Behringer UB-Xa Synthesizer Behind-The-Scenes Look

Behringer today shared this sneak preview of the development of the upcoming Behringer UB-Xa, a modern reproduction of the classic Oberheim OB-Xa.

In the video, Pete and Rob take a behind-the-scenes look at their work on the new synth, and discuss some of the design decisions that they are considering in the process.

Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments!

55 thoughts on “Behringer UB-Xa Synthesizer Behind-The-Scenes Look

  1. Please add MPE and support for full keyboard MIDI Tuning Standard messages. Thanks. No UI needed. Just accept the messages. For tuning, you can have a single global tuning. Doesn’t need to be complicated.

    1. Yes! MPE and custom tunings should be standard on every new synth. I know this is based on a vintage synth but I don’t think these 2 features would affect or degrade the sound at all.

      1. What is it with the current love affair with lfos. I haven’t heard one sound made with an additional lfo that will be relevant 3 years from now. Prince Jam & Lewis Toto etc made great use of Classic setup and it didn’t seem to hurt their music at all. You guys seem to caught up in trends instead creating something classic.

        1. This is a ridiculous statement. First, more available modulation is always better. Second, how would you know how many LFOs you’re hearing in something? The second one might be used for subtle detuning, or rhythmic staggers with a square, or whatever. I guess you have conoisseur ears, or just like to stir the pot.

          1. I really doubt subtlety is the reason most want additional lfos. I will admit that maybe it may not be as obvious, but to ruin the form of a classic instrument for detuned wavery non sense…come on admit it… you’ve heard those sounds pwmed then and more voices to the detuned…oh oh then have the second lfo modulate pwm amount with a s&h wave INTO THE AUDIO RANGE!!!!
            Just learn some chords
            7s 9s 11s maybe Dorian mode maybe melodic minor. Please stop holding us that actually want to PLAY our instrument hostage

      1. Uli only replies to comments(not very often) that previously have given him praise and glory, 15 minutes of fame, its rely a Bheringer ego marketing show so far in all threads he participated in.

  2. Any chance of keeping the flipper arrangement for modulation and pitch bend? That was an integral part of the performance fun…

    Can’t wait – I was an avid long time user of this and also the OB8

  3. I really do understand why people want to keep the UB-XA as close to the OB-XA as possible, particularly the fear of it effecting its sound ,and integrity. I agree with both, and particulary the sound!!!
    How, I do think it would be an opportunity missed, if they did not at least think about putting an extra LFO, it would really open up this beautiful instrument, and pull it into the new millennia!
    I am sure that Tom Oberhiem would have added more features on the OB-XA if the Technology at the time would have allowed him!
    Adding an extra LFO and the adjustable Noise, that they have suggested, I can only see helping it to be a better INSTRUMENT. I don’t see it making it sound any less magnificent. After all you don’t have to use the LFO if you don’t want to!!!
    The other important point, Behringer could really “still a march” on it competitors. Korg have just released the Prologue, I will not be buying it, is the Modulation (1 LFO, come on guys) is just to limiting. I got really excited about the DSI OB6, got my wallet out, and put it back in my pocket, the moment I see it only had 1 LFO. Same with Roland System 8!! I could have bought any of them, but “chose” not to due to lack of modulation options. I can not understand why Analogue should mean “feature limited”. Tech’ has come along way people! Let’s use it.

    2 LFO’s = USP guys. USP!!!! (apart from the Rev2!)

    1. The OB-Xa has a second LFO for pith modulation afaik, it’s situated in the mod/pitch controller section. You can select either OSC1 or 2 individually, or both.

  4. Absolutely couldn’t agree more. 2 LFOs. Please add features that don’t alter the final sound, but make it a better synth than the original. Control features such as LED’s, pots, MIDI and sliders are fantastic and at the same time don’t change the original sound. I would love it to be original but updated wherever possible. After all, you are replicating a fantastic sounding synth so use any technological improvements made over the last 30-40 years. Go wild without changing the sound. If it costs a bit more, that’s OK. I will definitely buy it! I can always choose not to use all of the added features and use it as if it were an original. Just let me have that option.

    1. Yep. A Chorus was definitely missing on the original, the obxa sounded so weak and thin, everybody was complaining. ..

  5. Interesting project. It would be cool to put a twist to the synth and create a new instrument “inspired” by the OB sound. The quality of the keyboard is also important, make it 5 octaves please, adding aftertouch too. No need for built-in reverb, use the space for more knobs or other functions instead.

