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Behringer UB-XA in the wild


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If it sounds even close to an OBXA (and I'm not sure this demo is something to judge it on, nor are my ears well-versed enough on the OBXA to say) at under $1500 as this says...with those features, including 16 voices?  Look out they will sell a boatload.

I have to wonder if they'll make a tabletop version, which you'd think would be quite a bit cheaper still.

I wish this was more like the Deepmind, an "inspired by" synth and not taking both the name and the look (right down to the damn blue lines) from the real older deal.  But I'm sure that's what they figure will sell more of them.

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27 minutes ago, Stokely said:

If it sounds even close to an OBXA (and I'm not sure this demo is something to judge it on, nor are my ears well-versed enough on the OBXA to say) at under $1500 as this says...with those features, including 16 voices?  Look out they will sell a boatload.

I have to wonder if they'll make a tabletop version, which you'd think would be quite a bit cheaper still.

I wish this was more like the Deepmind, an "inspired by" synth and not taking both the name and the look (right down to the damn blue lines) from the real older deal.  But I'm sure that's what they figure will sell more of them.

Yes.  Desktop is forthcoming.  
 

I’m certain his market research shows that we are very nostalgic for classic analogue synths in new condition at affordable prices. But I agree, I like it when they improve upon the designs, and even more so, when they give it a new look and name.  
 

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Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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"UB-XaD" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? They should give it a more fetching name, like "Shirley" or "The Cotton Candy Anvil."

 

All of the hollering is amusing up to a point, but as long as I don't tie myself into a Gordian Knot over imagined filter purity, I'm already well covered. I can build a mega-OB sound-o-power with just a couple of layers. I had my various hardware stacks and I SQUEE'd over every new device until it turned into an actual scream when bleeping Reality set in. The software approach provides a world of relief from most of that. I say most because a kernel panic can lead you right back to that scream. 😱  

 

I think its safe to say that there probably won't be a line of UB-X buyers fighting with a parallel line of OB-X buyers. The basic synth sounds quite meaty in both cases, but they're aimed at very different buyers.

"What's the password?"
"'I have bourbon.'"
     ~ Joe Hill, "Full Throttle Stories"

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The UB-XA price point (under $1500) also suggests, to me at least, that Korg’s Prologue 8/16 is reasonably priced.  And  Sequential’s Take 5, Rev2 8/16  models, are a real effort on Dave’s part to design things  more people can get their hands on.  
 

Now that Tom has his mothership OB-X8 out.  It would be nice to see what he can come up with in the $1-2k range.  
 

And of course the analogues all compete with digitals that are doing an amazing job at modeling “real” synths. 

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Yep, I've just come from an hour or two of getting my can't-get-further-from-analog MODX to produce some pretty decent poly synth tones.  Granted, sometimes with my lack of decent programming skills it's two steps forward and three back at times.  The presets that came with the keyboard do not do a great job of going for vintage poly tones. That's fine, the more modern sounds and fancy motion stuff are there, but I had to step back and start from sawtooth and square waves to get something I liked.

Browsing Thomann, there are a bunch of new and interesting synths that have been coming out recently.  I'm mostly looking in the lower end of the price range, and you have things like the Modal units (VA) and Dreadbox analog boxes and others I'd never heard of to go with the usual suspects.

I'm all about the software at home but still prefer hardware live other than my ipad and B-3x.  Though considering I gig with two different audio interfaces already (MODX and Key Largo) I'm tempted to see how well my old macbook pro does when folded into my rig.  It's old and beat up and so I'm not as worried about it at a gig as I once would have been.  I have Repro, Diva, Monark and others that I think sound outstanding.  If something didn't work I'd have two hardware keyboards to fall back upon.

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8 hours ago, Jim Alfredson said:

Nobody is going to say it? It sounds awful. Not even close to the warm richness that is the hallmark of Oberheim synths. It sounds like a cheap plug-in from 2003. 

Risky to send prototype to Anderson’s? Perhaps. But they also have no chips and are desperately trying to maintain mindshare.  It needs patch design, that’s for sure. But so do VA’s. I wouldn’t discount it yet.  Particularly if one even likes the sound of the original, as the UB does appear to mimic it.
 

 

 

 

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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11 hours ago, Jim Alfredson said:

Nobody is going to say it? It sounds awful. Not even close to the warm richness that is the hallmark of Oberheim synths. It sounds like a cheap plug-in from 2003. 

I certainly wasn't blown away like the Super booth vid on the OBX8.  For $500 more, i would be more inclined to gravitate towards the Juno X.  But I'm sure this will be a fun debate across the interwebs in the coming months.

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I think the guy from Andertons has a specific style of playing that suits mostly R&B and the likes but that is something the OB sound is not famous for. He plays palm smears and staccatos after all 🧐 That’s Hammond technique not exactly working for polysynths. He should have demonstrated long brass swells instead. 

