The Next Big Thing Is A Small Thing: Arturia Microbrute

Arturia, Microbrute, Analog Synth
Microbrute is Arturia’s even smaller followup to the massive sounding Minibrute.
Squeezing the same 100% analog electronics into a more compact body, Microbrute gets rid of a few knobs and faders in favor of a patchable modulation matrix and a new step-sequencer. Read the press release for all the details, then check out sexy pictures and videos:
Arturia’s award-winning MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer rapidly reset the price/performance ratio benchmark when soaring through the subtractive synthesis sound barrier last year to much critical acclaim and subsequent success. Today it is joined by its equally as big- sounding little brother, the MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer. Putting all the basic building blocks of an analogue synth classic into an even more compact and bijou package that’s pure hand-ons fun at an affordable price, the MicroBrute is guaranteed to bring big smiles to go with those big sounds!
But the MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer is actually anything but basic. For starters, just like its big brother, the OSCILLATOR that beats at its musical heart features SAW, TRIANGLE, and SQUARE waveforms that are all mixable to help shape the resulting sound without the limitations imposed by comparable contemporary and vintage synths alike. Additionally, the new Overtone oscillator generates additional harmonic content, ranging from one octave down to a fifth above the base OSCILLATOR pitch, while the Sub > Fifth control can continuously sweep spectrum. Moreover, Metalizer adds complex harmonics to the TRIANGLE waveform for creating harsh, harmonically-rich sounds, while Ultrasaw adds a lively and bright ensemble effect to the SAWTOOTH waveform — perfect for crafting sounds suited to dance anthems. And let’s not forget the all-important Pulse Width control for creating nasal-thin tones or rich square sounds. Simply speaking, never before has such a small, single-oscillator synth sounded so big!
Of course, filtering helps shape any analogue synth’s sound — be it big or small, and here the MicroBrute does not disappoint. Indeed, its distinctive-sounding Steiner-Parker FILTER plays a big part in helping give the MicroBrute a unique sound — again, just like its big brother. This filter design dates back to the Steiner-Parker Synthacon, an analogue monosynth built by the namesake Salt Lake City-based synth manufacturer between 1975 and 1979. Its HP (high-pass), BP (bandpass), and LP (lowpass) modes make for far more filtering flexibility than that found in synths many times the price! And that’s before factoring Arturia’s acclaimed Brute FactorTM into the equation, adding anything from subtle overdrive to full-blown intermodulation havoc — choose your settings, and let the fun begin!
Speaking of modulation, the easily accessible, front-panel mounted MOD MATRIX is a Volt per Octave-standard patchable system of modulation routing with ENV (envelope) out, LFO (low frequency oscillator) out, Ultrasaw modulator in, PWM (pulse width modulation) in, Metal (Metalizer) in, Overtone/Sub modulator in, Filter cutoff in, and Pitch in — meaning more in-depth, inbuilt sound-sculpting possibilities, as well as allowing Arturia’s own MicroBrute to be easily brought into the interfacing mix, or mixing and matching with third-party modular synth systems for far-out sonic explorations! Dig as deep as you need or dare to go with the MicroBrute!
Similarly, the new eight-Pattern step SEQUENCER is an almost endless source of inspiration and rhythmic creativity — step input notes and rests to create storable sequences that can be played back and switched between on the fly at a variable Rate or synchronised to external MIDI clock. Meanwhile, MIDI, USB, and CV GATE connectivity, of course, combine to ensure that the MicroBrute is ready and willing to talk to the outside electronic musical instrument world wherever it may find itself. It’s even blessed with an external audio Input with Input Level control, so why not use it to process whatever you feel like sticking into its 1/4-inch socket — within reason, of course!
With a space-saving 25-note mini-keyboard and weighing in at only 1.75kg, the MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer is truly compact and bijou, but punches well above its weight with a rip-roaring analogue sound spanning woofer-flapping bass, screaming leads, ear-opening effects, wave-folded growls, punchy drum sounds galore, and much in-between and beyond. Pick one up from an authorised Arturia dealer today!
Arturia, Microbrute, Analog SynthArturia, Microbrute, Analog Synth Arturia, Microbrute, Analog Synth

Moog Minifoogers!

