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#3091
29th September 2013
Old 29th September 2013
  #3091
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I am impressed with the MB. It's capable of quite a variety of sounds. Being able to mix the VCO wavforms does give a lot of variation in timbre. I purchased the MB more for benchmarkig purposes rather than to use in the studio (to compare and contrast against my own designs), but I find it quite enjoyable. My opinions tend to be more technical but some may appreaciate it..
  • The signal level to the fiter is hot. The raw wavforms are ~10Vpp and are summed w/ a typical (active) inverting summing mixer w/ 180k mix resistors. In this case the signal level increases when summing wavforms versus something like the Minimoog w/ passive summing where the signal level remains constant. I found the filter is saturated even with one waveform at max level. I got a much better sound with the level controls set very low, even as low as 5-10% of range, especially when using the sub osc or multiple waveforms. This has been mentioned by others as well.
  • The Brute Factor is really just feedback from the output of the VCA back to the input of this filter. This is pretty much what everyone expected. It doesn't pass through a preamp or anything like the Minimoog (it's simply summed back to the inverting summer w/ a 22k mix resistor). I find this gives a different sound than when feedback is passively summed. In my experience I prefer when Feedback is summed back together passively with other high impedance sources at the input of the filter. It sounds ok in moderation. They used a dual gang pot so it will attenuate the signal level as BF is increased. All in all you can't complain because it's an option, you don't have to use it but it's there.
  • The analog design is pretty much exactly the same as the Yusynth designs w/ the exception of the LFO's. The core LFO waveform (saw) is digital from the mcu although the waveshaping for other waveforms is analog. (The wavefolder is different but same principle).
  • The VCA is very simple/rudimentary w/ a discrete ota using a transistor pair. One thing I noticed is that the vca envelope does not act as the final/master modulation sourcefor the final amplifier (VCA). Rather it is simply summed with the other modulation sources. For example, if you have the vca envelope off (say all settings '0') the VCA is still modulated by the other modulation sources (LFO etc..), and the modulation from these sources will be audible irrespective of the settings of the vca envelope. This is different than most designs where the vca envelope controls the final amplifier after all other modulation sources (modulating the modulators if you will).
  • The filter does have it's own character like most, and it can pretty much be heard regardless of what type of sound you have going on. I like it. It can get squirilly at high resonance settings but I just back it off. Short of having multiple filters no complaints (aside from backing way off on VCO levels to get full dynamics / full resonant peaks).
  • It's quiet for an analog synth. I noticed this immediately. The analog synth runs on +/12V rails. There's also separate rails for analog and digital. It costs more to commit to this. Compratively the Bass Station II runs on +/-5V rails with comon supply's and minimal power supply design & cost (it sounds pretty well considering).
  • The build quality is high. They definitely put in a big effort to make it a nice professional level instrument. They tooled an aluminum extrusion for the main body and it works out really nice. The PCB assembly's are very respectable and they use good connectors. I think they have more money in the robust power supply alone than Novation has in the entire Bass Station II .. and I'm only half kidding. After doing a teardown on the Bass Station II I will only say the profit margins on that one must be much higher than they are on the MB! I feel bad that Arturia have had some issues with quality control in regards to the keyboard assembly, loose connectors, and other running changes. It really is a nice build.
  • One product differentiator that allowed them release a well-built product in the $500 range is the lack of digital control. There's a few VCA's inside that make it possible to control filter cutoff, oscillator modulation etc. from the pitch and mod wheels or over MIDI but that's it. No presets hence can avoid the whole can of worms that come with that (bigger mcu, D/A, dozens of control VCA's and multiplexing etc.). The synth is just small enough and just easy enough to use where they avoid the debate of presets & programmability.
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#3092
