Five Arturia MiniBrute & MicroBrute Mods That Will Totally Void Your Warranty

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French synth guru Yves Usson, above, knows his way around the insides of the MiniBrute and MicroBrute synthesizers – he collaborated with Arturia to design them.

He’s shared a series of mods and hacks for the MiniBrute and MicroBrute at his site. He notes that making any of these mods to your synth ‘will immediately void its warranty.’ So consider yourself warned.

For the MiniBrute, Usson outlines four ‘hacks’:

And for the MicroBrute, Usson outlines one hack:

Have you made any mods to your ‘Brute synths? If so, share it in the comments!

33 thoughts on “Five Arturia MiniBrute & MicroBrute Mods That Will Totally Void Your Warranty

  1. Man, that’s a pretty badass looking modular MiniBrute, he must have spent years modding that 🙂

    The real question is though, MiniBrute vs Bass Station 2?

    Shoot!

    1. I’d go with bass station2 over minibrute
      I honestly think it sounds better and has more control

      the microbrute is great for the price and the cv, but at the minibrute range the bassstation2 is the way to go

      1. I sold my micro because I think it lacks good low frequency sounds. I then decided that if I want replacement for microbrute I will also buy a bass station 2..

      2. I have SuperBassStation and Microbrute. I use both, but wish Microbrute had an envelope for filter but almost never miss a second oscillator. When it comes to sound, then BassStation is like I don’t actually know what, compared to Microbrute, which sounds way more powerful and deep. And BassStations midi controlled parameters are in many cases just unusable when it comes to automation or knob twiddling – 128 steps is not enough!

        1. The Bass Station II has double-resolution (256 steps) on several key parameters. In addition, filter knob movement is slewed so that it glides between those steps – although it does “land” on one of 256 discrete values, you won’t hear the stairs when turning.

          I think the BSII”s dual, ring-moddable, detunable, offsettable, hard syncable oscillators open up a lot of sounds the Brute can’t do. Also the BSII filters can sounds Moogy, Rolandy, or 12db nasty. The Brute can ONLY do nasty 12db warbles – the self-oscillation vanishes below the midrange.

          And of course, the tuning and scaling on the brute is rudimentary. You’re out of tune 2 octaves above middle C. It’s a cool little mono, but if you can have only one…

          BSII FTW.

          1. Volca Keys with a controller FTW I would say. Its perfect mix of digital efficiency and analog VCO and vintage-sounding filter. Don’t trust most of the youtube demoes that suggest a thin sound, the Keys is a beast and cheap. It’s no minimoog but it’s livelier sounding than a BS2 and just as big and woofy as a brute for my tastes. Exactly like having 3 voices of a polysix with echo and great midi. The only drawback is the lack of completely free osc setup.

          2. I think most of the guys and girls here have lots of synths. For that reason I like the MiniBrute and MicroBrute more than the BassStation. The latter has less character in sounds.

    2. I’ve got both. It depends on what sounds you want, and whether you want to be able to save / load patches. The MiniBrute has instant access to everything: what you see on the controls is what you get. That’s pretty awesome to have. The Bass Station 2 has switches that change the operation of knobs / sliders, meaning you need to flip a switch to change between editing your amp vs mod envelope. It’s not as “immediate” and it means that in a live situation, tweaking could lead to jumps.

      I personally have trouble living without the ability to have an oscillator tuned to a fifth of another. The MiniBrute basically has one oscillator with wave shaping, and with the exception of the suboscillator, you just get the one pitch (if you don’t count the “ultrasaw” detuning effect of the sawtooth).

      Personal taste is important: I find the MiniBrute’s filter somewhat boring, and I’m told I’m right or that I’m crazy whenever I say so.

      I love both of them for their own reasons. Being replace the arpeggiator with a step sequencer just gave my MiniBrute a new lease on life, though!

    3. MiniBrute for me.

      Reasons are:
      Timbral versitility of the VCO, yes there is only one plus sub Osc, but you have modulateable waveshaping on most waveforms.
      Great multimode filter that has it’s own sound, this goes from soft and warm to harsh and gnarley
      Great modulation options
      CV/Gate & Midi
      External input

      Check out the Marc Dotey review on YouTube

      Only had a few hours on the Bass Station 2. It’s a good synth but a tad vanilla IMHO.

    4. I have the BSII and the Micro Brute. They are both great for different reasons. The BS II has a classic sound, velocity, pressure, midi control in/out, and patch memory. The MB has a very raw, unique sound (wavefolder, steiner filter, etc…), patch points, and small footprint. Both can make amazing bass or lead patches. I tend to use the MB more because it fits in a backpack and sneaks into live setups much easier than the BS II, and I use modular a lot.

