When Arturia launched the MiniFreak, it also promised that a plugin version, MiniFreak V would also be available soon. Originally it was only available to those who purchased a hardware MiniFreak, but now it's being offered to anyone who wants access to the dual digital sound engines and 22 oscillator modes without eating up any more physical space in their studio.
MiniFreak V brings all of the features of the hardware synth to your computer, save for the analog filters. Instead the V version gets modeled analog filters. Arturia has long history of delivering excellent emulations of analog hardware, so this isn't a cause for concern. The software version even has the same limitations, like six-voice polyphony. So if you've been tempted by the MiniFreak, but haven't pulled the trigger yet, this is an excellent way to take it for a test drive.
You still get a robust mod matrix, customizable LFO curves, two LFOs per voice, four lanes of modulation sequencing, a 64-step sequencer and 10 effects with three slots. It doesn't quite have the raw power of Arturia's Pigments, but it does have a number of features that lacks — most notably those nearly two dozen oscillator modes.
In addition to putting the power of the MiniFreak in your DAW, the V version can also sync with the hardware instrument. So you can control it straight from your computer. Of course that's been available to owners of the synth for a while now, but it's just icing on the cake if you pickup the VST now and decide to snag the real deal down the road.
The UI largely mimics the physical instrument, down to the orange highlights and patterned mod / pitch strips to the left of the keyboard. It does offer a lot more visual feedback, however, including animated wave shapes for the oscillators, LFOs and envelopes. Arturia's MiniFreak V is available now at for $99 or bundled with V Collection 9 for free. After the intro period is over the price will go up to $199.
Update 12:08pm ET: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the price of MiniFreak V as $149. It has been updated to reflect the correct pricing.