Behringer SWING Is A Knockoff Of The Arturia Keystep MIDI & CV Sequencer

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With the SWING, Behringer has shown its answer to the Arturia Keystep, only in black and other knobs, it’s nothing more than a knockoff.

Behringer is currently one of the most active Synthesizer manufacturers. They are successful with cloning vintage Synthesizers in an affordable way. I think that’s good and I support it even if only to a certain degree. This is exceeded when it comes to current products that have nothing to do with the mission of resurrecting legendary synths from the past. Behringer did not invent vintage circuit cloning, many other even Boutique manufacturers do it

Musictribe, especially B likes to make all-round attacks against media and their work. But this did not stop us from busy reporting about their various clones. Yes, it sounds strange. But, on the one side, my readers are still interested in this topic, on the other the clones really sound great in my opinion. I try to approach the issues as objectively as possible, including those that polarize. But Behringer has once again shot the bird in terms of product releases.

Behringer Swing

Behringer SWING

Arturia has released the Keystep as an exclusive Black Friday edition. NO, it’s Behringer who blindly copied the entire design and functionalities of the Arturia Keystep without respect for the original designers (Arturia, Axel Hartmann…). It’s a blatant 1-to-1 copy without any innovations. The functions are identical: 64-step sequencer, chord mode, arpeggiator…

Not only that was adopted, but also the layout. Behringer made it black, gave it a few color changes, and some Moog-ish knobs. The SWING reminds me of the countless Louis Vuitton, iPhone, Samsung … fakes that you can buy dirt cheaply in China. Just with the big difference: Behringer presented it as big own product development and sells the SWING officially through dealers.

Behringer Swing Keystep

Feature List

  • 32 compact-sized keys featuring expressive velocity and after-touch functionality
  • 64-step sequencer features 8-note polyphonic sequence with Rest, Tie, and Legato note entry
  • Arpeggiator mode features, up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up and double down modes
  • Chord Play Mode with single chord memory with up to 16 notes for extensive loops and long-playing samples
  • Highly-reactive pitch and modulation touch-strips for extreme performance and creativity
  • Performance control includes Rec, Play, and Stop buttons for the sequencer and arpeggiator
  • Rate and Tap Tempo for real-time beat settings
  • Endless sustain via hold button or through an optional sustain pedal (not included)
  • shift function includes MIDI channel selection, gate time, swing values
  • Connect with MIDI, CV/Gate, DIN Sync, and Sync I/O for ultimate control and flexibility
  • Comprehensive USB/MIDI implementation to connect with your PC/Laptop
  • Can be powered by Apple iPad* (via camera connection kit) or standalone DC Jack (not included)

Why

I tolerate the vintage synthesizer clones from Behringer. Because many of them have not been built for a long time, often from companies that can only be found in the history books today or simply as they are traded via extraordinary prices on the second-hand market. What Uli and his team did here is a no go. I love talking to developers and about their new products. It’s about new ideas and innovations on how they can bring further the world of electronic music instruments.

The SWING is a bold copy, similar to the IK Multimedia iRig clones I reported on. Why Behringer, just why? Uli, you have the power, an own factory in China, and a huge number of talented employees. Why don’t you take the knowledge and develop new products from scratch? It’s just a shame that you dare to sell the Swing as a new and own product. Furthermore, Behringer asks $ 99/89 € for his Keystep knockoff, which is currently 10 € less than the original. Consequently, is it really a knockoff? It’s not really cheap at all but it feels cheap. So it’s not only shameless but also pointless.

Objectivity Vs Reality

Sorry Synth Anatomy readers, I try to be as objective as possible about products. It doesn’t work here. The SWING is not a new product. Arturia is the right owner and please do not support this product. Support the original developers, Arturia, and designers Design Box operated by Axel Hartmann. We learn one thing from this: Behringer copies without hesitation. The cliché “In China is all just stolen” unfortunately applies to that. A pity! And yes Behringer contacted me to test the MonoPoly, I think I can forget that now.

