Behringer Polivoks Synthesizer Announced

Russian synth designer Vladimir Kuzmin

Behringer announced today that they have entered into a collaboration with pioneering Russian synth designer Vladimir Kuzmin to create a new Polivoks synthesizer.

The Polivoks (aka Polivox) is a Soviet-era synth analog subtractive synthesizer. While the synth’s 2 VCO/VCF/VCA architecture is similar to other analog synths of the era, the Polivoks is known for the unique sound of its filter and its rugged industrial design.

“I designed the Polivoks in 1980 at the Urals Vector plant in Russia, while it was produced by the Formanta Radio Factory. The Polivoks has features that are very unusual on most analog synthesizers, which creates this very unique and distinctive sound, often referred to as ‘Russian synthesizer sound’,” notes Kuzmin.

“For many years, it has been my dream to create a new and much improved Polivoks,” adds Kuzmin. “Uli’s synthesizer Vision provides a fantastic opportunity for me to contribute to the reimagining of my Polivoks and to make it accessible to everyone – a Vision I profoundly believe in and want to be part of.”

Behringer head Uli Behringer

“It’s an immense honor to have Vladimir Kuzmin on our team as he is a legendary synth designer. We are extremely proud, we could win him for our ambitious Vision,” notes Behringer head Uli Behringer.

“This partnership demonstrates again that we welcome collaborations with boutique inventors and manufacturers, as we believe we can perfectly coexist and complement each other. We invite anyone interested in a possible collaboration to contact us at [email protected]

79 thoughts on “Behringer Polivoks Synthesizer Announced

  1. Interesting. Is this the first time Behringer has actually worked with the original designer of the synths they’ve copied?

    More of this would help their cred a lot.

    1. Their upcoming “Wave” is being developed in collaboration with one of the engineers from the PPG Wave.

      Behringer is believed to have received input on the UB-Xa from a former Oberheim developer who worked on the OB-8.

      Behringer also shared a letter from one of the original designers of the Roland VP330, who was pleased to learn that there was enough interest for the product to be reborn as Behringer’s VC340.

      1. But they haven’t worked with Wolfgang Palm, who created the PPG Wave; or Tom Oberheim, who created the OB-Xa they’re copying; or Dave Smith, who created the Pro-One they copied; or Peter Zinovieff (before he died), who created the VCS3 they’re copying; or Chris Huggett (before he died), who created the Wasp they copied.

        As far as I know, they haven’t really worked with any of the people that originally created the synths they’ve copied. So it’s interesting that they’re working with Vladimir Kuzmin.

        And, you’re right, maybe it won’t just be a straight copy of the Polivoks. I’d be a lot more interested in it if they don’t do a straight copy and instead let Kuzmin come up with a ‘Polivoks Pro’ and do some things that weren’t possible in the Soviet Union back then. Or maybe let him create a new design with some of the Polivoks retro flavor.

        But it’s a lot more likely they’ll just copy the original Polivoks, make it cheaper to manufacture and add MIDI to it.

        1. Wolfgang Palm is probably enjoying retirement. Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim have their own businesses to attend to which aren’t being affected by Behringer. Chris and Peter were probably both in pretty poor health during the time those synths were announced. They may not be getting input from all the big names but they are still getting input from people with a lot of knowledge and know how of these synths.

          “But it’s a lot more likely they’ll just copy the original Polivoks, make it cheaper to manufacture and add MIDI to it.”

          As if that would be a bad thing. Sure a “Prolivoks” would be nice but even an affordable readily available Polivoks would be welcome as well.

          1. I agree that any amount of input is good, but Tom & Dave’s businesses are definitely affected by behringer… lawsuits, copies, similar market space, etc.

            1. The Cease and Desists for the criticisms that Behringer sent out are dumb and I don’t support that but Patents exist and have expiration dates for a reason so the idea that Behringer are somehow intruding on their market is absurd. The people who can and/or want to pay the premium prices for the products from Dave or Tom aren’t going to suddenly not buy their products because Behringer makes affordable recreations of 30 year old synth designs. Likewise the people who couldn’t otherwise get their hands on Dave and Toms current line of products now have a quality alternative that’s can be reasonably obtained and might lead them to more niche brands and products.

              1. “The Cease and Desists for the criticisms that Behringer sent out are dumb”

                Don’t gaslight for Behringer – it was lawsuits and hate speech that they sent out, not just cease and desist letters. And it wasn’t ‘dumb’, it was sociopathic.

                There are lots of other companies that make good inexpensive synths, and ones that aren’t rehashes of old technology for people stuck in the 70s.

                1. “Don’t gaslight for Behringer”

                  How about don’t shame people for not caring about the “Ethics” of synthesizers. Why is this so hard for people? If you don’t want to support Behringer then fine, don’t support them. But don’t try and make people feel bad because they do. That’s just petty.

                  1. Nobody is shaming you for not caring about the “Ethics” of synthesizers.

                    Why can’t you accept that you can buy a Behringer synth AND also realize that they do a lot of sociopathic stuff?

