A Brief History of Analog Synthesis
The modern synthesizer’s evolution began in 1919, when a Russian physicist named Lev Termen (also known as Léon Theremin) invented one of the first electronic musical instruments – the Theremin. It was a simple oscillator that was played by moving the performer’s hand in the vicinity of the instrument’s antenna. An outstanding example of the Theremin’s use can be heard on the Beach Boys iconic smash hit “Good Vibrations”.
In the late 1930s, French musician Georges Jenny invented what he called the Ondioline, a monophonic electronic keyboard capable of generating a wide range of sounds. The keyboard even allowed the player to produce natural-sounding vibrato by depressing a key and using side-to-side finger movements. You can hear the Ondioline on Del Shannon’s “Runaway”.
Designed by famous piano manufacturer Story & Clark in association with RCA, the Storytone piano debuted at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Hailed as the world’s first electric piano, the Storytone is prized by musicians and collectors alike for its realistic piano sound – only 500 or so were ever built
Finding a high level of acceptance in the 1960s, Harry Chamberlin’s Mellotron was an electro-mechanical keyboard that generated sounds by playing back pre-recorded tape loops. Although tempermental and prone to pitch and mechanical issues, the Mellotron was used extensively by many U.K. artists. Classic tracks from the Moody Blues “Days of Future Passed”, the Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and the Rolling Stones “She’s a Rainbow” are prime examples.
Attribute author: By Buzz Andersen from San Francisco, California, United States Mellotron | NAMM 2007
Manufactured by ARP Instruments, Inc., the Arp 2600 was one of the most successful synthesizers to come out of the 1970s. They were ideal for players new to the synth world, and allowed patches to be changed via switches or 1/8″ audio cables. The list of recordings and artists that used the venerable Arp 2600 reads like a veritable Who’s Who of rock, pop and jazz, and includes The Who, David Bowie, John Lennon, Depeche Mode, Edgar Winter, Frank Zappa and Herbie Hancock – to name just a few. An Arp 2600 was even used to create the voice of the Star Wars character R2-D2.
Attribute author: The original uploader was Kimi95 at Italian Wikipedia – http://www.vintagesynth.com/arp/arp2600blue.jpg e http://www.vintagesynth.com/arp/arp.php, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7708499
Designed to replace the large, modular synths being used in pop music at the time, Bill Hemsath and Robert Moog developed the Minimoog in 1971. The monophonic instrument became the first truly all-in-one, portable analog synthesizer. Thanks to its 3 oscillators and 24 dB/octave filter, the Minimoog produces an extremely rich and powerful bass sound and is still in high demand today. Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman said the instrument “absolutely changed the face of music.”
Attribute author: glacial23 – Early Minimoog Uploaded by clusternote, CC BY-SA 2.0
In 1976, Yamaha released their CS-80 8-voice polyphonic synthesizer, which provided velocity-sensitive keys and aftertouch that worked on individual voices. The analog instrument featured a ribbon controller, which allowed the user to perform polyphonic pitch bends and smooth glissandos. Composer Vangelis used the CS-80 extensively in the Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire soundtracks. The CS-80 also provided the bass line heard in the BBC 1980 series Doctor Who theme song.
Image attribution: Pete Brown from Gambrills, MD, USA (DSC00539) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
Sequential Circuits introduced the Prophet 5, which was the first analog 5-voice polyphonic synthesizers to provide onboard memory storage of all patch settings for instant recall. The great-sounding Prophet 5 revolutionized the synthesizer world and, in spite of its rather expensive price tag, became one of the most successful synths of all time. Designed by Dave Smith and J owen, the Prophet 5 was the keyboard of choice by a very long list of performers that includes Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass, Journey, The Cars, Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Pink Floyd, and countless others.
