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Arturia MiniBrute 2 Review - Next Gen of Analog Synthesizer

July 11, 2024

Today we will review Arturia MiniBrute 2 - the second generation of the popular synthesizer, now with semi-modular architecture. At the beginning of 2018, Arturia released a long-awaited update of its popular synthesizer MiniBrute. The main and most important difference of the new generation synthesizer is the use of semi-modular architecture, which significantly expands the synthesis capabilities and allows the integration of MiniBrute 2 into a wide range of modular sets via CV/Gate connection. MiniBrute 2 also includes several additional features such as a second oscillator, an additional LFO, a built-in arpeggiator/sequencer, improved keyboard mechanics, and the Arturia Link expansion system.

According to the manufacturer, the MiniBrute 2 is meant to be a bridge between the traditional world of synthesis and the ever-evolving modular principle, combining both approaches. It's hard to disagree because the MiniBrute 2 can be used as a complete standalone synthesizer without any additional investment. At the same time, it can be used as a starting point for further expansion with various additional modules. This makes the MiniBrute 2 a unique instrument that appeals to both the beginner who is not yet familiar with the intricacies of synthesis and the advanced user who consciously chooses the modular principle. So let's get to the main part of our Arturia MiniBrute 2 review and start with the specs as usual.

Best Price on Arturia MiniBrute Synthesizer

The Arturia MiniBrute 2 synthesizer is a powerful and versatile instrument that builds on the legacy of the original MiniBrute while introducing significant enhancements.

Arturia MiniBrute 2 package with box Classic Package

Arturia MiniBrute Specifications

  • Analog Synthesizer with 25-key velocity and pressure sensitive keyboard
  • 2 Analog VCO’s: VCO1 : Saw + UltraSaw, Square +Pulse width, Triangle + Metalizer. (Waveform mixing) | VCO2 : Sine, Saw, Square waveforms (three tuning ranges)
  • VCO 2>1 Hard Sync, VCO1 linear and exponential FM
  • White Noise Generator
  • Steiner Parker filter (12dB per octave): Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch modes
  • External Audio In
  • 2 LFO’s with Sync: Sine, Tri, Saw, Square, Random, Slew Random
  • 1 ADSR envelope
  • 1 AD envelope: Trig, Gate modes | One shot or Loop | Attack and Decay times CV controllable
  • 48-point CV and Gate patchbay: Inputs and Outputs for the voice and sequencer | Utility modules: inverter, attenuators, VCA
  • Arpeggiator types: Up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up, double down modes
  • Sequencer mode: 8 step-sequences with Rest, Tie and Legato note entry | Each sequence can have up to 64 steps
  • MIDI and USB I/O
  • Powered by 12V DC 2.5A power adapter
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 484 x 336 x 58mm (19 x 13.2 x 2.3 inches)
  • Net Weight: 4.8kg (10.6 lbs)
  • Set Includes: Arturia MiniBrute 2 unit, 8 patch cables, universal power supply with interchangeable plugs, and a "Cook Book" jam-packed full of superb sonic recipes for you to try out.
  • Color Options | Versions: Classic MiniBrute 2 version - with wooden inlays on the sides and metal housing painted in dark graphite color. MiniBrute 2 Noir Edition version - with dark wooden inlays on the sides and black painted metal housing.
Arturia MiniBrute 2 Classic Edition and Noir Edition
MiniBrute 2 Classic Edition on the left in the picture, Noir Edition on the right

Overall Build and Features

Now that we've reached the main "Overall Build and Features" section of our Arturia MiniBrute 2 review, let's familiarize ourselves with all the features this wonderful device has to offer. Arturia MiniBrute 2 inherits all the key features of its predecessor. As before, the synthesizer is single-voiced. The main oscillator generates multiple waveforms simultaneously, with the value of each waveform continuously adjustable. For the sake of clarity and ease of use, adjustment is done with separate faders, just like in traditional mixers.

Arturia MiniBrute 2 backside

Interestingly, in addition to the built-in waveforms, MiniBrute 2 now allows you to mix an external signal. Finally, there is a second oscillator with its own modest but individual settings. This was missing in the first version of the synthesizer. Note that the second oscillator can also be used as an additional third modulator of the main oscillator.

MiniBrute 2 Oscillator

There are now two LFO generators, and they are completely identical. They offer six types of waveforms, with frequency control and a mode for synchronizing to the tempo of the built-in arpeggiator/sequencer.

