This small and portable analog synth is capable of massive sounds thanks to its 100% analog signal path. All of the knobs, faders, and switches are a breath of fresh air compared to meticulously tweaking in deep digital menus - I can always get fat basses and searing leads created in no time!
The Arturia MiniBrute is a true analog synthesizer. All the knobs are actual analog potentiometers - not digital encoders, therefore they do not send any MIDI data. The only MIDI data sent out by MiniBrute is the keyboard data (notes with velocity, channel aftertouch, mod wheel and pitch bend). Its level of control is better than any other analog synth in this price range and the sound is skin-tingling, face-ripping, blood-pumping good!
I have had so many synths over the years, so you see, it's not that easy for me to get excited over synths anymore....but this thing...oh man....it left me totally speechless! That aggression...the sweetness....the character....the simplicity....the versatility...that "ballsy" sound....and all that goodness for such a ridiculous price.....
c'mon guys, u kidding me?!? stop wasting your time reading this review and go get it! NOW!
My go-to synth for inspiration and jamming
The Arturia team has really created a classic with this synth. It has become my source of inspiration on a daily basis with its intuitive interface and variance of architectural sound options. I own a Moog, a few Roland's and many Korg products, both new and vintage. This piece fits right in wherever I need it to, and never disappoints. From the variable waveforms, to the oscillators, and extensive filter options, I'd never imagine this was a single oscillator synth. Not to mention the arrpegiater and all the fun and usefulness that has lent to me at this price point. It's amazing I'm sure will go down as a new classic. Kudos Arturia.
The Arturia MiniBrute was my first monophonic Synthesizer. I didn't know what I was buying. So I bought the Limited Edition and it sat around for while on my coffee table. The manual is super geeky--lots of tables and heady waveforms and big words. I thought I made a big mistake because it's a synth tweeker's dream and I just wanted to play. I couldn't find any sounds I thought were usable then something amazing happened after messing around with it. I created my first killer sound. And it is nasty and sits right in the mix like a sassy lead blues musician. This sound is well worth the the price of admission in a world of presets because it's my own. If you're not in a hurry to create your own sounds and are willing to experiment you will definitely find some gems exploring the MiniBrute. I use it everyday. The same sound. I highly recommend the MiniBrute for electronic dance, ambient and rave style music. Maybe you'll find your own sounds heard by anyone else and forge your own style.
Started with Micro, Love the Mini
I started with the Microbrute and really enjoyed it. I picked up the Minibrute during their special deal, and was blown away. I didn't realize how different the Minibrute could sound. Having worked with the Micro, I have a better appreciation for the enhanced capabilities of the Mini, as well as the deeper, richer sounds it can produce. I love now having them both to play together!
The Best Underdog to go for at it's Price Used!!
I know they had keyboard problems when they first arrived. I bought mine used and in mint condition. It is as solid as anyone would attest to, so just don't attempt to drop it to make sure. I have never owned an analog synthesizer before, only the Roland MC-09 DSP (digital sound proccessing) was close to this mono-Monster! that I have ever owned. I know a lot of people who aren't impressed with this synth yet, and many who as other reviews say enough of can't help but gush and go on about. Since I knew what I was getting into with no menu's, no presets and single polyphony I have been nothing but satisfied. AND MARK THIS look at the Moog Sub Phatty, and Sub 37 Oscillator mixing knobs. Granted you have two Oscillators of which to mix but the single Oscillator of the Brute has 4 individual waveforms plus input and the Sub Oscillator to boot! You can mix them in so many ways, but when you look at the two menitoned Moogs you can do this through the duel Osc at a higher price but you really don't get the individual detail of each slider on the Minibrute as far as mixing multiple waveforms from a single Oscillator, and not to mention the price pays more respect to an average introduction to Analog synth enthusiasts as well as being a genuinely influential piece of new gear from this generation of analog to have moog as well as the new Sequential "Dave Smith" Prophet Six having wave mixing knobs and distortion built in, it's like the overlooked teenaged mother turned ghetto grandmother in the rebirth of analog synth mainstream. Like it or not it is it's own sound. So go get your Moog on with Moog, and whatever else, but again I think once you get to know a synth like this you will attest as well to it's own ability in my opinion with the proper effect and the use of the brute factor you can age this analog into something of questionably powerful analog aging debauchary. And so to each there own in my total opinion to the competition amongst so much choice yours is simply just a question of that and with the one I made for this in compare at the time to the MS-20 Mini, and the Bass Station 2 this one had a sound in the demos compared to the others that spoke cleaner than the 20's constant audible hiss, to the addition of it's modern capabilities as well as vintage connectivity and modular. Plus all of it's originality. It's the best underdog to go for at it's price used and is sure to last to be a classic. So happy hunting and play as many or listen to as many demos as you can before you make your choice and make sure your willing to let this be a great synth to sink your teeth into learning RAW ANALOG SYNTHESIS on if you do!
