BUYING MY SOUNDBANK / PATCHES:
Via Paypal: Please
€ 24,00 (Euro) to this paypal address: [wcologarb at tlen.pl]
writing "matrixbrute sounds" and your email in the title.
I will send the presets after I get notified about your payment. You will receive all the sounds
from my video plus extra sounds that are not
included in the demos (114 sounds + their variations = 128 sounds in total).
Via credit card: Send me an email letting me
know you'd like to have your card charged - I will send you a payment request
and it will be processed by my Paypal (you don't have to own a Paypal account,
your card is enough).
All my patches come under the name "WCOG"
in a "mbprojz" format - a library that can be imported into your Matrixbrute via Arturia MCC software
(standard procedure from the user's manual).
I did not use
any external FX in the demo
like delays, reverbs, flangers:
all of the FX in the demo
are part of the
matrixbrute engine / mod matrix.
However, I used some EQ-ing.
I knew Arturia almost since inception because back
in the day I dabbled in VSTi and I used their good-sounding
emulations of Moogs and ARPs. When they released their first hardware synth, the
Minibrute, I was instantly turned off. The mini size, the lack of memory and the
"brutal" (stiff) sound was everything I hated. Following suit, I was extremely reluctant to buy the Matrixbrute
because it sounded horribly metallic in all the demos I had seen. Also,
the perspective of hauling around a 20 kg instrument did not excite me either. But fate had it that I was sitting idle for two weeks and
I was going
numb. I finished
my work on Argon-8. The Cobalt-8 was seven weeks away from arrival on shop shelves, the Opsix was scheduled to arrive
in 5 weeks. The same with Polybrute. The Sequential Pro-3 I had bought turned out to be faulty and needed
to be returned. And then, one day someone placed an ad with the Matrixbrute so I
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SYNTH?
Let me start in my traditional way: negativity first. What the heck is
this e-ink display? I hear people complain it cannot be seen in the dark.
I have a different complaint:
this display flashes / gets refreshed each time I change a preset, or manipulate
the mod matrix assignments, or change pages in the mod matrix. It takes full 2 seconds and it drives me mad. Next:
what is the idea behind this random assignment of the voices in paraphonic mode?
Some people will love it for "unpredictable & fun results". I
myself get a headache from it and prefer the Pro 3 / Sub 37 behavior. And please somebody tell me: how am I supposed to record the sequence in real time if there is no metronome?
Hmm... what else...
WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THIS SYNTH?
Honestly I don't think there's anything else. I mean, it's
kind of embarsassing to try to find such trivial problems in this case. Because
causes a jaw-drop after no more than 1 day spent with it, and I will happily turn a blind eye to these two or three
drawbacks. This synth really sounds like it's coming from the 1970's. Well, maybe not
as good as an RSF Polykobol;) and not as bright & bouncy as ARPs. OK, let
As I have said, the Matrixbrute sounded fantastic
since day one. But when I recorded all the material and started to listen to it
in my editing suite, then played some other synths, and then came back again to
the Matrixbrute, I noticed that the sounds need some EQing. The
Matrixbrute is not
as bright as ARPs or Moogs, and for this reason some people may call it nasaly / muffled
and simply "not sounding like the old analogs at all". This might be
very true. The Matrixbrute spectrum will either seem lacking or excessive in some areas,
depending on how you look at it and what you compare it to. ARPs, Moogs and DSI / Sequentials will sound more "classy"
and "synthetic" (metallic, but in a good way), whereas the MB will resemble the sound of claves or woodblock
running through a tube amp and / or sponge.
The way I look at it is that claves or woodblock are instruments made of
wood, and compared to a Moog they sound muffled or hollow, nonetheless they sound natural!
Moreover, I'm a fan of everything gnarly,
dirty, organic, wonky & unstable (because I want music to sound that way too).
And the Matrixbrute timbre is all of that. It's almost acoustic - it reminds me
of the way the soviet Polivoks behaved. It's the most alive timbre I've heard in a decade, and
for me that one characteristic places the Matrixbrute
among the best modern synths. Simple & unsophisticated patches
played on the Matrixbrute bring smile to my face, so imagine the joy and excitement
once we dare to go
deeper. Each sound I tweak builds a feedback loop in my creativity and
jump-starts my imagination (or the other way round).
I have several ideas at once as to where and how I
could use these sounds. This synth plays like violin, or guitar; there is no
barrier and I feel an
instantaneous connection. The main thing, and practically
speaking the only thing you have to bear in mind, is that it makes a
big difference how you use the filters (serial / parallel - and which oscillator
goes to which filter) and how you set up
the pre-filter oscillator volume levels (saturation). This way you can make the
MB more dirty or less dirty;P
Well, actually there's one more stage to pay
attention to - the FX. At the beginning I though there must be something wrong with the
I was struck with how different they sounded to all the other synths. They
sounded muddy & screechy to me (and still can, if used in excess). But once I tamed them, the synth blended perfectly with any
Italo disco, Dominique Guiot or Nine Inch Nails song played in the background. I
mean it. There's no need to perform any of the various production tricks like degrading or
animating the sound. It's here and it's ready. I remember the noises I made with
a vintage transistor tape delay called Echolana, and the Matrixbrute
sounds exactly like a "real" tape delay. The reverb sounds like spring reverb,
and the flanger sounds like... a vintage flanger. I don't know
how Arturia did that. And the fact that the effects can be modulated by
everything and in every possible way doubles the sonic palette of
the instrument. Remember about it when someone tells you that it is just "yet
another analog mono". But yeah, hearing other synths for comparison, I can understand
perfectly well why some people dislike the MB.
