GAK REVIEW: Arturia MatrixBrute Analog Monophonic Synthesizer

The Arturia MatrixBrute is an overwhelming synth, thanks in part to its four-octave keyboard, and it’s control panel which cascades with knobs, buttons and faders. In fact, the MatrixBrute looks and feels much like a small Waldorf Wave, not surprising since they are built by the same designer.

The MatrixBrute is arguably the most powerful analogue monophonic synthesiser ever! As flexible as a modular system but offering presets, MatrixBrute is a dream machine for everyone interested in creating a sound palette of their own.

Offering an audio signal path that is is 100% analogue, MatrixBrute also features true analogue & digital effects. The MatrixBrute gives you the sonic quality and power of a vast modular synthesiser but with the flexibility of presets along with a great arpeggiator and an advanced sequencer.

Although Arturia describes this as an “Analogue Matrix Synthesiser”, the MatrixBrute is a hybrid of digital and analogue signals, meaning that its signal path is analogue, but some of the effects are digital. In the past, hybrid synths have suffered from an effect known as ‘zipper noise’ when quantize parameters were swept across their full ranges. Fortunately, this is now not the case. The MatrixBrute’s 12-bit encoders offer 4000+ values lying between a knob’s clockwise and anti-clockwise face, and its 14-bit control signals translate to more than 16,000 values lying between 0V and 5V. This ensures that everything sounds analogue and smooth.

So, should we be excited? We definitely should. If you want simplicity and automatic gratification, this may not be the synth for you, but we’re still thinking of new ways to create complex modular signals that we can send to synths while playing the MatrixBrute, and we haven’t finished experimenting! Is the MatrixBrute a stand-alone instrument, something to place at the centre of a modular synth setup, or a MIDI controller that can add analogue spice in an otherwise digital studio? In truth, it’s all of these things and more, and I think that it will take some time to discover all of the possible ways in which it can be used.

Is the MatrixBrute a stand-alone instrument and something to place in a digital studio? In truth yes, it has so much to offer the player, both analogue and digitally.