The clone wars have broken out between Roland and Behringer. The fact that Behringer is currently cloning Roland’s vintage synth portfolio (SH-101, TR-808, TR-909…) is nothing sensational new. What is known: Roland has not yet officially released so far a statement about these clones. I talked on the Superbooth 2018 with the Roland stuff and their reaction was: not happy and not super angry about the upcoming Behringer releases.
As our colleagues from Sequencer.de and CDM report, there is now some action in the whole thing. Roland has filed in design trademarks for their products TR-808, TR-909, and TB-303. Last year, in the US for the 808/909 and now in Germany for the 808/303.
This application concentrates completely on the optical of the devices: layout, design, knobs, etc. What is internally installed, how it sounds, does not count here. Sure, all these instruments are world famous and are an integral part of the electronic music history. Although Behringer revives with the RD-808, RD-909, etc., the originals remain legends and the new releases are clones.
It is no wonder for me that this happens now. Roland has long been calling for hardware as well as software manufacturers to redesign their clones. Nice example here is the Cyclone BassBot TT-303, which looked like an official TB-303 and has recently received a completely different design.
That the procedure started directly after the NAMM 2019 is no coincidence. At the Pre-NAMM event, Behringer published more information and exhibited functioning units of the RD-808 and RD-909. So Roland reacted quickly in the last minute and tries to protect the iconic designs as much as possible. Even a TB-303 from Behringer is speculated in the past weeks, so it may be that Roland wanted to play it safe.
It will be interesting to see how the Clone Wars goes further between the two companies. Or we even see both companies in court in the future?
More information here: Roland