ARTURIA MICROBRUTE Compact
Looks Tiny, Sounds Massive
MicroBrute is pure analog sonic powerhouse of a synth. Small in size but loaded with features, it follows in the footsteps laid by its big brother the MiniBrute. Packed with mixable waveforms, a new sub oscillator design, the famous Steiner-Parker multimode filter, super fast envelope, syncable LFO and the new step sequencer, not to mention the patchable mod matrix the MicroBrute is a landmark new synth at an incredible price.
- Monophonic synthesizer
- 100% Analog Audio Signal Path
- Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter (LP, BP, HP)
- Voltage Controlled Oscillator with new Overtone Sub-Osc
- Oscillator Mixer (Sub, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle)
- LFO with 3 waveforms and destination attenuator
- Brute Factor™ delivering saturation and rich harmonics
- Ultrasaw generating shimmering sawtooth waveforms
- Metalizer bringing extreme triangle harmonics
- Fast Envelope Generator
- 25 note mini Keyboard
- External Analog Audio Input (level pot on rear)
- CV Inputs: Pitch, Filter, Sub-mod, Pulse, Saw animator, metalizer, gate in.
- CV outputs: Pitch, Gate, Env, LFO
- MIDI Inwith 5-Pin DIN connector
- USB MIDI In/Out
- 1/4” Audio Output and 1/8” Headphone Output
- Free Editor Software
- Step Sequencer:
- 8 sequences stored on power down
- Rate control
- Sync to MIDI clock
- Multiple modes (via software editor)
- Tap tempo/rest insert
The Voice path on the MicroBrute is 100% Analog, not digitally controlled analog, not digital oscillators with a wave shaper, but true honest analog. This gives MicroBrute the same sort of rich, warm sound found in its award winning big brother, the MiniBrute. This gives the MicroBrute a sound that will not go out of fashion or get stale, just like the many true analog classics that are still around today getting top dollar.
The MicroBrute oscillator generates multiple wave shapes at one time. The wave mixer allows you to blend these different waveforms in varying levels to create and unending variety of sounds. Some synths that cost 2, 3 and 4 times as much only allow you to enable or disable the waveforms. This leaves you with 2 or 3 options for the raw sound. The MicroBrute oscillator does not hold back on sonic capabilities and allows you the freedom to create your own sound.
The oscillator waves and wave mixer are nice but they don't stop there. We have added special wave shapers on every waveform that boldly expands the sonic range. Most synths have pulse width mod... yeah, we do too. No other synths have our Triangle wave Metalizer or our analog Ultrasaw modifiers. The Metalizer adds upper end harmonics to the normally dark triangle wave and can produce some sharp cutting bass sounds. The Ultrasaw makes the single saw sound like 2 or 3 saw waves that are slightly detuned making it the biggest single analog wave you have ever heard.
The newly designed Sub oscillator, named Overtone, is much more than the typical sub. This will of course create a standard square wave 1 octave down from the oscillators root pitch, giving you deep octave spread goodness but it goes further by having a harmonic control that increases the upper overtones until the pitch finally reaches a full 5th above the root oscillator. This in effect gives you a two-oscillator sound. The sub>5th control allows for a wealth of sounds between as well. Add the ability to modulate this and you get the baddest, boldest sub oscillator ever.
When we chose the Steiner-Parker filter on the MiniBrute we knew we had a winning combination. We decided to leave this classic filter on the MicroBrute as well. Known for having its own distinctive sound and its wide range of tonal options, the Steiner-Parker is a staple filter in the modular synth world. The MicroBrute offers three modes of this great filter : Low Pass, Band Pass and High Pass. This filter in combination with our amazing oscillator will give you a lifetime of sound sculpting options.
The Brute Factor™ adds a certain character to both our MiniBrute and MicroBrute that makes them some of the most aggressive analog synths around. The Brute Factor™ simulates a trick that people used to do on a certain synth by taking the output from the headphone out and routing it back to the external input. We refined this and made it into a more controllable circuit that at low levels gives you a saturated and enhanced low end sound and at high levels can wreck havok on sound systems everywhere. You have been warned.
The modulation matrix takes the MicroBrute into a whole new arena of sound possibilities. Being able to change the default mod routings and create your own patches sets MicroBrute apart from the crowd. It also opens the MicroBrute up to being much more than just a compact synth. It allows the MicroBrute to work well as an expander and companion to the MiniBrute. For those with modular synths, the MicroBrute can become a controller, a set of modules that can be integrated as well as a signal processor.
The LFO allows for a wide range of modulation possibilities. With an extended frequency range it can create subtle vibrato effects, long evolving modulations, or even reach into the lower realms of exponential cross mod effects. Normally patched to control the pitch of the oscillator, you can always patch the output to control the filter cutoff for wobble basses or patch it to the pulse width, saw animator or sub inputs to create thick and rich waveshaper effects.
