MATRIXSYNTH: Oops They Did it Again - Behringer Introduces the Swing USB MIDI Controller Keyboard

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Oops They Did it Again - Behringer Introduces the Swing USB MIDI Controller Keyboard

Update: see Arturia's & interface designer Axel Hartman's response further below.

Look familiar?

"32-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard with 64 Step Polyphonic Sequencing, Chord and Arpeggiator Modes

The Behringer SWING gives you full control over any synthesizer or virtual instrument in your DAW via USB or MIDI. Featuring a 64-step sequencer with an 8-note polyphonic sequence combined with 32 compact-sized keys and pitch and modulation touch-strips provide unlimited ways to express yourself in a compact and portable package.

The SWING’s 32-compact-sized keys create a perfect balance between size and playability. The keys give you the ability to create more nuanced and colorful passages with velocity and after-touch functionality. Use the Pitch and Modulation touch-strips to add even more character to your music. Chord Play Mode allows you to play a chord with up to 16 notes with one single key for some really enchanting Trance music. The SWING also features a 64-step polyphonic sequencer so you can create any progression imaginable and even play over it. Switch to Arpeggiator mode and create an amazing string of notes that can sync to the clock of any device the SWING is connected to.

The Mode knob on the SWING can select up to 8 saved programs in Sequencer mode, while in Arpeggiator mode, you can select different playing orders such as up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up and double down modes. Select from 8 different time signatures with the Scale knob and adjust the tempo with the Tempo knob or the Tap button. Press the Record button to start recording a sequence. This also doubles as an Append button when holding down Shift. Use this along with the Stop/Clear Last button and you can edit your sequences and arpeggios on the fly.

Update: And a response from Arturia followed by Axel Hartman who designed the physical look of the Keystep:


"Hello everyone,

We have been informed on Sunday November the 22nd of the upcoming release of a new product called Swing, by Behringer. This product is in no way the result of a partnership between Arturia and Behringer.

We have worked hard to create the _Step range. We have invested time and money to imagine, specify, develop, test and market the KeyStep. Along our distributors we have been evangelizing this product, placing it in stores, explaining it, servicing it.

Of course we accept competition, and would absolutely understand that Berhinger give their own interpretation of a small and smart controller that would also be a sequencer. Others do, we have no problem with that and see good for the customer, as well as for the industry, in fair competition.

But this is not fair competition here.

Coco Chanel once said: “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied”. So we could in a way consider the Swing as a compliment.

We could.

In any case, thank you, everyone who came out and supported us these past 36 hours! It's been very helpful, very much appreciated.

Frédéric Brun
Co-founder and CEO, Arturia"

Axel Hartman:

"I do feel the need to comment on the many postings I can find here @ Facebook in several places regarding my thoughts, feelings, but also the truth about the blunt Behringer copy of the Arturia key step.

Arturia and myself, aka my company design box are designing instruments, synthesizers, controllers, interfaces since many years. As industrial designer, I contribute mostly my services on the asthetical side of a product. This is true for almost all hardware products that you know from Arturia. In all cases, Arturia is buying my services - I never licensed any of the designs. Arturia always pays, and naturally owns the output of my work, that - by the way - is alway the result of an in-depth cooperation with their internal team of specialists.

Arturia and myself are working together since many years, and we share the deep desire of designing innovative products. I could never share any of the designs, that came out of that cooperation with any body else, legally not, and not from my personal high attitude in that regards. So anything, pointing in that direction is simply fake information. Neither the company Behringer, nor Uli himself have ever approached me with a request like that. And I would also never ever do something like that - I can not license anything that is not in my possession.

Personally, I feel sad, and am also upset about that sheer copy of a design, that I once created for, and together with Arturia, the team around Frederic Brun. These people have spent lots of efforts and great energy in building a brand and all that belongs to a brands assets. It is simply not right, somebody else is taking advantage of that hard work (which is not only true for Arturia, but for all great brands, that must see their most successful products being copied) I do not understand (Uli) Behringer - with his huge company and the power of many great R&D teams - some of the best and most respected and innovative companies we know in our business, that Uli was able to simply buy in the past with his money. A product like that copy simply can not represent the core values of the people, he could convince to be part of his company. It is simply sad, and I can not understand that move (like many, it seems)."

