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Fuck Behringer

Hardware manufacturer Behringer, known historically and primarily for their cheap noisy mixers, fucked up.

Their recent efforts to re-brand themselves as a cheap clone company have been mostly welcomed by the larger music making community. They got a bit carried away though and started to trademark names from other companies. Synth Anatomy first broke this story, but CDM's Peter Kirn brought more attention to it. Two weeks later Behringer trademarked Peter Kirn's last name.

Peter had previously attracted Behringer's attention when he exposed their attempts to sue a site that called Behringer a shameless copycat. They also tried to sue Dave Smith Instruments and some DSI forum posters for defamation; which Peter also reported on. While many people have been happily buying up their new cheap clones, it seems like Peter Kirn has been the only one pointing out their disturbing trend of silencing critics.

Faced with a voice that they could not easily intimidate into silence, Behringer's marketing department spent a lot of time and money producing a mock product to mock Peter. This was almost immediately pulled from their social media posts when people began accusing the German manufacturer of antisemitism. I think the nose looks more like Pinocchio. I spoke with Peter this morning and can report that Peter is not Jewish.

Behringer have apologized specifically for any implications of antisemitism, but have yet to apologize for attacking an independent journalist with the full force of their goddamn marketing department. Fuck Behringer.

It is worth noting that Behringer doesn't even own the rights to the music they used in this video. Like many of their real products, their fake product is also a clone, because they're shameless copycats.

Reader Comments 34

It's unfortunate that Behringer took this obvious stunt as far as to register a trademark (which they are now stating they will back off on https://www.musictech.net/news/behringer-issues-official-response-regarding-the-kirn-corksniffer/). Once again showing that a German sense of humor is sometimes... too litigious to be sarcastic.

But mission accomplished, every music tech news site has Behringer front and center. It's not going to stop people from buying their stuff. Every time you all freak out about their pcb photocopying ways, they get more exposure! Guitar pedal manufacturers got trolled the same way for a decade before boutique makers learned that hey have to innovate beyond simple designs to stay ahead of them.

Behringer is like a shark, they choose the lowest hanging fruit (lately curtis chip based designs) because the boards are incredibly easy to copy, they don't exhaust themselves innovating. But also boutique makers create great instruments that are generally (though not in Kirns case) far outside the budget of someone starting out, so Behringer steps in and makes stuff affordable. Unfortunately, the hate turns on the major manufacturers when they make affordable stuff, and the blogs call the products crappy or lacking, and no one buys them so they dont get made.

I get the hate, it seems someone at Behringer is a huge WWF fan, because they've made themselves into a complete heel, and by doing so, get way more exposure than any other manufacturer. No amount of pointing out that they are copying, and what they are copying, is going to stop them from copying. In fact, it just makes it easier to search for their device equivalents.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Frank
Sadly those are all fair points. Journalism is a weird job because you have thousands of people who care about what you have to say, so you feel important. But ultimately we're pretty powerless, because what are we really going to do? Not cover Behringer gear? That's just depriving your audience of information, and that's not something any journalist could bring themselves to do.
On March 03, 2020 - @Frank said:
It's not going to stop people from buying their stuff.
Well, it definitely stopped me. I'm never gonna buy another Behringer product.

I'm probably not alone.

But I suppose you could be right that they are now getting even more exposure and brand recognition. And, I suppose this won't affect them nearly as much as covid19 will.

I've seen some comments commending Behringer for putting affordable tech in the hands of folks with smaller budgets. I think this is overblown. For people who can't afford analog synths, there are quite good, quite affordable VI's. For kidz wanting crappy stompbox clones, Behringer isn't the only game in town.

@Tim Webb

I'm glad you noticed that Blammo Cork-Sniffer DirtyBoost. Adds another level of irony.

Thanks for this excellent post.
Bunch of offended people everywhere. When did making jokes, even rather crudely ever go out of fashion? Journos have the freedom of speech but then so does Behringer. It seems like a concerted part of a journalism cabal complete with the anti-Semite trope thrown in. I love it when the media gets a bashing too. After all journalism shouldn’t be a one sided affair. Repeat after me, we will not be offended so easily. Voila.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Metalizer
@Metalizer: You're right to point out that this is within Behringer's rights to do this. However, I'd like to point out that I didn't think antisemitism was relevant, and asked Peter if he was even Jewish.