As before, the oscillator has four waveforms available, and each of these waveforms has individual modification options. For the saw waveform, a phase-shifted waveform duplication, the Ultrasaw Amt, is provided. For the Meander waveform, you can change the Pulse Width. For the triangle waveform, you can adjust the harmonic saturation - Metalizer.

MiniBrute 2 Envelope

The MiniBrute 2 uses two envelopes. The AD envelope controls the amplitude of the signal, while the ADSR acts as the filter envelope. The independent operation of these two envelopes results in a rich, dynamic sound.

MiniBrute 2 Filter

The filter used is the well-known Steiner-Parker two-pole filter with its characteristic, recognizable sound. In the MiniBrute 2, the filter can be dynamically altered and modulated, providing enormous possibilities for an animated, expressive sound. By default, the adjustable parameters are assigned to the sources corresponding to the labels. However, they can be assigned to any other source via the CV/Gate connection.

MiniBrute 2 Sequencer

The first version of the synthesizer only had an arpeggiator. MiniBrute 2 has a sequencer in addition to the updated arpeggiator. It allows you to create 8 different sequences of up to 64 beats. The possibilities of the built-in sequencer are rather modest. However, it does offer ligated notes, real-time editing modes, and the ability to transpose the entire melody with a single key.

One of the most important changes in the new MiniBrute 2 is the addition of a CV/Gate switch panel. This panel is the key to the synthesizer, as it allows you to change the default control sources to any other source, creating a very wide field of experimentation. You don't have to limit yourself to the built-in capabilities of the synthesizer. The synthesizer lets you use any external compatible module to control and modulate various parameters.

MiniBrute 2 Modulation

The kit comes with 8 short patch cables so you can create your own sequence. All available sources are marked in white for easy and convenient connection. This allows even beginners to connect cables correctly and create original sounds.

In addition, the synthesizer comes with a special "Cook Book" booklet showing all the controls in specific positions and the necessary CV/Gate connections to create 40 different sounds. These range from simple, primitive tones to complex, dynamically variable tones.

The updated mechanics of the MiniBrute 2 synthesizer are similar in feel to those of the flagship MatrixBrute. It's a full-size synthesizer mechanism with velocity sensitivity and an aftertouch function to which you can assign various modulation parameters.

Minibrute 2 with Eurorack housing RackBrute

With the advent of modular architecture in the MiniBrute 2 synthesizer, the manufacturer introduced Eurorack RackBrute housings for installing additional modules. The body of the synthesizer has special holes on the sides for attaching such type of rack. The RackBrute will be available in two sizes: 3U, as shown in the photo, and an extended 6U version. These racks include everything you need to install and connect compatible modules, as well as a convenient handle for carrying the entire system. The RackBrute is sold separately and is not included.

Final Verdict on Arturia MiniBrute 2

The new generation of the MiniBrute 2 synthesizer looks great. The new features have greatly expanded the potential of the synthesizer itself, allowing it to be integrated into the most incredible sets. Despite its apparent complexity, the synthesizer is still a very simple and intuitive instrument that even a novice user, not familiar with the intricacies of synthesis, can master.

We hope you enjoyed our Arturia MiniBrute 2 review. Feel free to leave your questions, comments and suggestions below. We will be happy to answer them all. We also recommend you to read our Arturia MicroBrute review - the little brother of the MiniBrute 2 synthesizer, which has a few less features, but is still an excellent synthesizer.

Pros
  • High-Quality Build: Sturdy metal chassis with wooden side panels for durability.
  • Rich Analog Sound: True analog synthesis provides warm, powerful, and expressive tones.
  • Versatile Oscillators: Dual oscillators with waveform modifiers expand the sonic palette.
  • Powerful Filter: Steiner-Parker filter with multiple modes for precise tonal shaping.
  • Comprehensive Modulation: Extensive modulation matrix for deep sound design.
  • Built-in Sequencer: Intuitive 64-step sequencer and versatile arpeggiator for creative patterns.
  • Extensive Connectivity: MIDI, USB, CV/gate, and audio inputs/outputs for seamless integration.
  • Performance Features: Full-size keyboard with aftertouch, pitch bend, and modulation wheels.
  • "Cook Book" brochure!
Cons
  • A bit pricey, we recommend looking into buying during discounts.
  • Learning Curve: The extensive features and modular capabilities might have a learning curve for beginners.
  • Size: While compact, it is larger and heavier than some other synthesizers in its class, which might be a consideration for those with limited space.
9.3
/10
Our Score

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