                    No need to gaslight for them to justify your purchases. They make cheap gear, and sometimes that’s all you want.

                    1. “Why can’t you accept that you can buy a Behringer synth AND also realize that they do a lot of sociopathic stuff?”

                      I literally said that I didn’t support their unscrupulous behavior and you came in accusing me of defending them by “Gaslighting” just because I didn’t go into every single detail about what they’ve done. I don’t think you know what that term actually means. This is why it’s so hard to take this site seriously anymore.

                  2. “I literally said that I didn’t support their unscrupulous behavior ”

                    No, you literally said “The Cease and Desists for the criticisms that Behringer sent out are dumb”.

                    Most people understand the difference between doing something dumb – and harassing someone for months on end, identity theft, hate speech, suing your critics for millions of dollars, etc.

                    You know the difference, too, but you choose to promote the lie that “Behringer did something dumb” over the reality that they do a lot of sociopathic shit.

                    1. “No, you literally said “The Cease and Desists for the criticisms that Behringer sent out are dumb”.”

                      Yeah… then in the next line I said I didn’t support that behavior. Again I can’t take this site seriously when people like you flood the comments with this holier than thou attitude, cherry pick arguments and try and try to act like anyone who says anything positive about Behringer are shills and crooks.

                      Like god forbid I didn’t want to spend the time sitting here looking up every single bad thing Behringer did, list it all here and go through one by one condemning each action and instead decided to summarize it all by saying it was “Dumb” and didn’t settle for calling them “Sociopathic” Which again I don’t think you know what that word actually means. Yeah, everything that they against the journalists and critics is dumb. I don’t understand how you interpreted that as me defending them. That’s just delusional.

                  3. > If you don’t want to support Behringer then fine,
                    > don’t support them. But don’t try and make people
                    > feel bad because they do.

                    Totally wrong take. It´s like saying in the 1930´s in Germany: “If you don’t want to vote for Hiltler´s party at the ballot box, then fine, don’t support them. But don’t try and make people feel bad because they do.”

                    1. Yeah….. because what Behringer is doing is totally equivalent to Hitler killing millions of Jewish people….. this site’s a joke.

          2. Sure their businesses are effected by products that are essentially clones of their own product line. It undercuts their hard work.

        2. Could somebody please explain, why all of this is suddenly an issue when we talk hardware, but not when we discuss software? It is pausible to think that probably none of the companies who create software clones have had one of the orginators on board (at least nobody I know has publicly announced this).

          1. It’s a valid question. I think a software copy of hardware jumps to a different market, whereas a hardware copy of hardware stays in the same market.

            Maybe a sloppy analogy, hardware is like a live concert, and software is like a recording of a concert. People who love live music DO buy CD’s, and vice versa, but they are filling different “needs” in some sense.

            I think probably a more reasonable, but less satisfying answer is that it just doesn’t seem as much like a copy since the skills required to design and make the original, and the skills required to write the code to emulate are very different.

              1. Nope Arturia have not always involved or licensed their emulations. They have however applied for various trademarks that have lapsed even when the hardware companies are still going.

                1. “Nope Arturia have not ALWAYS involved or licensed their emulations.”

                  The exceptions make the rule, not the other way around.

                  Arturia worked with original developers on multiple occasions:

                  Arturia Modular V – made in collaboration with Bob Moog:

                  https://www.arturia.com/products/analog-classics/modular-v

                  Arturia Mini V – made in collaboration with Moog:

                  https://www.arturia.com/mini-v/overview

                  Arturia partners with Moog Foundation:

                  https://moogfoundation.org/arturia-announces-dr-bobs-collector-pack/

                  Anybody can legally just copy old analog gear and build on it, and many people do.

                  But Behringer is the only major music gear company whose core business is the wholesale rip off of other company’s designs, copying the look and name of the originals, and refusing to even acknowledge the work of the companies and designers that they rip off.

    2. Uli: We’d like to “collaborate” with you.
      Original Designer: What does that entail?
      Uli: We’ll just photocopy all these.
      Orignal Designer: Oh.
      Uli: We’re gonna take these anyway, but if you want the $10K, it’ll be nice for our marketing to say you were “involved”.

        1. Contemporary Russian/Eastern European synths by SOMA, ELTA and Erica are not only highly innovative, but they are built like tanks. I don’t expect B to pull off something remotely comparable.

          1. No – probably a basic Polivoks clone for the retro synth fans.

            I wonder how many people will want a $500-600 Behringer Polivoks, though, when you can get the real thing for $800?

            1. More alarming yet is the near fully automated factory they are opening in Malaysia, that will be reportedly operational by 2023. They state that it will revolutionise instrument manufacturing to ‘standards reserved for the highest quality manufactured electronics’. Whilst this will certainly reduce their cost basis, this will inevitably reverberate within the industry and the effects will not all be positive.

          2. I just got a slightly used Soma Lyra 8 and concur. Solider than a Moog, heavy and rugged. I haven’t had a chance to play it at volume yet so can’t say how fat it sounds. It is unlike any conventional synth and is worth having simply for what it teaches me playing with it. You cannot make conventional music on it, can’t impose expectations of traditional harmony and melody on it.

