Uli Behringer has just published the first pictures of the UB-Xa analog Synthesizer prototype.
UB-Xa is coming alive! Today we’ve started to build the very first prototype – what an amazing moment. Over the next few days we will assemble the complete unit and of course share pics with you. Isn’t it a beautiful synth? Uli
News From 02.01.2019
Here’s another exciting UB-Xa update. We have now completed the entire hardware design, which includes all PCB’s and mechanical aspects. The next step is to build our first working prototype and we hope to show a physical sample in around a month time.
Please bear in mind that we’re now starting the most time consuming part, which is the firmware development, which will take considerable amount of time. While we’ll be able to reuse some of the DeepMind firmware, most will be new as we’re moving to a high-performance ARM processor platform. This is especially useful as it allows for us to design upcoming synth in a very efficient manner.
This synth is the real deal:-) Happy New Year everyone. Uli
News From 20/12/2018
Uli Behringer has shared today the finished circuit board layout including 4,000 mainly discrete components, 16 x 3340 VCO’s and 16 x 3320 VCF’s, several ARM processors and I/O’s – all on a highly dense 6-layer PCB.
Here Is What Uli Behringer Has Written In The Gearslutz Forum
We making good progress with our UB-Xa synth which is modeled after the Oberheim OB-Xa.
We’ve now finished the PCB layout of UB-Xa main board which was a major challenge due to the immense complexity of this synth. From the attached board layout you can see that we have managed to place and route close to 4,000 mainly discrete components, 16 x 3340 VCO’s and 16 x 3320 VCF’s, several ARM processors and I/O’s – all on a highly dense 6-layer PCB. People familiar with electronics, know that laying out mixed architecture boards (analog and digital circuitry) is a true skill.
Compared to the original design you can now witness how technology has massively evolved over the past 40 years, both in component size, board density and CPU processing power. Just compare the large digital section of the original design and how it has now shrunk to a few high-power components. However it is also remarkable that many of the historical components such as TL064/74 quad opamps are still available and quite popular.
We hope to be able to assemble our first prototype in a couple of months and we’ll be showing you pictures when we’re ready. Please bear in mind that we haven’t started with the firmware development yet which is the majority of the work. This will take much of 2019 to complete. This synth is one of my all-time favorite synths and I can’t wait to play the first chord 🙂
P.S. As you can see from the board, we’ve retained the original Voice Panning trimmers.
I like to give you an update on the UB-Xa development. When I announced the project some time ago, I mentioned that it would take at least a year as it is a “labor of love” and our Midas engineer would do this as a side project since their main priorities are with digital mixing consoles.
Because of their high workload, the development of the UB-Xa had unfortunately stalled for quite some time. Good news is that the team is working on it again and we have just finished all schematics and the mechanical design while the team is now focusing on the board layout and firmware. This is a major job and don’t expect anything soon, however we are confident that we will deliver this project as promised and hopefully at a price which will make everyone happy.
In order to maintain the integrity of the original sound design, we’ve been using 3340 and 3320 VCO’s and VCF’s but replaced the outdated digital section with very powerful Arm Processors.
Thanks for your patience.
News From February 2018
Uli Behringer published today on Gearslutz new renders of the upcoming UB-Xa Synthesizer. He also ask the community if they prefer a keyboard or desktop version of the Tom Oberheim analog polyphonic synth.
Allow me to provide you with a quick update. Aside from the earlier desktop version, many of you requested for a keyboard version of the UB-Xa synth and hence we thought we’d share some designs with you. We have asked our engineers to render a 5-octave keyboard version and use this opportunity to show you some of the insights how such a product is developed
It all starts with the industrial design as well as definition and placement of all functional controls. Once this is completed, the next step is to transfer the “dxf” file which contain the component coordinates plus the artwork for the silk screen printing to the mechanical engineers. Their job is now to translate the artwork into a fully functional design. In general this works quite smoothly but there are instances where mechanical conflicts arise and artwork changes are required. This collaboration between industrial designers as well as mechanical and system engineers gets more complicated whenever electrical or mechanical constraints come into play.
