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Whole lot of synth in a small pack
The Microfreak is an exceptional synth. I have very few issues with it, it gets noticeably quieter when paraphonic mode is turned on and they could have put a regular MIDI port on the back instead of this adapter solution. Everything else is damn near amazing. The oscillator is very simple, you get 13 modes at the moment (there was 11 at launch and they have "left room for more") with 3 parameters each and that's it - no menus or anything. The filter is great, it's similar to the ones on the 'brutes but stuck in 2-pole mode. In theory it would make it tamer, but it will scream and squelch if the resonance is cranked up. The LFO is nice as well, with a smooth S&H waveform rarely seen on other synths. There are two envelopes and one of them can be toggled to run, turning it into a secondary LFO of sort. Where synth editing really shines is the patch matrix - it's simple to use with a single knob and 3 buttons for the assignable patch destinations which can be almost anything, so patching things into themselves and making very weird connections is allowed and encouraged. The arp is okay, it covers what you expect from a simple one and I'm glad they included a random mode. The sequencer can hold up to 64 notes, there are two sequencer tracks and four automation lanes can be recorded per preset, blowing the options even wider. The randomizer is good addition as well, most useful in a live setting to spice up the monotone onslaught. All of the 256 preset slots can be overwritten and there's a computer backup option too. The pcb keys are gonna throw off long time keyboard players, but I had no issues and quickly got used to it. It has reminded me when I used to tap my fingers on the desk at school, daydreaming about synths. Massaging your fingers on the board is surprisingly relaxing and also a modulation source. Compared to most of my other synths it's small, weights almost nothing and the lack of keys make it perfect to just throw it in a backpack. Build quality is solid and they have finally managed to make infinite encoders that don't feel rubbish. I really recommend getting one, you are getting a ridiculous amount of synth for the price.
a really unique little gadget
in sund and funcrionality the microfreak is a law unto itself. It has a really great sound. Arturia's steiner parker filter really mates well with digital oscillators & wavetables. All that metallic klang that turns me off on the brutes makes sense here. That said I couldn't bond with the touch plates. I'm just not buchla enough I guess.... the deeper programming is a bit cumbersome too. I already have enough trouble getting my microvolt to obey me using the internal sequencer. A really neat synth, but I could've used a rack version if they weren't giving me a legit keybed and knob per function. My space is getting limited. Think I'll get a modal Argon8M.