Behringer Four Play Short On Creativity, Coming Soon

Behringer today introduced the Four Play, a Quad VCA and Mixer Module for Eurorack modular systems.

As Synth Anatomy’s Tom Wies points out, it looks like Behringer skimped on Four Play, because the module appears to be a direct knockoff of the Intellijel Quad VCA. Comparing the two modules, pictured above, the Four Play copies the features, controls, layout and panel graphics of the Intellijel module.

Behringer says that the best part of Four Play is its price – the module lists for $99 vs $189 for the original Intellijel design.

Here’s what Behringer has to say about the new module:

“The FOUR PLAY is a feature rich quad VCA module with CV input attenuators, each with a bi-color LED to indicate CV input activity and polarity. Input boost switches add extra gain for lower level input signals.

The curve controls allow you to setup the ideal CV response curve from fully exponential to linear, or any combination of the two.

The level controls set the VCA gain and allow manual control of the signal output level, both when used as independent VCA’s or when used as a mixer. The VCA’s are DC coupled so can process both audio signals and CV signals.

The FOUR PLAY gives you comprehensive connectivity, 4 CV inputs for control or modulation of the VCA’s which are cascaded allowing all 4 VCA’s to be controlled by a single CV input if required. 4 signal input jacks with excellent headroom and the 4 VCA outputs are cascaded so that if only the 4/MIX output jack is used, the module becomes a 4-input voltage-controlled mixer, other combinations are easily selected according to which output jacks are inserted, such as a dual 2 input mixers for ultimate flexibility.”

Pricing and Availability

The Behringer Four Play is coming soon to dealers, priced at $99 USD.

63 thoughts on “Behringer Four Play Short On Creativity, Coming Soon

    1. I’m waiting for these new modules:
      On your knees, Edge, Roleplay, Wax, Rope, Flog, Bridgerton, BDSM, and My Romantic Novel

  1. Synthtopia should just stop. Pushing Behringer’s garbage only feeds the cycle by “legitimizing” the output of a company with no ethics, and providing a forum for the trollish defense of low-brow crass capitol.

    1. Wilson

      Thanks for the feedback.

      We understand that Behringer’s business practices are controversial, as evidenced by the fact that someone like you says we’re “Pushing Behringer’s garbage”, while the next reader may say we’re “corksniffers” for calling Behringer gear “knockoffs”.

      But it’s a hard fact that the company’s products are newsworthy – because a lot of readers are interested in them, because Behringer’s disrupting the status quo and because their products are controversial.

      If there’s ever any synth news that we’ve missed that you think deserves attention, though, please let us know via our Feedback Form. There’s a link at the top of the page, on every page of this site.

      1. > If there’s ever any synth news that we’ve missed that
        > you think deserves attention, though, please let us know

        well, how about the akai force 6 workstation keyboard leak? it seems as if you are a bit selective re newsworthiness. it would have meant akai´s entry into the workstation market, but you´ve decided not to write about it. why? the source was tom wies. bad decision.

        1. “it seems as if you are a bit selective re newsworthiness.”

          It keeps you coming back every day, ragnhild, so we have to try and do our part.

        2. Is there anything new? The image I saw looked like a fan Photoshop job. As a Force owner, the layout did not make sense.

      2. hey cool lads maybe we can start throwing the term ‘cancel culture’ around and get a spot on HuffpOAN to really get some engagement going.

      3. I understand your point synthhead, but the argument you use is a bit too easy for me. I still think Wilson had a point, and the key question here is if the release was only newsworthy because of the controversy… It’s the same marketing tactic Trump and the likes are using nowadays: say something controversial and you generate attention and competition almost for free. What I miss in you sharing this is the value of the news for musicians… Is it bringing something new, inspiring? Cheaper may sometimes be An argument to make it newsworthy, but that was hardly the case with Brains for instance. If synthtopia Will contain Just controversial clickbait and no news for musicians Im done with it.

        1. Synthtopia is a blog and like all blogs the get ad revenue through clicks. They will post articles that will get clicks. Behringer gets clicks. That you wouldn’t be aware of this type of business model in this day and age seems astounding to me.

          To many aspiring musicians the world over, cheap synth gear IS NEWS seeing as synth pricing for the last twenty years or so has been so prohibitive to the less well off.

      4. Synthhead: Behringer is using music tech blogs to gain much broader mindshare than they deserve by deliberately pushing the line of acceptable corporate behaviour.

