Its probably my favorite monosynth ever. Not having owned every single one mind you, but I just get so much tonal variety of out it and the play between the metallizer, the brute factor, and the filter resonance takes this synth into territory Ive never heard before. The short form factor and lack of velocity are my only two real complaints about it, but I still find myself just getting lost in sound, and when I go back to my other synths, even the andromeda, I find myself missing some of the unique features/sounds of the minibrute.
I think Arturia hit an absolute upper deck grand slam with this synth at this price. The keys and knobs and sliders all feel great and the case is sturdy; for what these sell for new its an absolute steal and if anything I think they priced it too low because now how could Korg ever possibly compete with this product? Also, I hope they are making enough $ per unit to continue to manufacture them and earn a nice profit on the design. Arturia may have set the bar so high with its initial offering as to scare other manufacturers away from entering the analog market.
Overall, its just stunning and in my opinion, a true modern classic.
My only advice is: first time you hook it up dont make the mistake I did and use headphones. Hook it up to your DAW immediately so you dont miss one note of the insane amounts of inspiration this synth will provide you with.
There's been a ton of hype surrounding the Arturia MiniBrute since it's announcement, and for good reason. The oscillators sound amazing, the filter is EXTREMELY capable, and the hands on factor make it incredibly addicting.
However, the unit I received had a couple of problems out of the box, one of which is proving more annoying to resolve than I thought it would be.
Out of the box, I plugged it in and let it warm up for the 5 mins necessary. After dialing in my first patch, what did I hear? Nothing. The keyboard octave led was dark, and the LFO rate light did not move when I adjusted the rate. Key presses did not cause the Filter envelope or vca envelope light to turn on, indicating the keys were not triggering anything.
Apparently this has plagued a number of Minibrutes, as the official forums acknowledged the problem and offered a fix. I had to open up my brand new minibrute, and go in and plug two connectors that come undone during travel.
Not terribly difficult, but extremely annoying for something brand new out of the box.
The more pressing issue, however, is the fact that the middle B key does not stick flat with the rest of the other keys:
Arturia's technical support is practically impossible to get a hold of.
Also, the sub osc seems to constantly play, even when no env is being triggered. It is barely audible, but I am worried it will get louder with time.
Does this synth sound amazing? Yes. Does it have a ton of modulation possibilities? Yes. But does it have some birthing pangs? Apparently yes.
So while I am extremely happy with the sounds I can get out of this thing, I cannot totally endorse the MiniBrute. It's a wonderful instrument, but don't let the hype surrounding it blind you.
Arturia did send me the missing part (key bumper) and now it looks like this:
Everything else is fine with the synth, and I'm madly in love with it!
Got mine the other day and have to say it sounds amazing!!!!
Beware of the pointless metal plates under the keys, as some fell off mine and they don't seem to do anything at all to the action of the keys.
The fact that it has no patches apart from the ones that you can record onto a paper template is great. I hate stored patches, they suck the life out of originality and creativity, that is for me anyway. The sound even on my crappy MBOX is awesome especially with some re-verb, delay and a bit of chorus.
I love this synth and nothing comes close for sound and fun factor!!! I think a Telemark would go well with this as its a bit more harp and glass like were the Minibrute is more abrasive, but very full at the same time.
I have recorded some random sounds have a listen, although the sounds have been compressed by soundcloud so lack the bass that was present when recorded.
Wow, just in time for xmas. I lucked out and won a bid on a mini brute. So affordable I could not pass it up. I used to own a modular, which I built around the Livewire's(RIP) Frequensteiner (Steiner Parker Filter clone). I had a ton of Osc and envs and lfo for that system. It never stayed in tune or scaled and stayed musical long enough to really make music with it. For blips and beeps wow it was amazing. Still I need to spend my money on Musical Instruments not sound fx machines. I wanted to hate this thing because it lacks a true 2 osc setup. The metalizer had my hopes high that I would love it for SYNC type sounds it could provide. It fails at the "sync" sound. Instead offers up something new and pretty musical. I heard that Daniel Myer of Haujobb and Covenant, used this thing on the last covenant tour. So I wanted to see what was up with it. I also ran into a arturia rep who brought one into Guitar Center by where I live. He had it plugged into a roland synth amp so i did not care for how it sounded through that thing. YUCK. Still I learned a valuable thing, On the mixer section, keep all the osc under the middle line on the mixer to get more head room, over the middle line is over driving the mixer. Makes it sound more aggressive but also cuts headroom, and kind of destroys the bass. So keep osc below middle line to hear it correctly.
The osc: It is very musical. Can get big with all WAVS running. PWM is kind of ok, different plavor than roland for sure. The ultra saw is amazing for leads, makes it sounds like more than one osc. Metalizer is cool and interesting, kind of reminds me more of ring mod than a sync sound. Unique for sure. The sub osc fattens the sound big time and, i love the sine wave option too. It lacks octave control switch on the env, so you just have to use the keyboard xpose, or control with a bigger keyboard to go low and high. I have not tested the scaling and tuning on this yet, but it sounds good so far.
The filter: This is a great filter that does not sound moog, or roland. It is a tad korgy and old yahmaha sounding. This is a good thing too. Multimode with resonance is the bomb, if you want really lively leads with out taking up much room in the mix but you still want it to stand out and cut. THIS IS IT!!!! This filter sound much different and better than the fruequensteiner I had on my modular. GOOD JOB ARTURIA. The Brute Factor is ok on conservative settings. On extreme settings its more for sound FX and gets very un musical.
