9 Unique Features Of The Arturia MatrixBrute

Here’s an in-depth look at the Arturia MatrixBrute, via loopop, focusing on 9 key features of the flagship monosynth:

  1. Duo-split: typically, three oscillator synths are monophonic, however the MatrixBrute’s duo-split mode effectively turns it into a 2 voice polyphonic, multi-timbral synth. Each of MatrixBrutes 5 audio sources can be routed through separate VCAs and filters, letting you sculpt and play two completely different sounds – separately.
  2. Paraphonic: MatrixBrute’s paraphonic mode stands out as well. Here, each if its three oscillators gets its own VCA and can be played with its own loudness contour. They do share the same filter envelope, so technically it’s not fully polyphonic, but essentially Paraphonic mode lets you play rich polyphonic tunes. A very interesting effect can be had by assigning different sounds to each oscillator, making for a very unique and surprising polyphonic experience.
  3. The Mod Matrix: MatrixBrute’s mod matrix is one of its most striking features, and it’s the best mod matrix design I’ve ever seen, because it helps lay out and simply even the most complex patches. Typically, on other synths, it’s very hard to understand what’s going on when multiple modulations are applied. Many other synth mod matrices are hidden in menus or implemented with patch cables – and understanding a patch (or recreating what you did way back then…) is a daunting task. On the MatrixBrute, each point on its 16×16 grid represents a potential patch point, easily re-traceable and clearly labelled. In the video I show how even a complex patch with over 20 different modulation patch points can be understood and modified extremely quickly. Another impressive feat Arturia pulled off are the four configurable modulation destinations which can be assigned to practically all the knobs and sliders on the panel.
  4. The Macro knobs on the MatrixBrute are wonderful performance tools. Technically, they are modulation sources on the mod matrix, that can be configured to affect any one of the modulation destinations. The beauty of these macro knobs is that you can use them to condense the sonic variations that are the essence of what makes your patch special – into four easily accessible controls.
  5. Dual filters: MatrixBrute’s two filters – Steiner and Ladder are a big part of its magic and tone. The subtractive filter is a key element in synthesis and having two of them, each with their own character is yet another sonic superpower of the MatrixBrute. Both filters are multimode and have their own drive, feedback (“brute factor”) and level controls. The filters can be routed serially, where one feeds into the other, or set up in parallel. In the parallel routing setup, all five audio sources (three oscillators, the noise generator and the external audio input) can be routed to any of the filters or both of them, opening a broad range of timbral possibilities.
  6. Presets: A simple and yet often unavailable feature in analog synths – the ability to save and later recall every single knob position, matrix modulation and sequence. MatrixBrute has 256 preset slots and the companion software makes arranging, replacing and backing them up very easy.
  7. The amount of “knob per function” easily accessible features in the MatrixBrute is overwhelming. It almost seems like if a feature is conceivable, Arturia not only threw it in, but also dedicated a control for it. Anything from four different noise types to multiple cross modulation options are all a knob twist or button click away. The beauty if the way Arturia designed the MatrixBrute is that despite it relatively large number of features, its layout and dedicated functions makes it quite easy to learn.
  8. Connectivity: Arturia catered to both the MIDI and CV crowds with extensive back panel connectivity. USB and DIN MIDI lets you transmit and received all synth parameters, which makes recording and playing back automations very easy. On the CV side, multiple expression, gate and sync options are available, with the highlight being a 24 jack patch bay extending the 12 modulation destinations on the mod matrix both in and out.
  9. BBD Analog Effects: The analog Bucket Brigade Delay-based effects section of the MatrixBrute substantially extends its range with 5 BBD based effects: Sterero delay, Mono delay, Chorus, Flange and Reverberation. All are demonstrated in the video.

Topics Covered:

0:00 Intro
1:20 Overview
2:30 Duo-spllit
4:20 Paraphonic
5:45 The Matrix
12:30 Macros
13:45 Two filters
16:00 Presets
17:15 Knobs!
18:45 Connections
20:00 BBD FX
22:00 Conclusion
23:00 Outro jam

If you’ve used the Arturia MatrixBrute, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

17 thoughts on “9 Unique Features Of The Arturia MatrixBrute

  1. I have the MB and it is brilliant. I think it’s one of the very best analog “mono” synths ever made, even when compared to the legendary classics.

    Mine has been totally cool build quality-wise. It’s beautiful. The synth engine is a lifetime of dope tone and discovery. It’s a genius machine. If you’re on the edge, get it if you can. It isn’t cheap but it’s an insane value.

  2. I had one for a week and returned it. It was so massive, felt weird that it was monophonic and took so much programming for not much of an outcome for the sounds I wanted. I had a better resolve with the Sub 37 or a minibrute with a more focused approach to programming the monosynth sound. It was a great machine but It was like driving a jet 5 mph. I do miss it in very specific cases.

    1. That’s the irony of having a powerful synth – it’s not limited to a narrow range of settings that ‘sound good’, so you can create a lot of patches that suck.

      The Model D design is classic because it’s limited to a range of possibilities that are mostly going to sound pretty good to most people’s ears. When Moog designed it, they knew the most common modular patches that people were using, so they put them in a box.

      I think it’s hard to find a Minimoog patch that you can’t imagine being used in a song, but something like a. Voyager XL or a MatrixBrute can get into farty territory pretty quickly.

      Check out Experimental Synth’s MatrixBrute videos – he does some out there stuff with it, but it always sounds musical.

      1. Agreed. Also – regarding the Model-D – It must be the best educational synth ever made. Everybody should start their programming career on one.

      1. Yeah, dont want to learn to program a massive synth with an even more massive mod matrix. Baby steps for me.

  3. I bought mine for my birthday last year. It can sound very metallic at times, and I hate to admit this, but my Behringer Model D sounds a lot better than the Matrixbrute does. Also, the CV options are rather vanilla. I would have like to have seen a ring modulator, or something to that effect on board. The BBD effects are quaint to say the least. The ultra saw function doesn’t seem to really do much (would love to see a video on this). I’m also not a huge fan of the Steiner-Parker filter, yet, but I really do love the Dr. Bob’s Ladder filter.

    However, it is in my opinion a great synth for what it does feature- that brutish sound. It’s very chunky, large and in charge. Never had a problem yet with this device and it’s a joy to play. Nice video, by the way!

  4. It would have been cool if the Minibrute 2 had a second Brute oscillator and not a comparatively limited lame toggle switch to select between standard waveforms.

  5. Ya, they went from the Minibrute to this! I’d for sure be interested in whatever is in the middle.

  6. also the only synth i went from “who needs this” to “god i need this”.
    no place for it though.

  7. I own one and it is the best synth I ever had. And I had a LOT. It is so musical, deep and, yes, easy to program…if you know synthesis. However, it could be much improved still by a number of updates: it relies on external software for adjutments that should be on the instrument itself (midi channels, local on/off, velocity and aftertouch adjustment, etc). Also, 4 user-defined destinations in the mod matrix are nowhere near enough. Users are pressuring Arturia for these improvements and I believe they are going to happen.

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