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:


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.

I have to say that the Minifreak is a completely different beast in terms of sound design to the OP-z and OP-1…

I bought one 5 days ago and just cannot stop creating new unique sounds, from classic analog to broken down heavily distorted with multiple LFOs affecting different parameters… Also the effects sound incredible, and there is a large variety of them too!

What I enjoy the most is the immediacy of all the functions having their own permanent knobs which can be controlled on the fly and can be modulated on so many different ways thanks to the multiple lfo/envelopes (the OP-1 and OP-Z only have one).

Feels like the sky is the limit with this synth. At first I was apprehensive spending money on another synth, but having experienced this synth now I understand why I needed one.

I’m currently recording into the OP-1 with it and because of all the powerful FX (long hi-fi reverb + delay + chorus) my new OP-1 creations sound incredibly lush… more hifi and complete than ever. It complements the OP-1 perfectly!

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I like that microfreak (not mini) can be powered by the usb-c port on the OP-1 Field and with my Bluetooth Le midi dongle, sync up quite nicely. Together they are still quite compact and no mains power needed. Minifreak would be stuck at home for me really.

That’s true… a couple of times i wanted to chill on my couch with it but couldn’t. Even the power cable that they provide is very short and fairly low quality! It should at least have used USB-C… Also it should have had CV/Gate output which the micro freak does (??)!

But the sound and the ease with which you can create lush sounds is incredible. Also due to the 6 note polyphony, 2 oscillators and 3 slot fx I couldn’t compare it to the micro freak anymore.

(I’m pretty sure that there are some USB to Barrel plug cable that step up the voltage to match what is required by the minifreak but not sure what the consequences are. maybe they are not safe? or it puts too much strain on the plug/battery?)

step up voltage regulators are very common and safe
the main thing to watch out for is the current your source provides
(eg usb battery)
and the current your device actually consumes
as there is an added current need for stepping up the voltage
roughly equal to the ratio of the difference between voltages
i.e 5v to 12v would be a ratio of 12/5 or 2.4x
taking into account for some inefficiencies of real world application

so if your device consumes 100mA
then your USB battery would need to supply at the least 240mA
as long as your source (or battery) can provide more than enough current necessary
theres really nothing to worry about

most companies do not tell u the actual current draw of the device
rather they tell u the current capacity of the power supply that they provide
which is usually way more than what is actually used


Wow! Thank you. Really appreciate the explanation!

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this!! Can you link me to what dongle and cables you’re using? You’d be a lifesaver dude

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There are a few things to watch out for. I’ve made a little video showing what works, enjoy :slight_smile: