Behringer UB-Xa Hands-On Demo

In this video, Andertons Synths, Keys and Tech shares the first hands-on demo of the upcoming Behringer UB-Xa, a knockoff of the classic Oberheim OB-Xa.

Here’s what they have to say about the video:

“We’ve been so lucky to get a world exclusive look at one of Behringer’s most anticipated synths: the UB-Xa. As soon as it arrived with us, we thought we’d dive straight in and give you a quick listen to how massive it sounds along with discussing some of its incredible specs, features, and… pricing!”

Topics covered:

0:00 World’s First Look at the Behringer UB-Xa
0:20 What are the Key Features?
1:38 Let’s Get Some Synth Pad Sounds
3:30 Let’s Do Some Bass Sounds
4:56 Checking Out Some Lead Sounds
6:10 Let’s Go Through the Features of the Front Panel
12:55 Let’s Check Out the Different Vintage Modes!
14:50 Taking a Look at the Performance LFO
15:50 Some Thoughts on the Keybed
16:20 Taking a Look at the Multitimbrality
17:22 Jack’s Initial Impressions & Some Info on the Price!
18:57 The Andertons Staff Reacts to the UB-Xa
21:40 Is the UB-Xa Jack’s Favourite Synth

Pricing and Availability

Behringer has not announced details on when they expect to release the UB-Xa keyboard and desktop synths. They expect it to have a street price of under $1,500.

75 thoughts on “Behringer UB-Xa Hands-On Demo

  1. Not bad overall, but can it beat out Tom’s $5K “legit” version? How many people will care, as long as it gets them 75% of the way there for 3.5 K less? Will the vaporware chips ever appear? Stay tuned for the next episode of “Anal Over Synths.”

    1. So they made a video like a review but clearly not a real review with this sleazy guy (who seems to sold his soul a long time ago) just to ride on the OBX8 adverting… gosh they suck so bad, gotta love it 🙂

      1. Yeah I agree they suck though to be honest they don’t call it a review but a demo. He’s just a salesman working for a retailer, not a disinterested third party. I’m not going to buy a OB8X but the sounds do blow me away and I’m glad it exists. Going by this demo the sound of the Behringer is Oberhiemish but isn’t on the same level as the OBX8 or the OB6.

        1. Oh yeah… read you loud and clear… +1

          btw – just a rant… I HATE the trend of everyone pulling stupid melodramatic poses and idiot faces on their YT avatar just to grab your attention in the hope you’ll watch their poxy video…. rant over.

          1. Whether this synth is brilliant or not, the tool they choose to announce and publicise this synthesiser is enough for me to not consider it, and emblematic of the company itself.

  2. if you are targeting players and musicians, then you gotta know the amount of gigging and traveling people carrying around a $5000 keyboard is in the rarer category

    1. Why “you gotta know”, how do you know? did you made a survey of all known bands in the world?
      Are you the behind the “recommend toothpaste by dentist” or best pizza?

      1. I’m pretty sure assuming that most gigging musician don’t carry around $5000 synths is a fair statement.

        1. You must not know many gigging musicians.

          You see red Nord keyboards on stage all the time. They cost $4-5k. Minimoogs are worth that now, and you see them all the time. B3 organs are worth twice that.

          It’s commonplace for pro musicians to have that kind of money in their gear, and much more, if they’re classical musicians.

      2. why? let me explain it to you so you can understand better

        see, you know things when you gain experience with them

        and thats why children dont really know anything

        once you have some experience with the industry, then you can comment on the industry

        if all you have is dreams and ideas and fantasies… then all you can do is comment on that

        1. Well I tried to support what Sabazios was saying after seeing quite a childish response to his fairly logical statement. But then he manages to fire back with a more infantile and condescending tone than the first guy. Great show all round.