      1. The BS2 is my current favorite mono soundwise. It also beats the Minibrute on features by far. Patch memory, 2nd Osc with Sync, Ring Mod, Multiple filter types, Filter FM. I’ve also played a Minibrute and didn’t like it at all, it’s harsh sounding in a bad way to my ears.

    1. The Korg is an excellent synth. Noisy and cantankerous, but that’s what the 20 is famous for.

      The patch panel, as many have noted,adds a lot of versatility to the unit and is no really that tough to figure out.

      The Keyboard CV in does work fine with normal volt/ocave CV signals. All other interfacing needs an exponential converter, of which there are many in modular form, and a trigger converter. Harvestman makes a specific module that does both.

      The Mini does offer the good CV interfacing and the sound is excellent. The only issue I have with Arturia is that any service issues you have seem to take forever to resolve and many things don’t seem to get resolved at all. My Microbrute has a noisy VCA and the pitch CV does not like to be exactly zeroed.

      That said, most modulars also have good Midi/CV modules available and the Bassstation 2 gives you very nice full size keys and a better synth….

      It really comes down to what you need…but I would say 449 for a MS-20 mini is a steal.

    2. I have them both and honestly, I find myself using the minibrute more. I just happen to like the tones better and think it’s more fun to control. The knobs feel better and it’s all more intuitive, has aftertouch, pitch and mod wheels, full size keys (although not as many as I’d like). And the tones are unique when you get into the high-resonance range, but rich all around. Plus there’s an arpeggiator. Plus there’s pulse-width modulation. And even though you can’t change the pitch of separate oscillators, you can still have 5 running at once, if you include the sub and the noise. Not many people who use these miss the detune.

      I love the MS-20 too, and one important thing I’ll say for it is that its mellower tone blends into a mix more easily. It has pink noise you can patch around too, which is a big plus for me. But they can both make their own unique sounds and it comes down to your taste. I can’t imagine being disappointed with either one.

  2. I wish there were more microbrute mods
    will the frequency range mod on the lfo work for the microbrute?
    I wish the microbrute had a faster lfo, more in the audio range

    also I’m curios about an lfo rate mod, these two mods would make the micro pretty sweet

    1. The brass adjustment screws on the back of the Micro is what I’ve always been curious about. One must be filter tracking, one must be voltage scaling.

      I’ve never gotten a response on the Arturia forms or for Yves privately about their adjustment.

      They could possibly solve some of my issue with the micro.

      I guess it wouldn’t hurt to open it up an explore them.

      1. Don’t mess around with those screws! They are for tuning. One is for selecting C3 and the other one for note scaling. They are extremely sensitive and when it comes to tuning, there is nothing more frustrating than doing it. So don’t even touch those screws unless your unit is out of tune and one octave is something else, than it should be.

        1. Well, the voltage scaling is tied to the tuning if it uses CV across the keyboard.

          And tuning is nothing if you do any sort of work on older synths or build DiY modules. I have to do it all the time…..

          1. Yep. But those screws are not stable. Once you get it in tune and remove the screwdriver it gets out of tune again. They are too coarse in my opinion.

  3. I’m embarrassed to ask this since I’ve been doing this kind of music a long-ass time, but do any BS2 users have (ironic) trouble getting great bass sounds? I mean, they sound amazing at a certain level, but really don’t naturally shake the room or sound as full as my other synths. I love the little beast but I feel like the name is strange. The strength seems to lie in the miss and highs, maybe some low-mids but not naturally thick like my Rolands, Studio Electronics, OSCar etc.

    1. That’s a genuinely puzzling claim. The BSII has a pair of wide range analog oscillators, they go from ultrasonic to way down into the clicks, deep into LFO territory. All the waveforms look like normal analog waves on a scope. And the mixer has a sub, 3 waveforms, that can be 1 or 2 octaves down. And a very resonant wide-range lowpass filter. And a fairly hot output.

      All the frequencies are there. What are you doing with them?

      The synth has no internal speaker, so you have to run it through something. That thing you run it through has more to do with how you perceive the tone. Big speakers with a bass-boosted EQ will make it sound huge. Small cheap studio monitors will make it sound mid-range dominant. Headphones with a lot of presence will make it sound crisp and high-boosted.

      Roland used to have a bass boost on the outputs. You can boost yours too – by turning up the lo end on whatever you plug it into.

  4. Jeez, could all of you fanboy thread hijackers stand down. Go heap your praises of your fabulous non-topical synth on another thread that is more appropriate. It makes looking for information about the topic (i.e. Arturia MiniBrute/MicroBrute mods) more difficult.

    I have 2 microbrutes that I use with my modular synths and creating more options for patching is of great interest to me. I plan on having both modified with the VCA CV input.

    I wish they could port the MicroBruteConnection software to Android, I would like to be able to latch/unlatch the sequencer control in a more portable manner for live use.

    That would be a great mod!

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