After the stir that Arturia caused when they unleashed the MiniBrute on the world, the company decided to follow it up with the even smaller MicroBrute. In order to shrink the hardware further a few compromises had to be made, so the MicroBrute doesn't have the velocity or aftertouch of the MiniBrute. It also makes use of a single-knob per function model, but Arturia has also added a couple of handy new features. These includes a small patch bay along with an analog step sequencer.
Physically, Arturia managed to decrease the size of the MicroBrute by leaving even less pace between the switches and knobs as well as decreasing the number there are compared to the MiniBrute. Unfortunately, the miniature keyboard found on the MicroBrute is definitely a step down from the one on the MiniBrute. While the rest of the hardware feels very sturdy, the keyboard itself unfortunately feels a bit spongy. For such a compact synth, it is somewhat disappointing that it doesn't have a battery power option.
While the MicroBrute features a Steiner Parker filter, it appears to be a more scaled down version of the one found in the MiniBrute. Where it does improve on the MiniBrute is with the wider range of CV/Gate interfacing options that it offers. The MicroBrute's sequencer is also a lot more flexible than what you might think and offers eight different pattern slots that can store 64 step sequences each. The great thing about the MicroBrute is that it is so easy to use that virtually anyone can use it to make music without having to know too much about synthesis. However, by making use of pure analog oscillators as well as the multimode Steiner-Parker filter, there can be no arguing that the MicroBrute is a very capable piece of gear. The fact that it also has the MOD MATRIX patch bay, a step sequencer, multi wave LFO and much more means that in terms of value for money, this synth is hard to beat.
It is hard to fault any features of the MicroBrute, especially given its size and low price tag, but the keyboard is definitely the weak point. Fortunately, it is possible to connect a full-sized keyboard to the MicroBrute, if you are willing to sacrifice some of its compactness. The MicroBrute is certainly not lacking in terms of connectivity options as it has a main audio output jack, 3.5mm stereo jack for headphones, quarter-inch audio input, MIDI input as well as a MIDI/USB port. Finally, the MicroBrute also has dedicated software that can be used with your computer to further customize the synth engine.
Demos & Media
Images from Perfect Circuit Audio.