Arturia’s MiniFreak synthesizer gets a firmware update with new engine and effects

Version 2.0 also boasts an online store for sound packs.

Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

Arturia just launched a massive firmware update for its MiniFreak hybrid hardware synthesizer. Firmware version 2.0 brings a host of improvements and new features for avid fans of Arturia’s weird-but-powerful instrument. The biggest news here is a brand-new wavetable sound engine, boasting 32 wavetables and 64 patches. However, the engine’s only available on one of the oscillators, which does slightly decrease sound design options. Still, more engines are never a bad thing.

There’s also a new Super Unison effect, which is basically a souped-up chorus that increases stereo width by stacking up to six copies of a sound on top of the dry signal. The MiniFreak has some high-quality effects, so this should be fun to fool around with. Arturia says this effect will “transform a simple patch into a supersaw monster.”

LFO modulation has gotten a bit more useful with this update. Users can now adjust the LFO rate to correspond to a single step or even the entire curve, encouraging more “nuanced, evolving and expressive modulations.” For those with active sound design aspirations, Arturia is adding an easily-accessible favorites panel to the MiniFreak to store and bring up custom-made patches.

MiniFreak owners can now also access a dedicated store to purchase sound banks. There are three free banks at launch, with 32 patches, and two paid banks, with 64 patches. These sound packs are available for both the hardware MiniFreak and the affiliated software plugin. Arturia-branded sound packs typically cost $10 to $15. The company promises this is just the beginning, with more MiniFreak sound packs to come.

Other minor enhancements include more control over the Macro Edit mode and increased volume options. MiniFreak Firmware 2.0 is available now as a free update to current owners.