Behringer Deepmind 12 Review

Behringer Deepmind 12

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The Deepmind 12 is the first high-spec synth from Behringer and they made sure to pack it full of features and effects.

Behringer Deepmind 12 is a pioneer in the entry-level market and they are masters at producing quality, affordable products. The Deepmind 12 is their first attempt at putting their own spin on a high-end synthesizer.

The sound engine is impressive with 12 voices and the hybrid analog/digital system will always offer up plenty of power for you to use and exploit.

The Deepmind Behringer 12’s key advantage is its versatility and it will give you anything from vintage analog sounds to wild futuristic tones.

Exploring the Behringer Deepmind 12

The Behringer Deepmind 12 is a hybrid analog/digital synth that not only sounds like the real deal but it looks the part as well. It takes a lot of inspiration from vintage synths of yesteryear. It’s clear to see that Behringer had one thing in mind with the Deepmind 12 design spec – power and versatility!

The Deepmind features 49 note semi-weighted full size keys that include velocity sensitivity and after-touch.

Now for the analog signal path! The 12 voice analog synth comes equipped with each one consisting of two oscillators per voice with oscillator sync mode, a noise source, and three ADSR envelopes. Of the two oscillators, OSC1 gives you sawtooth and square waves with a choice to combine them.

OSC2 uses a square wave generator with variable pulse width modulation options.

In addition to the waveshapes, you also have the ability to select octave ranges and tweak around with pitch modulation in both oscillators. The second oscillator also gives you delicate pitch control that allows you to create subtle detuning and semitone intervals. With 24 oscillators at your disposal, a tremendous range of options becomes available including the following oscillator modes:

Unison 12, 6, 4, 3, 2 Mono; Mono -2; Mono 4; Mono 6; Poly; Poly 6, and Poly 8. The addition of oscillator sync, oscillator drift and drift parameters that can handle up to 12 voices per note for those fat tones which allow the recreation of the much sought after warmth and movement found in vintage analog synthesizers, with greatly improved reliability and stability.

The Ultimate Creative Machine

The Behringer Deepmind 12 is built for fine-tuning and it lets you create delicate nuances for unique and creative sounds. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for vintage synth sounds or if you’re trying to find some wild new tone. This synth is capable of producing whatever mad idea you throw at it.

In terms of filters, the Deepmind 12 Behringer has both 12dB and 24dB VCFs and these are fully resonant. The great part here is that they don’t require an oscillator signal and so this can be offered up as a third oscillator. It’s a nice feature that shows just how much this synth can push your creative mind further.

The Deepmind 12 comes with an excellent poly section and it’s here that the power of the polyphonic synthesizer shines. The Unison modes give you the option to layer voices in various ways. You can quickly go from a simple “double up” to a huge 12-stack tower that will give you those big, beefy tones.

The on-board “Drift” feature lets the Behringer Deepmind 12 stray away from the straight-edge synth sounds that it creates so well. Using the various drift parameters will allow you to emulate those old vintage analog synths with surprisingly detailed accuracy.

Iconic FX Sounds From the Top Leaders

This certain stage of the signal path is definitely an area worth exploring. The Behringer Deepmind12 effects has plenty of featured settings to demo out. The four fx engines contain over 30 algorithms including TC Electronic, Midas, and Klark Teknik FX that will instantly give your music that professional lift.

These custom designed fx engines including the TC Electronic and Klark Teknik FX were essentially rebuilt in the digital domain and put at your fingertips. Reverb chorus, Flanger Phaser, Delay, and Distortion are all available plus many more. The vintage effects models include Lexicon 480L, EMT250, PCM70, SPL Vitalizer, Fairchild 670, EDISON EX1+, and the Roland Dimension D Chorus.

The effects engines are inspired by iconic hardware units of the past and have been tweaked and refined for the modern era. These digital effects are processed through the Behringer Deepmind 12’s on-board operating system so performance is always consistent and there is no need for patch cables.

Inspired by Iconic Synths

The Behringer Deepmind 12 has taken a lot of inspiration from iconic analog synthesizers such as the OB-6 and the Prophet 6. At just a third of the price of these flagship synths, you might expect a significant reduction in the design and materials but Behringer has managed to keep the quality high.

The 12 voice polyphonic synthesizer comes in slightly smaller than expected but still offers a four-octave keyboard with semi-weighted, full-size keys. The overall housing is metal with wooden side panels and we have no complaints about it. It looks smart and feels sturdy when in your hands and on the desk.

The 12’s front panel does lack the full knob-per-function layout so quick access for some functions is limited. This is due to the smaller size but all other parameters can be accessed via the screen, which is slightly lacking in comparison to other designs we’ve seen over the years.