Over many decades our engineering teams have created a massive component library of close to 100,000 components which have been designed in a photo- and dimension-realistic manner.
This means that any product that is designed based on components from the library will automatically look and feel real, which helps us not only to shorten the design and review process but also skip all photography. As a result any changes can be done almost in real-time and there is no need for traditional photography anymore which is a huge time and cost saver. All our product images on our websites are renderings.
Today I am asking for your feedback in relation to the current design. Do you prefer a keyboard over a desktop version and if yes would you vote for a 4 or 5 octave version. Please remember that the actual features have not yet been decided as we’re still gathering valuable input.
Thanks for your feedback.
News From January 2018
After we now know that the Roland Vocoder clone comes on the market, Uli Behringer announced the next big synth. On Gearslutz, he has announced the UB-Xa, an analog clone of the legendary Oberheim OB-Xa Synthesizer. Another user has published two pictures but I can not tell if they are correct or not. It is certain, Behringer brings the OB-Xa back on the market and probably at a very affordable price.
Here is what Uli Behringer wrote on Gearslutz
As many of you know, synths have been my passion for the past 40 years. Sometime ago I have set the goal for Behringer to bring back some of the loved analog synth jewels from the past. Please allow me to share some thoughts with you and apologies if this is a longer thread.
Does this make any commercial sense?
Every company has to earn money in order to survive, and so do we. However, since we are privately owned, we don’t really care about the next quarter’s result or “shareholder value” since it is our philosophy to reinvest everything we earn.
This gives us the tremendous freedom to work on projects that can only be described as “labor of love” as they might not yield any financial gains. This is why we embark on these synth projects; some of them might not sell in high quantities and frankly to us it doesn’t really matter.
Many of our competitors spend all of their effort on marketing to make you believe in analog synth emulation simply because it’s much easier and cheaper to assemble a DSP chip on a PCB board rather than building products with thousands of analog components and deal with the manufacturing complexity plus expensive manual calibration processes. However we at Behringer and Midas believe in the passion to revive these analog jewels and the fun these projects create for our team – which to us is worth everything.
What is the UB-Xa synthesizer?
Over the past years we have done a lot of research both on forums but also through interviews with professional musicians in order to understand what the most sought after synths and drum machines are, but also what people feel the sound signatures of these synths are and why people feel so strongly about them.
When it comes to poly-synths the overwhelming request is a rebirth of the Oberheim OB-Xa.
Today I officially announce that we have decided that we will develop and produce an authentic OB-Xa clone which we call the UB-Xa. As you can imagine, this is a very complex and time-consuming project and at this stage we won’t be able to tell you when the instrument will be available in the market or what it will cost.
Since this is more a labor of love than a commercially viable project, our engineers can’t work fulltime on this synth and will use some of their free time, hence the project will likely take more than 12 months.
Most importantly, our goal is to make it an absolute authentic sounding instrument and offer it at a truly affordable price – but you know this already.
Because of its high complexity, we have assigned this project to our most experienced team which is the Midas team in Manchester, UK. These synth nuts and super-smart engineers – under the leadership of Pete and Rob – were also the ones who developed the successful DeepMind12.
So what’s next?
In around one week from now, Pete and Rob will post our first video and share some thoughts with you. Our intention is to not only post videos on a regular basis but also write articles and publish them on our social media pages so you can follow this project.
Now that we have decided on the project, next is the discussion around the basic concept, the feature set and also the building blocks including potential component choices. In the near future we will be able to show you the first “bread boards” of the sound engine and hopefully let you hear some sound samples.
Next will be PCB and mechanical designs, followed by hand- and tool made samples. And then of course we will be sharing the exciting mass production where we will be showing the production setup and testing plus quality control processes. And if you’re not yet bored by then, we can also show you the packaging and shipping process.
The team in Manchester and I are very excited about this project and we hope that many of you will chime in and participate. And one more thing – once we’re nearing shipping, we will be raffling off some free units among you as a token of appreciation.
May the fun begin☺
More informations here: Gearslutz
Let me know your comment below!