Behringer Cloning Oberheim OB-Xa

Behringer founder Uli Behringer today announced the Behringer UB-Xa synthesizer – a modern clone of Tom Oberheim‘s classic Oberheim OB-Xa.

Uli Behringer

The CEO also announced that he’s cloning it by having his engineers do the work in their free time, so it may be a while until the company can release it:

Today I officially announce that we have decided that we will develop and produce an authentic OB-Xa clone which we call the UB-Xa.

As you can imagine, this is a very complex and time-consuming project and at this stage we won’t be able to tell you when the instrument will be available in the market or what it will cost.

Since this is more a labor of love than a commercially viable project, our engineers can’t work full time on this synth and will use some of their free time, hence the project will likely take more than 12 months.

Most importantly, our goal is to make it an absolute authentic sounding instrument and offer it at a truly affordable price – but you know this already.

Because of its high complexity, we have assigned this project to our most experienced team which is the Midas team in Manchester, UK. These synth nuts and super-smart engineers – under the leadership of Pete and Rob – were also the ones who developed the successful DeepMind12.

The company plans to post periodic updates on the development and manufacturing of the Behringer UB-Xa via social media on a regular basis.

97 thoughts on “Behringer Cloning Oberheim OB-Xa

  1. Ha, ha, ha, ha!
    Uli Trump announces his decision that his “super-smart” engineers will work for free and make a great product… some years from now.
    Just wow.
    What genius decision will he announce tomorrow?
    Any guesses?

    1. Why not? People buy iPhones produced by poor Chinese workers, who work round the clock and make pittance. Uli is almost Steve Jobs in the synth world 🙂 Once he starts mass producing his crap, everyone will like it. DM12 is actually very good sounding synth. I owned it and sold just because needed some space. But I am going to repurchase the desktop version soon…

      1. Steve Jobs innovated. Uli steals. I own some of his products, but no, he’s not like Jobs.

        I’ve often found his bravado and bluster to be similar to Trump, though he’s not as dumb.

        1. I was not serious about that comparison. Of course he is not Steve Jobs. Not even close. But they are both equal in the fact of moving production to China (without any hesitations) and keeping R&D onsite to lower final cost. When apple moved production to China there were many purists and patriots who promised to abandon using apple electronics. In the end of the day, all the protesters just bought iPhones and shut their faces. So that was my forecast for Uli’s future.

          1. Justo WHO does not produce in China? Even Apple only produces a few Macintosh models in the US. Seriously, I cannot think of a single manufacturer. You guys should avoid comparing boutique and/or overpriced products with mass production (that is what actually ends in most people’s hands and what actually create jobs). I fail to see what’s wrong with Behringer synths, just like the majority of Korg products, Roland’s, Yamaha etc, being manufactured in China. Unless you’re willing to pay them way more. That’s the sad truth. The only and last synth I owned which wasn’t produced in China was a cheapy Korg PS60 (made in Japan): any other instrument, especially expensive ones, are Chinese. Behringer cannot and shouldn’t be like Moog or Crumar.
            Anyway, a classic Oberheim at a reasonable price is always very welcome: much, much better than the rumoured vocoder.

            1. There are so many synth companies that don’t produce their stuff in china…
              Moog (US), Vermona (Germany), Doepfer (Germany), Oberheim (US), Buchla (US), MakeNoise (US), DSI (US)… Just to name a few.
              Some of their products have a pretty great price-benefit ratio like the Mother 32 from Moog or the whole Doepfer range of modules.
              And they are all far more innovative and visionary than Behringer.

        2. “Innovated.”

          Name ONE thing Steve Jobs designed or built.

          Woz built the Apple I and II.

          Xerox Parc developed the GUI.

          The NeXT Cube? Jobs merely got in the way of production by ignoring the needs of manufacturing and insisting on a PERFECT cube case.

          I think the comparison between Uli and Jobs is pretty much DEAD ON.

