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Arturia MatrixBrute Synthesizer

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Arturia MatrixBrute Synthesizer

Overview by GAK

The MatrixBrute is the analog synthesizer that firmly established Arturia as a force to be reckoned with in the synth world. Whilst Arturia were widely renowned for their stunning software emulations of iconic keyboards, the MatrixBrute’s rich analogue sound and modular-levels of sonic flexibility showed they could craft hardware synths that could compete with the heavy hitters such as Sequential, Moog, Korg & Roland.

Best Of Both

Within the MatrixBrute, you’ve got the best elements of analogue and digital within one truly astounding instrument.

At its heart, the Arturia MatrixBrute is a pure analogue synth with a beautifully organic and harmonically deep sound. There’s no mistaking the sonic pedigree of the MatrixBrute, as its audio signal path is 100% analogue. The digital aspect of the MatrixBrute gives you the convenience of storing up to 256 presets for instant recall (an essential feature for live and studio use) and the option to automate its parameters with your DAW.

Flexible Analog Oscillators

The voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs) are a major highlight of the Arturia MatrixBrute, providing a potent sonic foundation for your patches. The first two oscillators share a similar architecture to the MiniBrute 2 and 2S, offering simultaneous Sawtooth, Pulse & Triangle waves and a Sub that can blend between Sine & Square waves.

Each of the waves features its own waveshaping capabilities, including Ultrasaw (creates a brighter, edgier timbre by adding 2 time-shifted copies), Metalizer (folds & adds harmonics to the Triangle wave) and classic Pulse Width Modulation. A huge array of timbres can be created by blending the various waveforms and experimenting with the waveshaping possibilities.

VCO 1 and VCO 2 use an exponential design that’s found in virtually all renowned vintage synths, which imbues them with a character that can be described as “alive” due to the pitch drift. If things are sound a bit too old-school, you can reign it in using the handy auto-tune routine.

The multi-function VCO 3 presents another level of flexibility, as it can be used as another sound source (with 4 waveforms to choose from) and as an additional LFO that’s capable of audio-rate modulation. The best part is, you can use VCO 3 for massive three oscillator patches and as a modulation source at the same time.

The MatrixBrute’s Audio Mod (or cross-modulation) section is a great way to coax out wild, chaotic textures as well as add subtle movement to your patches. With a twist of a knob, you can use the Noise oscillator to modulate the frequency of VCO 1 or the Steiner filter, use VCO 3 to modulate the filters and more to instantly evoke otherworldly sounds.

Multiple Voice Modes

Arturia’s MatrixBrute is far more than a monosynth (though it excels at thunderous basses, singing leads etc). There’s 3 voice modes at your disposal, monophonic (all the oscillators are triggered when you play a key), paraphonic (splits the oscillators so you can play 3 note chords) and Duo-Split.

Duo-Split is a bi-timbral mode that lets you perform with two totally different sounds across the keyboard by splitting up VCOs and filters. This is particularly useful when used in tandem with the sequencer, as you can play over the top of it with the remaining VCOs.

Dual Filter Design

Arturia have bestowed the MatrixBrute with two fantastic analogue filters - a distinctive Steiner-Parker and a thick Moog-stye Ladder - which can be routed in series or parallel. Both VCFs are multi-mode, with 12dB (2-pole) & 24dB (4-pole) slopes and Low-Pass, Band-Pass & High-Pass curves, Drive (which adds pre-filter saturation) and Arturia’s signature Brute Factor. The Steiner filter also features a Notch curve for SEM-style phase sweeps. At high Resonance settings, the filters will start to self-oscillate and can act as additional sound sources.

Throw in the ability to select whether the VCOs, Noise and External Input are routed through either or both VCFs and it’s clear to see the serious amount of sculpting potential that the MatrixBrute’s filters present.

Embrace The Matrix

What is easily one of the Arturia MatrixBrute’s standout features is its modulation matrix. This extensive mod matrix is a sonic playground that’s akin to a serious modular system or a vintage semi-modular such as the EMS VCS3, ARP 2600 or MS-20.

The way Arturia have designed the MatrixBrute’s mod matrix is highly intuitive, with a visual and hands-on approach that makes creating complex routings a breeze. You can see exactly which one of the 16 destinations (including the 3 envelope generators, 2 LFOs & performance controls) is modulating what and you can dial in a specific amount for each “patch point”.

