THE NEXT GENERATION OF OLD
The success of the MiniBrute saw a quick release of the MicroBrute. The MicroBrute took the basic engine and filter of the original and packaged it into a compact case, with smaller keys and a significantly lower price tag. The beauty of this unit was that you could patch multiple synths together and even use it to modulate the MiniBrute if you wanted to, making no one unit neither obsolete nor unnecessary; both had something to offer the user as separate units or as an ensemble. As Arturia were building a semi-modular analogue offering for their loyal customer base, sequencing was really starting to take off. It was the next logical step for Arturia and they entered the market first with the BeatStep, followed by the multi-sequencing BeatStep Pro and recently the KeyStep for a clever transition between analogue and digital synths with a MIDI controller keyboard structure.
It’s been some time since their Origin synth wowed the world with what it could offer as a fully featured digital synthesizer, and Arturia have gone with their new analogue direction and now produced a 100% analogue monster that is aptly named the MatrixBrute. This monster gives a nod to Moog in the way the keyboard has been physically engineered, with the flip up panel and wooden end caps that are reminiscent of the Voyager, but the design of the synth itself is quite different. As Arturia have worked to allow their smaller synthesizers to work in a semi-modular fashion, it only makes sense that now they have built a bigger unit, it has all of that in one, with a matrix grid taking centre-stage on the panel for signal routing and sequencing all form the one interface. Start saving your pennies, because when you see one of these in person, you are going to want to take it home!
HAVING IT ALL
But, when space, and finances are a restriction – as is so often the case – there are other ways to get a great selection of synth sounds from Arturia. The recent release of their V-Collection 5 software bundle can only be described as a sonic dreamland for synth nuts. Although their ‘Brute’ range of synthesizers has yet to be given the TAE Algorithmic modelling process that Arturia have become renowned for, there is just about every other synthesizer you might have dreamed of owning bundled up in one box. And if what you are looking for isn’t there, then there will be something very close, either that, or you are, in the words of Nigel Tufnel, “just nit-picking.”
There are 16 all-time classic synthesizers to be found in there along with Arturia’s own Analog Lab that has been a mainstay of their soft-synth offerings with controllers for many years now. The important thing to remember with each of these software instruments is that they have been modelled on actual hardware units, and specific ones at that, which were available to the development team at Arturia. So, they each exhibit the certain nuances found in those specific hardware units, including the flaws that may have made them so desirable tonally to begin with.
Along with those flaws, there are improvements as well, making these replicas far easier to work with than the originals. Better patch memory, tuning stability (if desired) and automation of all sorts of features allow these software instruments to be more simply integrated into any modern recording solution than the original devices could ever be. Not only do you get the freedom of choice between the sounds, but you get the control you always wanted as well. It may not be analogue, but it sounds so close that you’ll wonder why you ever bothered hunting out old keyboards at overly inflated collector’s prices.