29th September 2013
Old 29th September 2013
  #3092
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abstrakt View Post
I am impressed with the MB. It's capable of quite a variety of sounds. Being able to mix the VCO wavforms does give a lot of variation in timbre. I purchased the MB more for benchmarkig purposes rather than to use in the studio (to compare and contrast against my own designs), but I find it quite enjoyable. My opinions tend to be more technical but some may appreaciate it..
  • The signal level to the fiter is hot. The raw wavforms are ~10Vpp and are summed w/ a typical (active) inverting summing mixer w/ 180k mix resistors. In this case the signal level increases when summing wavforms versus something like the Minimoog w/ passive summing where the signal level remains constant. I found the filter is saturated even with one waveform at max level. I got a much better sound with the level controls set very low, even as low as 5-10% of range, especially when using the sub osc or multiple waveforms. This has been mentioned by others as well.I
  • The Brute Factor is really just feedback from the output of the VCA back to the input of this filter. This is pretty much what everyone expected. It doesn't pass through a preamp or anything like the Minimoog (it's simply summed back to the inverting summer w/ a 22k mix resistor). I find this gives a different sound than when feedback is passively summed. In my experience I prefer when Feedback is summed back together passively with other high impedance sources at the input of the filter. It sounds ok in moderation. They used a dual gang pot so it will attenuate the signal level as BF is increased. All in all you can't complain because it's an option, you don't have to use it but it's there.
  • The analog design is pretty much exactly the same as the Yusynth designs w/ the exception of the LFO's. The core LFO waveform (saw) is digital from the mcu although the waveshaping for other waveforms is analog. (The wavefolder is different but same principle).
  • The VCA is very simple/rudimentary w/ a discrete ota using a transistor pair. One thing I noticed is that the vca envelope does not act as the final/master modulation sourcefor the final amplifier (VCA). Rather it is simply summed with the other modulation sources. For example, if you have the vca envelope off (say all settings '0') the VCA is still modulated by the other modulation sources (LFO etc..), and the modulation from these sources will be audible irrespective of the settings of the vca envelope. This is different than most designs where the vca envelope controls the final amplifier after all other modulation sources (modulating the modulators if you will).
  • The filter does have it's own character like most, and it can pretty much be heard regardless of what type of sound you have going on. I like it. It can get squirilly at high resonance settings but I just back it off. Short of having multiple filters no complaints (aside from backing way off on VCO levels to get full dynamics / full resonant peaks).
  • It's quiet for an analog synth. I noticed this immediately. The analog synth runs on +/12V rails. There's also separate rails for analog and digital. It costs more to commit to this. Compratively the Bass Station II runs on +/-5V rails with comon supply's and minimal power supply design & cost (it sounds pretty well considering).
  • The build quality is high. They definitely put in a big effort to make it a nice professional level instrument. They tooled an aluminum extrusion for the main body and it works out really nice. The PCB assembly's are very respectable and they use good connectors. I think they have more money in the robust power supply alone than Novation has in the entire Bass Station II .. and I'm only half kidding. After doing a teardown on the Bass Station II I will only say the profit margins on that one must be much higher than they are on the MB! I feel bad that Arturia have had some issues with quality control in regards to the keyboard assembly, loose connectors, and other running changes. It really is a nice build.
  • One product differentiator that allowed them release a well-built product in the $500 range is the lack of digital control. There's a few VCA's inside that make it possible to control filter cutoff, oscillator modulation etc. from the pitch and mod wheels or over MIDI but that's it. No presets hence can avoid the whole can of worms that come with that (bigger mcu, D/A, dozens of control VCA's and multiplexing etc.). The synth is just small enough and just easy enough to use where they avoid the debate of presets & programmability.
This is really great information; thank you for taking the time to post all of this.

