We put it to the test in our world-exclusive review. Are you excited yet? Firstly, every waveform — sawtooth, pulse, triangle and white noise — is available simultaneously, and you can control the contribution of each of these in the six-channel Oscillator Mixer, together with For the sawtooth, this is called Ultrasaw, and it adds two phase-shifted copies of the sawtooth wave into the signal. For the pulse wave, the waveshaping is in the form of pulse-width modulation PWM , which can be applied from either the filter envelope with positive or negative polarity, or from the main LFO low-frequency oscillator , or from both at the same time.
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Arturia first appeared on my radar in when they released the Minimoog V soft synth, soon following this with emulations of further classics such as the ARP , Jupiter 8, CS80, Prophet 5 and VS, and more.
The small, light, simple and affordable MiniBrute monosynth appeared in and was an immediate success, as was its smaller, lighter, simpler and even more affordable sibling, the MicroBrute, which was released the following year. Meanwhile, in the Mini and MicroBrute world, the company had been releasing special editions and differently coloured versions of the same synths, and this kept them in the public eye but illustrated that little else had changed in five years.
Furthermore, there are no dedicated vibrato and control sections, and the arpeggiator is implemented differently. Oh yes The next five are all related to waveform generation.
The final knob controls the amount of frequency modulation, which means that it affects all three waveforms simultaneously. Linear FM is also available via the patchbay, and this adds yet another flavour. The filter will self-oscillate in all modes, but not across the whole range.
Three pre-patched modulation sources are connected to the filter; the ADSR contour generator and aftertouch affect the cutoff frequency, while LFO1 affects the amount of resonance. On the other hand, the omission of pre-patched keyboard tracking is unusual. As usual, modest settings generate overdrive, while higher ones create less predictable responses. In contrast, the maximum ADSR contour times are surprisingly short: just 3s or thereabouts for the attack and perhaps 5s to 6s for the decay and release.
So, at last, we come to the patchbay. This offers 48 connections divided into 28 inputs plain text legends and 20 outputs white box legends , all using 3. One of the panels in the patchbay is marked MIDI, which is confusing because, with no MIDI cable connected, the four sockets in this section carry the pitch CV, gate, key velocity and modulation CV mod wheel or aftertouch generated within the MiniBrute 2 itself.
However, there are no multi-octave modes. Its sequencer allows you to create and store up to eight monophonic sequences of up to 64 steps. Then press Stop to end input, and press Play to play. Real-time recording is no harder; press Record and Play together and play from the keyboard into an existing sequence of defined length.
To be polite, this is far from ideal. I also stumbled across some neat patches of my own. Almost, but not quite. And yet more interesting sounds were conjured using voltage-controlled resonance. Nonetheless, the MiniBrute 2 has its limitations, as well as attributes that some people might feel are limitations, but which others embrace. Also be aware that, despite the greater complexity and flexibility of the new model, there are some MiniBrute sounds — primarily those with slow contour sweeps or independent ADSR contours — that the MiniBrute 2 on its own cannot recreate.
Each pattern comprises three sequences of up to 64 steps, defined as four pages of 16 steps. Finally, sequence 3, selected by pressing the Press pressure button, also offers 13 types, but with velocity replaced by pressure. The three sequences can be defined separately with their own lengths, quantisations and play modes forward, backward, alternate or random unless sequence 2 is set to velocity or sequence 3 is set to pressure or both , in which case either or both become part of sequence 1 and act as extra rows within that.
The MiniBrute 2S is smaller than its keyboarded sibling, its front panel measuring x mm. For example, if velocity or pressure is selected, the secondary function in both cases is glide. In addition to the sequencer, the MiniBrute 2S includes an arpeggiator. Unlike that in the keyboard version, this offers just six modes, but you can use it in tandem with the sequencer, playing the sequence unless you hold down buttons or send MIDI notes to define an arpeggio.
Interestingly, if real-time recording is enabled, the notes generated by the arpeggiator are then recorded within the sequence, which could be an interesting way to generate new ideas when the muse has deserted you.