Thin and Gutless
As others have noted, the Minibrute has a lot to recommend it. Quite simply, however, when all is said and done, the weak link is the oscillator. It really DOES sound weak and ****-less. If you have any doubts about this, compare it to the Moog Sub 37--the low end difference is like the difference between night and day. True, the Moog costs more than twice that of the Minibrute, but owning a thunderous analog synth was well worth the extra cost to me. My Minibrute, in contrast, has been relegated to the living room, where it is used as a learning/teaching tool for subtractive synth programming.
First of all, everything you've heard about this synth is probably true. I'm shocked that this 100% analog beauty only set me back $500. I really like the way it is laid out. Different sections have unique functions for an individual waveform. For instance, the triangle has a special "metalizer" knob that really takes things up a few notches. Not sure exactly what it does but it's awesome. For the saw you get an Ultrasaw knob which has a lot of character. Really like the Sub Osc. The LFO is dramatic and I especially like the variable knob of PWM + Metalizer. The synth tends to want to sound very aggressive but a little twiddling with the Steiner Parker filter (!) and you can tame it into warm, round basslines that no plug in can give you. I love it. This can give Moog's or anything else a run for it's money and at the price I'd be willing to suggest there isn't anything on the market that can come close to touching it.
A future classic.
Let me start by saying I own a ton of synths, both analog and VA.
This synth is an unheard of value with a serious pedigree. Arturia took cues from modular synth community and the rare Steiner Parker Synthacon and created a true instrument. Finally, another synth I can call a "mini" without feeling sacrilegious.
The MiniBrute has one oscillator, but it is the most powerful single oscillator you will find outside of a true modular. Mixable waveforms, waveshaping, wave multipliers, pulse-width mod, a sub oscillator, noise, and even oscillator overdrive. The oscillators are true analog in the purest sense; no DCOs here.
The filter is a Steiner Parker Synthacon clone, endorsed and designed by the original Synthacon designer. It is a quirky multi-mode filter with a distinct personality. At high resonance settings, it can scream and throw tantrums at your oscillators. At low resonance, the filter can coax out beautiful clean tones.
There are too many features to dive into detail, but here's the nickel tour: Envelopes are snappy, plentiful modulation options, and it will interface with modular gear. keyboard feels cheap, but everything else is solid for the price. The lack of presets encourages experimentation and forces you to really learn the synth on a personal level.
I highly recommend this product from Sweetwater.
KEY BROKE ON FIRST DAY
On the first day one of the keys were way out of place. i took it all apart and it had cracked at the bottom on its cheap plastic. LUCKILY I FIXED IT! ever since that I've really loved it this is my first synth so i still have more things to discover about it. If this is your first also its great for a beginner its frustrating at first but its fun as hell.
Bafflingly Brilliant a legacy in the making...
The only trouble the minibrute will give you is you trying to make sense of how for $500, you can own something as powerful, versatile and well built as this little French monster. A 100% ANALOG SYNTH, brand new and reliable for WELL under a grand. I think it's a close cousin to the Cat Octive with a bit of goodies unheard of on synths at this price. I love the aftertouch and I love being able to use the mod wheel as a filter cutoff. Six months in, it's been rock solid, in tune and reliable. I could go on forever about the absolute earth shattering, perma-smile inducing, ala CS-80 sounds I've been able to squeeze out of this feeble looking instrument. Put this thing though a powerful system and be prepared to have your mind blown. I could speak at length of how well thought out the architecture is in real-time playability and versatility. I could gush about what new galaxies you discover by running this blue-gray bomber through some decent outboards like reverb, delays and filterbanks... I could do that for sure but if you're like I am, you're going to discover all that for yourself. It's one of the best musical instruments I've ever bought and like so many others here I will confirm (as long as you are willing to get buried in the science of waveforms) this will be worth every penny. No question about it.
