Behringer Synthi VCS 3 Still Vaporware, But ‘Getting Close’

Behringer today shared a sneak preview of their upcoming unofficial copy of the classic Electronic Music Studios VCS 3 from 1969.

Behringer originally announced plans to build a version of the Synthi VCS 3 in 2017. Last year, the company shared a sneak preview of the VCS 3. The images shared today are of the final pre-production model, which will go to beta users for testing.

They tagged their images as #hardvaporware, but say that they are ‘getting close’.

“This synth took a particularly long time, as the mechanical construction of the matrix, plus the recreation of analog circuitry was very complex and needed several iterations,” they note. “Our UK analog expert John Price, spent over two years to meticulously recreate the sound of the original unit, while also adding many additional functions as you can see from the front panel.”

The original VCS3 was one of the first all-in-one portable synth designs, and has been used notably used by artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a three VCO semi-modular synth with an iconic design, featuring a joystick controller and patch matrix.

The original EMS Synthi VCS3 is still in production, but availability is limited and used prices are now in the 5 digits.

Features (Preliminary):

  • Analog synthesizer with triple VCO design
  • Reproduction of original “VCS3” circuitry
  • Analog signal path with VCO, VCF and VCA
  • VCOs featuring multi-turn knobs for precise frequency control
  • Variable oscillator shapes with variable pulse widths
  • 24 dB low pass filter with resonance
  • 16 x 16 pin patch bay serves as signal routing matrix by inserting pins into holes
  • Ring modulator adds insane spice and edge to your sounds
  • Dedicated and fully analog triangle/square wave LFO
  • Noise generator dramatically expands waveform generation
  • Two-axis joystick serves as performance controller
  • 42 controls give you direct and real-time access to all important parameters
  • External audio inputs for processing external sound sources
  • MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection
  • 3-Year Warranty Program

The back panel image, shared previously, shows connectivity not found on the original, including USB & DIN MIDI:

Pricing and Availability:

Behringer has not announced pricing or availability for the VCS 3.

77 thoughts on “Behringer Synthi VCS 3 Still Vaporware, But ‘Getting Close’

  1. Out of all their clones and knockoffs, this is the one that interests me.

    The VCS 3 isn’t that powerful of a synth, but it’s certainly an important one historically, and it looks like Behringer is doing a pretty faithful job.

    I just hope that they don’t go the route that they took with the ARP 2500 knockoffs, using parts so cheap that the knobcaps come off as you use them. ‘Affordable’ is great, but ‘cheap’ not so great!

    1. I’m also soooo excited for the VCS3. Have been dreaming about one forever. But I’m even more excited for their CS-80. Especially if it has a good polyphonic aftertouch keyboard, I’ll probably sell my HydraSynth unless they do something ridiculous like they did on the VC330 and shorten the keyboard by a whole octave.

  2. Uli, if your designs are “copied”, “lifted”, “stolen”, “borrowed”, “inspired”, “cloned”, “taken”, “R.E.”, “thieved”, “replicated”, “emulated”, or even the very generous rework of the original, perhaps you could consider donating anywhere from .5 to 1% of all proceeds to the foundation, estate, person(s), or the charity of the existing company’s choice as measure of good will. Your entire enterprise is literally built on the back of the work of others.

    It certainly would go a long way to assuaging much of the vitriol against you and your practices.

    1. Yes, we should ask that of every company that makes clones. It’s really easy to do anyways. There’s no real work involved in reverse engineering old synths. Remaking components that don’t exist anymore is something a child can do. Building synths and selling synths at a scale where you have more than 3 customers on a waiting list is super easy too. No one want’s them anyways. There’s zero interest in them and the small minority of haters are indeed how the majority feel. Hence the sales.

      Also never mind all the products that Music Tribe makes in the several companies they hold, those don’t exist anymore because reasons. Not an original design or best selling digital mixer anywhere in sight.

      1. You are missing the point, as an electronics engineer, one of the first synths I hacked and reversed engineered as a graduate student was original Virus “C” and the Clavia Nord 3. Even though at the time it was a financial burden, I felt compelled to purchase both synths as a means of gratitude for all that I learned. I did not have to do so as I had access to these synths through various mates and the university.