Any thoughts on what Arturia may be planning as an evolved MB on a higher turn of the spiral, so to speak?
#3093
29th September 2013
Old 29th September 2013
  #3093
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abstrakt View Post
I am impressed with the MB. It's capable of quite a variety of sounds. Being able to mix the VCO wavforms does give a lot of variation in timbre. I purchased the MB more for benchmarkig purposes rather than to use in the studio (to compare and contrast against my own designs), but I find it quite enjoyable. My opinions tend to be more technical but some may appreaciate it..
  • The signal level to the fiter is hot. The raw wavforms are ~10Vpp and are summed w/ a typical (active) inverting summing mixer w/ 180k mix resistors. In this case the signal level increases when summing wavforms versus something like the Minimoog w/ passive summing where the signal level remains constant. I found the filter is saturated even with one waveform at max level. I got a much better sound with the level controls set very low, even as low as 5-10% of range, especially when using the sub osc or multiple waveforms. This has been mentioned by others as well.
  • The Brute Factor is really just feedback from the output of the VCA back to the input of this filter. This is pretty much what everyone expected. It doesn't pass through a preamp or anything like the Minimoog (it's simply summed back to the inverting summer w/ a 22k mix resistor). I find this gives a different sound than when feedback is passively summed. In my experience I prefer when Feedback is summed back together passively with other high impedance sources at the input of the filter. It sounds ok in moderation. They used a dual gang pot so it will attenuate the signal level as BF is increased. All in all you can't complain because it's an option, you don't have to use it but it's there.
  • The analog design is pretty much exactly the same as the Yusynth designs w/ the exception of the LFO's. The core LFO waveform (saw) is digital from the mcu although the waveshaping for other waveforms is analog. (The wavefolder is different but same principle).
  • The VCA is very simple/rudimentary w/ a discrete ota using a transistor pair. One thing I noticed is that the vca envelope does not act as the final/master modulation sourcefor the final amplifier (VCA). Rather it is simply summed with the other modulation sources. For example, if you have the vca envelope off (say all settings '0') the VCA is still modulated by the other modulation sources (LFO etc..), and the modulation from these sources will be audible irrespective of the settings of the vca envelope. This is different than most designs where the vca envelope controls the final amplifier after all other modulation sources (modulating the modulators if you will).
  • The filter does have it's own character like most, and it can pretty much be heard regardless of what type of sound you have going on. I like it. It can get squirilly at high resonance settings but I just back it off. Short of having multiple filters no complaints (aside from backing way off on VCO levels to get full dynamics / full resonant peaks).
  • It's quiet for an analog synth. I noticed this immediately. The analog synth runs on +/12V rails. There's also separate rails for analog and digital. It costs more to commit to this. Compratively the Bass Station II runs on +/-5V rails with comon supply's and minimal power supply design & cost (it sounds pretty well considering).
  • The build quality is high. They definitely put in a big effort to make it a nice professional level instrument. They tooled an aluminum extrusion for the main body and it works out really nice. The PCB assembly's are very respectable and they use good connectors. I think they have more money in the robust power supply alone than Novation has in the entire Bass Station II .. and I'm only half kidding. After doing a teardown on the Bass Station II I will only say the profit margins on that one must be much higher than they are on the MB! I feel bad that Arturia have had some issues with quality control in regards to the keyboard assembly, loose connectors, and other running changes. It really is a nice build.
  • One product differentiator that allowed them release a well-built product in the $500 range is the lack of digital control. There's a few VCA's inside that make it possible to control filter cutoff, oscillator modulation etc. from the pitch and mod wheels or over MIDI but that's it. No presets hence can avoid the whole can of worms that come with that (bigger mcu, D/A, dozens of control VCA's and multiplexing etc.). The synth is just small enough and just easy enough to use where they avoid the debate of presets & programmability.
Just a question out of no where since your in the field. Do you think it's possible to mod the MB to introduce CV OUT/INs for most of it's knobs and EG, LFO etc... In other words, a modular MB. I'm having dreams of such a synth.
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#3094
29th September 2013
Old 29th September 2013
  #3094
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asynchro_nous View Post
This is really great information; thank you for taking the time to post all of this.
Quite! That bit about the amp envelope being summed with the other mods is gold.
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#3095
30th September 2013
Old 30th September 2013
  #3095
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Quote:
Any thoughts on what Arturia may be planning as an evolved MB on a higher turn of the spiral, so to speak
Honestly I have no idea. It's one thing to take a design that's pretty much existing and implement it into an analog monosynth to give people what they've been asking for. It's an entirely different thing to design an preset or polyphonic analog synth. For the MB I think Yves did all the analog schematics once they decided on the module versions they liked best. I think Bruno at Arturia did the PCB layout and some of the peripheral design. I'm not sure who designed the digital control including the firmware for the NXP ARM mcu. They really hit a home run with the MB I think. From the estimated numbers of units sold it sounds like they've sold quite a few of them as far as synths go. The price, timing, sound, everything was just right. I would bet against them taking the risk that would be involved in hiring the right people and putting together a team to design a polysynth or maybe even a preset mono/duophonic synth. It would be awesome though. I will say it seems they're not too big yet, meaning they're not 100% about quarterly earnings ($) like you almost have to be (to grow) when you're a bigger company (see Roland, Focusrite/Novation etc.), so if the right passionate people are managing it could happen.

Quote:
Do you think it's possible to mod the MB to introduce CV OUT/INs for most of it's knobs and EG, LFO etc... In other words, a modular MB. I'm having dreams of such a synth.
There's no way to mod the minibrute to have CV control over every knob parameter. The controls are analog potentiometers, they're part of the analog circuit, so they're not scanned digitally. Hence there's no need and no way to 'send' CV's for each parameter to control each corresponding function. This would require every continuous (control knob) parameter to be controllable by a CV from the MCU/MIDI or external cv inputs. For designs that are mostly discrete this would require implementing VCA's for most parameters. This is something the MB lacks versus the preset analogs such as the Sub Phatty and Bass Station II which are indeed littered with VCA's. There are a few exceptions in the MB, because of the mod wheels controls there are VCA's for the Filter envelope, Vibrato, LFO, and Glide amounts so you should be able to implement CV controls over those ones (not sure but there may already be control of those via MIDI?).

You can also easily mod it to have a basic complement of CV & Audio I/O. In fact there's already some patch points on the PCB to solder to. An example of some existing patch points are:
  • Filter CV Input
  • VCO Exponential CV Input
  • VCA CV Input

If you are good at soldering you could easily add even more I/O
  • VCO Outs
  • Filter Audio In
  • VCA Audio In
  • Filter Audio Out
  • Filter & Amp Envelope Outs
  • LFO Out
  • VCA and Filter Envelope gate/trigger inputs

In fact most of the MB analog synth section conforms well enough to typical modular standards.
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#3096
30th September 2013
Old 30th September 2013
  #3096
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abstrakt View Post
There's no way to mod the minibrute to have CV control over every knob parameter. The controls are analog potentiometers, they're part of the analog circuit. They're not all scanned digitally, so there's no way to 'read' them and/or to 'send' every parameter as a control voltage via MIDI or external control voltage. There are a few exceptions, there are VCA's for the Filter envelope, Vibrato, LFO, and Glide amounts so you should be able to implement CV controls over those ones (not sure but there may already be control of those via MIDI?).
You can also easily mod it to have a basic complement of CV & Audio I/O. In fact there's already some patch points on the PCB to solder to. An example of some existing patch points are:
  • Filter CV Input
  • VCO Exponential CV Input
  • VCA CV Input

If you are good at soldering you could easily add even more I/O
  • VCO Outs
  • Filter Audio In
  • VCA Audio In
  • Filter Audio Out
  • Filter & Amp Envelope Outs
  • LFO Out
  • VCA and Filter Envelope gate/trigger inputs