I promise you there is no cabal among journalists. But if you attack one of us for reporting on your shady shit, you should expect others to come to their defense and take a greater interest in the shady shit you're trying to silence.

This sort of behavior is called a "chilling effect" where threats, intimidation, or being creepy as fuck in this case, is intended to silence reasonable criticism. An attempt like that is about the only thing that will get other journalists to work together on anything. After careful review; nothing Peter has reported on Behringer was unreasonable, in my opinion, so I'm going to add my voice to those defending his reporting.
Once upon a time there was something called humor …
There is no anti-semitism in this clip. Have you heard about Pinocchio? Remember his nose?
Shut up, holy political correctness.
BTW: Uli Behringer is not german, he is from Switzerland.
March 03, 2020  | person Plø
On March 03, 2020 - @Metalizer said:
Bunch of offended people everywhere. When did making jokes, even rather crudely ever go out of fashion?

Perhaps when it's a multi-million dollar company harassing a journalist? Punching down is never a good look.

And this wasn't a "joke" it was an attempt at humiliating Kirn for being a "snob".

On March 03, 2020 - @Metalizer said:
Journos have the freedom of speech but then so does Behringer.

You do realize that all of this started because Peter Kirn was reporting on Behringer suing forum members for criticizing Behringer?

They are not paragons of free speech, they are, in fact, the complete opposite, trying to silence their critics and then trying to harass a journalist for reporting on those suits.
On March 03, 2020 - @Metalizer said:
Bunch of offended people everywhere. When did making jokes, even rather crudely ever go out of fashion? ...Repeat after me, we will not be offended so easily. Voila.

Behringer's "joke" was dumb, mean, wrong, and not funny. Peter didn't lie, so the pinocchio thing is a projection at best. The overall effect of the video was mean-spirited and abusive.

I try to be sympathetic to other points of view (within reason), I try to be kind and respectful. I am not easily offended, but some things cross the line, and I alone get to decide where my line is.
Behringer has made a habit to cross any possible line as often as possible. That alone is reason enough for me to avoid their products, affordable as they might be. AND I don’t like their shameless copying of other people’s ideas. AND I really despise the way they are trying to beat down anyone who is trying to criticize them. Come on, if they are really that big, they could just ignore that!

As an aside: even back in the days, when they were only known here in Germany, I wouldn’t buy any of their crappy gear - they were the ALDI of music equipment. But worse in quality ;-)
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Granthafen
AND: Thanks Tim for having the guts to stand up! I think that a lot of people will appreciate this.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Granthafen
The Jewish long nose... Ok, Racism seems to be the new "weapon" of dumb people's marketing attempts.
March 03, 2020  | person vaikl
Fair play Tim! I don't offer a solution in my earlier comment either so i'm not helping, but I will posit that Behringer has generally been on the bad side of music tech press for years. When they build a new synth, it's not treated as an homage, it's treated as a ripoff even if they are doing the same thing some boutique makers and recreating circuits used in legendary devices. It feels like they get the shaft a lot of the time because they have the means of production to not be considered boutique.

It's immature as hell to lash out like they did, and they're way too big a company to be engaging in this kind of shit. It seems like an attempt at taking the offense against critics with generally poor opinions of them. It does stand to reason that in a perfect world, being a critic or journalist, you would be shielded from backlash from the subject in question. For better, for worse, it may be that companies are going to offer their opinion of opinion-makers, though hopefully in a more tasteful, less ambiguously anti-Semitic way moving forward.

If this hadn't happened the way it did i would have loved see Behringer engage Peter and the community at large, in how to create a more legitimate image for their brand. I think a value audio gear brand is needed to grow the industry, I just wish using this particular value brand wouldn't prompt eye rolls and tutting from other enthusiasts with deeper pockets.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Frank
Been on the fence about Berhinger for a long time. They make some amazing tech available for so many on a budget, but they often seem lacking in ethics. I’ve also been following Peter Kirn since before I had my first ipad and love his reporting, thoughtfulness, integrity, and love of music. So I am not torn at all, what berhinger did here is nasty, uncalled for, and made worse by their official smug and unhelpful non apology. They decided to retailiate against an independent journalist in this disgusting, eloborate, premeditated way, and have provided no justification whatsoever, likely because there is none.