Arturia hits it right
Well, I could go on and on; this thing is powerful, it's fully analog, it sounds great, it's compact, extremely well built. In other words, considering the price, you really can't go wrong. It's especially surprising since Arturia is mainly a software company, but the way they made this is excellent.
It's not going to sound like a Moog, which is great. I love Moog, but it's good to have alternatives. The midi capability works great, the CV capabilities works amazing. And again, for the price, it's incredible. I don't know how they managed to make such a brilliant synth for that price.
It's for sure still going to be a monster in the future, and probably will rise to the level of worth of a MS20 or even certain Moogs.
I'm keeping my eye on the MicroBrute too. I will for sure buy it soon as well.
I love my Minibrute. It excels at harsher sounds, but you can produce softer, smoother sounds by lowering the levels on the oscillator mixer to below the half-way point. Also try the high pass filter, with resonance at 50% and cutoff around 25%. The bass kills.
First Impression, it's great!
I read a lot of online reviews before I bought this, and my first impression is that the positive reviews are right. Excellent build quality, the knobs and sliders feel good, the keyboard is pretty responsive and the oscillatorvis remarkably versatile. You don't really miss having a second oscillator because of the Ultra Saw, Metalizer, etc. The filter can be subtle to harsh, which gives you a lot of options. I do think the "fast" setting on the envelope(s) isn't all that fast, the "slow" is nice and long. It's a blast to program and play, it doesn't sound thin or sterile as some reviews suggest. A great mono-synthesizer, regardless of the price.
By far, the easiest synth to get the sound I want. The graphic overlays make it nice for learning (and teaching) synth techniques. The MIDI clock just works (so nice). Sometimes you just need a sine wave. I know, that's difficult, but if it had it, that'd push it over a 5...
A Beast of a 'Brute!
If you like the warm tones of early Kraftwerk or the chirping arpeggio of YMO, you'll love the MiniBrute. It's got colossal sound in a small package and, speaking from experience, you don't need to have serious technical knowledge of exactly how analog synthesis works, because the user's manual explains that in detail and shows you (almost) every function and use of the MiniBrute. Absolutely worth every penny.
innovative and fun!
this synth is perfect for not only beginners for the fact that it makes learning synthesis ever hands on and easy but great for even high end synth players. The Minibriute has features usually only found on modular synthesizers (like a sawtooth animator). Also i am able to interface it with modular and vintage synth gear through its CV outs as well as additional modulation though the CV in's, a very rare and valuable option on modern synths. Also even though it has a very aggressive sound, it also is great for subtle and beautiful sounds as well.
MiniBrute = Great little board
With only having the Minibrute for a few hours, I can say it it is going to be a main piece for me. For those who are into instant sound tweaking and experimenting with sounds without menu diving this is going be impress.
