Behringer Intros ‘Enigma’ Buchla Music Easel Knockoff

Behringer today announced Enigma, designed to be an inexpensive, unofficial copy of the classic Buchla 208 Stored Program Sound Source.

The 208 is the synth voice of the classic Buchla Music Easel.

The Buchla 208 is the voice of the Buchla Music Easel from 1972. The Music Easel, right, pairs the 208 with the 218 Touch Keyboard in a suitcase-style case.

Modern reissues of the 208 are available from Buchla USA.

The Behringer Enigma is not a straight clone of the original 208. It scales the original design down to Eurorack-compatible format, trades the program card connector of the original for patch storage, and adds DIN & USB MIDI control.

Here’s what Behringer has to say about the Enigma:

“We have stared to design an “Easel 208” inspired Eurorack version called Enigma. While the analog section is an authentic replica of the original synth, which also includes 14 optocouplers, we plan to add total recall functionality with an OLED display and CC control plus USB/Midi.”

Pricing and Availability

Behringer is in the design stages for the Enigma, so no time frame for availability has been announced. Behringer expects to price the Enigma at $399 USD.

66 thoughts on “Behringer Intros ‘Enigma’ Buchla Music Easel Knockoff

  1. Why do you even post these at this point? They’re just shotgunning out tons of random “announcements” to keep themselves in the news and have you do their market research for them. None of these will ever ship.

    1. “None of these will ever ship.”

      Behringer already has the largest synth lineup in the world, so it should be obvious that they’re able to move their designs into production.

      Their announcements are obviously newsworthy, because people are buying their synths and they’ve gone from no synths 5 years ago to being the biggest synth manufacturer in the world.

          1. OK! But why don•t they make anything really original or something really good? Arturia Korg and even Roland are more adventurous and their stuff probably öasts much longer than Behringers knockoffs!

            1. To each their own. If ten years ago someone had told me I could buy a Model D, an MS20, an Odyssey and a Pro-1 for under 1200 euros total I’d have laughed in their face and asked them to share some of the narcotics they were using.

              Roland have been very adventurous in reusing names of some of their classic synthesizers to trick gullible children (I mean, if you are an adult and you buy a Boutique, just…) in to buying microtoys with built in VSTi’s. People have been begging them for proper reissues of the 303, the 808 and the 909 for over 20 years now, but adventurous as they are, they left that gap in the market wide open for someone with a basic understanding of demand and supply to make a fortune. Looks like boring old Uli did just that, the scoundrel, et quelle surprise: they sell like hot cakes.

              Sure, late 19th century mahogany Bösendorfers – if built in the months october or november, but before the first snow of the year – will always be the only pianos worthy to be touched by my virtuous fingers, but lesser artists than me tell me they can hardly tell the difference from a decent Yamaha. Philistines the lot of them. If an oscillator isn’t hand soldered by Bob Moog, can it technically even be called an oscillator, or should it more correctly be called an affront to mankind? I tend to find that “musicians” who aren’t the children of millionaires and play on some gauche knock-off instead of on a real Jupiter 8 lack the necessary reverence needed to be within 100 feet of synth gods like me.

      1. “and have you do their market research for them”
        Yep those filthy reckless rascals do like to know what their customers like. Shame on them!!!

    2. The deepmind 12 was the first Behringer synth way back in 2016. So incredibly long ago I can’t even remember a thing from back then

      Currently there are 108 Behringer synth related products for sale on Thomann – an average of 18 products a year

      Even if these are never made – they have still churned out quite the repertoire to date – far more than any other single synth manufacturer

    3. I’ve made this point too, albeit more diplomatically. A mockup and a press release are really weak sauce, without any audio it’s a waste of time (which is why I usually abstain from commenting at all). The synth market is sadly full of this cannibalism, there’s at least 5 talking heads on YouTube who contribute nothing other than reading synthtopia articles while pretending they’re newscasters.

  2. While these announcements are tiresome it does make you realise how overpriced Buchla is. People are paying for the history of the name and making £4000 squelchy sounds. It can sound achingly beautiful and musical in the right hands but that’s the minority of cases from what I’ve heard. (Wish I had an Easel though!)

  3. Not interested in most of Behringer’s knockoff synths, because most of them are gimped and shrunken versions of 40 year-old designs. Companies like Korg and Novation make much more powerful modern synth designs in the same price range, too.

    But this and Behringer’s Synthi knockoff look very interesting. They both look like they’ll be good alternatives to the originals, and the originals are $5k and up.

    Behringer’s 208 and Synthi copies also don’t have the cheap look of most of their knockoffs, they actually look pretty nice.

    1. This rendering is the ugliest thing I’ve seen from them so far. those awful f*cking jacks? those awful f*cking LED faders? come on… it’s disgusting. Look at TipTop audio’s buchla 200 modules for eurorack, they did it.

  4. Curious about how they’ll implement the storage aspect of it. I thought the Buchla storage system also stores custom cable routings.

  5. This is a super news, it’s time to make affordable the possibility ,for normal people,to have the chance to play with buchla stuff in real world (not a soft synth emu). Even buchla corp. have understood that need, look at the new tiptop/buchla eurorack !!!great hope for other things like that….why not a complete eurorack behringer clone of serie 200 ???imagine a SoU at 99 euros !!!!

