First impressions of the Behringer 2600

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
KVRAF
5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Tue May 11, 2021 9:17 pm

Got it a few days ago, but only had a chance to really try it out today. I only spent around 3 hours with it, so very limited first twiddle.

1. The most un-intuitive synth I ever had the misfortune to play without having some kind of manual. There is a manual but it really is basic. This is not Behringer's doing, obviously it's how the ARP was designed. First got it out of the box and TBH didn't have a f**king scooby how to get it to play. :evil:
I think it took me an hour and a half to get it playing on a keyboard or via midi. It was reasonably obvious how to get the CVs to be controlled by keyboard, but for at least an hour it gave me a constant trigger - weird.
Finally figured out I had the mixer outputs both up - there's one for VCF and VCA - and if you have the VCF up, it gives a constant note (even if you have the ADSR on the filter with no release - it still sounds constantly) - I just don't get why it does that? Possibly some modular people can enlighten me?
So, anyway - took a lot of self restraint not to twat the bloody thing with something heavy.

And points to Sweetwater - found an online eejit guide to basic set up - very useful. It sort of made sense once I'd set up a basic patch, but it still is one weird synth. Some of the sliders - not sure if they even relate to the patch points and the labels under them.

2. Envelopes - not its greatest feature. With attack on 0 it clicks quite a lot. Might be able to sort that out with other settings, but not great. So to stop the clicking even a little attack is pretty slow compared to most other synths. Haven't tried it out yet, but I'd imagine not good for percussion. Maybe the ADSR is better than the AR filter - dunno yet. But having been caught out with the non-stop trigger with VCF audio output controlled by ADSR - not sure the ADSR will work for VCA properly. :?

3. Filter. It's an odd one but I like it. Initially sounded a bit vanilla. TBH I'm not sure I figured out its character yet. It seems to have a very small range at any kind of resonance, but once you figure out to sweep the osc frequencies, the filter picks up again, and it often sounded quite different at higher and lower frequencies. There were some occasions it sounded like a different filter when you play mids and basses. And it self-oscillates beyond useful, so it has grunt for sure.

4. Filter types. Not sure I could hear any difference at all. I need to play a lot more to be sure - but initially - nada.

5. Oscillators. Well, as I mentioned, it's a f**king fruitcake to program. I still haven't figured out how to even choose between the different waveforms - it seems like you have to patch just to dial them up - thought it was supposed to be semi-modular? On almost every other synth I ever had, you just dialled up either with knob or slider - a simple choice of sine, saw, pulse, PWM etc. The sliders all seem to be for frequency control, not wave choice. Bizarre. Some old synths were quirky, e.g. Korgs call their filters differently to everyone else, but my first MS10 and MS20 didn't take long to figure out at all. I'm sure I will figure it out, but for the life of me I can't find the VCOs. Was looking forward to all kinds of modular routings on PWMs, but I can't even dial up a PWM to start with...I heard it doing some PWM stuff and it sounded great, but no idea how I did it :bang:

6. Build quality. Despite the usual Behringer trolls, who seem to have set ideas about Behringer - it feels solid. Better quality than many other synths I've had. Solid metal case, the sliders don't wobble, and they're smooth. Very impressed with how it feels. Built like a tank.

7. Gizmos. It lights up like a christmas tree. So loads of points for that, even though I can't work the f**king thing. :clown:

8. Features. Looking closely at it - lots of potential. The ring mod is small but cos of the patching, should be able to do weirdness. Some sections I have no idea about, but they look like real modular CV control for esoteric patching - inverters, multipliers etc.

9. Midi'd it up on some housey kind of bouncy track I have going, just for easy. Prolly not the type of thing a 2600 should be used for and...not that great really. I could use it for acid lines for sure, and all kinds of bleeps and boings, but I think it prolly shines more at weirdness, long developing sounds, sound FX and S&H sequenced kind of stuff. I suspect I'll use it more for when I do dub or ambient rather than more dancey stuff. We shall see.

Anyway - f**king frustrating. Don't regret buying it at all, cos I know it'll get easier, but much more of a bastard to program than I thought it would be. :scared:

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GRRRRRRR!
11533 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Tue May 11, 2021 11:14 pm

That thing looks absolutely amazing...

... but no, thanks. I have no real complaints with Behringer, except that a mixer I bought from them with a built-in USB I/O only worked with ASIO-4-all. i.e. They never bothered with their own drivers. The hardware itself has always seemed very good to me. In fact, I just picked up their 16 channel line mixer this week.
NOVAkILL : Dell G7 Core i7, 32GB RAM, Win10, Zoom U24 | Studio One | JP6K, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, ARP Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Knifonium, Thorn, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova, Rocket.

