Arturia MiniBrute Overview

This video, via Uniquesquared, takes a look at the Arturia MiniBrute synthesizer.

The MiniBrute was one of most popular introductions from last year’s NAMM Show, packing a huge number of features into a one-oscillator analog monosynth. With a street price around US $500, the MiniBrute’s biggest limitation seems to be availability.

For another look at the new synth, see this Arturia MiniBrute review.

If you’ve used the MiniBrute, let us know what you think of it!


43 thoughts on “Arturia MiniBrute Overview

    • ditto! every time I switch it on I find new sounds and tricks. I love using the env to sweep the metalizer, you can get some really stabby fm sounding basses.

      latest technique I found was using the lfo retrigger with saw lfo to sweep the pitch of the osc for drum sounds in addition to using self oscillation of the filter for drum tone. then to muddy the pitch of the drum for a less obvious tuned drum effect, crank up the vibrato speed and amount. could spend all day playing with stuff like that

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  1. Had one on order for six months and gave up and got a minitaur…I’ve yet to see one here, think they jumped the gun a bit, would still like to try it!

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  2. Is $500 US too much?

    Consider that the unit itself is physically about as robust and complicated as a little $75-$150 (MSRP) MIDI controller.

    Then consider that the engine is basically 40-year-old technology – solid state analog audio circuits – prone to a poor signal to noise ratio.

    It is machine-assembled with standard surface-mounted components in a union-free slave-labor country.

    It also has a rudimentary digital circuit that controls the LFO/SEQ, not cutting edge or expensive silicon.

    What does this thing actually cost to produce? -$100 a unit? And what does it do? Single osc mono synth lines, playable from a small keybed. I love analog but in a very real sense, the thing is a little steep for what it is and what it does. People pay money for vintage analog, because for years there were no new analog synths, and vintage gear always has a vibe after a few decades go by. MiniBrute, we love you but you could come down a little in price.

    $500 is a lot of money for me to part with for a wiggly little mass-produced bass synth.

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    • $500 seems pretty reasonable new, but I almost never buy new gear. About $500 will get you a used mopho now that people are trading in for the x4. It’s a great buy, DSI’s are built to last!

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    • is there anything else that matches the minibrutes features and is cheaper on the market currently? (except maybe some used ebay synrhs)

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    • I’m not sure why I’m dignifying your post with a response, but here goes:

      > Consider that the unit itself is physically about as robust and complicated as a little $75-$150 (MSRP) MIDI controller.

      Please send me a link to buy a $150 controller with 25 velocity-sensitive keys with after-touch, 29 knobs, 14 sliders, 8 switches, and pitch and mod wheels. Don’t forget CV outputs too.

      As for robustness, if I were to drop my Brute on my wooden floor I would be more worried about damage to the floor than the Brute.

      > Then consider that the engine is basically 40-year-old technology – solid state analog audio circuits – prone to a poor signal to noise ratio.

      Solid state analog is exactly the point of the Brute. My car was built on 100 year-old-technology; why did it cost $45,000?

      > It is machine-assembled with standard surface-mounted components in a union-free slave-labor country.

      You’re using a computer to access the internet and post messages. Where was that computer manufactured?

      > What does this thing actually cost to produce? -$100 a unit? And what does it do? Single osc mono synth lines, playable from a small keybed.

      It can be played using external devices, too.

      > I love analog but in a very real sense, the thing is a little steep for what it is and what it does.

      And yet it’s the least expensive fully analog synth that money can buy. Not to mention that Arturia can’t seem to make them fast enough to keep up with demand.

      > MiniBrute, we love you but you could come down a little in price. $500 is a lot of money for me to part with for a wiggly little mass-produced bass synth.

      So buy it from Guitar Center with one of their sales/coupons and get it for $400 like many people (including myself) did.

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      • My point isn’t that sourcing to a Chinese factory is somehow bad, and it isn’t that the MiniBrute sounds bad or has no features. The thing is cool. Everything I’ve heard online sounds nice, sure does a lot with 1 oscillator. It beats my Monotribe, it beats my Moog Prodigy.

        What I am saying is that I don’t think there’s actually $500 worth of stuff in that Arturia box. I have a surround sound amplifier with a mix of DSP and analog circuits that far surpass the complexity and scope of the MiniBrute’s guts, and it cost me $250.

        I know value is set by what consumers will pay. Right now, plenty of people consider it a deal. Bu why should we compare it with the going price of a MiniMoog or TB-303? Those synths’ value is inflated by rarity and by mystique – not by an analysis of what you get for the buck.

