Arturia has released the MiniFreak V as a standalone software synthesizer for everyone – no hardware synth required.
Update 18/01/23: Arturia released the software version of the MiniFreak synthesizer in December last year. It was given free to all owners of the hardware MiniFreak. I said at the time (see my original article below) that it was a strange thing to do. I thought the software version would be largely wasted on someone who has the hardware sitting in front of them. Well, now Arturia has released the MiniFreak V as a standalone and VST Instrument for anyone. This is great news.
The retail price is €199, which is a third of the way to the hardware synth. However, it’s available for a limited time for €99, which feels like a good deal considering the versatile and fascinating nature of this pretty unique synthesizer.
Original article from 1st December 2022:
There’s something slightly strange about generating a software emulation of your own brand-new synthesizer. And this is far more than an emulation. It’s essentially the same synthesizer engine in a software interface. You could think of it more along the lines of the Roland ZEN-Core or the ACB plugins. The idea is that it mirrors the hardware and brings all your sound design and user presets into your DAW and a like-for-like VST Instrument.
The key thing to understand is that MiniFreak V is only currently available to owners of the MiniFreak hardware synth. It doesn’t require the synth to be plugged in for it to run, and you can load multiple instances just like any other VSTi. So, while there is a connection between the two for sending data from one to another, MiniFreak V will happily run by itself.
On the other hand, if you do own a MiniFreak then MiniFreak V could be a really convenient way of bringing that hardware experience into your DAW. It does away with having to record layers or worry about multitimbrality because you can just load another instance. The sound is the same.
The GUI offers you a massively expanded view of the hardware. The visualisations of the oscillators are fabulous, which then spills into the filter, FX and a whole row of animated modulations. You get full access to the modulation matrix and the two macro controls, which you can assign to the touch strips.
On the Sequencer page, you get a proper piano roll with velocity and automation lanes. And you can still spice it up with the roll of a dice.
It is all there, and in the time I’ve spent with it, it sounds exactly the same as the hardware and is a great companion to it if you get bored of fiddling with things physically.
Hard or soft?
MiniFreak V is a super software synth that uses the engine from an innovative and fun hardware synth. Arturia seems to have gone to a lot of trouble to produce something that makes things a bit more convenient for MiniFreak owners. I don’t imagine the existence of the plugin version is what tipped people over the edge into buying the synthesizer. Many hardware synths come with MIDI editors that would do much of what this does.
So, I’m left feeling slightly unsure about Arturia’s intentions. MiniFreak V would be a great synth for people who don’t have or can’t afford the hardware, but at the moment, it’s only for people who do. And I can’t help feeling it’s a bit wasted on us MiniFeak owners, who are quite happy playing on the hardware. Perhaps in the future, MiniFreak V will become available as a standalone synth; that would make more sense to me. But otherwise, yes, it’s very useful – thanks!
So…. can you buy it? Yes, but it costs €599 and comes with a free hardware synth. Or, if you own the synth already, it’s free.
Update – the MiniFreak V is now available to anyone for €99.
- Arturia MiniFreak V : Arturia
- Arturia MiniFreak V Matrix: Arturia
- Arturia MiniFreak V sequencer: Arturia