Behringer UB-Xa Desktop Synthesizer Sneak Preview

Behringer today shared a sneak preview of their UB-Xa Desktop synthesizer, the module version of their upcoming Oberheim OB-Xa knockoff.

Here’s what they had to say about the upcoming Behringer UB-Xa Desktop synth:

“While we’re all waiting for chips to finally produce and ship the UB-Xa, our engineers haven’t been sitting still and in the meantime finished the prototype of the desktop version. Like with all our other desktop modules, this one will be rack mountable, too.

We’re super excited and hope you love it, too:-)”

Here’s an audio demo of the final design for the UB-Xa keyboard version:

The Behringer UB-Xa was originally announced in 2018. The company completed beta testing for the UB-Xa keyboard in 2021, saying at the time that “We promise that this synth will blow you away and exceed all your expectations.”

The company has not announced details on when they expect to release either of the UB-Xa synths. Based on today’s message, Behringer has not been able to move to production, because of the unavailability of needed parts.

The global chip shortage is now entering its third year, triggered by a variety of causes, including: growing demand for integrated circuits; the impact of the global pandemic; and the Trump adminstration’s trade war with China, which added tariffs to semiconductors imported from China and imposed sanctions on Chinese semiconductor manufacturers. Several synth makers have have attributed product shortages and increased prices to the trade war and the global chip shortage.

Check out the UB-Xa photos and audio demos and share your thoughts on it in the comments!

37 thoughts on “Behringer UB-Xa Desktop Synthesizer Sneak Preview

  1. Why do you post worthless announcements like these?
    And Synthdopia gives no professional journalistic background that just last year Behringer tried and failed to trademark the Oberheim name.

    1. Michael L

      It sounds like you think an OB-Xa knockoff is somehow not newsworthy to synthesists. What’s your rationale for that?

      We’ve covered Behringer’s attempts to trademark ‘Oberheim’ previously:

      https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2021/03/05/behringer-oberheim-trademark-registration-refused-because-it-falsely-suggests-a-connection-with-tom-oberheim/

      https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2021/08/03/worldwide-rights-to-oberheim-trademark-returned-to-its-founder/

    2. Go read gearnews then, which shares their wisdom in a cynical manner. Not my cup of tea though.
      I think it’s a newsworthy post by Synthtopia!

  2. CLEMENS! Good to see you doing this demo. Sales can rise or fall on the quality of the demos provided and the sound of this machine is really good. Much better than I expected. It should sell really well. Thanks for the video.

    1. Why are people always surprised when a cloned synth sounds like the original ?

      From an electrical engineering standpoint – an analogue poly synth isn’t exactly a complex piece of equipment

      When compared to a plane or even something smaller a laptop – it’s extremely basic

  3. waiting on the 5 octave. will be a good mod platform for me :0)

    love that the stuff is cheap enough to open on day one, and start making changes. hope they do a 16 voice model.

    although they haven’t announced it – the Xpander in back would be a wonderful product to have.

    there’s that knockoff again. what a joke.

    1. Synthtopia doesn’t think that “knockoff” has any pejorative connotations and that it’s simply descriptive of any inexpensive hardware clone made by Behringer.

      These cheap clones of Oberheim and other classic analog synths serve a similar purpose to the myriad of cheap clones of Fender and Gibson guitars: enabling musicians who can’t afford the “real thing” (not to mention costly repair and maintenance in the case of a vintage instrument) to play something similar.

      It’s also worth noting that in addition to the unlicensed clones, Fender and Gibson are smart enough to make cheap licensed clones of their own instruments under the Squier and Epiphone brands.

      1. A knockoff, by definition, is an unofficial copy of a popular product, designed to be an inexpensive alternative to the original.

        The ‘knockoff’ category is the core of Behringer’s business. They describe their strategy as being a ‘market follower’, copying successful products to the limits allowed by law, and offering a cheaper alternative:

        https://community.musictribe.com/discussions/156693/308940/competition-the-facts

        We use other terms – like ‘clone’ – when they are appropriate for categorizing Behringer’s products:

        https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2021/06/15/behringer-intros-brains-eurorack-module-a-mutable-instruments-plaits-clone/

        https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2020/07/08/behringer-clones-curtis-cem3396-analog-synth-on-a-chip/

        1. Like I said. But I can live with it – it’s your site and by this point my filter is mostly tuned so I can receive the signal.

        2. Beside that, you raise a good point that I want to weigh in on: this business model is consonant with the purpose (at least in the US) of patent law, which provides a limited-term monopoly to encourage development of new inventions, but permits unrestricted use after the patent has expired to allow everyone to benefit from it. The purpose is not to enrich inventors (or companies) or to ensure a legacy for their descendants, but rather to benefit the public.

