Not known for releasing information on their forthcoming products in a conventional way, Behringer’s social media manager decided to try a different delivery style over the weekend, teasing two possible future products and updating us on one we already knew about. Read on for more details…
It can be said that Behringer has a “unique” way of dealing with news and information dissemination. They shun the regular music technology press, us included, believing that we are some kind of evil cabal of “paid-for” reviewers and “naysayers”. Instead, they use their social media presence to spread the word. And that word can often be haphazard and disjointed. But hey ho, we work with what we’re given.
Behringer has a propensity to tease a myriad ideas and products, some that exist, others (mostly) that do not. For example, it has been a few years since they “revealed” their alleged take on the Yamaha CS-80. All quiet on THAT front at the time of going to press. I could list many more, but I just don’t have the time or inclination. I’m also aware of my excessive use of “quotation marks”! Let’s see what entered the Behringer pipeline…
Behringer teased the Oberheim TVS-inspired 2-XM some time ago and then it all went quiet. Maybe this had something to do with the shenanigans surrounding their acquisition of the Oberheim brand and subsequent handing back to Tom himself. Apparently, it is now ready for production. Housed in their now familiar desktop box that can also be Eurorack-mounted, the 2-XM could be a very affordable way of getting something that looks like a TVS into your rig. Whether it sounds anything like it is yet to be seen. As always, we’re devoid of any audio examples. Expect the price to be in the Neutron ballpark.
The Moog back catalogue has inspired numerous products in the Behringer range. It now seems that they’ve turned their attention to the Moog Source, albeit in a polyphonic way. Released in 1981, the OG Source was a monophonic bass monster. It supplied the bass for ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order, was all over ‘Eliminator’ by ZZ Top, was “played” by Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode and kinda looked cool. Sadly, despite it being the first Moog to feature user patch memory storage, its membrane controls pre-dated those of the DX7 and were even less useful on an analogue synth.
Behringer seems to have repurposed the front panel from their recent Poly-800 and, in a moment of originality, replaced those membrane switches with actual knobs and switches. Oh, and it’s 8-voice polyphonic but seemingly has a mono output, just like the Pro-800. Would a stereo out be too much to ask for?
But because this is a prototype/mock-up we have no idea how it sounds and if it gives the original a run for its money. Can you see a theme emerging here?
If I had a penny for every person who has asked me my opinion on this next prototype, I’d be a rich man. Ok, maybe I could buy a decent round for the Gearnews team meeting instead. Either way, as the Gearnews digital synth guy, I’ve been pushed for a comment on this. Ever since Behringer successfully bid on and acquired some of Tears For Fears’ old gear, which included a very tatty and somewhat broken Yamaha DX1, Behringer fans have been pushing for an FM-inspired unit. It now seems they have taken the bait and we have the BX700.
Don’t expect a 32-note polyphonic FM behemoth. Instead, what we have is something more akin to the DX200 of the 1990s. I have to put it out there right now that the form factor is as ugly as sin. We’ve seen this before in other still-to-be-made prototypes. It was butters then, and it is butters now. Inside this unit, however, is an FM synth with a CS-80-inspired filter and a drum machine. Now, quite why you’d want a filter on an FM synth is a little beyond me. Unless, of course, you’re struggling with making decent sounds with FM. It has been known. And they fail to say which CS-80-inspired filter they’ve put in there. As for the drum machine element, there’s no info on whether it’s FM-based or uses samples.
One part that they failed to go into any detail on was the presence of the B-Ray. No, it can’t play back your Marvel movie collection. Instead, it seems to be sporting Behringer’s take on the Roland D-Beam. As someone who is ALL about the expressivity of FM, this could potentially yield some interesting outcomes. Another positive aspect is the slightly larger screen, compared to the others we’ve seen on similarly designed units.
But you know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Yup… just a prototype, nothing else to go on, could become a thing, could be consigned to the dustbin. We shall see.
Behringer march to the beat of their own drum, the self-proclaimed saviour of the synthesist with a tight budget. Aside from the 2-XM, the other two units may not ever see the light of day, or may change drastically when they do. Like low-cost airline Ryanair, they don’t seem to care what people say about them, just that they are saying stuff about them. I look forward to seeing what they do with these. And when they do do something with them, you can be sure to hear about it here.
- Behringer 2-XM: Behringer
- Behringer Polysource: Behringer
- Behringer BX700: Behringer