In terms of longevity, Behringer was late to join the party. Established in Germany in 1989, they quickly became a recognized name. They now manufacture a range of products, and we’re going to look at one in our in-depth Behringer Deepmind 12 Review.
Since being founded, they have courted controversies, but there is no room here to discuss all that. They make some good, cost-effective products. We know, we use a few of them.
Some are designed in Germany but made in ‘Behringer City’ in Guangdong, China. Opened in 2002, it is where it all happens now. But enough chat. Let’s have a look at the Behringer Deepmind 12…
Are you a fan of those 70s and 80s synthesizer sounds? Or maybe you have heard them and want to explore yourself. Then this is your chance. Behringer has tried to create a synth that will give you all of those sounds and more.
They haven’t cut any corners in trying to achieve that. It has two digitally-controlled analog oscillators, a 32 step sequencer, and an 8-bus matrix with four FX digital engines. And, of course, a stack of other stuff built-in to give you some serious firepower.
No ordinary instrument…
This is not an ordinary keyboard or an ordinary synth. This delivers sounds that most thought were long gone into history. This 12-voice beast is exactly that, ‘a beast’. ‘In the City’ they have put their heart and soul into creating the Behringer Deepmind 12.
Did they build the best synthesizer? Or is it rather the best digital keyboard? Let’s take a closer look…
Measuring 32.36 by 10.12 by 4.06 inches and weighing 18.52 pounds, it is a compact instrument considering what is inside. It has some nice design features. The wedge-shaped wooden ends are a nice touch, for example. It also has a metal chassis. That makes it tough enough to carry around if you use it for live shows. And why wouldn’t you?
The controls are laid out in good view. All are well-labeled, and there is a small screen at the center for operational information. At the rear, there are the connection sockets.
There will always be talk about what is inside a synth, but the playing action is vital. If it doesn’t feel right, then it will be hard to control what is coming out of it.
The keyboard on the Deepmind 12 is built with that in mind. Not a full-length keyboard; it doesn’t need it. There are 49 notes that are velocity and aftertouch sensitive. They have a comfortable semi-weighted action which feels nice. The keys themselves are full-size and well-made with no unwanted movements.
Under the bonnet…
It is a 12-voice analog Polysynth with some great outstanding effects. Each voice has two oscillators, and each voice has an independent Low-Frequency Oscillator (LFO). There are seven waveform shapes, MIDI sync, key sync, and envelope auto-triggering.
There are over one thousand memory patches with 128 arranged in eight banks. As well as a wide-ranging, eight-bus modulation matrix. We will go back to effects a little later.
But briefly, as we have already mentioned, there are four effects engines integrated into this synth. These include over 30 Special effects. The 32 step sequencer is a good addition allowing you to insert sounds or instruments where you want them played.
WiFi is just one of the ways you can connect this synth up. All the parameters can be controlled via WiFi. Edits can be made with tablets and PCs. As a result, this is one of the best wireless keyboards available.
We have already remarked that the controls are neatly laid out on the top. They are separated into operational areas, and the functions are well-labeled and are situated on either side of the centrally placed LCD.
The use of sliders and push buttons is prominent, with the addition of some rotating dial knobs. On the left of the keyboard are the Pitchbend and the Modulation wheels. On the rear, there are two ¼-inch TRS audio outputs and a ¼ inch headphones socket. Additionally, there is a USB-B port and MIDI in and out.
We talked earlier about the four effects engines. To help you achieve a great sound, you have plenty of features at your disposal. The standard options are well-represented. And we should remember that Behringer makes a decent level of stand-alone effects pedals. Therefore you can say with confidence they know what they are doing.
They have employed that knowledge to include studio-level effects for Reverb, Chorus, Delay, and a Flanger. Also, an overdrive/distortion option and a Phaser. Furthermore, you have access to a compressor and a complete range of EQ options.
They all operate using the built-in low-latency operating system. You can therefore utilize flexible routing possibilities with no cables to worry about. All the effects have options within them that we don’t have space to fully discuss, but let’s take a look at one.
Five basic reverb sounds…
Taken from the Lexicon 480L, a highly-respected reverb unit, you have Hall, Ambient, Room, Rich Plate, and Rich Chamber. Physical modeling captured every nuance and recreates the sounds as you would expect to hear them.
Also built-in is Vintage reverb. This is based on the much-loved EMT 250 plate, which offers a bright shimmering ambiance. This will not muddy up tracks and is great for vocals and snare drums.
There is little doubt in our mind that what Behringer has created here is a very good synth and certainly one of the most versatile synths on the market. Not only does it reproduce some historic sounds, but it also has a variety of applications you don’t often find.
There have been some iconic synths in the past. Especially those in the 70s and 80s. The Deepmind 12 takes you back there. But it also doesn’t forget that you will also want to create new sounds. It gives you that option as well.
It is a synth that is jam-packed full of Behringer’s latest and best technology. The 12-voice architecture and the stereo Voltage Controlled amps. And the analog Voltage Control Filters that apply the cutoffs allow you to get those vintage sounds.
The four effects engines apply the icing on the cake. The dual oscillators and the 32 step sequencer make this a professional synth. One to be reckoned with.
Create big chords…
One of the very impressive features is the ability to create big-sounding chords. You can play these with one finger. Likewise, you can make a chord containing up to twelve notes and save it to a designated memory location.
There is enough memory available to store 36 chords with up to six notes in each chord. Slightly less than thirty-six if you have more notes in the chords. You can assign a trigger key to each of these. Furthermore, the fact that you have WiFi means you can use your PC, Mac, or Tablet as a remote control.
Some may think it unfortunate that a sine wave generator was not included. There was on many of the big synths from past days. However, it doesn’t seem to miss it.
Behringer Deepmind 12 Review – Pros and Cons
- Nicely designed with attractive wooden ends and a strong build.
- A 49 note keyboard that is aftertouch and velocity enabled.
- 12 voices with two oscillators per voice.
- Each voice features a Low-frequency Oscillation (LFO).
- 1024 memory locations.
- Lowpass and highpass filters.
- VCF, VCA, and Mods can be assigned.
- Create and save chords of up to 12 notes and then play them with one finger.
- Four effects engines.
- Thirty types of special effects.
- A 32 step sequencer.
- LCD with easy-to-use controls,slider controls.
- USB, WiFi, and MIDI connections.
- Very attractive, cost-effective price point.
- Some might have liked the inclusion of a sine wave generator.
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Behringer Deepmind 12 Review – Final Thoughts
This synth is an adventure. There will be those who will criticize it. There always will be. Behringer has its fair share of naysayers. But it has a brilliant design that is both functional, practical, and easy to use. It is a German design, after all, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.
This is a very impressive synth, able to capture and create some great sounds. Some of it is buried in the past and the sounds of other iconic synths. But there are options to create more modern tones and effects.
At the start of this review, we broached the question. Have they produced something special? At this price point, we have to say very special. If you’re looking for the best value for the money synthesizer, you may have just found it.
Until next time, may the music make you groove.