Zoë Blade's notebook


Behringer is a German company that makes various equipment used to make electronic music.

Their products are ridiculously cheap, as they forego the full R&D stage by simply cloning other companies' products, right down to the visual aesthetics. The ethics of this are debatable.[1][2][3][4] Personally, I'm OK with cloning decades-old equipment whose original designers have likely retired long ago, but not cloning current gear. Be aware that even their apparent clones of old products might actually be clones of other people's current clones[5] and mods[6] of the originals, rather than the originals themselves.

It's certainly a thorny issue, especially considering that many devices used to make electronic music are made by individuals or very small companies in a niche cottage industry. I'd recommend researching the ethical quandaries involved in the specific product of theirs you're considering buying.

Their range of cheap clones makes them reminiscent of Aldi and Lidl, but perhaps a better analogy is Amazon. With their low prices, they're very good for their customers, at the cost of being very bad for everyone else, including both their employees[7] and the industry as a whole.

To use a more musical analogy, Behringer's 2020s spout of synthesiser clones might be comparable to the previous generation's DJ battle tools or sample CDs full of uncleared samples. They may be ethically dubious copies of other people's hard work, but they do allow impoverished musicians to access the tools they need... by ensuring their money doesn't go to the people who originally came up with those tools.

Weighing the pros of enabling musicians against the cons of everything else is certainly an ethical dilemma — one that's likely to be often bypassed by people who pine for unobtainable vintage gear, and can't resist the temptation provided by an affordable alternative.


  1. "On Behringer's Track Record, 'Value,' and 'Copies'" Peter Kirn, Sep 2009
  2. "Behringer threatens legal action against a site that called it a copycat" Peter Kirn, Jun 2018
  3. "Behringer sued Dave Smith Instruments, forum posters, and lost" Peter Kirn, Jun 2018
  4. "Behringer: practices, ethics, morals and legitimacy" Mod Wiggler, Jan 2020
  5. "Is Behringer's WASP Deluxe a Clone of a Clone?" Matrix, Aug 2020
  6. "Our critique of Behringer's proposed TD-3 variant with Devil Fish functions" Robin Whittle, Feb 2020
  7. "Factory workers in Zhongshan protest dangerous working conditions" Dec 2017

Behringer: 100 Series (Behringer) | 900 Series (Behringer) | ADA8200 | K-2 | MS-1 | Model D | RD-6 | RX1602 | VC340