    REPLY

  6. Given the current price for a REAL Buchla is way out of my park, I would seriously consider this if it sounded good!

  7. When they started their clone production a few years ago, I heard people applauding that “finally someone makes affordable synths for the real musician on a budget”. As they kept pumping more and more synths into the market, I saw those same people buying one clone after another, eventually spending more money than they claimed not to have for the first synth that started their clone collection. So let’s be honest, it’s not that people can’t afford quality, original synths. They are just not satisfied with having only one or two, they want them all. It’s greed that drives this business model, from top to bottom.

    1. I agree with this to a point. I definitely think that’s the case in rich countries, and though I don’t hoard Behringer I’m guilty of buying synths simply because I can, not because I need another instrument. On the other hand, I can imagine that in some countries these synths are filling a void. That doesn’t excuse B’s crappy behavior, however. It wouldn’t be that hard to provide affordable synths without being shameless copycats and asshats.

      1. I’m not so sure about that. From my experiences with fellow musicians from Angola and Brazil I’d say that producers in low income areas typically either use their smart phones or computers and don’t really bother with hardware synths, as they are hard to come by and don’t really add anything that can’t be done in the box. Also hardware is often considerably more expensive in these countries, so a synth that’s low budget by European standards costs a month’s salary.

        1. This is a fascinating point. Makes so much sense. It’s not always about old/boutique knobs vs cheap knobs, it’s often hard knobs vs soft knobs. (Nasty pun unintended).

  8. I will start getting excited about these endless vaporware announcements when the Behringer Stylophone is introduced. Now that’s a synth!!

  9. Im really confused about the design failure they appear to have made: the patch bay now sits at the top, and the toggles/adjustments sit at the bottom. which means all of your patch cables will now hang IN FRONT of your sliders, obstructing your ability to “play” them, which is the conceit of the instrument.

    I really hope they decide to revise this, but their mockups tend to look very close to what they ship.

    1. @fessenden, since this is scaled to be eurorack compatible and would be mounted into a rack, this design choice honestly probably makes significantly more sense than patching at the bottom of the panel – both as a matter of interfacing with other devices in a case and likely with external controllers.

      1. I dont see how patching to other modules in an eurorack rig would be enhanced by having the jacks at the top? its pretty arbitrary as to whether your other modules will be above or below a synth like this.

        what it does do, is guarantee any cable droop will get in front of the easel’s sliders.

    2. This problem is one that Moog already solved elegantly with their all-in-one Eurorack synth modules, like the Mother-32.

      Putting the patch points on the right side means that it’s easy to do internal patching or patching with other modules and keep patch cables organized and out of the way. The only downside is that patch points are moved away from their controls, which can make the patch point you want a little harder to find.

      The patch points would work equally well on the left or right sides, but since Moog set a precedent and their modules are so popular, it’s a good precedent for companies to follow for Euro synths like this.

      The one argument I can see for Behringer to organize the patch points like this is if they think most users will use the Enigma primarily as a standalone system, like most people do with the Music Easel. If that’s the thinking, then the patch point positioning at the top may make more sense, and is similar to what other companies have done – for example, Moog with the Grandmother & Matriarch.

    1. Not sure you have much of a choice so I’m glad to hear you’re able to wait without it being a problem for you.

    1. Why?….we live in a free world!…as the dude who runs this site thinks “behringer = knock-off” and nobody complains let them be….be happy ,,,,and if you cant…well keep comlaining…im sure Behringer will do what you wish 😉

          1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Todd.

            We understand that controversial products are divisive and will inspire passionate opinions.

            Most readers, though, appreciate the fact that we’re not afraid to tell it like it is.

  10. This right here – I totally agree fessenden: Im really confused about the design failure they appear to have made: the patch bay now sits at the top, and the toggles/adjustments sit at the bottom. which means all of your patch cables will now hang IN FRONT of your sliders, obstructing your ability to “play” them, which is the conceit of the instrument.

  11. I want to design a device with strops attached to ballons filled with helium to hold the patch cables away from those sliders. I will call my product Behringer Suspenders.

  12. Behringer announcements are a bit like having a stranger proudly announce their recent anal bleaching. Its too much information, I didn’t care to begin with and no, I don’t want to see pictures. Now watch me become a lying sack of (bleep) when I buy their CS-80 variant in three years. I’ll be so ashamed. Well, maybe.

      1. Photoshop has a nice ring to it and the internet knows what that means now. To photoshop is to fake it. If I said “their AutoCad guy is working overtime”, most wouldn’t get the joke. Since there’s no isometric or any angled view of this device, wouldn’t be surprised if it was a photoshop texture just pasted on. Explaining humor sucks, I feel deflated.

  13. Lol! The image of the ‘genuine’ Buchla Music Easel that you’ve used in this article is an even worse Photoshop mock up than the Behringer render.

  14. We all know that Behringer has disputable practices.
    BUT: as others have said, many old synth companies have mostly stopped the research part of their work, but still sell old-ish designs way too high. “In this economy?” Come on!

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