Moog, Minifoogers, Moogerfooger,

Moog is jumping into the downsizing game, with the release of its new line of Minifoogers.  These are the slicker, smaller, tighter versions of Moogerfoogers, which have long been at the top of my want list. Moogers are sort of like the Cadillac of guitar pedals; powerful, large, and a bit pricey. Now that the classic sound shapers are stuffed into a mini package, at a mini price, I’m not sure how long I can hold out!

The Minifooger family –  MF Drive, MF Boost, MF Delay, MF Ring, and MF Trem are all 100% analog, true bypass, hand assembled, and cost under $200. They can be controlled with an expression pedal or CV.

Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen demonstrates:

Minifooger Analog Effects Pedals

The MF Drive is a filter-based overdrive pedal employing a Moog Ladder Filter, boutique FET amplifiers, and OTAs in its drive section making it highly reactive to picking dynamics. The panel features a bi-polar tone control and sweepable filter that work dynamically with input gain to offer each player unique and customizable sounds that retain the core timbre of their instrument. A filter Peak switch shifts harmonic content to the filter’s cutoff position, adding new tonal creation and dirty wah performance possibilities not found in other drive pedals. MSRP: $179.

The MF Boost is a selectable topology boost pedal that allows the player to switch between an “articulate VCA” signal path and a “colored OTA” signal path. Each is tailored to deliver boutique amplifier sound and responsiveness from any guitar/amplifier combination. The design also imparts natural compression to an input signal, which brings out note articulation and significantly increases the performance of other effects pedals. When paired with an expression pedal, the MF Boost can be used as a tone enhancing volume pedal, sweepable-gain boost pedal, and VCA. The expression pedal input also provides access to higher gain values not available on the panel. MSRP: $149

The MF Delay features 35mS-700mS of completely analog delay time. At shorter settings, repeats are fast and bright for creating classic slap-back and plate sounds. At medium and long settings the repeats become darker and naturally trail into reverb-like state. A Drive circuit allows the player to adjust the tone and feel of the MF Delay as well as overdrive the Bucket Brigade Delay line, and the input of a guitar amplifier for bigger sound and feel. Also, the expression pedal input is switchable between feedback for expressive swells and delay time for tape delay and chorus/flange effects. MSRP: $209.

The MF Ring is an analog ring modulator that is based on the world’s best selling Ring Mod, the Moogerfooger MF-102.  Its refined frequency range and tone voicing circuit add new-musical elements to ring modification, making it easy to dial in everything from octaves and choral dissonance to harmonic undertones and synthesized lead lines. The expression pedal input provides hands-free control of the Freq parameter for sound sweeps, pitch shifting effects, and playing between two scales on the fly. MSRP: $159

The MF Trem is an analog tremolo pedal designed around a balanced modulator and Sub Audio VCO. This design creates a wide range of effects that are based on phase cancellation and addition. Players can create classic optical tremolo, hard tremolo, rotary effects and more that react dynamically to harmonic content. A variable Shape control interacts with Tone and Mix to craft subtle swells and gallops to rhythmic percussive, and swirling effects. When pushed, the MF Trem can also approach the beginnings of phasing and chorus. The expression pedal input adds control of the Speed parameter for hands-free swells and rotary effects. MSRP: $189

Minifooger Analog Effects Pedals are available for preorder from all authorized Moog dealers now. We will begin shipping the first units from our Asheville factory in October, 2013. For more information about Minifooger Analog Effects Pedals got to: MINIFOOGER.COM

Arturia Minibrute [REVIEW]

Arturia, Minibrute, analog synth

If deep throbbing analog synth bass is what you crave, look no further than Arturia’s Minibrute.

That little thing? Well I tell you, the cliche is true – it’s not the size, but how you use it. Minibrute proves that underneath its small exterior lies a sonic girth that can do some seriously brutal aural damage.

The thickness comes from an all analog signal path, pushing gooey warm waves into your earhole. This 25 note keyboard is monophonic, but the sound isn’t simple. Minibrute uses a single voltage controlled oscillator to drive 4 different waveforms: sawtooth, square, triangle, and white noise. The first three can be effected with their respective ‘bi-polar’ modulators; Ultrasaw adds a little je ne sais quoi to le sawtooth, Pulse-Width puts the squeeze on the squarewave, and Metallizer changes the harmonics of the triangle. These can be mixed to taste, along with Audio-Input, and a sub-oscillator, which renders some serious fat in the melange.

Arturia Minibrute 2

Next, your sound must be filtered, and Minibrute’s filter is super juicy. Low-pass, high-pass, band pass, and notch options are available. The real treat here is cranking up the resonance to the point of self-oscillation, then tweaking that with the cut-off. Mmm… Delicious… To take your sound totally over the top, turn the Brute knob for extreme destruction.

