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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54 Visitor comments
January 18, 2013 @ 3:56 am
VSE is supposed to feature info about vintage synths. MiniBrute came out in 2012 and is brand new. Is this a review or a product promotion? How can it be given 5 stars so quickly? Has it been thorougly tested in such a short time. Usually it takes a couple of years to determine build quality.
January 18, 2013 @ 1:56 am
It requires more time to stabilize tuning than said in the manual, but, if there still is no sound after 10-15 minutes, switching it off and on again usually helps, it's in perfect pitch, but it's a little flaw in the specific specimen I've got, I'm afraid.

It's versatile, quite agressive, and laid out logically, the ultrasaw & metalizer options provide a lot of timbral variety, and the "fast/slow" envelope options can create massive drones & snappy percussive sounds.
One lovely modern/retro analog synth.
January 17, 2013 @ 8:58 pm
I like this synth. The build quality is much sturdier than some online reviews have stated (the sliders are probably the weakest-feeling parts). It's very good for aggressive, almost metallic sounds; the filter can shriek like a banshee and self-oscillates easily. It's so small! (good for gigging). It takes a long time for the tuning to stabilise. There's lots of potential for on-the-fly tweaking, as nothing's hidden away. It doesn't sound like an SH-101 or a Moog at all: the Steiner-Parker filter sounds more like those you'd find in the Korg MS-10/20 or the Monotrons.
January 16, 2013 @ 1:31 am
I am pretty sure MB is controlled by a cpu, meaning that CV is generated by it so no arpeggiator clock, the non velocity responce of the MB (but equipped with a velocity sensitive keyboard) are just firmware issues. Arturia has good programmers, and i believe you have seen moog's minitaur firmware update video explaining all the new features, so you see, hopefully it will all be fixed or added in future releases
January 15, 2013 @ 4:58 pm
i listened MB's sound on many youtube reviews and i finally love it, amazing sound (i love the metalizer and the brute factor), control voltage gate connections, i love the mixer too and the sub osc. Great possibilities in this little device. Great work Arturia!!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.06 (327 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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