Arturia releases MicroFreak Vocoder Edition, and there’s a pleasant surprise for owners of the original synth, too

Arturia’s MicroFreak was always a “weird and wonderful” synth, and now it’s taken another intriguing turn with the launch of a new Vocoder Edition.

This offers 14 digital oscillator modes, analogue filters and modulation/randomisation options aplenty, with the new 16-band vocoder mode promising to transform your voice “in the Freakiest way possible”.

The vocoder engine offers three waveforms - sawtooth, pulse width and noise - and Timbre and Shape knobs that adjust the response of the 16 frequency bands. The 16 presets, meanwhile, take you beyond standard robot voices - expect ‘android translations’, harmonies and formant sequences as well.

Obviously, if you’ve got a vocoder, you’re going to want a mic as well, and Arturia can sell you a companion gooseneck model for £25. You can set your preferred mic gain and noise gate settings in the utility menu.

You can also twist other sounds with the vocoder - just hook up a synth, drum machine or anything else and off you go.

Some cosmetic changes have been made, too - the control panel has been given a makeover, and the centre strip now has a Swan graphic. You’ll also note that this model comes in a white finish rather than the original’s black livery.

We should also say that, if you’re an existing MicroFreak owner who’s reading all this and feeling pretty peeved, fear not.

It turns out that the headphone port on your synth (and indeed, on the Vocoder Edition) actually has a TRRS connector, which means that, once you’ve downloaded the 2.1 update, you can plug in in a suitable smartphone in-line mic with TRRS connector and enjoy the vocoding functionality for yourself, at no additional cost. So, everyone’s a winner.

Available for a limited time, the MicroFreak Vocoder Edition costs £299. Find out more on the Arturia website, and check out out preset sound demo below.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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