          1. The Apple iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, iPad, Apple TV and MacBook line were not knock-offs of other people’s work. They were innovative and sometimes revolutionary designs that inspired a flood of cheap copies.

            The Behringer versions of the Moog Model D, Oberheim OB-X, and Roland VP-330 are cheap copies of classic designs from renowned and high-profile companies. Behringer is co-opting successful designs from others in an attempt to raise their status and profile in the synthesizer marketplace.

            There’s nothing noble about this. It’s the same approach countless Chinese companies have used to flood the market with cheap cellphones, copies of classic Nintendo consoles, watches, clothes and even cars.

            1. Apple didn’t invent any of those things. They just re-designed them in Apple style. Behringer aren’t doing anything different to Apple here.

          1. Everything is a partial copy of something else (even Nietzsche wrote it). But turning a concept in something actually usable and giving it to the mass, is another thing. Do you really think the Xerox primordial GUI was anything like Mac OS or Lisa’s? Or that the first palmars (like Newton) were anything like BlackBerries?

          1. Just what’s wrong with it? If you aren’t born in the 60s or 70s and couldn’t enjoy them back when they came out, and if you’re willing the spend your entire pay on a synth…

        3. @ IHANW
          Just where is the theft in this project? …. Theft by definition is one party taking something from another without the other knowing. This is pubic knowledge… all out in the open…. if Oberheim had a bee in their bonnet, their lawyers would shut this project down pretty quickly….
          I like playing synths and I like recording music… personally I couldn’t give two knobs of you know what if it’s a Behringer or not…. I can’t even dream of affording and maintaining a genuine Oberheim so if this (or any other clone) gets me closer to owning my dream gear at an AFFORDABLE price, then all power to him … I would love a JP-8 but I’m not prepared to spend upwards of $10,000 for one…. ditto an SH-101 (which I used to own when they first came out) … $1000+ for a 101 because a bunch of wanna-be ‘producers’ churn out the same old same old and try and cash in on the hype? … I’ll pass on that one.
          If it sounds good in the mix, if it’s enjoyable to play/program, if buying one doesn’t make you miss rent payments or eating for the next month or two then yeah… I’ll go with a Behringer.

    2. Right? Just release the product already. I’m sick of these dumb teases where they have a case mockup and are 2 years away or whatever.

    3. Hahaha what a super-smart comment. I am looking forward to your follow-up comment once the UB-Xa is being released.
      Until then, what exactly did Uli ever do to you that you are acting out like this? I would really like to understand… or perhaps is it just a “jump-on-the-bash-wagon” kind of thing? Does it take away that “magic dust” from a real OB-Xa? Why would you care?
      Looking forward to your genius answers 🙂

  2. Free time doesn’t necessarily mean “for free” plenty of companies have voluntary side projects workers can work on, and usually bonus pay is involved. If it weren’t, no one would ever be bothered to complete them.

  3. Tom Oberheim is still alive and active and is a great guy.

    An actual synth designer – like Dave Smith – would never rip off Tom Oberheim.

    If you think about buying a UB-Xa., remember that the big ‘Behringer UB-Xa’ on the back tells everybody that you’re fine with the biggest company in the music industry ripping off Tom Oberheim.

    1. Tom is a great guy but he’s not in the OB-Xa business. I admit this would be pretty crass if Oberheim was selling the OB-Xa, but he’s not. I hope this product (if and when it sees the light of day) is awesome!

    2. “Behringer’s parent company Music Group has been making chips through its Coolaudio subsidiary for 17 years and its products – specifically the replica of the CEM 3340 – have been used by Dave Smith Instruments and Elektron to make their own gear. While Behringer is legally allowed to make replicas of the CEM3340 because the patents have expired, Curtis Electromusic still exists, and still makes its own chips for analog synth gear.” Source: factmag.com/2017/03/22/curtis-electromusic-vintage-synth-cloning

      So who’s zooming who?

    3. While I agree with your sentiments. I think that “poor ol’ Tom” could have done himself a favour by being able to deliver on his own reissues of his classic gear. The store I work at stopped carrying Oberheim because we got sick of waiting more than a year for orders to be filled.

