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Behringer: The Edgelords Of Music Production

YouTuber Benn Jordan did an intelligent, and mature, video essay on all of the reasons people hate Behringer. This is presented in a well-articulated and well-balanced way; even citing the good things the company has done in the past. But they've been pretty shitty lately, and are probably worse than you think.

After Behringer's attack on journalists escalated this year, I can't say it enough on this site: Fuck Behringer.

Video Description:

If this video vanishes and I go missing, look for me in the Guangdong province.
Support me! https://linktr.ee/BennJordan

Timestamps:
0:00 - Disclaimer
1:46 - Controversy = marketing
3:09 - Garbage lawsuits
5:09 - Garbage behavior
7:10 - Abuse of market share
10:10 - Abuse of customers
11:29 - It's not ALL bad
12:38 - Hiding from charitable pledges
14:10 - The BENN v ULI CHALLENGE
14:45 - Drawing the line

Reader Comments 19

Thank you for posting this!
December 18, 2020  | favorite_border aufde
On December 18, 2020 - @aufde said:
Thank you for posting this!

It was my pleasure!
Yea, thanks, Tim. That video was excellent, informative, very fair, and very thoughtful/insightful. It's hard to imagine a more clear description of the issues, and an approach to how to navigate it. I almost feel like I've taken a load off my mind after watching it.

I had one of those Behringer cable testers-- and IT was defective. If I plugged a cable in and flexed the connector to see if the cable/connector was bad, the indicator light went out, even if the cable was fine. It did this with 100% of the cables I connected to it. I tried returning it (to GtrCtr, fuck them, too), I tried repairing it myself (reflowing solder points), to no avail.

I only have a few B-word devices: a BCR-2000, a MicroMix MX400, and a MicroMon MA400, all of which are useful and were affordable. I bought the MX400 while fully aware of the controversies.

Now any future Behringer purchase will have to pass these challenges:
1. Do I really need the item for a gig/income?
2. Is there really no viable alternative?
3. How can I counteract the negative karma? (i.e. charitable donation, etc.)

If someone reading this (or watching the vid) is moved to come on and defend B-word, that's ok, but just know that your outrage probably comes from a similar part of the brain as ours. Some people strongly prefer down-punching to up-punching.
December 18, 2020  | favorite_border stub
The followup is awesome too:

https://youtu.be/2ChmLdLCJqg
December 18, 2020  | person_outline Efeez
Wow @Efeez that follow up is amazing! Sheeesh!

That guy, Paul who works for B-word, kind of reminds me of members of another group of people rallying around a particular central figure, where for all of them, the word "truth" has scare quotes.

Benn is great.
December 18, 2020  | favorite_border stub
You guys using the B-word here in the comments has given me a bad idea. I can tell it is a bad idea because I've been giggling for the last minute. This is a very bad idea.
... [steepling fingers]... go on.
December 18, 2020  | favorite_border stub
Excellent video.

I’m of the ethical/activist mindset, but I struggle with this specific topic. While I hate corporations that behave as this one does, I’m also dirt poor & want to play with synths. I’ve been sitting on money I decided I’d spend on a small semi-modular analog setup, and the more bad behavior from Behringer, the more likely I am to spend it on a new gaming PC instead (because I’m otherwise a Mac user & my newest PC is from 2008).

The only Behringer product I own is the X-Touch. So far, it’s an excellent product. There are three reasons I bought it:

1. The assholes at Avid decided to dump all their M-Audio products & driver development when they resold the brand to another conglomerate (a company that does almost NOTHING with the IP, but throws the branding on generic shit). The M-Audio ProjectMix I/O, developed by Avid, was the center of my music studio. I had to replace it with TWO other devices just to get the functionality found in it. (Side note: I spent less in total on those two devices than I originally spent on the ProjectMix)

2. Every other control surface product was too much, too little, or too expensive (and had questionable drivers, or came from newer asshole-Avid acquisitions).

