Gray Meanie, not actually that mean

Most of these blog posts are about synth DIY projects. Not this one.

This arrived today:

And before I write another word:

No. I have not changed my mind about the conduct of Behringer (the individual) or Behringer (the company) toward their critics. I find it juvenile and despicable.

And I’ll add that I do not and never have had any problem with their cloning of classic synths, beyond thinking it’d be nice if they’d devote more of their talents to developing great original designs and less replicating existing stuff. Less, I said, not none. As for cloning modern designs, well, I think that’s tacky, but not a crime.

No, it’s just their Cork Sniffer video and such puerilities that I take issue with. And at one time they prompted me to say I’d never spend a dime on Behringer equipment.

Well, I fell off that high horse as soon as pricing on the 2600 (and soon after, the 2600 Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie) was announced.

Back in the mid 1970s I was majoring in physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the alma mater of one Alan R. Pearlman, who while I was there decided to donate an ARP 2600P to the school. For complicated reasons it ended up being housed in the Physics building, and any student could use it for whatever purpose they wanted, academic or not. So it became the first synth I ever used. Just to cement the relationship, in my senior year Pearlman came to WPI to teach a three day mini course on music synthesis. I still have the patch sheet for the music I recorded for that course.

Not just my first synth but my best, right up to the present day. After all, back then a 2600 sold for the equivalent in today’s money of about $13,000, and physics grad students didn’t make the kind of money that would make buying one possible. Instead I spent $65 (in 1977 money) on a PAiA Gnome. Synth interest came and went several times over the next 45-ish years, as did dollars, and for a lot of that time most commercial synth designs went in a direction that didn’t interest me much… but their prices went in a direction that did. Finally in 2018 I found I could afford a Moog synthesizer — a Mother-32. Two and a half years later, for not very much more money, along comes something very close to that beloved ARP 2600. How could I not buy one?

It doesn’t render Kosmodrome unnecessary, of course, if for no other reason than that I enjoy the designing and building process at least as much as using the final product. But it can do a lot that Kosmodrome can’t, not yet anyway. So I’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.

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