Behringer’s Synth Clones Bypass Widow Of Doug Curtis

While Behringer has recently announced plans to clone everything synth-related, not everyone is enamored with the company’s cloning plans.

Behringer is cloning ‘Curtis chips’ – integrated circuits, designed by Doug Curtis of Curtis Electromusic Specialities, used in many classic vintage synths.

Curtis pioneered the use of custom integrated circuits for synthesis. By developing complete VCO and VCF chips, Curtis streamlined the manufacturing of synthesizers, making them them more reliable and more affordable. The work of Doug Curtis helped make polyphonic synthesizers feasible.

While Doug Curtis died in 2007, his family recently re-released the CEM 3340 VCO and has been working to release other classic designs to meet growing demand. And they take issue with Behringer’s clones.

Mary Curtis, Doug Curtis’s widow, shared this message today via Facebook:

Many of you who are active on synth forums have recently contacted us regarding another company’s claim of producing VCO chips that are the equivalent to the CEM3340 that was used in many legendary synthesizers.

To avoid any confusion, please know that there is only one manufacturer of the authentic CEM3340 designed by my late husband, Doug Curtis. Any claims, use of this product designation, and use of the name Curtis Electromusic by other companies are made without permission from OnChip Systems (our current company name) or the Curtis Family.

As much as Doug would be humbled and so very happy about the legacy his products enjoy, we can assure you that as a person of the highest integrity he would be deeply saddened by the attempt of others to trade on his name and to make unsubstantiated claims of equivalency to his original inventions.

In his loving memory and gratitude for the community of musicians and synthesizer enthusiasts, Doug’s family is committed to making his authentic designs available as demand presents itself. Thank you for your continued support of Doug’s analog synthesizer legacy.

Mary Curtis and our daughters, Ashley and Julia

While Behringer can legally clone Curtis’s circuit designs, Mary Curtis’s message highlights that Behringer ‘knockoffs’ impact the viability of ‘authentic’ reissues.

155 thoughts on “Behringer’s Synth Clones Bypass Widow Of Doug Curtis

      1. look again! You’ll see that DSI P6 voice boards use CoolAudio V2164 aka SSM2164 clones. And i’m sure the AnalogFour and many other modern synths use those chips here and there for VCA’s, filters, etc.

        1. Nope. Took a look at the filter section and not only I don’t see any 2164 but I do see an array of transistor pairs that make the discreet filters. No relevant ICs in the filter section.

      1. Do you think that OnChip sells those chips in price that it would make sense to build big batch of synths? I seriously doubt. You will see those in boutique euromodules that cost a ton.

        If we go that route, please tell my one electrical item you own that does not have “copied” component? Most of the original companies are still making those, still your device maker use “copies”. That’s how electronics are built. There is nothing seedy in it.

        1. The OnChip prices have already been discussed further down in this very comment section. A single CEM3340 is $15 USD with prices decreasing as numbers increase.

          Here are the price breaks:
          1 – 499 = $ 15.00
          500 – 999 = 12.82
          1000 – 4999 = 9.64
          5000+ = 7.46


          You are talking about components, the CEM3340 VCO is an integrated circuit with a specific function, and it is still in production. Even if the 2164 is more than a simple VCA (It’s 4 VCA’s in one circuit) it’s still a pretty basic circuit, and again it was out of production when it was cloned.

  1. “Mary Curtis’s message highlights that Behringer ‘knockoffs’ impact the viability of ‘authentic’ reissues”

    Don’t worry, Mary – the people who’ll line up to pay $100/chip for OMG SOOPER AUTEHENTIC CHIPZ have already spent years training hard to be snooty about Behringer products. There will still be plenty of suckers, er “customers” for you.

    1. $100 – you’re probably thinking of NOS parts.

      The Curtis ‘G’ chips are like a $15 part in single quantities, so they’re cheap in volume.

      They’re less interesting to manufactures, though, because automated SMT manufacturing has gotten so cheap.

      1. Where do you buy Curtis G chips @ 15 dollars a piece ? Most of I could find are chips extracted from old synths, 30-60$ for 3340 VCOs

        Oh, you may order one of those fake rebranded useless chips from Shenzhen China for 10$ each.. :p

    2. I believe you are entirely missing the point here. I like many in the synth community, do not object to what Uli is doing, rather how. To give this man a pass on his ‘magnanimous’ nature means you lack the historical context and you are bereft of Uli’s rather questionable legacy of “borrowing” and “lifting” designs from others.

      Whilst Uli may like to provide “alternative facts” to his notoriously prolific legal battles with other manufacturers, the reality is that he has exhausted any goodwill remaining as most within the industry simply do not trust this man.

      The legal authority and precedent should have been a footnote in his reasoning, not the basis for it. Just because one is able to do something, it does not make it ethical however this is beyond the question of ethics. It is again about how Uli has conducted his business over the years, and there in lies the rub.

      1. If Steve Jobs was alive he would have “stolen” the Curtis chip. Thank you Uli for becoming the new Steve Jobs. People die. The widow needs the money and I understand this “alternative facts”. Yes we can! Move forward humanity!