  6. i was somewhat concerned that he thought the main difference in sound of the OBXA was the filters….ITS THE VCO OSCILLATORS! thats where your biggest focus should be. that tearing…phat raw sound. Nail that first…then worry about the filter that shapes them.

    Dont make them DCOs …dont make it mini keys…dont add a cheezy LCD screen or fx.
    4 kinda obvious things really.

  7. To be fair, osc2 on the OB-6 could be used as a polyphonic second LFO, and it does still have a sub to thicken up that single-osc sound. But lack of modulation is definitely a big part of what made me sell mine, and what turns me directly away fron the Prologue. I think you can easily keep it legit enough even with an added LFO and a bit of inventive routing. Some rudimentary FX would be good too…unfamiliar with whether the original had chorus or anything, but a little of that is always welcome.

    And to echo earlier comments, making the raw oscillators really fizz like La Croix is key. That’s the whole sound.

  8. * Full MIDI Sysex patch loading , not only bank
    * if possbille Digital Effects and separate L/R out (panning)
    * MPE
    * NRPN for each control and all global settings instead of 2 CC’s, So 14 bits if even possible.
    * Build in Power supply,
    * No cooling fan.
    * Quickly stable for temperature variations
    * 19″ rack-able or desktop version (if Eurorack then just us a Euro to 19″ mount )
    * USB MIDI (perhaps a USB host connector on the rack to plug in a ext. keyboard)
    * 4, 6, 8 voices user voice card up-gradable

  9. I agree with whoever posted about the paddles/flippers being important (and bend pitch down when you push). Even if they decide to make a KB version and not just a desktop version, i have a strong feeling they won’t be there. What about the 2nd page options on the OB-8?

    1. they are apparently thinking here “in their spare time” as well eh.

      interesting timing…a couple of days just before NAMM. Co-incidence im sure

    2. I think it’s awesome he keeps us involved in the whole process. Synths can take years to develop and perfect. I find it fascinating to learn and get a look behind the scenes. The dude is working on bringing us an affordable Oberheim clone and people are seriously complaining? I think with the Model D he has shown that he can deliver a proper clone. You got something to ask him, he is there to be contacted and even responds. Hell, even asks us what we would like to see.

  10. Have a look at what sonic projects did with their OPx pro plugin, they have many of the trimmers available to the user, especially love having the pans available, like the side panel pots on a original OB-8 or on a software page like an Xpander.

  11. My one request- and this will decide wether I buy one or not- is that the program buttons on the bottom right- like on the original, when you press a patch button it changes instantly WITHOUT RESETING THE ENVELOPES! I’ve developed my own way of playing my OBxa but I’m tired of constantly tuning it, each voice board has a load of trimmers that drift. That being said, having the option to tweak each trimmer even in softer is a welcome idea, as I’ve done some cool trimmer tweaks to each voices filter and resonance that was very musical. Looking forward to further updates on this beast of a project.

  12. I am really looking forward to it. Don’t care about many requests here except maybe custom tuning (octave split to more or less than 12 notes) and it would be really nice if it were multi timbral.

  13. If you folks have suggestions, this would be the best place to voice them direct to Uli…

    Uli makes announcements and responds often on the Gearslutz forum. You will find his posts about this synth in the link above.

    I actually find Uli refreshing as a major synth company owner. He’s open about the products he is developing and directly connects with those interested. He keeps people up to date on the status of his synths, manufacturing, sales, and even gives us a look behind the scenes.

    I can’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeves. I’ll take an affordable Arp2600 and Polivoks clone, please. 🙂

  14. I agree with desktop/euro rack version. most producers have midi keyboards.
    A patch bay (like arturia just did with the minibrute2) would make this rock especially with the second LFO.

  15. 2 lfo’s, fx unit, led rings around pots. Perfection. Love this transparent, community co-developing approach. This is the future.

  16. Obviously early days, but a very interesting product. I hope it doesn’t take too long to appear. One new feature I would like to see is full multitimbrality – it’s a feature that seems to have been forgotten on all these new polyphonic analogues from all manufacturers.

  17. Multitimbrality – Elektron Analog 4 is 4-part, which is full given that there’s only 4 voices, but I agree, a nice 16 voice analog polysynth should be able to have at least 4 key zones and be split into 4 parts.

    RE: the above video, It just feels like this Behringer campaign is a big distraction to 1) take heat away form all the new analogs overshadowing the DeepMind, 2) not bring up a discussion about the D not shipping yet, and 3) ignore the fact that they will likely not have anything new for NAMM 2018.

