on a famous vintage synthesizer connecting the headphone output to the external audio input. The result is a kind of feedback loop that is ideal for raspy and grungy sounds. This patch has been adapted and implemented internally in the MiniBrute.
For low Brute Factor settings, the distortion is smooth and gentle but becomes harsher as you turn up the knob. When turned up above about 75% of the way, the MiniBrute can go berserk and produce barely controllable, crazy feedback sounds.
Note: the Brute Factor feature alters the filter characteristics, so expect highly unpredictable results at extreme settings. You have been warned!
A Full, Hands-On Arpeggiator
MiniBrute comes with a 25-note keyboard fitting the modern musician's need of mobility. On the other hand, it offers a very nice arpeggiator that will allow you to create complex melodic patterns without needing to be a skilled keyboardist.
MiniBrute's arpeggiator boasts a full set of features, from octave range, to play mode, tap tempo, step size, not to forget the swing control to change your groove on the fly. In addition, the arpeggiator is fully synchronizeable with the MIDI input and with the LFO1 (using the clock switch), enabling perfect timing during your performance. When playing live, you can also get in sync with your drummer using the handy Tap Tempo button.
A Keyboard Taylored to Your Needs
MiniBrute features a quality keyboard including velocity, aftertouch and 25 semi-weighted keys for a fast-andaccurate performance. Aftertouch can be routed to the Cutoff or Vibrato amounts for maximum expression.
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Reviewed by 6 customers
Displaying reviews 1-6
It's surprising what you get out of this synth for what little you pay. It still seems odd to me. Just keep in mind, this ain't Fruity Loops and this is far from digital. This is pure analog, no presets. You'll be surprised how different the feel is from the virtual synths. I've already composed 4 songs of 4 totally different genres though. As logical and comprehensive as the array of knobs and faders are, it still comes across as unique. I'm satisfied. Arturia nailed it. They've earned all of my stars this time around.
I own several analog synthesizers and this is the most fun I've had playing a synth in a long time. To me the feature of having a knob or slider for every parameter is what makes using this so enjoyable. And it has plenty of knobs to twist. It is a throwback but with modern enhancements. Arturia really thought of everything a user could want and included it. Such as the Brute factor knob; very cool. They deserve much credit for a great design first try. The variety of sounds you can create is huge. The arpeggiator itself has a variety of controls including tap tempo. This little thing is powerful! And the sounds, pure analog richness from buttery fat tone to chaotic noise and everything in between. It's all up to you what you can do with it. By the way, the price is ridiculous. It should be worth double.
This is a well built, well designed great sounding mono synthesizer. The keyboard is responsive, the single oscillator is extremely versatile, the filter is very smooth from subtle to harsh. The "Ultra Saw" and "Metalizer" give you a lot of tone shaping options. The knobs and sliders all feel solid and seem to give you plenty of control over the sound. Some reviews have said the synth sounds thin or harsh, which it can do, if you set it up that way, but personally I think it can sound pretty warm and thick. This would be a great little synth at any price. As Arturia's first outing in the analog field they did a remarkable job.
