Behringer Does The Maths With Abacus

Behringer today introduced Abacus, a knockoff of the Make Noise Maths Eurorack module, which itself builds on ideas from classic Buchla designs.

Like Maths, the Behringer Abacus can be used for a variety of functions, including envelope generator, LFO, amplifier, attenuator, and inverter.

Pricing and Availability:

The Behringer Abacus is shipping now from their factory and will be priced at $99.

51 thoughts on “Behringer Does The Maths With Abacus

  1. Generally I don’t get mad at Berhinger, but this one feels really wrong. Ripping of Make Noise just feels shitty.

    1. You can see where Behringer is cutting some corners with the design (things like bare pot shafts and lack of panel support for controls and jacks).

      But it seems like the main reason that they can make this cheaper is that they don’t have any design costs. Make Noise has to make enough money to be able to support paying a designer, so that they’ll be around to release new designs in the future.

      So yeah, this seems a lot shittier than copying something made 50 years ago by a company that doesn’t exist anymore.

      1. Did Make Noise pay commission to Serge or Buchla? Did Befaco pay commission to Make Noise? That’s just how it works. None of these modules are that fancy or unusual inside, are they? At least they’ve changed the front graphics on this one, although I’ll agree that calling it “abacus” is a bit cheap.

        This one’s not for me because I’ve mainly avoided Eurorack so far. Hopefully it’s a different kind of clientelle anyway so no-one need worry.

        1. You’re asking irrelevant or ignorant questions, at best.

          Do you really think Maths = DUSG = Buchla 281?

          They are all different modules, with different capabilities and strengths, that build Don Buchla’s work in the 60s.

          Abacus is different. It is just a copy of Maths, where Behringer cut corners to make it cheaper and changed the front panel so they can’t be sued. The only ‘design’ involved is figuring out how closely they can copy Maths and still be legal, and how to change the panel to avoid legal liability.

  2. Meh, at this point, who cares? Those who buy Behringer wouldn’t have bought the real thing anyway. Different demographic.

    1. Those who wanted the real one may buy this one, this can hurt Make Noise in developing new modules.
      I really hope some brands like Arturia, Moog, XAOC and Make Noise with active products will come together and sue them.
      For whoever said beringer is about “bringing hard to get product to the masses and make them accessible, this is their true face, it always has been, since they first knockoff mackie mixers in the 90’s, greed in the expense of morality and other brands development.

  3. Plus everyone forgetting to credit Serge is also uncool. Behringer doesn’t event know what it’s cloning

  4. Question for Sweetwater…

    Disclosure. I am a regular customer of Sweetwater. I am no longer a customer of Behringer. I am a fan of Make Noise. They are true innovators and hometown heroes in the small business community. I am not a lawyer and I have no financial interest in any of the three companies. I watched as Music Tribe failed to launch their $2B IPO in August of 2022, but I have no insider knowledge of that process and no financial interest in the success or failure of their future business efforts.

    Facts. Sweetwater is a distributor of Make Noise products. They are currently selling Maths. In 2021, Sweetwater and Behringer entered into what MusicTribe called a “Super Partnership” in which the two agreed to share marketing information and co-develop products: From that press release: Music Tribe, in a statement, also commented on how the partnership will benefit future product development. “Sweetwater’s tremendous product and market knowledge will enable huge opportunities around co-innovation for new products,” it said. “With Music Tribe’s eight global innovation centers and 400+ world-class engineers, we will be able to turn around product ideas in record time.”

    What I want to know from Sweetwater is this: Are you sharing sales information about products made by companies like Make Noise with Behringer? Are you providing product development guidance to Behringer (generalized suggestions based on sales data) concerning development of products based on other products you are selling? That seems to be exactly what is described in the press release. If Sweetwater is providing product development guidance to Behringer regarding something like “Abacus” based on sales data on “Maths,” your customers and Make Noise need to know.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, but there is a press release from both companies that states you will use sales data to inform development efforts as part of this partnership. Are you doing this? Did Sweetwater provide any advice to Music Tribe regarding the development of “Abacus?”

    1. You don’t need any conspiracy – Behringer’s just going down the list of the most popular electronic music gear and making knockoffs of them.

      You can see what the hottest sellers are at sites like Sweetwater and Thomann by sorting by ‘Most Popular’.

      1. Or, you can use common knowledge to figure out what the most popular eurorack devices are. I believe Maths is at the top of many list I’ve seen. I’ve never owned one, I got the Befaco Rampage cause the layout was cleaner BUT, doesnt take a genius or insider knowledge to see what tons of people are spending their money on. Just awareness or 1 dude in Behringer who uses eurorack modules.

      2. Behringer is often predatory and picks easy weak targets. If they were just going down the list of popular gear why not clone Roland vdrums? Vdrums are fairly bloated, way overpriced, and suffer from a general lack of innovation.

