Behringer UB-Xa Synthesizer First Look

A year ago, Behringer head Uli Behringer announced plans to clone the classic Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizer.

Now they’ve shared photos of the first prototype of the Behringer UB-Xa synthesizer. The photos are of the first UB-Xa prototype.

The company notes that the UB-Xa prototype still needs firmware before it can be tested:

Tomorrow we’ll send it to the Midas team in the UK so they can do their firmware magic.

Just remember this is still a prototype and it needs lots of work. But we’ll make it happen.

Check out the photos and share your thoughts on the Behringer UB-Xa in the comments!

65 thoughts on “Behringer UB-Xa Synthesizer First Look

    1. lol well I am guilty of past BERHINGER slights, but after watching a bunch of YT videos I finally bought a DeepMind 12 desktop, that is now racked in my vintage gear studio. Very impressed with the build quality. Hated having to remove the wood sides but so happy it came with rack rails. Still exploring the sound creation capabilities but extremely happy I bought it. JMO’s.

  1. oh.. my.. god.. they even took over the stripes look.. *facepalm* i´m not a legal expert, but tom oberheim should contemplate suing. someone needs to stop this lunacy. behringer offends my intelligence.

      1. Actually, ragnhild has a point, although the circuits are long out of copyright, the trade dress can be protected without formal registration.

        1. True, but only if that trade dress is still used in commerce (i.e. if synths using that design are still being manufactured and sold). The only current synth that uses this blue striped design is actually not made by Oberheim but by Dave Smith (even if it is with permission) so I think it will get very difficult for Tom Oberheim to do anything about this.

        2. without registration they would have to prove that it confuses a similar product on the market, as far as I know there is no OB-XA currently put out by oberheim right now and if they did – legally behringer would be to market first

    1. I know everyone’s eager to complain, but this was a case of using a companies “still active” copyright of software. Not the style, sound, or other elements of a product whose patent(s) has long since expired.

      1. You guys sure like to use the word “complain”. It’s a link about an actual case of copyright infringement, but no sign of the word complain.

        1. “although it’s difficult to copyright an analogue circuitboard, software infringement is one of the ways in which companies can take action.”

          Let’s hope the Midas team doesn’t “copy the copyright notice from the software”

    2. man wish I would have known that before – totally would have gotten the mooer pedal (actually have a bunch of mooer pedals)

    3. In the US, patents expire after a reasonable term, but copyright on the internal software/firmware can last more than a century. Since most modern devices depend on software, this tends to extend the monopoly on an invention for a much longer term than was intended by the patent system, and the public domain is poorer because of it.

      In the case of Behringer, they can use the circuits (whose patents have expired) but they have to write their own firmware from scratch. They have enough programmers to do so, but it creates an additional barrier for anyone else who would like to enter the market but doesn’t have Behringer’s resources.

  2. yada-yada
    Doesn’t sound like the original at all!
    Clones are not innovative!
    B is evil!

    I’m very excited 🙂

  3. I can’t stop crying tears of joy. Yes (sobbing)! Yes (blubbering)! Yes! Yes! Yes!

    For someone who spent their youth living through the ROMpler era of the 1990s and 2000s, the return to analog revolution is glorious.

    I only hope this makes it to the point where you can click on the Add to Cart button.

    P.S. If you hate Behringer for making clones, then go spend money on uber expensive vintage gear with reliability concerns and less features. For those of us who cannot afford or don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a working, decades old poly synth, this is a wonderful and arguably better alternative.

  4. Tom Oberheim clearly depends on the commission he gets from every vintage OB-Xa sold on eBay and Reverb so that he can feed himself and his family. He should sue Behringer immediately to stop this injustice before it’s too late!

    1. Behringer attempted to trademark “Oberheim.” The USPTO denied the application because of the potential for confusion with Tom Oberheim.
      Behringer attempted to trademark OB-Xa. That was refused because of the potential for confusion with The OB-6.

      1. Eh? I thought Gibson still owned the trademark name “Oberheim”, they licensed it out to Viscount for a while but now it’s back with them. I may be wrong.

      2. It could be called “Uberheim” and released with no artwork on it at all, just a piece of cardboard sticky-taped to the back of it with “Uberheim” wriiten by hand.

    2. If you’d ever met Tom Oberheim, or ever been the sole proprietor of a business that got p0wned by a bigger one with the legal resources to get you to just STFU and take it, you’d realize just how dickish this comment is.

      It’s Synthtopia: complaining about the complainers is par for the course but talking shit about his family and income for snark value? Just…

  5. Nice low profile design. I loved the old beasts, but they were huge. The stripes are a sharp throwback to the original design. Can’t wait for First Customer Ship!

