With their mission to flood the world with regenerated Behringer clone vintage synths in full flow, it’s easy to miss what might be its most important contribution.
All the Vintage synths
“All the synths for everyone” is that rallying cry of the Behringer fanbase. They eagerly await the next glimpse of a synth that looks a bit but not entirely unlike a vintage synthesizer they once wanted to own. The amount of Behringer clone synths in production is dizzying.
We have the big brands like Moog, Roland and Yamaha in both large recreations and mini pocket-sized abominations (I’m joking, it’s just the first word that sprung to mind). No corner is left unturned; no brand is safe from the exploratory fingers of Behringer’s engineering reach. We should probably be alarmed, but honestly, the synth market has become a fascinating Aladins cave built into a Poundstretcher shop.
While they are fun to think about and even possibly exciting to own, I’m not sure that I really want all the synths. I would love to have a Prophet-5, it’s the synth I dreamed about as a kid, but I would want a Prophet-5, not a copy of a Prophet-5. Same with a Minimoog, I’d love to own one, but that’s because it would be a Minimoog sitting in my shed.
It’s not really the sound that interests me; it’s the instrument. I’m not pinning for the sound of a Cat, Wasp or VCS Putney; I’d rather have the thrill of owning a classic synthesizer even though I’m unlikely ever to do so. If it was just about the sound, then there are plenty of synths that can make those sounds, plenty of virtual emulations that have nailed those circuits, at least in my view. Although, of course, synths are nice and we should have all the synths!
I bought the MS-101, a Behringer clone of the SH-101 when it first came out. I loved the SH-101, and this seemed to be a way I could actually own one. It’s a cool little synth, but it’s not an SH-101. It makes that sound but it hasn’t become a distinct part of my setup. I don’t love it as an object; it’s just a synth. I find more exciting sounds in other synths, modern synths and in the exploration of modular, where pandering to vintage forms is only one path in a much larger adventure.
So, while the Behringer clone fairground ride is fun and exciting, it’s also over pretty quick and can end up turning your stomach. There are, I believe, better things afoot.
Behringer’s Big Break?
In an understated post on Facebook, Behringer mentioned a new synth platform. The company had alluded to this in the past when there was talk about developing a way to run many different synths on one synth. This idea has been fleshed out in what many people assumed was a photo of some kind of FM synth in production.
You can’t blame people really because Behringer does tend to bombard us with so many works in progress. It’s easy to make assumptions about which synth they are copying next. So, while there is what appears to be an FM configuration on the display, the board has nothing to do with DX7s.
Behringer says that the above image is a photo of the new Behringer synth platform. It is capable of running complex algorithms, which amount to being able to support multiple synthesizer engines running in parallel. This will be the beginning of a series of powerful hybrid synthesizers. The post goes on to talk about the “Digital Twin” simulation system they use to test complete systems down to individual components before they actually build it in hardware.
Behringer mentioned a key bed, although I’m not entirely sure what it’s referring to. Maybe there’s a faint impression of it on the PCB in the photo? Anyway, it uses a proprietary capacitive sense technology, making it much more sensitive and playable than you usually find.
All of this is part of a plan to release “disruptive synthesis products”. Now, that sounds really interesting to me. Far more alluring than a big blue PPG clone, more enticing than UB-Xa and probably more programmable than the DS-80.
This could be the stuff that builds deeply interesting and innovative synthesizers that take us forward. The Deep Mind is proof that Behringer is capable of trading on more than just the past. This new synth platform gives me lots of hope for the future.
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree? Please throw your thoughts into the comments section below. Would you prefer a continuous line of resurrected old synths or a peek into the future of sounds we haven’t discovered yet?
- Join the developments on the Behringer Synth and Drums Facebook page.
- Behringer website.
- More from Behringer.
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