    2. sweetwater probably won’t stock abacus like they didn’t stock four-play. you maybe able to special order it though – or just order it from thomann’s site instead.

  5. Behringer can copy and clone whatever they want and folks who’s personal values are different than mine will buy it. But why does Synthtopia keep promoting this stuff. Behringer can be cheap because other companies pay the design/development/innovation costs, and because websites like this fund the marketing. I understand things like this drive engagement for Synthtopia, but let’s be honest…. Articles like this aren’t “reporting the news”. They are “subsidizing the marketing” in exchange for views. My eyeballs on articles like this help fund Behringer’s theft and I don’t want to be complicit in that. Please don’t bother responding to this. I won’t be back to read it.

    1. If we ignored all the synth news that some readers don’t like, there wouldn’t be much left to cover.

      The ‘most hated’ news topics right now seem to be Behringer introductions, high-end/pro gear, iOS/mobile music software and anything AI-releated.

      Whether or not you like Behringer’s business practices, though, they are hugely newsworthy, because they are transforming the electronic music gear industry.

      1. the complaint-department seems to be getting smaller too. Behringer posts are running less than 100 ‘thoughts’, and a decent percentage are supportive now. they’re the only ones doing anything interesting to me these days, in form factors that makes sense for me.

        1. It could simply be that those of us who have decided never to buy Beh gear don’t need to repeatedly state the fact.

          1. lol. if that were *really* the case, y’all have been done long before now. but, here we are.

            this design is as unique as an app note – the electronics are trivial and derivative of so many control systems that were copied from another application. *shrug* engineering isn’t ART, it’s WORK. and in WORK you copy what other people do.

      2. If I use your logic is there any objections if I copy this entire site, just change a few things and call it synthparia?

    2. I think it’s good to know what they are doing, maybe it will help others who are considering buying their product understand what they going to support.

      1. Yes.

        Whether or not you like Behringer’s business model, neither buyers or manufacturers can ignore the fact that Behringer is disrupting the synth industry. This knowledge, and the knowledge of what the company is copying, should inform your decisions.

  6. I like the design of the behringer clone much better…and the price also…so I’ll give’em a try.
    In china means to knockoff something = appreciation.

  7. Make Noise Maths is a module that is heavily inspired by older modules

    Make Noise just made it their own

    While I would agree that this is a blatant rip-off it’ll undoubtedly be very welcome to someone who doesn’t have a small fortune to spend on eurorack

    Or maybe you might want to make a cheap case you can bring along to gigs and jams and not have to worry all that much about it

    It has its uses

    1. that is a good summary. most folks also ignore that low cost brings new users to modular, and new users buy stuff. most of my money is sunk into Moog and Mutable modules, but I select from AMSynths, AION, Doepfer, and Intellijel.

  8. I’m a happy Makenoise Maths owner… and I am wondering What MakeNoise themselves make of all this? (Noise? 🙂 ) . . Also.. There are a couple of interesting small additions to the Behringer design… Most notably … are those Attenuators for the inputs? or do they actually boost gain on the inputs? If so, Gotta admit that is an interesting feature! And hmmm I can’t tell.. is that just a printed waveform on the panel? .. or is that an actual LED (or otherwise) display?
    Also, when I see things like this… I have to wonder to myself. Do any of these small companies file or have any patents on their designs? Is that too laborious or expensive to acquire? Why is it so easy for Behringer to do this? Other than ethical considerations (which seem rather obviously violated in this case….) Are there ANY legal protections that a small company can pursue? (I have no idea of count of MakeNoise employees is… I suspect its tiny!!!)

    1. Registering a patent will cost a company a minimum of $15-20k. I can’t see how using patents to protect designs would make sense for even a company as successful as Make Noise.

      They’ve got 20+ Eurorack modules, and most of them are not near as successful as Maths. Is there any way they could justify trying to patent technology behind all those modules? Probably not.

      And, if you’re a mom and pop startup Euro manufacturer, patents aren’t a realistic option.

      The protections left are things like trademarks, trade dress and copyright. That’s why Mutable’s approach is interesting.

      Mutable made some of the most popular Eurorack modules around, and those modules are all based on code, which is copyrighted. So Behringer can’t clone these modules until Mutable has made a ton of money on their designs, and then Behringer has to do it on Mutable’s terms.

      I think you’re going to see more companies following Mutable’s model.

      1. Actually, Mutable Instruments always open sourced their code from the beginning, which is why there are already so many Mutable Clones out there; Mutable is cloned more than any other company, which may be part of the reason they finally closed their doors and stopped making modules…. in case you missed the news from awhile back.

        1. Sorry, but you’re misinformed.

          Mutable open sourced their designs AFTER they made the money that they wanted to make from each of their designs. They typically did this after selling a batch or two of their own branded modules.

