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Arturia MatrixBrute CV Sequencing for Non-Beginners

Chris Stack

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Arturia’s recent firmware update for the MatrtixBrute opens the door to new sequencing capabilities.

The Arturia MatrixBrute is a full-featured analog synth that sounds great. Arturia’s recent 2.0 firmware update added a long list of well thought-out improvements. All of them are useful, but one that really caught my eye is Create your Own LFO (CYOLFO).

Arturia MatrixBrute #1

CYOLFO lets you “draw” your own LFO shape using the button matrix. When I saw that you could turn smoothing on or off per column, I immediately thought, step sequencer! This is basically a build-your-own, repeating-waveform, instant, non-random, quasi-sample-and-hold. (Stop me before I hyphenate again!)

I love modulating things with these kinds of tools. The MatrixBrute has many potential modulation destinations. I take full advantage of those, but I also like spreading the control signals around by connecting to other synthesizers. The Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 is my usual go-to for this sort of thing. Its CV ins and outs are incredibly flexible. 

Arturia MatrixBrute close up

With all the CV connectivity on the MatrixBrute, though, I knew there had to be a way to make its potential for external control practical. That would give me another compelling CV controller, so I gave it some thought and came up with a strategy. 

VCO 1 and VCO 2 on the MatrixBrute are very robust. You can mix saw, square, and triangle waves together. Each of those waves has a secondary parameter—Super Saw for the sawtooth wave, Pulse Width for the square wave, and Metalizer for the triangle wave.

While it’s tempting to throw everything including the kitchen sink into sound design (especially when your kitchen is as big as the MatrixBrute), it’s often not a good idea. On the MatrixBrute, if you are not using an oscillator waveform, you can modulate its secondary parameter and not affect the sound. You will, however, be sending a modulation signal to its corresponding CV out.

Patching Things Up

In this video example, I wasn’t using VCO 2’s triangle wave, so I chose VCO 2 Metal as my de facto CV out. I routed the CYOLFO signal to control the VCO 2 Metalizer parameter and connected a cable from its CV output to the Moog Voyager’s filter cutoff CV input. As you can see and hear, the Voyager immediately started jumping through hoops.

The MatrixBrute lets you attenuate and invert signals from modulation sources on their way to destinations. You can therefore create a broad variety of effects and textures. For example, the cutoff frequencies of the MatrixBrute’s Steiner filter and the Voyager’s ladder filter can step up while the cutoff frequency of the MatrixBrute’s ladder filter steps down. Or you could have the MatrixBrute’s filters unmodulated and control only the Voyager’s. Of course, there are many other combinations and destinations. Try them all!

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