Arturia’s MiniBrute – A little audiomonster.

Arturia Minibrute MK I

I bought my very first synthesizer. At first I thought about a digital synthesizer or an analog one. Monophonic or poly phone? I mainly focused on other factors at the end though. Who played what and why and for which price? In the end I was left with the Korg Minilogue, the Arturia Minibrute and the Arturia Microbrute. I somewhat ended up with the Arturia Minibrute.

 

Good basic knowledge for modular synthesis.

When you’re confronted (like me) for the first time with modular synthesizers it’s quite a lot. Arturia Microbrute is a very basic analog synthesizer. It’s quite a cheap and affordable synthesizer. If you buy a new “copy”, you’d have to spend 250€. That’s about the prize of 4 iPhone X’s. And that’s the prize of a new one. I bought myself a used copy and I was quite happy and surprised. A very raw and brutal sound. You must understand this: Analog sound is in a lot of convenience-steps a huge step backwards. In a software synthesizer aka VSTi you have presets. Presets are somewhat finished settings of a synthesizer sound. With most of the analog synthesizers you have to do the tweaking yourself. You need to fully understand which knob does what. So you won’t generate a sound by default. When you plug in the audio cable into your sound system and the audio cable into your synthesizer and you connect the power cable with the synthesizer and you’ll turn on the synthesizer… you might not hear anything at all. You must tweak and experiment and learn until you know which parameter affects what. At some points you might panic and think “what did I do wrong” or “which knob messed up my sound?”, but that’s a big part of the learning curve. I also mentioned VCV rack in an older post of mine. It’s basically the Arturia Minibrute, but more complex and free and complex and completely software based instead of hardware based analog hardware. So you might want to check that one out too.

 

Some personal experiences I made so far:

I never learned the real advantages and conveniences that software synthesizers had. I took them for natural. I thought every synthesizer in the world would somehow be synchronized with each other. So when I recorded a track the other day, I played in some parts with my guitar and generated some drums with it completely digitally. After that I had to start pushing the “REC” button in my DAW. So everything was running rhythmically, EXCEPT FOR THE ARTURIA MINIBRUTE! Now there are a couple of ways fixing the arhythmicality in this track. The first option would’ve been to play stuff in real-time while recording in the rhythm. This limits the melody by your music-playing skill drastically. The horror in this method is that you have to play a part or segment for 20 – 80 times until you say “f*** it” and you take the best skit of the recording. When you have to play a lick / a loop or a piece 20 times, it gets reaaally annoying. You either use the best bit and loop it or you use various variations that you somewhat like. Sometimes you make mistakes while recording your bits and you might consider keeping that stuff. I did this here and there. It’s quite amazing what mistakes can generate. Or you use the sequencer. I used the sequencer for this track. I gotta be honest. It is not a very complex sequencer. The notes you hold-on while playing, these notes will be played. You can choose the pitch and the arpeggio and the rhythm that is playing at the moment, but other than that there’s not many options to choose from. Then again… I’ve never stumbled over THE sequencer. I somewhat know their functions and I am somewhat dependent on them, but I wanna see seriously crazy options integrated in them. So it’s a basic sequencer, but that’s not to bad. It’s definitely enough for my very first analog synthesizer and I can’t complain. I didn’t want to sell the synthesizer right after purchasing it. So this one is really a keeper. Back to the song-recording story. The record function in my DAW was running, my sequencer in the analog synthesizer was running, but both didn’t have the same rhythm. So I had to tap the “metronome function” of the synthesizer. Imagine it this way: The DAW put’s out a metronome sound. So while the metronome sound of the DAW was playing, I had to tap the speed of the running sequencer of the analog sequencer in the same rhythm as the DAW was putting out. The cool thing is that you can hear that the sequencer is sometimes faster and sometimes slower. This gives your track a unique and own-sounding touch. In this digitized era, arhythmicality is sometimes somewhat necessary. Sometimes you need chaos to appreciate order. I know that Chris Clark used this effect also on some levels on some of his songs. A rule of thumb is for me personally: You hear somewhat strange rhythms? Analog hardware is behind that kind of sound.

 

“Lemme guess. You had no idea what you were doing.”