More information here: Behringer

Audio & MIDI News

38 Comments

  1. It’s so disappointing to see this from Behringer. A cheap MIDI controller is probably the easiest thing they could have designed by themselves, but instead they rip off the Keystep like this. They are mocking Arturia, saying ‘we will steal from you and we don’t care’. I cannot support this. I will buy their competitor’s products instead.

  2. Jesus Christ. Between stuff like this and the deranged attacks on CDM‘s Peter Kirn i feel like they want people to hate them. Maybe they want everyone who cares and writes about these things to just boycott them, so they can push their 1000s of units to the average Thomann costumer in peace. But they keep making massively appealing hardware like a moog 914 clone so people keep sticking around and they have to ratchet up the bad behaviour.

  3. Have you thought that maybe they’ve both maybe purchased the same mould or something random like that?
    It’s not uncommon for 2 brands to have equipment identical but with different names.

    From a consumer point of view, I couldn’t give a toss if Behringer has ripped them off or not. Today, it’s all about what you can get for your money.
    If I can buy a this at a cheaper price and have the same features I’m going for the Behringer.
    I highly doubt Behringer would rip them off just for laughs without the prospect of a law suit.
    Additionally…..surely you have seen the amount of Midi controllers released over the years that look like another controller!?

  4. From my experience, working in China.
    This was not Uli or Behringer’s idea.

    This is from the factory in China that makes the Keystep for Arturia.

    They are using the molds and electronics from Arturia and rebranding them for Behringer at a lower price point than Arturia. The next step will a be a no name knockoff sold out the back of the factory made with cheaper electronics that will be followed by another that looks exactly the same but has none of the features, everything but the midi keyboard will no longer be on the inside and it will sell on Wish For 29.99

    This is the Chinese way

    • ok, and how did this end up in an official Behringer video and product store? If not their idea? wishful thinking I’m afraid.

    • The mold is different, it looks like they made it themselves. I hiiighly doubt that Arturia’s contract manufacturer in china sold it to Behringer.

    • This couldn’t be another thing than a Behringer idea. MIDIPLUS is the factory behind Arturia’s products and I can’t see how they would lose a client like Arturia doing something like this.

    • Arturia has really nothing to do with that (according to german sales team), it’s also not coming from the same factory or anything like that.
      Afaik there are no legal issues regarding the design (as of 2020), but internals are probaply cloned so this is pretty crazy.

      • IIRC Arturia’s MCC uses sysex for communication, so it would indeed be interesting to see if the Swing would respond and if it shows the same manufacturer ID. Maybe it won’t, but interesting nonetheless.
        If you look at the placement of the knobs, seq/arp switch, buttons, Ins/Outs and DIP switches on the back – they seem to be identical which could very well imply they’ve just copied the whole thing including internals. And that’d be nuts.

  5. I can only agree with the opinion expressed here. This is plainly wrong.
    The market may want an additional small keyboard like the Keystep. It would have been competition if this “new” product from B had some unique features which don’t exist in the Arturia Keystep. We would all have been happy (maybe not Arturia, but that’s what competition is all about).
    Now, I don’t think full boycott is the right approach. First, whatever we say, B does not need anyone of us to sell their gear. That’s the demonstration of their power, and we all have to accept it. That’s the way it is. Whatever we do, we will not stop them from doing such things. Now it’s up to everyone to judge if this is right or wrong. But at the end of the day, boycott is a bullet in the foot. Nobody will care. Maybe you will feel better, but it will not ultimately serve you.
    Readers, viewers and musicians all over the world will be considering these products anyway, even for a 10€ difference, and a large majority of them will not care about intellectual property, or your conscience 🙂
    I think it would be a shame not to look at the Bonopoly, this machine is a revival, it sounds great, I’d be myself happy to hear your opinion about it, I would also like to get it for a test, and so would your readers I think. Even if I am myself a KORG Fan, with a relationship with Korg, there is no Monopoly revival in the making on their side (to my knowledge at least) so I am really excited by the B clone. So am I about the 2600 which will be the only version I can actually afford.
    Therefore, my advice would be to express concerns about this product in particular, the Swing, just like you did, explaining that you don’t see any added value talking about it. But nothing obliges you to stop covering B products, and nothing obliges you to cover ALL of their products either. You have the right to choose I think. That’s what I think I will do on my side.
    Wishing you good luck with this article, and the flames from hell that will be thrown at you from who you know (because that’s unfortunately their way…)

  6. The same as with the Crave (Moog Mother-32).

    Hopefully they have at least licensed it from Arturia, if Arturia is the original developer. If not Arturia will certainly sue them for that.

