Behringer Polyeight Copies Korg Polysix & Ups Polyphony

Behringer today officially announced the Polyeight, a copy of the classic Korg Polysix, but with increased polyphony.

The Polyeight boards

The original Korg Polysix was one of the budget polys of its day, with six single-oscillator/vcf/vca voices. It’s earned its place as a classic, though, because it offers great sound and an easy-to-use knobby interface.

Here’s what Behringer has to say about the Polyeight:

“The first Polyeight has come alive:-)

While this is still an early prototype, the firmware is all based on our new ARM platform, which will certainly speed up the development and time to market.

As you can see, the Polyeight is not a pure clone. We have retained the analog section, but added 2 more voices and especially a much improved user interface with very useful functions.”

Information on pricing, specifications and availability is still to be announced.

65 thoughts on “Behringer Polyeight Copies Korg Polysix & Ups Polyphony

  1. Its interesting that Behringer haven’t produced a synth as interesting (or good) as the Deepmind 12, everything else has less voices and less features….its like the peaked with the first synth!

    1. The ‘Behringer’ name doesn’t carry any clout in terms of synth design, and so their original synths don’t sell as well as the synths that copy desirable, well-known synths.

      It’s too bad, because the Deepmind and Neutron are more powerful synths than their knockoff synths.

      1. The Deepmind is essentially a Juno on steroids. It started out as the “Phat 108” and the manual even mentions the Roland IR3109 VCF IC by name!

        1. But nobody would call the Deepmind 12 a knockoff or even a copy.

          With the Deepmind 12, Behringer did what every other synth company does, and they created a new synth design that builds on older synth designs.

          They didn’t copy the look of the Juno 106, they didn’t copy the Juno 106 architecture – the DM12 doesn’t even really try to nail the Juno 106 sound.

          And as a result, it’s a lot more powerful than the 106.

          But Behringer didn’t have a home run with their first tries, so they just gave up and fell back to making the cheap knockoffs, like they do in every other product category.

          It’s too bad, because they’ll never get good at making original synthesizers, when all their efforts focus on making cheap knockoffs. They’ll just get better at making the knockoffs.

          And that’s exactly what’s happened! They’ve become the king of the knockoffs and have zero cred for doing anything original.

          1. I agree it isn’t a straight knockoff but they certainly did “borrow” the Juno aesthetic. The layout is near identical with additional features.

            It’s a great synth and runs circles around a Juno with its extra voices, LFO, mod matrix, effects, etc but the similarities are there.

            I guess taking a classic and building upon it is the takeaway here. More of that would be welcome. Imagine what they could’ve done with a polysix as a starting point.

    2. Because the clones/remakes they make sell like hotcakes compared to their original products. They are riding the Nostalgia wave which is unfortunate because I too would like to see them make more original products. That said I’m looking forward to the BCR 32.

  2. Can someone enlighten this techno-naïf as to why, with modern processing power, updates of older synths can’t have vastly increased polyphony?

    1. Because modern processing power doesn’t help if it’s an analogue synth. More voices still means more oscillator circuits, filter circuits, higher power consumption, more heat dissipation and more complex assembly, which all results in higher costs.

      1. That’s only partially true, hybrid synths can have an all-analogue signal path, whilst all the control signals (ie: LFOs & envelopes) can be digitally generated, so that can help reduce the cost with no loss of sound quality.

    2. They have – just most companies still choose to make 6 and 8 voice synths to keep costs at a minimum

      Behringer released the Deepmind 12 – with 12 voices only about five years ago now

      You can get them for about €600

      Which is absolutely insane considering how much a 12 voice analogue poly synth would have cost you just a year before that

      and the FX section adds tremendous value to the Deepmind

  3. Behringer just announced a new “vintage authentic” mode where the polyeight recreates the farting sounds of the original after the internal battery has leaked out over the traces on the voice board. They thought of everything!

    1. I’m not 100% on this but I think the monopoly is only paraphonic. All voices share a common VCA and VCF . Whereas the Polysix is truly polyphonic meaning each voice has it’s own VCA and VCF

      1. The Monopoly indeed was paraphonic: it had 4 oscillators but only one shared filter. The Polysix was fully polyphonic: each of the six oscillators had its own filter. So 6 VCO’s, 6 filters and 6 EG’s.