        The awkward truth is that blogs are running this endless deluge of cloned product announcements and pre-pre-pre-announcements because it generates page views and earns income, not because it’s in the readers’ best interest. Heck, it’s not even in the industry’s best interest.

        1. Another agreement here. You’re giving them a platform because we all comment on Behringer posts. But it’s only one very specific part of this market. We could all just disengage, I guess, but as a blog you have curatorial powers that you are using to increase Behringer’s reach. Is really every new Behringer product worth an article? Then why not literally all other synth manufacturers? I dunno, there really is a point here. You do too much for Behringer.

        2. So you think that, because you don’t like Behringer’s business practices, Synthtopia should censor their news? And you think that’s in the best interest of readers and the music industry?

          Sticking your head in the sand (or elsewhere!) isn’t in anybody’s interest.

  2. After this company made fun of music journalists, i decided i wouldn’t buy any more of their products for a long while. Now that i see more and more direct clones of other companies products, i can’t see myself buying any more of their products ever. There’s tons of VCAs on the market and everyone else managed to make a little something different than others. Just like for midi controllers when they copied Arturia.

    They are a huge company with the means to create new products. Why copy still in production products even from smaller manufacturers ?

    I’ve dealt with Intellijel a few times and they always provided exceptional support. I won’t hesite for a second to pay more for Intellijel modules vs Behringer. They are one of my favorite synth companies. Shapeshifter + Polaris modules are good for years of exploration and discoveries.

  3. Reading about so many B knockoffs has become like watching a drunk teenager barf on my car hood. Every weekend.

  4. Market dominance, purely profit driven, squash the competition with a massive legal department. If thats your jam, more power to you, but the complaining wont stop and thats good too.

  5. ‘Parasitism is a symbiotic relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life’. -Wikipedia

    aka the Behringer way.

  6. Where are the people who argue that this sort of thing is okay? You know, because sweet, innocent Uli is just trying to put affordable instruments in the hands of struggling musicians. He’s not bad really, he’s just doing it for the children.

    I see the point that posting these stories sort of puts oxygen on his fire. But in another way it is slowly convincing, even the thick and slow, that Uli Behringer is an immoral asshole.

    Point your gear bucks elsewhere. For the children.

    1. I’m not going to make that argument. But Uli made one on facebook a few days ago:

      > In our Vision “We Hear You”, we only focus on two obligations – to relentlessly deliver what our Customers desire and to observe the law. We will always respect that people may have opinions about “morals” and “ethics”, however that’s a subjective area we won’t engage in.
      > Technology is free for everyone to use unless it’s protected. That’s exactly the reason why the law was designed in this particular way, which is to encourage fierce competition – all for the benefit of you the Customer and for society to progress.

      It is a shame. That said, I think this is how many businesses operate. Most synth companies don’t operate in quite this way, of course, which is brilliant, although we could debate whether they are worried about “ethics” or “image”. And I would imagine that their supply chains do operate in this way.

      1. Ethics is a subjective area? Are they serious?
        This is so out of someone’s rear end that I am just baffled…. Please give me a break!

        They want to “relentlessly deliver” …fair enough… but once the projects their customers desire get a little more complex they seem to shy away.

        A class action suit won’t help much in Malaysia, and that is kind of a shame, really, because there have been so many wronged parties over the last 30 years, not least for trade dress infringements.

        Alesis, Aphex, ART, Arturia, Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, Boss, DBX, Ebtech, Edirol, Electro Harmonix, Genelec, IK Multimedia, Mackie, Marshall, Moog, Novation, Peavey, QSC, Roland, Samson, Sennheiser, Soundcraft, SPL, Steinberg, Shure, Tech21, Yamaha (as always, the longer you search around, the more suspiciously familiar “lookalike”-products you will find).

        Wouldn’t it be just a small change of heart really for the Behringer company to stop going after other companies’ trade dress and come up with (at the very very least) an exterior design that is genuinely Behringer’s own and not a more or less blatant “lookalike”?

      2. My first meeting this morning is with my employer’s Chief Ethics Officer. Her job is to build a strong foundation of ethical behavior into the organization. That includes everything from pricing to internal and external actions and culture. And, honestly, we don’t light our competitors on fire because they also know how to use matches.

        The fact that Uli doesn’t know this has been a growing force in the west for the past 30 years is both terrifying and enlightening.