            1. It’s not really a community. More like a bulletin board where people like to post opinions that are rarely nuanced, interesting or based on experience. Even when someone posts a good point, they are usually attacked by trolls. I used to work for one of the big MI companies and know a lot about product development, the underlying technologies and the business of electronic music instruments. What is very clear to me is that most of the posts here are not based on any kind of actual knowledge but more reactionary trolling. It’s best to look at it as a electronic instrument news aggregator and engage in discussions elsewhere.

        2. Pretty sure you’re replying to someone who has been selling out mid-size shows internationally for the last several years as a solo artist. I haven’t tried pricing out the value of the specific gear they bring on stage but working musicians use the best instruments they can afford, and once they’re selling out venues $5000 is less than the cost of leasing the lighting/AV gear for each show.

        3. You trying to defend your view with “authority bias” you can do something all your life and doing it/understanding it wrong.
          Anyway there is a little logic to use a knockoff version of a synth gigging, it simply can’t be trusted to be reliable. I also not shore this massive poly synths are even intended for gigging at the first place but i will not be surprised to see them on stages, I have seen lately vintage synths that cost more.
          A 5k synths are rare on any situation.

  3. I assume that Behringer is using a 61-key Medeli polyphonic aftertouch keybed variant that would make it a 61-key version of the keyboards found on the Hydrasynth-49 and -72. Prior to purchasing a Hydrasynth-49, I discovered that the keyboard ASM was using was made by Medeli. After finding that out I seriously began to reconsider purchasing a Hydrasynth because of my experience last year with purchasing a Kurzweil P4. When I got that keyboard on my desk I couldn’t believe how terrible the action felt in comparison to my PC3-K8. It was so bad, it went back to Sweetwater the following day. When the Hydrasynth arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the action of its polyphonic keybed. Even though I have a number of synths and controllers available that use Fatar TP-8 or TP-9 keybeds, the Hydrasynth has become my go-to keyboard (mostly because of the polyphonic aftertouch). Nothing, synth-weight, feels as good to me as a TP8 and I don’t mind TP9s either, but the Medeli keyboard on the Hydrasynth is better than OK. The reason I bring this up is because Oberheim is advertising the fact that the OB-X8 features a Fatar keybed, and at the advertised price, I’ve got to believe that it has to be a TP8. Even though the keyboard on the Oberheim will have better action (even if they go cheap and use a TP9), it won’t have polyphonic aftertouch.

    The Hydrasynth has been around for a few years now and their keyboards seem to be holding up well. As appears to be true with Behringer clones, I expect that the marketed version of the UB-Xa will sound equally impressive as the Oberheim when used in an equivalent manner. However, the inclusion of a Polytouch keybed, in my opinion, makes the UB-Xa completely different beast and a much more impressive keyboard. If they were selling at the same price, I’d probably still choose the Behringer because once you’ve gotten accustomed to a keybed with polyphonic aftertouch it really is hard to go back. One more thing… I purchased an Iridium keyboard and it arrived last week. It’s Fatar keybed feels almost identical to the TP8. The only difference I experience is the polyphonic aftertouch it has. It may be too late, but if I were Tom Oberheim and I wanted to sell the OB-X8 to people who have already adopted Hydrasynths, I’d recall them before I sold the first one and put a 61-key Fatar that feels like the one on the Iridium. Otherwise, in light of this Behringer, I’m afraid that Oberheim has lost a pretty large chunk of its potential market segment. At the ridiculous price they are charging for the OB-X8, they can afford to equip it with a “premium” polyphonic aftertouch keybed. In this regard, without polyphonic aftertouch the OB-X8 may be a dinosaur even before it is released, and vintage synth fanboys won’t have to wait 40 years to feel good about snarfing one up at its over-the-top price.

    1. Medeli OWNS ASM, who makes the Hydrasynth, so they are heavily leveraging the Medeli production capabilities and resources. That said, the Poly AT keybed used on the Hydrasynth was developed by them specifically for that synth, and (up until now) was not shared anywhere else. The keybed on the Deluxe is slightly different than the 49-key, both in feel (seems a bit…mushier to me) and in capability (also has note off velocity, which the 49 key lacks).