      …and I don’t hear anyone complaining about how SE “ripped off” the minimoog back in the 90s, nor the countless Moog/ARP/etc. filter and oscillator clones that are to be found in the eurorack world. Not to mention the KARP Odyssey.

      If Behringer can deliver on their promise to do faithful recreations of a few classic synths. I think that the majority will be just fine with it. I just hope that all this leads to them coming out with more unique products of their own (the Deepmind is actually pretty awesome once you dig into it).

  4. I have an original OBxa, but keeping it in tune is a real pain in the ass. It’s been a major part of my sound, so If Uli does release this unit, I’ll buy it in a New York minute. I doubt it will have eight voice boards with trimmers galore under the hood, which allowed me to customize the synth overall, but that’s fine by me.

  5. Following the success of the Minimoog clone, why not? Oh wait…that was never released! It was teased into non-existent oblivion. Lame.

  6. Why the complaining on a new hardware synth?. We are consumers should be thankful of having different options on similar synths. Why promote “monopolies” on the music industry. There is literally hundreds of small and large companies selling for instance, modular filters “based” on MOOGs, ARPs, KORGs, Rolands…etc and we dont complain about it. why start complaining now on affordable pieces of equipment?

  7. I will definitely buy this! I’ll put my money down as soon as it is possible and get in line for one of the earlier units. 2019? No problem – better than never. I did the same with the Deepmind 12 and the Model D. I’m enjoying my Deepmind 12 and look forward to the release of the Model D. It can sit with my Moog Model D. Please announce a CS-80 or an Arp 2600 or an Andromeda, or one of many other great synths not in production and I’ll buy them as well. I own several synths, but there are many synths that are not in production that I wished I had bought at the time. Do I feel guilty? Not really. If Tom was still making the OB-Xa, I’d probably go with that, but he’s not. These synths are no longer in production and I’d love to see them back in production one way or another. They would fit in well with my newer synths (such as the OB-6). Thank you Uli.

    1. Yeah I’m with you on this. Couldn’t give a shit who’s making it and why. A quick check of eBay puts a genuine OB-Xa between €4500 and €6000. Well out of my price range for pretty much anything. As with the DeepMind, I imagine this will be about €900 to €1100 when Behringer release it. I’m genuinely thankful that they are doing this

  8. Wow! looks amazing! Excellent Job Uli!!!!! Very excited to hear these new clones in action.
    If they even sound close to the originals it will be so tempting to try and own them all.
    Amazing times for musicians to be able to access to all these legendary retro synths at a incredible price.
    Also I don’t understand why people are complaining?!?
    Just take a look at guitar pedals, guitars, eurorack, software synths/emulations, filters types. The entire music industry is full of borrowed technology (even borrowed music: sampling). Uli finally took on the huge task to make some legendary synths affordable and do proper looking clones with analog chips. Many musicians will be creating amazing music with these tools. If it bothers you don’t buy it or support it. So much negativity on Synthtopia its disgusting. However, you whiners know you will end up owning these synths in the future.

  9. Ehh, I wonder why he choose to make the midi switch to choose midi-channel on the backside and not on the front as there are space enough.

    This format should have been the one they also choose for the model D instead of such eurorack-a-like 🙂

  10. Hire me and I’ll work with one of these big companies with an ORIGINAL idea, once for a change.
    Ok, the OB sounds great and all that, but what capabilities does it offer in 2018 regarding synthesis? A lot has happened since the 1980s ladies & gentlemen. “Cloning” is a rehash of the same old ideas, in my opinion ADD new interesting parameters, some routing possibilities or something!

