Arturia MatrixBrute Synthesizer Review

In the latest episode of Sonic State’s Sonic Lab, Nick Batt takes a look at the Arturia MatrixBrute analog synthesizer.

The MatrixBrute is a programmable monophonic / duophonic analog synthesizer, outfitted with three ‘Brute’ oscillators, Steiner-Parker and ladder filters, three envelope generators, analogue effects and a matrix-style modulation matrix.

Batt says “It’s a lot of synth for the money.” Check it out and let us know what you think!

Pricing and Availability

The Arturia MatrixBrute is available now for us $1999.

38 thoughts on “Arturia MatrixBrute Synthesizer Review

  1. I’ve read horror stories about keyboard problems with the Minibrute and horrible customer support at Arturia. Can anyone comment on their experience with the MiniBrute and/or Arturia customer support?

    Who would want to spend two grand on a MatrixBrute if there are build quality concerns and poor customer support concerns should there be a problem.

    1. I had a broken USB port on my BeatStep Pro, which may or may not have been accidental damage. (it was totally accidental damage, but that port is a little flimsy) Because I purchased it from Sweetwater I sent it back to them, the handled dealing with Arturia. It took a couple of weeks but ultimately I was shipped a replacement unit. I was pleased with the service and love the unit.

      But I would strongly recommend buying from Sweetwater, they stand behind the sale and can make dealing with a vendor’s customer service much easier.

    2. I’ve had the MiniBrute for almost four years now and only had minor issues.

      Once the white plastic marker from the filter mode knob popped out but I pushed it back in and it’s been fine ever since.
      Sometimes the VCA envelope gets stuck in the sustain stage and I need to reset the envelope by flipping the gate source switch in the back panel to hold and back to KBD.
      And recently I noticed the octave up button might be damaged. It works only if I push it in a certain angle. I hope it’s not about to fail completely and the current situation could be a problem when playing live.

      But I’ve also read all the horror stories about keybeds falling off and power supplies getting fried and all that stuff about Arturia’s terrible customer service. A friend of mine bought a used BeatStep Pro that somehow got bricked when he updating the firmware. And I mean bricked in a sense that half of the LEDs went dark, along with the display, and Midi Control Center wouldn’t recognize the device. Arturia’s support insisted that he should just try the update again with a different USB cable, no matter how many times he explained that the even starting the update is impossible because the MMC doesn’t recognize the device.

      I guess I’ve been lucky. Or then happy Arturia users just don’t post on synth forums as much as the disappointed ones.

      Concerning the MatrixBrute, I’d definitely wait a while for possible bugs and quality issues to surface. But it does sound great! I’d probably get one if I wasn’t deep in the Eurorack universe already.

    3. I have a Minibrute that had its keybed replaced twice, both times it was for free and the second time it was over a year after the warranty expired. But I did not had to deal with Arturia’s support myself, it was done through the store I bought it from (Moog Audio in Montreal).

  2. I can only speak of my own experience with the Arturia Origin. It should have been a classic based on its promise, power and concept. However it turned into a near $3000 nightmare. The hardware components failed on multiple occasions, including two LCD modules replaced, multiple potentiometers failing and then the software of course was the most egregious aspect of this synth. This all occurred within the first 7 months of ownership. They software is bug ridden to the point that it is unusable. They eventually abandoned it within 18 months of releasing this flagship synth.

    Granted it was too ambitious a project for a company poorly suited to build such a synth. Yet honestly the worst part was dealing with Arturia’s customer service. They would issue multiple service, then ignore the follow through. Then I am receive intermittent replies to a previous ticket before it too would be soon abandoned.

    It was only when I would take the issue on other sites, where they would respond and try to fix the issue. I recently finally sold the Origin with a $1800 loss.

    I realise many say they have changed and tried to improve their service, yet what they did, how they conducted themselves, to me is criminal and beyond repair.

    1. Bad story and totally understandable that you were/are upset with Arturia. But the Origin was the the first hardware-product of Arturia and was released before 8 years, so that is quite a while ago…
      Not trying to defend Arturia, i also had gear from Arturia that i wasn´t happy with, but the Origin is probably not the best example.

      I think they deserve a second chance to show if they learned from mistakes of the past.

      And they should know that nobody wants to throw money out the window…

  3. I’ve had my minibrute for years without any problems.

    I don’t have any plan on selling it. It’s got a great tone.

    Love the filter for processing external audio.

  4. I also have an Origin, sitting in a box because the thing is riddled with faults. Arturia went out of their way to ignore all requests for repair. There is no way I would touch another product from them again. If anyone thinks this is just a whinging customer then go read their forums, I am not alone.

  5. While this synth would undoubtedly be a lot of fun to own, it seems the DSI Pro 2 is a far better choice, cramming in more mod options in a smaller, easier to use piece of hardware. Sure, the Matrixbrute has more CV ins and outs, but when you consider the Pro 2’s are assignable to any parameter, the Arturia does not offer much more. Pro 2 also has one more OSC, 4 LFOs, 5 envelope generators, etc. Oh, and you can grab a used one for around $1200.

    1. The Pro 2 is SERIOUS; I echo your opinions on it. I still think the Matrixbrute would be a lot of fun, and it is more hands on in some ways, and pure VCO tone, though the Pro 2 sounds amazing.

      If anyone can find a Pro 2 used for $1200, they need to pick it up!!!

      Even brand new, for what they can do, it’s an incredible deal. The sequencer is a lot of fun, deep, yet easy to use as well.