The envelope was tailored to offer a range of "times" that are best suited to a mono synth. This means that there plenty of punch and fast attack for creating the hardest hitting basses and electronic kicks around. Normally routed to the Metalizer, the enveloppe allows for sync-sweep types of effects that are perfect for cutting leads. Using the mod matrix, patch it to the pitch and now you will have the start of percussive zaps, kick drums and alien craft landing sounds. Use the Mod matrix output and make the enveloppe a 3rd modulation enveloppe with a MiniBrute or an extra one for your ever growing modular synth.
MIDI / USB
The MicroBrute allows full connectivity to the modern world. We are seeing a wealth of new low cost analog products that are leaving this critical functionality off, which relegates them to the toybox and not the professional studio. The MicroBrute features USB 2.0 MIDI input and output and responds to MIDI notes, modwheel, pitch bend and will sync to MIDI clock. The 5 Pin DIN MIDI Input allows you to use the MicroBrute as a sound module with a full sized keyboard giving you a wider range of playability.
CV / Gate
MicroBrute supports the standard 1 Volt per octave format found on most modern modular synthesizers, but also on the MiniBrute. This make the MicroBrute a great addition to both modular users and MiniBrute users. MiniBrute users can have the sequencer of the MicroBrute drive the MiniBrute via CV/GATE. They can use the envelope and LFO CV outputs to add a third env and LFO to your MiniBrute via the Filter, Pitch or VCA inputs. Modular users can use the MicroBrute's sequencer, keyboard, envelope and LFO to add a vast amount of functionality to their modulars. Modular users would typically spend more money for a Steiner-Parker filter alone (which you could also use via the audio input) much less the other controls that are available.
Audio processing of external sources is possible with the Audio Input. You can run your drums through the MicroBrute's filter and Brute Factor™. Shape the sound or modulate a vocal part. Use the external input along with a sequence that is modulating the filter to get some great rhythmic tonal changes to a guitar solo or bass line. The possibilities are endless.
The built in step sequencer allows for quick and creative pattern making. It has 8 sequences that can be up to 64 steps each. They are remembered on power off so you won't lose them. Simply put the mode switch to REC, start pressing notes on the keyboard and entering rests using the Tap Tempo buttons. When you are finished, just move the mode switch back to OFF or PLAY when you are finished. It is that easy.
The Step sequencer allows for a number of trigger modes and playback modes. These are set in using the free editor software that you can download from the Arturia web page. You can choose the time base from the following step sizes 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. You can have the sequences trigger from the Keyboard or start playing right when you select PLAY. You can have the sequences play to the end when you switch them or have them change immediately... and more.
Import / Export
So now that you have your sequences, you want to save them and clear them out to create some more. Using the software editor, you can import and export your sequences to your computer.
Huge, deep, round, cutting, thin, sharp, full, nasty, brutal... these words barely scratch the surface of ways to describe the bass sounds that you can get from MicroBrute
Leads / Sequences
The MicroBrute has a wealth of sound possibilities, more than any analog synth in its price range and even above. The voice layout, number of oscillator tonal possibilities, filter combinations and modulation routings will keep you going for years.
By using the modulation matrix, the high speed LFO and the audio inputs, you have a great effects machine. It can create great analog drum sounds, hype modulated FM sounding tones, as well as uncontrolled Brute Factor™ kaos.
The MicroBrute is new but carries the award-winning heritage of its big brother, the MiniBrute. The MicroBrute was designed to be small but still retain an amazing sound quality. With a 100% pure analog voice path and advanced interconnectablity via MIDI, USB, CV/GATE, this machine is a true powerhouse synthesizer that takes your sound to a new level. A synthesizer is a musical instrument that is meant to be played. However, playing a synthesizer is more than just playing some notes on a keyboard and recalling someone else’s presets. If that was the goal you could be looking at accordions or going to a department store to buy your keyboard (along with socks, milk and toilet paper)…but you aren’t because you are more creative than that. A synthesizer is a musical instrument that is meant to be played. However, playing a synthesizer is more than just playing some notes on a keyboard and recalling someone else’s presets. If that was the goal you could be looking at accordions or going to a department store to buy your keyboard (along with socks, milk and toilet paper)…but you aren’t because you are more creative than that.
The largest Oscillator sound around
The VCO on the MicroBrute is unique in the synthesizer world. It features the ability to mix waveforms in variable amounts as opposed to simple ON/OFF switches that are found on many synths at four times the price. The sound possibilities don’t stop there. Each waveform has wave modifiers that allow even further tonal variations. While many synths need two or three oscillators to get a somewhat big sound, the MicroBrute is able to achieve a much wider tonal range with its one oscillator.
For the MicroBrute we redesigned our sub-oscillator from the ground up. The new OVERTONE sub allows for the typical -1 octave square wave that thickens up the bottom end but goes beyond this with the Overtone control. The Overtone control allows you to bring in more complex harmonics that when turned all the way up result in the oscillator changing pitch to a 5th above the root. This allows for some classic sounding leads and fatter basses. This control can even be modulated with the ENVELOPE or LFO via the mod matrix which creates some amazing new sounds never heard from a synth oscillator before.