        For $500 you can get a Novation MiniNova. It is not analog, but it is hardware and does cost the same as a Brute – while offering polyphony, wavetables, vocoding, and lots of blinky lights and butons. I love analog best, but there are companies making unusually large profit margins off of old technology. Boutique synths by definition cost more but also by definition are not produced by major gear companies, and not in China for the cheapest cost.

        Your lawmower is more akin to a Model A ford than your current car. And yes, you should be able to snap up a lawnmower for less than a year’s salary by now.

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        • ted you are stretching a point that just is not there.
          the fact that they cant meet the demand just shows that people are more than willing to pay the price for the brute and that it is infact *very* well priced. if the profit margin is so large according to you – more power to them. good business.

          however, unless you can provide any hard arguments to back up your opinion it is worthless.
          basically in the whole lengthly post you can extrapolate only that the brute is not worth the 500 for you.
          feking don´t buy it. you expect them to lower the price just for you?

          i dont trust or like arturia as a company but please find some valid points.

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          • Obviously I have no idea what it costs to build one, and I know they are popular and that most people consider them an amazing value and eagerly await them. I’m in the minority here, but I’m just wondering if $500 is really the right price.

            There is going to be a healthy profit margin on these, they are not building them as a loss-leader or as a charity mission. So the $500 price was set based on the manufacturing cost, plus the maximum dollar amount Arturia thinks average people would pay for it. The price was determined by someone, its not going to be a match for everyone.

            I’ve seen videos where the knobs appear to be little plastic things with cheap MIDI controller type wiggle, probably mounted to the main circuit board. The keybed is reported to be average synth action. The official intro video (with Air?) mentions the noisy background hiss. The filter, while it can shriek, is only a 12db 2-pole design, like Korg’s $50 Monotron ribbon toy.

            I wouldn’t even care if this thing cost $1,700. It’s just that it is being touted as so cheap and a no-brainer purchase. To drop half a grand for me is a big deal.

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            • cant say i understand you really.
              i doubt there is that large of a margin because we would see much, much more similarly priced analogs because there is obviously a market for it. also you are not even mentioning the cost of running a company, r&d, overheads and whatnots.

              the flaws you mention are again tied to the cost and people atm don´t seem to be bothered that much with them.

              half a k is a big deal for you but that is totally relative isn´t it?
              frankly you are the first person i´ve seen that has a problem with the price.
              you mentioned novation and their 49SL is priced 500$. and that is just a plastic controller.
              man, this isn´t even discussion worthy.

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              • You win. I apologize for questioning a popular and totally unchallenged marketing message. The MiniBrute is a bargain. The price is perfect and it is worth exactly every penny being charged for, no more, no less. If I see anyone disagreeing with the MSRP, I will give their comment a thumbs down.

                Let’s all stick to the talking points. We’ve got MiniBrutes to sell! Let me know if there are any price changes, so I can properly adjust my opinion of the price.

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            • The difference between a synth that feels flimsy and cheap and one that feels solid can be a simple matter of putting plastic retaining collars at the point where the spindle enters the front panel. Why in the BLEEP will manufacturers not do this as a matter of course? That prevents stress on the circuit board and greatly extends the life of the unit. I’m as suspicious of that bad-faith practice as anything else, because the fix is on the order of a few cents. Don’t sell me a great engine with crappy seals in it, huh?

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    • can´t say i dig the minibrute timbre but you are really talking so much bullcrap its amazing.

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    • I can quantify the price by wondering how much it would cost me to build something similarly sized, custom case, cv and midi/usb functionality etc. innovations like the ultrasaw and metallizer and, of course, the time it would take me to build it. (besides having to learn a lot)

      I really would struggle to make something that would cost less to build than the MiniBrute’s very reasonably £400 asking price.

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  3. I waited for my two MiniBrutes for 8 months…..they are fantastic….using them in my studio with my other analog gear…..

    Fantastic investment

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  4. The MiniBrute is Not a bass synth by any stretch….as I own Moog gear as well….and tweak that daily…the MB is a beast of a lead synth….

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  5. i was very lucky to wander into my local music store (emismusic.co.uk in Bristol, UK) yesterday morning, just as they had received a small consignment of minibrutes. so out came the credit card!
    i’ve barely explored its potential yet, but i think its an amazing synth for this price range – Emis selling them for £399 GBP. great for lead sound but a pretty nice bottom end too. excellent selection of connection options too, perfect for analogue or midi set-ups.

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  6. the mb is too sick. running with my eurorack, tr’s, hand built seq’s/signal processors. makes for a nice frontend modular controller… I mean, thank you so much arturia (yves usson, actually!) for the midi-cv features.

    The MB FTW.

