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Behringer being cheeky fucks.
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ekwatts
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:11 pm    Post subject: Behringer being cheeky fucks. Reply with quote

And getting called out for it.

A few years back, Arturia released the Keystep. On the surface, it's a pretty basic midi controller. It doesn't necessarily do any one thing magnificently, but it's become an essential piece of gear for almost anyone at all who uses synthesizers, particularly analog, simply because it's more than the sum of its parts AND it has CV outs as well as Midi and USB. It was one of the first things I bought when I started to get into electronic music.

Here it is:






So a week ago Behringer posted a small teaser of a new product called "Swing", and then a few days ago revealed it. It's a keystep. It's a fucking keystep.

It's about as blatant as it's possible to be. They changed the ARP/SEQ switch and somehow made the font colour a bit tackier, but they even kept the touchpad mod and pitch "wheels" of the original.





And it looks like Arturia aren't too pleased...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was just reading about this over on Gearslutz. Shady as fuck tbh. I mean look:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinda not too offended, but I guess they normally copy stuff that’s obsolete, or too boutique to afford. Seems like an odd move though, as it’s not any cheaper than the keystep?
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Came here to post this. Agree that it's a weird choice.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the one hand, behringer make a lot of modular CV stuff now, and their MusicTribe DAW is going to be free, so having a dedicated and good controller for all that makes sense since it's a gap in their market that is being filled by the Arturia Keystep.

So, looking at it logically, they needed a Keystep.

Except, instead of taking the functionality of the Keystep and packaging it up in something that doesn't just look exactly like the Keystep, they just made another Keystep.

The price is baffling in a way, but maybe they copied the Keystep so closely, got to the end result and realised that there wasn't really any way to offer it at a cheaper price. Which, if true, kind of goes to show what a bargain the Arturia is in the first place.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And even though it makes sense for Behringer to have a Keystep-like controller, the fact they hewed so close to the existing Keystep takes them away from one of the design ethics they've stuck to religiously since they started pumping out the synths, which is to always use full-size keys, never mini- or slim-keys.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Behringer have responded:

https://community.musictribe.com/discussions/156693/308940/competition-the-facts



Quote:
Since various magazines and Arturia have publicly called us out over the launch of our Swing MIDI Controller, we would like to respond and share some facts around the principles of competition and clear up some misconceptions.

Competition is a highly effective tool to drive innovation by empowering Customers to make their best choices and force manufacturers to constantly reinvent themselves. Innovation means progress and this happens on many levels, whether it relates to customer experience, functionality or cost efficiencies etc.
There are 4 established marketing strategies: market leader, market challenger, market follower and market nichers. Here is a great article: https://aytm.com/blog/brand-positioning-for-a-competitive-edge-part-3/

The competition law was designed to avoid companies creating a market monopoly and stifle innovation, which would be detrimental to the rights of the Customers to expect better offerings. The law was specifically designed to encourage everyone to fiercely compete, even when it means over the same functionality and design, provided intellectual property such as utility (functional) and design patents as well as trademarks etc. are respected.

How many Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul clones are out there in the guitar world and how many SM58 clones are available? How many cars or mobile phones look alike? It is not surprising that Gibson recently lost a substantial legal case trying to prevent others from making V-shape guitars or Fender, who lost all trademark cases related to their Stratocaster design.
The reason is simple: the law encourages competition and provides maximum freedom for companies to engage head-on, all for the benefit of the Customer.


We are spending large amounts of resources on innovation, which is reflected in products such as X32, XR18, Flow, DDM4000, etc. This made us the global market leader for analog and digital mixers and over the years we have built an extensive patent portfolio:
https://community.musictribe.com/pages/intellectual-property
However, we also clearly choose to follow successful brands and products, while adding more features and/or competing on price. Much of our innovation is invisible to the Customer as it relates to our highly advanced and automated design and manufacturing processes and for that we are spending hundreds of millions of US$.
For this reason, we have become strategic partners with Microsoft, Siemens, Adobe and many other Tier 1 companies as we are pushing for extreme digitization and automation.

