The announcement was made on Facebook and comes with no details except to say it comes with full MIDI/USB implementation and should cost $249. We know it’s a Subharmonicon clone because, well, just look at it. It has all the same knobs, labels, patch sockets and feature set.
The Subharmonicon is a semi-modular analogue polyrhythmic synthesizer. It uses a 6-tone sound engine and multi-layered clock generator to explore subharmonics, polyrhythms and how they interact to generate rich harmonic kaleidoscopes. It has two VCOs and four subharmonic oscillators. The subharmonic notes are mathematically derived from the VCOs making for interestingly coherent relationships. You then animate the notes with a pair of 4-step sequencers driven by mathematical divisions of the master tempo.
Was Behringer also inspired by Joseph Shillinger’s mathematical system for musical composition? It probably studied the Mixtur-Trautonium and Rhythmicon and remarkably arrived at the exact same instrument.
How does it look?
SPICE combines the mathematical functions in a nicely compact and clearly laid out instrument. Behringer has gone for a horizontal vibe rather than the stacked form of the Subharmonicon. That offsets the sequencers so that they no longer sit together above the division knobs, which feels a little incongruous. The Crave, Edge and Spice are unlike many of the other desktop synths in that they are not in a Eurorack-compatible form. Many commentators are asking for a Moog-style three-tier rack stand to mount these in, which Behringer already does for the rackable synths.
The colours are very striking, and Behringer says there are more to come in this style of synth. I wonder what it’ll move onto next? At some point, everyone else’s ideas will have been exhausted, and they’ll have to come up with something original. I look forward to that!
SPICE is currently in beta testing and should go into production soon.