    1. I see these comments on here quite to often. I do not understand them. There are plenty of new products being developed. I need to ask why are you looking at this post and commenting on it? Do you expect synth manufactures to create a brand new form of synthesis with every release? Do you not like classic sounds that are a part of music history? Should musicians be creating new unique instruments for every song recorded?
      A huge group of us in the synth community want these classic sounds. Some of us even make retro style music that calls for synths with vintage vibes. Not all synth players are trying to create new forms of experimental electronic music or the lastest bass wobble trend. There is a huge desire for an OBX-A clone and all the others being done. Finally someone is doing it with just enough modern features like usb.

      1. Yep, half of Synthtopia screams “bring back the analog classics for cheap” and then when Behringer proposes to do exactly that (since the patents have long expired – that’s what patents are for!) they bring out torches and pitchforks! Nothing is stopping Tom Oberheim from re-releasing his old designs as well (in fact he’s already done that with the SEM, etc..) I guess he could sue Behringer (not to mention many software instrument companies) for something like trademark infringement in their copying of the appearance of the original, but I don’t necessarily think that would be good for musicians.

        Patents expire so that inventions can be exploited by anyone without having to pay royalties or ask for permission!! This is a good thing because it lowers the cost for manufacturers and the price for customers, and it encourages new invention because your monopoly on the old invention doesn’t last forever.

  11. Can anyone explain why people hate this Behringer guy so much? And, while you’re at it, how come it’s legally possible at all to clone synths nowadays Is there a legal loophole? Did patents expire? Also: I have found very decent samples of this drum machine. What is the added value of a hardware version I have software filters and hardware MIDI knobs.

  12. This is cool. Hopefully it will be available sooner rather than later.

    Behringer should also have the “…synth nuts and super-smart engineers…” working on an OSCare clone.

  13. Why do people use pedals, mixers, microphones, supports (etc., etc.) Behringer with satisfaction for years while on synthesizers you are doing the picky? These are clones of instruments that have not been produced for decades, which cost thousands of Euros on the used market. With these products everyone will be able to try the sound architecture of the synths that he has always dreamed of as a child but that he could never afford because the instruments cost as much as a car or a small apartment. There’s nothing wrong. If the product does not work, there is warranty, it replaces or repairs. That’s okay. But how come the Model E has not yet come out on the market?

  14. “this is more a labor of love than a commercially viable project”

    I’m supposed to believe he is intentionally going to create a product that he knows won’t make him money? What a saint.

    I don’t have a big problem with these reproductions but I can’t stand the way Uli presents himself or his company. Let’s be real here. They are doing this to make money, not as some sort of service to the community.

    All the teases are calculated. The idea is to get potential customers excited about their products and to hopefully keep them from spending money on competitors in hopes of getting their dream synths from Uli.

    I get more excited about true innovation the rehashes but I have to admit I’d love to have a 2600 if built right. But I won’t hold my breath. When I know actual product has started and end users have actually touched and heard units then he’ll get my real attention.

    1. “They are doing this to make money, not as some sort of service to the community.” < Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Clavia, Elektron..etc…too…

  15. More desktops. Fine , but please make the width less than a 19″ rack unit, so to put it on a 19″ rack shelf. Not extravaganza wide like almost 60cm or more like other desktops. ahum .. deskbricks.

    And make sure it’s temperature stable. !

  16. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not even vaguely salty about the announcement. I’m just overjoyed at the merest hint of a possibility that I could own an OBX-a in my lifetime.

  17. So we have this one guy and his capriciousness, and on the other hand we have a horde of disgruntled synth connoisseurs…

    …and apparently of the two, that first guy is supposed to be the off-putting one?

  18. In many cultures “copying” is actually a honor!
    It shows that you like the original!
    Also by copying and add something in the process things can evolve!

    Greedy, angry, sad -peaople talk about “stealing” and complain that everything gets worse.

  19. The comments in regards to this or similar topics always go pretty much the same predictable way, with most people on polar opposites. Is it possible to understand both sides, and ultimately lean one way, and not be so diametrically opposed? Of course its nice to see legacy, expensive stuff be available for people who can’t afford it. Its also good to acknowledge that a lot of time has passed since the original was made. It would be different if it was just last year. At the same time, using a chip that’s manufactured by someone is not the same as outright copying something down to exact look of the unit. And it will, in the end effect the person who designed and took the risk on the original unit. Whether or not you are ok with that and where you draw the line is up to you, but you have to acknowledge that when they copy other products, it does effect the people that make those products. Anecdotes to Apple or others might be the excuse you are looking for to feel better about it, but it doesn’t change that fact.

