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Music Production

Arturia: A Complete Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Samuel Markham

Samuel Markham

16.3.2023

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Arturia

Arturia is a company that has been making waves in the music industry since its inception in 1999. Founded by Frédéric Brun and Gilles Pommereuil in Grenoble, France, the company has grown to become a respected name in both hardware and software synthesisers, digital audio workstations, MIDI controllers, and audio interfaces. 

Brun and Pommereuil met at the Grenoble Insitute of Technology (INPG), playing in the university’s Symphony Orchestra. Brun, a violinist and Pommereuil, the conductor. They viewed sound and music as an uncharted realm of artistic possibilities. So, they headed off in search of motivation. 

A History of Arturia

Brun stated at the time, “We wanted to use technology as an opportunity to create simple and accessible products for music production.” Arturia is currently in a strategic position between hardware and software, providing new ways for musicians to study, create, and play while enabling them to switch between the two with ease. This balance was and is now a key component of their plan.

Arturia has offices in three locations: Grenoble, France; Los Angeles, California; and Shenzhen, China. The company’s headquarters in Grenoble is located in the heart of the French Alps. The company’s founders have cited the region’s natural beauty and cultural diversity as a source of inspiration for their products. Arturia’s office in Los Angeles is in the city’s historic Sound City Studios, used by musicians such as Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty. 

The office serves as a hub for the company’s operations in North America and hosts events and workshops for musicians and producers. Arturia’s office in Shenzhen, China, is in the heart of the city’s tech hub. The office is responsible for the company’s hardware manufacturing and engineering and works closely with Arturia’s headquarters in Grenoble to develop new products and technologies.

The Introduction of Storm & Modular V

Beginning as a software company, Arturia unveiled Storm as its first product in 2000. Storm was a software synthesiser and sequencer that offered end-to-end accessible music production on your personal PC. Frédéric and Gilles were able to see from Storm’s popularity that there was a need for inventive, sincere, and playful musical solutions. However, the company’s big break didn’t come until 2003 when it released the Modular V (€149) softsynth. The Modular V was a software emulation of the classic Minimoog synthesiser and quickly gained popularity among musicians and producers

The V softsynth was produced in conjunction with Robert Moog utilising the algorithms they had created together. The Modular V attempts to accurately replicate the oscillators, filters, and other modules from the Moog 3C and Moog 55 using Arturia’s True Analog Emulation (TAE). TAE produces a warm, cosy, and extremely accurate recreation of the original Moog sound. It almost completely eliminates any “aliasing” brought on by digital oscillators and even produces some of the instability connected to a true “analogue” sound.

The Innovation of Arturia

Integration of Arturia products

Along with the Modular V, some of the other well-known synthesisers that Arturia has created software emulations for since these initial releases are the ARP 2600 (€149), the MiniV, and Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 (€199). The company’s software emulations of classic synthesisers and keyboards are considered to be among the best in the market, and its digital audio workstations, such as Analog Lab (€199) and Pigments (€199), have also received critical acclaim.  For a free demo of Pigments, click here, and for a free demo of Analog Lab, click here.

One of Arturia’s most popular products is the V Collection (€599), a software bundle that includes emulations of classic synthesisers and keyboards from the 1960s to the 2000s. The V Collection is considered one of the best software bundles for musicians and producers who want to recreate the sound of vintage synthesisers and keyboards. The bundle includes thirty-three instruments and 1000s of world-class pre-sets.

Hardware

Not content with just software instruments, Arturia has released several hardware synthesisers over the years. The hardware synthesisers have developed a solid reputation for their unique sound and performance capabilities. They are well-built and durable, making them ideal for live performances and studio use, earning them numerous awards and accolades. Gilles Pommereuil said of the company’s move to hardware around 2004/2005, “Musicians were still hesitant to take computers on stage at that time, and many were coming to us, requesting hardware instruments that would embed our algorithms known as TAE®.”

One of the company’s entry-level synths is the MicroBrute (€299), but don’t be deceived by its size — as the company says, “MicroBrute is a pure analog sonic powerhouse of a synth. Small in size but loaded with features. The MicroBrute was designed to be small but still retain an amazing sound quality. With a 100% pure analogue voice path and advanced interconnectivity via MIDI, USB, CV/ GATE, this machine is a true powerhouse synthesiser that takes your sound to a new level.”

Moving up in price you find the MiniBrute 2 (€499), a synthesiser that has in the words of Arturia, “evolved from the legendary monosynth that revolutionized the analog scene with its mixable waveforms, Steiner-Parker filter, and Brute Factor. Now with semi-modular architecture, you can splice its genome and expand its raw power into the world of Eurorack modular.”

At the top end of Arturia’s hardware synths you’ll find the MatrixBrute (€1999) and the PolyBrute (€2699). In the words of Arturia, the MatrixBrute is “arguably the most powerful analog monophonic synthesizer ever! As flexible as a modular system but offering presets, MatrixBrute is a dream machine for everyone interested in creating a sound palette of their own.”

The PolyBrute being “more than a synthesizer – it’s a 6-voice analog powerhouse, with unprecedented expressivity and sound morphing capabilities, built to let you perform fearlessly, compose with fluidity, and explore sound in perpetual motion.”

Customer Excellence

Among the benefits of using Arturia’s products is that also the company offers excellent customer support and has a large community of users who share tips, tricks, and tutorials on the company’s forums and social media pages. The company’s products are also designed to be easy to use and intuitive, which makes them accessible to musicians and producers of all skill levels. 

The company’s software products are also highly versatile, allowing you to create thousands of sounds and styles. Arturia’s hardware products are known for their unique designs, with many synthesisers featuring built-in sequencers, arpeggiators, and other performance tools. The usability of their products, both software and hardware, has made them ideal for the many world-famous musicians, DJs and producers who want to create complex and dynamic sounds on their records and during their live performances.

Famous Musicians Who Favour Arturia

Some notable musicians who use their products are Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, legendary R&B producer Babyface, Deadmau5, Jean- Michel Jarre, and Tiesto. Gallagher endorsed their products by saying, “I’ve got a really great collection of vintage synthesisers, but since I got the Arturia V Collection, they never come out of the cases.”

Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, whose music has become synonymous with synths, said of Arturia’s products, “Great CV/Gate conversion, usability – and that’s the highest praise I can give, as someone who has spent decades staring at old gear and wondering how I can get it all to work together.”

Pricing

While Arturia’s products are known for their high quality and attention to detail, they can also be expensive. Many of the company’s hardware synthesisers and MIDI controllers are priced higher than similar products from other manufacturers. Additionally, some of Arturia’s software products can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly. This can be a disadvantage for musicians and producers who are working with older or less powerful computers. 

Another potential disadvantage of Arturia’s products is that they may require a high level of technical knowledge to use effectively. Many of the company’s synthesisers and MIDI controllers offer a wide range of features and performance tools, which can be overwhelming for anyone who is new to electronic music production. Although, as mentioned above, Arturia has an excellent community if users and customer support.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, Arturia is a highly respected company in the music industry, known for its innovative products and commitment to quality. The company’s software and hardware products are popular among producers and musicians of all skill levels, and its customer support and community engagement are highly regarded.

While its products can be expensive and may require a high level of technical knowledge, they are widely considered to be among the best in the market. Overall, Arturia is a company that is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of electronic music production, and its products are sure to be with music makers for many years to come.


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