The very existence of the Behinger Model D has divided opinion, but just how good is this “homage” to the Minimoog?
I doubt that there has ever been an analogue monosynth as contentious as the Behringer Model D. On the one hand there are those who think that, if the company is able to manufacture good instruments for a fraction of the price of its competitors, it should be applauded. On the other, there are those who have qualms about a manufacturer that is comfortable copying designs from elsewhere, especially when the original products are still in production. And let’s be clear, the Behringer Model D has caused such uproar not because it’s a well‑specified analogue synth at a keen price but because it’s a copy of the Minimoog Model D that was launched in 2016. To deny this would be ridiculous; its underlying architecture, features and panel layout are almost identical to the Moog’s, and the use of blue switches where the authentic Moog has red ones (and vice‑versa) isn’t going to fool anyone. The manual even states that the Behringer Model D (which, from this point on, I’m going to call the BMD) is, “an ultra‑affordable homage to an iconic synthesizer, with all the features of the original”, and that “great care has been taken in designing the Model D including the true to the original ‘D Type’ circuitry with its matched transistors...”. But how good a copy is it?
Weighing in at less than 2Kg, the BMD feels solid despite being small and light. Its knobs are firm and smooth, although I’m a bit concerned that they’re not secured to the panel itself because that would have reduced flexing of their connections to the PCB. Its switches are also positive in action and, although I’m no great fan of 3.5mm I/O sockets, these also worked well with the exception of one that needed an enormous push to insert the cable the first time, but thereafter was fine. Like the knobs, the sockets lack support from the control panel so, after that, I decided to treat them more gently!
I followed the manual’s instruction and left the BMD switched on for 15 minutes before using it for the first time. (I would later find that the long wait was unnecessary because the tuning settled more quickly than that.) Some people have reported tuning issues and even attempted recalibration of the pitch and scaling before using it, but the review unit was fine in this regard. I had it sitting on top of an 88‑note MIDI controller keyboard for much of the time and, while I wouldn’t expect its scaling to be perfect over seven octaves, all three of its oscillators stayed in tune with one another and were...
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