Arturia MiniFreak

How does this not have a thread yet? 6-voice polyphony with 6 analog filters. 2 oscillators per voice. Optionally: 12-voice paraphony. 3 digital multi-effects. “Normal” velocity and aftertouch capable keyboard. Capacitive sliders for modulation. Only $600.

Very interesting and affordable machine. Sounds pretty darn interesting.

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Yes. Looks amazing. Unlike microfreak though there is no portability - it requires to be plugged into the wall. Microfreak I can power from USB. Minifreak is also missing some oscillator types, wavetable? And a few other minor things… the CV / Gate / Pressure IO from microfreak is all missing on minifreak.

Is it better? Absolutely - but for the reasons I personally bought a microfreak, (using away from power with the OP-1 Field) the minifreak is less useful. Although I’d still love one, but the fact it’s not better in every single way helps resist the GAS.

The per-key expression on the micro is interesting and rare, some ancient Ensoniq keyboards had polyphonic aftertouch but nothing made today does. I already have many synths with channel aftertouch like minifreak has.

Hydrasynth lineup (even the $599 hydra explorer) has Poly Aftertouch. So does the Waldorf iridium or quantum (can’t remember)

Plus new things are dropping all the time with it, Anyma Omega, Expressive E Osmose

and even existing midi controllers like the CME Xkey Air and the Roli Lumi Keys.

That said, the Microfreak is a killer deal at its current pricepoint and the keyboard itself is totally unique.

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At first glance, it‘s ticking all the boxes :sunglasses:

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I own Microfreak and it’s a very interesting machine. Poly aftertouch on that keyboard is cool, especially combined with with the mod matrix. Definitely worth $300 I paid for it. However, in terms of sound design MiniFreak is significantly more powerful and more complete.

  1. Analog filter per voice. Seems like a trivial thing, but it makes a big difference for polyphonic patches.
  2. Second oscillator that can also be used as a digital filter or bit crusher or FM carrier. Simple, yet powerful.
  3. Three effects. Dearly needed.
  4. Per-voice cycling envelopes. (MicroFreak had only one globally.)

I’ve played it in a store recently. It sounds great and, more importantly, it’s extremely easy to tweak and make new sounds. That latter point is constantly underestimated. Having a powerful synthesis machine that requires tedious fiddling to create anything good is antithetical to the very idea of a modern hardware synthesizer. If you want to have infinite fiddling power, you use a DAW with plugins. Hardware is all about immediacy of control and feedback. Arturia gets is. Really gets it, since some of the improvements over MicroFreak are about more immediate, more accessible UI.

One more note. The keyboard on MicroFreak has the size factor I absolutely hate, but the keys are of extremely high quality.

IMO, it’s by far the best $600 synth on the market right now.