In fact most of the MB analog synth section conforms well enough to typical modular standards.
Wow, thanks for the info, good to know. I'm not a DIY guy at all and I have no soldering experience what so ever. Still, I'd pay for such a costume made synth, would be awesome to have all these patch points in front near the knobs. Some one there,,, please do it.
#3097
1st October 2013
Old 1st October 2013
  #3097
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If you guys are interested, what I can do is put together some detailed modification instructions during my down time. The voice is all analog and it's easy enough to mod even though its all SMD. Furthermore, Arturia have not discouraged it, there are many patch points inside. The point with them is that rather than goof around to show us mods, they really need to move on w/ new designs of new stuff they're working to pay the bills next years so it leaves it up to us passionate folks to document all this stuff. I've documented the entire synth and captured the schematics so everything is there and would be easy to instruct on modifications. At this point I wouldn't want step on Arturia's toes by releasing schematics but if there's enough interest in modification I'll start a new thread.
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Bio
#3098
1st October 2013
Old 1st October 2013
  #3098
Bio
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Quote:
The point with them is that rather than goof around to show us mods, they really need to move on w/ new designs of new stuff they're working to pay the bills next years so it leaves it up to us passionate folks to document all this stuff.
Not this time : the designer (Yusynth) is actualy making a website with every infos to mods the MB. It was annonced some months ago for October so, wait just a bit !
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Jet
#3099
2nd October 2013
Old 2nd October 2013
  #3099
Jet
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Does the Minibrute respond to MIDI CC 64 (sustain pedal)?

How do the CV inputs interact with other sources of control? For the pitch ones, are the CVs just summed with everything else, or do they override any or all the other control sources (MIDI, keyboard, wheels, LFO) when something is plugged into the jack, or...?
#3100
2nd October 2013
Old 2nd October 2013
  #3100
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Quote:
Not this time : the designer (Yusynth) is actualy making a website with every infos to mods the M
very well, that's a benefit of contracting out the analog design. I will let them take care of it.

Quote:
are the CVs just summed with everything else, or do they override
none of the CV inputs are on switched jacks or anything, they're just summed w/ the other CV sources.
#3101
2nd October 2013
Old 2nd October 2013
  #3101
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Since getting my MB I've been going through this thread & I would like to extend a big thank you to all who have posted tips & tricks.
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#3102
7th October 2013
Old 7th October 2013
  #3102
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#3103
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3103
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^ I love how the guy in the vid says "we'll keep it real simple & straightforward" in regards to the drum beat, then he proceeds to keep adding layers on the fly that sounded pretty nice lol... I was thinking he was just going to use the kick >.<

Anyway, the purpose of my post here to day is: OMG I LOVE the Minibrute!!

I just got it today, and with just 15 minutes of playing around with it, it is like I've owned this thing all my life. Very intuitive, creative, simple and it is just pure analog greatness. This is truly the PERFECT synth for a $400-ish price range, it's insane. EVERYONE should get one.

I've come a long way in understanding analog synthesis in just the past year (and believe me, there's plenty more room to learn) but I had this Minibrute from the start - it's a great machine to learn on!
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#3104
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3104
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Another thing I love about this synth is that it fits perfectly on a 19" rack tray. I have mine mounted under my newly started Euro, and have soldered minijacks to a doepfer mult (in which I cut the trails on the PCB, so the mult is now a straight connection panel) so I have all audio and cv i/o right on top ready to be patched further :=)


The novation b2 is just a cm too big or so, pity...
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#3105
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3105
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edit: double post
#3106
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragletrollet View Post
Another thing I love about this synth is that it fits perfectly on a 19" rack tray. I have mine mounted under my newly started Euro, and have soldered minijacks to a doepfer mult (in which I cut the trails on the PCB, so the mult is now a straight connection panel) so I have all audio and cv i/o right on top ready to be patched further :=)


The novation b2 is just a cm too big or so, pity...
Yes!

I love this about the Minibrute. Just give us local off and we will be set!

Also, it's not THAT much over 1u high! I guess if you got the right shelf you could fit the minibrute into 2u!

That is very cool. I think the Mopho keys can also be racked, but no CV out on that one..
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#3107
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3107
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"Local off" as in that the controls don`t affect the parameter when under (external) cv-control?

