The Behringer Model D is a commendable low-cost analog synthesizer that divides opinion. Not because it has any particularly stand-out flaws, but because of the company’s bold decision to lift the looks of the high-end Moog, that it has surely pilfered its designs from.
With a remarkably similar layout, in spite of a few additions and key changes, Behringer has even been cocky enough to borrow the color pallet. And, most brazen of all, named their synth the Model D. So there should be no doubt that the creation of this one was for the sole purpose of creating an affordable re-imagining of the MiniMoog Model D.
The MiniMoog in question was, of course, a modern-day re-release (2016) of the original legendary analog synth. Short of the fact that the Moog sported a key-bed of its own, the 2 are strikingly similar. When you buy the Behringer Model D (BMD), you, in essence, have the technical half of the MiniMoog Model D.
Fortunately, for the most part, it’s a great homage, rather than a crappy knock-off, because the engineers at Behringer have plenty of experience with synths. Without the keys themselves, you are missing the velocity sensitivity and After-touch effects, but you can convert the MIDI messages for touch sensitivity. It also responds to modulation, something the MiniMoog isn’t capable of.
The model seems pretty solid – the chassis is enclosed with wooden end cheeks, that give it a vintage aesthetic. The dials are lower quality, which is to be expected, given the significantly reduced price, but they have good resistance and function perfectly well.
It presents three voltage-controlled oscillators, and all pathways are purely analog. The circuitry is high-end, with JFET transistors, and is practically identical to the model it is inspired by. The oscillators have accurate pitch and can be scaled across 5 octaves.
They are monophonic, but you can chain up to sixteen of them together for effective polyphony. There are five classic waveform shapes to choose from, and a triangle/square wave LFO.
There are a total of 48 on-board controls that include a noise generation bay and overdrive circuitry. The total CVs and gates on offer include pitch (1V/oct), LFO frequency, Filter cutoff frequency, Amplifier gain, Filter contour gate, and Loudness contour gate.
The 24dB/octave VC filter has resonance parameters. You can dial in a great portamento and dirty things up with the overdrive circuits.
This gives you plenty of sounds to explore, and although some might use alternate tweaking, you really can duplicate all of the Minimoogs’ presence and synth tones. The basses are punchy and allow you to sculpt hefty pulses. You achieve cutting lead sounds and other-worldly choral pads.
It has CV connectivity that lends it semi-modular flexibility that some of the newer euro-rack models on the market are offering.