        1. but probably price the synth at 2000 or more
          and claim he is helping the world

          (I watched the steve jobs movie and in the end where he talks about helping the world with a computer, I have to ask, how does that happen at 2000 a pop)

      2. I think even if you don’t purchase the products, what Uli is doing will be good for the synth community at large.

        Do you really think the price point of the DSI Rev 2 would be what it is if it wasn’t having to compete with the DM12??

        Furthermore, as I’m researching both the DM12 and the Rev 2 (I am in the market for an analog poly sub 2k), I am finding that DSI’s reputation online and in forums is as bad or worse than Behringer. Take a look at the comments on the Tempest post here a few days ago.

        1. The difference in pricing is not in production costs alone, but also wages and benefits for employees.

          Behringer (and Music Group) has a city of factories in China that enables them to ramp up production and lower costs. There’s also the question about wages to take in consideration, labor is likely cheaper.

          DSI in particular is made in the US (even the boards, as far as I know) and I’m pretty sure they pay their employees a decent enough wage to live from, and perhaps even some health care on top of that.

          Likewise, Moog is assembled in the US and Moog, as you may or may not be aware of, is owned in part by it’s employees since 2015:

          Regarding the price point of the REV 2. Yeah it would likely be what it is even without the DM12. The REV 2 8 voice is slightly cheaper than the Prophet 08 was and that has been explained already by the fact that they are using newer technology that have also lowered their costs.

      3. DSI, Roland and Elektron do trust Coolaudio enough to use their chips within their products. And guess who owns Coolaudio since 2000? Behringer.

        Maybe, just maybe, Behringer has done a lot more than lots of people want to see for the music industry.

        1. And the funny thing is that today, DSi empolyee posted to GS saying they didn’t know that Music Group owns Coolaudio. I call BS! Behringer bought Cool audio long time ago and it has been widely discussed in online forums over the years.

          1. Today? Tony Kara made a post, that have now conveniently been removed, about two weeks ago about the fact that CoolAudio gave them (DSI) their word that they had no affiliation with Behringer whatsoever.

      4. Ok Modern3 fair enough to smear someone with the past. That’s a common way to discredit someone but what Uli is doing is worthwhile because that’s why these threads on what he’s doing get this huge. If he was wasn’t doing something worthwhile no one would bother to comment.

    3. Theft is theft, and telling people they’re snooty for supporting the legal option only makes you look unethical and maybe even selfish.

      1. Lol LLLLandmine!!! My vote went to Sanders. What Uli is doing is not illegal. His smaller profit margins mean cheaper synths for people. That’s cool! One could argue that pattening an idea is selfish because you are keeping a design only to yourself and not sharing it. If sharing better technology at a lower price for people’s benefit is evil than YES ya’ll Im an artist on the daaaaark side. lol

        1. You can’t possibly be this obtuse could you? No one is arguing the legality of Uli’s actions yet there are legal and ethical implications! And I believe in socialistic values yet what you are proposing is obtuse at best and moronic at worst as you would deincentivise any developer, inventor or creator if they had to ‘share’ their creation without some level of protection!

          You, I, no one is entitled to someone’s work! And Uli is a pure capitalist, he is no champion of the people. Furthermore of course Uli, anyone for that matter will be judged on past actions and reputation, that is how standings are established.

          1. As you say, without patents, innovation would be held back. But the same can be said about having patents, it will hold innovation back. That is why most patents are only valid for so many years. After that, everyone should use them to build forward to a better future, instead of reinventing the wheel all over.

            1. You and I are not in disagreement, we all stand on the shoulders of those whom preceded us, and thus I believe that just as there must be protections, there must exist limitations as well.

              Truth be told, all of this regurgitative creations are indeed a reinventing. yet that is another matter entirely.

        2. “His smaller profit margins mean cheaper synths for the people.”

          I don’t think Behringer is generating smaller profits than companies like DSI or Moog. That’s just a smokescreen Uli is using to justify his behaviour.

          Behringer is vertically integrated and has a huge Chinese workforce to design equipment, make and print cases, design, fab and populate circuit boards and so on.

    1. 1. The synth manufacturing industry is tiny. Behringer’s strategy will hurt many established small-medium sized companies (Moog, for example).

      2. Behringer isn’t doing anything to advance the state of the industry. They’re simply taking advantage of other people’s extremely hard work and the fame of classic instruments.

      3. Cheaply made Chinese synths will disrupt and perhaps kill North American and European synth production. That has the potential to cost us innovation and cripple an industry. It also means the loss of hundreds or thousands of jobs.

      4. While Behringer/Cool Audio has introduced clones of discontinued chips (the SSM2164, BBD devices), in this case they’re going after a tiny company where the intellectual property is still controlled by the family of Doug Curtis.

