New Behringer MS-5 Synthesizer A Roland SH-5 Knockoff

Behringer today shared a teaser for their MS-5 synthesizer, what appears to be a knockoff of the Roland SH-5 synthesizer from the 70s.

The images are of an early mockup or prototype, based on Behringer’s Poly D form factor. The Behringer MS-5 replaces the modulation panel and the top panel of the Poly D with panels based on the SH-5:

The original Roland SH-5 is a monophonic analog synth from 1976. While the SH-5 has the same basic architecture of other monosynths of the era, it has several features that extend its sound design possibilities.

Where many 70’s monosynths offered a single LFO, the SH-5 offers two, giving you more flexible modulation options. Where other monosynths offered a single low-pass filter, the SH-5 offers dual filters, one with multi-mode options and another a bandpass filter. Other rare features for the era include a sample-and-hold and stereo panning.

Here’s a demo of the original, via synth4ever:

Pricing and Availability

The Behringer MS-5 appears to be in the very early stages of development, so details on pricing and availability are to come.

via Andreas, FB

53 thoughts on “New Behringer MS-5 Synthesizer A Roland SH-5 Knockoff

  1. This has been my dream monosynth; but at $4000 to $6000 could never think of buying one. I think I might have to break my Behringer cherry on this…

    1. > This has been my dream monosynth

      what? a dream of a MONOsynth must be a nightmare. try chords. they sound wonderful.

      1. Do you also think wind, reed, and brass instruments, as well as the human voice are nightmares because they’re monophonic?

    2. Why your dream monosynth?

      I don’t get the appeal of this, when there are so many more powerful monophonic synths. Even cheap monosynths like the Bass Station 2 or the Korg Monostation offer a lot more power than the SH-5, and you can save patches or automate them.

        1. “We don’t all drive Toyota sedans and love pizza delivery also.”

          No idea what you’re trying to say there. Is your point that the Bass Station 2 and the Korg Monostation are sort of generic?

          It’s crazy to me to pay a premium for a limited synth just because it comes with retro styling.

          If you think this is your Cadillac, though, tell me what the appeal is.

          1. I think it’s really funny to bash someone for lusting after an SH5! You’ve obviously never played or owned a Roland from that era! I’ve owned over 30 different mono and poly vintage and modern synths including a Bass Station I (sounded great, very round, almost acidic), played a monostation (fun, raw, cheap), use eurorack (clean, surgical, amazing modulation). I can confirm that a Roland SH5 is indeed something to lust after and it goes much beyond just ‘retro styling’. Ever try a synth with discrete oscillators? My SH2 sounds INSANE with the filter all the way open and resonance all the way down. Do you own a modern synth that sounds good set like that? Then add resonance and you get a better acidic meditative sound then a tb303 but just no slide or accent. The SH synths are all quite special in their own ways but can imagine an SH5 with it’s modulation capabilities, discrete components and build quality as a flagship (has always been in used car price territory) would indeed be an eargasm maker. Comparing cheap modern synths with digital brains and synth on a chip ‘analog’ components is ludicrous.

            The behringer will obviously sound like crap with clicky digital envelopes just like all of their ‘synths’ do. They are literally producing ‘synthesizers’ of synthesizers! It’s getting meta!

          2. Point is we all don’t drive the same cars or eat the same food or walk with the same shoes. BS2 and the Korg are great. SH5 just takes you different places. Doesn’t need to be a competition man.

          3. What makes you think it will be limited or cost a premium?

            The whole point of Behringer remaking it is so that it won’t be any of those things

            The appeal is that you get something that what was once unobtainable for a tiny fraction of its actual worth. Even if it is built more on the cheap side, it will sound more or less the same and give you a good sense of what it must be like to use the original synth

    1. sweet filters, great oscillators, nifty modulation options, powerful VCAs.,sliders for the envelopes, one function per control….other than that, not much.