If you are used to smooth driving in a Lexus, getting into a 1983 Land Rover Defender
might cause some bruises & broken bones. Matrixbrute is a wild animal. Sometimes it even sounds like a 19-th century bellows organ... I like
such decayed & dynamic sounds, but others may call them cheesy or unprofessional,
and the sudden outbursts of reverb feedback or other "brute" landmines of this
synth may cause the faint-hearted to pull their hair out.
There are some technical nuances that may cause
doubts in prospective buyers' minds, like the fact that the Matrixbrute does not
have loopable envelopes or several animation lanes in the sequencer, but believe me - if you
click with this synth, you won't need that. The distinct sound and the multitude
of knobs are enough for unending fun and creativity.
There's not much to tell about the user interface
because in 95% it really is a "no menu diving" synth. Only the
sequencer demands a little bit more attention from the user - even though it's
the best & easiest sequencer layout I've ever seen.
You have to read the manual to learn some three or four button combinations.
But apart from that, the Matrixbrute really is a "what you see is what you get"
synth. The panel looks like the one of an
aeroplane - intimidating. And that's good! Because ironically (or contrary
to intuition) synths which are intimidating are the ones proving easy to use,
while the nice & sleek synths often have things buried underneath the
surface and prove to be a pain and a
hindrance to your music making process. The MB keyboard feels a little cheap and
wobbly, but as long as it's not a Russian keybed, I'm always ok with them.
Let me just point out one thing - If this synth came to me with the original operating
system, I would probably be much less satisfied with the user experience. I'm
mainly speaking about the sequencer control. But firmware 2.0 added the
possibility to shuffle, duplicate & delete sections of the sequence and now it's
a breeze. Your creativity does not get thwarted by any over-burdening clickology. The
only thing that I would suggest for a future update is to find a way for the
LFOs and Delays to show the values on one of the screens. Right now
it's guesswork - you have to judge by the position of the knobs or just by using
So, the Matrixbrute does not have any
timbre-expanding digital waves like the
Pro-3. Its modulation matrix is also not as deep as the Pro-3's matrix and it
comes with fewer FX. It does not have an ordered, predictable paraphony like the SUB-37 or its
loopable envelopes. But the fact that it's an intricate device with a sound that has this immediate, "alive" or "acoustic"
quality to it, and the fact that it's a no-menu-diving interface makes it a
one-of-a-kind musical instrument. The sonic palette is somewhat "samey" due to the often "fuzzy
/ woody / spongey"
nature of the sound, but you must not forget that it's an ultra-instant-gratification
interface that seems to be the only interface of that kind anybody has ever put on a modern
synth. I look at it as an exceptional (or experimental) device that will bring love, hate, indifference
indecisiveness, depending on who uses it and how they use it; love - for the
reasons I personally described above; hate - for the woody, noisy sound;
indifference - because some folks just won't click with it or won't be impressed
with its specs; indecisiveness - because people will manage to dial in 60% or
80% of sounds, but won't be able to take full control over the synth and make
all the sounds they expected. I just wish the Matrixbrute was a little bit lighter, because
I'm worried for my backbone; once I put it in place, I'm not
very eager to move it around. I've seen a hard case for it, but I can't imagine
anybody but Arnold being able to carry it with the MB inside. That's just
Matrixbrute vs PRO-3 vs SUB-37:
Final recap & advice: if you don't like the sound,
even the most wonderful interface won't help. If you need the aforementioned
brightness, smoothness or lucidity and
stability of the sound - or what I call the "pro" sound - then I recommend a Moog SUB-37
or a DSI / Sequential Pro-3 (or their cheap clones). It's a considerably different
universe with a different set of laws. I personally find the warm, fleshy Matrixbrute
most inspiring and musical for on-the-fly composing. But here's how I see this trio objectively:
- Matrixbrute: most accessible & easy to
tweak; most warm, organic & dirty sounding, but limited in
- Pro-3: most powerful; sometimes organic (provided you push it in this direction), but more cultured & predictable; more timbre variety due
to digital wave oscillator and better mod matrix; quite a number of features hidden in menus, plus horribly stiff knobs that
take away the joy of tweaking;
- Sub / Subsequent-37: neither warm nor organic, but the cleanest & smoothest of
all, giving you a pretty wide set of
patches within the classic Moog sound area, some features hidden,
especially the sequencer (full access via Moog software);