  6. When you can’t spare the money for a OB-6 this might be a good alternative, to big for my little studio do.

    Rather have the OB-6 that was made by the man himself.

    1. I’d wait to hear this one before making that call.

      I have an OB-6, I love it, it sounds Oberheimy, but it does not sound like an OB-Xa. If this one sounds like its namesake, I’ll take it and probably keep the OB-6.

  7. Please dont forget the OB-6 is a Prophet 6 with a faceswap and a slightly different filter.. if thats a “tom oberheim” design then i invented the CS-80 !! Lol

    1. Please don’t spread misinformation.

      The OB-6 has voices based on the SEM, and oscillators, envelopes, filters, etc are Oberheim-style.

    2. So you actually created a CS-80 clone with a different filter and a faceswap? Where can we buy it? 😉

      On topic:
      This is pretty exciting. If the price is right AND the sound is close enough, I will consider buying.

    3. OB6 is a lot more than that, the Voiceboards are completely different and designed by Tom based on his own designs. I dont have an OB6 i have the P6 and i can tell you they sound VERY different, the OB6 basically sounds way better and has the sparkle and buzz that the P6 simply doesnt. I wish they were the same and just a different filter!! But thats far from the case

    4. Played both The OB 6 and the P 6. They are definitely DIFFERENT. As others noted, similar overall architecture but different voicing, osc, fltr, etc. I too prefer the Oberheim sound over the Prophet, but that’s all down to personal preference.

    1. Same thought. I would even prefer a joytick (like Korg or Roland). Is better to play so you can control both of them at the same time

  8. Oh neat, a 30+ year old vintage synth I could never afford used, has been remade for a far lesser cost!!

    Oh wait, it’s Behringer…. I’m angry now and need to use my original “IBM Personal Computer” to let everyone know I hate immoral “knock-offs”.

  9. I’m hoping that Behringer will branch out and make horse and buggy setups. Of course they’ll be using someone else’s designs, but hey…that’s what they do best.

  10. What, no color touchscreen? No drawbars? No espresso machine? I stamp my tiny hooves in righteous indignation! I can hear it now: “I’m putting a Moog sticker over the Behringer logo on my DeepMind 12 in protest!!!” I love all the hollering. It exercises my ability to not give a bleep about populist cotton candy BS. Bitching about Uli smells like sour grapes from people who can’t drop $4k on a Prophet X. I think its pretty nervy to get all butt-hurt about any of it when you can buy a software Synclavier for a couple hundred bucks. Shuddup, he explained. 😀

  11. There’s really no point in copying the styling slavishly, because it actually cheapens the package for purchasers.

    Lets draw an example. Imagine you discover some $10 metal frame mirrored sunglasses and they are actually quite good! They are obviously copies of Aviators but they are well made, they cut out UV and are robust. They are of the same quality as some $70 sunglasses. Well … weighing up the value proposition I’d say that’s a good deal.

    Now imagine those same $10 sunglasses say in large letters “Aviatore” on the lens. Does that allusion to the established Aviator brand add or detract from the value proposition of my robust functional cheap glasses? I’d say it lessens the value. Adding “lets pretend” styling certainly doesn’t add anthing of value. The purchaser cant trade on that because It’s as cool as a fake leather jacket. Might as well just be honest and functional.

    The call-back styling brings no value to a purchaser.

    1. Brings no value to you. I like it better than if it was simply just black because I like more complex designs on synths instead of the boring old black white silver ect.

  12. if this, and other B products (Think Pro I) do not have Tom’s (the original designer’s) consent, not going to buy it out of respect and because of ethics . Even it sound great would rather pay up for an OB6. Sorry for some folks thinking this is just being stupid but in the end fair play wins, maybe not financially but consciously. Already too many companies and people lost their conscious and ethics to gain advantages and we don’t need more of them. The world and many post here just try to justify everything with copyrights, trademark rules and legal clauses, that is not the point unless you have no respect and don’t care about shame. Want to see Uli talk about how he justifies this with Tom. or at least and attempt that can satisfy both end of the spectrum affordability and Tom’s efforts. Sure they can work something out before this is dropped into the market. If it something that is basicially Oberheim it should carry the name Oberheim on it. If not, bye!

    1. Some of us can’t afford the real ones and would struggle just to get the clones.

      Also, don’t you dare speak about unethical unless you are a vegan.

      1. if you don’t have the money, just rob someone or some other unethical way to get the money to buy one, it’s mostly the same thing as what B did. Illegal is just a small step from unethical or shameless, the difference is only what is defined by law.

        1. From somebody lecturing others on fairness and being conscious, this is quite a sick little post. Do you always suggest that people should just resort to illegal behavior (and hurting others) if some company doesn’t adhere to your subjective idea of fairness? What’s next, looting Apple stores?