      1. I think they are taking advantage and recognizing the fact that there are 99% of musicians who should have access to affordable instruments . second everything is becoming automated the robots are producing the synths there is no loss of jobs its less slave labour. , third most synths and electronic parts and components are made in China and are only assembled in the US or Eu. Doug Curtis Patent expired and is in the public domain.. there is nothing wrong with behringer this technology should have been free for all long time ago just as tesla has given away its tech.. the patent industry is corrupt and isolates the progress of technical innovation Its not like Behringer is taking blue prints from other manufacturers and making exact copies they actually have teams of engineers and experts workig their magic.. do you see anything in the deep mind thats a clone of anything out there.. perhaps you are reffering to other products by behringer, from what we know behringer is making some older analog synths better based on the same signal flow principals..

      2. I doubt moog will go out of business, now that “”analog”” is cool again (samplers killed allot of the business)
        Plus if you where to look at the eurorack market it is massively big.
        Behringer is going to open a door for those who might not be able to get in before.

        Or do you rather where hear more overproduced albums???

        1. I think other manufacturers have already got in on analog, KORG for example. If it wasn’t for their success I doubt if Behringer would have thought of this himself.

      3. Nah…It will just make Moog and those elite established companies realize that they have to reduce the price gab between productions and salesprice… aka provision…

        a new 6 voice DSI synth or Moog does not need to cost 2000 €….

      4. 1. If Behringer hurts other companies by providing long gone or overly expensive synths at an affordable price, that’s on those companies not willing to budge on their exorbitant prices and thus leaving a huge gap in the Market. It won’t be Behringer hurting those companies, it’s the market for them that will. A market those companies seemingly refuse to provide for.

        2. So? They are reproducing synths that have been out of production yet still in high demand for many years now. What is wrong with that? Moog isn’t doing anything new and innovative either. Why not criticize them?

        3. See point 1. It’s not Behringers fault that other companies refuse to build synths at an affordable price.

        4. They aren’t “Going After” Curtis chips and Curtis Chips have been cloned for years now by other companies. The Patents died years ago. There’s nothing illegal here.

      5. “loss of hundreds or thousands of jobs.” although “The synth manufacturing industry is tiny” ?

        “Behringer’s strategy will hurt many established small-medium sized companies (Moog, for example).”
        Porsche did not go down because Renault built cheap cars. People buying a Moog know they pay for the name.

        “They’re simply taking advantage of other people’s extremely hard work and the fame of classic instruments.”
        all VST programmers with virtual Moog- or Arp-Clones are doing the same….

        “Cheaply made Chinese synths will disrupt and perhaps kill North American and European synth production.”
        Where do Korg Volcas or the Minilogue come from?

        “where the intellectual property is still controlled by the family of Doug Curtis.”
        Seems they do not hold any patent on this. I don’t think Behringer would be that stupid….

      6. 3. Don’t spread this BS, please. Where do you thing DSi and Elektron get their parts and chips? Those things are ASSEMBLED in Sweden and USA. Not 100% made there.

        Also ppl who buy premium Moog products will still buy premium Moog products, no matter what Behringer sells. If you want Audi you don’t buy Skoda even if it’s kinda same but cheaper.

        4. No company should have monopoly on technology. Nor big or small. There is laws against that for a reason.

  2. Yes this is just blatant Behringer bashing. This article insinuates that Behringer are somehow desecrating Curtis’ name by stealing his legacy and using his name to sell synths (they haven’t even made yet).

    But then briefly informs us at the very end that Behringer aren’t actually doing any of these things.

    What absolute rubbish. Literally millions of expired patents are still in circulation today.

    1. “blatent Behringer bashing”?

      I like the alliteration – but the most critical line in the article is that “not everyone is enamored with the company’s cloning plans.”

      Sorry if that harshed your mellow, dude!

  3. And again thx to behringer to bring us high quality for low budget… sorry Dave, Tom and Bob i like your synths but always out of my price range…. And a high quality name not always stand for high quality customer support (see tempest)…

    1. If you don’t have budget go to work. Be poor it is not a n excuse. Go to work, don’t think about music and comment vapor news. Think about improve the quality of your life, and of your beloved. If you can not afford musical instruments, you can not afford dentist bill. Find a good job and earn money. Best wishes.

      1. Wow. You have no real idea about the financial conditions of the majority of the planet’s 7+ billion people. It’s truly a priveledge for those of us who can afford expensive luxury items. Don’t hate on people with lesser circumstances who want the same things we have.

        1. You’re also blithely ignoring that your cheap gear is only possible because Behringer uses poorly paid factory Chinese workers that work and live at ‘Behringer City’.

          1. “..Behringer uses poorly paid factory Chinese workers..”

            So how many chinese workers making your famous iPhone and iPad killed themself because of their working conditions? Isn’t your hip “name” t-shirt “made in Pakistan”?

        2. I dont hate nobody, neither poor people.

          The Berhinger one will not be a luxury item: it will be a cheap clone,
          like many on the market for poor people attracted by the Moog brand.

          Like a Luis Vouitton false bag.

          Then when you will be tired of that crap keyboard,
          the second hand market will spit in your face,
          as the value will be near to zero.