Yes, yes and yes. That is completely right. Sometimes you make song after song after song and get comfy with what you’re doing. That is a very dangerous head space, since it gives you a routine and your newer songs will sound more and more like your older ones. At some point you might have a professional sound achieved and a routine for making tracks. That’s where I personally intervene myself. Music shouldn’t be about routine. My personal definition of good music is either:”Wow! What is that? That is new! I never heard something like that” or “This is a nice blend of instruments, patterns and lyrics and they fit each other”. I mean yeah, 99% of music fits perfectly for your setting that you were looking for, but also feel like 95% of music is the same ol’ same ol’. Nothing new on the table and still following the rules of 50 years old pop songs. The Minibrute forced me into new territories that I wouldn’t have left otherwise.

 

What will the future bring?

I need to build in the Arturia Minibrute into more tracks to know its advantages and disadvantages. I will keep you informed about positive stuff and negative stuff that will happen to me when I tweak its beautiful knobs.

 

Would I suggest it?

A definite “yes” is needed at the end of my “storytelling”. Are there better beginner synths out there? Analog or digital? Probably. I take music lessons for playing the keyboard. My keyboard teacher knows quite a lot about these synths. He himself said that it’s a very minimalist attempt of an analog synthesizer. It sounded quite bad when he said it, but I am nevertheless happy with it. I hope this will never change and that I’ll always be able to enjoy and play it.

Official page:

https://www.arturia.com/products/hardware-synths/minibrute

Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arturia_MiniBrute

Affiliate marketing, promotion, sales, online business. That kind of stuff.

In this section I will tell you guys about my progress and what I’ve learned so far.

Edit: I tried to focus on affiliate marketing, but my emotional view intersected strongly on this post, since I made a lot of experience in affiliate marketing and Google AdSense. This stuff is not Twilight, but it sure as hell is no dissertation about mathematical correlations to online marketing either. More a therapeutical text for everyone to read.

What happened / what did I expect?

I got some views and comments on my site. I somewhat dug down deeper into “the rabbit hole” of online marketing.  Its ways and methods, people, scams, methods. I got a 9 to 5 job and had a lot of schedules in the mean time. I finished my drivers licence and fixed up some parts on my car. I got fired from my job, not because I am already able to make a living from this stuff right here, but rather because I got a boss that didn’t tread me to well. So since one month I am unemployed. I did some paperwork to get my welfare, I applied for many jobs and informed myself. A lot of stuff was mainly for me to keep me busy. Because I know one thing that is for sure: When you’re unemployed and you don’t make your own schedule for things or you skip one or two or you watch House Of Cards or Game Of Thrones in one of your lonely nights to long… if you do that and you binge-watch your favourite series from 10pm ’till 6am in the morning, than you know that your live is crumbling appart in some manner. Your mood is down because of the unemployment and your day-night-rhythm is off. You feel you’re worthless and start watching more series or start drinking more with friends, make debts, play more online games. Addictive behaviour basically. So you watch yourself going down the downward spiral, thinking:”Didn’t I write like… 10 posts or so? Shouldn’t I be rich at this point? Or am I naive?”. I realized that I was naive. Yeah sure, a lot of people promote online marketing and affiliate stuff, but the same people who promote it, these people are your competition.

Let’s look up estimated numbers…

WealthyAffiliate exists since 1998 or so. I don’t know, something like that. Back in the day it was harder to create a post for your own website and put in ads and affiliate links, sure. On the other hand: There was no competition. 20 years have passed since then. It’s getting easier and easier by the minute to get into affiliate marketing and ads and all that stuff, but in the meantime the competition is growing. The same thing goes for music. I love music. I am an avid music fan since my 14th year of birth. I got my hands on music software back in the days. If I hadn’t got my hands on that software back then… maybe I would’ve worked for different companier or never picked up any kind of interest in the making of music. The number of DJs increase day by day as well as the number of content creators for affiliate marketing and that stuff grows. Keep that in mind. So you better do it like me and immediately start to work your way up in that affiliate plan of yours.

That’s a lot of 1-Dollar Bills!

Upsides and downsides:

I am in an interesting position right now. I am somewhat living in a homeless shelter. I am unemployed. I visit my mother on a daily basis to take a shower there or to dress up or plan a job interview for a job that I might be interested in. That is what I do by day. In the night I focus on my hobby: Making music with new software and hardware. Reading lecture about various subjects and posting on one or two of my blogs and posting on my keyboard website. Keep yourself busy writing and trying out new things on your site. I am unemployed and a little blue at the moment, yes. On the other hand: I finally got my driving licence, good friends that stay behind me, new job opportunities, plans for the future, a full schedule (that still allows me to have fun here and there 😉 ) while staying somewhat fit by talking long walks, listening to music and going to the supermarket by feet-transportation (old school, I know).