I haven`t gotten around to play with the ES-3 yet, as my computer is playing havoc on me. Sigh.
#3108
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3108
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"Local off" as in that the controls don`t affect the parameter when under (external) cv-control?

I haven`t gotten around to play with the ES-3 yet, as my computer is playing havoc on me. Sigh.
#3109
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragletrollet View Post
Another thing I love about this synth is that it fits perfectly on a 19" rack tray
Yeah, I have one drawer/tray in my rack, but I already have my drum machine on it, plus so many of the MiniB's controls are up top, and that's really deep in the case.

We'll see... but I so love this thing.
#3110
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
  #3110
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Can the brute take cv and gate in and send this on as midi out?

Acting as a Cv to midi convertor (ala doepfer A192-2)
#3111
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragletrollet View Post
"Local off" as in that the controls don`t affect the parameter when under (external) cv-control?

I haven`t gotten around to play with the ES-3 yet, as my computer is playing havoc on me. Sigh.
Local off as in disconnects the keyboard from the sound engine.

I want to use it as a midi master controller. Ideally one could use it as a midi interface, a master controller, and a CV interface simultaneously...

That may be asking a lot...
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#3112
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragletrollet View Post
"Local off" as in that the controls don`t affect the parameter when under (external) cv-control?

I haven`t gotten around to play with the ES-3 yet, as my computer is playing havoc on me. Sigh.
Local off as in disconnects the keyboard from the sound engine.

I want to use it as a midi master controller. Ideally one could use it as a midi interface, a master controller, and a CV interface simultaneously...

That may be asking a lot...

EDIT: just to be clear, I know that there is a firmware update scheduled for between now and the end of the year that will enable you to disconnect the synth engine from the keyboard.

So that's great.
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#3113
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3113
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If only the knobs and sliders could send midi.

It would be a perfect controller.
#3114
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraxis View Post
If only the knobs and sliders could send midi.

It would be a perfect controller.
It doesn't need to be a perfect controller. It is already a perfect affordable analog synth. Sure, it could also have a built in sequencer, it could save patches, and the list could go on, but for around 400 bucks to have such a powerful...erm... brute, it's just an amazing piece of hardware.

There are many great controllers out there to suit your needs.

By the way, here's how the Minibrute looked in my rack... as I said, it's just too deep to be able to access all of the knobs near the top for this, and clearing out more rack space to do so would be a waste of rack space in my opinion. But it sure does LOOK cool :P



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#3115
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alternating.bit View Post
as I said, it's just too deep to be able to access all of the knobs near the top for this.
Get a deeper shelf?
#3116
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3116
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Rack shelves that pull out are somewhat limited in choice, and fit... the one I have was actually designed FOR the exact case/style (Gator) and even that doesn't even fit well in the rack. This was my 2nd drawer brand I tried... I stayed with this one even though it doesn't really 'slide' in and out... the fit is so tight that there is too much pressure on both sides of the drawer to be able to move. You can slide it with a significant pull or push (both hands required) but I see it more as a fixed shelf.

I'll just go with this for now...

#3117
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
  #3117
Lives for gear
 
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Originally Posted by Mutex View Post
Just a question out of no where since your in the field. Do you think it's possible to mod the MB to introduce CV OUT/INs for most of it's knobs and EG, LFO etc... In other words, a modular MB. I'm having dreams of such a synth.
Ask Yves and his DIY community... electro-music.com :: View Forum - YuSynth
#3118
12th October 2013
Old 12th October 2013
  #3118
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Personally I'm glad it can't save parameters and send MIDI via the controllers etc. It's taken me back 2 decades in my workflow, but that's forced me to think differently about the creative workflow. It's amazing how stifling having nan-second control over filters and patch changes bogs you down in minutia. I find the Mini Brute completely liberating.
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#3119
15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
  #3119
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#3120
15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
  #3120
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