The follower marketing strategy is a very common business model in any industry, which is enabled by law to encourage competition. With our new Swing MIDI Controller, we followed an established concept, but of course wrote our own firmware with added functionality. However, these unique features will only come to life when we launch our free DAW.

The free Music Tribe DAW will form the heart of an incredible eco-system, where all our controllers, synthesizers and drum machines etc. will integrate seamlessly, thus dramatically improve connectivity and workflow. This will make it incredibly easy for our Customers to create, edit and share their music.
Only our upcoming controllers will feature total integration with our synthesizers, drum machines, digital mixers and other Music Tribe equipment, while also offering standard functionality with all 3rd party products.

For anyone familiar with the industry landscape, Arturia has been cloned for years (Worlde MiniMidi, etc.), while the company has also been “borrowing” from others with their VST replicas of legendary hardware synths, open-source code from Mutable Instruments, the “Expressive Touche” controller or the registration of known “DX7” and “Synthi” marks. Equally, our own analog Xenyx mixers and many other products have been widely cloned.
¬We will absolutely continue to deliver innovative products but also follow our competitors as we expect our products to be cloned - fair play.

We are very cautious when it comes to our follower approach and employ expert intellectual property firms to ensure our products stay within the boundaries of the law; we are committed to never intentionally infringe on other companies’ intellectual property.


Many years ago, we were entangled in bitter lawsuits with Mackie and Pioneer, which we all won. But we also recently lost a case against Yamaha in China related to a simple fader knob design that involved a design patent we were unfortunately not aware of. We changed the design, we will pay the fees and move on. Notably, Yamaha themselves were sued by Dr. Dre over their headphone designs (https://www.cnet.com/news/dr-dre-sues-yamaha-over-headphones/) or entangled in other legal matters (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/musical-instrument-firms-to-pay-millions-after-breaking-competition-law), which clearly shows how competitive business is. The heated Apple versus Samsung disputes are a prime example.

It is our Purpose and Mission to empower Customers who don’t have deep pockets and provide them with the best possible equipment at fair prices. We do understand that we are a fierce competitor and at times controversial as we’re relentlessly push the envelope.

We would like to thank all our Customers who have supported us over the past 30 years. We are absolutely committed to continue to deliver the best possible products at the lowest possible cost.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eli's such a scamp.

I don't care, I'll be getting a CS80 clone. I know it's not the same issue, but fuck it.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Much of this is basically correct, and I can't really fault it, apart from two specific points, one of which is addressed (poorly) in the text and another that they avoided completely:

  • The Swing controller basically does everything the Keystep does. That's because the Keystep is a must-have product for two customer types: anyone that owns modular eurorack synths and/or Behringer's analogue synths. Behringer made a Keystep because the Keystep made by Arturia is basically the best at what it does, so if you already own the Keystep there's not much point in buying the Behringer version. Which is fine in the context of what that article already says, essentially, so I don't understand why they need to go on the whole "ONLY THE SWING WILL INTEGRATE" etc, etc. What are you gonna do, stop the Keystep from being recognised by the MusicTribe software? Anyway, whatevs, it's a bit of marketing speak in an otherwise pretty nakedly honest article.

  • The bit they didn't address: Why make the Swing visually identical in so many obvious ways to the existing Keystep? The Behringer Crave is apparently a Moog Mother32 in function, but they made it look about as different as possible. Couldn't they have done the same for the Swing? I think THAT'S the thing that has really bugged a lot of people. It's the most baffling aspect. Nobody is questioning Behringer plugging a gap in their own market that Arturia have undoubtedly (deliberately or otherwise) benefitted from.


I still love Behringer for what they're doing for the analogue synthesizer market, along with Korg and Arturia themselves. But this is bizarre.