      They are however marketing it as a complete keybed assembly to other manufacturers, and have said it will begin showing up in other manufacturers’ synths this year. Whether or not that is what Behringer has done for the UB-Xa, I don’t know…but Behringer has deep pockets and significant manufacturing capability, so I would be surprised if they went to an outside supplier for a keybed.

      I too, use my Hydrasynth for everything, because of that Poly AT. You can never go back from it!

      1. Actually, my use of the Hydrasynth to control anything but itself has been greatly reduced since I got the Iridium. The feel of the Fatar keyboard (indistinguishable from a TP8, from my perspective) is just so much better. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the Hydrasynth keybed. Until I got the Iridium it was, by far, my favorite synth-action keybed because of the Polypressure. A “mushier” feel would only exaggerate the difference.

        “Behringer has deep pockets and significant manufacturing capability, so I would be surprised if they went to an outside supplier for a keybed.” If that is true, I hope they clone the TP8 or the TP9 and put polyphonic aftertouch on it. If they were to pull that off and build a controller keyboard around it that would sell for under $300, I think they’d have another winner. I’d certainly purchase at least one.

    2. I am totally with you regarding the usability and addictive nature of PAT keyboards. I love my Hydrasynth keyboard and my Roli SB Blocks also, sadly, my Elka MK 88 not so much (very bad action I think, but maybe it’s worn out). But we who have them overestimate the overall popularity and what people think about a need even to have only channel AT.
      I learned that most musicians don’t care. Of course, some, who didn’t know about it, do fall in love with AT at a sudden, but still do not know that there is PAT, and trying it out, they think it is too difficult to handle for them. Thus I think that having PAT would only slightly increase, and lacking it not decrease the sales of the new Oberheim, On the other hand, for Behringer it could be a very good sales point. But it has to be provided smartly, like in the Hydrasynth where you can connect it with almost every parameter(s) in the mod matrix. That is easy with a digital synth, but more difficult in an analog one.
      So, PAT is an again upcoming feature as of now, though it is present in electronic keyboardss basically since CS-80, and some keyboards (Ensonig) had it over the decades, and number of Masterkeyboards.
      I really really hope that PAT will rise, though I fear it’s a temporal “hype” since the Hydra was so successful as the currently only Synth that features it.

  4. I wouldn’t give 1500 Behringer for an aeroplane, and even then, i probably would let my mother in law to travel with it, only….

  5. I prefer this synth istead of original Obie:
    1. Nice sound overall
    2. Compact desing and layout
    3. More features

    Oh, and Beh-eim much cheaper.

  6. When you try so badly to steal the show from Oberheim but you have a synth with terrible presets plus a guy that obviously doesn’t know what he is doing, B truly deserve this sh*t show that is happening right now in every forum. I still hope that the synth doesn’t suck because I want an Oberheim module and as it seems there will be no module coming from Tom.

    1. Steal the show? The UB-Xa was under development long before Oberheim Electronics was resurrected.

      Since 1988, Gibson owned the Oberheim trademark in the US and several other territories. Behringer’s parent company Music Tribe owned the Oberheim trademark in various other countries. Gibson gave the name back to Tom Oberheim, and later, Behringer did this as well. Tom Oberheim offered his personal thanks to Uli Behringer:

      1. TimS – You missed the point entirely.

        Behringer has a long history of trying to ‘steal the show’ from others for publicity.

        They publicly announced that they weren’t going to take part in NAMM anymore. Now every year they try to introduce something big during NAMM. They hype their fake NAMM as ‘Live from Banaheim’.

        They introduced the RD-8 on 808 day to steal Roland’s thunder.

        The stopped attending Superbooth, and now they share the first Model 15 on one day of Superbooth and the first OB-Xa demo the next.

