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MatrixBrute thoughts after long use?
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Author MatrixBrute thoughts after long use?
submute
i am wondering if anyone can give me honest opinions on this after having used it for a long time. A lot of the demos you see on the tube, etc, tend to gush, etc, and I find people on this forum more willing to give you honest thoughts.

Some questions: 1) has it felt limited relative to its price tag and size given that it's still just a monosynth? 2) are the modulation options in the matrix truly compelling and various, or does it feel gimmicky? 3) onboard FX decent or do they pale in comparison to pedals, etc? 4) can the keyboard be used as MIDI controller for other gear? 5) would you buy it again?

Thanks.
GuyaGuy
1. No it has one of the most robust mono engines and can get Moog-ish sounds to Buchla-ish sounds—even at the same time if you want
2. Something like the Elektron keys probably gets deeper with modulation options but with a trade off for more screens an less hands-on UI
3. It’s really one effect—bucket brigade. So it’s kind of like a combination of the DMM and Electric Mistress. It’s very much on the lot fi side which I find great but you may not.
4. Yes but I’ve not done it to know how well
5. Sure
1040df
1. No. MB has 3 analog osc and a noise generator (noise osc has a lot going on too!) combined with 2 analog filters (lpf,bpf,hpf and notch -- in serial or parallel) and all the routing and modulation you could want. Very rich sounding tons of tonal shaping options.

2. Nothing really gimmicky about it. It is a well thought-out and engineered synth. I hate to say this but -- a modern classic for sure. Very powerful modulation and everything at your finger tips not buried behind menus or shifting and doubling of buttons/knobs. A lot of possibilities. More than enough and much more than the majority of monosynths if we're comparing like for like.

3. Effects are not going to replace your Strymons. But it certainly is nice to have and really what you should consider is the effects can be part of your patches and controlled/modulated. Basically its a cool feature and I'm glad its there, but nothing amazing.

4. Yes totally.

5. Absolutely. The thing is a beast of a synth. Like many synths it has its quirks. Some firmware issues have been lingering since its initial release. Apparently Arturia will release a new update sometime in the near future to address a bunch of things. But overall the machine is brilliant and if you're considering it than I would recommend it for sure.
rean1mator
I'm not going to re-echo the other feedback. One thing tho, the price you can get these both used and new alone is worth it IMO as it really is a great sounding Mono. I'm not sure how close it can get to that deep lowend of a Moog but that is overrated anyways. It sounds fantastic.

I purchased mine brand new for $1500 and see them selling for as low as $1100 on the used market. Bargain.
submute
Where the heck are you seeing new Matrix Brutes for 1500$?
rens
Its far and away my favourite synth, mono or poly, with an incredibly wide tonal palette. It rewards gain staging and exploration.

The built-in effects are ok but an h9 lives permanently on the outs of mine.

The modulation is deep and well thought out.

I dont think its ready to use as a midi controller yet. There is odd behaviour with the sustain pedal which you can read about in various places. We all hope this is fixed in the long awaited firmware upgrade.

There are nits and things that could be better but id buy it again in a heartbeat if something happened to it.
wiperactive
Hope this doesn't come over as verging on being a hijacking of submute's thread (search is currently down etc) but I've heard of the MatrixBrute's "wide tonal palette" from several users now.

Having just got my first taste of the Brute series via a MicroBrute, the thought of how the little one's surprisingly variable pallette might translate to the Matrix has got me re-thinking as I have an MFB Dominion 1 which, while sounding good, doesn't quite have the anticipated wide sonic reach/variability of tone considering its similarly equipped modulation facilities.

I know GuyaGuy also has/had a Dom 1 and would be interested on his or anyone else's experience of how the two stack-up in this respect of comparison.

Hope this is also, in part, relevant to submute's first two questions.
GuyaGuy
submute wrote:
Where the heck are you seeing new Matrix Brutes for 1500$?

Pro Audio Star app
GuyaGuy
wiperactive wrote:
Hope this doesn't come over as verging on being a hijacking of submute's thread (search is currently down etc) but I've heard of the MatrixBrute's "wide tonal palette" from several users now.