3. The Behringer X-Touch One wasn’t on the market yet. It’s exactly what I want, but didn’t exist. So now I have something much bigger than I wanted on my desk and I’ve considered trying to sell my X-Touch, to replace it with an X-Touch One (which is problematic because my asshole Apple iMac scraped a fairly visible scratch into the grey side panel of the X-Touch, because of course we need desktop computers that have edges so sharp on them that we could shave our faces and slice limbs off; looking at you, asshole Jony Ive).

4. The price was excellent.

So, Behringer made what I wanted & they sold it at a price I could afford. That’s good business. As a bonus, it turns out to be a good product. This earns my respect for Behringer as a company on which to spend my money. So then the analog synths started piling up, got great reviews & user discussion on Gearsluts, and the prices are right for me... I got excited.

I want to LIKE this company...

...But then there’s the bullying (childish at that) the company does when someone factually points out obvious facts.

I don’t understand why any company would WANT to CREATE hostility where there‘s no need. My only guess is that the leadership have experienced some kind of childhood that taught weird lessons about getting attention (any attention is good attention) and demonstrating empathy & kindness (as in, “empathy & kindness are weakness” toxic masculinity bullshit).

I’m pragmatic where it comes to brands. No company will ever show loyalty to me as a customer, so I have no illusions about showing loyalty to any company (certainly not conglomerates & companies the scale of small nations). I favor Apple products because they’re less painful than the rest (note: I did not say they’re “superior”; less bad is not superiority). I hate Apple’s corporate culture, even if they aren’t openly churlish. They’ve not put me off yet because the products are less painful to me than all others and because they actively try to put forward an ethical face.

Corporate bullying, and downward-punching is egregious. What possible benefit could it possibly offer?? Do they WANT to foment a cult mindset among the types of people with which they should be embarrassed to associate? Are they envious of Apple’s notoriety for fanatical customers? Bullying isn’t how Apple developed that following.

In context to hardware that is useless without software: It should be law that any product being abandoned by its seller must have its required software open-sourced. I’m not kidding; this should be compelled by law. I HATE how perfectly functioning hardware is made worthless due to abandonment of the required software! Our consumer protection laws are utterly useless here.

Another product I own, also now considered obsolete and getting no further driver development, is the TC Electronic Konnekt x32. It’s luckily still functional as a digital router even without connection to a computer. So that’s something I look for when I buy new hardware (and is why I don’t own any Roli products, despite really wanting something like the Seaboard; take away the software/drivers and it’s useless garbage).
December 19, 2020  | person dysamoria
Wow. That was a lot of text.
December 19, 2020  | person dysamoria
On December 19, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
Wow. That was a lot of text.

But it brought a lot of quality with the quantity!
On December 19, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:

But it brought a lot of quality with the quantity!

🤗😊
December 19, 2020  | person dysamoria
On December 18, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:
I can tell it is a bad idea because I've been giggling for the last minute. This is a very bad idea.
Oh noes! The return of the MaxiPad, Swiss-Belgian edition!
December 19, 2020  | favorite_border Enkerli
i followed quite a few 'influencers' during the year but i think i'm down to about 3 these days..
he in the list, staying in the list,...

the entire influencer thing is fizzling out for me .. i'm no longer interested in their overly composed shots of gear (main gear central, a cup of coffee , and carefully placed ' toy / item / fruit' ) ..

good honest / balanced and informed video
December 19, 2020  | person Re5etuk
On December 19, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
I’m of the ethical/activist mindset, but I struggle with this specific topic. While I hate corporations that behave as this one does, I’m also dirt poor & want to play with synths. I’ve been sitting on money I decided I’d spend on a small semi-modular analog setup, and the more bad behavior from Behringer, the more likely I am to spend it on a new gaming PC instead (because I’m otherwise a Mac user & my newest PC is from 2008).
Thanks for sharing!

