My Arturia MicroBrute Controller Review
Founded in Grenoble, France, in 1999, Arturia specialises in the development of music software and hardware for professional and amateur musicians.
They create original and different instruments, imagine new experiences and reinvent products.
My Initial Thoughts
And, to be fair, it really does depend on your preferences and how original you want to be.
There are great digital options out there, but if you are looking for an analog beast of a device, then Arturia MicroBrute might be your new best friend.
Let’s look at the features and how it could help you develop your musical talents further.
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Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations
Because this is an analog synth, one thing is obvious - there are no presets, and you cannot actually copy anyone’s clips.
Not unless you play them yourself.
That is a good thing if you are looking to explore your creativity further, and if you want to be as original as possible.
When it comes to technical specs, there are multiple functions and options to choose from.
There is an oscillator that allows you to make marvelous sounds, as well as a filter with different low, high and bandpass modes.
Just imagine how that might sound like, and then amp it up in your head.
It is a loud device, so you can rest assured knowing that you would not have to strain your ears to hear what you are playing.
You also get a modulation matrix with multiple connections to external devices and other modulations sources.
The sequencer is high-quality also.
You get eight sequences in total, and all of them have 64 steps.
Furthermore, the LFO gives you three waveforms, and you can use it with the Sequencer too.
Let’s talk about the size for a moment.
When you look at this MicroBrute synth, it is not uncommon to think that it is a child’s toy.
True, it would be a somewhat complicated looking toy, but it is so tiny that no one would blame you for thinking that.
However, there is something to look forward to when it comes to its size.
It is unbelievably convenient to carry it around because you can fit it almost everywhere.
It weighs almost 2 kg, so it is not that heavy - yet it is not light as a feather.
The measurements are 325 x 221 x 60mm - great for bringing it anywhere with you.
Advanced Features and Performance
The design aspect of this synth is nothing to write home about.
It looks and feels like the classic synths many of us have already used.
The difference is mainly in size.
Apart from its tininess, it has multiple functions in the front.
They are all carefully labeled, so there is no way that you will get confused.
The knobs are sturdy and could take a lot of tugging, but I would not do that if I were you.
I cannot help but wonder if this is maybe too fragile of a device for professionals.
In my honest opinion, this is a fantastic device for beginners.
Even though it is high-quality, I do not think that veterans would get a lot of use out of it - unless they actually love analog synths.
Nevertheless, it does a great job when it comes to playing sounds, and that is mostly because it does not come with batteries.
That might be inconvenient for some, but the manufacturer decided against it for all the right reasons.
Some synths sound like a screeching cat if you use batteries on them, so having just a power supply allows the device to play more beautiful sounds.
It is a nightmare if you are somewhere where you cannot plug it in though.
One of the first things that caught my attention is the oscillator.
It covers a lot of functions, and there is something there that anybody could find useful.
There is a way to mix waveforms carefully, and in different ways too- you do not just use a switch for it.
The Ultrasaw is another neat addition to this synth.
When you adjust it, it allows you to make a thicker version of one sound and duplicate two similar ones.
That way, you are creating a rather interesting melody that can be used for all sorts of things.
If there is anything about this device that makes you go “Wow!”, then it is the Steiner-Parker filter.
Steiner himself approved of it, and I completely agree with him.
Most synths come with just one low pass filter - here you have three of them.
It would cost a pretty penny if you wanted to find another product with those many options.
However, MicroBrute is a cheaper alternative for just about anyone.
Pros & Cons of MicroBrute
Great potential for live performances
A lot of functions, easy to use
Light, sturdy and robust
Keys and knobs are a bit too small
Options are limiting for professionals
No way of saving your sounds
My Final Thoughts
Analog synths are old school, so you cannot expect them to do magic and feel and sound just like the digital ones.
However, if you are just beginning to get into music, then MicroBrute is an excellent device to start with.
It is a decent build that helps you learn all the basics, and since it is analog, you have to be creative enough to use it.
Even if it is a bit tough in the beginning, it is an excellent learning aid for beginners, and the price tag is not too bad either.