I don’t own anything by Behringer but seriously considered the Deep Mind and was excited about their latest Wing console mixer. But they are off my list. What they did to Peter Kirn is insane, wrong and shows you exactly what they are.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline claude
Behringer generally makes crap products. Luckily, I’ve gotten to a point in life where I can afford gear not made by them.

Everyone know their products are low-grade knock offs that sound like crap. Sometimes that’s all you can afford so you buy them, and you get what you’ve paid for...

The best thing I ever did for my music making was to replace a Behringer mixer with a Yamaha. It wasn’t a very expensive upgrade but the difference in quality was so noticeable that I spent the next several years replacing all their gear I owned with similar products that didn’t sound like shit.

They suck, if you can afford anything else, don’t buy their gear. If you can’t afford anything but Behringer, buy it used so they don’t get you money.

All you clowns crying about political correctness can suck it too.
March 03, 2020  | person_outline Regular Guy
I have the neutron semi modular and was really excited about their upcoming modules (well, some of them. I personally think the roland modulars sound like absolute fucking bottom tier trash that has aged extremely poorly compared to pretty much every modular system of that era. There’s a reason no one is asking for Roland to make an app similar to model15. They’re shit synths... I want that moog filter bank though...) but after this I’m just not cool with their shit. It’s just too much at this point... suing folks for negative comments is the type of oppression that tastes of authoritarianism. I have enough authoritarian shit in my life to last me a million lifetimes. This fascist style silencing is just more of that mentality.

This is the drop that made my proverbial goblet overflow. Fuck it, it’s time to listen to lookmumnocomputer and make my own modules. I’ve looked into it before, and it seems piss easy tbh. Especially from kits. Maybe with some luck I could find some buchla stuff to copy...although buchla stuff is complex in a way that moog is not. Probably not a good starter module..

Anyways, can not fucking stand the behavior they are displaying right now.. authoritarian style tactics to silence dissenters is so fucked up, and when it creeps into the behavioral patterns of private industry I’m given the oportunity to turn my back on it, so I do at any oportunity.
Psychology and sociology lesson time!
"Bunch of offended people everywhere. When did making jokes, even rather crudely ever go out of fashion?"
Went out of fashion about the same time the "bunch of offended people TAKE A JOKE" attitude from the conservatives really took off. When it became the perfect fallback for bigots like cold feet Crowder and Ben "pope of the jews" Shapiro(A devout jewish conservative guy who spends his time judging who is worthy of calling themselves a jew and eagerly fights the scourge of gay cakes..) began using it as an excuse every time they got called out for preaching the more insidious parts of social conservative philosophy. When the "jokes" you tell are the talking points of your faction’s elders, it’s not a joke. It’s just a sermon held by a fuckhead who can’t take the heat for airing their true opinions.

They fall back on the "but I’m just joking brah!" Which, and this is probably by coincidence, coincided with the era where the right started losing their god damned minds about gender and the ’totally real’ rise of stalinist communism in the west. The old "I identify as an attack helicopter" meme and all that boomer shit. We found out that conservatives don’t understand humor but at the same time want everyone to laugh at jokes rooted in bigotry.. Typical of galaxy brain righties. If trans or gay people aren’t being made fun of in a conservative person’s "joke", that’s a great opportunity to add some bigotry and lift the joke to new provocative heights. why not mention that someone looks kinda jewy, that’s edgy right? And edgy humor, as we know, is really funny when you’re a teen or a conservative. Gotta rile up them libruls! That’s humor, right? Triggering people, that’s where the funny comes in or? That’s why I mock fatties, they get angry, I laugh. It’s all just jokes man! MIRTH!

Why don’t the righties laugh when lefties like me tell them the gulags stand ready to receive them once the left takes power? Really funny to me, why isn’t it funny to righties? Oh because it comes from a place of hatred, right... right... My lefty ass understands this, why don’t conservatives? Is it just because I’m smarter, or is it because conservatives are dumber? I’m just joking bro. Totally not gonna throw all the conservatives in work camps. We’ll bypass that and mince you all up for dog food - JOKES LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

Jokes, regardless of topic: Always funny. If you don’t find it funny, or,even find it objectionable, you’re just offended.