New year’s resolutions:

A lot of people get drunk on new year’s eve and they tell their friends that they go to the gym and that they eat healthy, exercise more, pay more attention to their lovers. A friend of mine stopped smoking before new years. He just stopped. He didn’t need any resolutions. Why? Because stuff like that makes you fall again and again into the same trap. “Next year I will start” and after that year it’s again “next year” and so on and on…

Start now or never. That’s the method that worked for a friend of mine.

I did an approach from another angle. I knew 6 months ago that I paid to much for my flat and that I had developed a serious drinking and porn addiction. The way I somewhat fixed it was this: I moved out from my flat. The new sensations and things I had experienced by moving back to my mother again and then to the homeless shelter…

A lot of depressing stuff you might think, but I saw opportunities for me to get humble again, not taking everything for granted. Working on this blog and site more and more. Doing all the things that I wanted to do for the last 3 years. Getting a grip on many things. My problem at the moment isn’t the porn addiction or high rent or old drinking habbits. Nowadays I just wanna seize the day and pull out it’s maximum potential. Keep on doing the good things and reduce slooowly the bad things. Sooner or later you get where you wanted to be. Baby steps. That’s the important thing.

Conclusion

This post should’ve reached you more than me, but somehow I turned this page into a therapeutical autobiography. I never learned writing, but it feels good for me to write. If I feel this way, why shouldn’t you? I want you to write all your stuff down and publish it. Of course not everything personal. You know what I mean. Everything that you wish to put out there. My thoughts are always on this site. I seriously hope to get in contact with more musicians. I want to be a big network of musicians. That is my main function on this planet / site. Music saved my life so many times. I hope it gives you help and comfort as it did for me. In regards to the affiliate stuff: I hope you join, but put in some serious elbow grease to compete with others. Keep yourselve interacting. Only a moving body, is a living body. Don’t put yourselve down for little stuff that happens to everyone.

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_marketing

NI Absynth 5 Intoxication w/ soundscapes

Introduction:

Brian Clevinger created the software at the end of 2000 for Mac-Os. One year later NATIVE INSTRUMENTS  and Clevinger cooperated and he’s the chef developer since this day.

The general UI look of Absynth 5

So what’s under the hood?

You got 3 channels, 14 filters, a lot of rare oscillators. You can use it with your MASCHINE sampler or as a sampler itself. It works as a FM synthesis and granular synthesis basis. You can use it as an effect. External audio runs through Absynth and goes into your DAW, MASCHINE, audio recording software. Whatever you want basically. In Version 5.3.1 (newest version from 2015, and yet still freshly updated) you got also a cloud filter and comb filter. You have basic elements of a modular synthesizer, which is basically a training for big and complex modular synthesizers. You got hundrets of presets and you can even combine 2 presents and decide which parts of each preset shine through your sound. It is of course MIDI-compatible. Do I need to mention that you can use it in your regular DAW like Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic or even Sonar. It runs on Mac-OS and Windows, but sadly not on Linux. Sadly there isn’t enough software out there that runs directly on Linux.

 

My old green friend:

Absynth 4 and now Absynth 5 are my old solid companions from the old days. Alone the UI is a big plus for me. I have a serious fetish for green coloured software and interfaces. It’s even somewhat turquish and got a relaxin’ vibe, but don’t be fooled by the UI. It got some radical, gnarly, crazy distortion effects and like every software it’s recomendable to try it out. There comes another minus: No demo available. So watch some YouTube videos, read reviews from magazines and ask your music teacher or some buddy if they were properly introduced into Absynth and how it works. I am mainly a sucker for presets. Kinda awkward to say stuff like that. A lot of purists out there prefer to create their own unique sound, even if it sounds worse than a preset. You want your own stamp on the sound you created and you wanna tell everyone:”HEY MAN! I MADE THAT PRESET! CAN YOU HEAR THAT? I KNOW IT SOUNDS AWFUL, BUT AT LEAST IT’S 100% ORIGINAL!”. I also use Massive, Kontakt, Battery and the full NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE EDITION ULTIMATE package. It’s nice to browse around the presets in every VSTi you get your hands on, but to be honest: The most experiments I did, I did them in Absynth 5. Why should I convince you to get it? This article right here is mainly about writing down my experiences I made over these years. I just wanna write down memories and stuff that I would recommend me to myself. If I read this article in a couple of years and I’ll find out that Absynth 6 will suck like Cubase 9.5 does… that will be quite hurtful. Nowadays you got a some pros and cons with software. Everyone mentions mainly the pros, like mostly free updates and somewhat more support and you don’t have to carry around heavy hardware. If you got hardware you won’t get a software update that will destroy the whole hardware. Except when it’s some kind of hybrid thing like the Virus TI 2…? That’s at least what I read about it. A strange mixture of software and hardware. You basically need to be ready to roll down to Absynth 5.

