Can Arturia’s PolyBrute smash its polysynth competitors?

Six voices, a polyphonic sequencer, Morphee and tons more lie within this beast

After an online leak on Monday (14 September) of Arturia’s mysterious PolyBrute, the music tech community has been eagerly anticipating information on the powerful polysynth. Arturia has unshackled the monophonic chains of its Brute series with this six-voice poly analogue subtractive synth, boasting split and layer capabilities. Naturally, the PolyBrute is very similar to its monophonic sibling, MatrixBrute, albeit sporting a smaller matrix. You’ll also notice an interesting pad next to the keybed, which could add to this Brute’s uniqueness.

Mouth of the Beast

PolyBrute’s six-voices of polyphony can span across the five-octave, velocity-sensitive keyboard, which features channel aftertouch and adjustable curves. Each voice packs in two oscillators, plus a sub-oscillator for VCO2, with features including variable oscillator sync and wavefolding to sculpt waveforms to taste. Poly, mono and unison voice modes are available with selectable voice allocation, to really fine-tune how thick you want your sounds. A multi-colour noise generator can also be deployed for further sonic possibilities.

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The polyphonic sequencer can play up to six notes simultaneously, with sequences of up to 64 steps. You can record and play back up to three modulation tracks and make use of swing, time and division settings for truly intriguing sequences. The Matrix Arpeggiator gives you the freedom to create complex arpeggios, with arpeggios capable of playing up to 32 steps. Steps can be recorded or input via the matrix, with tempo configuration ranging from 30-240bpm.

Modulation monster

PolyBrute’s voices feed into to two independent filters per voice. The Steiner 12dB multimode filter features Arturia’s Brute Factor mode for extra grit, while the Ladder 24dB will give you the classic Moog filter sound with added distortion. These can be used in series, parallel or any blend of the two, with a Master Cutoff allowing you to sweep both of the filters at once. You can also use filter FM for some killer sound design. Three syncable multi-waveform LFOs per voice will unleash your desire to modulate, with a pleasing selection of waveforms. Three loopable ADSR envelopes lending a hand, too, each letting you control the VCA, VCF and all other parameters, respectively.

Arturia PolyBrute

The Morphée certainly seems like an interesting addition to the PolyBrute. You’ll be able to use the pitch and modulation wheels as you would with any other synth, but the Morphée gives you 3D control over your sounds. Arturia haven’t touted this as an MPE pad, but it does feature pressure sensitivity with velocity and aftertouch across X, Y and Z axes simultaneously. This nifty wooden pad is a smart addition – it’s almost as if an Expressive E Touché is built into the synth. The new Morph feature also lets you blend between two patches at once, which the Morphée should help facilitate, too. There’s also a sustain pedal input and two expression pedal inputs for further control.

Brute editing

Along with a bank of effects within the elegant-looking beast, you can also download the PolyBrute Editor to your computer. This offers two-way editing of the parameters and lets you adjust internal settings swiftly, like envelope curves, timbre settings and more. The library will let you organise patches, search by category, export and import, and even share with other users. The Editor can double as a VST plug-in for DAW control of external PolyBrute parameters.

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It’s a lot of features, but Arturia promises it “adds up to a HUGE sound”. It doesn’t come cheap, though, with a price tag of $2,499 / €2,479. Arturia fans have been pining for a polyphonic Brute for a while, though, so no doubt we’ll begin to hear this in upcoming productions. What’re your initial thoughts? Head to our Creator Community to let us know.

Arturia PolyBrute

Find out more at arturia.com 

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