Arturia Co–Founder Frédéric Brun on the Company's History and the New AudioFuse Interface

Arturia's newly launched AudioFuse interface

In 1999, musician/engineers Frédéric Brun and Gilles Pommereuil came together in Grenoble, France with the vision of using technology to create music. Their vision was actualized in Arturia — a now world–famous company known both for its software and for widely favored instruments like the MiniBrute.

Curious to learn more about Arturia, Reverb went to visit the capital of the Alps to meet the team amid circuit boards, oscilloscopes, and disassembled synthesizers.

It’s a young and passionate team that takes up the company’s two floors, located a few blocks from the heart of Grenoble. The majority of the work happens on site, from the first steps of research and design to the final stages of testing. Only the final stage — industrial production — is taken care of by a partner in Asia. Everything else is conceived, created, and finalized in Grenoble.

We had a chance to sit down with one of the founders of Arturia, Frédéric Brun, to talk about Arturia's beginnings and what the company has in store for the future.

Arturia’s now about 20 years old. What were the early days like?

Frédéric Brun

At the beginning in 1999, we thought that we could pretty easily and cheaply make music. Thanks to technological advancements, computers became powerful enough to replace the processors found in synthesizers or in effect racks.

At first, it was a bit of a challenge, as most people were pretty skeptical, and we had a lot of technical problems to solve before carrying out the project. But little by little, along with other companies like Native Instruments or Propellerhead, we helped show the world that we could make music on a computer.

Our first product was called Storm, and it was a small, easy–to–use and inexpensive music production studio for computers. Arturia was truly born in that release — it came into the market right when the demand was there and took off. That’s also when we came up with the name. Gilles Pommereuil thought of it. "Arturia," which stands for Art, Culture, and Multimedia. Eighteen years ago "multimedia" was a futuristic word.

So you first made software, and then in 2008, you decided to create your first hardware synthesizer, the Origin. What motivated you to make the switch from software to hardware?

It was as early as 2004 that the Origin was on a rackmount, set to be released in 2008. At the same time we were also working on MIDI controllers, like the Analog Factory Experience.

The Arturia Offices

We also were getting requests from musicians who didn’t want to play with a computer on stage (which is still the case today), so we decided that we had to develop a new solution by integrating our algorithms into hardware. And the second reason behind making hardware was hacking. It’s easy to copy software, but hacking an electronic device is much more complicated.

What kind of problems did you face while developing the Brute series?

It was at the point of launching the series that we had to ask ourselves hard questions. We wanted to reach as many musicians as possible who were searching for high–quality and affordable synths, but above all, for synths that were original and stacked with new features for an Arturia sound.


We made a few pretty radical choices. We wanted a smaller keyboard, compact controls, but also a simple and iconic look. On the inside, we used a Steiner–Parker filter, and we also made our own oscillators. We didn’t want to make a Moog–a–like.

It wasn’t until the very end that we needed to confront new problems, like setting up previously non–existent testers to test the different controls on the synth.

With Arturia, you can feel a real attachment to ancestor vintage analog sounds. What emulation are you most proud of?

The one for me that’s made the most impact for Arturia is the modular Moog. It was the first one we worked on, and at the time, we were the first ones to develop a digital synth sound of such magnitude. Even if Reaktor was around back then, we had a really different approach, theirs being more of a creation studio and ours a real instrument.

After the emulation’s release, it was really above and beyond what we were doing at the time, and we even had an endorsement from Moog.

Inside of a MatrixBrute

What, for you, do you think will be the biggest innovations for the world of music in terms of technology?

The line ebbs and flows according to what interface is currently popular, so it’s really based on a tactile level. As we’re increasingly able to measure everything by sensors, whether it’s movement or pressure, it’ll likely be some technology for the music world that does that. Plus, that certainly means that the way we use instruments will also evolve.

AudioFuse in Testing

Our new product coming to the market, AudioFuse, is the first time that we’ve developed something like that in terms of an audio interface. It was a long project that demanded thinking and working differently to get to a solution in pure Arturia spirit.

Looking ahead, we want to continue with this in mind. We’re going to continue to release new instruments, both hardware and software, and marry analog and digital that stick to our standards: high–quality sound, singularity in our instruments, and good value.

Technology must be at the service of the musician, not hinder his creativity.

This article has been translated from an interview originally conducted in French.

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