The Envs: Snappy, tight, musical, shaped well. 2 of them, plus you can make it super slow with a switch for longer evolving sounds and drones. LOVE IT.
Modulations: Pretty good, 2 lfos, one for the mod wheel that is limited to vibrato and other things. the other for pwm, metalizer, osc, filter and amp. What i hate is that the PWM and Metalizer LFO destination are the same path so on for both, off for both, so kind of limiting :( Wish there was a switch.After touch can do filter and vibrato but its all or nothing so i wont use it.
The arp: This is the bomb. Reminds me of the sh101 but way better. I think it can do step recording, but i have not figured it out.
LOVE IT. For sound fx too LOVE IT. For ARPS LOVE IT. For bass, LIKE IT good enough. This is no bass king tho. This is a arp and lead synth, bass synth 2nd. It does do some good bass, still I i would go for a Moog Phatty, or minitaur, or older roland sh 2 for bass duties.
The Minibrute is the entry point for anyone looking to experiment with synthesizers from a newbie learing experience but is also quite a unique and satisfying additions to any synth afficionado's studio.
The layout is simple, the modulation is surprisingly well thought out and to the point. the absence of presets will force you to learn and experiment to get different sounds.
The sound quality is different to the VA synths, the oscillators are raw and very strong in the bottom end, and mostly crisp in the top end when you connect a larger keyboard (via midi) with higher notes than the onboard keyboard allows you to play.
The Filter is the most standout part of the whole unit, it does not sound like most other synths, it's self resonant but it sounds alot different to nearly all keyboards on the market in recent years. Also it's multimode and very tonally diverse and like I said earlier, very useful because you can run audio through it and process it with the smooth motion of analogue modulation and knob-play.
I was surprised how useful this synth is both as an effect and for sound design and lead lines.
My only complaints with the unit are mostly insignificant and easily forgiven are:
1) Transitions of the bottom end of the lowpass filter seems a little uneven in response to slow know movements but I could be wrong about it and it could be the nature of the filter design. Though it's especially noticable with high resonance dialled in.
2) The volume of incoming audio seemed a little weak and getting it to play nice with the amplifier envelope will confuse some users initially. (hint: the switch on the back of the unit).
3) On board arpeggiator does not output midi! :(
4) No module version...
Anyone contemplating getting one should do so if they are leaning towards something with some edgyness in the sound, this synth is a certain buy.
The MiniBrute is built strong, it's mostly metal and the knobs are really solid and offer good resistance in their motion for accurate knob-play.
If your looking for more clinical and clean sound will not be as happy with the sonic results, the Minibrute will be quite limiting as you cannot get most of those expected sounds from it due to the sound of the filter and overdrive options before and after the filter and secondly because of it only having a single oscillator, a powerful and well featured single oscillator, but still, just one oscillator to work with is limiting.
I've had the MINIBRUTE for over a year now, and I love it.
I've used Virtual Analogs for 15 years or more (AN200, Electribe, Gaia).
So using a machine without all the built-in chorus, flanger, delay, etc. etc., was a bit of a shock at first.
But I started to notice that the Minibrute forced me to really pay attention to how I was creating sounds, and helped me stop being lazy about making riffs that were interesting.
The analogy is that of the seasoned coffee drinker who enjoys a cup of straight black coffee. No fancy flavored gourmet stuff, just the raw stuff.
Now going back to my Virtual Analogs, I am actually diving deep within the synthesis, whereas before I was relying too heavily on effects to get a lush sound.
I won't get into rating all the VCO, VCF, blah blah, since I'm still learning about Analog Synthesis. But I want to say something about the actual sound output of the Minibrute. The first time I hooked this thing up to an amplifier, I got that sly smirk I always get when I'm thinking "aww hell yes".
I was absolutely pleased by how thick and warm the sound was. Whereas my other synths have beautiful crisp clean tones, the Minibrute outputs exactly the heavy, rich tone and power I had been looking for. I love Digital synths, but the Minibrute has a level of power that you really feel rumble when you crank the amp even just a little bit.
I've never played with a dream machine like a Moog, but I thank Arturia for creating a synth that has opened my mind to the world of sound, and has given me that much more of a push toward someday getting the synth of my dreams.
And thank you for listening to my homily!
Last edited by syrhimog; 17th July 2015 at 04:00 PM..
Reason: wanted to add a word about sound quality
This thing definitely is a fun little analog synth.
The only regrettable omission from the design IMHO, is more modular connectivity than it's little brother, the Microbrute. For a little more Eurorack interaction, it is possible to find the signals you want to output from this excellent page on hacking the Brute-
The Arturia minibrute is super flexible, with numerous control options, really putting the sound in the user's hands. The learning curve is a little steep if you are new to synthesis.
The oscillators seem destined to really cut through in a mix, though you can make them tame if you really want to!
For someone like me, who was looking for a really versatile filter, I cannot recommend it enough. Most of my time with it is spent running external sounds through the filter and LFO. Love the envelope shaping on drums, basses, strings. Just be prepared to spend A LOT of time with it. One improvement I wish was there is an adjustable frequency width on the bandpass and notch filters.
Only possible con I see is the close proximity of each control knob to the next. However, this was certainly a conscious choice that makes it more portable.
Overall, looking forward to future analog releases from Arturia. Drum machines, perhaps?