I managed to get one of the early release models of the Minibrute2s and thought it worth reviewing. I’m not going to do a massive in-depth review as they already exist, and if you want to read something like that have a look at the Sound On Sound review.
I got this as an attempt at a reasonably priced way to get into Eurorack – and so far it’s fantastic. The sequencer works REALLY well, and is very simple and you can get musical results quickly due to the smart way it deals with pitches – you can specify a key and scale and then use the 16 encoders above the steps to set which note should be played, and it’s a great way of working – it makes it amazingly simple to get good riffs out of it. It also seems to have been designed so you never have to press stop – you can create sequence after sequence and save them all at the end – which gives it a really direct and accessible feel while making patterns on it.
If you were to buy a Eurorack powered case, some sort of sequencer, a couple of oscillators, LFOs, Envelopes etc you’d end up paying something like £2K or more and probably discover you were missing something that is vital in making a decent synth voice like a mixer or attenuverters. There is also the issue that you could end up just re-inventing the wheel – spending a small fortune to re-create a very vanilla subtractive synth voice. There is also the advantage that the Minibrute2s sits flat on a desk and has nice big buttons and knobs, it’s a chunky lad and – it’s a lot more tactile than most Eurorack modules which tend to be pretty small and quite fiddly due to the nature of the format.
The basic synth voice is great – despite only having two oscillators the first oscillator has a lot of choice with saw, triangle, square and noise which you can play at the same time, and the second osc having the option of saw, square or sine waves and lots of options for detuning, and even more options to alter the tone on the first oscillator with the Metalizer on the triangle, PWM on the square and ultrasaw detuning. The filter has some nice options for FM and Ring modulation, and the Brute Factor knob has some really great applications for mangling and overdriving tones to subtly thickening them up all the way to really savage noise.
I also got the Rackbrute 6U case and it’s great – it was simple enough to assemble and feels rock solid. I’ve got a couple of modules in there currently but I can see this being expanded upon pretty quickly. It’s very simple to get the pitch CV out of the Minibrute2s into other modules (Mutable Instruments Rings currently) and to then get the output into the Minibrute2s, which is then fed out the back of the unit to a 1/4″ jack plug. You have other jack inputs for the sound too, if you want to pass external modules through the Rackbrute’s envelopes and filter – rings sounds fantastic as an extra oscillator mixed with the Minibrute2s oscs for really strange and thick bass and lead sounds.
If you are looking at an economical way of getting into Eurorack I’d thoroughly recommend the Minibrute2s – The build quality is great, you get a lot for you money, and with a Rackbrute case or similar can expand upon it without having so spend a fortune on modules to do basic tasks.