The MiniBrute is a great-sounding analog synth with an entirely tactile interface like a vintage synth, but with modern features and flexibility. It is capable of a broad palette of sounds though its strong suit is in the realm of more aggressive tones, particularly given its unique controls for distortions.

The ArturiaMiniBrute is an analog synthesiser. It marks the first entry by Arturia, predominantly a software company, into the analog synth market. The unit employs a monophonic, single-oscillator design and features a very broad range of sound-shaping capacities and a 25-note keyboard. Enjoying only a four-year run of production, the MiniBrute was discontinued in 2016 with the introduction of Arturia’s larger-format MatrixBrute, though has seen a reissue in the limited edition MiniBrute Red.

While the MiniBrute uses only a single VCO, it allows simultaneous use of the three available waveshapes (sawtooth, square and triangle) as well as a sub oscillator, noise generator and external audio signal, via a six-slider mixer section. Additionally, each waveshape features its own modulator, adding further flexibility to the sound. This includes the Ultrasaw for the sawtooth, which adds two phase-shifted copies of the waveform into the signal, pulse-width modulation of the square wave and the Metalizer for the triangle, which adds in higher harmonics to the signal. The sub oscillator too can be varied, with the option to switch between sine and square wave generators. 

The MiniBrute’s filter section comprises of a 12dB/octave low pass and 6dB/octave band and high pass filter based on the somewhat uncommon Steiner-Parker design. This offers a substantially different sound to the steeper filters found in many other synths. In addition to the very flexible sound-shaping options within the MiniBrute’s oscillator, filter and envelope sections, the audio path ends with the Brute Factor control, which internally implements the technique of manually patching the signal output into the external audio input, creating harmonic distortion in varying degrees of aggressiveness.

The MiniBrute marked a breath of fresh air into the analog synth world. Taking cues from and standing comfortably amongst the monosynth heavyweights before it while at the same time carving out its own place with its own sound that truly lives up the the ‘Brute’ part of its name.

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