      1. The Behringer Polivoks has been on the drawing board for years. MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd applied for the POLIVOKS trademark (88621165 – has not received final approval) in the USA on September 18, 2019, and an EU trademark (018121128) on September 8, 2019.

      2. You’re referencing someone that modded and resold roland synths. You can hardly call them an “original” designer.

    3. Agree with you whole heartedly….Behringer has the resources to collaborate with original designers….glad to see this article

    4. If Behringer hired Michael Mauer (Mercedes and Porsche designer) and worked with him on an inexpensive copy of the 1995 SLK, would it help their credibility? Of course not. It’s still a Mercedes and Mauer doesn’t own Mercedes-Benz because he worked there in the 1990s.

      The saving grace here is that the Polivoks was built by the state-owned Formanta Radio Company in the USSR. There is no ownership because the state that created it ceased to exist in 1991.

    5. fairly sure they worked with the dood that made the ARP 2600? i remember seeing something about him testing it out…

  2. i really don’t care if it is a clone or copy,, .. Behringer has been making affordable synths and pretty good synths for the last few years … a good selection of synths cheap and good enough ..

    1. Yeah screw the planet, lets get more people hooked on cheap waste.. Living in crap countries, with crappy jobs, crappy paycheck.. crap is the way to go! Everything will be better when I have my cheap made instrument.

      1. It’s hilarious how irrationally mad Behringer makes people. They have made iconic, long out of production synths available to more people, regardless of your issues with them.

        1. Here’s the deal…Behringer did not. They produce cheap stuff that looks and sound a bit like the OG’s. Too many people have no idea how strong they’re being fooled. Marketing simply works on most folks. 😉

  3. Very buggy…and they also end up on the second hand market very quickly. There’s a reason, and to think they’re already inexpensive to begin with. Cheap parts, cheap manufacturing, you get what you pay for.

    Looking forward to the Jupiter 8 clone soon!

    1. When you sell more minimoog-copies in a couple of months than the original did over its lifespan, there will be a lot to pick up second hand. Buggy? Not more than what other manufactureres put on the street. Actually – I’m. quite impressed by the recent years Behringer quality. Although my 25 year old Behringer mixer (that still sounds as bad as it did when new) still is up and going – no repairs – no mods. My three newer products, an XR12 mixer, a Neutron and a miniBoog.. has performed nicely since day one – and still does. Well built I’d say – compared to everything else..

      1. I’m impressed that your Behringer mixer is still working well.

        I’ve got two of their ‘Eurorack’ mixers and they’re junk, but I spent too much on them to just throw them away. Both have channels that I just had to put tape over, because they don’t work, and all the faders are scratchy.

        It’s kind of funny how they brag about the three-year warranty these days, because they literally HAD to switch to a three-year warranty because their mixers back then had a reputation for dying when they were 13 months old.

        I’ve got no idea if they’re still cheaping out on the parts, but they must have been using the cheapest parts possible back then, because their mixers started getting scratchy and failing as soon as the warranty ran out.

        If anybody has tips on reviving dead channels and scratchy faders on old Behringer mixers, let me know!

        1. I’ve had a Behringer Euromix 8 since the mid 90’s, it’s a little tank just like my two original Mackie CR-1604’s. It works just as well today as it did 26 years ago.

    2. The only problem I’ve had with the two Behringer synths I’ve bought is that they seem to have decided to let customers do the burn in and calibration. It’s probably one of the most labor intensive steps of the process, which must be why the skip it.

      After I opened my synths and calibrated them, though (admittedly a pain in the ass), they sound good and have been as stable as what I’d expect from my vintage analog gear.

  4. How dare the original designer work with Behringer to rip off his own work. Doesn’t he have any respect for himself and his achievements? I think he should sue himself and Behringer.

    1. Whether that is an attempt at humour or just an attempt at being snarky to those whom have been critical of Uli’s behaviour, your comment is just plain dumb. This is a collaboration and one that seemingly on equal footing. Had Uli approached his past transgressions in similar fashion, he and his company would not have faced the vitriol that is common on these and other boards.

  5. Well now I don’t just want a MF-101 clone, I want some kind of crazy filter bank with the Moog, Poliviks and MS-20 filters among others all in one product.

  6. An important (I think) fact was left off this article. According to the release, Kuzmin said he reached out to Uli and asked if they would be interested in working with him to create a new and improved Polivoks.

  7. If people are getting good mix-&-match time with the B parts parts of their setups, who elected me Judge Judy & Executioner over it? I don’t have time for much outrage. I’m busy cracking a Memorymoog.

  8. It is very ironic that the Polivoks is a kind of copy of the Mini Moog which Behringer already has copied! So. Behringer copying copies one day they might copy rheir own copies one day!

    1. it doesn’t much sound like a moog. moog filters lose bass with increased resonance. the polivoks filter does not which gives it a unique sound from moog (that i personally prefer). made out of op amps i believe because transistors were too expensive for consumer russian products.

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