          And i am agree with the other reply : sure it wiil be produced by poor chinese people,
          for quite poor european/american people.

          …you just victims of the troll behringer campaign,
          and fashion victims of the Moog brand.

          anyway: buing the Behringer clone will not stop your desire of owning the real thing,
          you will always be a looser, poor, making Mr. Behringer more rich, and always staiyng unsatisfaid
          cause you dont own the real thing.

          Mr Beringher will not relieve your suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome,
          it will increase it.

          You just don’t realize He plays with your desire,
          you are his prey.

          The crazy thing is that people think he give like vision to blind,
          but he see very well: your slim pocket.

          Many slim pocket : a lot of gain.

          …and your hands empty like before: without the iconic Moog.

          Pure Scam for poor people.

      2. you obviously live in a glass house and your head is in a bubble , know the facts and get to know the state of recorded music sales and touring … its musicians and artists who have invested many years into education and understanding sound design synthesis.. why should we have to go and find another job , we should stand up to these greedy corporations and the equipment manufacturers who are blind to the fact that music business is very depended on the success of musicians, indie artist 15 years ago were able to make a living its because of people like you who devalue musicians and those who want to write and produce music this discussion is even taking place, Is that what you want ? artists and musicians working some factory job ? so that the corps could enslave us even more with bad computer generated music … grow a brain man. Dave smith was debunked with his prophet by another user his units are way over priced. we dont need new jobs we need to be treated fairly instead of being milked for every penny like conveyor belt cows.

        1. Somehow, I don’t look at anybody making synths today as “greedy corporations.” Moog hand builds many of their synths and prices them accordingly. Korg, Roland and Yamaha all have a range of products at numerous price points. DSI and many of the modular manufacturers are really boutique operations with a lot of overhead and slim profit margins. I think these folks are in it for the love of the industry, not to have some mythical oligarchy controlling the electronic music world.

          I think that people have become addicted to the “free” world of software…but that just doesn’t translate to hardware. That’s just the way it is. All I can say is if you want cheap hardware, it’s out there, if you want a Moog, then save up. If you want the Moog sound or Oberheim or Prophet for next to nothing, then go software. It’s as simple as that.

          1. If Uli wasn’t doing something wonderful there wouldn’t be so many people throwing stones. Now look at him and his company nonstop getting stoned all the time. What a situation!

  4. i must have missed a single technical argument in Curtis’ message … they have access to a different 8mu process or something?

  5. This is a case where Uli and the Behringer company could have reached out to the legacy community they are supposedly “honoring” with these clones, and engendered a bit of good will. It’s one thing if the chip company is gone, and quite another if it is still in operation. I’d be curious if the Behringer people approached OnChip (curtis) about working out a deal.

    I imagine it would have been pretty harsh. “With or without your blessing, we can clone this chip and mass produce for X cents per unit. We’d be prepared to offer you X dollars for your actual design specs and use of your name. If you don’t like this offer, we’ll just do it anyway and not give you anything. You take or you leave.”

    Uli isn’t a villain, and there might not be anything illegal or unethical going on. For the casual onlooker, this was just a missed opportunity– you can honor Doug Curtis’s legacy by connecting with his company and working out a nice deal, or you can honor his legacy by making lots of money off of his name without their blessing.

    1. Wow, a measured response! Can’t believe all the entitled babies on here essentially yelling “Suck it woman who is trying to respect her late husband’s legacy!”.

      Just because someone CAN do something, doesn’t mean they SHOULD. Uli comes across arrogant as can be, and I’m amazed at all those that are encouraging him, a man who runs a company that has had very few original ideas, while bashing other designers that have spent their lives bringing innovative and daring ideas to all of us, simply because they can’t afford it.

        1. I totally agree… The only innovative thung Behringer brought to the music industry was offer cheap ass equipment. R&D my ass, they are the typical example of a company that rides the waves created by others. And don’t start a stupid tirade of comments, you all know it’s true.
          You chipmunks have to understand that actual research needs to be PAID and thus happens by selling stuff. Makes it even more lame that Behringer only sells and does not create (and don’t start the deepmind thing for all we know they copied 95% of it as well lol)

  6. i mean they are saying its a clone. it will be an attempt to clone the chip . there still maybe differences.
    i understand maybe how she may see this the wrong way , but they are making there own version of the synths
    i think that made sense.

  7. Let’s not forget that these chips were not being manufactured for a long time. Opening a really big gap in the market. It was absolutely inevitable that clones were going to be in demand

    1. Agree. It wasn’t all that long ago that repairable synths were being broken up so that the CEMs could be used to repair others. At $70.00 a pop! Where we’re the Curtis family then? So far only the 3340 has been released, (at $15.00 each they are not exactly cheap) and no real timeline for any of the others. Hardly supporting the synth community. In my heart, I feel some sympathy for the family, but can’t blame a manufacturer for taking advantage of another’s neglect of their customers.