 

The browser in the VSTi

90% of every NI VSTi got the same explorer. Why? Because it’s usefull and logical. You either search for moods, tags or especially instrument sounds. Moods / tags would be stuff like “happy” or “eerie”. Instrument sounds would be stuff like “guitar” or “sequenced” or “piano”, stuff like that, yo. Most of the time I double click on a preset and play around on my MIDI keyboard with my left hand and then I cllick on the next preset and play around with the left hand. Sometimes you get stuck to a preset or you modify it to your desire. I remember some years back ahead recording with Audacity and playing with Absynth in realtime. A horrible experience to be fair, but it was fun. At the end of the day that is what really counts. I don’t get the hate that VSTis get, just for being digital. I grew up digital luckily. Be happy that you don’t have to program and save every preset and you don’t need to tune and warum up the synth and make notes on how the preset was before that. You sit in front of your extremly small laptop cuddled in your blanked on your bed and just toy around with the VSTi the way you feel like it.

 

I need to learn more…

I haven’t checked this little nifty tool enough, haven’t tried everything that I want. Kinda curious to see that the newest update is 3 years ago. I seriously hope to see support on Windows 11 or Windows 12 for Absynth 5 or finally the #6. Don’t neglect this piece of software dear developers and Mr. Clevinger. While writing about it I get kinda accoustically hungry to try out new stuff. I bet you could even form a band that ONLY focuses on using Absynth 5. Imagine that. Their main trademark is that the perform live and in studio only via Absynth 5. I think I should write that idea somewhere down…

 

Yes or no?

Yes, yes and yes. Luckily I bought the software in my youth and used it some years before cracked. Nowadays I’m to stingy for software. I seriously wanna invest more in hardware to get the vibe and the feeling that hardware gives you. A lot of people got famous and made a living by using hardware. Maybe I’ll make a lot of debts by buying always new hardware instead of learning and investing in software. That should be the point that would pull me down to the ground to show me that stuff like Absynth 5 should be enough. I say goodby at this point and wish all you guys a good night or day or whatever… see you around. =))))

 

You can purchase Absynth from the official Native Instruments site for 150€ approximately. You might be able to upgrade you Absynth 1 – 4 to Absynth 5 for 60€, but if you mean serious business, you have to spend a little more to get the biggest and fullest package for the “smallest” prize.

Let’s do the maths:

Say you want to buy 6 instruments solely. Say each of them cost 150€. All in all they cost together 900€.  If you bought more and more separately, you’d end up spending 5,000,00,-$ USD or so. You can buy the full package for 1,600,00,-$. This is a big one time investment and it lasts for years. To be honest. I bought my upgrade from my NATIVE INSTRUMENTS – ULTIMATE EDITION 11 today  for 600€.

Here’s the official site for comparison.

 

As you can see, only KOMPLETE 12 SELECT hasn’t got Absynth 5

 

In the next days or weeks or so I will test and try out and produce with the newest upgraded version some songs and audio concepts that I have in mind.

I will tell you guys how it went. I know that I won’t sleep very good today, since I’m to excited to try out these patches, presets and new plug-ins and sound banks and loops.

The upgrade that I got myself, because I already had KOMPLETE 11 ULTIMATE EDITION:

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If you haven’t got a previous version, this might be more interesting for you. It’s from a German shop that got quite famous and popular over the years and has a beautiful customer support. I am also a quite customer in regards of their products. Sorted from cheap to expensive:

 

If your completly new and you want to get the whole package as a new customer:

 

Those link to Thomann. Which has generally cheaper prices.

Komplete 12 Select for $179.99 

Komplete 12 for $529.99

Komplete 12 Ultimate for $1,019.99

Komplete 12 Ultimate Collector’s Edition for $1,5019.99

 

If you still prefer Amazon though:

Komplete 12 Select for $199.99  

Komplete 12 for $599.99 

Komplete 12 Ultimate for $1,199.99 

Komplete 12 Ultimate Collector’s Edition for $1,599.99 

 

Wikipedia:

(Sadly this well developed VSTi plugin has only a German Wikipedia entry. Which makes partially sense, since it was developed in Germany. On the other hand: You’ve heard Absynth one way or another if you listened to a lot of electronic music. Believe me.)