    If they only did make it with fullsize keys and maybe 4 or 5 octaves…
    Oh, and with polyphonic CV outs, let’s say 4 or more CV/gate pairs.

  7. I understand the uproar to a certain degree, however, I don’t understand why everyone holds Behringer to a higher standard than any other electronics company. For example, there are THOUSANDS of DVD/Blu-ray players, TVs, etc. from hundreds of companies as well as computer programs using older versions of patented technology. The key concept here is OLDER versions. In many cases, companies aren’t even able to patent their products because they are too similar to previous ones. Is the Keystep’s technology really that “original” or is it just aesthetically superior to its counterparts?

    I agree that Behringer didn’t make much effort to hide the “copying” of Arturia’s product BUT, I assume Arturia will be discontinuing the production of the original Keystep in order to promote and sell their new/better version, the Keystep 37. That means that there will be a price void below $170 for similar products. Granted, you can always buy a Keystep used, but some of us prefer new equipment and soon, that will not be an option for the original Keystep.

    Bottom line: Behringer dropped the ball on the design as it is far TOO SIMILAR to the Keystep and they are naive if they didn’t expect a backlash. That being said, they are cloning and marketing a product that (will be) unavailable and will RARELY, if ever, be sold on the same shelves as an original Keystep. Behringer is not taking ANYTHING away from Arturia and anyone who does their research will likely opt to buy the slightly superior Keystep 37 or the VASTLY superior Keystep Pro. And those who do not probably can’t afford to, so we shouldn’t begrudge them the chance to buy a cheaper version from Behringer.

    I have a Keystep and I plan on eventually buying a Keystep Pro. I will also probably buy a SWING because I’m curious and it would be nice to have a dedicated keyboard for my home PC. Haven’t any of you ever bought an “off brand” DVD player for the guest room or bedroom? That Android phone is NOTHING like an IPHONE is it? Show me a cell phone that isn’t a copy of another. There’s always the innovator and then the copycat. If Behringer is infringing on any patents, etc., Arturia will sue them (if it’s even worth it) In the end, neither company is hurt and the consumer wins. Live and let live.

  8. This is for the customer dude. There’s a copy everywhere nowadays. Just be thankful there’s competition and affordable products especially on synths, etc. Don’t matter if that’s clone we could care less as a customer. Don’t be like others that have crab mentality…

  9. Tom, I’m 100% behind with the statements you made here. I congratulate you on being bold enough to express this concern, and the many reactions show you are absolutely not alone with this point of view.
    Uli, I sincerely hope this is just a bad joke, because if it isn’t, you shame the trust of your customers and the brand Behringer risks being severely damaged. If I can’t be proud anymore of owning my Neutron, Model D or Pro-1, I won’t be buying other products such as the BARP 2600 or X32 and source elsewhere and differently. There is choice on the synth and mixer markets nowadays.

  10. >> Support the original developers.
    Bold move, congrats!

    Funnily enough, 2 minutes ago i was reading ask.audio’s post about this (not even mentioning the knock-off) and removed ask.audio from my bookmarks.

  11. Statements from Arturia and Axel Hartmann (Design Box) are out. Not sure if I can simply post them here, but should not be hard to find them 😉

  12. Uli reminds me of Trump, argues that black is white, everyone else is the bad guy and that he is doing nothing wrong. Both these guys are very smart, despite controversy we enjoy reading about them and feeding their egos. The cure is to not take the bait, treat them as normal, acknowledge releases and compare to the “tribute” they are making objectively rather than applauding frankly very average products. I think people are surprised Behringer managed to produce a synth and are more impressed that they could do it rather than the product being really any good. I’ve tried a few at Superbooth, they were ok but obviously much cheaper and were good enough. Didn’t come close to wow though!

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