  8. I like to see these chips be available for the DIY market.
    May be some can make a better design use.
    Just look what happen with the raspberry pi, it caused an explosion of other boards that could not be imagined before it was here

  9. Here is a good question.
    “if cem 3340 chips are being made again, where do you buy them?”
    With all this eurorack stuff going on you think they be more visible to the market

  10. when the CEM clones from the Curtis legacy were released and they started to take orders, i wanted to buy 10 pieces as spare parts for my various oldies that use them. I never even got a reply for my order. maybe it wasn’t big enough. So for all i care i’m just happy there are more sources for this vital component and that cool audio might also sell low quantities for the average joe.

    1. I bought four 3340s but I had to send a reminder email.
      I think they were a bit overwhelmed with the response…

  11. any intellectual property right is temporary. and rightfully so. otherwise we would still pay licenses for lighting a fire or making a stone axe.

    1. or singing “”happy birthday””

      LOOK IT UP——It is a copyrighted song and is why you don’t hear being sung in restaurants or movies

      1. Snope says that yes a company was collecting royalties, but a judge ruled that the song is now in public domain and they need to decide if Warner/Chappell needs to refund the royalties it collected. Weird story. I always assumed it was an urban myth, but it sounds like it’s a patent troll.

        1. Warners trolled the patent for years, but some awesome enterprising documentarian tracked down sheet music of it from 1927 (before Warners’ 1935 copyright) so it became public domain.

          I’ve been keeping up with the saga at one of my other favorite sites, arstechnica.

          Search that site for “Happy Birthday” and you’ll find a trove of articles chronicling Jennifer Nelson’s journey.

  12. Snobby, Beringher bashing, high moral ground, meh. What a load of *****. All Beringher are trying to do is bring classic synths into the hands of ‘oridinary’ people and I say, GREAT! Everything else is irrelevant. Patents have run out, and also why hasn’t this happened before? There is a huge demand for analog ‘classics’ and except Moog with the model D re-issue, and Korg with the Oydessy, no companies seem to be listening to WHAT PEOPLE WANT!!!! Do it Uli…bring them all back for us….

  13. Well make them Mary Curtis.
    if you had been paying attention old Curtis chips are really in demand and have been for years.
    If you don’t then someone with a bit of business sense will given the chance.
    Make them stop bleating.

    1. Curtis Electronics are currently making CEM3340’s. That’s why Uli’s announcement that he’s going to clone them is garnering some frowns.

          1. “is making” in American English, “are making” in UK English. It’s a subtle linguistic difference between the old world – where a company is considered a group of individuals – and the new world, where the corporation is considered more important than the parts. 😉

  14. nobody complaints about intellectual property rights of musicians and how the big elite corps scammed them from every source of recorded music sales.. If musicians were actually making income from music sales we wouldn’t be having such fired up discussions . Behringer is filling in the gap and actually supporting artists by making good synths available to those who can not afford them.. lets get real here majority of the planet and people are middle or below middle class, no job within that demographic can give you the opportunity to save money for a quality prophet synth or a modular system.. behringer is the whistle blower here telling everyone the truth you all have been scammed by purchasing these very expensive synths , the exact same thing can be made for 75% less .. shame on the greedy equipment manufacturers.. respect to behringer for helping musicians acquire the tools they need without worrying about breaking their bank .. the way to move forward in a economically ustable planet.. the days of expensive equipment are coming to an end..

    1. Whistle blowing? Please. Uli has his components manufactured in Behringer City for a reason.
      I harbor no prejudice for or against Behringer, but c’mon, he’s not Synth-Jesus.

    2. Look up the concept of “research and development”. Everything is not as black and white as it seems. Just because you want something, does not mean you are entitled to it.

  15. People will still have a choice. Some will go cheap for the knock offs, some will pay for parts as close to the original spec as possible. Its an open market and its been used and abused by many. Why would this case be any different? For the record, I have every respect for the companies out there building high quality boutique equipment and providing excellent support. I love the sound of the Curtis chips, but cost will always be a factor for me personally. I will support the established companies when I can afford to, but sometimes my personal budget will not stretch. Others will be able to pay and for some its pocket change. This is the way of the world.

  16. I have a collection of modules that sound much better than Curtis chips, to me these chips sound average and bland compared to modules that don’t use them. Behringer should be designing better sounding filters that don’t sound like Curtis.

  17. one thing is to reproduce chips which are public domain. Another is to use the name of the inventor, freely. In the first case the inventor could have extended patent. In the second case, it could have copyrighted the name as a brand. I am afraid that without these 2 elements, the family will not have a lot to oppose.

  18. Oh, so you want to sell your fantastic and especially unique Curtis-designed chips? Go ahead and make them! Nobody is stopping you.

    Oh wait – are you are just clinging to the indefensible legacy of a decades-old cash cow? Sorry, cant help you there.

    Yes, yes – Im sure its all about the “pride” and the “purity” and all that nonsense. If thats the case, why not show us exactly WHY that is the case? Again, bring on the magic! Show us how its done! Otherwise, sit down and shut up.

