Behringer Teases Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330 Clone, ‘Behringer Vocoder and String Ensemble VC340’

Ahead of the 2018 NAMM ShowBehringer is teasing a new synthesizer that appears to be a clone of the classic Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330.

The latest teaser photo, above, shows a control panel that looks very close to that of a Roland VP-330, below:

The company has not made any official announcement about a VP-330 clone at this point, so details are to come.

Behringer has previously shared teasers for an entire studio of clones, including:

  • WASP DELUXE Analog Synthesizer with Dual OSCs, VCF, Multi-Mode VCF, 16-Voice Poly Chain and Eurorack Format
  • ARP 2600 Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer with 3 VCOs and Multi-Mode VCF in a 6U Rack-Mount Format
  • Octave The CAT Paraphonic Analog Synthesizer with Dual VCOs, 4 Mixable Waveforms, External Signal Processor, 16-Voice Poly Chain and Eurorack Format
  • SYNTHI VCX3 Analog Synthesizer with 3 VCOs, VCF, LFO, Ring Modulator and Reverb
  • MS-101-BKMS-101-GY, MS-101-BU – Analog Synthesizer with 32 Full-Size Keys, 3340 VCO with 4 Simultaneous Waveforms, VCF, ADSR, 32-Step Sequencer, Arpeggiator and Live Performance Kit
  • K-20 – Analog and Semi-Modular Synthesizer with Dual VCOs, Ring Modulator, External Signal Processor, 16-Voice Poly Chain and Eurorack Format

In addition to these synths, Behringer has teased five new drum machines:

  • RHYTHM DESIGNER RD-808
  • RHYTHM DESIGNER RD-909
  • RHYTHM DESIGNER RD-999
  • LMX
  • OMX

They have not announced official details or a release date for any of these devices.

Update: Behringer has shared these additional photos, which show the Behringer Vocoder and String Ensemble VC340 name. They have not announced details, but do note that they’ve added key velocity:

Roland VP-330 image via Reverb

85 thoughts on “Behringer Teases Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330 Clone, ‘Behringer Vocoder and String Ensemble VC340’

    1. ‘Please allow me to clarify that the first batch of Model D’s had arrived at our German retailer Music Store right before yearend, which you can easily verify with them.

      The next batch will hopefully leave the factory by end of coming week with some units being air-shipped to the US. The production is still relatively slow due to the fact that each unit takes over 30 minutes to warm up followed by a meticulous one-hour calibration and quality assurance procedure. The electronic-savvy people among you understand that unlike digital synths, producing true analog instruments is a much bigger challenge.

      I truly understand your frustration, but we are literally swamped with ten thousands of backorders and we simply need some time to ramp up. We will never rush as quality always comes first.

      As you may know, we have recently moved into our new and highly-automated 3 million square-feet plant which has been more challenging than we initially thought, a circumstance that has added to the delay. Moving with over 3,000 people and 800 truck loads of equipment has likely been one of the biggest challenges in my life.
      However we are very happy that manufacturing is now fully back up again and our new factory will dramatically increase our efficiency plus lower manufacturing cost – benefits we can then pass on to you the customers.

      Thank you for your understanding and amazing support.

      Uli’

      https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/1164623-behringer-model-d-79.html

    2. Pretty muh this. When music sites will stop saying “behringer teases a synth” and start saying “behringer makes a synth”, then we will be able to trust Behri.

      Not until this moment happens.

  1. I am thankful that they are, like many other manufacturers, letting us know what they are working on. NAMM 2018 will be a nice reveal to see what they have ready for consumption…

  2. Cool. But I think they ought to give the user control over the vocoder bands. The original have one vocoder sound only. The string and synthetic voices on the original are useless or at the best overused. Forget cloning – make a clone and then add something useful to it.

    1. nobody is asking you to buy something that you don’t even know the specs and you are already complaining of it….your philosophy of life is quite enviable 😉

  3. Me want… For such a complex analogue machine that looks like a very economic design. I hope they have retained all the original features that contribute to the wonderful sound of the VP-330 (looks like they have, going by the control layout shown previously). Behringer are obviously serious about these clones, though their tease marketing is clearly not to everyones taste. Can’t wait to see the VCX3 as well.

  4. Anyone remember when keybeds had individual springs as a recoil method? So much better than those cheap bent-plastic setup. However, I’m gonna just assume that’s not what we are meant to look at here.

  5. Behringer should open a series of strip clubs. They have the principle down: Tease people by showing them something that will never actually be available to get.

  6. Roland’s Boutique VP-03 reissue of the VP-330 is a pretty nice instrument and has a lot more features than the 330. It’s a significant upgrade.