  20. These behringer news are funny and they really show how much bitterness and bad blood exists among synth affectionados. Have a listen to ”I love my life as a dickhead” and keep on keepin on

    WE ALL PLAY SYNTHS
    WE ALL PLAY SYNTHS

  21. “UB-Xa” has got to be the tackiest name ever. The OB-Xa was named after its developer/company name. The UB-Xa is named after… the president of the company who is copying it?

    1. Spot on Will! It is exactly this particular detail that blatantly reveils UB’s narcississtic behaviour. In my view, a first-degree and brutal act of dishonouring the original creativity of synthesizer pioneers like OB. This goes beyond forgery.

  22. His poor engineers. One moment they are setting up all the minimoog copies. At the same moment they are copying the Obie. I’m not sure how much time it takes to cmd-c and cmd-v???? Imagine the meeting: front panel? Here’s what we want. Architecture? Here’s what we want. Chipset? We already make the heart of the synth. Control electronics? We can rehash the deepmind. Er…….that’s it. Send out the teasers now and then not build enough to get stock into the shops (what do they do between teasing and selling?)

  23. Ps I’d like to like other comments but I don’t want to be forced to sign up to something odd. Anyone who wants one take a ? from me

  24. WE GET IT BEHRINGER. YOU WANT TO BURN THE “MY KEYBOARD COSTS AS MUCH AS MY CAR” RETRO SYNTH MARKET TO THE GROUND.

    DELIVER FIRST PLEASE.

  25. This is just payback for the DSI Prophet REV 2 knocking the wind out of Behringer’s sails (and sales) last year… Except DSI came with the goods, not vaporware.

  26. so the dude likely to score the most profit when a product is released wants his employees to design and build it for free.

    what an A grade Arsehole.

  27. It’s funny that Behringer is getting so much criticism. Assuming they deliver on many of the clones, they are just responding to the demand for reissues which I have seen on synths forms for over 10 years. I hope their strategy pressures some of the other large manufactures into doing the same, and listening to the demands/ desires of the markets.

    The OB-X Is my favorite clone yet. Would definitely buy one.

    1. “It’s funny that Behringer is getting so much criticism. Assuming they deliver on many of the clones, they are just responding to the demand for reissues which I have seen on synths forms for over 10 years. :”

      They’re getting criticism because what they have to do to re-release classic synth clones is:

      Rip-off the people that designed the classic synths, instead of designing something new;

      Make their engineers do the design work in their free time;

      Compromise on the original synth designs, using SMT technology and cheap, readily available parts, to make the synths inexpensive to manufacture;

      Have the synths built in a giant factory in China, where the workers live onsite, instead of paying people a living wage and having them work reasonable hours; and

      Copy the look of other company’s gear, so that people will get fooled into thinking that these cheap copies are really like the originals.

      It’s not rocket science to figure out why companies like Moog doesn’t release a $300 Eurorack version of a Minimoog – the Behringer D is a big f*** you to Bob Moog and the people that designed the Minimoog and have built it over the years, because making a cheap knockoff requires making layers upon layers of compromise.

      Behringer’s practices WILL put pressure on other large manufactures. It will pressure them to compromise on parts, business practices, morals and sound quality, because that’s what’s required to make the cheap knockoffs that Behringer has specialized in.

      It’s a race to the bottom, and Uli Behringer is leading the way.

      One things for sure: if you’ve got the name of someone like Bob Moog or Tom Oberheim or Dave Smith on the back of a synth, other musicians will recognize that you know gear and that you want to support the engineers that create great synth designs.