  19. the cape wearing is strong in this one, everyone is so proud of you ( esp your mom ) !
    In fact Im so triggered i cant go on anymore with out discussing how devastating behringer is and will be to the future of humanity and morality. What will one do ?!?! I KNOW ! ! !
    Lets wear our capes collectively and fly around to different forums to post WHY behringer is so horrible, OMG !
    Oh the HUMANITY ! WHAT? ! ! How dare he make something based on expired IP !
    I mean,,,,, im a good person,, i stand for whats “right’ ! In fact Im such a good person I expend all my energy convincing others that they are bad, immoral and on the wrong path , the path to destruction which will inevitably destroy the planet and everyone on it.

  20. Each time a Behringer thread comes up, I feel like commenters probably fall into two categories: creative people/”artists” (for lack of a better term) and “fucking consumers” (to adapt the title of an old I-F record). Crossover occurs because most of us have been broke at one point and appreciate a bargain, and nearly everyone resents monopolies and being ripped off. However, in my mind, artist are conflicted (or boycotting) while the “fucking consumers” care about features and prices over everything else (including, based on Uli’s past products, longevity and build quality). Anyone who says “everyone clones” or whatever is being willfully ignorant of this guy’s history. This is a guy who cloned cable testers and truly cheap Mackie mixers. I hold him in the same regard as I do Chinese vendors making fake thumb drives. I guess I’m letting my principles as a creator, and someone who has felt what it’s like to be bootlegged, get in the way.

    The people here who can’t even fathom why someone would have a problem with what this guy does – even if it’s a nuanced view and not necessarily anti-Behringer (like I am) – flummox.

  21. Behringer is really setting a new standard on the synthesizer market…I like that!

    Keep up the good work Uli and dont listen to those anti-Behringer-trollers! *Thumps up* People will always complain, but most of them are hypocrites 🙂

  22. I am pro-Behringer – just because of his stayer-ability and dedication towards making stuff affordable. I do however hope that he recognise the Curtis-family and offer them some sort of agreement involving payment. If nothing else, such an action could prove usefull to Behringer marketing.

  23. In terms of ethic we can divide re-issues by two areas: reissues of current working companies like Moog or Roland(even if they have no analog instuments today) and synthesizers/companies like OSCar, ELKA, Arp.

    I think it will be bad for Moog if some fabric volumes company like Behringer will start to produce Minimoog reissue. And, of course, it will have flavour of Minimoog but not the Sound

    1. …events like this are exactly why Moog has been so smart. From a longterm profitability standpoint they have planned to hold back on polysynths as long as they can. That day is finally coming, we will see a poly from Moog (true poly) at the 2020 NAMM show.

    2. “it will have flavour of Minimoog but not the Sound” < Ehh…how can you know..there is no sound demos out there…of this new remake…

    3. Please also note that Bob Moog died over 10 years ago…who cares if its bad for Moog?…the founder of Moog is dead.

  24. When I worked as a concert promoter 15 years ago, there was a standard clause in EVERY band’s technical rider: “No Behringer!” Same goes for my studio. It’s my most favorite place in the world and I don’t want to soil it with cheap knockoff gear.

  25. On Moog/Behringer: People who can afford Moog will continue to buy Moog. Behringer is for those who cannot afford it. Where is the competition? Where does this fear come from? If you have a problem with my way of thinking have a look at the denim/jeans industry.

  26. The future is inevitable. Sorry about feelings. If you build it they will come… or something like that. If patent laws aren’t broken people can bitch and moan all they want but it’s a waste of time. I look forward to seeing what this company puts out to our beloved world of synthesis.

    1. They will put out cheap synths that already exist, and at some point the synth will break. This is how Behringer has always worked. There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course, but Behringer has released hundreds of shitty products that do not stand the test of time.

  27. Hasn’t this happened in the guitar world 10 times over the last 30 years … doesn’t Gibson now on their own “knock off” company so they can meet the demands of various market segments? The end of Beringer will be when companies wake up and have their own premium line and budget line. When moog makes their own re-creation of their synths cheap using the same process people will buy that all day long . I sure don’t see a lot of Behringer mixer’s anymore !

  28. look at the microphone market. there are fantastic microphones for <1000$ and people are still buying vintage stuff or big names. stop worrying and be happy if there's some passion and competition around…

  29. From a consumer standpoint, more competition is good. It is obvious the reverse is for manufacturers, patent rights owners, etc. Full respect to the guy who did the chip design. Can Mary make synthesizers for consumers? Maybe Behringer can do a PR exercise (yet again) and compensate Mary a fair sum out of goodwill to ease this predicament?

  30. If the Behringer clones are identical then I think it’s fine to trade on the name of Doug Curtis as long as the patent has expired. If the clones were inferior then I would say that the Curtis family has a point.

  31. wonderful thread here fellas, really, keep up the gold.
    we seem to have three types here:
    1. “doesnt matter. if it makes noise, i can make music with it”
    2. hey look capitalism. somebody limits the availability of something, somebody makes a cheaper competitor. that’s business. is it better? no. but most people are ok with 128k mp3s so who cares.
    3. “you’re all peasants and pond scum and incapable of making anything listenable unless you spend $5K each on every instrument you own and you’re all beneath me for failing to comprehend my enlightened viewpoint.”

    meanwhile im sitting over here with a $100 plastic chinese-made sequencer hooked up to a $2500 US-made analog polysynth, and having a blast while im doing what i like doing, making music.

