Arturia MiniBrute

Arturia MiniBrute Image

Announced in January 2012, the MiniBrute created quite a buzz at Winter NAMM 2012 and in the electronic music world. Not only was it the first new mass-market analog VCO synth in quite a while, it was also from a company known for its soft synths. Highly affordable at a street price of $499 and filled with great features, the (almost) all-analog synth filled the desire for a new hands-on analog synth that could compete in price and sound with the well-loved vintage synths. Smartly designed, the unit can neatly fit into an all-vintage, modern MIDI, or modular setting with its CV, USB and MIDI DIN connections. Built in an aluminum body with rubber end caps, the MiniBrute is rugged, with only the knobs feeling a bit on the wobbly side.

Sonically, the MiniBrute is aggressive. Its tone can be tamed for softer textures, but it seems to gravitate toward the raunchy, with its "Brute Factor" control adding rich distortion. The multimode Steiner-Parker filter provides versatility beyond what most vintage mono synths deliver. Taking things even further, Arturia provide "Ultrasaw" control over the saw waveform and "Metalizer" over the triangle wave, allowing the user to create unique new sounds for a VCO mono synth. To make the sound even larger, the MiniBrute's VCO wave mixer lets you combine the waveforms with dedicated volume sliders per waveform, allowing for sounds similar to a polyphonic synth's unison mode. Many of those who were initially unconvinced by the single VCO were quickly swayed by the sonic flexibility of the waveforms and the sub-oscillator.

Arturia MiniBrute Image

With a multimode arpeggiator, aftertouch, velocity-sensitivity, multimode Steiner-Parker filter and many more features, the MiniBrute has few vintage competitors in terms of functionality. And it also holds its own in comparing its sound with that of beloved mono synths of yesteryear, and it even goes beyond the limits of the architecture of most 1970s subtractive synths, making the MiniBrute both a unique homage to the past as well as a new and creative interpretation of it. No menus, no presets. Just a straightforward, hands-on, "knobby" analog mono synth.

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53 Visitor comments
November 20, 2013 @ 5:56 pm
The amount you can get out of the minibrute's lone oscillator and sub oscillator is breathtaking. I've had it for 4 months. The first one I got had a broken key, which apparently could have been fixed by getting a part from Arturia but I decided against that and got it exchanged. It's wonderful with a bit of reverb and the doepfer dark time. Really a tweakers delight, despite sometimes being temperamental. It's as if it needs to be tamed and it's great trying to do such, but never feeling completely confident that you have. Obviously this could be off putting for some. The build is a bit weak.
Lagrange Audio
November 10, 2013 @ 10:30 pm
Firstly this synth is great, I stacked it up against machines like the MS20 Mini etc and it sounds fantastic, plenty of possibilities. BUT BEWARE: Like many people, and I say this with a heavy heart, it has serious production issues. My unit doesn't fire up 1 time out of 10, has inconsistent master out levels and headphones don't work at all. After 4 months I'm about to return it. Early production run problems have been well documented so make sure you don't buy it cold in store, test it first before walking out with it. If you get a good one then it's a brilliant machine, no question.
October 30, 2013 @ 5:47 pm
Fantastic though this synth sounds, mine does have terrible tuning problems. The central position of the tuning knob is nowhere near A=440 Hz as stated. Drift between successive octaves is so bad that using this synth live is almost impossible. Sometimes the starting pitch is so far from A=440 that I 'run out' of tuning knob, and can't ever get it in tune with my band. So - great for the studio, but in a live situation, pretty useless unless I'm just using it for blipping LFO F/x or whatever. Good to see I'm not the only one who's had problems in this area - it indicates a factory problem
October 30, 2013 @ 5:07 pm
To anyone reading this comment, do not waste your money on Arturia hardware products, as long as they have not learnt how to deal with their customers quickly and flawlessly.
I bought a keyboard from them, strange bugs, and I didn't get answered neither by the customer service nor by the forums. I immediately returned it, and with my money back I got a very good early 2000s synth.
October 18, 2013 @ 11:27 am
Simple and pretty good synth at a very affordable price. Well built, well designed. Filter sounds great, oscillators are versatile. I also use it as a glue for Midi-to-CV to sync MIDI, analog sequencers/arpegiators.

ex: Computer -[MIDI]-> DSI MEK -[MIDI]-> MiniBute -[gate]-> Korg SQ10 -[gate]-> Korg Poly61.
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Rated 4.06 (326 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Multitimbral - 1 part
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO, 1 Sub-Oscillator (square, sine, -1 or -2 Octave), White Noise, External Audio In, Pulse Width Modulation
  • Waveforms - Sub, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle, and White Noise
  • LFO - LFO1: Sine, Triangle, Sawtooth, Square, Random Square, Random Sine. LFO2: 3 Vibrato modes (trill up, trill down, sine).
  • Filter - Steiner-Parker 2-pole Multimode (12 dB/octave Low Pass, 6 dB/octave Band Pass, High Pass and Notch) with Keyboard Tracking
  • Envelope - 2 ADSR Envelope Generators
  • Effects - Ultrasaw, Metalizer, Brute Factor
  • Vocoder - None
  • Sequencer - None
  • Arpeggiator - 4 modes, 4 octave range control, 6 step divisions, 6 Swing modes, Hold
  • Keyboard - 25 note semi-weighted, with aftertouch (assignable to Cutoff or Vibrato amount)
  • Memory - None, patch sheets supplied
  • Control - CV In/Out (Pitch, Filter, Amp), MIDI In/Out, USB MIDI In/Out
  • Weight - 4 kg (8.8 lbs)
  • Date Produced - 2012
  • Resources & Credits
  • Original images from Arturia.

    Review by GuyaGuy.

    Reviewed January 2013.

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