So what does MicroBrute sound like?
MicroBrute embeds the legendary Steiner-Parker multimode filter.
Introduced for the first time in the Synthacon synthesizer back in the 70’s, this marvelous filter not only gives you a Lowpass mode like most other synths, but also Bandpass and High-pass, making it a highly versatile and acclaimed boutique filter.
The MicroBrute filter is based on the core of the legendary Steiner-Parker multimode filter and has been enhanced to deliver an even wider range of cutoff and resonance. Nyle Steiner himself has validated and approved these enhancements.
Many synths at well over twice the price of MicroBrute come with only a single low pass filter and many modular synth companies sell their version of this classic filter for more than the total price of the MicroBrute.
Steiner-Parker filter examples:
The Brute Factor™ was inspired by a patch made on a famous vintage synthesizer. Users would connect the headphone output to the external audio input, resulting in a kind of feedback loop that is ideal for raspy and grungy sounds. This patch has been adapted and implemented internally first in the MiniBrute and now in the MicroBrute.
With low Brute Factor™ settings, you will hear a gradual depth and roundness to the bottom end. When turned up above about 65% however, the MicroBrute can go berserk and produce barely controllable, crazy feedback sounds.
Note: the Brute Factor™ feature alters the filter characteristics, so expect highly unpredictable results at extreme settings. You have been warned!
We have added a new step sequencer for the MicroBrute. The step sequencer hearkens back to some other step sequencer designs of the ‘80s, but updates them in a way that goes beyond belief.
The step sequencer allows for eight different sequences. These sequences can have up to 64 steps each and are stored in internal memory so that when you power down, they are retained.
You input the notes that you want one at a time and can insert rests using the TAP TEMPO button to create rhythmic patterns. Once you have your sequences, you can choose between many different ways to trigger and play them.
Note On or Continuous Play modes allow you to choose whether the sequence will only play when a key is pressed or to start immediately when the control switch is moved to PLAY.
When you change sequences while playing you can specify whether the new sequence will play immediately or wait until the end of the current sequence before changing.
There are even more controls accessible via the free editor software that allow you to tailor the sequencer to your working style.
So what happens once you have your eight sequences and you want to make more, but you don’t want to lose your current sequences? Simple. Using the editor software you can import and export your sequences to your computer for archiving.
The MicroBrute allows full connectivity to the modern world. The vast majority of the new low-cost analog products are lacking this critical functionality, which relegates them to the toybox and not the professional studio.
The MicroBrute features a USB 2.0 MIDI connection, and will respond to MIDI notes, mod wheel, pitch bend, and sync to MIDI clock.
The 5-pin DIN MIDI input allows you to use the MicroBrute as a sound module with a full-sized keyboard, giving you a wider range of playability.
MicroBrute supports the standard 1 Volt per octave format found on most modern modular synthesizers, and also on the MiniBrute. This makes the MicroBrute a great addition to both modular users and MiniBrute users.
MiniBrute users can have the sequencer of the MicroBrute drive the MiniBrute via CV/GATE. They can use the envelope and LFO CV outputs to add a third env and LFO to your MiniBrute via the Filter, Pitch or VCA inputs.
Modular users can use the MicroBrute's sequencer, keyboard, envelope and LFO to add a vast amount of functionality to their modulars. It typically costs more money to purchase a Steiner-Parker filter module, not to mention the other controls that MicroBrute offers.
Processing of external audio sources is possible with the audio input.
You can run your drums through the MicroBrute's filter and Brute Factor™. Shape the sound or modulate a vocal part. Use the external input along with a sequence that is modulating the filter to get some great rhythmic tonal changes to a guitar solo or bass line. The possibilities are endless.
The built-in step sequencer allows for quick and creative pattern making. It has 8 sequences that can be up to 64 steps each. They are remembered on power off so you won't lose them.
Simply put the mode switch to REC, start pressing notes on the keyboard and enter the rests using the Tap Tempo button. When you’re finished, just move the mode switch back to OFF or PLAY. It’s that easy.
The Step sequencer allows for a number of trigger modes and playback modes. These are set using the free editor software that you can download from the Arturia web page.
You can choose the time base from the following step sizes: 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. You can have the sequences trigger from the keyboard or start playing as soon as you move the mode switch to PLAY.
And when you select a new sequence, you can have the current sequence play to the end before switching or have it change immediately... yet another example of how flexible this little ‘Brute can be!
So now that you have your sequences, you want to save them and clear them out to create some more. Using the software editor, you can import and export your sequences to your computer.
Huge, deep, round, cutting, thin, sharp, full, nasty, brutal... these words barely scratch the surface in describing the bass sounds that you can get from MicroBrute.
The MicroBrute has a ton of sound creation possibilities, more than you’ll find even on analog synths with a much higher price tag. The voice layout, number of oscillator tonal possibilities, filter combinations and modulation routings will keep you going for years.
By using the modulation matrix, the high speed LFO and the audio inputs, you have a great effects machine. It can create great analog drum sounds, hyper-modulated FM-sounding tones, as well as uncontrolled Brute Factor™ chaos.
Why didn’t we include batteries?
Considering the small size of the MicroBrute it seems like it would have been a no-brainer to make it battery-powered.
Well, we did consider it but decided to leave this option out for really good reasons.
Sound quality was key. Using high-current parts with larger voltage rails to get real sound means that more power is required. This is why so many battery-powered synths sound like toys and not like speaker-destroying monsters of sound.
And after looking at battery options and realizing that most people have accessible power, want to protect the environment and don’t want a small synth that weighs 20 pounds, we decided it wasn’t worth the tradeoffs batteries would require.
- MicroBrute synthesizer
- User manual
- Preset sheets
- Power supply
- 2 mini-jack patch cords
Size & weight
- Instrument size : 12.8 x 8.7 x 2.36 inches (325 x 221 x 60mm)
- Instrument weight : 3.86 lbs. (1.750 Kg)
- Monophonic synthesizer
- 100% Analog audio signal path
- Steiner-Parker 2-pole multimode filter (Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass)
- Analog Voltage Controlled Oscillator
- Oscillator Mixer (Overtone, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle, audio in [on rear panel])
- ‘Overtone’ sub oscillator/5th generator
- Signal enhancers:
- Pulse Width Modulation
- Ultrasaw generates fat sawtooth waveforms
- Metalizer brings in extreme harmonics
- Brute Factor™ delivers saturation and rich harmonics
- LFO with 3 waveforms (sine, sawtooth, square)
- LFO can freerun or sync to arpeggiator
- ADSR envelope generator
- Keyboard tracking of the VCF cutoff
- 25-note mini-key keyboard
- Mod wheel (assignable to cutoff or LFO amount)
- Pitch wheel (bend range selectable via software)
- Octave selector from -2 to +2 octaves
- External analog audio input
- CV In jacks: Pitch, Filter, sub-harmonics, pulse width, Metalizer, saw animator
- CV Out jacks: pitch, envelope, LFO
- MIDI In with 5 pin DIN connector
- USB MIDI In/Out
- 1/4” audio output and 1/8” headphone output
- Full-functioned step sequencer:
- 8 memories
- up to 64 steps per memory
- tap tempo
- rate control
- step divisions (via software)
- trigger modes (via software)
- MIDI sync
- Steel bottom panel
- 12V DC 1A power supply