About the Microfreak



This has to be one of the more bizarre synth releases i’ve seen in my lifetime!
Still, it seems the air is clearer now?

Which is just as well because I actually quite like the synth! Not sure if i’d buy one however… Too many synths here not getting enough love as it is.


At the very least, I hope Arturia will send you the finished product!


Um, dare I say it may have been “Transition Dreams” from Egan’s Luminous anthology?

Edit: oooh, that Lai jewellery does look nice! Partner birthday gift conundrum solved! https://in.lai-designs.com

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Taking a second look after it all boils down:

Who else other than me thinks the ModMatrix handling with just one PushEncoder is quite clever?

And: if they would have left the skewed panel above the keyboard blank instead of using MI-ish graphics it wouldnt be as half as ugly aesthetically challenging.


The mod matrix is neat. But mostly, it’s just really nice that you’re back! :slight_smile:

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I second that :slight_smile:

Incidentally, when did this forum start censoring swear words?

I wouldn’t say the graphics on the sloped panel section were especially “MI-esque”, to be honest.

They’re weird, and apparently unrelated to anything synthey, though. I haven’t seen any closeups, but they remind me most of zoological illustrations, perhaps of microbes, or sealife.

The whole package doesn’t hold together very well, as a unified design, but I imagine that’s intentional.

Thank you, thanks. I’ve seen people make the connection on a few forums and was a bit surprised by this. Wait… maybe that was Arturia’s intention too?

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Guilty as charged! I think I said that myself over at Muffs… But to my eyes, it does look very much MI inspired… And that is surely no coincidence.
Just my 2hz worth though! :+1:

That’s OK :slight_smile:

There’s an article about the Microfreak on CDM, and an attempt to clarify the MI connection.

Seems generally positive about both Arturia’s offering, and Plaits (unsurprisingly, from a self-confessed “Mutable superfan”).

I’m certainly glad they made an EDP Wasp form-factor polyphonic little synth.
And I think that you are such a classic fussy French artist (at least to my American perspective), but I respect and admire your singular and stubborn vision for your products all the way from the electronics to the packaging. :+1:

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Well to be honest, I was a bit surprised to see the Mutable logo on the Arturia website - which to me sounded like @pichenettes agreed to let Arturia use the Mutable name and brand for their own marketing.

I can totally understand why you wouldn’t want to be associated with a product you have not designed or contributed to (apart from the plaits code obviously). But with the official Mutable logo on the product page it seems quite logical for people to make that connection. They could have just written something like “oscillators based on the open-source algorithms from a popular modular synth maker”. Then we all would’ve known what that means and Arturia would still be fine since no-one could accuse them of stealing.

Anyway, I guess to most people it doesn’t matter much and now that Arturia have recitfied their PR it probably will only help MI - by pushing the brand into the Buchla/Moog/Oberheim territory of “synths worth copying from”

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on first glance, i gotta say i loved the panel design. Maybe just wishful thinking but the mockup made me think of a microbrute chassis with a ribbon of these flora and fauna illustrations that made me think of one of Emilies moodboards.
The final product looks pretty unfinished though and the chili and dice are pretty cringy. I think the design could have been great though had they invested in some talent.

Things with (faux or real) piano keyboards don’t interest me, but I am looking forward to a detailed tear-down video. Maybe someone could loan one to Markus Fuller ( https://www.youtube.com/user/markusfuller ) or send one to my mate Dave here in Sydney ( https://www.youtube.com/user/EEVblog )?


The shapes of some of the drawings echo that of a paisley pattern like one finds on some of your older modules.

Additionally, the patterns on the keys is ornamental in a way that some might find superficially similar to the band at the top of your modules.

Comparing side-by-side, the differences will quickly become apparent, but since most people only remember that MI gear uses organic-looking graphics, and not in which way exactly, a connection is easily made.

I doubt that there was an intentional marketing push to make it “look like an MI synth”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the visual style of MI was an inspiration to do things a little differently.

In the same way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the instrument started life as a prototype only running Plaits models.


Well i think inspiration is maybe even one step further back… To me it also really looks like a Shruthi with keys and different user interface.

But at a certain point all subtractive synths start too look alike

They have removed the MI logo and only mention their friends at Mutable.
Seems ok to me now.

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