It’s easy to feel your pain. And Benn addressed that pain in both videos.
Your rationale for buying that one B-word product makes sense to me. There’s no direct contradiction between your mindset and that purchase.

It does sound like you’re doing more “soulsearching” than might be needed. That, as Benn explains, is a big part of the B-word issue. It causes the unempathetic Swiss entrepreneur little pain. It chips away from your own sense of agency.

So, again, your rationale for that one purchase you’ve already made is clear and sound. The semi-modular vs. gaming issue is quite different. I’ll come back to that after a tangent about yours truly.
My own justification for buying a B-word Neutron at a Moog Audio sale wouldn’t fit as well with an activist mindset. Had been thinking about this one product because it was an opportunity to get into analog semi-modular. Including for use with windcontrollers. In several ways, I’d have preferred a Microfreak, at that point. But the Neutron remained on my mind (and in my price-tracking feeds).
While waiting in line for that sale, I got some news about a contract to do action-research on electronic music. When I got into the store, the Neutron was the main piece of gear that interested me (they had just sold the one Microfreak they had at a discount). I then tried to swap the Neutron with a Microfreak through Kijiji but that was at the exact moment people started noticing that the vocoder update applied to original devices.
Which means that I still have the Neutron. I’m quite unimpressed with it. Sure, it’s nice to have a semi-modular if I want to experiment or even teach. But I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as my MicroBrute or UNO, in terms of sound and convenience. Both of these are way less expensive than the Neutron and they’re better supported. They’re in storage in another city and I frequently miss them. For (semi-)modular experiments, I’ll focus on software for now and find other gear as needed. (I just got news that I’ll be permanently employed as of next month so I’ll probably have opportunities to make bigger purchase decisions than before.)
Which brings me back to your semi-modular vs. gaming gear issue.
These are two parts of the same issue because of your budget and there’s no reason for us to meddle with your personal finances.

There’s plenty for us to say about your semi-modular…
First things first: with such technology decisions, it’s essential to focus on what you’re trying to achieve. What will the tool do for you? What are the options to achieve that?
People get semi-modular systems for a large variety of reasons. In fact, modularity is often linked to flexibility, so the fact that you can use the same (semi-)modular systems to do different things is part of the appeal.
Searching for alternatives is often an effective way to figure out the details of what you’re trying to do with a given piece of gear.

Would you be able to replace semi-modular hardware with software emulations? If not, it provides you with clear requirements.

Would you be able to use a few hardware pieces from a fully modular system to achieve the same thing as the semi-modular? If so, that might actually allow you to invest more progressively as you expand a modular system. Sure, modular can be very dangerous for people with a lot of disposable income. But it’s an interesting option in terms of building up something in the long term.

Would you be able to build some kind of semi-modular system using DIY hardware? If so, that could open up something amazing in terms of helping others get into electronic music. Maybe your activist mindset is different from the one with which I’m most accustomed, but there’s quite a bit to be said about hacktivism… and DIY electronic music gear is such a neat way to put mindset to practice!
Especially when you get into Open Hardware. If you don’t have the skills or tools, there are several ways to get those. The main thing is probably time.
(For practical reason, I’m not personally where I’d like to be as a Maker, yet. But I’m not losing hope.)

Then, there are several commercial options for semi-modulars, from cheap knockoffs to the real deal. B-word gear is somewhere in that continuum. It’s probably worth it to explore other parts of that range, including less expensive options.
December 19, 2020  | favorite_border Enkerli
On December 19, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
Behringer made what I wanted & they sold it at a price I could afford. That’s good business. As a bonus, it turns out to be a good product. This earns my respect for Behringer as a company on which to spend my money.

Good products at good prices, those are important considerations, but within the ethical/activist mindset, there is SO much more that goes into Good Business. Worker rights, the environment, and several other ethical considerations are also very important. We like to believe that if a company is successful, they MUST be doing everything right. But clearly, that is not always the case. (E.g., Exxon/Mobile)

If you consider companies that take good care of their workers, and pay attention to their entire supply chain (to avoid environmental damage, or exploited/child labor, etc.), to companies that just dive to the bottom line-- I like to think most people's preferences will shift. Moog, and quite a few boutique synth/pedal businesses have more expensive gear, but what you pay for is them doing it right.

