Behringer CAT Synthesizer Clone First Look

Behringer has closed out the year by sharing a preview its upcoming CAT synthesizer, a clone of the Octave Cat from 1976.

The Behringer Cat is synth module in Eurorack-compatible format, like its earlier synth modules. It was originally announced two years ago, along with the company’s plans to clone the WASP, ARP 2600, Korg MS-20, Roland SH-101 and other synths.

Features:

  • Analog synthesizer with dual VCO design
  • Reproduction of original “CAT SRM II” circuitry with matched transistors and JFETs
  • Analog signal path based on authentic VCO, VCF and VCA designs
  • 4 variable and simultaneous oscillator shapes (Sawtooth, Triangle, modulated Pulse and Sub
  • Octave Square)
  • Paraphonic mode allows both oscillators to be independently controlled
  • Oscillators can be modulated from 6 different sources with 2 modulation depth attenuators
  • Classic filter design (high pass/low pass with peak/resonance) with self-resonance capability
  • Filter can be modulated from 6 different sources with 2 modulation depth attenuators
  • Dedicated and fully analog triangle/square wave LFO
  • 2 analog Envelope Generators for modulation of VCF and VCA
  • White noise generator
  • 16-voice Poly Chain allows combining multiple synthesizers for up to 16 voice polyphony
  • Complete Eurorack solution – main module can be transferred to a standard Eurorack case
  • Audio input for processing external sound sources for enhanced creativity
  • External control inputs and outputs (High Note CV, Low Note CV, Gate, Filter etc.)
  • USB/MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection
  • 3-Year Warranty Program

Details on pricing and availability are to come.

115 thoughts on “Behringer CAT Synthesizer Clone First Look

  1. Cool that they bring back all those old (and sometimes) obscure little synths from the 70’s! Personally I seldom bother to buy an old synth any more, they have become way too expencive, and after 40 years they’re also in need of repairing, and that costs a lot of money too. So why hate Behringer for doing this?

    1. “So why hate Behringer for doing this?”

      Nobody hates Behringer for cloning old circuits. Old circuit designs are free for everybody to use!

      People hate Behringer because the company stands on the shoulders of giants, while disrespecting them.

      People hate Behringer because the company blatantly rips off actual living synth design legends, like Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith.

      People hate Behringer because the company doesn’t create something new that builds on old synth designs, they just steal the look and even the names of old synths to make you think you’re getting something more valuable than you really are.

      People hate Behringer because the company has a long history of ripping off the intellectual property of legitimate companies.

      People hate Behringer because the company is thin-skinned and uses frivolous lawsuits to harass people that question the company’s business practices – like suing gear blogs or Dave Smith or dozens of users of Gearslutz.

      People hate Behringer because the company made cheap garbage for decades, leaving a really bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

      People hate Behringer because the company pretends that competitors with more legitimate business practices are ripping you off.

      People hate Behringer because they’ve released a dozen synths and not one offers synthesists anything new.

      People hate Behringer because they jerk you around by announcing synths and then waiting 2 years or more to actually ship them.

      People hate Behringer because so many pro-Behringer comments sound like astro-turfing, saying things like “Personally I seldom bother to buy an old synth any more, they have become way too expencive, and after 40 years they’re also in need of repairing, and that costs a lot of money too.” That just sounds super-fake!

      And people hate Behringer because the company could probably make more money and make better synths if they just tried to get a little more creative.

      I probably missed a few things, but I hope that this helps answer your question.

      1. People hate anti-Behringer people because they virtue signal but don’t pay attention to real issues or try to make a difference with theses important issues our species and world is facing.

            1. Read his post and answer your own question.

              He makes a very cogent objection to a horrible, horrible business. Copying circuits is not the issue. How and why is the issue. Look past the price tag to understand the problem – plenty of companies make cheap knock-offs of prior art without much notice. This is not that. This is trolling and malice hiding behind modest prices (which are still high for the build quality and lack of design cost and lack of marketing costs – because they trade on the efforts of other companies on all fronts).

              Giving these people money buys in to a downward spiral.

      2. Oh thanks! So people hate behringer because they don’t understand how the tech industry works. Glad you cleared it up. Had to be something simple; ignorance.

        1. unlike Roland of course who are clearly listening to the industry and making analog reproductions of their Jupiter 8, 808, 303 etc? pffttt

      3. There there Torgood……

        I have never truly cared much for classic synths let alone their clones however I have to agree with nearly every word you stated. What I do find humorous and ironic is how defensive Uli is when it comes to how he achieved his success and how vigorously Music Tribe protects and defends their intellectual property despite the fact they fleeced, compromised, stole, breached, and copied the IP of others for decades.

        Certainly now Music Tribe needn’t steal anything as they have the resources and engineering prowess to create whatever they imagine. Yet old habits are hard to break I suppose.

      4. Speak for yourself.

        Do you feel this way about other music companies that blatantly rip off Strats or Les Paul guitars?
        Do you always buy name brand food products, or do you by generic, off brand versions? Do you complain about companies that rip off Nabisco by making a cheaper version of Oreos?