    As a clone of the original this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    However I think it is cool their engineering team is cloning every known classic and retaining the circuit designs but updating the parts to use smaller package SMDs. This is good training for them to learn about the entire history of electronic musical instrument design. It must be really great to be working there right now with this sort of fun.

    I doubt most of these will result in products. But they are resulting in keen insights to the designers, a depth of knowledge no other instrument designer in history has had. One can only imagine what sorts of amazing things will follow after they get through this phase.

    1. “But they are resulting in keen insights to the designers, a depth of knowledge no other instrument designer in history has had.”

      What does this even mean? This isn’t being made by the MIDAS team, this is the cloning team, which does the 1:1s including case design. They’re not being tasked to innovate.

  7. Does anyone know what the copyright/ patent laws are with respect to cloning old tech?

    Can Behringer just clone the Roland 330 without a license? Would Roland allow a competing product to their Boutique VP-03 out on the market at the same time?

    My guess is that Behringer doesn’t have rights to make all these clones they are teasing, but I have no knowledge about how product development in this industry works.

    1. Though I don’t myself, it would be unrealistic to think that Behringer isn’t having their lawyers looking into such things before going public.

      1. “it would be unrealistic to think that Behringer isn’t having their lawyers looking into such things before going public.”

        Considering what’s happened with Mackie, Ebtech, etc they have a legal team, but only use them once pursued. They know what they can get away with and have contingency plans in place.

    2. Patent copyrights last 20 years, so the circuitry is fair game. “Trade Dress” is a different thing entirely, though. It has to look different in some way.

      1. patent is process oriented – I think the design visually is copyright, the design workflow is patent – and it depends on the country too, the IP system in the US is way more strict than it is in other countries – it is possible that the synths could get mad and distributed other places and then be distributed third party to the US.

        1. It’s seen a mega-biased towards U.S companies by the rest of the world in general, so a German – Japanese company fued should hardly raise an eyebrow.

    3. Copyright applies to the manual and the schematics themselves, but not to the topography of the circuit itself. Any patent deals with the functional organization of the circuit, not so much its low level connections, otherwise one would simply be able to swap one chip for another and claim no patent infringement, which is not the case. Patents here expired very long ago. Basic vocoder technology dates to the 1890s and 1930s, for phones. Roland absolutely did not invent any of the vocoder tech in this instrument, they availed themselves of long expired patents.

      “Can Behringer just clone the Roland 330 without a license”

      No, Roland is a trademark, so they can’t call this a Roland instrument.

      “Would Roland allow a competing product to their Boutique VP-03”

      Maybe they don’t like this, but it’s not up to them. The patent system protects their products as well. If they don’t like it and its expiration dates they are welcome to move to Mars and sell product there. Perhaps to consumers who won’t buy televisions from any company other than that founded by Philo T. Farnsworth? Which seems to include 90% of readers here who are very much against the idea that patents should ever expire.

      “My guess is that Behringer doesn’t have rights to make all these clones they are teasing”

      What is your background in patent and trademark law, out of curiosity?

      1. If you look closely, Behringer never says “clone”, “Roland”, “330”, “Moog” or anything would-be legally iffy terms. Those terms are used by sites and forums such as this one based on wink wink press release and some connecting the dots. I think it is safe to say that they know the legal limitations and are proceeding accordingly.
        I will leave “can” and “should” for others to argue.

      2. “My guess is that Behringer doesn’t have rights to make all these clones they are teasing”
        I think it is important to point out too that behringer has been doing this for a long time, if you look at their pedals – many of them are direct copies of boss pedals – a lot of their early mixers were direct clones of mackies – even their popular usb>RCA that you see everywhere is a direct clone of the edirol one that came before it. I think they know what they can and can’t do legally at this point ……

  8. The JX-03, VP-03, and JU-06 are all out of stock and unavailable at the major retailers.

    It remains to be seen whether Roland will whip up another batch.

    1. yea people complain about the boutiques but I snatched ajx03 and jp08 when they did price drops, I really like them and once they are gone I have a feeling people will regret not getting them for cheap when they could.

  9. Dear Synthopia,
    Please stop with these rediculous Behringer posts leading to nowhere.. It’s a wates of time.
    People will be interested once there are real manufactured products available .

    1. Dear Ad van Gerven,

      Please be aware that some visitors to Synthtopia are interested in, and sincerely appreciate, any synth news even if it’s speculation/confirmed/leaked-documents/renderings/rumor/or any other information from hardware, plugin, or software manufacturers/users/enthusiasts/etc., even from individuals or companies that have questionable reputations.

      1. @cade:
        Good of you to answer, and from the remaining comments you’re probably right. My guess in that case is that there are at least two valid, respectable audiences to Synthopia: one that appreciates any ideas, what’s going on etc as you said; and another audience that appreciates real stuff, real product announcements.
        It would be nice to have some sort of personal filter setting on Synthopia allowing people to filter stuff that they are really interested in.

