What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Any music gear discussions that don't fit into one of the other forums.

Moderators: Kent, Joe., luketeaford

Post Reply
User avatar
DeanG
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:06 am

What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by DeanG »

The Microfreak offers pretty extensive patch programming combined with the seq/arp yielding very dynamic patches, interactive and generative . Largely due to the inclusion of the "cycling envelope" function . There's enough randomization available (another source would be nice) to vary parameters and create self evolving noise/soundscapes that I can improvise to and interact with. Some of the oscillator modes work well for me and the ability to cycle and modulate the type of oscillator as part of a patch is pretty unique and can simulate a klangfarben(sp?) multitimbral effect. These and other things made the Microfreak attractive to me for the kinds of "West Coasty" sound painting stuff I try to do.

However I find that to my ears there is still something more engaging about analog sounds, not necessarily better, but for me just more immediate and present. Plus the MF streamlines each oscillator mode to just 3 parameters depending on who designed it, so I find myself sort of limited, sometimes in a good way I will admit, but often not.

I am wondering what affordable analog options there are short of a modular, or an unobtainable Buchla Music Easel. I am curios about some of Make Noise things like the Strega or Pittsburgh Mods 3900 or maybe even the West Pest.

What do you think? Other options (affordable ones?)
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros
User avatar
olix
Common Wiggler
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:42 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by olix »

I'm waiting for the PolyFreak :hail:
User avatar
obscurerobot
Turing Tested
Posts: 624
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:32 am
Location: Chicago

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by obscurerobot »

Some synths to consider:

Syntrx Mk1 or Mk2: the digital patch matrix is fast to work with and auto-saves. There is a wave folder on OSC1, and you can FM the three oscillators and filter as much as you want via that matrix.

Korg OPSIX: digital synth and difficult to obtain in the US, but it's effectively a fully modular FM-VA synth built around the DX architecture. Plenty of knobs and faders. An absolute steal when it was on sale for $330, but still a good value at $500.

Korg Volca Modular: minimalistic West Coast synth

Korg Modwave: also digital, but you can modulate the samples

Elektron Analog Four / Analog Keys: Four fully analog subtractive synths in one box. Can do poly, can plock patches to steps, wide sonic capabilities

Elektron Octatrack: sample your 'Freak and take it to the next level

Minibrute 2s: Fully analog, great sequencer, can easily go east- or west- coast.
Koekepan
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:50 pm
Location: PNW

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by Koekepan »

Erebus vIII.

It will do some envelope looping, it has a decent patchbay, it will do a little FM, it has a few waveform options, and it has a meaty sound.

It isn't a wall of eurorack, but for what you're describing, it doesn't have to be.
User avatar
Roy72
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:35 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by Roy72 »

Isn't the obvious answer one of the analog brutes?

And affordable analog options .... Syntrx?
User avatar
lowkeyluce
Common Wiggler
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon May 02, 2022 3:02 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by lowkeyluce »

If you like the Arturia workflow/design, Minibrute 2 is an excellent analog synth for the price.
User avatar
DeanG
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:06 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by DeanG »

Wow, a lot to look into thanks everyone!
I did have the minibrute 2s for a while, and I agree it is super capable, but the patchbay and having to do so much plugging and unplugging in the case of live patching just got to me. As it eventually did when I had an actual modular. I start out excited but all the patch cords get off putting.
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros
al2o3cr
Common Wiggler
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:25 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by al2o3cr »

+1 for the Volca Modular - the motion recording lets you get quite a bit out of the sequencer, and it's inexpensive. Live-patching would be pretty dreadful with the tiny wires tho.

The 0-Coast doesn't have much onboard sequencing (there's an arpeggiator accessible via MIDI) but if you pair up a MIDI controller and a 0-Ctrl you could get arpeggiation + 3 channels of voltage sequencing.