  7. i am a little bit tempted to get both just to compare, curious how much of a tonal difference they would have especially when overdriven a bit or a lot

  8. ah C’mon People!!!! It’s not like we’re talking about a knock off of some brilliant ground breaking pioneering technology!!! They are VCA’s!!!! 4! for $99!!! I ALWAYS need more VCA’s … but I don’t see why they need to be $189 ! Frankly I would have more of an issue for “Brains” .. (if it wasn’t already Open source) …. That’s an innovative design… 4 VCA’s is nothing new. And besides! Intellijel has been a bit short on Supply lately anyways…

    1. Yes, one step further each time. First it was because it was open source, then it was because it was just VCAs, then it was because, well, Maths is based on a Buchla design so it’s all fair that it looks like a Maths knob for knob, then it was because Morphagene is so expensive.

      It’s very sad to see how easy you’re willing to put aside such an obvious ethical question with “They were short on supply and this is cheaper…”.

  9. The intellijel and behringer modules both use the same V2164D Coolaudio chips, which are themselves clones of a SSM2164 VCA chip, so they will sound exactly the same.

    this is a weird case of the clone company actually being the part supplier for intellijel.

    1. Intellijel switched from using the V2164Ds as soon as better alternatives were available, so except for early runs this is not correct.

      Disregarding that, it’s not wise to assume that because it looks the same, it is the same. No one has held this product and these are just baseless assumptions based solely on the fact that the front panel looks the same.

  10. So now Behringer is launching a new cloning crusade against the Eurorack ecosystem…? At the time of this comment, Modulargrid has 8823 modules listed on its database… BRACE YOURSELF KIDS!!!

  11. I wasn’t expecting them to go Intellijel..Behrinher is becoming very fast my favourite form of amusement and the but of every joke between musicians i know…

  12. definitely an incorrect use of skimped, specially because it uses the same chip. The kind way to describe this is clone, if you wanted to call it a rip off that would be a valid argument. If for exampled their clone lacked LEDs they would have skimped. I’m sure there could be an argument made that they lack in quality control and finish, but just because your pot comes in a different container and is from a different farm doesn’t mean you didn’t get a full gram of pot.

    1. Maybe you missed the point, but the thing they are skimping on is creativity. This is the same point made by the headline of the article.

    2. Google is your friend.

      Skimp definition:

      “expend or use less time, money, or material on something than is necessary in an attempt to economize.”

      By xeroxing a popular product, all Behringer has to do is create new panel graphics, instead of paying an electrical engineer and product manager to create and test a new design, which might or might not be successful.

      1. I don’t disagree with the definition that google gave you. you invalidate your argument when you suggest the only way to not skimp on a clone is to make something ELSE. In that definition something is one thing… not a different thing.

        1. I disagree with your assumption that companies have to skimp on design and make knockoffs of the little guy’s best seller.

          The fact that Behringer makes no attempt to ‘build on the shoulders of giants’, but is happy just knocking off whatever sells well, does not bode well for synthesist that want to do more than rehash the past.

  13. I get it that we want to think we’re “good” people and yes it is obvious that Uli has a very particular world view many people, including me, find unpleasant. But I also think we’re all a bit guilty of hypocrisy. I doubt any of us really gives it 100% when it comes to ethical purchases and practices.

    I believe even Dave Smith buys chips from one of Uli’s companies as does Intellijel apparently. Isn’t it more the fact that he (Uli) is so non apologetic about his aggressive behaviour? After all synth companies in the 70’s used to rip each other off all the time and Yamaha literally put the first and second generation of synth entrepreneurs out of business and we don’t shout about them.

    I met Bob Moog twice, once after he was forced to work for other people because he had lost his company and again a couple of decades later before he got the Moog name back and both times I got the feeling that the business was only ever a means to an end, Bob just wanted to give musicians tools to express themselves.

    I think if he were alive today he’d just shrug his shoulders, shake his head and then get back to designing instruments for creative people. Support who you want to support and if you can look yourself in the mirror and sleep at night – that’s all any of us can do, right?

    1. It’s actually really easy not to buy any product related to Musictribe.

      We just need to convince ourselves again that we deserve way better than the crap Behringer etc. is trying to hook us on.

      Or are we junkies looking for that quick fix?

