At NAMM 2019, I had chance to check out the MicroFreak Synthesizer from Arturia. What is clear now. It is not a collaboration between Arturia and Mutable Instruments. Nonetheless, an exciting new Synth that is different than all other synth on the market. From my first look, not only the digital oscillator is worth to mention but also the other features: cycling envelope, creative arpeggiator/sequencer and a touch sensitive keyboard.
The latter is very unfamiliar at the beginning but very responsive. It will take some time to befriend the keyboard. Since it can aftertouch polyphonic, here are many options possible that are not available with a classic synth. I can’t say a lot but so far an interesting and refresh concept for a synth.
News From January 24, 2019
For NAMM 2019, Arturia has announced the MicroFreak, a new portable and different looking/sounding hybrid Synthesizer. It features a powerful multi-mode digital oscillator based on the Plaits Eurorack module (7 different modes imported) & 4 brand new, an Oberheim SEM inspired analog filter, a cycling and standard envelope, mod matrix, creative arp & sequencer and a touch responsive keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch.
Highlights are above all the different oscillators which makes a wide range of sounds possible, which is not available with a classical analog Synthesizers. Also the design is very noticeable and looks rather crazy. The price is in my opinion very fair and will arouse the interest of many musicians.
Grenoble-based music technology pioneers Arturia are breaking the mold yet again with the release of their first ever digital hardware Synthesizer. New for NAMM 2019, MicroFreak is a bold, adventurous instrument that will both inspire newcomers with its ease of use and great sound, and also excite experienced players with its unusual, quirky features.
Combining the best of both worlds, MicroFreak includes a multi-mode digital oscillator with an Oberheim SEM inspired analog filter. 7 of the oscillator modes are the result of a collaboration between Arturia and Eurorack legends Mutable Instruments, and let users control the sound of the iconic Plaits module in the comfort of an all-in-one hardware synth. The modes include Superwave, Harmonic Oscillator, Karplus-Strong, Wavetable, Virtual Analog, Waveshaper, FM, Grain, Chords, Speech, and Modal
One of the most striking features of MicroFreak is its innovative PCB keyboard. Despite having no moving parts, it’s pressure sensitive and lightning-fast, and also offers poly-aftertouch. This unique functionality will also let you experiment with polyphonic express-enabled software instruments when MicroFreak is used as a USB-MIDI controller
On top of its exceptional oscillators, filter, and interface, MicroFreak offers some seriously advanced features that other low-cost instruments can only dream of. A multi-point modulation matrix; an unique sequencer-arpeggiator with controlled randomness “Spice” and “Dice” parameters; a cycling envelope; 128 factory presets, and space for 64 user sounds; and a crystal-clear OLED screen. MicroFreak will contain 11 oscillator types at launch, but Arturia have made the unit capable of using new oscillators through official firmware updates in the future.
At $349 / 299€, MicroFreak is both a superb contender for “my first synth”, as well as an intriguing 2nd, 3rd, or 15th synth for the collector or experimental sound designer. MicroFreak is currently in production, and is expected to arrive at retailers worldwide from April 1st, 2019. Arturia promise MicroFreak isn’t an April Fool’s joke!
More information here: Arturia