Behringer releases updated images of the developing DS-80 synthesizer

Behringer DS-80 second design

A couple of weeks ago we saw renders of Behringer’s attempt at a clone of the Yamaha CS-80 polyphonic synthesizer. It took in a lot of the beats of the original but many people were unhappy (as people always are) about the layout. Behringer took these comments on board and has reworked it into a second design that Uli Behringer is offering up for our consideration.

DS-80 design take 2

The biggest criticism of the original design was about that weird bank of mini sliders on the left which we’ve all come to understand as being the classically primitive patch management system that was hidden away under a panel on the CS-80. This was largely deemed as unnecessary in these days of microcontrollers and computerised patch management. Although I’ve also heard it argued that the patch system on the CS-80 was voltage based with all the subtlety, resolution and drift that that implies. Replacing it with a computerised rendering would not be in keeping with the original synthesizer. It’s interesting to note that the DS-80 seems to retain the idea of just 4 user presets, but places them over by a little screen and a data knob which makes you wonder what information that’s going to display.

Behringer DS-80 comparison with first design

Behringer DS-80 comparison with first design (top)

Many of the performance controls that were just above the keyboard on the first DS-80 design are now up on the left were the preset sliders used to be. That looks better but also puts the performance controls far away from where they want to be – right above the keyboard. They’re also persisting with sliders whereas the original CS-80 had paddles for those controls. If you’re trying to replicate an instrument then the way it was played and how you express yourself through it has to be important.

One thing they did get right is that the ribbon controller is now the full width of the keyboard – that’s better!

I imagine we’ll see at least one other iteration of this design before they even entertain the idea of building one. In some ways if they are implementing a computerised patch system then why keep the Tone Selector? It’s authentic and looks great but if you are trying to keep the size of the instrument down and they are just for show then it would perhaps be better to place the performance controls in that space.

We’ll see how things develop.

More information

  • Uli Behringer’s Facebook post.

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Behringer releases updated images of the developing DS-80 synthesizer