Friday, August 29, 2014

Arturia MiniBrute

The Arturia MiniBrute is a fantastic synthesizer and really stands up to a lot of vintage synths.  I must point out that it has been correctly stated that the mixer section was designed with a lot of headroom so if your levels are too high in this section, the sound can easily become distorted or unusable.  I tend to keep levels under 75% and often around 50% to avoid unwanted overdrive.
Before I bought one, I thought that the “metalizer” of the triangle wave would be one of the more useful and unique features about this synth.  For me, it turns out that adding more than a little of this effect (turning the knob past 30% or so) makes the sound way too bright and harsh in a bad way.  Though I like noise, the sound is more similar to nails on a chalkboard than grinding metal.
One of my favorite features, it turns out, is the sub oscillator.  This surprised me, because it seems like a rather mundane thing to be excited about.  The sub allows for 2 different waveforms (including sine), 1 or 2 octaves below.   It really sounds fantastic to add a sine wave 2 octaves below the square or saw.  The built in saw animator and pulse width modulation allows the ability to make this synth sound larger than a single oscillator synth.
The ability to control modulation with aftertouch is a huge bonus.  This makes it a great synth for leads or solos, but certainly is not limited to such things.  Since I got it, I have used it for bass, snare, various leads, and external filtering/processing. 
The only thing that I think could have made the MiniBrute even more useful would have been to allow each of the waveforms (and especially the sub) an option or switch to be mixed in before or after the filter, but before the “brute factor” pot. 


  1. I love to use the Minibrute to control my dot com modular. Great synth.

    Do you have any suggestions for cases for a dot com modular? The case options that are offered on their website are too long for my studio. I'd like to have maybe 3 sets of 11 modules wide and 1 module tall that I could stack.

    I saw a pic of your studio that shows an angled case for your dot com. I'm interested in that as well.

    Unfortunately, I can't build my own. Your feedback/insight would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  2. The case that I have for my modular was one that I custom designed and made but at its core, I used the rack rails available from dot com to hold them in the case. The rack rails accommodate 8 units wide. This would give you a few less modules, but would allow you to use any rackmount case. Each row is 5U tall in the rack mount world. If you found a rack case that is 15U or 20U tall, you could use 3 or 4 rows of the rails and have 24 or 32 spaces for modules. (in mine, I have 4 rows, or 20U)