The 2010s saw a huge resurgence in all things analog. Arturia, a French software synth company, even got into the mix in 2012 and started also making hardware synthesizers. Their first offering was the MiniBrute, a tiny, fully analog 25 key monosynth that pumps out a very large sound.
At first glance, the specs of the MiniBrute aren’t terribly exciting or impressive; you get a single oscillator, monophonic bass synth with a filter and LFO. But, take a closer look and you’ll see that even with this simple design, the MiniBrute does quite a bit. Take the oscillator, for example; yes, there’s only one, but it can create multiple waveforms at the same time, reminiscent of the Roland SH-101. A handful of sliders let you mix square, sawtooth, triangle, and noise together. There’s even a sub oscillator. The result is that you can create a surprising range of tones.
The MiniBrute uses a Steiner-Parker filter. You get a lot of flexibility here as well; lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and notch modes are present, and the cutoff can be controlled through key tracking (up to 200%), the mod wheel, a dedicated ADSR envelope generator, aftertouch, or the LFO. High resonance values will indeed make the filter scream. A lot. The filter resonance isn’t at all Moog-like, but has a character all its own.
Perhaps the most fun parameter to twiddle is the ‘Brute Factor’ knob. This takes the output of the VCA and sends it back through the synth a second time, resulting in ridiculous amounts of coloration, width, and thickness. It is really, really fun to play around on the MiniBrute just to see how nasty you can get it to sound.
That said, Arturia created a monosynth here that definitely has a unique sound profile, and it’s not going to be suitable for everyone. While the sounds coming from the MiniBrute are impressive for their size and aggression, they sometimes feel like they have too much ‘Brute’ in them to be practical in the studio. Others will absolutely adore the sharp, screaming tone this synth produces, but more so than with other synthesizers, you may want to try before you buy.
|Year of release: 2012||Polyphony: 1|
|Oscillators: 1||Multitimbral Parts: 1|
|Filter: 1 multimode VCF||Format: Keyboard Synthesizer|
|Keys: 25||Control: MIDI|
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