        John rightly pointed out that Behringer was so intent on introducing this during Superbooth that they settled for a video that makes their synth sound bad.

  7. Modern synthesizers are so versatile nowadays. This synth is probably for someone who is playing 80’s music whole the time or just for sentimental reasons. The same thing for the OB-X8. I didnt hear anything special in the vids so far.

      1. You can say that about any analog synth but synths are just tools, unless they are very simple like a 303 they don’t dictate the type of music, melodies and context.
        Making something interesting out of it is your job, expecting to hear something spacial on a demo is laziness, maybe you would like them to make the music for you? Maybe it will be better to go and buy some sound pack you like instead.

      2. A specific signal chain, filed with specific character elements (like the filter) and a specific control surface, won’t produce results to surprise anyone. And of course people who look to write something new and fresh don’t go around hunting for retro synths with “that sound”

        1. “won’t produce results to surprise anyone”
          Of course they will, this happens all the time, there is also the actual melody and most important the musical context.
          Also, we are not in the 70s anymore, anything can be digitally manipulated without recognition. A healthy nostalgic core sound can be a key to make it sound musical and “big”. Qebrus was one of the most innovative musician with the most complex and alien sounding music. He used simple analog synths but edit them extensively.

  8. Maybe it’s just their demo team, but this synth sounds bland and uninspired.

    Legitimate question: Why would one buy this over and ASM Hydrasynth? Approximately similar price point, much richer feature set and UI.

    1. A bit of both. Original Oberheim stuff was full of sizzle, great string, brass, EP sounds. Not so much in the bass department for two reasons, gentle 12db LPFs that lose volume as you crank the resonance, and slowish envelopes. Although they sound fine in a mix they don’t muscle their way to the front. The Matrix synths they made do have a very nice and flexible mod matrix with 8 or 10 mod slots and a wide selection of sources and destinations, and they can be made to sound very good indeed if you can live with the membrane keypad and so-so MIDI implementation.

      Good band instruments, not really a synth head’s paradise.

    1. DCOs aren’t “2 dimensional or static.” Some fantastic instruments have been built around digitally clocked analog cores.

      The notion that VCOs are somehow better needs to die. It’s presented by the same people who’ll tell you that cassette tapes are better than digital sound, or that vinyl is warmer and more detailed.

  9. Even though i can’t afford one of the real synths from, the one from Tom has so much more life to it. It could be the recording that was done with Behringer but who knows.

  10. They did the whole demo with basically just one dry tone? I sure hope the guy who likes that one very specific sound was watching.

  11. The best fixes for hating this knockoff if you can’t drop 5 large on the OB-X8 is Cherry Audio’s Eight-Voice and Synapse Audio’s Obsession, IMO. Those are killer emulations and very accurate. Or go prowling for a used OB-6. Getting testicular torsion over Uli’s maneuvers is a low-brow destruction derby with no cars.

  12. $1500 will get you a Novation Summit which is vastly more flexible and to my ears sounds a lot better. This was a great synth in its day, we can do better now.

      1. Summit sounds fantastic and is wonderfully powerful. If you can’t make great sounds with the Summit or the Peak, it reflects on your skills more than on the synth’s capabilities.

        1. I wonder if Novation sold tens of thousands of units then ))) My Alpha Juno 2 sounds 100x better than Peak. If I need truly versatile synth I get to my virus TI…

          Novation is a failed company. Whole business line is crap. Bass Station is only good product IMHO. No inovations since then… FPGA bla bla with the same approach high freq oscillators DSI Prophet 12 used 5 years before that… Fail of fails.

          1. I’m surprised about people with such a strong feeling toward a synth or a brand.
            You are the user, your attitude suppose to be “What can I do with this tool”
            If you have allot of experience with it you may think “This tool is not for me” but calling it a crap, is amateur talk.