        1. Ad Van G, I really don’t think you’re speaking for a significant portion of synthtopia’s readership. I happen to like to know about product teasers.

          And for what it’s worth, Behringer went through an extensive ridiculous campaign with the DeepMind, which eventually became reality. The Model D appears to finally be about to ship as well. This will make them 2 for 2 in terms of teased synths becoming reality.

          Besides that, if there might be a new VP 330 coming to market, I really want to be know about that before I buy a VP-03 or other vocoder.

          I really hope Synthtopia continues to focus on providing well-rounded coverage of the synthesizer scene, instead of wasting resources on “filtering” mechanisms so you don’t see the teaser articles among their roughly 4-5 daily posts.

          1. Actually it makes them about 1 in 8 in terms of teased synths becoming reality. So far they have a single shipping synth. The first one they teased was an Odyssey clone (remember that?), and a few weeks ago they had a “leak” of half a dozen or so clone concepts.

    2. “Please stop with these rediculous Behringer posts leading to nowhere.. It’s a wates of time.
      People will be interested once there are real manufactured products available .

      Hallelujah. I want news, but so many other forums are being used for Uli’s PR team and I’d really prefer less of these garbage speculative articles. And this is even a product I’m interested in (beyond my annoyance with them), but this is all substanceless, fluff.

  10. Behringer are quickly becoming the “lap-dance” of synthesizers, they tease and tease but you just can’t have it, or maybe you can or maybe you can’t….Uli’s Lap dancing us again!

        1. @ Chris,
          Who really cares whether its analog or digital, as long as it is good soundwise and from a hardware user interface point of view (and yes, most boutiques are too tiny to allow real tweaking in a performance). What matters in the end is what it sounds like and how you use it.

  11. I think one of the key elements on how this is cloned is if they have true carrier and modulator analog inputs like the original.. The Roland VP 03 does NOT, so it’s limited to the built in sounds but if this is a real analog vocoder you will be able to use any analog sound source as an input like the original allows you to do. Then you can do amazing things like ‘vocode’ a piano track with a drum track. The possibilities are endless. This would be an utterly unique entry into the field if they do this. If not, it’s just another ‘fake’ vocoder like the newer Roland models. Fingers crossed.

    1. Note the external synth input on the front and back panel in the newly posted photos. This is exciting and sets this apart from just about every other low-cost vocoder clone I’ve seen in recent years. True carrier/modulator vocoding. If this is truly analog, this is gonna be a really great piece. I’ll buy one for sure.

  12. The VP-330? Meh. There’s a lot of classic synths people is craving for, why not focus on something more appealing? ARP 2600 anyone? The other entries in the last are great, but I’m not sure a K20 would sell at all: Korg already fits that space, one can buy an MS-20 mini for 500€, and there are even full size and modular versions if needed!

  13. Very odd…
    This don’t make any sense.
    The Roland Botique was not a best seller either.
    Why Behringer make another attempt, is beyond me.
    What is even more puzzling, is the fact that there are still people who believe in this illusionary company.

  14. I compared different digital stringers and with my real analog SK-stringmachine. The emulations and replicas aren’t bad, sometimes they add a new flavor, but there is always something missing, some movement in the lows and I hate the aliasing effects on higher notes as my Yamaha riches the sound up in the high frequencies which can be pleasant in a mix contrasting digital sound. In Royksopp genius albums you hear the creative soundwork contrasting the vp-330 and the VA synth MS2000 on many tracks. So Behringer I’m curious about the price.

  15. Not sure about a 3-octave keyboard on a VP-330. I generally want to grab great big chords on a string synth, and on a vocoder. Personally I’d rather see a full 4+ octaves, or else no keyboard at all.

  16. Human Psychology is a funny thing. Companies spend time and money trying to get you to trust their company, believe in their ethics and desire their products. This applies across the board, with everything in life. Some get it right, whether that be through quality of product, great advertising, beautiful design or credibility. Sometimes their best efforts are destroyed by association.. (I’d never buy a BMW for example simply because as a generalisation they’re driven by tossers!… I KNOW that’s a HUGE generalisation and probably a total misinterpretation, but it’s one that sticks and so I will always go elsewhere!!)

    And then there’s Behringer.

    For me, I can think of no other company in ANY area of my life that have got things QUITE so wrong.

    Quality, Ethics, Publicity….. ALL laughable… sometimes objectionable. The way they tease and launch, then don’t deliver, then tease more products before the ones they’ve “released” are even available… Laughable. All aided by those “accidental” leaks!!

    Quality?… At LEAST they’re not as awful as they used to be… but that’s the best it gets. As for Ethics, as a company they’ve never been able to spell it, never mind know it’s meaning. This is a company that I never really used to have much of a problem with (have owned several pieces of gear) but over the last few years they just seem to wind me up more and more with what they’re doing and HOW they’re doing it!

