Sister site Keys Review takes a look at the MatrixBrute. Check out the video to hear what Tom thought of this Analogue Synthesizer from Arturia.
As a massive-sounding and highly-specified beast of analogue avant-garde-era synth technology, it is fit for reaching the outer limits of truly 21st Century sonic exploration, thanks to the trademark sound of its three ‘Brute’ oscillators, superb-sounding Steiner-Parker and ladder filters, three ultra-fast envelope generators, amazing analogue effects, and — the pièce de résistance — its incredible modulation matrix. Modular… without the painful patching practice of going modular, in other words!
What makes the massive-sounding MatrixBrute Analog Synthesizer so state-of-the-art, then? Matrix by name, matrix by nature, that namesake modulation matrix is at the heart of MatrixBrute, making the most of each ‘module’ through a matrix that offers thousands of potential modulation routings. Assign any of 16 modulation sources to any of 16 modulation destinations (in MOD mode) and set the amounts of each modulation routing using the dedicated data encoder; four such destinations are user programmable and can clearly be seen in the eye-catching E Ink (Electronic Ink) display. Don’t be afraid to invent a sound palette of your own and make your musical mark!
That multifaceted matrix also allows presets to be recalled quite literally at the touch of a (dedicated) button (in PRESET mode). Go grab one of the 256 pioneering, pre-programmed professional presets or recall one of your own original sound creations… instantly! Indeed, MatrixBrute packs the power of a modular synth system with an all-important ability to save each patch. No need to worry about recording a sound straight away for fear of losing it forever!
Furthermore, the matrix can also be pressed into action as an awesome 64-step sequencer with separate STEP, ACCENT, SLIDE, and MODULATION options (in SEQ mode). Make musical moves directly on your analogue synthesizer. Sounds can evolve in melody and texture… exactly the way you want them to!
o help maintain a 100% analogue signal path, MatrixBrute also adds true ANALOG EFFECTS to its stereo output — choose from chorus, delay, and flanger with five operational modes… and, yes, any ANALOG EFFECTS controls can be set as modulation destinations in the matrix! When was the last time you worked with analogue effects and a great arpeggiator? Ask no more. MatrixBrute has got you well and truly covered. Multiple modes of both the Arpeggiator and Sequencer allow almost unlimited musical ideas to quickly and easily flow forth for instant inspiration!
It’s a given that any analogue synthesizer only sounds as good as its VCFs (Voltage-Controlled Filters) and VCOs (Voltage-Controlled Oscillators). The MatrixBrute Analog Synthesizer sounds superb, markedly making the most of its four-mode STEINER FILTER (upgraded to support both 12dB/oct and 24dB/oct slopes alongside a dedicated Drive control for creating thicker sounds) and three-mode LADDER FILTER (known for creating punchy bass and fat lead sounds with 12dB/oct and 24dB/oct slopes alongside another dedicated Drive control). The three VCOs are each equipped with a sub-oscillator as well as Saw, Pulse, and Triangle waveforms with the unique wave-shapers that are the trademark of the beloved ‘Brute’ sound of the MatrixBrute Analog Synthesizer’s smaller siblings, the award-winning and amazingly compact and bijou MiniBrute and MicroBrute monosynths (both boasting MIDI, USB, and CV connectivity together with a host of unique features). But by pairing a 49-note (full-size) keyboard (featuring both velocity-sensitivity and aftertouch for a musical feel with plenty of expression) with a beautifully-designed, solid chassis (featuring a helpfully-hinged, hands-on capacious control panel), the road-ready MatrixBrute Analog Synthesizer is both bigger and better, boasting more connections than an airport… well, almost!
As such, you can comfortably work with any setup — cue control voltage interfacing in abundance (12 CV inputs and 12 CV outputs to interface with any standard 1V/oct modular gear); AUDIO IN (line and instrument levels allow for adding an external oscillator from a favourite modular synth or processing a guitar or other instrument through the filters, VCA, and analogue effects); GATE In and Out (to trigger external gear or trigger the internal envelopes remotely); SYNC In and Out (to synchronise the internal sequencer and arpeggiator with external devices); standard MIDI In, Out, and Thru (to connect to both modern and vintage gear alike); USB I/O (to interface to a computer-based DAW directly and also use the free editor/librarian software); and PEDALS (Expression 1, Expression 2, and Sustain inputs to provide realtime control) — not forgetting, of course, MASTER OUT (stereo master outputs on 1/4-inch jacks).
Founded in Grenoble, France, in 1999, Arturia specialises in the development of music software and hardware for professional and amateur musicians alike. Focusing on innovation, the company strives to integrate the latest advances in computer music research and technology into its products. This involves working closely with partner research institutions, such as IRCAM France, in the development of cutting-edge musical instruments and software, which have gone on to be used in making many hit records and Hollywood soundtracks. One of Arturia’s core technologies is TAE® (True Analog Emulation), an advanced proprietary technology allowing accurate modelling of analogue circuitry behaviour on personal computers. Developed by Arturia’s in-house Signal Processing team, this technology has been employed to successfully recreate the sounds produced by many classic analogue synthesizers. Having successfully launched Origin, its ﬁrst hardware synthesizer (housing several synth classics and associated components in one powerful, no-holds-barred DSP-based modular system), and the hybrid hardware/software SPARK Creative Drum Machine (cleverly combining analogue synthesis, physical modelling, and samples with the intuitive workﬂow of a hardware drum machine), 2012 saw Arturia introducing the cost-conscious MiniBrute, an amazingly compact and bijou analogue monosynth (boasting MIDI, USB, and CV connectivity together with a host of unique features). Having already broadened its appeal further still by successfully entering the iOS soft synth market and building upon its analogue synth and hybrid hardware/software successes, 2016 sees Arturia making a grand entrance into the audio interface market with its next-generation AudioFuse.