        At first sight there was only one LFO, called MG. Monopoly had 2 MG’s. But the Polysix had a second LFO, built into its chorus effect.

        For lead or bass lines, the Polysix had a ‘Unison’ mode, whereby all six oscillators were slightly detuned to one another to create a thick sound. So it could mimick the Monopoly.

        Other difference : MonoPoly had a separate EG for filter and VCA, whereas on the Polysix the EG’s are shared between them. But you can change the VCA to a gated behaviour, thereby applying the EG solely to the filter.

        And there are presets on the Polysix….

    2. Poly six has 2 extra voice than monopoly, this has double the monopoly

      Other than that pretty much same deal other than maybe extra modulation possibilities

      Cannot hurt anyone, can only bring more possibility and music that wasn’t within grasp and also probably for the pricepoint

    1. Every time I see the word “Behringer” I think of the absolutely fantastic sounds I can create on my Deepmind 12 … a great synth no matter what anyone else says…. Peace.

  4. Come ooon B, hire a freakin designer, make these toys look professional, I would never put this ugly fake wood sh*t in my studio!

    1. For a man (Uli) that touts “design” and aesthetics as a central tenet of his company, and one whom consumes industrial design based books like some consume candy bars, these design elements should not be outcome.

  5. The anti-Behringer headlines are getting a bit tiresome now to be honest. If ‘Behringer copies Korg Polysix…’ is acceptable, why was your recent Nord article not headlined ‘Nord copies piano’?

    1. How can anyone interpret this headline as ‘anti-Behringer’?

      Behringer ought to be paying Synthtopia, if people didn’t know this was a clone of the PolySix, nobody would want to buy a Behringer synth with such lousy specs.

      Seriously, compare the specs on this to the Deepmind 12!

      1. Uh, yeah, because “specs” isn’t really relevant. The sound is. And the Polysix is a classic. Best pads ever.

        But yeah, this needs to be under $500 to make sense, and buying this as a first synth would be rather stupid, it’s not the most flexible thing.

  6. Two things they need to get absolutely right: The sweet sound of the SSM2044 filter and the ensemble. And good to see they make an effort to go beyond a strict clone.

  7. I have used synths since before Midi first kicked in. I make music, get records out on small labels and have done for almost 30 years . I remember when there was no new analogues on the market etc and buying 303’s for as low as 65 quid. This period is the peak of synth production , I am amused to hear critics of cheap accessible gear . For those of us around a while all these machines have a value and give access to people on budgets to make music. Nit picking over daft detail seems a bit weird. They are for making music not scoring points.

  8. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for years for this. Since the MS-20 mini reissue, I always hoped Korg would someday reintroduce the Polysix. But no, they resurrected even the obscure 700FS, not one of their most successful and iconic analogue synths ever! Sorry Korg, but I’m definitely buying this if it’s as good as Behringer’s past clones.

    1. I let korg know, they saying they are very sorry to loose you and don’t know how to proceed to this dark future without you.

  9. I never really understand all those behringer haters on this site. I am 55 years old and still remember how hard I had to work in addition to my school / study to buy my first synth; a Roland JX3P. According to the inflation conversion models, the JX3P would have cost € 6,067 at the present time. Behringer makes beautiful synths affordable for (almost) everyone. That’s awesome! And then that bullshit about copying: What does it matter, all companies all over the world at all times do this! If Nike invent the Vaporfly and it is a success, then all the major sports brands will release similar shoes. It’s that simple and that’s how it has been for centuries. If it is illegal, let the lawyers do their job, otherwise enjoy the market forces!
    My only complaint I have with them is that they haven’t cloned my favorite synthesizers yet: Yamaha CS80- Korg Trident II- Elka Synthtex !!!

  10. Behringer really has a handle on the business model. Every new synth they produce makes the previous ones even cheaper to produce. Way to wrangle those volume costs. Smart folks!

  11. The poly six was a budget synth with only 1 VCO per voice. To thicken the sound, Kong resorted to adding a sub oscillator and PWM. The logical extension to make this a really good poly would be the addition of a second VCO.

  12. Much like Teenage Engineering, the first notable synth, the OP-1 was the best, then it is just unexciting after that. For TE it is keychain toy junk and tin synth toys you bend into shape at home and brutal looking Sharper Image-like radios. For Behringer, they had the DeepMind with 12 voices, a large display, countless effects, etc., now they have some simplistic cookie cutter platform that makes it easy to make it look like any synth they want.