ADSR amplitude and filter envelopes give everything some more gravy (you can assign positive or negative envelope responses to all parameters.) You can set the range of the pitch bend wheel, mod wheel control, aftertouch, vibrato, and the amount of glide between notes. Add shuddering LFO action to the Pulsewidth/Metallizer, pitch, filter, and amplitude, with a choice of sine, triangle, saw, square, rough or smooth random waveforms. Finally, there is an arpeggiator with a 4 octave range, 4 modes (up, down, up/down, random), 6 time divisions (1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/4T, 1/8T, 1/16T), 6 swing settings, tap tempo, and hold. And if that isn’t enough, Minibrute connects with the rest of your studio gear via MIDI, CV, and the aforementioned Audio-Input.

Arturia Minibrute 3

Arturia has truly managed to stuff a beast of a synth into a small package. Minibrute delivers a robust sound with fiercely unique attributes, and a bass response that will kick you in the pants. Take a listen to this demo, and make sure you are using headphones or speakers with some sub to hear what I’m talking about.

I Dream Of Wires: Hardcore Edition Trailer

I Dream Of Wires, modular synth documentary

I Dream Of Wires, a forthcoming documentary about modular synthesizers, featuring interviews with luminaries such as Chris Carter and Trent Reznor, has released an official trailer for its extended cut, ‘Hardcore Edition.’

This juicy 12-minute hardcore synth porn clip is but a sliver of the full 4-hour version of the film, which is available for pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD at idreamofwires.org.

Also for sale on their site is the exclusive IDOW edition batteryACID, a voltage controlled analog distortion module by hexinverter.net.

batteryACID, hexinverter.net, I Dream Of Wires

batteryACID is “loosely based” on the classic MXR Distortion Plus guitar pedal circuit. What makes this unit special for modular enthusiasts is that it comes in eurorack format, so it can be integrated right into a modular rig, and distortion can be modulated using a control voltage from another module. It also has a built-in compressor to keep those clipped peaks in check, which can be disabled if desired, or used on its own with distortion bypassed.

And now without further ado, here comes the trailer. Keep your pants on y’all.

“I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” – 2013 official trailer.

“I Dream of Wires” (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer – exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. Written and directed by Robert Fantinatto, with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer, IDOW is set to receive it’s festival premiere, May 2013.

Preceding IDOW’s official theatrical release, we will be releasing this special, extended cut: “I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” (IDOW-HE) will be released independently on BluRay / 2xDVD, and shipped to all IndieGoGo and pre-order customers, June 2013. IDOW-HE is for the hardcore modular synthesizer and electronic music fanatics, and will run approximately 4 hours long (!).

IDOW-HE is a strictly limited-edition item, available to order exclusively through idreamofwires.org from 2/11 – 5/31, 2013. It’s bound to sell out in pre-orders, so don’t sleep…
IDOW-HE BluRay / 2xDVD is available to pre-order now:
idreamofwires.org/order

“Themogene (I Dream Of Wires theme)”, from the forthcoming IDOW original soundtrack album by Solvent, is available to listen/download in its entirety via Ghostly International on Soundcloud:
soundcloud.com/ghostly/solvent-themogene

Additional music/sounds featured in this trailer: Container, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Richard Devine, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Gert Jalass (Moon Modular), Richard Lainhart, Solvent, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Keith Fullerton Whitman.

“Who said that?” (in order of appearance): Brad Garton, Dean Batute, Maggie Payne, Bernie Krause, William Maginnis, Terry Pender, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Benge (John Foxx and the Maths), Vince Clarke (Erasure), Daniel Miller (Mute Records), David Kronemeyer, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Carl Craig, James Holden, Richard Devine, Luke Abbott, Tony Rolando (Make Noise), Flood, Trent Reznor (NiN/How To Destroy Angels), Dieter Doepfer, Dominic Butler (Factory Floor), Paul Schreiber (Synthesis Technology/MOTM), David Kronemeyer, Eric Barbour (Metasonix), George Mattson, William Mathewson (WMD), Tony Rolando, Eric Barbour, Daniel Miller, Drew Neumann, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Andreas Schneider (SchneidersBuero), Eric Barbour, Scott Jaeger (The Harvestman), Andreas Schneider, Dieter Doepfer, Chris Carter (X-TG/Chris & Cosey), Charlie Clouser, Danjel Van Tijn (Intellijel), John Tejada, Drumcell, Legowelt, Alessandro Cortini (SONOIO/ex-NiN), John Foxx, Deadmau5, James Husted (Synthwerks), Paul Barker (Malekko/ex-Ministry), Container, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy), Robert A.A. Lowe, Trent Reznor, Gur Milstein (TipTop Audio), Gary Numan.