Having just got my first taste of the Brute series via a MicroBrute, the thought of how the little one's surprisingly variable pallette might translate to the Matrix has got me re-thinking as I have an MFB Dominion 1 which, while sounding good, doesn't quite have the anticipated wide sonic reach/variability of tone considering its similarly equipped modulation facilities.

I know GuyaGuy also has/had a Dom 1 and would be interested on his or anyone else's experience of how the two stack-up in this respect of comparison.

Hope this is also, in part, relevant to submute's first two questions.


They are kind of similar in that they have multi-mode filters, CV, paraphony, etc. They also both have a 70s vibe. What I like more about the MB is that the modulation is more versatile and the wavefolder, which provides a lot more than standard subtractive sounds and seems overlooked. But the Dom1 has the compact size and filter options going for it and might be a bit more immediate apart from its sequencer.
SteeVtheRipper
I’ll weigh in with my thoughts. I don’t own a MB. I do own a Dom1. The MB was in the running along with the Sub37. The things I liked about the MB were it’s flexibility, the sheer number of hands on controls, the sequencer, the filter flexibility, the drive, the form factor, and the large Keyboard. I was considering it because generally I wanted a very flexible mono with at least duo phonic abilities that could play well with modular. It is all those things. However I just could not get on with the fundamental sound of it. The Dom1 in comparison has far less modulation options, then again most other synths do by comparison. But I just love the raw nature of its tone. Side by side with my model D they’re in the same league. There was a model d next to the MB that I spent a lot of time on and it just wiped the floor with it in raw tone. Granted you don’t often use the raw tone, there’s usually some filtering involved, but I don’t want to be wanting for it when I need it. And I also believe any sound can benefit from a good foundation. I spent hours on the MB and rather than getting lost in it I was trying to find something to fall in love with. I couldn’t. Ymmv. Also they key bed was very cheap and wobbly feeling. My Dom1 is feels nice and tight. Is the MB a great synth? Yes absolutely. It’s really a marvel. But for me it just didn’t grab me enough to pull the trigger. I still consider the Sub37, I love that wooly drive it has. But I think the Dom1 is the right choice for my centerpiece mono. Lots of character, above average modulation and flexibility, 3 note para, quality build, and a great interface for modular. The sequencer isn’t the best but I think purpose built sequencers are more suited for the job anyway and my Digitakt can handle most of the duties. If I could pick features from the MB I’d want in my Dom 1 they would be the wave folding, the flexible noise, and the serial/parallel filter functionality, and a dedicated drive. Aside from that I can get things moving with my modular gear and have more fun doing that.

Now had the Matriarch been out when I was shopping this would be an entirely different post.
wiperactive
Thanks for your response GuyaGuy. Interesting comparisons there SteeVthRipper.

Not living near an outlet/user where I can conveniently try a MB out in person, while online demos are a bit like trying to compare a photo of a person with the real deal, means that it's always a challenge to make a decision without committing to buy. Getting a Microbrute recently highlighted this... in person it sounds a bit more to my liking than the demos would suggest.

A large part of the decision to get a Dom 1 was to replicate as much as possible the broad sweep of the sonics of my classic analogue mono synths but with the benefit of a little extra programming sophistication, expanded interfacing and patch recall/storage for live situations which all the others lack. On 'paper', the MatrixBrute also covers for this.

Maybe a bit silly, but the MB almost seems too visually ostentatious to my sensibilities, especially for live... GuyaGuy how is the matrix panel faring with continuous use?
estin
I am still quite interested in a MB myself. I really like the sound and the used prices of $1300-1400 is tempting. My biggest hangup is that its Arturia and concerns of issues arising that are essentially not repairable down the line. If one popped up locally for a $1000 i'd grab it without hesitation. lol
gentle_attack
These things are awesome. I don't own one, but they blow away something like a Voyager and are significantly less expensive, although like some people are saying, Moog are proven to be for life and Arturia, not a proven track record.

In terms of synthesis though, these things are money.
Rex Coil 7
gentle_attack wrote:
...Moog are proven to be for life and Arturia, not a proven track record...
That's just not true. Moogs break down just like other brands. And Moog is also just as guilty when it comes to poor communication as many other brands.


cool
nectarios
gentle_attack wrote:
Moog are proven to be for life ...

