France’s Arturia can be relied upon to do the quirky and interesting and the company fully lived up to its reputation this year by introducing the new MicroFreak, the company’s first ever digital hardware synthesiser.
Combining the best of both worlds, the MicroFreak includes a multi-mode digital oscillator with an Oberheim SEM-inspired analogue filter. Seven of the oscillator modes are the result of a collaboration between Arturia and Eurorack Mutable Instruments, and let users control the sound of the Plaits module in the comfort of an all-in-one hardware synth. The modes include Superwave, Harmonic Oscillator, Karplus-Strong, Wavetable, Virtual Analog, Waveshaper, FM, Grain, Chords, Speech, and Modal.
One of the most striking features of MicroFreak is its innovative PCB keyboard. Despite having no moving parts, Arturia says it’s pressure sensitive and lightning-fast, and also offers poly-aftertouch. Arturia says: ‘This unique functionality will also let you experiment with polyphonic express-enabled software instruments when MicroFreak is used as a USB-MIDI controller’.
On top of its exceptional oscillators, filter, and interface, MicroFreak offers some seriously advanced features, including a multi-point modulation matrix; an unique sequencer-arpeggiator with controlled randomness “Spice” and “Dice” parameters; a cycling envelope; 128 factory presets, and space for 64 user sounds; and a crystal-clear OLED screen
No UK price was released at the show but its US/EU price will be $349 / 299€. The maker says the MicroFreak is currently in production, and is expected to arrive at retailers worldwide from April 1st, 2019. Arturia promise MicroFreak isn’t an April Fool’s joke.