idreamofwires.org
vimeo.com/idreamofwires
facebook.com/idreamofwiresdocumentary

The Synth You Want: KORG MS-20 Mini [Video]

With all the hooplah going on right now around NAMM, the synth on everyone’s lips seems to be the Korg MS-20 Mini. Who can resist its teeny tiny charms? Not me, that’s for sure.

Since vanishing from shelves, the MS-20 has gone through several new iterations: a plug-in, hardware controlled version, and most recently the iMS-20 iPad app (on a side note, if you can get your hands on the hardware controller, I’ve heard it CAN also be used with iMS-20 via an Apple USB camera-connection kit.)

Korg has now taken the much beloved MS20’s guts and stuffed them into a package that is only 86% of the original size. And with space at such a premium these days, this is a serious boon to the reboot of an already much sought after classic.

Korg, MS20, MS20 mini, Namm,

Even the patch cables have been miniaturized to 1/8″ mini plugs. The only thing Korg neglected to make smaller is the gooey analog sound, which remains true to the original’s sonic girth.

One modern twist is the addition of MIDI IN and USB jacks. You can use these to send MIDI or sequence the MS-20 mini from a computer or external device (such as an iPad running one of the countless alternative touch/sequencing apps out there perhaps?).

And possibly the most important reduction – the price! At $599 the MS-20 Mini won’t shrink your wallet as much as other analog synths out there. Release date is still to be confirmed, but the word on the street is April…

Check out official Korg MS-20 mini promo video and press release below:

Korg MS-20 mini official information

The classic MS-20 –resurrected in mini size!

An analog synthesizer that reproduces the original circuitry from 1978

Korg’s MS-20 monophonic synthesizer, first introduced in 1978, is still a coveted instrument to this day, thanks to its thick, robust sound, its powerful, iconic analog filter, and its versatile patching options. Over 300,000 people have enjoyed the distinct MS-20 sounds from the original, from Korg’s MS-20 plug-in synth, and the iMS-20 iPad app.

Today, the sounds of the MS-20 have been reborn as the MS-20 Mini. The same engineers who developed the original MS-20 have perfectly reproduced its circuitry and fitted it into a body that’s been shrunk to 86% of the original size, yet retains the distinctive look of the original that remains unfaded despite the passage of time.

The MS-20 mini will amaze you with its absolutely authentic analog synth sound.

Highlights:

  • Overseen by the engineers of the original MS-20; a complete replication of the original analog circuitry:
  • 2VCO / 2VCA / 2VCF / 2EG / 1LFO structure
  • Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
  • External signal processor (ESP)
  • Extremely flexible patching system
  • Faithful recreation of the MS20 at 86% of the size
  • MIDI IN and USB connector
  • Replicates every detail of the original, down to the package binding and the included manual

A complete replication of the original analog circuitry

The MS-20 mini painstakingly replicates the original MS-20. A development team led by the original engineers themselves worked to recreate the original circuitry, and when it was necessary to substitute a part, these engineers made the decisions based on careful listening, in order to reproduce the original sound faithfully.

In fact, the sound of the MS-20 mini has a somewhat bright and extreme quality to it because its sound is that of an original MS-20 in mint condition at the time it went on sale, before any of the components aged.

2VCO / 2VCF / 2VCA / 2EG / 1LFO structure

The MS-20 mini reproduces the distinctive synthesis of the MS-20; two oscillators with ring modulation, and envelope generators with hold and delay. The VCA maintains the basic design of the original, but it’s been modified to produce less noise than the original.

Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion

One of the greatest characteristics of the MS-20 was its powerful filters, which provided resonance on both the high-pass and the low-pass. Maximizing the resonance would cause the filter to self-oscillate like an oscillator, producing a distinctive and dramatic tonal change that was acclaimed as inimitable, and was later used on the monotron and monotribe. The filter circuit was changed mid-way through the production lifecycle of the MS-20; the MS-20 mini uses the earlier filter, which was felt to be superior due to its more radical sound.

