Behringer DeepMind 12 Analog Synthesizer First Look

This video, via German synth site, captures a long conversation with the Midas engineers behind the new Behringer DeepMind 12 Analog 12-Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer.

The video starts out with a discussion of how the new synth came to be. Then it moves on to a hands-on demo with the new synth.

Along the way, they talk about the ‘Phat 12’, the working prototype for the DeepMind 12, and how it evolved from the ‘Phat 108’, inspired by the Roland Juno 106. They also talk about how, while making a Juno 106 clone was the original concept, the design evolved significantly.

via Stuart Perry

85 thoughts on “Behringer DeepMind 12 Analog Synthesizer First Look

  1. Really looking forward to this. I think this video should have been the marketing teaser. Much more excited watching this than I was with the teasers.

    1. Oh the sound was pretty awful on this video, I’m glad to have seen the slick promos where you can really hear its promise…. Affordable…. Hmm….. Here’s hoping. But with the Aussie dollar tanked you can add $1000 to any price they say I suppose, mind you behringer ARE really affordable….

  2. Anyone have noticed the other synth on the left?
    Or it’s just a old prototype? It’s seems a completely different machine to me…

    1. I think it is an older prototype. It looks like it also says Phat12 above it. But the display is over on the left. There was probably some purpose for putting all the controls together for some stage, but I would bet they knew that putting the display on the side like that would be problematic.

    1. If it shows up on the screen and has value smoothing or takeover settings this might not be such a big deal. Hard to see how they could have fit extra sliders.

      1. By not trying to squish everything into such a small space! It looks strange with such a small, crowded control area and full-size keys.

    2. There seems to be a bank of buttons underneath the ASDR sliders – for VCF, VCA and MOD. So, not unlike the Slim Phatty, the controls double up. In fact at 6:09 you can see the buttons in question 🙂

  3. What trips me out is that it took Behringer… f*cking Behringer for all that is good and holy… and not Roland to make this synth. I feel like we’re living in some sort of alternate universe right now.

    1. Behringer has always been making the best quality synths and amps, Roland has been making shit mixers since they started copying Yamaha. What alternate universe are you from?

      1. “Behringer has always been making the best quality synths and amps” ?

        When you said THAT and then asked what alternate universe someone was from, I kind of did a double take. I don’t think I live in your universe either.

    2. Roland may have concluded that a synth with 12 discrete VCF + VCA circuits and 12 DCOs would be a reliability nightmare. Or Roland crunched the numbers and determined that there was more money to be made by selling 10X as many of their little Juno 106 and Jupiter 8 digital recreations.

      It’s possible to write and perform horrible music with an analog synthesizer (and let’s be honest here — the Behringer doesn’t have analog oscillators).

      There is an unholy obsession with analog on synth sites and forums that often doesn’t make sense. It’s a manifestation of gear acquisition syndrome and misinformation.

        1. Repeat after me: DCOs are not pure analog circuits. They are built around analog ramp cores with a digital reset pulse and a digital to analog converter that controls the slope of the ramp wave based on the output frequency.

          Several potential issues: (1) The precision of the DAC can dramatically impact the shape of the ramp wave and (2) synchronization of the slope reset between the 24 oscillators may impact the sound of the circuit. The resulting sound can vary significantly from that of a VCO.

            1. You have obviously never designed a DCO circuit.

              You require a digital reset pulse for the DCO *and* a digitally generated control voltage to ensure that the slope of the DCO ramp core doubles for each octave that you increase the oscillator frequency. You can’t simply increase and decrease the reset pulse rate over five or six octaves and expect a DCO to generate a useable sawtooth at a constant amplitude.

              So, yes, while a DCO core is analog it requires several digital control inputs to function as you expect.

          1. DCOs use an IC counter as opposed to a comparator to determine when to reset. That’s about it.

            A digital reset. Everything else is the same, including the analog core

            Of course the sound can vary, but that’s true of all oscillators.

  4. Well done to all involved. It certainly sounds great. I’m definitely up for one and I’m convinced there won’t be a huge wait like for some other recent well known manufacturers. They will get them out pretty smart fingers crossed.

    1. They implied there’s one directly in the OS when he talked about driving the sequencer via analog gate input.

      Clever to set that input as both CV and gate and normal keyboard foot control but a bummer none the less.

  5. super bummed: i responded to uli’s post on gearslutz (pm, to ulis accnt) , immediately. also sent a message via facebook, and to the official hr email:
    no response, except via the facebook accnt: pretty much didnt look at my resume or the impassioned cover letter.
    been pushing his gear for years, upping his stuff.
    he requested resumes and no one even took the time to respond with sentence, or an “ill get back to you”.

    after basically offering to move out of my home country to work for a low wage, id think theyd even take the time, (its been almost a week) to even say that they are busy, and cant adress this right now. or that theyre not interested.

    sure the synth will rock, but super lame that uli himself requested resumes and then didnt even take the time to respond.

    for a company ive defended to many people over the years, as a consistently attentive and considerate business, this left a gross taste in my mouth.