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KVRian
1355 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Tue May 11, 2021 11:30 pm

Did you ggl "arp 2600 manual pdf"? You'll find lots of stuff there. Try also "arp 2600 patch book pdf."

KVRAF
7547 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Wed May 12, 2021 12:08 am

I assume you got the standard version? I'm thinking about getting the Blue Marvin, but Sweetwater doesn't have it available right now.

I haven't used one yet, so this is just a guess, but I think I understand the VCF problem you were having. The normal signal flow is OSC > VCF > VCA. So if you turn up the VCA in the mixer, you're hearing the signal after it goes through the amplifier, controlled by the envelope. If instead you turn up the VCF at the mixer, you're hearing the oscillator through the filter but before the amplitude is controlled by the VCA. Therefore, it's going to be a constant sustaining tone. Obviously you could patch things in a different way so that makes more sense.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

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KVRian
1147 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Wed May 12, 2021 12:14 am

Did you tried... to read the manual? ;)
If I'm not mistaken, B2600 is 99% same as Arp so:
https://www.korg.com/us/support/download/product/0/842/

Also watch Starsky Carr videos. He did about 8 extensive videos about B2600 - very informative.

From your review I got a feeling that you didn't do much research before you bought it? Because 2600 is 2600 - specific, different, quirky and requires patience. Even Odyssey makes people confused :) So 2600 even more.

I actually like this different approach - different workflow, different experience and musical outcome :)

Worry not, soon you'll master this beast :)
Beware! The software discussed in this topic has unacceptable aliasing at -386dBTP but it can be fixed by changing the sample rate to 12Bit

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KVRAF
11409 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Post Wed May 12, 2021 7:29 am

The sliders below each oscillator section correspond with the CV inputs for that oscillator. On the Behringer version I think each oscillator has 3 CV inputs and one pulse width input (on the Arp, only Osc2 has PWM). The sliders below the filter section represent an audio mixer on the left and a CV mixer on the right. The inputs of the filter's audio mixer are normalled (prepatched) to the the ringmod, one output for each oscillator and noise. For the first and second oscillators, the pulse/square output is normalled, if you want to use the saw output from Oscs 1 and 2, you will need to patch those outputs to mixer inputs.

I would also recommend starting from here Arp 2600 patch book. It's laid out differently but the components are the same.

I don't know about the Behringer version, but on my 2600 the envelopes have quite a range of useful settings and since the VCA has linear and exponential inputs, it's easy to dial in the envelope response I want.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Wed May 12, 2021 3:53 pm

excuse me please wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 11:30 pm
Did you ggl "arp 2600 manual pdf"? You'll find lots of stuff there. Try also "arp 2600 patch book pdf."
No, but I've got time today and I might have a search. There is a manual of sorts that comes with it, but TBH it's pretty basic and not that useful. Just tells you what the labels on the actual synth say. :roll: Y'know - "this is the plug", "this is a hole you put a cable into - there are many of them", "don't let your kid stick his fingers inside the thing that says high voltage" kind of thing.

I liked the Sweetwater eejit guide. It's so different to any other synths I've ever had that I think I will have a serious look for some eejit guides - I certainly feel like an eejit trying to use it. I'm sure once I get to know it, it will make more sense.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Wed May 12, 2021 3:58 pm

deastman wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 12:08 am
I assume you got the standard version? I'm thinking about getting the Blue Marvin, but Sweetwater doesn't have it available right now.

I haven't used one yet, so this is just a guess, but I think I understand the VCF problem you were having. The normal signal flow is OSC > VCF > VCA. So if you turn up the VCA in the mixer, you're hearing the signal after it goes through the amplifier, controlled by the envelope. If instead you turn up the VCF at the mixer, you're hearing the oscillator through the filter but before the amplitude is controlled by the VCA. Therefore, it's going to be a constant sustaining tone. Obviously you could patch things in a different way so that makes more sense.
Now that makes some sense. Thanks. Yeah - repatching it to something more akin to normal might be easier for me at the start. Not sure what use there is having a mixer output for the VCF? Seems weird to me. Certainly it ripped my knickers...into several pieces. :hihi:

As for the blue/grey meanies - I did some reading up. Sounds like they made obvious sonic improvements with some of their chips, but the originals were very unreliable. I'd imagine Behringer would have improved the reliability of the chips, but- they may just have copied, in which case have the same unreliabilities? I very nearly ordered a special, but for a few hundred extra didn't think it worthwhile (think it was NZ$300 - I can get a Wasp for that). You get a real spring verb - but for me that's unimportant - I'm unlikely to use the onboard verb at all anyway. Useful live maybe, but you'd have to have testicles of steel to take something like that out live... :scared:

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Wed May 12, 2021 4:10 pm

pixel85 wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 12:14 am
Did you tried... to read the manual? ;)
If I'm not mistaken, B2600 is 99% same as Arp so:
https://www.korg.com/us/support/download/product/0/842/

Also watch Starsky Carr videos. He did about 8 extensive videos about B2600 - very informative.