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44 minutes ago, CyberGene said:

I think the guy from Andertons has a specific style of playing that suits mostly R&B and the likes but that is something the OB sound is not famous for. He plays palm smears and staccatos after all 🧐 That’s Hammond technique not exactly working for polysynths. He should have demonstrated long brass swells instead. 


Fair enough but regardless of playing technique, the actual tone of the synth was just bad. Buzzy, harsh, nowhere near the lushness of an Oberheim. 

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1 hour ago, conundrum said:

And the example ElmerJFudd listed?

 

It sounded better to me, but I’ve never touched the original.

There will be a lot of demos with a wider variety of patches as more units get into people’s hands.  I’m not saying I want one, or that it sounds good or doesn’t  (especially when compared with the current OB-X8 or or Sequential OB6).  All I’m saying is it’s way too early to say they haven’t cloned the OB-XA effectively.  

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Synthanatomy reacts to Anderton’s post Superbooth access to and demo of a UB-XA and suggests there is work that needs to be done on this pre-production unit. 
 

https://www.synthanatomy.com/2022/05/behringer-ub-xa-pre-production-unit-first-look-and-sound-demo.html

 

“Oberheim very often pointed out at the booth that anyone can actually recreate the Oberheim analog voices, but the most important thing is to calibrate and fine-tune the entire engine. This goes up to envelopes and VCAs which are important elements. That costs a lot of time and money. Let’s see if it sounds better in the final version”

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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That first video (Anderson’s) is good example of a bad demo. The guy dials up a few sounds and lingers on them way too long past making a point. Doing a good demo is an art. The people creating sound design libraries like Luftrum seem to get it. They have the perfect application in mind and it is an easy sell to those with interest in the particular genre. 

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I've found Youtube audio to be unreliable for evaluating the sound of a synth.  Some, like Moog Matriarch, sounded pretty good on YT, but even better in person.  Others sounded promising on YT, and not so impressive in person.  Yet others sounded "meh" on YT, and surprisingly good in person.   By "in person" I mean running into decent monitor speakers, not speakers built into, say, laptop computers.

 

That said, the Synth King video makes it sound better than the Anderton's video.

 

UB-Xa apparently has polyphonic aftertouch.  MPE support was also mentioned.  Time will tell if the keybed feels good enough to make use of those things effectively.  For example, the latest generation of Roland Fantom has been criticized for the aftertouch feel - you have to press really hard or something.  Whereas Hydrasynth Deluxe's keys felt just right to me - smooth and easy to get it going, but not so sensitive that the slightest pressure sets it off.

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Re the Andertons demo - it's a just a bad demo or the wrong 'mode'. I would have been switching all waveforms on, pulse width mod, sync, portamento etc.  Given that their mono synths sound good plus the involvment of heavyweight synth designers in the project it should be close to the original. But there is a lot more 'magic' involved in a poly synth. I doubt it will sound as good as the OB-X8 - so much experience in that Sequential/Oberheim team.

 

I see Behringer as a very good budget audio company - offering a wide range with good features at below market price. So I don't see why they are going for big ticket items like this. Apart from copies of the Moog System 55/35/15 which are all priced at over £1000 (and not available at the mo) all the rest of their synths are sub £1000. In the UK I see this as a threshold above which buyers start thinking about Sequential etc.  

 

And... how many actual poly synths do you really need? This is not the 80s when so much popular music was written and produced using poly synths. Then there was plenty of session work for you if happened to own one. They had a big influence on the pop music of the day. But now?

 

I replaced my ageing P5 Rev3.2 with a Prophet 6 and glad I did - the Rev 3.2 never had the balls of other polys.  The P6 sounds great, has some modern features and since they added the vintage knob it's even better. I bought and sold my OB-6 because it didn't add much that couldn't be covered by the P6.  It's basically a P6 with a state variable filter but didn't shout Oberheim to me - nowhere near the sound of a SEM.

 

I really like what Behringer have done providing cheap mono clones in a clever Eurorack compatible format. And the Deep Mind is an excellent cheap poly which proves they have the nous to create this stuff. But going for OB and Prophet clones given the market conditions (chip shortages, competition from Tom and Dave, cost of living crisis) looks like the wrong move.

 

If nostalgia is driving the desire to own classic poly synths then the baby boomers have the money and only the real deal will do.  

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40 minutes ago, ChazKeys said:

If nostalgia is driving the desire to own classic poly synths then the baby boomers have the money and only the real deal will do.  ….

I don’t think they do. Deep into retirement, and the cost of living increases apply to them too.

 

The UB-X is a fair bit more expensive than originally planned, but is still a different market than either the newest Oberheim, or the originals.

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48 minutes ago, ChazKeys said:

Re the Andertons demo - it's a just a bad demo or the wrong 'mode'. I would have been switching all waveforms on, pulse width mod, sync, portamento etc.  Given that their mono synths sound good plus the involvment of heavyweight synth designers in the project it should be close to the original. But there is a lot more 'magic' involved in a poly synth. I doubt it will sound as good as the OB-X8 - so much experience in that Sequential/Oberheim team.

