Arturia’s PolyBrute looks like a beast of an analogue polysynth

It always felt like it would only be a matter of time before Arturia released a large-scale analogue polysynth, so the launch of the PolyBrute - a 61-key, 6-voice instrument - shouldn’t come as a total surprise. That’s not to say that this new Brute looks in any way underwhelming, though; in fact, quite the opposite is true.

Each of the six voices features two Brute waveshaping VCOs, a full-spectrum noise generator, enhanced Steiner multimode filter, custom low-pass ladder filter, three LFOs, three Envelope Generators and more. The voices can be used polyphonically or in splits and layers, with a fully-loaded Unison mode also an option.

Hands-on demo: a deep dive into the new Arturia PolyBrute

Each of the 768 presets exists in two states, and you can seamlessly morph between them using a dedicated knob. Other hands-on controls include pitch and multifunction wheels and an assignable touchstrip.

You’ll also note the 3D touchpad to the left of the keyboard, known as the Morphée. This gives you three-axis control over patch morphing, sequence/arpeggiator randomisation or up to 32 assigned Matrix modulations per axis.

Arturia PolyBrute

(Image credit: Arturia PolyBrute)

Speaking of the Matrix, this is the PolyBrute’s ‘digital brain’ - a hands-on interface that can be used in various guises. As well as enabling you to select presets, you can also use it in Mods mode, which turns the Matrix button grid into a digital patchbay. You can use it to route any of your modulation sources and controllers - there are 64 connections and up to 32 modulation destinations.

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(Image credit: Future)

Arturia PolyBrute review

In Sequencer mode, meanwhile, the Matrix enables you to record not only notes, but also synth parameter changes. Let’s say you’ve created a 64-step sequence; you can then get creative with it using real-time modulation and dynamic tweaking. You can add the likes of velocity, accents, slides and randomisation, and also generate complex arpeggios.

This emphasises the ‘hands-on’ nature of the PolyBrute - everything is there in front of you in the form of dedicated knobs and switches. Almost all of these generate MIDI, too, so your movements can be captured in your DAW.

PolyBrute comes with left and right unbalanced 1/4-inch jacks for the master stereo output, with stereo displacement of voices controlled in the output section. You can pan each of the six voices left and right to varying degrees, giving you full control over the width of your sound.

There are also effects - Arturia has included some of the best algorithms from its collection of FX plugins, plus some new reverbs and delays that are designed to take advantage of the stereo architecture. What’s more, certain effects’ parameters can be modulated with the mod matrix for “animated space and texture”.

There’s a lot to take in with the PolyBrute, then - this is a flagship synth with a price to match (£2,259 in the UK - the wooden legs will cost you extra). Find out more on the Arturia website.

Arturia PolyBrute specs

  • 6-voice analog morphing polysynth
  • 61-note velocity/pressure-sensitive keyboard
  • 2 Brute waveshaping oscillators per voice
  • Noise generator ranging from red to white noise
  • Dual filter design: Steiner multimode and Dr. Bob Moog's 24db Ladder
  • Master filter control and filter FM
  • 3 LFOs and 3 Envelope Generators
  • Matrix interface for modulation, sequencing, and preset control
  • 64 Matrix points for modular-style patching
  • Each preset has 2 states, seamlessly blended with the Morph control
  • Split or layer the keybed with the morphable sonic states
  • Select Poly, Mono, or Unison modes for the keyboard
  • Revolutionary 3-axis Morphée controller for real-time tactile expression
  • Assignable ribbon controller above keybed
  • Pitch wheel and assignable multi-function mod wheel
  • 64-step sequencer with motion recorder and automation
  • Multi-mode complex arpeggiator
  • Built-in stereo digital effects including reverb, chorus, and delay
  • Left and right unbalanced 1/4" output jacks
  • MIDI In, Out and Thru DIN connectivity, plus USB MIDI
  • PolyBrute Connect software for Mac/PC for easy library and workflow management
  • Optional wooden legs extras
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

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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