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Microbrute, the first Eurorack module everybody should buy?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Microbrute, the first Eurorack module everybody should buy?

Ish

The title is a bit of a jest, however in many respects it holds true for me: when deciding to get back into hardware, I chose to purchase a microbrute specifically due to the patch panel and 1v/oct standard.

However, I've been at this too long to imagine anything would go as smoothly as it appears on paper. I imagined that, for $200, the microbrute would offer me an additional LFO, ENV, Filter, sh-101 styled sequencer and Midi -> CV functionality for a time (not to mention a pseudo Pressure Points gate for when I replace it as a midi converter).

Question: Is there any "catch" I should be aware of, however? I doubt I'm the first person to approach this, are there any limitations of this machine I should be aware of? Are the gates not a high enough voltage to trigger some well known modules, or anything like that?

I ask merely to help plan what utility modules I might be lacking in my current Eurorack design. For example, I've read a buffered multi is necessary due to the Microbrute's voltage being a bit on the low side. However, I thought buffered multis only maintained the same voltage out as in -- can they multiply the voltage?

(p.s. I did search, but questions like the above are why I started a new thread opposed to bumping an old one).

Extra Credit: One curiosity I have regards using the filter of the Minibrute for the Eurorack --> can one set the Minibrute so the audio coming into the box passes continuously through the unit (so no key need be depressed) but still trigger the ENV via gate in (i.e. can you use the filter while maintain an independent ENV signal for other routing purposes)?


Convulser

I don't have answers for everything as I am relatively new to modulars myself, but the only thing I'm aware of with the microbrute is that the osc doesn't run at modular audio levels. That means to use the osc in your modular you have to have something which boosts it to the modular's audio level.

I haven't used the microbrute's variety of features with my modular much, other than pitch cv, gates, and the sequencer. I have other midi/cv modules, but I generally send my midi into the modular through the microbrute as well. The synth itself isn't half bad either as it is a distinctive voice on its own.


Flohr

A microbrute was my "first module". I love mine and I would definitely recommend it to someone just starting out however there are some issues:

On mine at least:

-Gate won't trigger more than one thing without a buffered mult.
-LFO won't clock Maths unless I boost it with Invy first
-Pitch CV is like 2 octaves above where it should be so I have to detune my oscillators. This means that I can't really use the Brute an oscillator that lacks a coarse tune (Disting in my case)
-Audio input clips easily. When running external signals through the Brute I have needed an additional attenuator or volume control of the output of whatever I am inputting in order to gain stage properly.

That's about all I can complain about. Envelope out is great. Love those sliders. Sequencer is limited but intuitive and fun. I really like the sound of the Brute's own voice, and I think it makes a nice controller too.


Opus110

Yes, voltage for triggers is on the low side. I remember having to help it a little with extra voltage in order to trigger Maths. I think I put it through channel 2 or 3 of MAths, or maybe through TriAtt, I can't remember.

Filter's good, but with the quality and diversity of sequencers available in eurorack these days, I felt the Microbrute's sequencer didn't bring much to the table, which is part of the reason I got rid of mine.

I don't think you can use the filter independently, but then, don't have one any more to try it...


tibbon

Similar but different; I started off my modular with my Moog Voyager, which made it so I could start really small (just a clock divider) and go from there. I think starting with a highly patchable monosynth is a great idea!

(I still use my Voyager, as its pretty much the best controller ever given how many CV out capabilities it has)


Flohr

Also to answer your question about the filter, Ish

No. The filter can't be used seperately. You can keep it open by patching gate out to gate in (like a Hold) but then you can't use the gate or encelope for something else.


estin

microbrute plays well with eurorack for me. I started off adding a cell 48 case with another oscillator, mix/mult, LFO2, and ENV modules. I do use the mixmult as attenuator before the audio in on the brute. The gate triggers the ENV just fine and everything plays nice together. I have since filled that little case and on the hunt for a new case. Prepare to spend for MOAR screaming goo yo


Dogma

Really the A4 is the king in this area as you can use ALL of its LFOs, filters (its a stereo filter and a damn fine one too) great effects that can all be routed and a 5 track 64 step sequencer with slides and all this other wonderstuff. And its gonna be totally controllable via Overbridge so massive win. Id grab one of the many in BST and be amazed.


thelizard

Convulser wrote:
I don't have answers for everything as I am relatively new to modulars myself, but the only thing I'm aware of with the microbrute is that the osc doesn't run at modular audio levels. That means to use the osc in your modular you have to have something which boosts it to the modular's audio level.