  18. I borrowed an OB-XA from a friend,back in 1987 when I was in my teens, for 3 weeks while he was on Holiday, it sounded massive! But I can not recall a second LFO (if there was one it was well hidden!) I was on that thing all day, everyday! (but I may have missed it) You could modulate the oscillator’s, but it was the same LFO, from what I can remember.
    But even then I can remember thinking ” it would be great if I could modulate “that” differently then “this”. I always wanted to modulate the two oscillators Pulse separately but couldn’t. A year or two later he offered to sell it to me, but I could not afford it at the time (bummer!!!!)

    I have the money now, but I am sure that the small frustrations I had with it then,would just be magnified now. Technology has moved on so much, I believe that LFO’s can easily (and cheaply) be generated to very musical levels in digital format, without effecting the “core” sound. (Which I am sure we can agree is the most important thing). The OB-XA sounded HUGE!! But I have to say it was limited in regards of modulation.

    All it would take would be another button, or the same button that toggled between LFO 1 & 2, and some very clever computer coding. Now, if I am wrong, and adding another LFO would degrade the sound quality, then maybe I would think again. But it is possible, take a look at what Tom Oberheim did with the Matrix 12 just 5 years after the release of the OB-XA, its a modulation monster,and that was in the mid 1980’s.

    I really can not work out why Korg, Roland and DSI, release Poly Synths 30 years later with just ONE LFO (?!) Surely we should take advantage of all the wonders that technology has brought us over the last 30 years, not the “dumbing down” that Korg and Roland are giving us with there latest Poly synths.
    Kind Regards

  19. I doubt it could happen, but I’d love to see an honest, non-confrontational interview with Tom to ask him, “if you were running this project for Behringer, and you could make a modern incarnation, or another way to look at it, if you had all today’s technology and manufacturing processes, what would this synth look like?”

  20. Please UB8-Xa instead of UB-Xa.Feature-wise OBXa is comparably boring. On (still complex) Alesis Ion I had to stock the complete(!) mod matrix to obtain a certain patch using some of OB8´s additional parameters. I bought three OB8 in my life. All of them are broken. Behringer could easily effort to produce UB8-Xa instead of UB-Xa. There´s a rumour that OBXa sounds a bit warmer than OB8 but what about to make OBXa´s sound with OB8´s so called Page 2 paramters? Please do it! We all were incredibly thankful. OBXa´s sonic potential is way more limited than OB8´s.

    1. DFG, Even though the OB-Xa didn’t have the silkscreened Page 2 labeling, the last OB-Xa firmware update contained the Page 2 functions. It came within 6 months of announcing the OB-8. And yes, having owned both new during the production run, I agree the Xa was warmer.

  21. Dear R&D pros,

    please consider to produce the perfect one right from the start & implement OB8´s Page 2 features in the UB-XA. Please take a look at my scans.
    OBXA is nice but that basic sound would be so much enhanced by OB8´s Page 2.

    I´d like to reveal the IMO most exciting things about it.
    Even today there ain´t any analogue that can quantize several LFOs (= Glissandi). LFO No.3 can work as sample source for LFO 1 & 2. Quantization can still be used simultaneously. Anything leads to unique expression, still so far away from being too much.

    Portamento offers 6 modes and can act as Pitch Env.
    Since atk/delay mod for LFO 1&2 RATE & DEPTH can be inverted separately (!) that feature even works as transients!!!
    There´s still some more exciting to discover (visible in the attachment).

    Theory is redundant. One has to hear it to believe it. I´m sure anybody would love to have the top of the line.
    I don´t think that there´ll ever be UB8 when there´s the UBXa.
    Even if, it´takes years over years while we´re not getting younger from hoping. Why not making the top right from the start? We have patience. Page 2 does still not make OB8 an experimental modular monster but it absolutely prevents boredom. I´m sure there a lot more broken OB8 around than OBX and Xa. what a pity!
    Slow Xpander/Matrix12 can not process that the same fast and clean as OB8 does. Besides, is OBXA capabable of Saw Width Modulation? I hope so…

    Kind regards.

  22. Hm. I think a filter module would be enough. Build not another replica, but instead a box with XLR stereo input and output with only the filter and some modulation options inside. What determins the sound of a synth is mainly the filter and it’s modulation. I have tons of good synth with good sounding OSCs, but no real Oberheim filter I could route them thru.

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