There are a ton of videos on youtube that demonstrate the sound of this synth. I watched quite a few of them before my purchase- and am very happy with the Minibrute. It could not be any easier to use and get great sound- which means fast results and inspiration for your musical pleasure. Background on my perspective: I have played synths since 1984- and have owned the following monosynths (Moog Source, Roland SH-101 and System 100, Arp 2600, Korg Mono/Poly, Roland MC-202, Sequential Pro One, Oberheim SEM- original, Yamaha CS-15). wow- I didn't know I had owned that many different synths until I compiled that list for this review. :) *** I don't own any of those today. That history means my expectations from a Monosynth are not exactly low. and guess what? the Minibrute would fit easily in that collection and could hold its' own against all of them (in terms of being musically useful, inspirational and powerful) with the exception of the Arp 2600 (of course- but that's not a fair matchup anyway). So what I am saying here is this. The Minibrute delivers a Sonic Bliss equivalent to the aforementioned monosynths- at an unbelievable price (compared to what those other old synths cost on the used market today- 2012). Even if you have a nice vintage monosynth- you would *still* benefit from adding a Mininbrute to your arsenal. (it would complement the other synth and stack for some lovely possibilities). I expect every electronic musician will get one of these as a "go-to, gotta-have sound source" just like the Casio CZ-101 and Yamaha TX81z made it into *every* electronic studio in previous decades. simply amazing get one (but be forewarned- my appetite for Control Voltage expansion sound sources to add to this synth have been awakened- and that could happen to you)
I rarely write a review, but I feel the need as there is only one so far. Before even discussing the synth itself, I have to say that the process of purchasing this little guy was one of the most excruciating I've ever experienced. The limited stock meant I was backordered for about 2 months, and the most awful thing I could have expected is that the product would come damaged! The box was obviously mishandled and the bottom of the synth slightly dented. When I called Guitar Center they said I should return it and get another one (which means about 1 or 2 more months of waiting!!) But this is relevant because I was going to return it -- I was even considering NOT getting another one until I plugged it in and tried it out. I instantly fell in love with this synthesizer! The tone is rich and warm, the dynamic range is so full and satisfying. Also, for a monophonic synth, Arturia really outdid themselves with the innovative controls (including the ability to add a -1 or -2 octave sub to the main signal effectively fattening it up, or the ability to have waveforms blend together and affect the one analog oscillator -- so you can mix the square wave with the triangle wave to create a mixed hybrid wave. Also the UltraSaw and Pulse controls are very colorful and innovative. After using the synth for a while you start to get a bit spoiled and expect to be able to play more than one note (the -2 sub-oscillator is such a monophonic tease!) The arpeggiator is extremely useful as well and is very to-the-point functional. One thing I appreciated was how this synth sounds when recorded -- the signal really punches through the mix and sounds fantastic without even any effects or extra work. All in all, I am so satisfied with it that I'm not only keeping it, but I plan on buying another one to add another simultaneous MiniBrute Channel to my projects/performances. I'm very pleased. (And the PRICE. You can't beat that.)
I can't possibly cover all of the excellent features of Arturia's monophonic monster, the MiniBrute, any better than professional reviews and press already have, but I can give my enthusiastic thumbs-up, and notes on some points of the design. If you are already familiar with modular and analog synthesis, the MiniBrute will please you with its quick access to all the important stuff, and you probably won't miss the controls which were left out. If you do miss the fuller compliment of knobs, then you should stick with your Moog Voyager. It is pretty easy to start from scratch building your own patches, and the smooth-feeling controls are fun to adjust as you figure out what the sonic range of each one is. Saving a cool sound is rather retro, but it works: you plop a cardstock overlay (several provided) over the controls, and then mark it with a Sharpie. I recommend a fine point, not because you need to draw precise lines, but because it can be a little difficult to fit the pen between some of the controls. To conserve overlays, you could always snap pictures with your phone, memorize everything, or simply use multiple colors per overlay. Some "preset" overlays are provided, in case you need inspiration for some starting points. They give a pretty good sense of what each of the control sections is good for. One of the stand-out features of the MiniBrute is the number of different oscillator sources you can mix into your sound, including an audio input from any line source, which may then also be used as a trigger when the "gate source" switch is set to this option ("keyboard" is more typical). A microphone is not supported, but if you can't live without the sound of your own voice, you could always use an outboard preamp. And, speaking of outboard gear, the MiniBrute does not come with any built-in effects, aside from the totally awesome "Brute Factor", so you are probably going to want to dust off your collection of effects pedals. Or if you're recording, and not just messing around, pile on the plug-ins in your DAW. Arturia have provided a full compliment of I/O on the back panel, including CV and MIDI, and, puzzlingly, a USB port, which only gives access to some parameters like velocity curves and some arpeggiator parameters as well as facilitating firmware updates, but not, unfortunately, saving and loading presets. Moog's MiniTaur allows for this, so perhaps Arturia may add it in future updates. Ah, well. At this price and compact size you can't be too picky. One final note: even though the 'Brute she is monophonic, her arpeggiator responds pleasingly to multiple keys being held down, extending the range of additional notes played in sequence according to which keys you hold, so it is possible to construct little, changing melodies with just a few fingers. Also, Arturia's online registration system is as yet incapable of accepting the MiniBrute's serial number (or mine, at least), but this won't stop you being eligible for downloads including the editor, new firmware, and preset templates created by others.
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