    The one and ONLY thing that IS good about Behringer is that they’re cheap. That’s it. And if that’s the one and only thing you want out of a product then they can’t be beaten. But in the same way that some people avoid the “Made in China” label, I, along with many others will always avoid anything “Made by Behringer”.

        1. TBH I wanted to, but who brought you to this earth didnt like it, so instead, I invested in a Schmidt Synth…to be honest it really gives me more pleasure than her or the BMW 😉

      1. Sid, he has a point. Simply because you don’t accept his perspective isn’t reason to block his comments — it’s the adult equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling, “nah, nah, nah… I can’t hear you.”

  17. It’s quite easy to spot the owners of vintage(overpriced) synths in these comments. There the ones,who rubbish Behringer quality, even though there actual current synths (eg. Deepmind 12) are excellent build wise. Also whine on about copyright, even though the patent has expired years ago. No one here has mentioned how exclusive limited editions(extortionate pricing) that your only way to own one of these machines with modernised circuitry. Behringer is cloning and allowing the vast majority to get their hands these and appreciate them afresh. How that a bad thing?

    Behringer should be applauded, if for nothing else, putting an end to the ever increasing buying vintage synths for an investment crap that has arisen over the last few years.

    Oh, and BTW, unless you own a Moog, the chances are, it was already made in China.

    1. My vintage synths (Matrix-1000, TX81z) were/are dirt cheap on eBay, but then again I’m not really a Behringer hater either. 😀

      Agreed on hardware cloning – it’s good for musicians! How many broke and/or beginning guitarists start out with cheap but highly playable Stratocaster or Les Paul clones? I think the clones are also why Fender and Gibson make cheap copies of themselves as Squier or Epiphone versions, and that’s also a good thing.

    2. I think my DSI Tetra was made in California – it’s a terrific and versatile 4-voice polyphonic/multitimbral analog synth. Hook it up to a KMI QuNexus and you’ve got a micro-sized analog rig with polyphonic aftertouch… 😉

      Another magical thing about the Tetra is that it has individual outputs for each voice, which is great for multitimbral mode, for using it as a drum machine, or for running different voices through different effects.

      Sadly it seems like it’s no longer being made? Too bad – it definitely deserves a successor!!

    3. Got a theory! To release the model D clone after announcing a whole line of cloned synths, you pretty much have to knock it out the park on the first one or to release a bunch at the same time. Imagine releasing a shitty quality model D and getting ultra bad reviews. Then saying “hey we have a line of vintage synths coming up”. You pretty much shit the bed before you even got in it.
      There is something very smarmy about instrument cloning but there is a market for it. The only thing they have done wrong is be lightyears behind schedule on the release of the first device.

    4. Yeah, avoiding stuff made in China seems kind of impossible and silly. Is stuff made in Europe or america or whatever magically better quality or something. If people don’t like Behringer marketing they could stop clicking on these articles. And if the ethical murkiness of Behringer being involved in IP disputes puts people off then maybe those same people should avoid Apple, Microsoft, Samsung etc.

  18. Behringer puts out a tease and it gets 40 comments. A smaller company releases a great product, “crickets on here”. At this point its all heresy like someone showing you the schematics for a time machine or a teleportation pod.

    For sure there is a lot of interest for these machines if they ever become an actual product so how about we all get down from our high horses and and stop gambling on the team with all the great players but just won’t come to the field.

    Its fiction until it isn’t.

  19. My cheap Behringer USB audio interface stopped working years ago, but it was decent while it lasted. It sounds like their quality has gotten (much?) better with the DeepMind 12, so I would consider something like the 12D in its nice desktop/module format…. 😉

  20. I hope the keyboard is better. I played the deepmind in a music store the other day and the keyboard was crap. The black keys were hitting the housing.

    1. What you describe is a known issue with the “out-of-factory” setup of early models that anyone can fix in less than 2 minutes.

      I love my DM12 !

      I’ve been waiting for ages for someone to build string machines again and the VC340 is interesting, but 3 octaves … is the worst possible choice IMHO. I’d rather have it keyboardless. Can’t wait to hear some sounds from it ! Maybe at Winter NAMM ?

  21. to tease or not to tease … there´s a lot of stuff i dont need, some of i might, some i crave for and some suprises all along. plus minus 1 or 2 years, it doesnt matter. there´s more than enough out there to explore, test and play or work with. the string machine sounds tasty though and it has a regular keyboard. let’s wait and see what happens….way easier and better for your health than ranting all the time 😉

  22. wow it looks like they used the jupiter 8 patch buttons maybe i can finally get them as spare parts for my Jup…from Behringer!

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