            The peak and the summit are much more complex than 90% of modern synths and they offer interesting features and regularly updated and supported. They just added more destinations to the matrix and completely new effects with the most complex effect modulation destinations i ever encountered. I wish others was so focus on new abilities and regularly updates.
            There is much more depth in synths than the oscillators technology and if this is your main point I don’t consider your “opinion” worth anything substantial to others.

            The more knowledge the less ego, the less knowledge the more ego.

    1. Even if the UB-Xa were half as much as the Summit, I’d rather pay for the Summit, (and I am not rich by any means…)

  13. Right out of the chute, this clip should have started with a great sounding preset, not straight saw waves with an open filter and zero sustain.

  14. I’ve heared the OB-X8 in Superbooth, and that is one mighty machine, bringing back those sounds I recognize from so many music I love. Brand new and already a classic instrument once again. But I can’t afford its price, not as an amateur musician. However I’m blessed to have an old Matrix 1000 and an OB-6 Desktop as well as the OPX-II vst, so my desire for Oberheim sounds as already well covered.

    This Behringer does not deliver the vibe of any of these Oberheims. I hope it’s just the demo for the sake of those looking for that Oberheim feel. If it is not the demo but the synth that is at fault, then it is unfortunately an uninspiring 1500 bucks down the drain. So the next couple of reviews will tell.

  15. Well – it’s a well known synth that does what it should. The Medeli poly aftertouch keyboard tells me that they have found a keybed for their coming CS80 knockoff. But – I would hestitate to buy anything Behringer above $1000. For a Behringer it’s simply too expensive. Not to buy, but what to expect to get in the after market at some point. Whereas the Oberheim OBX8 most likely will retain its value – and in some years even be worth more.

    1. “But – I would hesitate to buy anything Behringer above $1000. For a Behringer it’s simply too expensive.”

      I have a wait and see attitude.

      You can see with every one of Behringer’s synths where they cut corner to make them cheap. That’s acceptable for a lot of people when you’re buying a cheap synth, but not when you’re spending over $1,000.

      Also, Behringer has a terrible reputation for customer support and repair for their synths. I didn’t worry too much about that when I got my Behringer D and my RD-8, because they were cheap. But if they break, they’re landfill.

      Behringer synths will not keep their value in the long run, because they’re made cheaply, they’re made in big volumes and they don’t have the desirability of the synths that they copy.

    2. I wouldn’t bet on that. It is unlikely to retain its outrageous price, even for a couple years with inflation. My guess is that, even if the Behringer looses 40% of its market value after three years, it won’t make you cry to sell it. The Oberheim, on the other hand….

      1. Every one of the previous high-end reissues – from Moog, Korg, Oberheim, Sequential, etc – has seen their used prices stay stable and then they skyrocket, if the synth goes out of production.

        So the ‘outrageous’ prices that you complain about reflect what the market will support.

        The OB-XA will sell well, and when it does go out of production, will be worth much more than you paid for it. Check prices for the Oberheim Two Voice Special Edition.

        1. That might just be temporary. I think it was Espen Kraft who predicted that used synth prices will fall again in 10-20 years.

          1. Every expensive analog synth from 20 years ago like Jomox Sunsyn, Cwejman S1 or even Alesis andromeda tripled or quadrupled it’s price.
            And it only seems for now people are more interested in the past, there is not much of new technologies to effect analog synths today (like FM and sampling in the the 80s)
            I will not be surprised if the OB8X will cost 10K$ in less than 10 years.
            There is also the “danger” for who ever buy behringer that they will make MKII that will lower the MKI price.

            1. That’s totally true, but in a market, prices can go up and then go down later. We can mock the people talking about retiring dentists but there may be an element of that in some areas of the market right now.

              No probs if you buy to enjoy of course. Just saying any investment has a risk. Agree with you that Behringer comes with different risks to others, though.

              1. Monkeys might fly out your butt, too.

                I’ve been buying synths for 40 years, and they all go down in price for a while on the used market, and then they go up in value and stay there.

