MicroFreak’s evolution continues.
Introducing the latest free MicroFreak Firmware update, V3. Since its inception in 2019, it’s mad talents have grown exponentially. Numerous firmware updates, new oscillator modes, fresh presets, and even a limited edition skin with 2020’s Vocoder Edition.
This little hybrid maniac has become a living, breathing, ever-changing force of fluid creativity - and is showing no signs of slowing down now. For the latest firmware release, V3, we’ve teamed up with Eurorack visionaries Noise Engineering to push MicroFreak further into the digital realm with 3 powerful new oscillator modes.
West Coast Operation
Up in the sun-kissed hills of Los Angeles, peering out the window at a pastel skyline punctuated by skyscrapers, rolling mountains, and towering tree canopies, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a place better suited for a buzzing hive of sonic creativity.
We’re at the residence, offices, factory floor, and testing facility of modular synth heavyweights Noise Engineering.
To our left is Kris Kaiser, NE’s main hardware developer, solder enthusiast, and Latin aficionado. To our right is Stephen McCaul, who leads the software development operation that makes their modules tick. And let’s not forget George and Daisy, their furry companions who rarely leave their side.
Their home is their HQ, their HQ is their home. And with just 5 members in the team spread across the United States, their business is their family.
Noise Engineering’s mission
In a world dominated by a love for analog, Noise Engineering aren’t afraid to embrace digital, whether for the versatility or for the edgier sound.
They’re out to cram as much functionality, flexibility, and fun into as small a footprint as possible, by whatever means necessary. In their own words, this often means:
Digital when it works, analog when it works.
Open-minded, forward-thinking. Noise Engineering make modules for the synth enthusiast who’s looking for something outside-the-box. Monochrome modules, with a jagged industrial aesthetic and quirky Latin names that speak of mystery, unpredictability, and technical aptitude - controlled chaos.
Here at Arturia, we’re big fans of their approach - and the chance to collaborate was simply too good to pass on.
A chance encounter?
Wind the clocks back to NAMM 2019. Our very own Sebastien and Jean-Baptiste - product manager and sound designer respectively - approached Kris and Stephen about working together on oscillator modes for MicroFreak.
This presented a unique set of challenges; transforming something designed for a Eurorack module into firmware that could be ported onto someone else’s desktop synth. Working across continents and time zones. Finding mutual creative ground. Luckily, it seemed that Seb, JB, Kris, and Stephen were on the same page from the offset.
Sit back and enjoy this chillout deep bass track with floating melodic elements and texture. Arturia external FX and processing were used for this track.
A pumping retro house jam with an edgy twist, littered with fractured melodies and glitchy components.
Noise Engineering presented 3 prototype algorithms designed for their upcoming DSP oscillator platform, offering a choice of 2 to port for MicroFreak.
After some deliberation and quite a bit of French charm, it was decided that all 3 would be used - each one had such a strong identity and exciting sound, that it was simply impossible to choose.
A lean, mean, low-end machine. This non-linear waveshaping algorithm uses a quadrature oscillator principle to produce unique waveforms. The result is ultra-heavy digital density and gritty in-your-face bass that demands your full attention.
Controls: Saturate, Fold, Noise
Bass mode becomes a flickering lead with added dusty cartridge character to taste.
Bass mode brings filthy basslines galore with this bubbling detuned monstrosity.
Harm mode combines additive synthesis with wavefolding to produce shimmering textures with heaps of overtone detail. Think of the classic hard sync sound, but from a different dimension - choose dense octave overtones or blow the harmonic series wide open.
Controls: Spread, Rectification, Noise
Peaceful daydream pads with bright overtones and subtle watery swirls, courtesy of Harm mode.
Harm mode going full octave sparkle, bringing some sonic sunlight to a cloudy mix.
Relatively straightforward sawtooth manipulations with complex sonic results. SawX is the supersaw sound contorted and sharpened beyond recognition. With added chorus and phase modulation, it’ll bring the dirt in no time.
Controls: Saw Mod, Chorus Amount, Noise
A rusty buzzsaw pluck from SawX mode that’s small in size but big in vibes.
Classic video game boss fight basslines, with Bass mode bringing the lo-fi distorted low-end.
Not only does Firmware V3 bring 3 mind-bending new Noise Engineering oscillators; it puts the pedal to the metal with MicroFreak’s creative potential. Here’s what else you’ll get when you update for free:
Make your basses bigger and your melodies more massive than ever with up to 4-voice unison for all oscillator modes. Take it a step further by modulating the unison spread, with a range up to 12 semitones - perfect for huge stacked timbres, ultra-dense pads, and classic trance leads.
More presets and slots
The number of preset slots has increased from 256 to 384, including 96 more factory presets for more musical madness straight out the box.
Preset behavior enhancements
The last saved preset will reload upon restart, Chord Mode’s most recent chord is retained within your saved preset, and more.
Already own MicroFreak?
Update to firmware V3 for free to unlock the latest oscillator modes and features.Free Update