          1. A batch or two typically consisting of maybe 500-1000 modules each. Look at blades for instance, there was maybe only one batch made and now the code is available. Emilie was never in this for the money, it was about coding and the love of creation. She made enough to get by and to continue to create, that is all. Not making a bunch of money as you stated

            1. Based on discussions I’ve had with a couple of retailers, it sounds like Mutable was shipping in the thousands of modules/year. That’s easily half a million retail.

              She’s not just a brilliant designer, but she created a brilliant business model and it sounds like she made enough she could not just close up Mutable, but retire in style.

    2. Utility patents are issued for inventions the accomplish a task in a novel way. Even when issued, most utility patents are not money makers and the patent holder stops paying the maintenance fees. Behringer is exploiting the fact that the vast majority of patented analog circuit designs have long since passed into the public domain. Maths is great, but it is an incarnation of well established prior art. No one would argue in court that it uses novel technology. Emphatically not defending Behringer’s business practices or ethics, but this is why they are getting away with it.

    3. I am also a happy Make Noise Maths owner who isn’t particularly concerned with this, but I don’t see any additions here, the attenverters appears to be smaller exact copies of the Maths attenverters and the waveform definitely looks painted on. If the waveform was a scope though i’d say that would be a frankly amazing feature that many would prefer.

  9. My only experience with Behringer modules was when I collected the entire line of their ARP 2500 clones… and then sold them, with difficulty. While the ARP project had some really good aspects (they were engineered by a genuine ARP expert hired by Behringer, Rob Keeble), the build quality was simply too flimsy – most notably on the jacks, which are soldered to the PCB and have no physical connection the panel. Switches too were very cheap-feeling.

  10. Behringer intentionally inspires so much negativity. With a huge production and engineering capacity this is what they choose to do. When someone starts cloning their clones or making them into opensource DIY projects nobody will defend Behringer, such a defence would be impossible anyway because there was no originality there to begin with. A corporate troll factory.

  11. I think people are looking for something inside of people which is lacking. moralty and class.

    Behringer has lawyers that know what they can get away with . plain and simple. if you have a problem with how they do business then vote with your money. Behringer has manage to use these cloning debates as advertisement for them. a lot of people don’t have morality or class these days. so if this behavior bothers you don’t buy there stuff. if you feel like they are not doing illegal then buy there stuff. they law doesn’t have morality or class in mind its based on money.
    what an interesting world we have created for ourselves.

    1. Maths is laid out in a pretty intuitive and ergonomic way. Fwiw I feel like once you’ve spent time building the muscle memory those are the things that become more important. It’s like having the notes printed on a keyboard, some people might want them when getting started, but you don’t want to rely on them when you’re playing.

  12. Want to know the most popular Eurorack modules? Check out

    Here’s a handy list.
    1) Plaits
    2) Pamela’s New Workout
    3) Maths
    4) Disting Mk4
    5) Morphagene
    6) Rings
    7) Maths (white knobs)
    8) Quad VCA
    9) Clouds
    10) Mimeophone

  13. Why *anyone* would want Modular to be patent encumbered is beyond me. That would be the death of the industry, death of creativity and kill small businesses and drive costs up through the roof.

    Mutable instruments made beautiful modules and broke down the “analog” barriers on Modular and did so with Open-Source firmware. The sole owner burned out for many reasons but not because of clones necessarily and probably because of why any engineer burns out in dealing with customers – the customers force you to make decisions and uphold things that no one person could do and with so many things out of your control. People don’t need to have opinions on everything, and exclusivity and high pricing doesn’t make things better for anyone.

    If you don’t buy Behringer, don’t buy it. If you want to support Make Noise, support make noise.

    Time will tell what the value of the modules are and how long they last and what creative inspirations people get from them. Not some old curmudgeons on a forum complaining that corporations are taking over while they drive a name brand car, live in a corporate built home/apartment, shop at corporate grocery, buy from amazon without thinking twice, stop at gas stations owned by megacorps killing our planet…

    if you have a beef with a company trying to bring affordable MUSIC and CREATIVITY to the masses you have the wrong dang beef.

    module developers can themselves coordinate and work together to get better pricing if they wish and it would be a lot cheaper than screwing over people with patents

    1. Not sure if Mutable Instruments ‘burned out’ – my understanding is that the owner made millions and was well set to retire from the business in style, so they did so, leaving an impressive legacy.

      Regarding ‘screwing people over with patents’, Behringer is the king of using lawyers as competive weapons, and Uli himself has a wide range of patents (

  14. MATH’s inner circuitry is an exact copy of Serge Modular Music’s DUSG. Apart from replicating Serge’s invention of what is the synth equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, Befaco was more honest, as Befaco took the trouble of reverse engineering Serge’s innovative electronics (Rampage)

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