The low-cost Behringer TD-3 synthesizer looks like a lot of fun

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It’s true that Phuture started it all, but Charanjit Singh and his 303 did it first in 1982 with Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat. A great album!


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All that step-sequencing with multi-function buttons! Just like the original 303, it takes a long time to get the tricky triplet stuff programmed.


And, like all Behringer products, if you want one, go ahead, buy it, and enjoy it now because they sometimes do only one run, even of complicated products.


The OP-1 is nothing at all like a TB-303, except maybe in size.

Behringer is killing it with these clones, however. I have their Moog and it sounds fantastic. Build quality is decent, better than I expected. I would snap up the TD-3 if I didn’t already have two Cyclone TT-303s, might anyway they’re so cheap. Eagerly awaiting their Oberheim poly!

You should see all the “Behringer is great/Behringer is evil” arguments over at Gearslutz, it’s insane.


Programing interface is modeled on the original and is difficult but the USB interface and Behringer SynthTool app make it a lot easier. For the money it’s a win, especially if you wan to relive the dance sounds of the late 80’s to the early 90’s. Blast from the UK past Voodoo Ray.

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Should also add at $150 its close to the same price as a single cheap Eurorack VCO or other simple module.

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I’ve started down this treacherous path a couple of months ago and am yet to emerge again. I obviously need just one more synth to have the endgame setup I’ll never need to change again. And then another :wink:

The Korg Volcas might be worth a listen as well… And given the DIY proclivities around here – I personally couldn’t solder to save my life – Eurorack with DIY modules like the Open-Source Ornament & Crime (etc.) could also be a very cool project.

Good luck on this journey, Mark! It’s a rabbit hole that can swallow you, though. So be warned.


a Roland TB-303 is tough to program compared to something slightly less old like a Roland MC-505 or Yamaha RM1x. And something newer like a Korg Volca or Roland TB-3 is a breeze to program. Ultimately with practice you can do a lot with any of them, the price is right for the Behringer TD-3, if only I had the time to spend on it.


I just discoverd VCV Rack, so I’m good for now :smiley:


They are doing a Devilfish mod version soon that is probably worth waiting for, much to the chagrin of the Devilfish guy

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You are the only other person I’ve ever encountered who knows who Charanjit Singh is! (OK, actually, lots of people online do which is how I found out about him) but you know what I mean. I am just surprised to see someone bring it up in a random situation.

I watched something recently, however, that lead me to believe more people in the US and UK were using 303 “acid house style” much earlier than is (apparently?) commonly believed. I’m not old enough to have “been there,” but typically things I would read the last decade or so online made it sound like it was a commercial flop nobody was using: “a failed product concept that was intended to be a practice session partner for rock musicians” until it was picked up by acid house producers for cheap in the late 80s, and as the story goes Singh comes out with his album in India in the early 80s, using it in a way that would foreshadow acid house.

But the thing I was watching the other day was a bunch of british people who were musicians in the early to mid 80s, and they were like “nah people used it as soon as it came out to make electronic music” so now I am starting to have my doubts about these other versions of history. It is still cool though to see that the slide function has applications in musical styles that are unfamiliar to western culture. All the sliding stuff reminds me of Irish folk music on fiddle, except obviously Irish music doesn’t use microtonal notes and instead it is a form of ornamentation or a rhythmic device


As opposed to Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat. I wonder if the Pet Shop Boys had heard Singh’s album…

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it will probably fall apart relatively soon, maybe if you look at it too hard.

I tried some bits of their gear before and every time felt like I wasted the money. Not all that pleased with their copy machine business model and screw you attitude either but that isnt tangible like low build quality is.


I wish I knew exact details of their development process. Their (relative) success seems way outside my (limited) experience with China design.

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The sad thing for me is the tone of the product - if you listen to the Loopop video where he compares the four (wildy variable in terms of expense) machines there’s a notable lack of bass/character from the Behringer clone.

I’d hope that enterprising electronic engineers will figure out a quick capacitor upgrade or something to fill out the missing space, but side by side I’d much rather any of the other three devices in that video, on sound quality alone.

Maybe I’m just being a synth snob, as it is only $/£130.

I’m tempted, I must say, but I’ll wait for some people to mod it before I take the plunge I think.


Not sure about that part, jigs and reels don’t but vocal music does.

But everything else in your post sounds about right. I only heard the Charanjit Singh record a few years ago but yes, or course, people were using squelchy filter resonance through a bit of distortion and delay long before the Phuture record. But that record did foreground it in a way that I don’t think was that common and relentless in such a minimal context until then.

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That looks fun. I will give it a spin.

What was with Roland??! They created a couple of devices whose broken, shitty yet – ultimately – entirely cool sound basically revolutionized music, creating entire vast taxonomies of music genres.

Tadao Kikumoto is a genius.