On the "fast patching" angle, the Erica Synths Pico System III lets you patch almost all of the front-panel jacks by plugging in a PCB "card"! Only a 4-step sequencer unfortunately.
User avatar
stickman
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 718
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:45 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by stickman »

I'd suggest Take 5 or Peak for the awesome mod matrix, and plentiful modulation
appariitiion
Common Wiggler
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:34 pm
Location: USA

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by appariitiion »

No direct alternatives coming to mind… minilogue for the form factor and synth functions? Organelle for the weirdness and utility? OPZ?
User avatar
dubonaire
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 10167
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by dubonaire »

Look out for a second hand desktop Evolver. Analog and digital.
User avatar
Richard deHove
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:32 pm
Location: Van Diemen's Land
Contact:

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by Richard deHove »

DB-01
User avatar
DeanG
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:06 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by DeanG »

I had considered an Evolver some years back but I was intimidated by the look of the ui and a few comments about that. Maybe I should revisit that idea.
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros
User avatar
booger
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1129
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: detroit

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by booger »

dubonaire wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:51 pm Look out for a second hand desktop Evolver. Analog and digital.
I have (and love) both of these units and don’t feel they are anything alike. The Evolver has a lot more going on, a different workflow, and a strong digital presence. (Yes, I know it has analog oscillators but the wavetables are the ones that really are the signature sound for that piece IMO.)


I initially didn’t care for the sound of the Microfreak when I first bought it. However, the variety of sound sources, modulation opportunities, and relative ease of use made me fall in love with it. The Steiner Parker filter isn’t my cup of tea but it’s not terrible. Maybe running it through a more aggressive analog ladder filter might get the tone the OP is looking for.
User avatar
DeanG
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:06 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by DeanG »

I am the OP and the more I look at potential analog options the less I see them as alternatives to the MF. I am beginning to think that, at least within the price range, that there isn't such a thing. I don't have any serious beef with the sound, it's a good sounding digital synthesizer and with the modulation and automation available it can definitely go into some modular sound design territory. However I am a fan of analog stuff and I was just wondering if some analog synth offered anything like the Microfreak. Apparently not. I guess this is the beauty of digital electronics. I can and have run it through the filter on the Boog I have. That helps as does using the filter on the little korg monotron.
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros
User avatar
dubonaire
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 10167
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by dubonaire »

booger wrote: Sat Sep 24, 2022 6:00 pm
dubonaire wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:51 pm Look out for a second hand desktop Evolver. Analog and digital.
I have (and love) both of these units and don’t feel they are anything alike. The Evolver has a lot more going on, a different workflow, and a strong digital presence. (Yes, I know it has analog oscillators but the wavetables are the ones that really are the signature sound for that piece IMO.)

I agree they don’t sound alike. (The wavetable oscillators do go through an analog signal path before the digital section.)

I was responding to what the OP is wanting to do with it, which is “self evolving noise/soundscapes that I can improvise to and interact with”. I think the Evolver is great for that with its signal flow including tuned feedback and the four sequencer lanes which can work as modulation sources, in fact that’s how I mainly use it.
gminorcoles
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 356
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:28 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by gminorcoles »

DeanG wrote: Sat Sep 24, 2022 6:50 pm I am the OP and the more I look at potential analog options the less I see them as alternatives to the MF. I am beginning to think that, at least within the price range, that there isn't such a thing. I don't have any serious beef with the sound, it's a good sounding digital synthesizer and with the modulation and automation available it can definitely go into some modular sound design territory. However I am a fan of analog stuff and I was just wondering if some analog synth offered anything like the Microfreak. Apparently not. I guess this is the beauty of digital electronics. I can and have run it through the filter on the Boog I have. That helps as does using the filter on the little korg monotron.
the micro freak has an analog filter already doesnt it?
User avatar
DeanG
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:06 am

Re: What are some analog alternatives to Arturia Microfreak

Post by DeanG »

yeah the steinerparker, but running the output through the boog ext does add some warmth and grit plus if combined with the sounds of the model d envelopes and modulation, oscillatos etc, some interesting textures can be achieved
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros
Post Reply

Return to “General Gear”