  2. stop it, uli, and make the 1st behringer *WORKSTATION*! guess what: yamaha, roland, korg and kurzweil are better than your company because their technicians are able to code and manufacture synths WITH ONBOARD 16-TRACK SEQUENCERS!! show me your board with an internal multitrack sequencer, uli! there is none. bad.

    1. I’m pretty sure Behringer could code a 16 track sequencer, to be fair to them. Just probably not on a reproduction of a 1976 monosynth.

      Personally, the last thing I’d want is a Behringer workstation but there’s a plethora of them out there to choose from. After all, during all the years that barely anyone was making analogue synths there were plenty of companies churning them out.

  3. The SH5 only has one VCA but dual envelopes, in fact there is a third static envelope generator. Its similar to a Roland 101/102 but the diode filter is multimode and there is also a dedicated band pass filter. Used by Ozric Tentacles, watch an early live show to see it in action.

    1. Rob did you have a hand in this? A while back I saw you mention you were working with Behringer on 3 projects and after seeing you talk about the 2600 and 2500 I wondered if it was the SH5 as you have delved into it a lot on your own site.

      Dumb question I guess, is it a “good”/different as they say? For us brought up in the 70’s it’s become something of a myth/mystery as it was never featured on any of the records of the time but some people were raving about it, which seemed odd. Or was it just that we were all MM and Odyssey obsessed?

      1. I was involved in the initial MS5 prototype but Covid shut me down. The MS5 has developed over the last year, but as a back burner. B are testing demand for a production run, as many customers are unfamiliar with the original.

        The SH5 sweet spot is how Ozric T used it, for diode filter modulation leads, but there are lots of great sounds including sync. A new keybed with velocity and aftertouch patched into the modules would open up the synth and I hope B do this. Keeping to the original is a constraint, which is why I have produced the SH05 modules.

        Did I get to add some fairy dust, like on the 2600, no not this time! The rock solid AMSynths SH05 VCO design is not in the MS5.

        In 1976 the SH-5 was a different take from an Odyssey or a MiniMoog, and a big jump up from the toy like SH3. When the MS5 lauches I will share a book of 200 patches created in 1979, so we can explore the synth to the max!

        1. Thanks for your thoughts. Shame you weren’t more involvement. When I read you working with B this was the one I was hoping for. Interesting to see your patches if they go ahead.

          Cheers

  4. I have lost track of how many different synths, drum machines and eurorack modules (not to mention a DAW!) Behringer have said they are thinking about making….it seems to be taking 2 years or more from ‘mock up’ to product realisation if it happens at all, so I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for this, its just another click bait mock up

  5. i really like the rd6, 606 knock off, because my 606 is dying, and would cost a lot to keep going and still wouldn’t be midi. roland has clearly decided they’re not going the route of remakes, so i’m glad someone has.

    but the SH-5 holds no interest for me. i’ve played the original, it’s interesting, but it’s not all that unique really.

    back 15 years ago before the monotribe came out, or the volca’s existed i was jamming on my casiotone, and my tr-606. wishing i had a whole range of little boxes, like the 303, and 606 to jam on. each with their own specialty.
    clearly kong was listening, because out came the volca’s. there’s something about the small box format which is really appealing for creativity.

    now 15 years later, my last wish remains unbidden, a casiotone MT-65 with Midi… one that gives me total control of its drum machine, and can be sequenced…. that old casio is the best effing sound on the planet, i can’t tell you how often i go to a gig and see a cream coloured casio up on stage 40 years after it was made.

    if only Behringer could answer my prayers and make me my MIDI, sequencable casiotone MT-65. i would die happy.

  6. Admin: ‘Dr B’, you have been using multiple identities (Dr B, abcde, steve, etc) to spam the site.

    Doing this results in your comments automatically being flagged for moderation. Using a consistent identity will reduce the likelihood that your comments will be held for moderation and avoid wasting the admins’ time.

      1. Steven

        You’ve left three previous comments, using different user names, each time with the same basic message: “I object to the use of the term knockoff.”

        Using multiple names to post the same message is a common tactic with spammers, so your comments automatically get flagged as potential spam.