So about that time when it grew out of fashione, let’s say 2014 or so, around gamergate probably. There were a lot of jokes about raping feminists back then I remember. You know, jokes that come from the worst impulses of abject scum. Look up the ever hilarious racist piece of shit Sargon of Akkad, how he completely fucked up a bunch of rape jokes about a british politician on the internet and then had the delusional idea to run for office (UKIP, obviously..) Press conference was an absolute fuckfest where he said over and over "it’s just a joke durr durr druur.." becoming the butt to his own jokes by clowning himself into a meme.

So yeah, kinda a lot has happened in the past 5ish years to advance our views of what’s ok and what’s not. Sorry you didn’t keep up with the changing culture. Must be confusing living in a world that no longer reflects reality.

Hope this heated lecture helped you catch up. If not, dig deep into gamergate and the metoo movement. Social justice is the shit right now. You can better yourself, or you can grow old and angry at the world for being so sensitive. Back in your dad’s time, you could say the n word. Say it now and you suffer from all the progress made since that time. Use the gay slur starting with f today and you’ll suffer the consequences of the last 30 years of social progress. times change, and so does art, culture and humor. Only thing that never changes is conservative values. They’re still furuous at feminists for raising the age of consent. Hard for a conservative to impress adults. IT’S A JOKE! They’re angry because feminists made violence against women illegal. Aaah, we have fun. Or I just made two horrible generalizations. Hard to tell.
March 04, 2020  | person_outline VGA Port Authority
@vgaportauthority Lighten up man....seems like you’ve got a lot on your chest off here. Trope much? Just like presets, we can modulate the envelopes of current values as we see fit. Will Power.
March 04, 2020  | person_outline Metalizer
I’m with everything VGA Port Authority said.

People who bitch about “PC culture” are usually the people who feel like their “freedom” to be verbally abusive has been “taken away”. I’m a sensitive person, but I have no empathy for their “loss”.

As for Behringer... sigh. Why is it that they successfully burn any amount of good will their products manage to earn them? I see people left and right complimenting them for these synth clones and their accessible pricing. If Uli Behringer is that insecure that he needs to use the full power of a mega-corporation to lash out at forum commentators and reporters, maybe I don’t need to buy his stuff. I’ve been considering it for some time because I’m poor and never owned any analog or modular gear. I want to try to have fun and explore with physical synths instead of software.

Dog damned insecurity of powerful people. Ruins things all the time.
March 04, 2020  | person dysamoria
Give me a Fucking break with this non event bullshit.
March 04, 2020  | person Redoom
On March 04, 2020 - @Metalizer said:
@vgaportauthority Lighten up man....seems like you’ve got a lot on your chest off here. Trope much? Just like presets, we can modulate the envelopes of current values as we see fit. Will Power.
I respect your right to not give any fucks. But if someone else cares about something, maybe you could reach out from the confines of your stoic box and realize other people are allowed to care.
On March 04, 2020 - @Redoom said:
Give me a Fucking break with this non event bullshit.
Ok. Take a break. Stop reading about stuff you don't care about. Go have a coffee. Enjoy some space.
I always thought of behringer products as being a good deal for ok quality. I never cared to ask questions or dig into the company. If I want gear that does something, behringer is often a top choice until I find out that the particular product is not good or there is a better one. Better means quality for price. .i guess i would benefit from deeper investigation into behringer. Live and learn. Thanks for the heads up. It always saddens me to hear things like this because greed is often the motivation. Why is it not enough to be successful and rich? Funny how the more money you make, the deeper in debt you become. Have fun.
March 04, 2020  | person_outline Perry Pelican
On March 04, 2020 - @Perry Pelican said:
Thanks for the heads up. It always saddens me to hear things like this because greed is often the motivation. Why is it not enough to be successful and rich?

Insecurity.
March 04, 2020  | person dysamoria
On March 04, 2020 - @stub said:
[good commentary]

Fully agreed.
March 04, 2020  | person dysamoria
Must say, I’m more inclined to stop visiting this site with it’s Uber precious sensitivities than not buy a Behringer product..
March 06, 2020  | person_outline Palpal
On March 06, 2020 - @Palpal said:
Must say, I’m more inclined to stop visiting this site with it’s Uber precious sensitivities than not buy a Behringer product..

