Analog semi modular 2 Oscillator synth
Behringer recently released a new spin on old analogue synthesis combined with common day must haves. In short fully analogue 2 Oscillators, 2 envelopes, LFO, Filter with overdrive and raunchy sounding Bit Bucket Delay (BBD). All are default patched and if you want to change the routing you have 32 inputs and 24 outputs in the patch bay on the right. On the back are power, USB for midi with dipswitches for the midi channel, midi thru, audio input and output. The midi input is on the front plate which is useful for the Eurorack setup but I personally would prefer also a midi input on the back. The unit does come with six patch cables and a Eurorack power cable so you can add it to any Eurorack case.
Since I’ve bough this synthesizer myself this review might be biased.
The sonic heart of the synth are two CEM 3340 oscillators which are featured in quite a few classic synths like the SH-101, Prophet-5. You can chose a square, pulse, saw, triangle and sine wave or blend two adjacent wave types. Downside of the frequency knob of the oscillators is that they are turning very lightly and you may nudge them out of tune. Luckily you can use range selector to retune them using midi and the LED’s of the LFO. The oscillators have 3 octave range or are at a fixed frequency. The sync option between the two oscillators is a hard sync and works very sweet with the 2nd oscillator pitched using a patched envelope 2. If you use the square/pulse waveform using the pulse with knobs or using the LFO reminded me quite a lot to the Oberheim SEM sound. Blending the two oscillator waves with the mix options is something the SH-101 never had. You can use oscillator 2 as a sub oscillator but for me lacks a tad power. Same goes if you use the paraphonic mode where the two different tuned oscillators do not sound like your typical polyphonic analogue synth.
The filter is a multimode filter with high, band and lowpass filtering. It sounds like a 24dB filter. Resonance easily will self resonance especially with the key tracking put off. Fairly ease to create some Moogish baseline in no time.
The LFO has sine, triangle, sawtooth down, squaree and sawtooth down. Same as with the oscillator you can blend two adjacent shapes. The key sync is useful and the LFO rate goes from slow to halfway in audible range.
The two ADSR envelopes are fairly straightforward. The attack does lack speed to make them ultra snappy though.
The delay has a time and repeat option. It tends to sound a bit noisy but you’ll get that typical BBD sound. It most definitely adds a ton of character to the overall sound. The overdrive reminds me of a gentle guitar overdrive with a drive and tone option. The mix and level knobs seem to be superfluous because they more or less achieve the same. You even can use the input combined with the filter, delay and overdrive as a stompbox for your guitar or bass if need be.
Most of the patch bay inputs and outputs are self explanatory. For the LFO you have both uni as bipolar outputs. They also added a multi, two attenuators a option and midi assignable option. But be quite honest while patching you most likely will run out of the attenuators or have to use stackable patch cables. So the expression possibilities are as standalone fairly limited or you can combine it with additional Eurorack modules. I’ve bought two extra patchable cables to use that as a provisional multi if need be.
Didn’t test the synth with a USB connection. Just the midi which worked fine for midi note gate and pitch as well as modulation or aftertouch for the assignable patch output. Doesn’t seem that the LFO or BBD is sync able to midi clock.
The manual is short, fairly straightforward and to the point. It’s well worth while reading it because behind the push buttons are some hidden features. It also gives some explanation about the patch bay.
Good entry level synth for beginners, medium advanced users and people who are starting with Eurorack setup. The bit bucket delay is noisy but gives the sound an extra dimension. Nice rich analogue sound with lots of patch options that goes way beyond most old (monophonic) classics but it’s not a winner on all fronts.