Arturia MicroFreak

$299 Experimental Hybrid Synth

This is interesting. To me, this would be much more fun than your average $299 Behringer clone. Great to see Arturia develop something new and fresh at clone prices.

First, think I’ll note the general consensus is the unusual keyboard is better than one might expect, even faster than a standard one, with velocity and aftertouch. The space between keys is elevated slightly, so you do feel key distinctions. It’s also worth noting the touch strip can be used as a pitch bender, or to control the amount of “Spice” and “Dice” in your sequences.

Next, unlike the Arturia *Brute synths, which were fully analog, the MicroFreak is hybrid digital/analog design. Up to 4 voices paraphonic with digital oscillators. There are 12 types of oscillators to pick from, more could be released later in a firmware update. The state variable filter is analog (low, band, high – 12db, based on Oberheim SEM) .

The Oscillator types (Arturia 1-5, Mutable Instruments Plaits 6-12) are very cool.

  1. Superwave – Precisely detuned saw, square, sine, or triangle waves let you create the fattest synth sounds around. Perfect for Trance and lush dreamy pads.
  2. Harmo – Synthesize your sound from 32 sine waves by modulating their volume. The clue is in the name, it creates harmonically rich, vibrant sounds which can be shaped with the filter.
  3. Karplus Strong – A much-loved synth method using physical modelling to recreate the sound of string instruments, from soft pizzicato to screeching, zingy chords.
  4. Wavetable – Scan through waveform snapshots to find new, unusual, and evolving sounds. It contains 16 wavetables to explore, with room for more in the future.
  5. BasicWaves – This oscillator emulates two basic waveforms: the square and the sawtooth. A square wave contains only odd harmonics, and a sawtooth only even harmonics, both having their own unique character.
  6. Virtual Analog – Virtual analog, recreating traditional synth methods digitally for a mix of classic and cutting-edge tones.
  7. Waveshaper – A triangular wave, processed by waveshaping and wavefolding creating squelchy, aggressive, and often metallic tones.
  8. Two Operator FM – A simple but powerful twin-operator FM oscillator, with two sine waves modulated each other’s phase to create sharp, acidic tones.
  9. Formant – A percussive, granular synthesis engine that is great for adding huge texture and body to sequenced rhythms.
  10. Chords – A paraphonic synth engine that triggers duplicates at set intervals, creating defined, static chords with one key, perfect for trance-inspired melodies.
  11. Speech – An engine that creates vowel, formant, and simple word sounds. Automate with the mod matrix, and hear MicroFreak come alive!
  12. Modal – Recreates the unique inharmonic vibrations and resonance of a hollow structure. Perfect for adding texture, or bizarre overtones to your music.

The MicroFreak has a very user friendly modulation matrix, LFO, Envelope Generator, Arpeggiator, and a 64 step Sequencer.

It’s only 2.5 lbs and it can be USB powered, perfect for portability.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.arturia.com/products/hardware-synths/microfreak/overview

Product support, downloads
https://www.arturia.com/support
https://www.arturia.com/products/hardware-synths/microfreak/resources
Strongly recommended that you download the newest OS, unless you hate bug fixes, stability and new features.

Facebook user groups

Arturia MicroFreak
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArturiaMicroFreak

Videos

(Uptown Oscillators) UO Arturia MicroFreak YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Be sure to join the Uptown Oscillators Facebook Group!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/UptownOscillators

This page is a living document, subject to update and expansion. Last edited – 5/12/2019
If you have any content you think should be added, or would like to help author gear pages/posts, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook group.

Manufacturer Specifications: click to open/close or jump to comments

Main Features

  • Synthesizer with 256 preset slots and 160 factory presets
  • 12 Digital oscillators with variable modes, with integrated open source Plaits engine created by Mutable Instruments
  • Analog State Variable Filter, 12dB/octave, resonant, Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass
  • ADSR envelope
  • Cycling Envelope offering two modes
    • Envelope
    • LFO
  • LFO with Sync: Sine, Tri, Saw, Square, Random, Slew Random
  • Modulation matrix with 5 sources and 7 destinations (3 custom destinations)
  • Monophonic or Paraphonic modes – Up to 4 voices
  • 25-key capacitive keybed with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Capacitive touch strip
  • Crisp OLED display for editing and parameter values
  • Powerful arpeggiator
    • Up, Order, Random, Pattern modes
    • Spice & Dice Gate randomizers
  • 64-step sequencer
    • 2 patterns per preset
    • 4 automation tracks per preset
  • CV / Gate / Mod outputs
  • USB, Clock and MIDI in and out
  • 6.35mm master and 3.5mm headphone output