I'm not suggesting B-word has labor or environmental issues, I have no idea. But what we know is ugly enough. It really wouldn't surprise anyone if the supply chain had some ugly secrets.

BTW, if you sell your X-Touch used to get a used X-Touch One, that seems like a karmic wash. Won't affect B-word one way or another.
December 19, 2020  | favorite_border stub
All very good points, from everyone above.

Quick response:

I definitely do care about environmental & worker issues. I’ve not heard of anything regarding those topics with this company.

Why I’m interested in a semi-modular analog setup: I’ve got tons of software. It’s neat, but there’s no tactile experience. Generic MIDI controllers don’t do it for me, and they’re low resolution. I’ve got a handful of digital synths, but the same problem with the tactile experience and low resolution controls.

I’ve got the Korg Legacy MS-20i MIDI controller and it has made messing with the MS-20 emulation fairly interesting... but there’s that low resolution MIDI again, and there’s stuff that just doesn’t happen with the software version (like feedback loops). I’ve never played with real analog hardware (the Korg Poly-800 has no proper controls on it so I’m not sure what the point is). I’d like to play with stuff that isn’t about menu-diving.

I’m not remotely able to do DIY hardware. I don’t have the skills, the patience, or the fine motor skills (plus shaking hands). Otherwise I might’ve attempted to mod some analog controls onto the garbage Poly-800 I have sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

I’m not interested in the fully modular world. A few semi-modular bits should be complicated enough for me; I like that exploring connections is optional. I’m looking to play with sound, and hopefully create music differently than I’ve been doing for years. I want to have fun and maybe be productive.
December 19, 2020  | person dysamoria
Did someone already find Benn Jordan‘s beaten up corpse? He has made some valid points, hasn‘t he? Interesstingly enough there seem to be quite a huge army of B fanbois according to some posts at yt...
December 22, 2020  | person_outline Michi
@Michi

Yea, we see some over on Synthtopia, too. Might be some combination of fanbois, libertarian-leaners, racists, and plain-old-grouches.

I'll restate for emphasis, there really is something to this idea that some people really are offended by "punching up"; i.e., people with diminished power & influence standing up to people with enhanced power/wealth/influence. Ironically, with their comments they may think they are up-punching, but they are just lateral punching.
December 22, 2020  | favorite_border stub
On December 22, 2020 - @stub said:
@Michi

Yea, we see some over on Synthtopia, too. Might be some combination of fanbois, libertarian-leaners, racists, and plain-old-grouches.

I'll restate for emphasis, there really is something to this idea that some people really are offended by "punching up"; i.e., people with diminished power & influence standing up to people with enhanced power/wealth/influence. Ironically, with their comments they may think they are up-punching, but they are just lateral punching.

The thing that gets me the most about all this is the behavior of those comments elsewhere. I don't want to call out anyone in particular, because holy shit it is hard to create a community. I lucked into literally of this so I don't pretend to be able to pontificate on quality community management.

I just know I'm:
a) grateful to have anyone read my site and all my relatively-trivial nonsense.
b) grateful that most of those people are sane.

The idea of consumers rallying around a big transnational conglomerate to defend them from the mean minor press outlets is insane, but it is one that I can relate to. Apple apologists are always ready in the wings. They leap in to make passionate points to defend Apple from the evil tyrannies of things I say on my tiny blog. So when I see people defending B-word, I'm not surprised. I'm not even disappointed. It just works out that way sometimes. And sometimes very decent people get hurt in the exchange. Tribalism, Us vs. Them, is baked deeply into homo sapiens. This worked out great for several million years. There just hasn't been enough time to evolve out of it.
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