French synthesiser wizards Arturia have dropped a new hybrid Paraphonic synth called the MicroFreak, mixing a complex digital oscillator, an analogue filter and creative sequencing.
“Unusual, different, unique, perculiar, exceptional” – all adjectives that have come straight from the horse’s mouth to describe their latest offering in the ever-growing market place for hardware synths. Arturia is really hyping this as a versatile but affordable synth that can achieve a wide variety of sonic characteristics in a compact form factor rich with features. Let’s look at the nitty-gritty.
- expressive etched touch-keyboard (similar to that of a Buchla Music Easel) that promises to offer a fast and natural response with polyphonic aftertouch
- A digital oscillator with a range of complex waveforms and sculpting options. This oscillator also includes additions from the open source Mutable Instruments Plaits code, found on the Eurorack module of the same name.
- Analogue filter inspired by the 12dB Oberhiem SEM filter
- 5×7 Modulation matrix with some user assignable destinations
- Powerful arpeggiator and step sequencer which includes step automation and randomization.
- A variety of connectivity including CV/Gate, Pitch out, Pressure Out, Clock In/Out, USB and of course MIDI in/out
- OLED Display for parameter feedback and navigation.
Arturia certainly seems to be pushing into new territory with the MicroFreak, and this move towards a digital/analogue hybrid differs to their range of fully analogue synths. There appears to be a trend growing toward hybrid synths, with Korg’s new Minilogue XD featuring a digital multi-engine oscillator — is this the beginning of a market shift away from “fully analogue” synths?
The use of oscillators from Mutable Instruments’ Plaits will surely pique the interests of Eurorack modular users too, plus offering CV/Gate functionality, allows it to integrate into an existing Eurorack setup.
Arturia is Distributed in Australia by CMI Music & Audio
Due in Australia April/May 2019