        As should be obvious from the variety of comments on the site, we encourage readers to share all types of viewpoints, including ones that criticize our coverage. That’s why we approved your comment when you made it as ‘steve’ and when you made it as ‘abcde’.

        When you used a third identity, ‘Dr B’, to make the same comment, though, it established a pattern of using multiple identities to spam the site.

        Using a consistent identity and contributing constructively with your comments will minimize the likelihood that your comments will be flagged as spam.

  7. This is a nice idea from Behringer. Roland is not really (re)creating much analog synths nowadays. The last analog they did AFAIK was the SE-02 which they didn’t conceive themselves from a sound path perspective. So Behringer is indeed filling up a gap here. But is it a good idea or a missed opportunity?

    It is fairly close to the original. The fact it doesn’t come with presets is of course also in line with the original and cheaper to develop anyways, but preset capability would have its merits here: this synth is way more complex than a Minimoog and a bit harsher sounding. This implies it will have less sweet spots when tweaking knobs than its fellow Moog, so you risk getting a synth that is fun to play for a while and then left in a corner because considered too difficult to recall good sounds quickly enough.
    Some of the demo’s found on the internet of the original SH-5 seems to underline that point of view. Some sound annoying, rather than refreshing or attractive.

    How much I like it, I won’t be buying this because of that reason: I get the same improvisational level and beyond with my existing modular gear, so the MS5 as it is conceived would only consume money and space without much added value.

    1. Unfortunately they choosed to put this into the Poly D chasis which would be a turn down for a lot of people. This is a beautiful synth that I belive deserve its own case, rack mounted format would be very well received imo.

        1. LOL. My point has nothing to do with “original design.” The point was that the two Sequential products use the same case/keyboard. Doing so saves money for the company at the expense of the extra keys/range. The Behringer design featured in this article obviously uses the same case/keyboard as their Poly D and Mono/Poly products. It seems that Behringer haters are gonna hate.

          1. I am getting tired of the Behringer fanboys, anyone who writes something that is not a praise is labeled as a hater. I am waiting for their VCS3, UB-Xa and Polykobol clones so no, I am not a Behringer hater, I just happen to have an opinion. The PolyD/Monopoly design is ugly.

            1. LOL. My comment was aimed at the person who wrote, “…your comment is more fluffing for Behringer” when I wrote nothing in my initial comment about Behringer. Some people immediately jump to the hate for Behringer .

              As I have explained on this site, I am not a Behringer fanboy. Your “fanboy” comment is derogatory. It’s not negative/hate?

  8. I think the issue for some is that great gear is becoming accessible to everyone and not just the rich kids.
    As a synth user since 1982 this is a great thing . Also great news is that the secondhand market is flooded with this equipment. Let there be music!!!

    1. Agreed. I’m not excited about every single Behringer clone, but I’m not excited by every single new instrument released by one of the revered companies. It’s not like any of them are reinventing the wheel every time. Most synths are derivative of earlier instruments, familiar elements, slightly tweaked and reorganised, stuck in a brand new case and WOW we have another new great synth. It’s a Sub 25! If they are actually new and original, they’re usually digital, and derivative of earlier wavetable/FM synths in their own way.

      All of the uproar about Behringer’s dealings with other multinational companies and corporations, meh, that might be interesting to economists. As a musician and customer I’m not interested in that aspect in the slightest. So I was surprised to see so many angry fanboys heaping hatred on Behringer for being so evil to give people what they’ve been begging other companies for, and at an affordable price: clones of classic instruments.

      For my 16th birthday, my parents bought me a starter electric guitar set. Containing a “Vector” amplifier, with “Vector” written in the same font that Marshall uses, a strap, a guitar stand, and – oh glory of glories – a cheap knockoff Stratocaster from Korea. At no point did it occur to me to angrily demand of my parents that they’d return this cheap insult to the memory of the Holy Leo Fender. I subconsciously punished them in my own way though, by being an unoriginal teenager AKA trying to be a punk guitarist and learning only three chords.