  32. I’m really glad most of you do not create economic policy. I find it frustrating that so many speak from a place of authority, as if they have seen the books of all these small companies, and have thus labeled them “greedy.” Are you a small business owner yourself?

    While I don’t think Uli’s sleazy tactics will be the death of the synth market, I do think it will stifle innovation. Please stop chasing the vintage dragon.

  33. BUT are you all aware, that OnChip ONLY started to make the reissue chips when they found out about Uli’s efforts to resurrect the design a couple years back? If not for Uli, OnChip may very well not have reissued them.

    I understand Mary’s stance – standing up for her husband’s vision, hard work and legacy. But really, these designs are legally public to create and sell – Uli is not doing anything illegal, and actually, is preparing to reissue the OB-Xa at a great price, after legally obtaining the trademarks of Oberheim and OB-Xa. He has referred to his reissue chips under their CEM name, but it’s likely he won’t use that part name in actuality if it’s infringing legally on anyone’s rights.

    Yes Uli has a fairly ruthless business ethic. But businesses don’t survive by giving in to competitor’s opinions or business goals. Moog is no saint neither is DSI – both sell synths at a humongous profit and they’re gouging us big time. So let’s observe truth rather than allow our knee-jerk defenses to destroy reason.

    But gosh, OB-Xa? That would just never happen without him. Nor would a Minimoog clone for the masses.

    Let’s keep an open mind here folks.

  34. Looking like a reissue and sounding like one are 2 completely different things, lets see the end result (if there ever is one)

  35. There’s a Coolaudio V2164 on the bottom of the back of the Prophet board. You might need to look at the high resolution version and turn up the contrast to see it, but it’s there.

    Mick has a great find with these photos and has successfully proven beyond any doubt that both DSI and Elektron use clones of older chips that are out of patent and the originals no longer in production or available for sale as new product when they designed the machine. Making generic versions of things out of patent is a legitimate and widespread business practice and is perfectly legal. It’s also obviously in use here by high end boutique brands.

    Complaining about Behringer here is counterproductive unless one is also prepared to boycott DSI, Elektron, and others, lest one be seen as a hypocrite.

    While you’re at it, be sure to boycott Korg for cloning the Odyssey and “stealing” the ARP logo, and also never buy an original ARP 2600 for that matter if it’s the good ones that illegally stole the Moog filter while it was still under patent, and were widely regarded as cheap Moog clones at the time.

    1. Korg took the high road, and made an official reissue under the supervision of David Friend.

      They should not be unfairly grouped with ‘knockoff’ cloners.

      1. Incorrect. It was certainly not an official version. The legal situation is that Friend owns absolutely no ARP intellectual property and has nothing to license or to give permission regarding.

        During the liquidation the company’s assets were sold to CBS. Korg did not license the ARP properties from CBS, consult with them, pay them, or engage with them in any way whatsoever. Nor were they required to because the patents had long since expired and the trademark was not renewed, allowing it to be taken by anyone with an interest in filing.

        Likewise with Behringer. They’ve indicated they wish to file for ownership of long abandoned trademarks. That’s their prerogative to do so as long as they use the trademarks in interstate commerce. They don’t need to check in with or receive the blessing with whoever it was that previously owned the trademark. In the case of ARP, it was CBS that was the last owner. Korg didn’t consult with them, just as Behringer won’t be consulting with anyone either. There’s nothing wrong with either of these. But if you want to complain about Behringer, you absolutely must find fault with Korg. The Friend issue is totally irrelevant because he was not the last owner of the expired and abandoned intellectual property.

  36. Chips? I like sea salt and vinegar chips.

    As for cloned synth chips and cloned synths, if no patent laws were violated, what can you say? If you don’t like a product because you believe it rips off other people’s ideas or believe that it is poorly/cheaply constructed, then don’t buy it.

    I on the other hand will be waiting for the OSCar clone. I hope it becomes a reality.

  37. Everything about this thread shows that we are at a tipping point between the old and new. This is the resonant peak that always occurs before something ceases to be functional and desired in a society by it’s majority.

  38. Seriously, since when did equipment become > talent?

    If someone wants to buy a Behringer, let them, if it works for them great if it doesn’t, too bad…

    A lot of these people here are coming across as pure elitist, if you don’t play a Moog please leave this site and god damn, how can you breath the same air as me… Sigh!

    What this fellow is doing is legal, if not, why don’t you guys have some sort of legal representation for the widow of Mr Curtis and help her? File a suit against Behringer? You have a patent for x number of years, then once its expires it is out in the open, it’s out.