Image attribution: original uploader was Felix2036 at Dutch Wikipedia derivative work: Clusternote (Sequential_Circuits_Prophet_5.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Which brings us to 1977…
A Passion for Keyboards
Our founder, Uli Behringer has a deep passion for keyboards. Born in the small town of Baden, Switzerland in 1961, Uli grew up in a musical family where his mother taught him to play the piano at the tender age of four. His father was a scientist who built a massive organ in the family home and taught the young lad all about electronics. So at the age of 17, Behringer built his first synthesizer – the UB-1. Later, while attending college to seek a degree in audio engineering, Uli put his electronics knowledge to use, building his own equalizers and signal processors to fill the gap left by the university’s inability to provide enough proper studio gear. Word soon spread about how good his products were, and he began building gear for his friends – the BEHRINGER legacy had begun. The rest, as they say, is history…
Only produced from 1981 to 1984, the Roland TB-303 was a tremendous commercial flop as a replacement for the bass guitar, however it soon found its place as one of the most-loved synthesizers for what became known as Electronic Dance Music (EDM). An ultra-affordable and faithful homage to the iconic synthesizer that spawned house music, plus an all-new Distortion circuit, the TD-3-BU lets you conjure up virtually any sound with incredible finesse and ease. With its pure analog signal path, 16-step Sequencer and authentic VCO, VCF and VCA filters, the TD-3-BU is sure to become one of your favorite synthesizers.
Pure Analog Signal Path
Great care has been taken in engineering the TD-3-BU, including the true to the original VCO, VCF and VCA designs and pure analog circuitry with matched transistors. This highly-focused attention to detail is what gives TD-3-BU its ultra-flexible sound shaping capability, which covers everything from super-fat bass and lead tones to stunning effects – all the way out to the otherworldly sounds of your imagination.
Rock Right out-of-the Box!
Your TD-3-BU comes ready to rock, thanks to its default signal routing that doesn’t require lifting a single patch cable to instantly create amazing sounds. The highly-intuitive layout lets you easily tap into the inspired sounds of 1980s and ’90s progressive rock, wave, EDM and synth-pop music tracks that made rock and roll history – or to design incredibly fat and original sounds that will make you a legend in your own right!
The very heart of TD-3-BU’s sound is its versatile 24 dB/octave filter, which lets you freely experiment with the low-pass Cutoff frequency and Resonance settings to dial in the perfect sound.
TD-3-BU’s authentic Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) with transistor wave-shaping circuitry is ultra-easy to use and provides your choice of reverse-sawtooth or pulse waveforms for the ultimate in sound creation.
Onboard Sequencer & Arpeggiator
The onboard sequencer with 7 tracks allows you to program up to 16 steps of notes and rests and save them as a Pattern. You can record, save and recall up to 250 patterns, all of which can be stored in the 4 Groups. Your sequences can be played either in Keyboard mode, where you create and store the pattern, or Step mode which allows you to interact while composing a pattern. The onboard Arpeggiator features wide patterns you can build to provide a virtually-endless array of sound effects. Both the sequencer and arpeggiator in the TD-3-BU are fun, mesmerizing and totally addictive…
Kick it Into Distortion!
We saved one of the most exciting features for the last stage in the all-analog signal path – Distortion! When you want to add even more power to your performance, just flip the Distortion On/Off switch and dial in the perfect amount of Drive to push the “envelope” to the max. The crowd won’t know what hit ‘em!
16-Note Poly Chain Ready
While it is a monophonic instrument (one note at a time), TD-3-BU’s 16-note Poly Chain function lets you combine multiple synthesizers for up to 16-voice polyphony – plus provides vastly improved reliability and stability over its 1970s and ’80s predecessors.
Controls & Connectivity
We just can’t help ourselves – like you, we’re gear-heads, too. For those who want the numbers, TD-3-BU has 11 controls and 28 switches to give you direct and real-time access to all important parameters, all laid out in a highly-intuitive format that puts the joy back into your music creation. And you can expand TD-3-BU’s tone-sculpting capabilities beyond your wildest dreams by utilizing the multi-I/O patchbay to connect external devices!
Unleash Your Imagination
When it comes to not just pushing envelopes but creating them, TD-3-BU gives your imagination its voice – and it’s so very affordable. When modern performance calls for classic analog sound – it calls for the Behringer TD-3-BU!
Visit your dealer to experience the stunning TD-3-BU