The RackBrutes can be used in tandem with the MiniBrutes You can then fold them over to face one another for transportation, whereupon the built-in spacers not only protect the two from smacking into one another but also, depending upon the cables used, allow you to leave the modules patched when you do so. The as yet unnamed MiniBrute 2 carry case.
Conclusions This review was performed some weeks before launch, using production prototypes and without manuals. You can treat them as stand-alone synths, use them as performance instruments and, particularly in the case of the MiniBrute 2S, use them as expanders.
How Analogue Is Analogue? So how analogue are they? It turns out that their keyboard pitches, gates, velocities and mod CVs are digitally generated and, since LFO1 is applied directly to the KBD CV for vibrato, it was sensible to implement their LFOs digitally, which also made it possible to synchronise them to the master clock. Their arpeggiators and sequencers are digital too.
In short, much of the control is digital, but the sound is analogue. Since there are 48 inputs and outputs on the control panels of both the MiniBrute 2 and 2S, we can forgive their rear panels for being so sparse. There are five additional holes without legends or obvious purposes.
Four of these afford access to the tuning and scaling trimmers for the two oscillators hooray! Five clock standards are supported, including 24ppqn and 48ppqn. Furthermore, when receiving analogue clock, the synths will be able to convert this to MIDI Clock and transmit the result over their 5-pin and USB connections, allowing you to synchronise MIDI equipment to those analogue clocks.
Mixing the resulting signals together then generated the lush sound that we associate with these instruments. And very nice it is, too. Pros Both synths are much more flexible than the original MiniBrute. Both are much more affordable than building equivalent instruments using modules. Used together, the MiniBrute 2 and 2S can sound wonderful. The racks are attractive and the link system is well thought-out.
They are great fun. Their maximum ADSR times are too short. The RackBrutes may be too shallow for your needs. Four external PSUs is four too many.
Shares Our Verdict A great little synth, which manages to pack a lot of punch into its modest frame. Cons Might be too old-school for some. It can also synchronise itself with the arpeggiator. More recently, it has explored the hardware arena with the standalone DSP-based Origin hardware, or via software and controller systems such as the Spark drum machine. Basses, leads and effects were all easy to achieve, and with no memory storage in sight, experimentation was the key. On opening the box and picking up the unit, the first impression is that the MiniBrute is weighty and substantial. The case is made of aluminium with plastic side-trim, and the keyboard is of the two-octave full-size variety taking up the full width of the unit, above which sit the pitch and modulation wheels, and the densely populated synth programming section - Arturia really does squeeze in a lot of knobs, switches and sliders here.
Arturia MiniBrute 2 & 2S
Now with semi-modular architecture, you can splice its genome and expand its raw power into the world of Eurorack modular. Or find a dealer near you Born from the lineage of its predecessor, MiniBrute 2 is an adaptable, dynamic synth with semi-modular architecture and huge connectivity. This is synth evolution. From the earliest electronic instruments, synthesizers have expanded and enhanced the possibilities available to musicians. We decided not only to apply this mantra to the sound of our new instrument, but to synthesizer itself. MiniBrute 2 was born! A synthesizer that would sound huge and yet be compact, self-contained and versatile.
Arturia MiniBrute review
Arturia first appeared on my radar in when they released the Minimoog V soft synth, soon following this with emulations of further classics such as the ARP , Jupiter 8, CS80, Prophet 5 and VS, and more. The small, light, simple and affordable MiniBrute monosynth appeared in and was an immediate success, as was its smaller, lighter, simpler and even more affordable sibling, the MicroBrute, which was released the following year. Meanwhile, in the Mini and MicroBrute world, the company had been releasing special editions and differently coloured versions of the same synths, and this kept them in the public eye but illustrated that little else had changed in five years. Furthermore, there are no dedicated vibrato and control sections, and the arpeggiator is implemented differently.
Arturia MiniBrute 2 review