    Forget Behringer, god forbid some Chinese company comes across this and says screw it, I’ll make the same thing but sell it cheaper than Behringer, you think people will say I won’t buy it from you, nope they will buy, if the product is crap, the company will anyways tank and meet its end, but people will love to have access to something that emulates bigger brands at cheaper costs. Please remember, we guys may tread carefully, but there are a lot of people who want to buy but don’t have $2000 – $4000 readily available to buy equipment.

    It’s easier to just rant here and say hell with you poor guys…incapable of buying DSI, Moog, etc, therefore forever doomed to be living underground…. You’ve paid prices which the seller could dictate all these years, now it’s becoming a buyers market and brand loyalty is out of the window. It’s happening in ever sphere of life, weather you like it or not.

    Let’s say, there are say 10 million people (gross over estimate but stick with me) out there who want an Moog, how many of them do you think have the cash available to buy one of them? I saved up for a couple of years and then got mine, but do you reckon a young musician can go out and buy one? Now, if he had access to something cheap and affordable, don’t you think he’d explore that? If someone hates the equipment, they’ll drop it like a hot cake.

    Hell, my friend had a bad experience with Arturia and swore off their products, but earlier this year he went and got a Keystep this year because the product worked and got the job done. Damn, I’ve seen Daft Punk use Behringer for crying out loud.

    Get your head out of the sand…Just so you know the guy laughing all the way to the bank is probably, at this very moment, sitting and playing some pointless game on an android phone in China and will never even know about this rant, but will probably become a millionaire if not a billionaire by 2020.

    1. A couple points:

      I literally do not see one comment that says anything remotely close to “If you don’t play a Moog please leave this site”. Please, point me in the direction of this post.

      A lot of poor people have made incredible music on very cheap, or found instruments. A shitty musician is not suddenly going to start making good music because they can afford a Minimoog clone. They already can, by the way, it’s just software and not hardware.

      There are cheap and affordable synths out right this second that are not made my Behringer. The DM12 is not cheap or affordable for most of the world.

      No one is arguing that what Behringer is doing is illegal, not even Curtis. Most are just saying it is unethical and arrogant for Uli to brag about his clones without checking in with Curtis to try to work out some deal. Maybe you don’t care about ethics. If that’s the case, just say it.

  39. My comment was not specific to Uli’s chip cloning. It’s about the Behringer ethos in general. I find it a stretch to attempt to establish some equivalency between a cheap ripoff of someone else’s design (right down to the silkscreening) vs. spotting a cloned or “stolen” chip buried in another brand’s otherwise-innovative design.

    Remember, there’s never a Behringer announcement without an accompanying price. “Cheap” is their main innovation, and that’s all many people want to hear. It’s a shame – his more innovative (and, notably, more expensive, since actual R&D is involved) products like the X32 are quite cool. He’s just left such a bad taste in many people’s mouths over the past decades that we don’t want to give him our money.

    Someone should clone the Behringer X32, don’t you think? It’s pretty pricey. And hey, it’s all about making music, not this elitist expensive shit!

  40. Seems so easy. Uli, meet Mary. Mary, Uli.

    Both of yunz, do the right thing. Customers will appreciate it and you’ll both make a bunch of money.

  41. I see a lot of people comparing this to how behringer is helping musicians by providing them what they need.


    It is 2017.

    People needed cheap guitars due to demand, there were real starving artists out there. For the past 10 years hardware synths have been replaced very succesfully with software. only people that lust after the classics or really want that little difference etc want them, so basically behringer are targeting this small market, he is not doing it for music or musicians.

    What is wrong with all the current sub 200-400 dollar hardware synths? no fancy name or legacy?

  42. “While Behringer can legally clone Curtis’s circuit designs, Mary Curtis’s message highlights that Behringer ‘knockoffs’ impact the viability of ‘authentic’ reissues.”

    There may be some people who can afford an “authentic” reissue but only care about sound rather than the brand name will now buy a cheap Behringer knockoff instead, and I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing overall:

    – “authentic” reissues may have to compete more on price and quality in addition to name recognition
    – musicians can purchase more analog synth(s) for less money
    – there is a wider range of price points for analog synths, from entry-level to boutique instruments
    – cheap digital synths and plugins face steeper competition from budget analog hardware
    – there are more options for replacement parts
    – hobbyists have more and cheaper options for building custom synths
    – Behringer and others can freely build upon and improve the Curtis designs if they want to
    – there is more of an incentive for established companies to expand their brand to new designs – rather than solely milking an old cash cow
    – the patent system is working as intended

    1. The CEM3340 Chips produced by Onchip may be faithful reproductions, but they don’t perform like the originals, I know people who have purchased the CEM3340 revG put it in an Oberheim synth and they didn’t work. So the OnChip clones aren’t as faithful as you would like to believe. My understanding is that Behringer literally copied the original.

      Onchip could have started reproducing these chips at any point but they didn’t. I’ve had several conversations with Mary about funding the development/creation of new CEM chips, but she wanted $$ for nothing in return. i.e. I would fund the production of the chips, and when they were done, I would pay the same price as everyone else. Didn’t sound like a fair deal to me, I could wait for Behringer to clone them and pay less for the same thing.

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