        To this day, I still use some of what I have learned.

        We all learn on the work, progress, discovery, and efforts of others in various fields of discipline. I am not an analogue purist, much of my work is in “VA’s”.

        That said, I do find Uli’s naked aggression in this field and denial of the originators is at issue. And grow up, are you 13? Who uses a term like “haters” unless you are a juvenile.

        And the various companies they have acquired, they used to reverse engineer their products prior to purchasing them, Midas and T.C. included. Educate yourself before you spew this drivel.

              1. Yeah. I cant even say “you suck” without my post just going to dust. Nice look behind the curtain if this stays on the site.

                1. Admin: You just proved yourself wrong by successfully saying ‘you suck’.

                  In this case, it was not directed at a person, so it flies.

                2. Handsome Randy – you proved yourself wrong!

                  In this case, your statement ‘you suck’ was not directed at a person, so it’s obviously not a personal attack and won’t get moderated.

                3. Nope. This guy just gets to talk all the garbage he wants. Go look at previous articles with his comments. Meanwhile most of my comments don’t get posted til they “await moderation “. Synthtopia just has ever changing definitions and standards depending on what gets them clicks. Such as their ever changing definition of what a “knock off” is.

                  1. Admin: Personal attack deleted. Keep comments on topic and constructive.

                    Modern3 – since you’ve made multiple personal attacks today, you’re now set for manual moderation, which wastes our admin time. Don’t waste our admin time further.

                    1. All the best to you. We should be friends, so I can never call you or invite you to anything. Once you start calling strangers alt-right, I know what type of person you are and I stay far away from those people. Good luck to you and your battle.

                    2. Wow!

                      I quote:

                      “And grow up, are you 13? Who uses a term like “haters” unless you are a juvenile”

                      – Modern3

                    3. @Synthhead, whilst I can certainly appreciate your efforts and these forums, I did not attack anyone personally until I was attacked. If you read most of posts, I’m civil and polite unless provoked. Yet you needn’t waste your efforts, I have made my point sufficiently about my views with regards to Behringer.


                  2. I’m pretty sure Synthhead just hasn’t caught the comment yet. Perhaps he’s doing something worthwhile like working or hanging out with his family instead of reading our deranged tantrums in the comment section.

                    1. Perhaps now Frodo, I am certain he will however. As a side note, this is my last entry on all matters Behringer. This subject has been exhausted. I will never purchase any of their creations, although I do own a Midas mixer. Yet I purchased that years ago.

                      That said, I was interested in the OBX clone, still it is not something I can support. Whilst I am not as troubled by the development of that synth, it is Uli’s behaviour and practises that trouble me so.

                      I wish everyone well on this board, except for a few.


                    2. “I’m pretty sure Synthhead just hasn’t caught the comment yet. Perhaps he’s doing something worthwhile like working or hanging out with his family instead of reading our deranged tantrums in the comment section.”

                      You are correct, frodo!

                      We do not pre-emptively screen every comment and we do not promise to protect readers from the occasional comment that crosses the line into being a personal attack. It’s the Internet, people are going to rant.

                      What we commit to doing is deleting personal attacks when we identify them, as we did above, and research any complaints submitted via our Feedback form, which is linked to at the top of every page of the site.

            1. Wow, Modern3. What an awful, hate-filled, vile comment. And homophobic to boot. You know, some of us enjoy sucking c*ck, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. I’m going to guess you have a hard time making friends.

              1. No, it would appear that you might be homophobic since it may have been a compliment an otherwise derision of the said individuals character. And you seem rather sexists, why assume they are male? Never assume….

                1. I openly suck far too much c*ck to be accused of homophobia
                  Don’t know many ladies named Bob
                  You and Uli are quite a lot alike

                  1. No, yet you would not understand. Good luck to you and the many penises that occupy your mouth. It’s any wonder you find time to post here.