The Behringer Deepmind 12 still has plenty of features under its hood and the ARP/SEQ section is certainly worth a mention. The Arpeggiator is fully-detailed and includes a pattern sequencer of its own with 32 presets and 32 user slots – not to be confused with the main sequencer though!

Power and Performance that Goes Above and Beyond

The Control Sequencer is also fully functional and offers up an impressive 32-step control modulation sequence. The Control Sequencer features an adjustable slew rate, MIDI sync, and allows a 32-step pattern of values, which can vary from -127 to 127. If you also take into account the polyphonic portamento, chord memory functions, mod/pitch wheels, you can then start to appreciate the amount of sound control available on this very dynamic polyphonic synthesizer.

The arpeggiator itself offers five unusual ‘inverted’ and ‘alternating’ modes across a massive six octave maximum range. There are also 64 patterns available: 32 presets, and 32 that you can program yourself. These, in effect, turn the arpeggiator into a monophonic, 32-step control sequencer.

You can edit the patterns on the DeepMind 12 itself, choosing the pattern length, the note, and the gate duration for each step which makes this 32 step sequencer a notable feature. Spring-loaded pitch and assignable modulation wheels are conveniently placed for easy left-hand access, making Deepmind 12 the ultimate live performance and studio-ready synthesizer.

The Behringer Deepmind 12 features an integrated power supply and an abundance of input and output options. You have 2 x 1/4″ TRS (main out), 1 x 1/4″ for headphones, and 1 x USB Type B. For MIDI, you have In/Out/Thru/USB and there are also Pedal/CV input options.

Comprehensive remote control is an option for DEEPMIND 12 via iPad*/PC/Mac and selected Android* Apps over USB, MIDI or built-in WiFi for extended parameter control. The iPad App also features a robust preset manager, gig list full editor and Patch Morpher.

The Filters Round Out This Exceptional Synth

There are 2 DCOs, a noise generator, a low-pass filter (VCF), a very basic VCA section and a non-resonant high-pass filter (VCF). You get 3 envelopes and two LFOs per voice and an 8 channel modulation matrix.  The 8-Channel Modulation Matrix is really something to highlight here.

There are 19 modulation sources that can be mapped to more than 130 destinations which give ample possibilities. The filters include 12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance. The filter notes include Midas low-pass, Continuous hi-pass, Audio range self-oscillation, and Bi-ploar envelope modulation.

The filter modulations include Envelope, Keyboard, LFO, Velocity. The two LFOs offer a choice of seven waveforms that you can only select via their menus, with faders to control their rates and delay times and a menu item to adjust their slew rate if desired. Additionally, the LFOs per voice can track key pitch via the modulation matrix, enabling crossmod-type effects.

The VCF is almost identical to the one on the Juno-106, except that you get a 2-pole slope option. The filter is resonant and can self oscillate. Just like the Juno 106 you also get a non-resonant high-pass filter with the famous bass boost switch which works like a charm.

There are also two modulation sources here that aren’t visible anywhere else on the synth: MIDI Note Off Velocity, which can be ‘real’ or set to a fixed value in the global menus, and MIDI Breath Control, which is mapped from the expression pedal input.

We’re not finished just yet though as we may need to mention the Wi-Fi connectivity that supports rtpMIDI. All MIDI connections can be active simultaneously meaning the Deepmind 12 can act as a central MIDI hub, passing data between Wi-Fi, USB and MIDI ports which could be very useful!

The Deepmind 12 is a reliable analog synthesizer that will require some patience for you to learn the more advanced synth techniques hidden under its audio hood. However, if you do take the time to experiment then the Deepmind 12 will repay you kindly in many weird and wonderful tones!

Summary

The Deepmind 12 is a powerful polyphonic synthesizer that lets you immerse yourself into the sound-making process with range and exploration.

The product design was always going to be impressive in depth when the inspiration comes from big-name synths like the Prophet 6 and OB-6.

It doesn’t reach the levels of these high-end designs but we must applaud Behringer’s first attempt on the Deepmind 12.

The 12 voice per note drift parameters, pan spread, poly modes with detune and powerful unison are just a few highlights from a bigger success story here!

If you look at the price tag then you can clearly see that this polyphonic synthesizer is priced a lot less than the polyphonic synthesizers that inspired it.

Behringer products are renowned for being affordable clones. The Deepmind 12, however, is their first effort in creating a high-end polyphonic synthesizer of their own.

The package of the 12 voice polyphonic Deepmind 12 as a whole is definitely worth a further look.

We should see some exciting things from Behringer if they plan to stay this course and break into the high-end synth market over the next few years.

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