From your review I got a feeling that you didn't do much research before you bought it? Because 2600 is 2600 - specific, different, quirky and requires patience. Even Odyssey makes people confused :) So 2600 even more.

I actually like this different approach - different workflow, different experience and musical outcome :)

Worry not, soon you'll master this beast :)
I didn't do any research whatsoever...well, not much. :hihi:
Just wanted a 2600. They should put warnings on them like puppies - "ARP 2600s are not just for Christmas" - that kind of thing.
I'm almost looking forward to the challenge learning about them. Strangely the Odyssey didn't confound me too much - dunno why cos it's obviously related to the 2600. But yeah...I'll get there, just need to take time with it. And thanks for the Korg link - I should have thought of that... :dog:

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Wed May 12, 2021 4:16 pm

justin3am wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 7:29 am
The sliders below each oscillator section correspond with the CV inputs for that oscillator. On the Behringer version I think each oscillator has 3 CV inputs and one pulse width input (on the Arp, only Osc2 has PWM). The sliders below the filter section represent an audio mixer on the left and a CV mixer on the right. The inputs of the filter's audio mixer are normalled (prepatched) to the the ringmod, one output for each oscillator and noise. For the first and second oscillators, the pulse/square output is normalled, if you want to use the saw output from Oscs 1 and 2, you will need to patch those outputs to mixer inputs.

I would also recommend starting from here Arp 2600 patch book. It's laid out differently but the components are the same.

I don't know about the Behringer version, but on my 2600 the envelopes have quite a range of useful settings and since the VCA has linear and exponential inputs, it's easy to dial in the envelope response I want.
Thanks. That there is gold. Behringer could have written that in their manual, now really, couldn't they? Even in German, I might have figured it out - they need to throw eejits like me a bone at least... :clown:

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GRRRRRRR!
11533 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed May 12, 2021 5:48 pm

They couldn't possibly have foreseen Kiwis, could they?
NOVAkILL : Dell G7 Core i7, 32GB RAM, Win10, Zoom U24 | Studio One | JP6K, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, ARP Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Knifonium, Thorn, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova, Rocket.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Wed May 12, 2021 6:06 pm

Yeah well I'm a pom. So not sure if that's an insult to poms or kiwis? Maybe I was smarter before I came down under... :ud:

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GRRRRRRR!
11533 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed May 12, 2021 6:56 pm

Almost certainly. Stupid is definitely contagious.
NOVAkILL : Dell G7 Core i7, 32GB RAM, Win10, Zoom U24 | Studio One | JP6K, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, ARP Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Knifonium, Thorn, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova, Rocket.

KVRAF
7547 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Wed May 12, 2021 9:26 pm

kritikon wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 3:58 pm
As for the blue/grey meanies - I did some reading up. Sounds like they made obvious sonic improvements with some of their chips, but the originals were very unreliable. I'd imagine Behringer would have improved the reliability of the chips, but- they may just have copied, in which case have the same unreliabilities? I very nearly ordered a special, but for a few hundred extra didn't think it worthwhile (think it was NZ$300 - I can get a Wasp for that). You get a real spring verb - but for me that's unimportant - I'm unlikely to use the onboard verb at all anyway. Useful live maybe, but you'd have to have testicles of steel to take something like that out live... :scared:
I've listened to the comparisons between the standard and special versions. The differences are pretty subtle. And I already have a bunch of spring reverbs, so I don't particularly need another one. But in the USA the cost difference is only $100, so I figure I might as well get the blue or grey. Just don't know how long that will take...
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5321 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Thu May 13, 2021 3:30 am

Here, they reckoned it would be the same time for a standard or coloured special - they might just have been BSing though...and when I picked mine up, I noticed they didn't actually have a coloured one on delivery. They might not have ordered one though - think they only ordered 3 in. This type of synth is not exactly a crowd puller in NZ - if it doesn't have 6 strings on it, or you can hit it with a stick, most punters aren't interested. I've had a quick search for a new patchbay - can't find a decent one anywhere in NZ so far, yet you can buy guitar strings made out of sheep intestines, pukeko tongues and possum fur... :?

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