The Behringer Misstep.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They actually used the same names for the Wasp and Cat. Their original companies are no longer around. Still kind of crazy. I read they want to put out something as "Oberheim".

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ekwatts wrote:
[*]The bit they didn't address: Why make the Swing visually identical in so many obvious ways to the existing Keystep? The Behringer Crave is apparently a Moog Mother32 in function, but they made it look about as different as possible. Couldn't they have done the same for the Swing? I think THAT'S the thing that has really bugged a lot of people. It's the most baffling aspect. Nobody is questioning Behringer plugging a gap in their own market that Arturia have undoubtedly (deliberately or otherwise) benefitted from.[/list]


Yeah, that's what I find weird. I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid if they'd announced a compact midi controller to integrate with eurorack/analogue synths with the same [i]functionality[i] as the Keystep if it had looked different. It would have made perfect sense in view of their other products. Instead they seem to have photocopied the original and pissed a load of people off. Given the size of their operation and all the other keyboards they make, it really wouldn't have taken much effort on their part to put this in a different case.

Also, I'm not sure that pointing out that other random brands like "Pylepro" and "Worlde" have ripped off other company's designs is the killer argument they seem to think it is.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fakir Mustache wrote:
They actually used the same names for the Wasp and Cat. Their original companies are no longer around. Still kind of crazy. I read they want to put out something as "Oberheim".

lank


To be fair to Behringer, they aren't the first company to do that, so I'm not as bothered. Those companies are so long-gone that it's not like they're stepping on anyones toes.

Note that both Korg and Behringer both offer an ARP Odyssey, with Korg actually naming theirs an ARP while Behringer just kept the designation.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BearBoy wrote:
ekwatts wrote:
[*]The bit they didn't address: Why make the Swing visually identical in so many obvious ways to the existing Keystep? The Behringer Crave is apparently a Moog Mother32 in function, but they made it look about as different as possible. Couldn't they have done the same for the Swing? I think THAT'S the thing that has really bugged a lot of people. It's the most baffling aspect. Nobody is questioning Behringer plugging a gap in their own market that Arturia have undoubtedly (deliberately or otherwise) benefitted from.[/list]


Yeah, that's what I find weird. I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid if they'd announced a compact midi controller to integrate with eurorack/analogue synths with the same [i]functionality[i] as the Keystep if it had looked different. It would have made perfect sense in view of their other products.
Disagree completely.

Their first synth was the DeepMind, mostly original, but they copied the styling from the Roland Juno series.

Then the MS-1/MS-101 is just a Roland SH-101 with a few common mods. Their 808 and 909 clones copy the look down to the fonts, even if the cases are shaped differently. Even their vocoder has Roland graphics.

Top is Behringer, bottom is Roland.

And it's not just Roland, they have also released a Pro One and an MS-20 without keyboards, as well as several Moogs.

The Crave looks original, because who would buy something that looks like a Mother32? The Neutron looks original too, but these are the only two Behringer synth products which don't copy the look from another company.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I probably didn't explain what I meant very well.

What I was trying to say was that it makes sense for Behringer to make a compact midi controller as they also make a range of eurorack components and keyboard-less analogue synths. Not that it makes sense for them to produce an entirely original design as all their other keyboards are entirely original designs, which is what I think you may have thought I was trying to say.

If they had made compact midi controller that wasn't a facsimile of the Keystep, or any other company's product, then I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid, even if it was pretty much the same thing functionally.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just saying it's not their modus operandi.

Yeah, people would like them more if they didn't copy trade dress, or at least they wouldn't have many haters.

You know even their pedals originally looked like Boss pedals?

Roland/Boss took them to court, but it seems Roland stopped trying to take action for their recent trade dress violations. Not that I would normally care that much about that in general, but they take it to another level.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crucially, though, most of the stuff that Behringer are making that clones older synthesizers, such as the VC340, the Model D, etc, are things that are otherwise all but impossible for regular consumers to get their hands on anymore, even if the original companies are still around. And that's down to the design philosophy of those companies.