                    1. No, it would appear you have cornered the market of unwanted ones, don’t choke too much.

        1. Are you honestly trying to tell us that you completely reverse engineered a Virus C and a Nord 3 as a student ?

          1. No, I began work on RE the programming, not the hardware (and as I stated it was the Virus “A”), that was well beyond my scope at the time. Mind you, it has taken Behringer an team to R.E. the Access Virus.

              1. I meant Virus “A”. I still have the unit and I have a Virus “C” as well. I realised I had made an error however I cannot change what I wrote. Thank you however for pointing it out.

      1. Ehhh, no. Behringer got sued a few years back because they introduced obvious knockoffs of the entire BOSS line.

        Behringer had to settle and change the look of their copies to be less blatant.

        They’re more careful now to copy designs from defunct companies (like the Wasp) or to change the look and name (like the Crave, which is a Mother-32 knockoff).

      2. Agreed! It’s strange. But the bad man did bad so lets trash what the bad man does and make it look like we care about developers/designers when we really only dislike the bad man. If Moog cloned a Prophet 5 and released it for $599.00, you wouldn’t hear a peep. Well, maybe the virtue signalers, but they never shut up.

        1. Yeah fuck saying no to companies who harass journalists, create bootleg in production knockoffs, sue forum members for expressing their opinions, trying to steal trademarks from still living creators, terrible working conditions in factories, telling people not to complain about their company because ‘there is war!’, somehow managing to even mess up making a clone of an open source product (still waiting on those files ulipuli!), lowball offering living creators “or else we will just rip you off anyway”, creating an army of yay sayers who think having a moral backbone is somehow snobbery or against cheap synths! Who the fuck wouldn’t love a prophet 5 for a 599? But am I supporting a company as vile as B? Hell no, companies like B is why the world is literally going to – end – and were literally at a point in time where that’s not an exaggeration! Fuck caring amirite, do you have kids?

          1. Geez. I knew a guy who used to refer to Donald Trump as D cause he thought that if you avoid saying his name, you take away his powers. That guys was a tool. All that emotional writing and you didnt takwe the time to emotionally comprehend what I wrote so you ended up emotionally making my point. Thanks.
            Everyone has the right to support or not support what you want BUT when you just yell and hollar at everyone for the decisions they make, you might be a tool. When you come off arrogant and condescending to make some point that you’re on the right side and everyone not on that side is on the wrong side, thats when, once again, you’re a tool. To each their own but I believe that each should try their best to be less of a tool.
            I got 2 boys. They are not tools.

            1. People refer to the company as B in the comment section because if you write B******er it gets flagged by the spam filter. Nice attempt at gaslighting, though.

              1. Ctrl-F shows me over 10 instances of Behringer in comments section alone. Not sure what Kool Aid you’re drinking, lol

              2. ‘Behringer’ is not flagged by Synthtopia’s spam/moderation filter, as should be obvious to anyone that has read our comments section.

                If you want to call the company ‘B’ or ‘B*****er’, though, go wild.

    2. Speaking for myself, yes, I would be more inclined to purchase a synth if a significant portion of the proceeds could be verified as being voluntarily donated back to the originators of the invention and key innovators. Ethical associations may be understood, for some demographics, as a key part of a synth’s ergonomic feel.

      1. According to youtuber Benn Jordan, Uli made good on his promise to donate 1,000 free synthesizers to underprivileged children.

        1. Nearly 3 years after the fact, and he cashed in the good publicity and did not follow through until he was held to account.

          1. Who cares – at least he did it? Where are you on the donation list? People who constantly talk like this rarely give anything substantial to charity. And don’t give reasoning that he has sooo much money, so it does not really matter. It does not matter how much money you have, it all still costs the same. Giving something away proabably makes him feel good. After all, that is really the only reason to do so anyway.
            These comments are not directed only at you, but most people in general. If people in mass really cared about charitible causes, those causes would be so funded we would no longer have the issue that the cause was put in place for. But that is normal. That is human nature. Giving to charity should be like a golf game – doing it because you want to or to better yourself, give fullfillment, whatever. Not worrying about the other person’s score or where they stand in ther game. It makes zero difference what anyone thinks on what another does for or gives to charity. People will argue differently, but it really doesn’t matter. Sure, we read about it. Smile and think good thoughts and then move on. That is the reality. If everyone who owns an instrument gave $20 per year to fund underprivileged music-related charities, it would wipe out any need for them in no time as there would no longer be underprivileged children needing musical programs. Surely anyone who owns and instrument can afford $20 per year, right? Yet, if there is a donation bucket for a cause at any of our conferences, there is not even $1 per every attendee when you take in the total after the event. And you know what, that is normal. Charity is something extra people CHOOSE to do, not expected.
            Do something because you want to and only for that reason. This is advice for anything in life…