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  7. I fucking waited for 6 months for the minibrute – haters gonna hate – I’ve been using this thing on all my tracks for Bass/Leads and even created a polyphonic version of it in Ableton live as an ableton rack so now Im using it for PADS/EVERYTHING – 500$ is more than reasonable considering all the other shit in the market that is way expensive, has less features and Menus/Hidden/not easily accessible features( Aka mopho/ Minitaur). Use one for 1 hour. I guarantee you will change your mind. What you see is what you get/ No second guessing/ Just endless fun and inspiration.

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    • Turning the MB into an Ableton rack is a great idea. There’s a point to consider, if you are willing to tackle a little sampling. I’ve done it and its worth every penny and drop of sweat. With such a great starting point, the pads alone sound juicy, like a Novachord, all otherworldly and lush. If you are using Kontakt or an app like Autosampler, or even a freebie sampler, you can build a library of unique things you can’t synthesize any other way. Its not the #1 use to which people will put it and you can lose a little something with just static snapshots, admittedly, but at this point, you can generally multisample pretty readily and preserve what you like best. Its added value via the kitchen door.

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  8. I really love the Minibrute for what it does but there are a few things that I would really like Arturia to address because they prevent me from being able to take the keyboard out live, which is why I bought it in the first place.

    1) The pitch bend range is too limited, I need something that can span +/- 24 not +/- 12. Considering that all of my other mono synths can do this and its likely something they could fix with a firmware update, this is disappointing.

    2) The LFO range taper is a little weird and doesn’t scale smoothly; this means not being able to tap into certain sounds that I can get tantalizingly close to achieving.

    3) The tap tempo can be a little imprecise and fidgety making syncing arps to live instruments a bit of a chore.

    If these three things could be fixed before I head back to tour (Europe/ US) in late April, I’d be really happy and would exclusively use this synth live. It has a range of features, sounds and programability that few, if no other, *new* analog synth can match for $500 or less. It has a unique sound that sits nicely against my SEM, CS-15 and other synths and sounds more “authentically analog” than the Mopho, which didn’t meet my needs. I’m hoping that Arturia will (or can) address these issues in a patch soon.

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  9. I played it for an hour and it was the best hour spent with any musical instrument. Only thing that stopped me from buying it right there was money (really my wife ;)). But I’ll find a way in 2013.

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  10. on my minibrute if i mix square and saw i get alot of phase cancellation. does this happen for you guys too?

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  11. 1. Availability – It’s not that they can’t build them fast enough to keep them on shelves, it’s that they can’t build them fast enough, period. This could be a sign of enormous demand, but it could also indicate a poorly managed manufacturing and distribution operation.

    2. One Oscillator – With all the other features packed into this device, including a few that provide “tricks” to make up for the single oscillator, how much more would it cost to produce a two-oscillator minibrute? If I’m in the market for my first analog synth, I don’t want to make a compromise on something so fundamental. If they were able to cram so much into this device for $500, I think a two-oscillator model would still have been reasonably priced while making a stronger case as a replacement for some of my software.

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    • An affordable analog/singleOscillator/zeropreset synth is exactly what the world has needed for awhile. Less virtual/genremenu/reissue bullshit. Minibrute is a modern classic, that is going to teach actual synthesis to a lot of people.
      And even better-it has a unique sound of its own.. It’s not emmulating something vintage.

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      • the 1 osc design is not a problem. when you use this synth you can clearly tell that it was designed with love by that french modular synth person. the design is flowing. its not a moog, not a roland, not a _____, its a unique great sounding synth. i do wish it werent made in china.

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  12. More demand than supply keep the MB alive – price is very fair as a korg emx is the same price – heaps of nobs is cool – brute means phat and angry – still can’t wait to find some cash !

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  13. I got mine for $400 new from GC!!! They frequently have coupons that save you $100. It was definitely worth the $400.

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  14. I got mine a week ago. It’s tons of fun. I was a bit worried due to harsh sounds I heard in many videos before I bought it, but it can be tamed and it’s got amazing sounds that are mellow and soft, too. You just have to tweak it.

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    • yea. Kind of a modernized, much more versatile version…

      There is a love that went into the design of this synth. It has a lot of nods to the old Roland sound, and way the minibrute was designed out makes me think that they also were inspired by a lot of DIY frac and euro modules… (the saw multiplier in the Minibrute comes from Yusson’s modular designs, The CV and Gate functionality, metalizer, etc…)

      I’ve owned a 101 in the past, and if I had to choose, I’d keep my minibrute.

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  15. I hate you TED.. You’re complaining about one of the cheapest analogue synths being too expensive. Something doesn’t add up.. You must be a troll, or an idiot. You go on comparing your hi-fi amplifier (?!?!?) to a monosynth. wtf?? Don’t you get it that when producing frequencies, you need components that are much more accurate than your average radioshack resistor.

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