    1. It was 6-months before I got hired when I applied for my job … and over 2 months before HR got back to me. The business hires the resources they need when they need it. Sometimes, hiring is in waves (i.e. we will need more designers for the next set of synths). I went to an interview with Rocktron once and I wanted to design circuits, they wanted me to write DSP code (so it was not a fit). Just ’cause I wanted a certain job, didn’t mean they had it for me.

      However, you should not bad mouth potential employers in public. What if the guy lives somewhere crazy like Europe and is just on holiday for the entire summer … heck, the resume wouldn’t even hit HR for a good two months until he’s back from Liguria or Greece.

  6. If it has the snappy envelopes of the Juno-60, I’ll be interested. If it has the sluggish envelopes of the 106, I couldn’t be arsed.

    1. After Nick’s devotion to the Korg Minilogue NDA meant he was the very last person on earth to review it against all rational expectation. He’s mentioned he’s now gone and signed one for the DM12 so I anticipate his review will drop around April 2017. For the sake of his channel I suggest he stops signing them.

  7. I kept switching around to see if there was any audio and it seemed like the same guy was in two different chairs having a conversation with himself. Also no audio 🙁

  8. Must admit, I was a little let down by this video. Mostly because upon seeing the length (>14 min) I was insane excited. With that said. Thing looks awesome n has my attention.

  9. This is really turning out to be an exciting synth.
    What a great time to love synthesizers!

    (I’m running out of space; please consider a desktop module too)

      1. It seems that the mandate that synths release both keys and rack versions seems to have faded from history. Seems like far fewer synths do the dual release thing. One or the other seems to be the new norm.

  10. Love that they’ve taken their inspiration from the Juno 106, but with 12 voices instead of 6 they can layer sounds, split, or even have the famous Roland “chase” function where one sounds chases the other.

    My only fear is that the oscillators may actually be digital, i.e.: like the Prophet 12, not just clocked by the processor.

    1. They are DCO’s. Analog Oscillators whose reset pulse and thus pitch are controlled by a digital pulse wave instead of a capacitor. DCO’s have better tuning stability and can often times easily implement features like phase reset at the expense of natural drifting (which can be emulated with sample and glide) and easy analog cross mod (FM, which can also be circumvented by using LFO’s for audio rate modulation instead of OSC’s).

  11. Plain but inoffensive looks so its beauty will have to come from the sound and workflow. Display looks similar to my PC3, workable but old tech unglamorous. I’m hoping for a similarly bread and butter price point, although I ask myself what it will do for my music that my (under-explored) Kurzweil cannot. In the end it will be down to what it feels like to the ears. For anyone looking to buy their first full size synth it sure looks like a no brainer at this point

    1. The two HUGE differences between this and a PC3 (or the like) is that this will provide some editing and realtime adjustment at the top of the interface without any diving. It probably isn’t multi-timbral, it lacks workstation features, and won’t play samples. So I think they are too different to be compared this way.

  12. definitely sounds better than the minilogue (at least what you can tell from the couple videos available), but not having at least separate sliders for vcf and vca is really really off putting. Also not really keen on the small display having to rely on plugins/ipad.

  13. I realize they’re going for a specific (currently unknown) price point, but they really should have gone for a color / OLED display. That monochrome (plasma?) screen is an affront to my eyes 🙁

  14. Consider that Dave Smith instruments makes the six voice Prophet 6 and the six voice OB-6. This synth is 12 voice and has extensive modulation capabilities, 3 ADSRs, and a VCF that can switched between 4 pole (Prophet 6) and 2 pole (Oberheim). And it likely cost less than either one. Just sayin’

  15. I love where this instrument seems to be heading. It’s a working person’s synth, instead of a collector’s synth. Balances the old and new nicely, and throws off some worn out assumptions about how more affordable instruments need to be romplers or feature-light. If this lands like it appears to be, this otherwise unremarkable instrument could re-align giant segments of the whole industry due to the volume of sales it could generate. It’s the return of the middle ground! There has to be more to musical life than tiny boxes with tiny keys, and super expensive clones of ancient relics.

    1. What nonsense.

      If you are a working musician, than buying top of the line gear is nothing. If fact, it is often a write-off business expense.

      This is for bedroom and new musicians.

      1. That’s almost my point. What you call a “working” musician is the minority, by far. The majority of people who are going to buy instruments are doing it for fun, for passion, for part time stuff. It’s not nonsense at all, even if you use derogatory terms like “bedroom musician”. When I refer to the “working person”, I mean working some kind of day job, and maybe some part time music income, or a cover band, etc. Not a successful touring/recording musician with contracts. Or at least not yet! And manufacturers know this, otherwise they wouldn’t release and sell tons of instruments that most of us here scoff at for our own use (even though they are perfectly valid instruments).

        Also, if you cast back in time to the origins of the most revered instruments today, they were in exactly the same category when they were released. They didn’t get famous because they were the best and most expensive. They got there because they were affordable and “good enough”.

