Arturia MicroFreak Synthesizer Review

The latest loopop video takes a look at the Arturia MicroFreak, described as ‘a peculiar, exceptional instrument that rewards the curious musician’.

Introduced at the 2019 NAMM Show, the MicroFreak combines a polyphonic digital synth engine with an analog state variable filter. It builds on open source code from the Mutable Instruments Plaits module and adds an unusual capacitive touch keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch.

If you want to hear more – here’s a demo of the 160 presets and patterns of the MicroFreak:

Features:

  • Synthesizer with 192 preset slots and 128 factory presets
  • Wide variety of digital oscillators, including oscillators based on Mutable Instruments’ Plaits module
  • Analog State Variable Filter, 12dB/octave, resonant, Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass
  • ADSR envelope
  • Cycling Envelope offering two modes
  • Envelope
  • LFO
  • LFO with Sync: Sine, Tri, Saw, Square, Random, Slew Random
  • Modulation matrix with 5 sources and 7 destinations (3 custom destinations)
  • Monophonic or Paraphonic modes – Up to 4 voices
  • 25-key capacitive keybed with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Capacitive touch strip
  • Crisp OLED display for editing and parameter values
  • Powerful arpeggiator
  • Up, Order, Random, Pattern modes
  • Spice & Dice Gate randomizers
  • 64-step sequencer
  • 2 patterns per preset
  • 4 automation tracks per preset
  • CV / Gate / Mod outputs
  • USB, Clock and MIDI in and out
  • 6.35mm master and 3.5mm headphone output

Topics covered:

1:00 Is it paraphonic or polyphonic?
1:45 Overview
3:50 Sound engines
4:20 Basic waves
5:40 Superwave
7:10 Wavetable
9:05 Harmonic oscillator
10:00 Karplus Strong 10:50 Virtual Analog
11:45 Waveshaper
12:30 Two operator FM
13:20 Formant Engine
13:55 Chords
15:05 Speech
17:05 Modal resonator
18:00 The SEM filter
20:30 Exploring the touch keybed
24:00 Modulation sources
24:30 Envelope
26:10 Cycling Envelope
28:40 LFO
29:30 How the Mod matrix works
32:25 The Arpeggiator & Sequencer, and the Slice and Dice functions
39:50 Misc, pros & cons

Pricing and Availability

The Arturia MicroFreak is expected to be available Spring 2019, priced at US $349.

5 thoughts on “Arturia MicroFreak Synthesizer Review

  1. Has anyone taken one apart yet? I wonder if that keybed has a separate circuit board from the rest of the unit. Would love to buy one and make it into a desktop synth.

  2. This to me is one of the best sounding synths of a lot of years, It has a serious sound palette. Looking forward to getting my hands on it.

  3. I’m mostly excited about the sequencing it can do.. Wondering Arturia will mesh that in with newer controllers like a Keystep Pro / Beatstep MK3. I really hope an update allows for layering 2 or more of the synth engines, then this thing would be a beast!

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