Since I bought a unit myself this review most likely will have a bias although I try to be brutally honest.
Good sounding 12 voice analog synthesizer with decent editing functions that leans heavily on onboard effects and modular matrix. Build quality is pretty good for the price but the factory presets are pants and some minor bugs require some attention.
The unit itself is designed by Midas and is a 49 key board based in a metal casing and with wooden side panels making it a rather small and thin heavy beast. On the back you have the power, audio and headphone outputs, sustain pedal input, pedal/CV input and midi in/out/thru. There is an onboard fan that is at default fairly noisy but you can turn down the speed so it’s hardly noticeable. The layout is fairly straightforward since you have the arp/sequencer, LFO, Oscillator, Poly, Filter and Envelope sections. In the middle is a fairly grainy LCD screen with a editor/cursor section you can use to edit details. Underneath are the Program, FX, Global, Compare and Write functions.
Hooking it up to a mixer showed that the output levels are a bit finicky because you cannot turn the output to 10 because you may end up with distortions. Midi works just fine but personally I prefer USB when it comes to midi timing stuff. You also can use Wi-Fi which is fairly new for modern day synths. It still uses IP4 so it probably will become dated. The synth itself should be fine to work for decades though.
The Deepmind12 was inspired by the Roland Juno so each voice has two DCO’s and a Noise source it will seem to be fairly limited compared to any competitors but they do the job fairly well. DCO1 has a saw and PWM pulse and DCO2 just the pulse waveform and are sync able. Too bad there is no dedicated button for the range so you have to use the LCD menu to edit that. You have plenty of modulation options to get the most out of the DCO’s. Another option to fatten up the sound is using different poly modes where you can use unison modes to stack up voices. The filter also has a Roland vibe and has a 2-pole/4-pole option as well as a bass boost which helps a lot with leads and basses. You even can use a moog emulation FX as insert and get a more moog-ish sound although it is not analog.
Too bad the factory presets do not fully demonstrate the possibilities of the sound so if you are trying it out for yourself take the time to dive into the editing. Especially the Richard Devine presets who’s trying to have it sound like a modular synth irked me the wrong way. Some people think the presets have way too much effects on it so they might look to bypass those and judge the synth without the effects. But then you will hear the limitations of two DCO’s. To that regard it seems to be better to use the effects with modesty so you can take the sound to the next level. As for the effects themselves Behringer smartly used some IP from TC electronics, Klark Technik so the effects sound pretty good. In a high-end studio those effects may not be up to snuff with the high-end effects so you may choose to use just a chorus and go from there.
Sonically it has that analog sound that can match or mimic a lot of vintage analog synths supporting various music styles. To that regard it is a jack of all trades but not exceptional in a certain aspect. As to the Roland Juno factory it surpassed it by lots.
The arpeggiator is straight forward and the ability to edit your own patterns is pretty sweet although pretty Spartan using a tiny LCD screen. Same goes for the sequencer section which gives you a lot of options to use in combination with the modulation matrix. The Deepmind12 is pretty usable in a live or studio setting. Combine it with the 8-slot modulation matrix that allows pretty much every expression source to every much every parameter. Sync it with other hardware and use the hold option and you’ll have a background synth line in no time. Or just play it yourself and notice that it is a pretty expressive experience.
For the Deepmind12 you have the choice for Mac/PC editors as well for the iPad. As Behringer is putting out editors for Android as well we may expect an Android editor as well.
You can hook them up using Midi/USB or Wi-Fi for the tablet. Wi-Fi and USB seem to work just fine but Midi seems to have too little bandwidth to keep up with the GUI and may topple the odd bit causing odd behavior.
The basic functions are fairly straightforward and present the editing options in a single screen. The Mac/PC version has to option to fine-tune editing whereas the tablet version is a nightmare for OCD peeps who want to have the values just right.
The editors enable you to move around patches so you can organized them any way you like. Another function is to blend patches which I didn’t research any further.
The manual is probably the best written manual I’ve read in several years. It helped me to setup the Wi-Fi settings so it could get a connection with my Wi-Fi router and to be edited with my iPad. Other than that I didn’t really need the manual but when you are stuck it will be a lifesaver.
- Unique analog sound
- Modulation matrix
- Free editors
- Factory presets
- LCD screen
- Output level
- Bugs (firmware & editors)