            1. @Charity I’m glad you enquired since 3% of proceeds from all my apps are donated between 12 charities in total, with the 12th being for humanitarian efforts led in Ukraine. I don’t do this because I’m a great bloke, quite literally the opposite. Yet I believe in a symbiotic society, nothing I have ever achieved is solely mine. Those whom support me are partners in essence, and thus I partner with others whom are actually attempting to make the world a better place.

    3. I know what you mean. But I think if one company would donate to a charity specified by another then it would appear to be an endorsement, which would probably be problematic.

      Ideally, companies would open-source their abandonware, and then Behringer could donate to open source organizations.

    4. I became a synth enthusiast (for a little) after a couple of Tours in Afghanistan. Do not have any income since the provider was my wife who sadly past away on TG of 2015. Are you willing to share 1% of your income with me please?

      It will be highly appreciated



  3. Where can I pre-order. Looking forward to spending countless hours twiddling and making crazy noises on this.

  4. Doesnt Arturia have a version of this as a soft synth. Putting out software on the backs of those workers who worked endless hours to produce such a fine piece of musical machinery. Maybe its liscensed, maybe they pay royalties? Or maybe they should have just waited?
    Point here, lots of clones exist but there’s only one Uli. Lets stop acting like we hate cloned products or at the very least point it to Amazon who is knowingly stealing the money of folks currently manufacturing their products by “cloning” their inventory and slashing their prices. We all care about stealing others works…kinda. Out of all their clones, the Swing was the worst.

      1. sure well you see its my opinion and from the images it looks like trashola to me. I think that should close all the open ends.

  5. “If Moog cloned a Prophet 5 and released it for $599.00, you wouldn’t hear a peep.” If Moog cloned a product that Sequential has in production, it would be what is known as “a dick move”.

    The missed point here is that you CAN’T clone a Prophet 5 for $599.00. I doubt you could buy the parts for that. You could make a thing that LOOKS like a Prophet 5. If a US based company could clone a P5 it would be, um, Sequential? I’m thinking it might be Sequential.

    How much does their new P5 sell for?

    What accounts for the difference in price between Kong’s CLONE of the ARP 2600 and the COPY (knockoff) Unlinger Rainbow Sparkle Princess 2600?

    Clone, or duplicate, means one thing. Copy is not the same thing.

    Hope this helps.

    1. The problem in your “logic” is that you actually CAN clone a Prophet 5 for $599 (and even less) AND make a small profit out of it too. Technology in 2022 actually allows it. It is how much a company decides to ADD to the price to have a bigger profit, that’s what makes the difference. Case closed.

      1. “The problem in your “logic” is that you actually CAN clone a Prophet 5 for $599 (and even less) AND make a small profit out of it too. ”

        The problem with your statement is that nobody has cloned a Prophet 5 for $599, so your comment is BS.

        Come back when somebody actually intros an actual clone of a Prophet 5 – full size, quality build and classic sound. Behringer has teased a cheap, Eurorack sized knockoff, which may be cool to some, but is definitely not a one-to-one clone of the original.

  6. I am 64 years old. By the time this one is available, I recon I’ll be six feet under. If not, I’ll get it and put the ringmodulator to good use recording my rant in dalek speech.

  7. I’d love to argue about all of this, AGAIN, but not enough to miss a rerun of “Young Sheldon” for it. I think I’ll save up my tiny indignation for the next release. I’m too tired for this round. I’ve already done my tour of duty with a chronically sputtering 2600, a cursed Multimooog and a PAIA modular.

  8. With this many ‘tiny’ virtual violins, we could write a symphony, to accompany all the virtue signalling, seen in every Behringer story, that gets posted on this site.
    Man babies.