I'm selling an SSF GND CTRL here:
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=131106

It has presets for amplifying or attenuating external signals, and is a great option for something like that.


milkyjoe

hows the keyboard feel?


Ish

Opus110 wrote:

Filter's good, but with the quality and diversity of sequencers available in eurorack these days, I felt the Microbrute's sequencer didn't bring much to the table, which is part of the reason I got rid of mine.


Yeah, I plan to have both Rene and μstep in my initial set-up, at least. The Microbrute's sequencer would likely not be used for note data.

Flohr wrote:
Also to answer your question about the filter, Ish

No. The filter can't be used seperately. You can keep it open by patching gate out to gate in (like a Hold) but then you can't use the gate or encelope for something else.


Really? I thought I had read .. well.. let me quote from a source:

Keyboard Magazine wrote:

While it’s [ENV is] wired into the VCA for the usual amp processes, there’s also a switch that puts the VCA into gate mode, so that you can apply the envelope to other destinations without affecting the volume dynamics of your sound.


So, you can't set the synth into a gate mode, freeing the ENV to freely be assigned to other duties while still passing an external sound through the filters? Too bad.


Blairio

I find the Microbrute a very useful tool for demo-ing different sequences and patches before setting them up on my Eurorack rig. The Microbrute's keyboard is fine for that kind of date entry task. The palette of sounds from the Microbrute's VCO is also different from what I can get in my Eurorack VCO's.

Mostly though, I tend to have my Microbrute hooked up to my Dark Energy mk1. The two make a great dual VCO mono synth together, and it is easy for each to borrow the other's LFO, ADSR etc. The only fly in the ointment is the point noted earlier in the thread by Flohr: the Microbrute's pitch output is 2 octaves higher than expected. To fix this I introduce an offset (via a Beast's Chalkboard) between the Microbrute and DE if I want the same pitch output from both.


Nofrenchtests

I use my girlfriends all the time with my modular, it has been great at filling holes in my system until I have had the money to feed it more modules. The pitch cv out can be a bit annoying, but I have a Titan oscillator, with a -2 oct switch which basically negates it, although I do like having the chirpy uber-octaves playing as well. My biggest beef with it is that getting the balance between input (to run through the filter) and the brutes audio is ridiculously hard to do. Definitely need to buy one of my own, but it is a great 'first module' to learn on and to add keyboard/midi to cv to your system, nothing else comes close in price.


Flohr

Ish Sure you can switch it into gate mode, but you still have no way of firing the envelope separately. All gate mode does is gate the VCA with a key press or sequence note, instead of the envelope. The envelope still triggers on each gate, but it doesn't effect volume. The purpose is for instance if you want a really slow attack swell on the filter, but you want the amplitude to have a short attack. It's sort of a work around for not having 2 ENVs. It doesn't allow you to use the different features of the Microbrute like separate modules.


AAG

I almost never use mine with my modular anymore. As a controller the keyboard (both size and range) leaves something to be desired, and I now have the LFOs and envelopes I need in my system.

I find that the Brute has too many quirks to really be the centerpiece of a small modular setup. It doesn't really seem to follow the lose standards of the format, and I find the audio input a bit tricky.

However, I use it all the time on its own. I really like the sound of it. I recently made a demo with only the brute:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/181665956" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_use r=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

To summarize: It still could be hooked up to my modular if I needed, but as a standalone it kicks ass.


Jaromir

I realy like mine. I never use the synth voice in it but the midi -> cv, envelope, sequencer and lfo are nice.


erstlaub

One of the reasons I barely use mine in my setup is that it is a gigantic pain trying rto getting it to play nice and sync with my euro stuff.