          Behringer is being fair, but in a business context. Definitely not in your idealistic definition of it though, where all is nice and everybody plays together: “After you, sir!”

      2. > Also, don’t you dare speak about unethical unless you are a vegan.

        I’m vegan. This is an absurd ‘argument’. Just because someone doesn’t take an ethical stance on X doesn’t mean they ‘dare not’ take one on Y.

        Imagine how terrible the world would be if as soon as anyone did anything [airquote]unethical[/airquote] they entirely abandoned ethics because ‘well, I dare not.’

        For what it’s worth, think it’s safe to say more animals are harmed by Behringer than Oberheim or DSI (think wages and general ecosystem impact). So, you know, ethics bruv.

    2. Capitalizing on other people’s success happens all the time. For example, most modern tech is heavily dependent on state-funded science research. Do the scientists get massive silicon valley salaries? no. Does the state get massive money back from the tech firms? no, they mostly avoid tax. The tech firms fight over patents for tiny things, but the science is mostly unpatented.

      1. Oberheim does not fall in the category of state firms or a modern tech ‘firm’s. Does ‘modern’ mean just just take whatever you want, now and immediately, whatever it takes without any respect ?

        1. What Q said. “state-funded science research” is nice an ambiguous. 82 years old and responsible for and still making good stuff “Tom Oberheim” is absolutely not.

          1. It’s not a bad analogy, even if it’s a bit tenuous. Max Planck didn’t build iPhones, Tom Oberheim didn’t make a budget ub-xa in 2019. Both had better things to be doing, and lost out on some profit. There’s an injustice to it. But who will history remember? In the year 2120 people will remember Planck and Oberheim better than Cook and Behringer.

  13. this is going to hurt my bank account lol. so happy someone’s finally doing it. now i wait for a Chroma module!!! and EMS stuff . . cheers to Uli and the team

  14. Go Behringer!! Jupiter 8 next! show those lame Roland morons its possible!!!

    No news on the Oscillators design tho. Is it the same design chips as in the OBX….the motherboard in the early designs sure looked small hmm

  15. Feel like all this noise and angst (and some missed sales by angsty noisemakers) could be squashed pretty easily by a company with the resources of Behringer: just give Tom a slice of each unit sold. Egad! If your margins are actually tight, negotiate the slice amount with Tom. Job done. It’s not like he’s competitor ffs, he’s a living synthesizer legend deserving of at least this amount of respect.

    Then it’s “licensing” which cannot be impugned and the world gets a nice, new, affordable, shade-free OBXA.

  16. I find it odd that Behringer can clone a synth, add a few things, and it’s generally applause all around. Other companies improve on a concept and make a new machine, and it’s “this is just a copy of this”. Not here necessarily, but on many synth communities.

  17. In practical IP litigation it is commonly held that If you don’t use your IP, you lose some claim to it. 30+ years out of production shows a disinterest in the original inventors interest in developing the IP. The patent system is in place to protect IP AND to promote innovation by detailing the invention for anyone to understand. Fair game says I, and good luck to you sir for recreating these products Uli!

  18. I love the looks and attention to detail (up to the oberheim-style pitch and modulation benders).

    If it sounds good, matches the character of the original, and is reasonably priced (knowing Behringer, it likely will be), I’ll definitely buy one.

    Is it the original? No, sure it’s not. However, prices for the original ones are really getting out of proportion, not worth their money for _my_ personal use case (can’t talk for others).

  19. Yes! Behringer, this is beautiful!
    First off, I love how you kept the design and layout very similar to the original on this prototype. It looks perfect IMHO…
    Second, I have read a lot of the comments here and I don’t mean to oppose anyone’s opinions…here’s just my two cents.
    I have always wanted to own an OB-Xa and an OB-8 because the Oberheim sounds have always moved me. I’ve always admired Tom Oberheim’s work however, I can never afford to purchase any of his synths…sadly. The OB-6 still being out of my price range and I had my eye on that one for quite some time. As much as I would absolutely love to incorporate the Oberheim sound in my mixes, I just couldn’t dish out that much money for it because I have to take care of myself just like everyone else.
    So Behringer comes in and makes an effort to make the dream happen for those of us who can’t afford to pay thousands for the originals.
    I understand what a lot of you are saying about copyright laws, but as for the middle class consumers like myself, this is what WE WANT!
    If Behringer keeps the design as well as the sound as close to the original as possible with this UB-Xa, you know damn well that I will be pulling out the wallet for this one!
    Bless you Behringer and please keep up the great work.

  20. Dear behringer, Please don’t leave out the 2nd page on the OB-8 and the feature of detuning all oscillators with each other.

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