    2. I’ll echo the positive feelings about the Pro 2. It has nearly limitless options for sound design, and if you truly want it to have analog drift or distortion, it’s easy to program (see Marc Doty’s videos). It also has two filters, and one is an Oberheim SEM. I’ve noticed it sits very well in mixes, too. This is not to knock the Matrixbrute, though; it sounds so beautiful, and if I had another house to put it in…

  6. Glen Darcy of Arturia had mentioned that they had used a keybed manufacturer that they later found had issues with the quality of their plastic keys, and after that point, they switched manufacturers. I had a Minibrute which I loved. I have to admit I was put off when I wanted to order extra power supplies and the answer I got was a straight up “no”. If I can’t get backup power adapters then I can’t use the synth live. I sold it, but I miss it.

    I think Arturia have raised their QC game, and I am eager to see the Matrixbrute come to Canada.

  7. I’ve owned the Matrixbrute for 2 weeks now – it’s a wonderful synth with it’s own sound and the Matrix is something other synth companies will probably be copying. The filters, the oscillators (the Metalizer!) sound different from anything else out there. Also – it’s really well-constructed… this is my first product from Arturia and so far, so good.

    I wanted the Pro2 as well, but since I already have a P12 (which I love) I didn’t see any urgent reason to get. I wish they made a table top (non-keyboard) version of the Pro2

  8. I thought I was interested in the Matrixbrute but while ‘watching’ the review I was busy appraising guitars on another page. I did catch Nick saying “that’s a shame” or “I would have expected…” a few times.

    I had an Origin, never had an issue with mine. I sold it because I couldn’t see my computer screen at the same time. Keybed was great. Wish I hadn’t have sold it.

  9. Had a minibrute 3 yrs ago, kept breaking so got a refund and put it towards a moog. Shame as it sounded amazing, this Mateixbrute is no doubt capable of good things, hopefully they upped the manufacturing quality. Always been tempted by another Minibrute

  10. Had a minibrute 3 yrs ago, kept breaking so got a refund and put it towards a moog. Shame as it sounded amazing, this Mateixbrute is no doubt capable of good things, hopefully they upped the manufacturing quality. Always been tempted by another Minibrute for the sound

  11. I returned my microbrute 3 times hoping to get one that didn’t have a constant unwanted modulation of “something” – just something modulating in the background. In the end I had to open it up and void my warranty to fix it myself, all it took was moving a ribbon cable away from the rest of the board. Not great to be honest – you shouldn’t need to do that!

  12. I’ve got a MicroBrute that has served me really well. There was a weird issue with the mod wheel briefly, but running the calibration software fixed it. I love the filter in that thing.

  13. I have a Minibrute, Drumbrute, BeatstepPro, and now, Matrixbrute. I have not personally had any issues with my Arturia hardware, but my gear stays in the studio and is handled with kid gloves.

    I have only had the Matrixbrute for one week, but I am in love with this synth. Some of the most fun I have had in a while. I find it to have a very rich and polished sound right out of the box. I am very pleasantly surprised by the build quality of the unit. While there is some wiggle in the faders (which is common), there is no noticeable wobble in the knobs or other controllers.

    I can’t imagine any synth lover not falling for this synth after spending some time with it.

  14. re build quality and robustness – minibrute owner here – it’s perfect no hassles…my only gripe is that you need to hook it up to a computer to change midi channel which is a PITA and somewhat odd considering its a recent product not something from the 80’s

  15. Had a MicroBrute for three years. Not a single problem. Sounded great. Now sold, since I’m going to get a MatrixBrute or DSI Pro 2 or something.

  16. It seem idiotic to compare the microbrute ( which I got mine for 300 aud) to the matrix brute (3000 aud), my microbrute which I assume they sold thousands,has not had any issues in three years of heavy and at times drunken use (300 well spent!) Nick ( who I trust) quite clearly goes through the build quality in the first minute of the review, which makes me wonder if haters actually watched the review!

    1. “Haters”? Are you twelve, who uses language like that? I don’t believe being critical of Arturia’s checkered build quality constitutes hate. There was a lively discussion about the build quality when this synth was announced, not because of inherent hate for Arturia, rather because they earned their reputation at the cost of musicians whom spent considerable funds to own their products. I spent $3K on the Origin and countless hours trying to have Arturia honour the warranty!

      1. That was the past, now is the present. And now you can buy this synth. Lots of guys at Gearslutz think it has an excellent build.

  17. i still think its overkill for a mono-synth… id say a Pro-2 or Dominion is probably the sweet spot for something like that

    1. That just doesn’t make any sense. It’s overkill compared to one synth that seems significantly LESS complex and another one that seems significantly MORE complex and deep and also costs more (at least in Europe the Pro 2 seems more expensive)?

        1. What I mean is that to me the MatrixBrute seems to be the middle road between the Dominion 1 and the Pro 2, thus right in the sweet spot. If anything is overkill that would be the most extreme and complex of the three.

  18. I paid for the Matrixbrute in Feb 2016. £1549. I spent the next year waiting and waiting and waiting. In the meantime I read all the reports about poor build quality/customer service. I thought I’d ordered a turkey. Finally arrived and in my opinion it’s ace. I’ll be onTop of the pops sometime soon.

  19. I’ve had my MatrixBrute for three days. Wonderfully tactile intuitive patching experience. The build seems very robust too (i.e., nothing has broken so far.) It sounds enormous to my ear, different but no worse than the Pro 2. I went with the MB because I am a totally blind person and I’ll tend to choose zero menu diving over extra features just out of necessity. I’d have preferred the Pro 2 sequencer but could access efficiently enough and deeply enough, eyes off. The MB was the other best thing available at its price point that I could use, and I’m not disappointed so far. The CV connectivity is window-dressing and puffery in my view: 24 jacks and no outs from envelopes or LFOs, and documentation of them is suspiciously vague. Still, the sound and the user experience has made up for it. I hasten to add that I’ve never had to deal with Arturia.

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