        1. No Andreas, we are not forced and we don’t do it, frankly speaking. There are companies that invent smth new in each new product, learn, investigate yourself and you will probable get the idea.

            1. They are a great company providing a valuable service to the music community in a niche that the rest of the industry was too smug and moronic to notice.

      5. LOL… every Behringer love hate battle, always turn into far more replies and views than any other brand on every site. Keep them comming … Uli loves you all. Peace

      6. I don’t get excited about all these remakes. They do the occasional original thing… or semi-original. I bought a Neutron.

      7. You know, to play devil’s advocate here: maybe beyond the ability to make money off of cloning the greats, Behringer’s doing this to push the giants to create new designs. To possibly say that “we the most despised, can remake your legacy and thrive off of it.”

      8. You know, to play devil’s advocate here: maybe beyond the ability to make money off of cloning the greats, Behringer’s doing this to push the giants to create new designs. To possibly say that “we the most despised, can remake your legacy and thrive off of it. GET BETTER Make new things.”

    2. I agree with your comments on old synths re. purchase costs and repair costs. What I do not understand is that odysseys, cats , OSCars etc hit rock bottom prices when I bought them in the 80’s, everybody wanted dx7’s and D50’s etc. Those older synths make the same sound today as they did back then. Modern values reflect diminishing numbers of these synths but also some kind of ridiculous mythology, when realistic soft synth copies are released the price of originals goes up, why? I love that the Imposcar sounds identical to my OSCar.

      1. I’ve owned the Oscar synth and Imposcar. It’s close but the hardware is truly special. One of the most unique sounding synths I’ve owned. I hope Behringer makes a clone some day.

    3. People hate behringer for one simple reason. They have bought in the past a Synth for a lot of money and now they realize that they have only payed for a name. These are the real poor people.

      1. Never regretted that I have dozens of vintage synths bought far more expensive that all clones of behringer. But i am truly disappointed with the rack mixer from behringer that I bought accidentially.

      2. Nope, you don’t speak for all people. Different people have different reasons for not liking this company, you are not the authority

        1. Exactly. I am aware the there is two groups called Dust Brothers (American vs UK). It’s just funny that they are showing the same guys in the pictures. I mean one of the guys has long hair on one pic and short hair on the other. I believe that’s why they failed 😉

    1. of Course they aren’t the same. I think behringer was being funny showing two pics of the chemical brothers since the Chemical brothers originally also started as the dust brothers.

    1. They really do not sound that alike, despite lawsuits from ARP. The Cat has sub oscillators and a waveform mixer that can make it sound fatter than the Odyssey, but this is no bad thing for the ARP. You don’t necessary need fat, just as you don’t want to use all three oscillators on a minimoog all the time just because you can. They are different enough that you might want both.

      1. BTW…The OSCar is the #1 monosynth I want Behringer to remake. I don’t want it as a module though. I eant it to look just like the original.

        1. Hopefully without the plywood base and a top that is made from a plastic window sill, stylistically it looks quite cool though. Could we have some mods, faster snappier attack on the envelopes, log vs linear envelopes or even both. Replace the Z80A processor with a 64 bit intel for even more additive synthesis processing-Oh hell, why don’t I just use an ImpOSCar

    2. I have an original Odyssey and original CAT and they are very similar in sound. They can each make some sounds that are unique but there is a lot of overlap. The main difference is the Odyssey has sliders and the CAT has rotary controls. This does make a difference in control over the sound, some things are easier to do with one or the other. Rotary controls make fine adjustments easier, sliders make it easier to see what all your settings are instantly and to do larger, faster sweeps (think wiggling a slider up/down fast versus trying to turn a rotary control back and forth quickly). They’re both great synths.

      1. I owned an original CAT 40 years ago, saddly it ran away from me during a move (stolen) . . . . Never played an Odyssey, but I assumed that the reason the CAT’s Fc and Q filter controls were side-by-side sliders, rather than rotaries, was to facilitate more nimble and nuanced filter manipulation. It was quite easy to tweak both of them at the same time for broad range filter effects. A very thoughtful control choice if this was the intention.

  2. Pawel … no, they are different. The Dust Brother are American. The Chemical Bothers ( who knicked the Dust Brothers name when they started out) are British.

  3. Was 16 when I got this for Christmas! My first synth, had so much fun. Used it at a few of our high school jazz festivals. Looked on eBay recently, one was listed for almost 4K! Will definitely be buying the Berhinger version. So many memories, my suitcase Rhodes with my Cat synth on top.

  4. Seems Behringer is scraping the bottom of the barrel of old synths to knock off.

    The Cat is sort of a third gen copy of the Odyssey which copied the Minimoog.

    So it is a clone of a copy of a copy of a 50-year-old synth design.

    Wake me up with this trend is done and we start getting interesting synths again.

    1. Scraping the barrel? Hardly! This is a great design really worth redoing as it has some unique features. It probably is the best of the bunch of the synths Behringer has copied so far.

      1. How come the demo sounds so boring then?

        The most interesting synths designs of the last decade haven’t come from any of the big companies, certainly not Behringer, but fro Mutable Instruments.