External signal processor (ESP) for processing an external signal

The ESP carries on the experimental spirit of MS-20; it allows you to use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synthesizer. For example you can input an electric guitar and use the MS-20 mini as a guitar synthesizer, or input a mic and use it as a vocal synthesizer.

Extremely flexible patching system

The patching system provided to the right of the panel lets you create complex sounds by plugging-in cables to change the connections between the various units. The possibilities are limited only by the user’s imagination; different combinations of the modulation input/output and trigger, sample and hold, and noise generator can produce an incredible variety of sounds. By patching according to the MS-20 flow chart that’s printed on the panel, even the beginner can start taking advantage of these possibilities right away.

Faithful recreation of the MS20 at 86% of the size

MS-20’s design concept started by borrowing from the vertical layout found on larger and more expensive modular synths of its time, and then creating a more portable, inexpensive, and easier to use version.

To make it even more approachable, the MS-20 mini has been shrunk to 86% of the size of the original MS-20. In spite of its smaller size, meticulous care has been taken to accurately reproduce the knob design and the printing. The patch cables have been changed from 1/4″ phone plugs to mini-plugs, and the newly-designed keyboard is also 86% of the original size.

Replicates every detail of the original

Our effort to remain faithful to the original is not limited to the unit itself. Even the package that contains the unit replicates the original as far as possible. Also included are the original MS-20 owner’s manual and settings chart, explaining how to create sounds. Now you can experience the excitement of the MS20, just like it was during its original release in 1978.

MIDI IN connector and USB connector

The MS-20 mini provides a MIDI IN jack for receiving note messages, and a USB-MIDI connector that can transmit and receive note messages. You can even connect the MS20 mini to your computer and play it from a sequencer.

Nude Moog!

Moog, Analog, Synth,

Happy Moog gear!

Moog has shared a video of a mysterious as yet unnamed analog synth – without its clothes on! This naked circuitry gets its knobs tweaked by Herb Deutsch, who is credited with co-inventing the original Moog synth alongside Bob Moog in 1964.

Deutsch happily shows us the sonic functions, which include that classic warm Moog filter, multidrive (pre and post filter gain distortion), sub-oscillator, noise generator, and the added modern twist of oscillators that are in tune!

Professor Herb Deutsch, synth pioneer and collaborator of Bob Moog, visited the Moog Machine Shop during Moogfest 2012. While here, Professor Deutsch explored Moog’s next generation analog synthesizer, while still in it’s research & design phase. In the past, Bob Moog always tested his ideas, instruments and sounds with musicians and colleagues. This spirit of collaboration continues at the Moog factory to this day and is essential to our work. It is a key part of the product development process, as it furthers our ideas and helps us shape better tools for musicians.

Making its official debut at NAMM 2013, the first 24 of these new instruments are being handcrafted at the Moog Factory this week. Until you get a chance to see it in its final form at NAMM 2013, please enjoy this video. Love, your friends at Moog.

Elektron Analog Four Details Released

The Elektron Analog Four synthesizer has an analog heart and a digital mind.

We showed you the crazy dark Elektron Analog Four teaser vid the other day, and now we have some cold hard facts about the machine itself.

Analog Four is, true to its name,  a 4 Voice Synthesizer. Each voice has 2 analog oscillators, an overdrive circuit, and multiple LFO’s and envelopes. To give this warm analog synth a modern twist, it is augmented by a precise digital step sequencer and controls like parameter lock, kit and sound storage, and effects. The Analog Four also offers powerful connectivity options via MIDI (with DIN sync out) and CV/Gate outputs with dedicated CV/Gate and FX sequencer tracks, allowing control of other analog synths and outboard gear.

The Analog Four list price will be $1149/£899. A limited amount of units will be available for pre-order starting today, November 14th 2012. Shipping starts December 3rd.

Visit http://www.elektron.se/products/analog for the full Analog Four specifications.

And if you haven’t seen the promo video “The Demon Who Wears Me,” watch it here: http://youtu.be/4X7MlbfQJK8

Portishead’s Adrian Utley Shows Off Synths

Some videos from Source Distribution interviewing Adrian Utley of Portishead fame have been making their way around the web. In the first clip Source gets Utley’s first reactions to the Arturia MiniBrute, and in the second Adrian gives a tour of his personal home studio synth collection. Analog synth porn below!

Buy Portishead: Third