Make sure you download Firmware 2.0 from Arturia’s MIDI Control Centre. Amongst other significant improvements such as the ability to draw your own LFO shapes, preset compare mode and a more refined sequencer, this update quadruples the MatrixBrute’s custom modulation capabilities. As of 2.0, you can have access to 4 pages of custom mod slots - that’s 12 more than before!

The MatrixBrute’s matrix also gives you instant access to the 256 presets and acts as both a detailed visual reference and a rapid way to edit the sequencer data.

Stereo Analogue Effects

To add spacial depth, width and warmth to your patches, you can invoke the MatrixBrute’s built-in effects. The MatrixBrute offers a selection of true analogue effects, including mono & stereo Delay, stereo Chorus & flanger and Reverb.

Powerful Performance Tools

The MatrixBrute is equipped with a 49-note keyboard, which boasts a smooth, expressive synth-action and is both velocity & aftertouch sensitive. In addition to the traditional Pitch & Mod wheels, the MatrixBrute features 4 assignable macro encoders. These encoders are a huge asset for performance as they allow you to assign multiple parameters to a single knob. Using the macro encoders, you can dramatically alter the sound of a patch with one motion.

The fully-featured arpeggiator and 64-step sequencer are the perfect way to spark inspiration and free up both of your hands to tweak the MatrixBrute’s wealth of controls.

Extensive Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, Arturia have pulled out all the stops with the MatrixBrute. The MatrixBrute is primed to become the centrepiece of your synth rig, with full-size MIDI In, Out & Thru, USB MIDI, 3.5mm Gate I/O and 12 CV inputs/outputs. With such comprehensive CV connectivity onboard, the MatrixBrute can generate exciting results when interfaced with external modular gear.

The MatrixBrute’s Audio Input can be used to process external line/instrument signals through the MatrixBrute’s filters, VCA & effects or introduce an external oscillator from another synth.

Sleek Design

The Arturia MatrixBrute is certainly a synthesizer that looks as good as it sounds, with its gorgeous wooden trim and tiltable knob-laden panel that evokes legendary synths such as the Minimoog - there’s no question that the MatrixBrute is a premium instrument.

Arturia have crafted what we consider to be one of the top analog synthesizers out there with the MatrixBrute. With an intuitive design, inspiring sound and enormous timbral palette, you’ll be constantly finding new things to love about this marvellous synth.

  • Analog Matrix Synthesizer
  • 256 Preset memory locations
  • 2 Analog Exponential VCO’s:
  • Saw + UltraSaw, Square +Pulse width, Triangle + Metalizer, Sub
  • 1 Analog Linear VCO/LFO
  • Saw, Square, Triangle, Sine waveforms; LFO time divisions; Key track
  • VCO 2>1 Hard Sync
  • Audio Mod: VCO1>2 ; VCO1 < VCO3> VCO2 ; VCF 1 < VCO3> VCF 2 ; VCF1 < Noise> VCF2
  • Noise Generator: White ; Pink ; Red ; Blue noise types
  • 5 input Audio Mixer with Filter routing
  • Steiner Parker filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch
  • Ladder filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass
  • 2 LFOs - Sine, Tri, Square, Ramp, Saw, Random, S&H
  • 3 Envelope Generators
  • 2 Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • 1 Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • External Audio In
  • 16x16 Matrix modulation panel
  • 64 step sequencer
  • STEP enable, Slide, Accent, Modulation
  • Save and recall sequence patterns on the fly
  • Analog Effects
  • Stereo delay, Delay, Flanger, Chorus, Analog Reverberator
  • Arpeggiator
  • 12 CV / Gate Inputs/Outputs
  • Audio Input, Line or Instrument level
  • Stereo audio output
  • MIDI and USB I/O
  • Pedal inputs for Expression and Sustain
  • Weight: 22kg, 48.5lbs
  • Dimensions: 860*432*107mm, 33.86*17.01*4.21 inches



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Customer reviews

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  • Babak Rezvani


    What a buy. It’s gana be with me at least for a decade.

  • andrew wilson


    This is one mega synth - absolutely fantastic in every way.

  • Stephen Aldridge


    After reading lots of reviews and watching loads of videos on the internet I finally managed to get to a music shop to try this synth for myself.......I was not disappointed. This synth is destined to become a legend like the Mini Moog or the Arp 2600. It is very hard to put across how much of a game changer this synth is going to be. I brought one! The best recommendation I can give is go and give one a play... I think you won't be disappointed.at the shear awesome power of the MatrixBrute.

  • Graham Cotton


    Only had a few days, but very impressed, so easy to get good results from it

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