        1. I agree with you that the Behringer demo wasn’t very good the Cat can purr much much better than that from my experience with the original. But I don’t agree with you that Mutable made the greatest synth designs of the last decade.So much good stuff came out then some from big companies some from small ones.

        2. I thought the demo sounded great for the literal 2 seconds he turned off the HOF reverb. It sounds like crap because he’s running it through a crappy pedal.

  5. Behringer if you are really listening:
    1. Please add preset memory.
    2. Also add some kind of para, duo, mono mode, like you did with Poly 4

    thank you.

    1. Patch memory requires digital circuitry. They can’t make copies of synths from the 1970s *and* give you patch storage without heavy modification.

        1. “And Behringer is not able to do that?”

          The problem is that people seem to think that Behringer is interested in more than making cheap knockoffs.

          Every single one of their knockoff synths is marketed with the misleading claim “Comprehensive USB/Midi implementation”. Check their site.

          ‘Comprehensive MIDI implementation’ = note on/off in Behringer-speak.

      1. Not if you want a low price.

        For a few hundred bucks more, you can get the Roland SE-02. It has patch memory, but it is a ridiculously tiny synth. You may need a magnifying glass and tweezers to use it.

        1. If you’re looking for a cool 4 voice paraphonic synth, you could do far worse than the Microfreak, though admittedly it is a hybrid design. It has a great feature set and a huge body of sound potential. It has many of the additional features folks are asking for in this thread and is pretty inexpensive.

  6. I actually owned an Octave Cat synthesizer in the eighties. I bought it second hand from a pawn shop. I used it primarily for learning basic analog synthesis. I should have kept and had it restored. It would have been a wise investment and fun to play!

  7. I stopped buying Behringer synths because i realized they mean nothing to me. Synths are mystical so stop buying that crap!

    1. Sort of agree with you. Playing cheap instruments, is not as inspiring as playing something with pedigree. If you sound crap playing a pro synth, then it’s you that’s crap and you can’t blame the synth. That said I think these behringer synth would sound awesome being played by someone that can really play.

    2. I keep buying Behringer synths because they are an excellent value for my money. I currently own six Behringer synths and one drum machine, and I will be adding the Poly D, TD-3 and CAT once they are released. My new Behringer Pro-1 sounds spot on to my pristine Sequential Pro-One, and It is absolute bliss to play a Pro-One patch polyphonically. As much as I adore my fully upgraded Sequential Pro-One, I could never recommend it over the Behringer Pro-1. It’s sad, but true.

      1. Their Pro-1 sounds fantastic, it’s my favorite so far.

        My friend owned a Cat in the early 80s, what I remember as being most distinctive about it was great-sounding sync.

  8. You guys who hate Behringer go right on hating, in the meantime, I am going to buy just about every synth they produce at great prices. So far I have three and they look and sound fantastic, no problems.

  9. Welcome to capitalism,welcome to Behringer,just keep them coming,love the sounds and pricing,no plastic feel on my Neutron and Craves,next will be the RD-8.

  10. At least with this one they are not cloning an instrument that is currently in production by another manufacturer. I think bringing instruments like these back to life for a new generation is a strong choice and not as easily contestable.

  11. I wonder how long it will take ppl to realize that a filtered saw wave is a filtered saw wave? ^^
    there certainly is no lack of synth now to find out ^^

    1. Behringer is feeding the hobbyist/collector crowd the same way Native Instruments and Arturia did 10 years ago.

      How long until they offer a Classic Synth bundle, like NI and Arturia, except in cheap hardware form?

      1. Behringer is employing top software coders now, recently made redundant from NI, so we can expect top notch VST/au plugins in the near future

        1. I highly doubt that NI sacked really good valuable programmers. So don’t expect any miracle plugins from Beh! Probably finna make knock off plugins more likely.

  12. Here, I’ll add to the noise: I choose to stomp my hooves in righteous indignation because they haven’t made a new D-50 and there’s only a whiff of their alleged CS-80. How >dare< they etc. etc. etc.

  13. FYI: Yamaha is releasing a GX-1 Reface edition at NAMM. I would prefer a full size Behringer clone sans keys for under a grand, but the GX-1 Reface edition will be a welcomed addition to my touring rig, even with the mini keys.

    1. Interesting! I have all four reface (wish someone made a 4way rack) – they have the most playable minikeys off all minikey keyboards.

      But the reface CS was supposed to be the CS80-ultralite and didn’t measure up to that comparison. How could an even bigger synth make sense? Especially another analog? I would assume a ROMpler to be the next logical edition to; Organ, electric piano, subtractive analog, FM, [fill-in-the-blank].

    1. Synth Making Slave would say, “I love my job. I get to play a part in bringing the joy of synths to many others in this world. Nobody is putting a gun to my head to make me build synths.”

  14. For me, a VST of a classic like the Jupiter-8, Prophet-5, etc, only serves to make me long after the original hardware synth even more. VST’s, for me, do NOT satisfy any gear lust whatsoever. They are just reminders of what I should actually OWN.

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