      But who are most of these haters then? Well, they do seem to have in common the fact that they’re middle aged, usually doing quite well financially, and are in the posession of one or more vintage synths that Behringer has cloned. They feel somehow insulted by Ulli personally, for supposedly taking some of the sheen of their prized posession, fearful that it may decrease in value, or just snooty about “how nothing can come close to the crown jewel I and I alone am the rightful owner of.”

      And I applaud them for that. It’ll keep the prices of Behringer synths low, and add a layer of competition to the market, which may subtly drive down the overhyped prices of synths in general. Good on you haters!

    2. I question that this is really ‘great gear’. This is a synth for wankers.

      Behringer synths are mainly interesting because they copy collectible synths. And most of these collectible synths are valuable not because they’ve got rainbow unicorn analog guts in them or even that they’re fantastic synths – it’s just that few were made.

      And the reason that few were made is that most of these synths were failures, relegated to the dustbin of history.

      The SH-5 is rare because it was an also-ran. It was a big, impractical monosynth that came out right as companies started putting out compact, powerful polysynths with presets.

      Just about any modern analog from the last decade or so can wipe the floor with the SH-5.

      A SH-5 knockoff isn’t for people looking for a great synth, it’s for people that want to pretend that they’re Junkie XL with a big room full of retro gear.

      And, sorry, but you’re one of the ‘rich kids’ and a synth snob if you’re buying expensive recreations of rare analog monosynths and pretending that it’s somehow ‘democratizing music’.

      1. It’s ‘good enough’ gear. Which is fine for the 99% of folks that are into playing music these days.

        Might as well get over it; Behringer’s not going away. At least the need for overly expensive limited release reissues from IP holders won’t be a big thing anymore.

        1. You’re missing the point. You’re paying a premium for Behringer’s knockoffs and if you think you’re getting a bargain, you’re a fool.

          If you want a great synth, just about any modern analog synth is going to be better than this – with more capabilities and better sound for less money.

          A $300 Korg Monologue is more synth than this. These are expensive boxes for people that don’t know any better.

          And don’t tell me that the rare, vintage original costs $6,000. Do you think real Rolexes make fake Rolexes valuable?

      2. Watch Mathew Johnson’s presents his Synthesizer Roland SH5 on YouTube and get back to me on how you think it’s a ‘unicorn synth also ran that doesn’t sound good, any modern synth can wipe the floor with’. SH5 sounds like a magic sword that can do it all to me! Modern synths under midi brain control will always have slower envelopes period. The split second where digital brain delegates task to synth on a chip. Zero fluctuation at start. Every time. Without that raw envelope snap the track don’t clap. Modern synthesizers try to sound like old synthesizers. Old synthesizers tried to sound like woodwinds, violins, the ocean and the wild. They are not the same.

  9. “Analoguerectum?” Is there a digital one? Is that a Eurorack module or simply a vulgar new Metasonix product? Bitching about Behringer is one of the Top 20 Signs that you need a girlfriend. I’m saving that for their first clone-ish workstation. I can pre-hate on that a little and then get on with my day. (Insert smoking pipe organ emoji.)

    1. Analoguerectum is my name for the slightly rectal way some people act around analogue equipment. A sort of uptight snobbishness over diodes and chips. In the digital realm there is an equivalent, I call those Apple Bottoms. A nominal equivalent to the rectum with the added double meaning of sexual roles in the LGBTQ community.

  10. God bless my Prophet 600. Thanks to her I’m not caught up in all this Behringer crap. Didn’t Uli Behringer take Dave Smith to court?! What a nice guy and tries stealing his designs in the process. ^-^

    1. What about people who don’t have a Prophet 600 and can’t afford or don’t want a used 35+ year old Prophet 600?

      Regarding stealing his designs (that no one including Dave Smith is making), for good or for bad, when things come off patent, generic versions are legally fair game. This is ubiquitous in our world across most industries.

  11. There are two lfos, but you can’t modulate the 2nd bandpass filter.
    This screams for modifications.
    Inverted envelopes are also missing.

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