I find that I need to hook up a computer to change the sync mode and then of course it won't run as a standalone device. The way it uses the gate / trig in seems kinda shonky too and ive found it as difficult going the other way.

The output from the trig out is fairly useless but the envelope out patch works well the way I use it, pitch works fine for me.

The build quality is a bit rubbish and the phase of some of the LFO waves is weird/wrong.

These things taken though, for priceand tiny size, its a handy to have kicking about.


MRoyce

Nofrenchtests wrote:
I use my girlfriends all the time with my modular, it has been great at filling holes in my system until I have had the money to feed it more modules.


Excellent use of autocorrect, would read again applause


rove74

I'd echo a lot of what has been said already regarding the quirks of the microbrute, but it is a pretty great synth.

I personally still prefer the minibrute for it's aftertouch, and additional filter envelope, plus the external input is well suited to modular levels (though a little quiet for anything else). I even prefer the arp to the sequencer as euro sequencers are more fun, but euro arps are not as easy to patch. It suffers the same pitch and gate anomalies as the micro--high pitch out and gate out requires buffered mult.

A minibrute modded for LFO and ENV CV out would be great (it's been done), but absent that the micro is a pretty great value with the inclusion of the patchbay.

Analog Four is a whole other level of CV control when you take all the sound settings parameters into consideration, but it is also a whole different level of price.


Chris

I have one, and despite some of it's quirks I think it's excellent.
For the cost I don't believe you can get that functionality for a similar price in anything else - particularly eurorack.

Sure it might be a little limited, but as a starting controller it is superb and I think it will always find a somehow in patches due to the features it does have having a wide range of uses when it comes to modular.


Nofrenchtests

MRoyce wrote:
Nofrenchtests wrote:
I use my girlfriends all the time with my modular, it has been great at filling holes in my system until I have had the money to feed it more modules.


Excellent use of autocorrect, would read again applause

10/10 for lack of punctuation. Dead Banana


Adminius

I started out in (semi-) modular with a Doepfer Dark-Energy/Time combo, and found it extremely useful when I eventually made the leap to modular.

The MiniBrute was not yet available when I started out and, had it been, I may have gone for an Arturia MiniBrute/BeatStepPro combo instead.


Adminius

Nofrenchtests wrote:
MRoyce wrote:
Nofrenchtests wrote:
I use my girlfriends all the time with my modular, it has been great at filling holes in my system until I have had the money to feed it more modules.


Excellent use of autocorrect, would read again applause

10/10 for lack of punctuation. Dead Banana


Surely you'd need some sort of girlfriend/Eurorack interface module, or at least a specially-made patch lead to plug into the girlfriend.


Mort Rouge

Adminius wrote:
Nofrenchtests wrote:
MRoyce wrote:
Nofrenchtests wrote:
I use my girlfriends all the time with my modular, it has been great at filling holes in my system until I have had the money to feed it more modules.


Excellent use of autocorrect, would read again applause

10/10 for lack of punctuation. Dead Banana


Surely you'd need some sort of girlfriend/Eurorack interface module, or at least a specially-made patch lead to plug into the girlfriend.


While nearly on the subject of sexual things ... have anyone of you ever wondered how it would feel to amplitude modulate your orgasm at audio rate? sad banana


estin

Ish wrote:


So, you can't set the synth into a gate mode, freeing the ENV to freely be assigned to other duties while still passing an external sound through the filters? Too bad.



yes you can do this. The ENV even has its own outgoing attenuator. You can patch it out to anything. With the microbrutes VCA in gate mode it is still triggered by the keyboard. If you want the gate to stay open and just pass sound straight through you can patch a gate signal in to "gate in" on the back like a hold function, or just hold down a key. I usually just stick a business card under a key for hold mode.

Mort Rouge wrote:


While nearly on the subject of sexual things ... have anyone of you ever wondered how it would feel to amplitude modulate your orgasm at audio rate? sad banana


Miley Cyrus

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