 

I see Behringer as a very good budget audio company - offering a wide range with good features at below market price. So I don't see why they are going for big ticket items like this. Apart from copies of the Moog System 55/35/15 which are all priced at over £1000 (and not available at the mo) all the rest of their synths are sub £1000. In the UK I see this as a threshold above which buyers start thinking about Sequential etc.  

 

And... how many actual poly synths do you really need? This is not the 80s when so much popular music was written and produced using poly synths. Then there was plenty of session work for you if happened to own one. They had a big influence on the pop music of the day. But now?

 

I replaced my ageing P5 Rev3.2 with a Prophet 6 and glad I did - the Rev 3.2 never had the balls of other polys.  The P6 sounds great, has some modern features and since they added the vintage knob it's even better. I bought and sold my OB-6 because it didn't add much that couldn't be covered by the P6.  It's basically a P6 with a state variable filter but didn't shout Oberheim to me - nowhere near the sound of a SEM.

 

I really like what Behringer have done providing cheap mono clones in a clever Eurorack compatible format. And the Deep Mind is an excellent cheap poly which proves they have the nous to create this stuff. But going for OB and Prophet clones given the market conditions (chip shortages, competition from Tom and Dave, cost of living crisis) looks like the wrong move.

 

If nostalgia is driving the desire to own classic poly synths then the baby boomers have the money and only the real deal will do.  

I think the market for $1k plus poly synths is definitely driven by nostalgia. However for the tiny stuff, Volca, Boutique, Behringer’s imminent Mini analogues - there’s a youth craze in this dawless live music production that’s grown out of DJing.  That’s in addition to older guys snatching them up for nostalgia.  

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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14 minutes ago, conundrum said:

I don’t think they do. Deep into retirement, and the cost of living increases apply to them too.

 

The UB-X is a fair bit more expensive than originally planned, but is still a different market than either the newest Oberheim, or the originals.

Yes that's true - and I hadn't realised how much Sequential prices have gone up over the last year. A Rev2 8 voice is <£1500 so if a UB-Xa is going to be less than that it's still a competitive price for pure analog polyness.  Behringer doesn't invest much time and money on fancy wood for the end cheeks but the top panel, knobs etc. look pretty good. 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, conundrum said:

I don’t think they do. Deep into retirement, and the cost of living increases apply to them too.

 

The UB-X is a fair bit more expensive than originally planned, but is still a different market than either the newest Oberheim, or the originals.

Agreed.  The UB-XA follows their philosophy of bringing instruments otherwise not an option due to cost into more hands. $1500 is significantly less than an OB-X8 or an OB6.  It has a different traget market. The Toyota Carola driver vs. the Audi A3.  

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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11 minutes ago, ElmerJFudd said:

I think the market for $1k plus poly synths is definitely driven by nostalgia. However for the tiny stuff, Volca, Boutique, Behringer’s imminent Mini analogues - there’s a youth craze in this dawless live music production that’s grown out of DJing.  That’s in addition to older guys snatching them up for nostalgia.  

I think that is one of the really good aspects of what Behringer, Korg and to a lesser extent Roland have done. Tapping into the younger market where cash is tight but creativity is high - good stuff. And of course the boom in Eurorack with all the boutique companies that might be benefiting from that.  

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Trying to glean anything of use from that horrendous Andertons demo...

 

My memories of an OB8 (and PLEASE correct me OB-Xa/8 owners if I'm wrong!) was that it's 4 pole filter mode was rather weak. It appears that Behringer has attempted to address that (10:48 in the video) by doubling it's level compared to 2 pole mode.

 

That's not exactly what I had in mind. I would have loved to have heard him play with different resonance settings in 4 pole mode, but this demonstrator didn't do anything of the sort. He seemed much more interested in playing it like it was a Clavinet or B3. 

 

If I get another analog poly, I want it to cover all the common bases: tuned noise, highly resonant stabs, things like that as well as the warm creamy pads and brass that Oberheim polys are famous for. Anyway just my thoughts... and Oberheim owners feel free to comment. 

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On 5/15/2022 at 10:53 AM, Jim Alfredson said:


Fair enough but regardless of playing technique, the actual tone of the synth was just bad. Buzzy, harsh, nowhere near the lushness of an Oberheim. 

On 5/15/2022 at 8:15 PM, ElmerJFudd said:

“Oberheim very often pointed out at the booth that anyone can actually recreate the Oberheim analog voices, but the most important thing is to calibrate and fine-tune the entire engine. This goes up to envelopes and VCAs which are important elements. That costs a lot of time and money. Let’s see if it sounds better in the final version”

 

I gigged an OB-Xa from 1984 through the early 1990's. That tonal richness is unmistakable.  I've come up with a few modeled sounds that get close, especially with AL-1 on my Kronos (now Nautilus) - which has filter options that mimic the OB series quite well.  But nailing the character of the envelopes / VCAs is tougher. OB-Xd does a capable job when I want 'that sound'. At the moment, it's stronger than the UB-Xa Beta sounds.

 

 

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That Anderton vid leaves me underwhelmed.  

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