Poor Man's Mini Moog
First of all, these are painful to aquire. From almost any mail order music store on the internet, the back order time for one of these will be about two to three months. When the new mopho x4 came out , I had one in three days, but after waiting and waiting I finally got a MiniBrut. So, let me tell you what I think of it. I am 48 years of age, and I am mainly a Marshall half stack Kramer guitar 80's headbanger. I also play rock bass and 70s and 80s pedal steel country music. I bought my first analog synth in 1982, a Jupiter 8, cause we wanted to do 80s MTV new wave songs, and now 30 years later I have about 30 analog and digital synths of all makes and models. Now monophonic synths take some getting used to because you cannot play chords on them, they are like lead guitars with piano keys, playing a phrase or a solo with only one note at a time. But because they are mono, instead of polyphonic, they have a certain feel and sound to them that a poly synth can't give you. With the addition of the MiniBrut I now have three mono synths, my first one was a 1970s EMS Synthi A (the exact mono suitcase synth that Pink Floyd used on Dark Side Of The Moon record) a bass player friend of mine bought it in 1979 when he visited London, and he found no use for it, so I traded him for a huge Ampeg tube bass head in 1986 and that's how I got it. Then when Bob Moog designed and released the Moog Voyager in 2006 I bought one of those. I call the MiniBrut a "poor man's mini moog" because it cost about three thousand dollars less than a Moog Voyager. If you are not ready for a Moog yet. the MiniBrut will somewhat do the job of what a moog can do. The Brut has only one ocillator but it's configured to make three ocillator sounds that you can "mix" together, to make it sound like three. There is also a sub-ocillator for bass tones, which is what i found to be the most analog sounding. The other two wave forms are called "metalizer and brute factor" and these are more like distorted sounds on a Virus synth. I found them to be unuseable, and when they are mixed together all that's achieved is a very distorted fuzzy sound. The Brut has total analog architecture. They do not make synths with sliders anymore, and the Brut is full of them and also has many knobs. The knobs are start and stop potentiometers and do not have silent clicks or detents. They are not endless encoders. The sliders for the envelopes have a very tight smooth feel to them also. The Brut has a genuine analog ocillator, because after switching the synth on it must have a warm up time of about ten minutes or else it won't play in tune. My Andromeda works the same way. After the ten minutes warm up time, you then fine tune it with a knob on the control panel. To me this is a strange little synth because there is no lcd display to indicate functions or store presets. So since there is no display there are no factory patches either. By moving the knobs and sliders you simply get one sound, and if you like it there is no way to save or store it! Included are five blank template overlays that you can mark knob and slider positions with a washable pen, but if you come up with say, five different sounds you made on your Brut and you want to use them performing with a band, it will be impossible to call them up quickly enough, if say for instance the song being performed requires three different sounds. So that pretty much makes the Brut more of a recording than performing synth. The Brut also comes with ten factory template overlays that are pre-marked with knob and slider positions so you can make some sounds without building one yourself, but I found them to be mostly distorted unusable rave sounds. What worked best for me was taking a closeup of the control panel with my digital camera each time I made a sound I wanted to keep. The Brut has 25 oversized black and white piano keys which I found to be a bit difficult to play. I have medium sized hands and for a person with small hands these keys will feel very large. Arturia could have made the piano keys at a smaller scale and might of been able to fit 31 keys on their synth. With the tiny knobs and oversized piano keys the Brut looks somewhat mismatched. The Steiner-Parker filter on the synth is ok, but it lacks richness and body. But by blending the three waveforms some usable sounds will be achieved. The most useful feature the Brut has is it's arpeggiator. It is an old school swing and clock style arpeggiator with a tap tempo control and it can animate and move your sounds in some very interesting ways. This is the first analog mono synth I've seen to have an arpeggiator but the Brut does not have a sequencer. On the back of the Brut are many useful inputs and outputs for connectivity, including usb and cv inputs which enable you to connect additional controlling devices. The Brut does come with a software editor, and you can save patches in your computer and call them up by using the Brut as a usb midi controller. So if you want to use the synth in band performance you will have to take your laptop with you. These are made in China and will have some manufacturing imperfections on them. When I unpacked mine it had knobs and slider controls that were looser or tighter than others, and the pitch and modulation wheels were extremely crooked and lopsided. But the build quality is good, as the Brut's housing is aluminum, not plastic. The power supply is not a wal-wart, but more like a lap-top computer lump-line power supply with a cord coming out of each end but is a small power supply, and is very lightweightt. The Brut has a good amount of weight to it and will remain stable on your keyboard stand, it cannot be moved that easily. I have not heard of a carrying case available for it yet, but the factory carton will work for a while because it opens from the top like a carrying case and also has a plastic carrying handle.There is also a very informative information packed user manual included. Also, the Brut cannot be powered by batteries, so that puts a limit on it's portability factor. So in closing, I will say that this a fun and interesting little synth and it will definitely become a collector's piece in a few years! It is not a toy but a real electronic instrument, it has some limations, but for the most part it will make interesting and useful electronic music. It may or may not suit your needs. You decide.
My Arturia/Sweetwater Journey
My Arturia MiniBrute journey. I hope it helps and inspires you.
First Arturia. I had never heard of Arturia. I started my Arturia MiniBrute journey with a used Yamaha KX-25 (trust me this will add up). It included a sample version of Arturia's Analog Factory software with 100 sounds which I was instantly impressed with, but I wanted more great sounds!!! I then decided to buy a used Arturia Analog Experience The Factory, which I also fully enjoy. (Please note hands down Arturia is a great DAW company and the first reason to use their products are that they sound great!! I also salute them for allowing the transfer from one owner to another as long as you show them all the proper paperwork and codes and that you do indeed own all of it . Reason number 2 to love, and use Arturia products). So stage one complete. I know who Artruia is and how cool their products are.
Now the MiniBrute.
The reason I found out about the MiniBrute are the great video's posted by Sweetwater. Very informative, HD quality and just an A+ effort. I quickly knew I had to have one. Then as you will find out these are so popular you can't get them. :-) So of course I placed my order with Sweetwater, they held my place in line, my rep Wayne kept up the great communications Sweetwater is known for with me and I now have my unit.
If you are interested in really understanding how classic and modern synthesizer sounds are created and how you can be creative with them this is your synth. You are not playing someone else's sound vision, you create your own, and it is easy! Lack of presets is a good thing!!! (but some are included in the manual and also on paper templates).
Yes is would be great to own a stable of Moog's, Oberheims, Rolands, Korgs, Yamaha's, Access Virus, Dave Smith, etc. etc. etc.
But for only $500 this synthesizer will feed your need for real-Phat- hands on analog. It stimulates sound creativity, is portable, built well and just plain fun.
Do yourself a favor and get one.
PS, yes I will be on the look out for more products from Arturia and Sweetwater!
best $500 I ever spent!
just finished up 2 remixes using this. superb!
this thing rocks!
love this little guy! first thing you'll notice is the build is much more robust than u expect. i was expecting the usual Arturia controller type build.but this has got some weight and all pots and sliders feel tight not cheap.
right out of the box this thing was spitting wobbling and growling. love the old school vinyl preset sheets !. a knob for every function like it used to be. this synth gets low has sub osc gets aggressive and the filter is a nice alternative to the moog stuff..the arppegiator has a tap function swing and step.. throw in midi over usb and some key patch points for vco gate ect on back and u have a bad ass powerful little synth!
If you are in the market for affordable and versatile analog goodness look no further. Every little bit of this guy has blown me away! The oscillator is unique and endlessly nuanced thanks to the wave shape mixer and the shaping circuits on each. With the sub-osc mixed in there you can get some really low-down tones but it is also capable of some very delicate sounds as well.
The filter is very different from anything else out there right now and very usable. The Low Pass is sweet, the Band Pass is funky, the High Pass is incredible, and the Notch is a ton of fun!
The LFO is fully fleshed and eminently controllable. The Arp is easy to use and great for jamming. Having ADSR sliders is intuitive and easy to use. The aftertouch is expressive. The outputs and inputs make it easy to integrate into literally any set up. I just can't say enough good stuff about this instrument. Get one now!
This little guy is pretty full featured.
Build quality of the overall chassis is sturdy feeling. The knobs and sliders in the oscillator section seem a little fragile - though for the price point they actually seem a little better than I expected.
Sonically the mini brute sounds pretty awesome. All of the tones sound stable (after you let the brute warm up) and oh so very analogue. There are some nice little touches too - audio in, brute factor (a form of feedback looping,) CV ins etc.
It's hard to explain but put the mini brute up to your soft synths (that are designed to do basic analog oscilator style synthesis) and it really sounds noticeably better - especially if you run it through a nice fast preamp/DI (like an API 512.) Sounds so thick. (I also pair it with an Orban analog broadcast EQ which takes this thing to another level entirely)
At this price point you could easily buy two of these things and come up with some really crazy sounds.
It is definitely a must buy for any keyboard or synth enthusiast as well as recording engineers everywhere (the filter section will give you so many new options for your recordings.)