      But, if you’ve got ‘UB-Xa’ on your synth, or ‘Behringer D’, or ‘BR-808’, other musicians will recognize that you’d rather buy cheap knockoffs than support creative synth designs, and that you’re interested in copying the past instead of discovering new synths that are key to unlocking new types of sounds.

      1. I agree with your criticism of the exploitation of labor by capitalist enterprises, but this is commonplace across all industries. Your right to point out that, because of globalized supply chains, the majority of our goods (including the computers we are typing on) are produced by marginalized labor overseas. No one is happy with this. I’d imagine that while the finished products are made domestically ,most of the components inside Moogs and DSIs are made overseas, under the same conditions. Should we not buy them on that basis? I don’t know.

        I just don’t see a race to the bottom in terms of the quality of goods delivered to the market. Perhaps there are diminishing returns on investment given the over-capacity of the whole synth industry. I don’t believe there have ever been this many synths of the quality and complexity we see today. If you were in the market for a new synth in the late 90’s you would have the choice between a few virtual analogs with plastic enclosures selling for around $1,000.

        I won’t address the issue of intellectual property since it’s been discussed ad-nauseam. It is worth mentioning that nearly every analog subtractive synthesizer, is to some extent, a clone of the minimoog.

        I cannot foresee many selling their Moog Voyager, buying a Behringer model D and pocketing the spread. It also seems unlikely that the cheap and feature packed Deepmind will steal any market share from the REV2 because of the disparity in build quality and sound. Behringer is operating in a different portion of the market then almost all of the other manufacturers.

        1. I agree – this is mainly a step up for people who currently only dream of being able to touch the real hardware and are making do with VSTs. (Though I don’t dislike VSTs – they often sound very good – some of my best friends use VSTs….)

          Although… once they catch the hardware bug, they might start turning into synthtopia analog hardware maniacs…. Oh dear, what madness are you contemplating, Behringer??

      2. Georg, compare, for example, the synths Roland made 25-15 years ago and what they are making now. Compare JD-Xa to V-Synth or JD-800, compare Fantom-Xa to FA. I don’t mention that Fantom-G or Jupiter-80 have no successors at all. Long time before Uli started to make cheap clones, Roland (Korg, Yamaha etc) started to “cut costs”. Compare Yamaha MO to MOX/MOXF. Cheap cases, light keybeds etc. Everybody dive into PC/ Mac/ virtual synths so we are observing the dusk of hardware top synths (I don’t mean Instruments which are produced in small scales like JBSD Solaris or Waldorf Quantum or DSI P12).

  28. I get the feeling Behringer tries to deceive us into thinking they are in fact a ’boutique’ manufacturer, with authentic passion for the product, people working on it in their free time, etc. But it doesn’t feel genuine at all! Second : I’m not impressed with the whining about it being a large project, and needing a large design team and a lot of time. The design was long done by Tom Oberheim. Behringer only needs to rework, and optimize for manufacturability. Which doesn’t require synth guru’s at all, but rather clever parts sourcing, layout and price calculations. This thing motivates me to do what I already feel like doing for a long time: design a truly innovative, user friendly, deep analog polysynth, in my free time, as a labour of love. I will build one for me, and one for a friend and that’s it!

  29. It is pretty hilarious how people complain about cloning, but probably would have no problem using something like a Boss DR-670, or in fact any drum machine that uses samples of other machines such as a 909 or an 808 … etc. Would you have an issue using a sample library that is taken from original analog equipment? Not to mention VST “clones”. I know it is not exactly the same thing, but where do you set the boundary? It is pretty sh!tty that companies take somebody’s else’s designs, even if they are more than 30 years old, and clone them. “Clone” is a misnomer really, since they are usually nothing like the original hardware. This is our life today and blaming Behringer for something everyone else is doing, is a little silly.

  30. If Behringer manages to deliver a great clone improved with the deep mind 12 effects and mod matrix, I’d buy it. If it was a straight up clone I’d have to think about it, but if it’s 19 inch compatible I’d buy it.

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