Err, no.
Moog synths go bad. My local synth shop that is also repair, is servicing more Moog synths than any other brand. Granted there are more Moog synths around, but they break alright.
KL1982
submute wrote:
i am wondering if anyone can give me honest opinions on this after having used it for a long time. A lot of the demos you see on the tube, etc, tend to gush


Hi submute. I've personally posted a large volume of Matrixbrute works on YT. Prior to upload, MB videos were (relatively) thin on the ground at that time. Hence the posts.

I've spoken very positively RE the instrument. Whether this is 'gushing' I'm unsure, but credit given where credit is due.

I've also spoken negatively of the instrument, as it has some problems. I'm equally as critical of flaws as I am complementary of good points.



submute wrote:
1) has it felt limited relative to its price tag and size given that it's still just a monosynth?


No. You could pay a lot more for a similar setup in the modular world.


submute wrote:
2) are the modulation options in the matrix truly compelling and various, or does it feel gimmicky?


Perhaps not truly compelling, but certainly very useful/door-opening to sonic possibilities.

The ease of programming modulation parameters is perhaps the most appealing aspect.

After using the MB, many monos can feel limited. And monos with similar modulation capabilities with a user-interface as easily navigable as that on the MB are few and far between.

The MB is probably the most easily navigable synth I have ever used. The matrix certainly isn't a gimmick. Good nod to EMS, and Arturia's design of the three main buttons, allowing the matrix to operate/function on three levels is very, very good design. Well done to the team.



submute wrote:
3) onboard FX decent or do they pale in comparison to pedals, etc?


In short, yes, they pale in comparison to dedicated gear. But they are better than having no effects. The MB is a synth, not an fx unit.

The MB onboard flange isn't going to have the same possibilities as, say, a high-end flange pedal. Which doesn't mean the effects aren't 'good'.

But having fx on a synth is a bonus - especially when the parameters can be modulated. This opens up a new world of possibility.

Here is an example I made of the flange on the MB - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3GNZYcXUU[/video]


Good enough flange to my ears. Comparing it to the world's best flange units is a different matter, though. And probably slightly unfair.

RE weaknesses: the analog reverb is possibly the weakest point of the fx. It feeds back very easily. OK if per-step modulated, but if left running, you can be in the land of feedback after a few seconds.


submute wrote:
4) can the keyboard be used as MIDI controller for other gear?


Yes.



submute wrote:
5) would you buy it again?


This depends. I purchased two, as I like to keep an unopened spare of instruments I believe will have long-term value. So, would I buy a third:

The instrument is a reflection of the company, and vice-versa. Even prior to the release of the MB, and to quote inside synthesis in his review video of the MB (when discussing comments sections on the Arturia website): 'Arturia doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation for support'.

Unfortunately Arturia have taken a very long time for an update to the MB (2 years).

In Arturia's defense, there is no paperwork stating updates have to be delivered within a certain timeframe, therefore no line has been crossed (at the legal level). But there is more to the world than keeping papers in check i.e maintaining good relationships with the community your products serve.

Rather than giving reasons that have the potential to be read as excuses by rather disgruntled purchasers, perhaps the best move on Arturia's behalf would be to apologize for delays and move on (as Moog does with its customers).



Moog have shown with the One that updating bugs and delivering the best product to the purchaser is (and should be) a priority (I returned the One due to problems. I don't see a purchaser's duty to pay a large sum of money to report bugs to a company in order to have the instrument paid for in the first place). Amos, on a livestream, admitted the One had errors. Personally, I think this is poor quality control/compliance checking at Moog - hence I returned the instrument. I'm not paying 7k to bug-test for a company who haven't themselves checked thoroughly enough. If they had, an engineer wouldn't state on air that there are mistakes with an instrument.

But Moog were very quick to act, and have updated since. Therefore, credit where credit is due. Well done to Moog.


Arturia's feeding back to customers with bug fixes has taken slightly longer.