The Ultrasaw builds two phase-shifted copies of the basic sawtooth signal. This effect, when turned up, gives you a slight thickening of the sound as it duplicates the sound of two saw oscillators close to the same pitch. You can then use the MOD MATRIX to route the LFO to the SAW which will add a third saw sound and allow to simulate a wider detuning effect. This one saw wave can now sound like a three oscillator synth by itself.
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 a hard sync sweep type of sound that is perfect for hardcore bass sounds or tearing leads. The ENVELOPE has a default routing to this parameter via the MOD MATRIX. Just turn up the ENVELOPE amount control, adjust your envelope to an interesting setting and you will hear the effect take hold.
The MicroBrute comes with a full featured LFO and a standard ADSR type Envelope. The routing of these modulation sources are configured in the MOD MATRIX. No other synth in this price range allows for this kind of flexibility. The MOD MATRIX allows you to control many aspects of the voice for different internal sources as well as opening the door to controlling them by external synths and modules. The MOD MATRIX has two default routings:
1. LFO > Pitch
2. ENV > Metalizer
This allows you the typical LFO/MODWHEEL vibrato control as well as having the envelope add modulation to the Metalizer. NOTE that the ENV is always routed to the filter and there is a separate ENV AMOUNT control in the filter itself. This default routing can be overridden by simply inserting one of the patch cords into either the mod output or input jacks. You can then patch in your own routings. The multiwaveform LFO has Square, Saw and Sine waveforms. It also has an output amount control allowing you to tailor the depth of LFO modulation. LFO range stretches from 0,1 Hz to 200 Hz allowing you to go anywhere from very slow longterm modulations to wild audio range effects. A standard ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope can be used for controlling the filter cutoff and the amplitude directly. You can then patch the output via the mod matrix and use the AMOUNT control to effect the pitch, Metalizer, pulse width or any other control destination in the MOD MATRIX. The mod wheel allows for manual control of either the filter cutoff or the LFO amount. This allows you to play the modulation in real-time adding character and interest to your musical passage.
MicroBrute embeds the legendary Steiner-Parker multimode filter. Introduced for the first time in the Synthacon synthesizer, back in the 70’s, this marvellous filter not only gives you a Lowpass mode like most other synths, but also Bandpass, and High-pass, making it a highly versatile and praised boutique filter. The MicroBrute 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. Many synths at well over twice the price of MicroBrute come with only a single low pass filter and many modular synth companies sell their version of this classic filter for more than the total price of the MicroBrute.
The Brute Factor™ was inspired by a patch made on a famous vintage synthesizer. User would connect the headphone output to the external audio input resulting in a kind of feedback loop that is ideal for raspy and grungy sounds. This patch has been adapted and implemented internally first in the MiniBrute and now in the MicroBrute. With low Brute Factor™ settings, you will hear a gradual depth and roundness to the bottom end. When turned up above about 65% however, the MicroBrute 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!
MicroBrute is more than a synthesizer. It allows a return to audio experimentation by giving you the ability to process external sounds though it. The MicroBrute has an audio input with a pop-up trim pot for level controls on the rear panel. This will allow you to process any other sounds like voice, guitar or other synths through the MicroBrute’s filter, Brute Factor™, and final output stages.
We have added a new step sequencer for the MicroBrute. The step sequencer harkens back to some other step sequencer designs of the 80s but updates them in a way that goes beyond belief. The step sequencer allows for eight different sequences. These sequences can have up to 64 steps each and are stored in internal memory so that when you power down, they are retained. You input the notes that you want one at a time and can insert rests using the TAP TEMPO button to create rhythmic patterns. Once you have your sequences, you can choose between many different ways to trigger and play your sequences.
NOTE On or continuous play modes allow you to choose whether the sequence will only play when a key is pressed or to start immediately when the control switch is moved to PLAY.
When you change sequences while playing there are options to choose an immediate change to the new sequence or to have it play the current one to the end before changing. There are even more controls that are accessible via the free editor software that allow you to tailor the sequencer to your particular likes. So now you have your eight sequences but you want to make more AND you don’t want to lose your current ones ? Simple. Using the editor software you can import and export your sequences to your computer for archiving.
Why did you leave off batteries?
When you see the small size of the MicroBrute it is natural to say “They should have made it use batteries ; I can’t believe they didn’t think of this”. Well, we did think of this but decided to leave this option out for really good reasons. Sound quality was key. Using high current parts with larger voltage rails to get real sound means that more power is required. This is why so many battery powered synths sound like toys and not like speaker destroying monsters of sound. After looking at battery options and realizing that most people have accessible power, want to protect the environment and don’t want a small synth that weighs 20 pounds, we decided that it was not worth the sacrifices needed to have it battery powered.