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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > July 2019 > ARTURIA MicroFreak £265

ARTURIA MicroFreak £265

Great things come in small packages and that’s where Arturia aims to help you get your freak on! Time to shrink down to micro proportions…

When it comes to new and exciting ways to package hardware synthesisers, Arturia has been on something of a mission for the last few years. Whether it be the petite Brute series, or the colossal MatrixBrute, the company has certainly been pushing the envelope to offer both affordable and desirable machines. Arturia’s latest little wonder packages familiar and existing technology into an altogether different casing, and at a price which – in synth terms at least – won’t break the bank.

The MicroFreak weighs in at a kilo and is just over 300mm wide and part of the reason for its diminutive size could be because of its largely digital makeup. While some people might run a mile at the sight of the ‘D’ word, digital oscillators have an unbelievable amount to offer and the MicroFreak boasts 11 oscillator modes.

The other weight-limiting factor is the lack of a regular keybed, which is something of a point of reverence to the West Coast synthesis ideals of Don Buchla. He never liked calling his machines ‘synthesisers’, as it conjured up an image of a synthetic world which made him uncomfortable. He is largely credited as being one of the pioneers for control of synths through capacitive technology, which would often not take the form of a regular musical keyboard. These keybeds are something of a Marmite flavour; conventional keyboard players are likely to struggle with the lack of movement offered, as fingers hit the hard capacitive surface.

Another nod to the West Coast ideal is that the capacitive nature of the keybed offers polyphonic aftertouch. It’s also fully equipped with MIDI I/O (via breakout cables) and MIDI over USB, so if you struggle with the nature of the keybed, it’s going to be simple enough to plug the MicroFreak into a DAW or larger keyboard. Interestingly, it is also equipped with a CV/Gate Output, allowing for easy connection to Eurorack.

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