The above, combined with a poor reputation RE support for older units, the recent Mutable Instruments issue - not to mention the Synthi/EMS issue - reinforces the 'less than stellar reputation' mentioned by inside synthesis (in Arturia's defense, they tidied up the Mutable issue quickly).

The danger for a brand is: if customers (potential or repeat) lose faith/confidence in the brand, investors will potentially walk when they sense danger, and the company can/often does fall.

If this happened to Arturia (which I hope it doesn't), the result = no updates/support for the Matrixbrute. Purchasing an instrument with no support would be problematic. But - given it has been 2 years since an update for the MB, the situation feels no different. Thankfully Arturia have said they are delivering an update this spring. I trust they will follow through with this.


Would I buy again? That depends on Arturia as a company. When inside synthesis mentioned customer support etc on his review video, I had hoped Arturia would have taken note. Perhaps they did, and the foot has since been taken off the gas slightly. If so, please put the foot back on, and listen to customers who want to see your brand succeed/become an integral part of the synth world. I certainly want to see it succeed.


The synth itself is fantastic. Or at least will be once the flaws are ironed out with bug fixes (e.g clock accuracy etc).

I've said to Arturia that I'd pay for updates (as they are extras above & beyond what I purchased) - but I won't pay or expect to wait for fixes to have the synth I paid for in the first place.


The Matrixbrute is a stunning instrument. Arturia simply need to listen to their customers.

And this issue shouldn't arise every few years.
GuyaGuy
wiperactive wrote:
Thanks for your response GuyaGuy. Interesting comparisons there SteeVthRipper.

Not living near an outlet/user where I can conveniently try a MB out in person, while online demos are a bit like trying to compare a photo of a person with the real deal, means that it's always a challenge to make a decision without committing to buy. Getting a Microbrute recently highlighted this... in person it sounds a bit more to my liking than the demos would suggest.

A large part of the decision to get a Dom 1 was to replicate as much as possible the broad sweep of the sonics of my classic analogue mono synths but with the benefit of a little extra programming sophistication, expanded interfacing and patch recall/storage for live situations which all the others lack. On 'paper', the MatrixBrute also covers for this.

Maybe a bit silly, but the MB almost seems too visually ostentatious to my sensibilities, especially for live... GuyaGuy how is the matrix panel faring with continuous use?

It’s hold up well and is straightforward to use...but I only use it in the studio, not live. If you’re a live improviser the matrix may be a bit fiddly compared to the grab-the-knob approach on the Dom1. But it allows for more flexibility—like routing the same LFO to multiple destinations in positive or negative amounts—so it’s a trade off.
submute
Thank you KL1982, tremendous response.
gentle_attack
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
gentle_attack wrote:
...Moog are proven to be for life and Arturia, not a proven track record...
That's just not true. Moogs break down just like other brands. And Moog is also just as guilty when it comes to poor communication as many other brands.


cool


nectarios wrote:
gentle_attack wrote:
Moog are proven to be for life ...

Err, no.
Moog synths go bad. My local synth shop that is also repair, is servicing more Moog synths than any other brand. Granted there are more Moog synths around, but they break alright.


So if they are in the shop that means they are able to be serviced and put back into duty. Nothing "never breaks" ever... What I meant was they are serviceable and worth getting work done on.

I did not mean Moogs never have problems, that is definitely not true in the slightest.
tdutz
Quote:
1) has it felt limited relative to its price tag and size given that it's still just a monosynth?


Not limited at all. Very deep synth.

Quote:
2) are the modulation options in the matrix truly compelling and various, or does it feel gimmicky?


The mod matrix is fantastic and four destinations are assignable so it doesn't feel limited.

Quote:
3) onboard FX decent or do they pale in comparison to pedals, etc?


They're lo-fi analog, yes. I happen to love them for that since high fi effects are readily abundant in pedal format or software. The reverb doesn't sound like reverb per se but adds character and flavor of a different type to certain presets. Other presets it sounds awful on. Usually I can find settings on one of the effects that adds a desirable layer to almost every preset. And modulating the wet/dry is awesome.

Quote:

4) can the keyboard be used as MIDI controller for other gear?


Yes.

Quote:
5) would you buy it again?


Yes.
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