GAK REVIEW: Arturia MatrixBrute Analog Monophonic Synthesiser

Arturia MatrixBrute Analog Monophonic Synthesiser

Arturia has come a long long way since they were first founded around the turn of the century. It was a different world back then, and at the time their superb VST emulations of classic synthesisers were revolutionary. The attention to detail they imparted to these plug-ins changed the game for the ‘in-the-box’ producer and moreover brought the sound of some of the greatest electronic instruments of all time within reach of those that did not have the means to finance and maintain a large collection of increasingly rare and expensive classic analogue synthesisers. Simply put; truly powerful synthesis made available for the people. For some, their move into hardware synthesis was a bit of a surprise, and in its first iteration with the ambitious all digital ‘modular’ ORIGIN synthesiser, the learning curve for the Gallic pioneers was a steep one.

Their next move into affordable analogue hardware, however, has seen the company go from strength to strength, and has brought powerful and creative instruments once again, into the reach of the masses. The success of the Minibrute and Microbrute has set Arturia on an upward trajectory that seems to have no plateau. A range of superb hardware and software combinations, a fleet of affordable and useable analogue, digital, and hybrid products, CV controllers, sequencers and so on, Arturia are truly ploughing there own furrow in the modern electronic instrument world. Integrating fluidly with the modular massive and the in-the-box musician with aplomb. All while the still remaining a vanguard of VST excellence. They certainly seem to ‘play well with others’ on every platform while creating new and interesting platforms of their own.
Finally conquering that initially very steep mountain, it seemed like time again for Arturia to take a change of piste; a ‘Black Run’ if you will. It was time to try something big again.
Enter the MATRIXBRUTE. Since its announcement and eventual launch last year the MATRIXBRUTE has raised as many eyebrows as it has caused waves in the synth world. A company known for making accessible 300 Euro synthesisers came to market with a very large, very powerful, and very high-quality synth with a big footprint and a price tag to match. They really did bring it to the ‘big boys’ this time and moreover, they have really held their own.
At first glance, the MATRIXBRUTE can seem intimidating, but it is quite the gentle giant once you get used to it and is not nearly as complex as it at first may seem. Arturia has clearly looked both backwards and forwards for inspiration here and their time spent in research and in experience clearly has not been wasted. Centre stage is the 256 multicoloured push-button matrix. Reminiscent of the pin grids found on the legendary EMS VCS3 and the Maplin 5600s. this impressive centrepiece performs three functions. Firstly, and most simply a preset selection, as well as the wonderfully intuitive and incredibly usable modulation matrix. Last but by no means least is the flexible and intuitive built-in sequencer. Many have commented that if you chose to disregard MATRIXBRUTE’s gorgeous oscillator and filter combination the functionality of this MATRIX system paired with its comprehensive CV connectivity is worth the ticket price alone.
Sonically MATRIXBRUTE is more than a match for other synths at this price point. Arturia has taken a lot of care with great success to match if not best competitive instruments, and in cases where sonic fortitude is arguable, the flexibility imparted to it by its vast connectivity and functionality make it a real title contender in this ‘heavyweight’ division. Arturia really do have a great deal to be proud of here. Every aspect of this product from its fidelity to build oozes quality. It was a challenging and sometimes rocky ride for them to get to this peak but now their flag truly does flies high and proud. Given the smorgasbord Arturia is currently offering, we simply cannot wait to see what is coming next on the menu.