  14. Its simple as that. A lot of people are happy to pay the half price for a module what does the exact same thing ( and in my opinion look even better in black). It is good for the eurorack community! A lot of skilled people are joining now! And maybe someday they will make a lot of money with it and buy more high priced modules. Some people here are only hating because they have paid more in the past or that the second hand prices for modules will drop, thats for sure. They talk about ethics but im sure there are much bigger problems on this earth besides from a company which brings technology to a affordable price. We could start our debate do you do buy all your food at a super market or do you buy everything from local farmers? I bet 90% of all the people writing hate comments will buy their meat from a super market. And I bet if Korg or Roland want to build something similar priced, they could the same at a even better price because of their long year experience and partnerships.

    1. I’m sorry, Peter, but your analogy is pretty terrible. The outrage is not about buying products from a big company vs smalll company. The issue is the big company is ripping off the small company. Further, many farmers markets rip customers off by claiming to be something they are not to cash in on the foodie market. Please see the following article: https://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/1/10/14195328/local-farm-stand-scam

      If anything, that sounds like a behringer tactic to me. Anyway, it’s July 4th weekend, and modules are on sale. I think I will buy another Intellijel Quad VCA (no it is not a Veils clone. I have one and 2 Quad VCAs). I am an owner of a DM 12, and while I generally think it sounds sub par, I have gotten great things from it. I was ready to give Behringer the benefit of the doubt on their new journey, and then they had to f it up with their edge lord tactics and start suing individuals for expressing their opinion. I find that this point is conveniently glossed over by behringer bros claiming Uli is fighting for the little guy. Also, vaccines work.

    2. If you can’t even stay away from Behringer than why mention ethics? Apparently your wallet decides what your ethics are. 😉

  15. So to confirm: You convince yourself that people who disagree with you are just salty because they paid too much, convince yourself they’re hypocritical because they probably don’t care about things in the rest of the world and only have issues with B’s practice, convince yourself there aren’t plenty of cheap(er) modules that aren’t made by companies who harass journalists and random forum users already, convince yourself that 90% of all people who disagree with you must buy meat at supermarkets (Weird one but ok your call), convince yourself that big companies steamrolling over small ones (i.e. pretty much the reason Eurorack exists) and ripping off designs, circuits & produce inferior copies is somehow ‘good’ for the community, convince yourself it does ‘exactly the same thing’ despite the module not even existing yet based on one image, convince yourself they’re built to the same standards & convince yourself this looks better than the original (Granted, that’s a bit more subjective, but c’mon).

    That’s a lot of assumptions you make about the other people just to ignore the fact they may have ethical concerns with B’s practice. It’s one thing to disagree with others, another to convince yourself their opinions are somehow not even ‘real’ or ‘valid’. All that because you feel like you’re getting a good deal?

  16. Taking bets we will have a like for like Maths (titles Mathematics) rip off by the end of 21.
    I’d hate to work a trade show for these guys.

  17. Ethics and morality are debatable.

    What isn’t debatable is that a large company cloning successful boutique products and selling them much more cheaply is taking revenue away from the companies that spent time and resources to devise and develop a new concept into a product, with no compensation.

    This reduces the incentive for boutiques to create new product concepts, and can lead to a boutique company folding.

    The cloning company can sell for less since it avoids the R&D costs required to create genuinely new products (as well as having greater market reach and economies of scale, etc.).

    The boutique makers are absorbing the risk instead of the larger cloning companies who can much better afford it.

    End result: less boutique companies making less innovative and creative products, resulting in less possibilities for new sounds.

    Buying from a boutique maker is an investment in the creative process as well as the products that it leads to. Buying from cloning companies is just saving money on the product, without helping the creative process behind it’s conception.

    Boutique makers have to benefit from the inherent lag in this – the time required for a new concept to demonstrate the size of its market as a basis for a cloner to judge whether it’s worth investing in making a clone. But sound artists (of which I take musicians to be a sub-category) who want to be in the lead in creating new sounds need to invest in the boutique technology (or make their own). Otherwise, waiting for a cloner to make a cheap clone, if they ever do, relegates you to being very late to the party.

    BTW I think this does favour the argument for boutiques to focus on more innovative products. IntelliJel’s quad VCA/Mixer is a really nice and convenient packaging of well established and basic VCA and mixer synth functions. But having well established and easy to understand/use functionality makes the market for a module large and more predictable, and therefore more likely to be cloned.

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