    1. It’s not easy to make something successful and trying to reinvent yourself after success is even harder. I’m talking about TE of course only.
      btw, even if it’s less successful, The op-z is amazing beast and without a screen.

  13. I dunno, I quite like the idea of a PolyEight. The Deepmind is great but the osc waves are limited. The PolyEight Behringer are suggesting is 8 note poly, not 4 note paraphonic like the Poly D and Monopoly. If they can add the Deepmind effects section (bypassable), I think the PolyEight will be as good as the Deepmind, I’d rather pay £50 more and have the Deepmind effects and 512-1024 patch storage. I’d be expecting that spec synth from Behringer to be about £700. A steal for a quality 8 voice poly.j

  14. The proto of the rear side show a knob sitting high on its’ post.
    Why couldn’t it be seated down fully like all others?

  15. One plus about Behringer: you don’t have to buy their gear, but some people who do are happy with it. I question their quality control, but I see rigs with a mix of things that include a couple of Bs. So? Just because I see it all as the synth version of Hot Pockets doesn’t mean a lot of buyers won’t be crapping happy cookies to have a Polysix with two more voices. I don’t want to harsh anyone’s buzz, either, because middling instruments are part of your road to much bigger things later. Been there. Still AM! Gear Lust is good.

    Synths are like dogs. Some live for 15 or more years. Some eat a bone and keel over at age 3.

  16. My Model D and Pro~One work great (yes, I owned a lot of the originals back in the 80’s/90’s when you didn’t need to apply for a 2nd mortgage to buy vintage equipment) . The Behringer MonoPoly, CAT and Kobol are all also on my list. Just waiting for a better exchange rate.

  17. “The proto of the rear side show a knob sitting high on its’ post.
    Why couldn’t it be seated down fully like all others?”

    It’s a prototype so it can be many (unimportant) reasons

  18. Yep, agree, got a DM6, Model D, Odyssey and a TD3. Behringer’s build quality is good for what you’re paying. Had the DM6 nearly 4 years, no issues with it, but I know the screens fade if you leave the DM6 switched on 24/7 in a studio for years. Behringer’s build quality is good for the price. The Odyssey is excellent, but for me they haven’t bettered the Deepmind yet. I’d certainly consider a PolyEight if they get it right. Given that it has patch storage, it must be DCO and should therefore be MIDI controllable, which isn’t essential but does make it more appealing for long term studio use.

  19. I love the Polysix sound, and despite the simplicity would buy one instantly, if the sound will be close to the original.

    1. And one more thing: reading this thread makes it obvious that there‘s some folks who have no clue about how to use a Polysix, or how well it can sit in a mix. I hope Uli doesn‘t mind this kind of ignorance and builds it anyways…

      1. You seems to think you are better then others just because you like it’s sound
        Its a matter of taste. Some just don’t like it even if they use and know it well.

        1. Some remarks in this thread showed explicitly exactly what I wrote: clueless ignorance, and not just different taste.

  20. @Goobs – Both Juno and Polysix were what you call “lousy budget” synths, both sound really great despite their limitations, and both sound very different. So none can replace the other. Should I add that the Juno 60 was “a lousy knockoff” of the Polysix? I won’t, because synth manufacturers ALWAYS learn from each other and that’s pretty much the whole story of analog synths. I have to regard your comment as one more of the really clueless, ignorant ones. 🙂

  21. If I were them I’d make all of the knockoff synths I ever planned to make. Cover all the bases. Then I’d have some big marketing campaign that’s like *E N O U G H I S E N O U G H*, convince everyone they’re becoming legitimate synthesizer designers, and start releasing more of their own synths. That way they get to signal to everyone “you’re allowed to take our synths seriously now” and people can feel alright about buying their knockoffs since they’re just an artifact of the past (one they really want). The Neutron is a seriously good little synth for the price. I think if people were allowed to respect the company, that thing would get a ton more recognition than it does. For certain sounds, I find myself going to it all the time, a little bit guiltily. This seems like the most obvious way out of their guilt shackles. Maybe it wouldn’t be the most profitable route, but it seems like the most robust one.

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