  9. “Semi-modular”??? …uh, no. The VCS-3 is entirely modular. And I cannot wait for it. I miss my AKS like crazy. It was my main voice. I want it back.

    1. The term ‘semi-modular’ is usually used for modular synths that have a normalized internal connections, are patchable but not to the extent of fully modular systems, or that that are all-in-one units, vs made of individual modules. This fits the VCS 3.

      1. the vcs3 has no normalized connections. it will not even make a noise until you patch something to the output amplifier.

  10. Hey if they actually put it out and it’s a decent level of quality… cool. I’d rather see something built up to a quality rather than down to a price but that’s easy for me to say at this stage of my career. Even if it’s merely decent, that would be a boon to the teenager starting out in their room, working a shite part time job to save up for gear. Gotta start somewhere…

  11. Looking forward to this nice machine. And stop talking about cloning. How many electric guitars are out there.

  12. I, for one, am looking forward to it coming out, and I’ll be glued to the YouTube reviews/demos. My only quibble is that it’s not something you can put away after you’ve recorded with it, like many desktop synths; it’s big enough to need to take up a bit of space in your studio permanently. If it sounds fabulous, it may be worth its footprint.

  13. Well, Jeeeez. Uli went and done it. I will actually glom on to this one when (if?) it comes out. I have watched with fascination the spirited debates around Behringer’s products with solid points all around, but a real line has been crossed for me with this piece. This, and the friggin’ ARP solina copy if that ever comes out….

  14. The three-year warranty sounds nice, but I wonder what you have to go through if it craps out after 18 months? Some repair stories seem magical. Others leave you with a stump.

  15. The problem is pretty simple. Behringer doesn’t copy anything. All synths are differently made and just resemble originals whose patents have long expired. What they actually do is piggyback riding the hype of other way more notorious products, while sucking the air out of the competition. In that process the most help they get is from those who can’t control themselves and stop virtue signaling, making Behringer not only more notorious but also giving them a moral high ground, because nobody likes virtue signalers.

  16. Furthermore this incredible strong debate over some synth might actually give smaller companies like Moog the illusion that they might actually survive with the help of their fanbase. At these prices they won’t. The Model D already made a Mini accesibile to anyone so a lot less people actually dream about owning one while in the meantime buying some lesser model for which Behringer has a lot cheaper variant as well. Right now Moog is going away. I don’t like this company one bit but it you do, make them get out this cozy high priced boutique area sold in way higher numbers than boutique, because Behringer will push their market to boutique size and at their costs that spells bankruptcy.

  17. Back in the day, when Behringer was most well known for cheap-cloning Mackie analog consoles, you saw a lot of similar rhetoric from people who supported Greg Mackie and his business. Even though I would have been better off financially had I purchased the Behringer, I ended up buying the Mackie 24-channel desk. Jump ahead in time about 30 years or so. Now we have a new Mackie company that sells what are supposed to be Mackie mixers (even though, the name Mackie doesn’t appear anywhere on them or their packaging), made in China, and specifically designed to compete with Behringer products in the same market sector. The truth is, and I understand that many people are resistant to the truth, that if a product does what another product does and maybe even offers a bit more (let’s say Behringer does manage to market a quality 16-voice Prophet clone for under $1500), people are going to purchase it. Hell, I am going to purchase it! Am I worried about Sequential or Dave Smith? Of course not. People who want to pay twice as much for a product with less voices (e.g., Prophet 10) because Dave Smith designed and produced it still will. People that can’t afford to purchase an authentic Prophet still won’t. Those people who wouldn’t purchase the Dave Smith product still wouldn’t purchase it even if there was no Behringer product or Uli Behringer. I have never understood the vitriol leveled against Behringer. As far as I can tell, the only “crime” they have committed is making music technology affordable to less affluent musicians. Also, I’d like to know how many people who complain about Behringer’s “knock-off” practices use Macs. For those of you who do, do you feel similarly toward Apple as you do toward Behringer? If not, why not? The original Mac was, indeed, a “knock-off” clone of a Xerox Alto!

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