                Vintage synths are rare and there are more synthesists buying synths than ever.

                So if you think you’re going to see $100 303’s again, you’re dreaming.

              2. What additional risks? I just wish that somebody making remarks like this would explain what they mean. Over the past 30 years, I have purchased many Behringer products. Generally, what I have found, is that they either break down relatively quickly or they live on indefinitely. For example, I purchased a DDX-3216 digital mixing console with the ADAT expansion new for about $1200 almost 20 years ago, now. I sold it three years ago, for $600 and it was still functioning perfectly. I owned it for almost 17 years and it depreciated only about 50% in that time. I have at least four Behringer audio interfaces sitting around and they all work fine. I became sold on them when I couldn’t get decent latency response from my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (Gen 1). I replaced it with the U-Phoria 2-channel that so totally outperformed the Focusrite sor about half the cost that I was amazed. I purchased one of the first available Model-Ds, and, except for it’s size, it really IS a MiniMoog reincarnate (I have owned four real Minis). I keep seeing people trashing the quality of Behringer products and I haven’t ever experienced any long-term problem with a piece of Behringer kit. You can fault Behringer and hate them for their cloning practices, but to keep demeaning their build quality without reference is just pathetic!

        2. Some people are born to be idiots. What can you say? You’re right in reflecting on the importance of market pressures, but this isn’t this 1980s, and Oberheims and Sequentials are a dime a dozen today (well make that $20,000 a dozen), but he fact is that there are many more manufactured today than were manufactured in their heyday. Also, Uli Behringer wasn’t around back then to mess with the market structure.

  16. This is very much not for me. I’m sure it’s awesome for some people. I just don’t see any valuable difference in sound between this and most modern polysynths that offer far greater sound design capabilities than this synth for around the same price. Like, I do hear the drift in the voices and panning and filters and all that, but it’s like 5% more “authentic” than a handful of more versatile and user friendly synths out there.

    1. Name one? The idea of buying an antiquated designed analog synth is to have a synth of an antiquated design that sounds a particular way. I have Hydrasynths, Iridiums, and even a K2700 in my studio, yet I still purchased a Prophet-6 desktop because I wanted that particular sound. Also, the most versatile and user friendly synth I have in the studio is the Iridium Keyboard, and that costs over twice as much as the max price projection for the Behringer.

  17. Did Chet Duxbury and the Maltese Falcon just join the likes of Akai Dan, Dylan Meeks, and the dude who got REALLY frustrated with his RhythmWolf in the annals of synth demo history?

  18. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m not too sure why PAT would be harder to implement in an analog synth than a digital one. While the pressure sensors under the keys are analog devices, I would be absolutely floored if all of their activity wasn’t digitized as part of the key-scanning process, and if that information wasn’t digitally maintained until it was necessary to do the D-A conversion on route to the destination. So, having the results of the key-scanning as additive components that are available in whatever control matrix is present, shouldn’t present too much of a technical challenge for an analog synth, at least not any more than channel aftertouch..

    Also, the Hydrasynth isn’t the only mainstream synth that features PAT. As I have repeatedly alluded to, the Waldorf Iridium Keyboard also shares the feature. While I love my Hydrasynths and their PAT (especially my Explorer), there isn’t really any comparison that can be made between the Fatar keybed on the Iridium and the Medeli keybed on the Hydrasynth (at least the 49-key version with which I’m familiar). The Fatar PAT keybed feels very much like their TP8S (arguably among the best feeling touch of all synth keybeds), while the Hydrasynth keybed feels OK (in comparison to other keybeds that have either no- or channel-aftertouch). I’m not criticizing the Hydrasynth, and I truly love both of mine. The PAT keybed on the Iridium is just so much better feeling, I was instantly “spoiled” by it (but I’m a true Fatar TP8 fanboy and other peoples’ mileage may vary).

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