          If a manufacturer is in fact violating the law, then it can (and should) be sued and/or appropriately regulated to bring it into compliance.

          1. Exactly. Patent law doesn’t limit anybody from copying vintage synth designs, it enables it.

            What can limit this are things like trademark, trade dress and copyright.

            Trademark limits you from copying other company’s names and product names.

            Trade dress keeps you from selling a synth that looks just like some other company’s.

            Copyright keeps you from copying the software or samples used in some vintage gear.

            Behringer says that they use a team of lawyers to review their products, so that they can copy other company’s products to the limit of the law.

            This is the essence of a knockoff product: copy a popular design, make any changes needed to get around intellectual property limits, and then manufacture it inexpensively.

            When you see a ‘Pro VS’ instead of a ‘Prophet VS’, an ‘RD-8’ instead of an ‘RD-808’, or gear with the colors of buttons arbitrarily swapped around from the original designs, those look like they types of changes lawyers make to knockoff products to work around the law. “Mr. Pibb”, anyone?

              1. You never know with these b-ear-ringer characters seems they believe in some sort of alternative reality that only apply’s to suit their own interests. Their shoddy track record proves this. These knockoff hacks wouldn’t know truth, quality or discretion if u hit’em in the head with a clone of a baseball bat or lead pipe folks

        3. and yet, with all that rationalization, it still just comes off as pejorative.

          every industry has a Behringer – get used to the one in yours -it’s not going away.

          1. It’s up to readers to decide if they have a problem with ‘knockoff’ products.

            Taking offense at people accurately using terminology, though, doesn’t make much sense.

    2. Plus 1 for Xpander. Enough modulation power that you don’t really need to mod it, and it would include a modern/fast CPU (though probably not the beautiful vacuum fluorescent displays.)

      I was going to mention that I bought a vintage Matrix-1000 (itself a bit of a cheaper “preset” imitation of the Matrix-6R) a few years ago for cheap, but now they seem to be going for insane prices. In any case,it (Matrix-1000) is an underrated synth (use an external patch editor) if not as organic sounding as other Oberheims due to its DCOs.

    3. this is why it so cheap, it is what it is.
      i admire “synthhead” not fell under the pressure to change that term just because some people over sensitive about it.

  4. I’m fatalistic about the chip shortage, since it has several nasty causes. Everyone is suffering at once. Its an interesting social study, seeing how the world copes (or not). Prices rarely come back down, once a gainful new standard has appeared and the Why doesn’t really matter.

    I wish someone else was offering this. I wish those buttons weren’t right under the pitch/mod section. It messes up the proper angle of grab-ability. I also wish magic fairies would give me a Perfect Synth that dispensed espresso and personal wet wipes. Too bad!

    1. all that dirt cheap slave labor from China always seemed way too good to be true, didnt it???

      well – i suppose if you were paying attention it might have seemed that way

      otherwise you might be entirely clueless about what is happening now

  5. Whenever I click on a Behringer article, I am betting with myself if the term “knockoff” will already be used in the first sentence or only a bit later. But you rarely disappoint 🙂

  6. There is still chip shortage, will this go live in 2022?

    The video above is from 2021, but the keyboard is not live either.

  7. I’m good with my Dreadbox Nymphes, thanks.

    I’d rather soothe oppressed women than Uli Behringer’s bloated ego.

    1. ‘Nr’ – thanks for leaving your first comment ever on Synthtopia.

      Sorry that you don’t like coverage of knockoff synths, but they’re newsworthy to many readers, as you can see from all the comments on this post.

      Synthtopia has never asked readers to pay for anything, ever. We don’t even ask you to create an account on the site.

      But if you really want to ‘unsubscribe’, contact us via our Feedback form and we’ll be glad to help out.

  8. OBXa-Desktop Module with Midi USB? Yes, please! Can’t wait!

    Still love my Model-D and use it nearly every day! (Recent firmware updates have made it better.)

  9. Love all the comments negative from people knocking Behringer keyboard products.
    It’s actually hilarious. For you You cancel culture haters that whine about the good ol vintage keyboards, here’s my message. You don’t
    like what Behringer or wether you don’t like your aunt chamima pancakes renamed. Read something else. Don’t buy the product and quit going boo hoo about whatever it is you think
    You know. I love what they do. My poly d slays a real MiniMoog all day. Some products
    I don’t like. Guess what, I don’t buy them. I don’t buy aunt chimimas pancakes because it’s bs they renamed them. So I get something else. Quit crying. You don’t like ANYTHING, move the Duck on children.

    1. If you like something guess what, you can just get it, why do you need to tell everybody about your love and talk so much about whoever don’t. Isn’t it the same thing?

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