This is absolutely not a matter of sensitivities, SJW or snowflakiness. If that's your takeaway of the story then you've missed the point completely.

This was a case of a major company (again) trying to silence its critics in rather insidious ways. And it's not a matter of edgy-humor gone wrong. This was already the third jab they're taking against an individual - which makes it more like a structural vendetta.

Add to that the lawsuits they've initiated against GS forum users and Dave Smith in the past and all their other dubious activities. If that doesn't tell you what kind of company/person Behringer is, then I don't know what will.

Dismissing it as hypersensitivity on the part of people who are shocked at this behavior is odd, to say the least.
March 06, 2020  | person_outline Bram Bos
What Bram Bos said.

They lost me when they named a Pro-One clone "Pro-1". I don't need to get angry on Dave Smith's behalf - he's a big boy - but I felt it insulted the intelligence of the customer. Seems like they're appealing to consumers who wouldn't know a Pro-One or Mono/Poly clone unless they named them that.

I just noticed the "KIRN" font looks a bit like the "KORG" font ...
March 06, 2020  | person Roikat
On March 06, 2020 - @Palpal said:
Must say, I’m more inclined to stop visiting this site with it’s Uber precious sensitivities than not buy a Behringer product..

You won’t be missed by me if that’s your response. This isn’t “Uber precious sensitivities”. This is a reasonable person’s reaction to an authoritarian corporation using its [considerable] resources to attack a reporter over factual reporting the corporation dislikes. That’s not a reasonable response to factual press. That’s fascism.

When corporations try to censor people in the media, it’s bad for everyone, but sadly not uncommon. But making an ad hominem attack of the journalist specifically? Suing people on forums for voicing opinions... these are the telltale signs of childishly insecure and utterly unhinged management. I thought Behringer had learned some lesson before, but clearly they haven’t, or he hasn’t.

Libertarians and republicans are always saying the market is controlled by the customers and that we “vote with our wallets”... If this is NOT a big enough reason to reconsider a purchase from a specific company, then what the fucking hell IS?? Just how fucking low do you have the bar set for acceptable behavior??

Not wanting to be a corporate bootlicker doesn’t make someone “Uber precious sensitive”. It makes them NORMAL. Whatever toxic masculinity was thrown your way in life seems to have taken control of your reasoning facilities. Soften the fuck up, bro. Society doesn’t work via stoic slavery to corporations.
March 06, 2020  | person dysamoria
A lot of people are writing their opinion about this case. But I have read nowhere the reaction of the most impacted guy. Maybe he is laughing a lot about all that shit...
March 06, 2020  | person_outline Hs
On March 06, 2020 - @Hs said:
A lot of people are writing their opinion about this case. But I have read nowhere the reaction of the most impacted guy. Maybe he is laughing a lot about all that shit...

Peter Kirn? Maybe he’s being silent until he has consulted a lawyer on how to deal with a corporation making ad hominem attacks against a journalist to silence them...?
March 06, 2020  | person dysamoria
On March 06, 2020 - @Palpal said:
Must say, I’m more inclined to stop visiting this site with it’s Uber precious sensitivities than not buy a Behringer product..
Does all this anger bother you? Does all the precious sensitivity make you feel bad for the helpless Uli? Does it make you feel angry? I'm proud of you for getting in touch with your feelings. That's the first step.

Of course, there's nothing preciously sensitive about your feelings. Just ours.

Some people prefer unjustified downward punching over self-defensive upward punching-- but it's not a concept they can hear or understand. It's just out of their field of vision.
I’m struggling to comprehend how such an infantile response to criticism was allowed to happen. I won’t miss Behringer products.
On March 08, 2020 - @Jamie Mallender said:
I’m struggling to comprehend how such an infantile response to criticism was allowed to happen.

Corporate culture?

I keep wondering if all of the people we see in Behringer videos are in alignment with this infantile behavior, or if they’re embarrassed... or if they know even more about how toxic the corporate culture is than we see here, that this is just par for the course, and they’re not interested in risking their own income to protest it by leaving the company. It’s hard as fuck to make an income anymore.
March 09, 2020  | person dysamoria
"Cheap noisy mixers"! Thats so true! After my 1st mixer experience i have not been in a rush to hook up with anything else. From the B word.
March 10, 2020  | person_outline Cyp3
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