        Buy whatever you want, but you don’t need to be rude to those people who can’t afford the high end, or simply don’t want it.

        1. High end , quality gear isn’t for collectors.

          I doubt all the Moogs and DSI Prophets sold recently are put in glass and oak cases for display. They sell because they have the features that people making music really need.

          As far as lower cost instruments, of course they are popular, everyone likes getting cheaper stuff. The manufacturers realized something that guitar makers knew decades ago….that 80% of synths sold are never used for records or performance. People buy them to play with them as a gadget. Bedroom musician isn’t a negative term,btw, it’ s a common term for a person using a home recording studio.

          I don’t scoff at the cheaper stuff, but sometime with higher tier instruments will change how you view low end ones.

          We shall see where this deepmind synth falls…

      2. thats a very uninformed statement.. as a “working musician” who also knows plenty of other “working musicians” and guys that live on what they make from gigs and residencies and just local shows – they will absolutely think twice about dropping a shitload of money for any bit of gear – doesnt mean they wont do it, but its not “nothing” at all… thats just ridiculous.

      3. Excuse me? Most working musicians are broke, and think long and hard before buying new gear. A tax write-off is a lot different than “free”. The people who rush off to buy new gear typically seem to be men with cushy day jobs (or trust funds), for whom music is a hobby and gear is a “collection”.

  16. Awesome synth, off course, but would it be an idea to not have the voice LEDs show on the front panel? I consider that for debug purpose only, and would just annoy the performer.

    1. Well, they’d already taken so much design from Roland, the mod matrix from Oberheim and the fully developed market segment from Korg that they went to DSI for inspiration on the voice lights. 😉

    2. You can learn to ignore them, or you can tape over them. They can come in handy when you are hearing voices cut out on you and you didn’t notice you had some really long envelope release on something.

  17. I believe the success of this synth will rise or fall if there are really great demos and YouTube Videos. Noodling on a synth of pressing a few keys to demo a preset is not enough to show off what a synth. Specs are good to show, but that is not enough. Most people cannot see beyond that. They need someone to put out some great demos that will “WOW” people.

  18. I get that they have to cut some corners to fit the thing into their target price range but epic ugh at shared ENV controls. I’d rather them be BCR style encoders instead of sliders so that you could see the current values (and adjust from existing values) immediately. I’m sure they’ll have some sort of ‘catch’ thing in place but meh.

    Hopefully MIDI CCs make it into the Mod Matrix source. If so, you could set up something semi-permanent externally to have access to all three ENVs at once.

    Or perhaps the 61 key will land eventually with an extra set of ADSR controls.

  19. The price? Combine a Novation synth with a Behringer Mixer (for hardware) and you have a price well below $ 1000. Or even lower if you count the super cheap components like the monochrome LC Display and Behringer keybed!

  20. The synth seems alright, just can’t see myself having something called ‘Deep Mind’ in my house. What if someone came around and saw that! It’d be an awkward moment…

  21. I think people are gonna be disappointed when the price is revealed. “Competitive” does not necessarily mean “disruptive.” When considering who and what this is competing with, I’d wager it’ll be in the realm of 1799 US, if not higher.

  22. 1. We don’t really know how it really sounds yet
    2. The Prophet 08 has thousands of happy owners (including myself) who think it sounds great

    1. Agree on 1 and 2

      The prophet 08 has been around for some time now and there are several examples of it been played live and in records (Mehliana, Mark Melià, James Blake) as opposed to other synths where there are only demos . I think it sounds very good and it is quite versatile.

      If this synth sounds equally good (not the same of course, just the same quality) and is cheaper, it will be very useful.

      In short, a true workhorse

    2. Great. Glad you found a synth you like. I was forced to play it almost exclusively on a tour because the artist bought it and, well, they wanted to make sure they got their money’s worth out of it. Personally, I hated the thing. I guess my point was: Pick any DCO synth at random and they are all about co-equal in terms of “mojo”. Which is to say, they don’t have any…

      The only contemporary polyphonic, analog (read, VCO!) synth worth its price tag is the Vermona Perfourmer. I wanted to love the Minilogue but just find it’s basic timbre… odd, I guess?

      Go fully analog or go fully digital, I’ve never understood DCO’s or who finds them appealing.

  23. I really agree with Mister Pickle about the display, it really makes this synth connect to awful designs of yesteryear. Imagine an OLED, it could work with black and white to match the overall colour scheme, otherwise colour is nice

    1. price point i’m guessing for the display, plus re 49 keys on surveys people like smaller keyboards when trying to find room in their room/studios for new gear…hence all the minikey synths of late and 49 leys dsi and jd-xa’s

  24. almost forgot…. WHY not 61 key´s?
    It´s about real estate for knobs also, no problem with all 3 ADSR’s beside each other.

  25. The 49 key trend is probably a side effect of the lack of rack version synths. It’s cheaper to make one version – 49 key cuts the size down just enough so it isn’t a behemoth for those who’d rather have a rack version anyway and not so small to be completely useless for actual players.

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