Arturia’s MiniFreak is a weird-but-powerful digital synth at a great price

When individuals ask what their must be, I typically advocate Arturia’s . Until you completely have your coronary heart set on an analog instrument, I feel it provides essentially the most versatility and the most effective bang in your buck. It has over a dozen totally different synth engines, an analog multimode filter, a mod matrix for placing collectively complicated patches, plus it’s with new options. Certain, it wants the help of exterior results to essentially and its touchplate keyboard is a bit controversial, however there’s no denying it provides rather a lot for simply $349.

The little digital weirdo has confirmed so profitable that Arturia determined to make an much more {powerful} synth, constructed on the identical core. The MiniFreak has double the oscillators, six voices as an alternative of 4, built-in results and a extra conventional keyboard. It’s a sturdy midrange providing with a fairly low $599 value. That places it proper up towards different choices just like the ($599) and the Korg Minilogue ($530). However, as is often the case with music gear, there’s nobody proper alternative right here. So let’s discover who would possibly need the MiniFreak and why.

When you’re in any respect aware of the MicroFreak, then you have already got a fairly good concept of what to anticipate right here – simply larger and extra complicated. The oscillators on the MiniFreak are the identical, simply now there are two per voice so your pads generally is a little thicker. And you’ll add some evolution by layering two totally different engines – say for some upfront punch, and a digital analog voice that is available in after.

Similar to its predecessor, the MiniFreak is a digital / analog hybrid synth that mixes digital oscillators with an analog filter and digital results. As strong because the digital analog engine and analog filters are although, it’s not going to idiot nicely skilled ears. You’ll be able to coax some first rate heat and instability out of it, nevertheless it’s decidedly digital. For some, that could be a deal breaker – these individuals are frankly improper and lacking out. However, for those who’re 100-percent satisfied solely analog will do, be at liberty to bail out now.

Arturia MiniFreak

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The multi-engine synth core of the MiniFreak is extremely versatile, masking every thing from primary FM, to Karplus-Robust string modeling, to vocal synthesis and rave-ready superwaves. There are a few notable omissions from the MicroFreak although, that may hopefully make their manner over in a firmware replace. As of now there isn’t any vocoder or customized wavetables obtainable on the MiniFreak.

That being mentioned, it may well course of different devices by connecting them to the audio in jack on the again and feeding that by the in-built filter and results. Plus there’s a wave folder and bitcrusher particularly built-in to the incoming audio “oscillator.” Oscillator two additionally has a handful of distinctive digital filters and results that you need to use to form sounds from oscillator one, together with Destroy, ring modulation, a comb filter and extra. This makes the MiniFreak not only a versatile synth, but in addition a fairly strong results processor. You could possibly simply join a Moog, a guitar, or perhaps a microphone and create completely new textures that weren’t attainable earlier than. You’ll be able to go utterly overboard too, utilizing the bit crusher on the incoming audio, then use the destroy module to bit crush your sign additional, then filling up all three results slots with extra bit crushers!

Arturia MiniFreak

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The digital engine does have its strengths and weaknesses. It may possibly deal with bass and leads simply effective, nevertheless it actually shines on keys, plucks and weirdo sound results. The MicroFreak was a satisfactory pad machine, nevertheless it all the time sounded a bit skinny. By including a second oscillator, the MiniFreak is ready to beef these up and pads change into one among its robust fits. It may possibly get a bit of muddy at decrease frequencies, however generally it sounds nice, particularly in case your tastes err in the direction of chilly and gritty textures.

The brand new digital results part actually helps full the bundle. Whereas the MicroFreak typically sounded a bit of lonely with out some exterior results, its massive sibling is ready to create thick epic atmospheres proper out of the field. There are three impartial impact slots, with 10 results to select from together with a number of reverb varieties, a number of distortion kinds, refrain and compression.

On the whole Arturia performs issues fairly conservative right here, sticking to bread and butter results. You received’t discover loopy pitch shifting delays or tremendous sparkly reverb. However that’s okay. My one want is that there was some type of equal to the lo-fi impact discovered on the Hydrasynth. You’ll be able to create one thing comparable by patching up a random LFO to the refrain and or pitch, and messing with the EQ, however having it as an easy-to-use one cease impact can be nice.

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