I'm sure I read at some point that it's a very Japanese ethic to look forward, never backward, and that's why Roland never went ahead and reissued their most iconic synths in their original forms. It's mostly the same with Korg, although they haven't been too shy to repackage and remodel the guts of older synths and stick them in a new box (the MicroKorg being a shrunken version of the MS2000, for example).

So for all intents and purposes, it looked like Roland was never, ever, ever going to reissue the SH-101, or the TB-303, 909, 808, etc, not as analogue synthesizers, anyway. Yeah, they have them now in their boutique range, but they're still digital recreations in different boxes.

It's really one thing to make a nearly 35 year old synthesizer like the SH-101 with the original chips and circuitry, along with some improvements like a sequencer and frequency modulation that the original company has quite clearly decided to never revisit in such a way, it's another to go and completely clone the aesthetics of an existing product that is also, at this point, a market leader. Broad strokes, sure, I take your point, it's all the same shit on technical level. But on the one hand they're offering you something you can't get for love nor money otherwise, and on the other, they're shovelling an existing product for the same price with a different name.

As for those Boss pedal copies, Behringer bought TC Electronic and have effectively replaced those knock-off pedals with the new cheaper TC Electronic range. True bypass, metal boxes, etc. A complete upgrade.

This is the thing I've found baffling about this. Behringer have shown with their analogue synthesizers and upgraded TC Electronic pedals that they can provide high quality mass produced products, plugging several gaps in the musical instrument market with things people obviously want without having to resort to being super shady. Right off the bat with their entry into the synthesizer market, they offered up something no other synth maker was doing, even if the makers of the original models they were copying were still around. And I loved it. But the whole Keystep thing is just really disappointing.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I think is a bit odd or funny about this synth people getting their knickers in a twist because Behringer are copying products that are currently on the market instead of obsolete items, as if that isn't what they've been doing in guitar tech for a decade.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bacchus wrote:
What I think is a bit odd or funny about this synth people getting their knickers in a twist because Behringer are copying products that are currently on the market instead of obsolete items, as if that isn't what they've been doing in guitar tech for a decade.


It is funny, but I think the context of this is that they had really seemed to turn a corner once they dived into synthesizers since they weren't just providing authentic recreations of models that had become utterly impossible to get hold of anymore, but also pricing them in such a way that made the realm of synthesizers accessible to anyone. The idea of an authentic clone of a historic Moog synth or Korg MS-20 priced as low as a mid-range Squier only a few years ago was absurd.

So Behringer had built up an enormous amount of goodwill. They really expanded the synth market and plugged a huge gap in the market and created a huge legion of actual fans, something that I never thought I'd be able to say about Behringer.

I mean, even as a guitarist, and a pretty fucking poor one, I found the whole Boss/Behringer pedal situation hilarious. To someone like me, that range of pedals was an oddly benevolent move by a massive corporation, who were only able to deliver their cut-price goods to me as a starving guitarist by ignoring how underhand it was. But it also raised interesting questions, both over how and why Behringer were able to offer a £130 Boss pedal clone for £20, for example, or how and why Boss had singularly refused to reissue near-legendary pedals that Behringer went on to prove there was at least some kind of market for.

(Also, Boss being a subsidiary of Roland, whose synthesizer back-catalogue Behringer has plumbed, mercilessly, hasn't been lost on me. Somebody needs to ask the question: What did Roland/Boss do to hurt Uli Behringer all those years ago?)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arturia are at it, 95% of their business is VST versions of other people's synths so they've got a cheek to complain. The minikeys style controller is hardly a one off design either.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas wrote:
Arturia are at it, 95% of their business is VST versions of other people's synths so they've got a cheek to complain. The minikeys style controller is hardly a one off design either.


Well, this is what I really want to see next: Arturia's next suite of VSTs featuring their clone of the Behringer 2600 instead of the ARP 2600.
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