Arturia MicroBrute - Analogue Mono Synth

Arturia MicroBrute

£269

It’s tough to choose between the Micro and its big brother, the MiniBrute. If we were doing eleven of the best we’d probably include both, but rules are rules and we only have space for ten, so it’s the smaller of the two which makes the cut.

The original MiniBrute was a game changer in more ways than one. Firstly, it was a rare case of a software manufacturer making the leap into hardware rather than the other way around. Secondly, Arturia came up with a unique-sounding synth, thanks to the unusual Steiner-Parker filter implemented with the help of synth DIY guru Yves Usson.

The MicroBrute is the spirit of the MiniBrute distilled down even further into its raw essence. We retain the Steiner-Parker filter but lose an oscillator. The arpeggiator is replaced by a sequencer and there’s only one envelope, but we gain a semi-modular patch bay for modulation routing.

OK, the two-octave mini keyboard is a little on the budget side and the plastic case might not live up to the standards of some of the more expensive models on our list, but everything has to be taken in context. What we have here is an incredibly capable synth at a very affordable price. The built-in step sequencer is a retro throwback which is actually surprisingly useful, while the mini patch bay proves handy for interfacing with modular gear and coming up with interesting patches by modulating parameters.

A few years ago, the idea that you’d be able to pick up an analogue synth this good for such a bargain price would have been unthinkable. The MicroBrute should be on any shortlist of a first ‘proper’ synth, but it’s good enough that it’ll also pull its weight alongside much less humble keyboards.

 

 

28th July, 2014

Comments

  • No love for the Vermona mono lancet? Wicked dual osc mono synth with one of the best square waves around imo

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  • My two cents…. I’ve heard some pretty terrible things about Cyclone Analogic TT-303… and I would personally take a x0xb0x over it any day.

    Also… Korg Monotron? Top ten best analog monosynth? I guess SH-101 and MC-202 were too close to the 303 or what? I agree that the Mono Lancet should be in there, perhaps instead of Monotron. Well, actually there are a bunch of better candidates.

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  • Borg – new synths only in this one, so 101 and 202 don’t qualify.

    As always with our Ten Of The Best features these are our favourite options at a range of price points, listed from cheapest to most expensive.

    We like the Mono Lancet too but as far as modules go the Dark Energy and Pulse 2 get the nod here.

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  • got the bass bot since a while and must say the sound is quite good, creamy and very 303 authentic, the filter is good as well. probably better to test it for yourself than judging on it by “hearing terrible things”. the rest of the list seems to fit as well.

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  • Monotron is my favorite synth of all time. I have plenty of synthesizers (also some which are mentioned in this post).

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  • Future Retro’s XS should be on there too IMO

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  • Analogue Solutions Leipzig S is a killer monosynth !

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  • Can definitely recommend ANYTHING from Studio Electronics.

    SE-1 is a great and cheaper alternative to the minimoog + has an SEM filter in there!

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  • Mono lancet should be there imo

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  • Really surprised the Moog Minitaur didn’t make the list…

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  • For something e little different, check out an Eowave Domino. It has an interesting character

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  • vermona mono lancet, eowave domino, mfb micro/nanozwerg (price is ridiculous) just to name some very strong contenders for this list.

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  • Analogue Solutions Telemark ? Happy the Dark Energy got in their tho

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  • I am surprised not to see the EMS’s Synthi A, or VCS3 on the list. When it comes down to sonic flexibility, those two remain peerless.

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  • No DSI Pro 2???

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  • BASS STATION II …All the way! it’s amazing.

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  • The MicroBrute is made of very solid metal not plastic. And the MiniBrute also has only one oscillator.

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  • lol cool article

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  • x0xbox its better than cyclone!

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  • Waldorf Pulse 2 is the best sounding synth from all of those however it would be beneficial having more knobs. Pulse 2 is proper analog modular synth with the patch memory.

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  • If you think the analogue revival started with the MonoTron you must have just jumped on the bandwagon recently.

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  • Hypersynth Xenophone should be on the list, I would say in place of the Mopho which is bland and undistinguished. Or if you want a DSI, put the Evolver up there, the best monosynth for under a grand. I would put both; remove the Minimoog which is always admirable but overpriced and does not have a place on this list of affordable monosynths.

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