Well, f*** minimalism, apparently.

We’ve seen monophonic/duophonic synths. We’ve seen new analog keyboards. What we haven’t seen is analog keyboards that seemed to be designed when an inventory of pads and knobs exploded – in your face.

And that’s what the new Arturia MatrixBrute is. It looks like a fake Photoshop mockup you’d see on a forum, perhaps. But it’s real. All real. Close your eyes for a second and let your retinas recover, and let’s sort out what is actually even happening here.


Arturia claims in their press release that the MatrixBrute will be “arguably the most powerful analog synthesizer ever created.” It certainly will win the award for some mosts – most knobs, most buttons (in a giant matrix), most ports. (And it should make Matrixsynth happy. No green, though.)

The specs make some sense.

  • Three “Brute” oscillators (saw, pulse, tri) plus sub-oscillator.
  • Steiner-Parker and ladder filters. (12 dB/24 dB per octave slopes.)
  • Three envelope generators (Arturia says they’re “ultra fast.”)
  • 49 keys, with aftertouch, full-sized.
  • Hinged control panel.
  • And the modulation matrix.

The modulation matrix is where things get a bit … hectic. Arturia says the idea is to give you modular “without the painful patching practice.” Instead, all the routings are accessible by a light-up, touch matrix.

In MOD mode, any of 16 modulation sources can go to any of 18 modulation destinations – no patch cords needed. An E-Ink display shows you what’s going on.

As a sequencer, the same matrix lets you create patterns, with STEP, ACCENT, SLIDE, and MODULATION options – sort of monome/Push/Launchpad-style.

In PRESET mode, the matrix simply lets you hit one of 8×8 presets. (Basically, instead of turning a knob.) Okay, of the three, that’s sort of a waste of that giant set of buttons, but it’s there if you want it.

As for the synth itself, it really is apparently 100% analog signal path, with chorus, delay, and flanger analog effects, all route-able from the matrix.


I/O is… also… a lot:

  • 12 CV inputs and outputs (a lot of them).
  • Audio in (line/instrument levels, for processing or adding an external oscillator)
  • Gate in and out
  • Sync in and out
  • MIDI in, out, and thru
  • USB I/O
  • Pedals: two expression, one sustain
  • Stereo jack outputs

There’s also free editor/librarian software.


Price: projected at US$1899.

And we don’t know exactly how it sounds, either. (What, you want a synth to make sounds?)

But it’s coming this spring. I’m meeting with Arturia shortly; let us know if you’ve got questions. (Other than the price question.) More: