The Clone War - Behringer. Good or Bad?

Oh, man. I’ve been in the modular game for 5 years now, and I’ve actually been insanely productive with it. Made lots of tracks. But! I picked up a second hand rytm a couple of months back, and every time I sit down with it I just make better music, better sounds and quicker, and it’s less expensive. A lot of people are making good music with their modulars, but I think there’s a very real false promise of it delivering something unobtainable from regular synths, and it’s just not there (for the most part, anyway). People want to get into modular because they imagine making sounds “no one has ever heard before”, which is just ludicrous. Every single module out there exist in some form either in another hardware synth or software (and usually in a lot less expensive more feature packed version). I come up with more interesting sounds quicker on any Elektron than with my modular. I still have a large rack, but have been thinking about slimming down to the modules that really stand out and offer something other synths doesn’t offer to the same extent (I really love intellijels rainmaker, for instance). Overall though, I think you’re partially right about what you’re saying. :slight_smile: based purely on my own experience with modular, and of my experience with users and music posted on muffwiggler.

Sorry for going off topic. I’m all for clones unless they infringe upon some copyright. Tools to the people. Someone make a Hartmann neuron clone already. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ve created some sounds in modular that I’ve not been able in software outside of approximation’s made in Reaktor. My fave is to use a bbd and resonant filter combo to create a complex osc pair. If you have a bbd with access to the feedback loop, insert a resonant filter in there. You get sick osc sync type sounds but with much more interesting timbral morphing. The bbd length sets the base tone and the filter sets the harmonic sync sound. You can do it in Reaktor, it just doesn’t sounds as rich or complex

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I own a Deepmind 12. Here is my opinion:
At first, I hated the user interface. They cherry picked controls due to limited space and I don’t agree with all there choices. Some of the most important features are a few pages deep and often I would flat out forget how to get to certain parameters. I’m not afraid of menu diving but it was slowing down my speed.
After a month of using it, I’m fine with the UI but still think there is room for improvement.
Now, more importantly, the sound…
Again, at first, I was unhappy. I had a thought I had never had before: “should I send it back?”
I just couldn’t get the sounds in my head to come out of the DP12. I’m use to knobby Moogs, Korgs, Rolands and of course Elektron boxes and they all have their own sound but still lots of crossover.
Well, after sticking with it, I can honestly say I love the DP12 sound. It doesn’t sound quite like any other synth I’ve owned which is a great thing. The lack of a triangle waveform is a big bummer but so far hasn’t really held me back in sound design.
Gripes I’ve heard vs my opinion
Thin Sounding - I disagree, it can be thin when needed but proper OSC stacking and detune settings can give you what you need
Needs effects to sound good - I purposefully worked without using FX for awhile to be sure the raw engine was good enough. To my ears, it’s great without effects but the massive reverbs and delays are quite excellent. I do wish they had more than one compressor available as the one they offer isn’t a standard comp to begin with.
Crappy Build Quality - yes, my keys are little wacky in terms of space between them. But, the board plays absolutely fine and other than that, this thing feels like a tank.

Had I had the money, I would have absolutely bought the OB-6 instead. But, for the price, and yes the sound, it’s worth every penny. It’s highly unique in terms of sound, it’s very playable and despite the screen, the slightly funky keys, and the menu diving, I love it!

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Yeah the whole making new sounds never heard before seems to be a thing, but actually when you break it down, especially with analogue modules there isn’t actually that much that can be done on a modular that can’t be done on a good analog/hybrid synth. Digital modules perhaps less so, but then sometimes they lose a lot of modularity to digital control, so some of them are like a limited digital synth but with a few voltage control options instead of lots of midi cc control.

I got my first modular about 20 years ago, currently have 30u but I could easily lose 21u and still be happy, but I do think yes there are plenty of people doing interesting stuff with their modulars, and nothing wrong with bleeps and bloops, I have made tons of them, it can be a lot of fun, which after all is what is important,

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More mass produced rubbish pumped out of Chinese sweat shops is the last thing planet earth needs.
Hopefully he uses recyclable materials so when discarded they don’t pollute our land, sea and atmosphere

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Funny enough the Neutron(?) or whatever it is called actually sounded quite nice on the demo I heard, and it had a few fairly unique features, but it looked like something only its mother could love :rofl:

All the cashing in clones of other peoples vintage designs though doesn’t sit well with me, not much more than counterfeit really. If they had any sense they would get in touch with Robin Wood and come to an agreement about bringing the VCS3/Synthi range to a wider audience IMHO.

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Don’t get me started… :rofl: (not replying to anyone, just the thread title…)

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this.

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making the warmth and grit of analog sound-making-circuitry available for accessible prices is without doubt a very cool idea. Yay for Behringer.

that said, when i had to choose between the Deepmind and the Rev2, well it is the Rev2 that wins. Super yay for Dave Smith Instruments. Not only but also the Rev2 is Duotimbral so essentially it is two synths for the price of one.

Talking of bonuses, I truly believe the new standard of Midi connections should require Two Ins, Two Outs and proper Soft Thru implementation for all items. Let the Low Frequency Oscillators on all devices have access to the time clock already! :joy:

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When I flip through a Sweetwater catalogue I see tons of Fender and Gibson “clones”. I don’t know, I’m not plugged into guitar forums, but I don’t hear a lot of griping about it. But when Behringer does this, it seems to bring up a lot of bad feelings in forums. It’s understandable. Behringer has a rep for making cheap unreliable mass-produced gear, at least in the past. But I think they are on an upswing quality control-wise. Just my impression, no scientific data.

I certainly don’t want to see anybody ripped off, but I will admit that I am excited by the possibility to purchase and enjoy a Minimoog clone and eventually a Pro One clone, and Roland modular clone for extremely affordable prices.

I’m guessing what pisses people off is the very blatant nature of it. If Behringer added a couple features or took away a couple of features here and there, visually designed things differently, called it something else, I think that nobody would notice or care. It’s the capitalizing on the history and legacy of synth pioneers and their legendary creations that is hard to come to terms with, ethically. After all there are a lot of similar synths out there, but they all have 1-2 things and a visual design to differentiate themselves.

All that said, I’m still excited to see it. I think competition is a good thing overall. And I will be tempted to buy one or two of these clones.

Synth clones have been around for a while, some are even celebrated in their own right despite being less than accurate.

If Abstrakt, Acidlab, Black Corporation, Korg, Malekko or Studio Electronics announced a new clone would the tone of conversation (generally speaking) differ? Is eurorack the main concern?

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IMO the most importend point could be the sound and a solid built to last long and no cheap crap, which falls apart after the warrenty period.

If no intellectual property rights are violated, the rebirth of instruments and the availability for the everage musician is a great development. It makes no sense - musically - to have great instruments beeing reserved for the wealthy, only because a company charges high prices, or the gear is just ancient, rare, and expensive by this.

I believe that lower prices will increase the demand for electronic instruments and more musicians will at least give it a try. I think a newbie in electronic music will not start with a Moog-Model-D reissue for 3500 grand just for the sake of the brand. But a 300$ unit is quite an easy decision. It’s cheaper then most decent guitars.

The more musicians use electronic instruments, the more I expect companies to experiment with new ideas. I think Arturia and the MiniBrute are a good example for quality instruments at low price point. Who knows, maybe in a year or two we might discuss having a “Matrix-Neutrino”?

Good post Gir ! I think you’re right.

Yeah, where do we post this ? — I’ll try here.

First up everybody should be following intellectual property laws and rights. That’s why these international laws exists and that’s a good thing. But there is another thing that is good, the flip-side of this, the ability of anyone in the marketplace to use the technology and knowledge that is in the public domain and available for use. These two principles together promote technological development. This is also involved with the expansion of the market you mentioned.

Part of what is property is the copyrighted portion of a product, and it is important both that this is protected, but open to fair use. There is a balance.

So you can, as you have Gir, look at who is damaged, when legitimate development competes within a product marketplace. I might add to what you posted Gir, that third party synth owners can be affected by the potential decrease in value of there classic equipment should they choose to sell it. Of course this is also offset by the potential benefit to the buyers of this classic equipment. Seems to me, that given everyone is playing by the rules these third party effects are just a part of doing business.

Looking at the benefit to Behringer, or the other companies with similar business models, i sometimes wonder about how lucrative there business model really is ? Could they increase there ROI with a more conventional model ?

It’s not that recreating an old design is easy. In some ways there are added development steps. Done right you need to add an iterative step toward the end where you compare your product with the “target” and return for redesign on what you missed. And let me clarify something, as an engineer, it’s not like you take an x-ray of the PCB and just copy it. It’s not a clone like that. You need to engineer the product, within current technology (like surface mount components, and new chips etc.). Now granted they do open the box and look, many engineers do this, this is one way you learn. And there is considerable less time spent writing your spec. But these products are all carefully engineered and considered. And someone is spending time, selecting future products, and thinking through the economics for a product — sales volume, production costs, profit, etc.

I often wonder about the economics of a Behringer product, are they really killing it at the price they sell the product at ? Is there really a payback on all the costs to design and manufacture a Solina String Ensemble synth ? Or how about their keyboard vocoder, the VC 340 ? How about the 40 or 50 Eurorack modules ?

Perhaps on their volume products, like the TD-3 or the RD-6, they make a killing ? But did you look at the price on these ? And then they carry these in a spectrum of colors that adds to the costs of distribution, and delivery.

We won’t know but i suggest B’s ROI is not that great. There are many others in the industry, that i suggest have crafted their business to have a better ROI.

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Maybe this effect is overrated. Let’s take vintage cars as an example. Collectors pay a fortune, if an oldtimer is in “original” condition, or consists of “original parts” only. There are “tuners”, which replace missing or damaged parts with replica, but this is not as highly appreciated compared with all parts original.

IMO this may also be applicable to synths. Just a matter of time and collectors wanting the originals dearly. Now the musician with low budget can buy an instrument with the sound of vintage Moog, Oberheim, Roland, EMS and the like for much less money compared to the second hand market. For music and creativity this is a benefit, because those instruments/sounds get into more hands. The future seller only has to be patient, because the originals will stay to be originals, and those buying on a budget would never have bought expensive collectors stuff anyway :wink:

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Take into account labor cost in China. IMO it’s modern slavery of some kind combinded with use of modern robots, getting the PCBs done. This projected in a mass production of PCBs and instruments reduces cost dramatically, compared with cost in EU, the US, or Japan …

It may be debated, wheter it’s honestly his credo, but U.B. once said, his mission was to provide affordable synths to the masses …

Cranking back the picture on your quote of me includes that I am questioning Behringer’s ROI (Return On Investment) in their economic decisions.

Cranking back the picture on electronic manufacture shows a wide range of companies that manufacture in China — I just looked at a very nice Novation product next to me — Made in China. I also have a favorite synth, that is proudly Chinese engineered and made, and given careful consideration and investigation i am very pleased that I bought it.

These are companies Behringer competes against. I think Behringer with their various manufacturing facilities have better knowledge and control to not abuse compared to many other smaller companies with their less established Chinese manufacture.

If you have specific knowledge of slavery at Behringer manufacturing facilities it is vitally important that you share it.
No imo’s allowed on a charge so serious.

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You could say this about literally every bit of technology we’re using. Why behringer gets hyper focused on is beyond me.

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I thought this could be your opinion, indeed. IMO … since cost are quite low even relatively low prices can create enough profit to be interesting … not only ROI, because this would only be balancing the investment, but without creating profit.

But there is another economic strategy possible, which has been applied quite often. Sell cheap and accept losses until competitors are heavily damaged or destroid. After achieving a monopoly like state, suck the blood out of your customers. I hope that’s not the plan of B.

Absolutely …

I don’t want to evade your question … but to be clear, I havn’t heard facts about Behringer in China … and there was no intention to get rumors started.

But taking into account the attitude of Chinese governments, suppression of the people in China has been practiced for over hundreds maybe thousands of years. The Chinese people are already used to it for generations. Comparing the social structures, law enforcement (Hong-Kong), political orientiation of the elite, the suppression of freedom in China of today, and watching … in contrary to the Marxist/Maoist ideology … the practiced predatory capitalism, I think that many Chinese people live in a kind of “modern slavery”, if I judge it from my western world point of view.

Because they are cheap,

Even a lot of high end designer gear is made in Asia now, even some Prada stuff I think.

With electronics, they make such a huge amount of components they can produce high quality for less. It’s insane, look up a YouTube channel called Strange parts and you’ll see how it is over there

That’s because you get all your information about China from western sources.

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