And then there's the following mock-up from Atomic Shadow that pretty much sums it up:

Update via Wikipedia: "Music Tribe, formerly Music Group, is a holding company based in the City of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.[2] It is chaired by Uli Behringer, founder of Behringer. Music Group rebranded to Music Tribe in December 2017.[3]...

In 2015, Music Group's portfolio included Midas, Klark Teknik, Behringer, Bugera, Eurocom, Turbosound, TC Electronic, TC-Helicon, Lake, Lab.gruppen, Tannoy, TC Applied Technologies and CoolAudio[6]"

And Behringer's response via Musictribe:

"Since various magazines and Arturia have publicly called us out over the launch of our Swing MIDI Controller, we would like to respond and share some facts around the principles of competition and clear up some misconceptions.

Competition is a highly effective tool to drive innovation by empowering Customers to make their best choices and force manufacturers to constantly reinvent themselves. Innovation means progress and this happens on many levels, whether it relates to customer experience, functionality or cost efficiencies etc.
There are 4 established marketing strategies: market leader, market challenger, market follower and market nichers. Here is a great article:

The competition law was designed to avoid companies creating a market monopoly and stifle innovation, which would be detrimental to the rights of the Customers to expect better offerings. The law was specifically designed to encourage everyone to fiercely compete, even when it means over the same functionality and design, provided intellectual property such as utility (functional) and design patents as well as trademarks etc. are respected.

How many Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul clones are out there in the guitar world and how many SM58 clones are available? How many cars or mobile phones look alike? It is not surprising that Gibson recently lost a substantial legal case trying to prevent others from making V-shape guitars or Fender, who lost all trademark cases related to their Stratocaster design.
The reason is simple: the law encourages competition and provides maximum freedom for companies to engage head-on, all for the benefit of the Customer.

We are spending large amounts of resources on innovation, which is reflected in products such as X32, XR18, Flow, DDM4000, etc. This made us the global market leader for analog and digital mixers and over the years we have built an extensive patent portfolio:
However, we also clearly choose to follow successful brands and products, while adding more features and/or competing on price. Much of our innovation is invisible to the Customer as it relates to our highly advanced and automated design and manufacturing processes and for that we are spending hundreds of millions of US$.
For this reason, we have become strategic partners with Microsoft, Siemens, Adobe and many other Tier 1 companies as we are pushing for extreme digitization and automation.

The follower marketing strategy is a very common business model in any industry, which is enabled by law to encourage competition. With our new Swing MIDI Controller, we followed an established concept, but of course wrote our own firmware with added functionality. However, these unique features will only come to life when we launch our free DAW.

The free Music Tribe DAW will form the heart of an incredible eco-system, where all our controllers, synthesizers and drum machines etc. will integrate seamlessly, thus dramatically improve connectivity and workflow. This will make it incredibly easy for our Customers to create, edit and share their music.
Only our upcoming controllers will feature total integration with our synthesizers, drum machines, digital mixers and other Music Tribe equipment, while also offering standard functionality with all 3rd party products.

For anyone familiar with the industry landscape, Arturia has been cloned for years (Worlde MiniMidi, etc.), while the company has also been “borrowing” from others with their VST replicas of legendary hardware synths, open-source code from Mutable Instruments, the “Expressive Touche” controller or the registration of known “DX7” and “Synthi” marks. Equally, our own analog Xenyx mixers and many other products have been widely cloned.
¬We will absolutely continue to deliver innovative products but also follow our competitors as we expect our products to be cloned - fair play.

We are very cautious when it comes to our follower approach and employ expert intellectual property firms to ensure our products stay within the boundaries of the law; we are committed to never intentionally infringe on other companies’ intellectual property.

Many years ago, we were entangled in bitter lawsuits with Mackie and Pioneer, which we all won. But we also recently lost a case against Yamaha in China related to a simple fader knob design that involved a design patent we were unfortunately not aware of. We changed the design, we will pay the fees and move on. Notably, Yamaha themselves were sued by Dr. Dre over their headphone designs ( or entangled in other legal matters (, which clearly shows how competitive business is. The heated Apple versus Samsung disputes are a prime example.

It is our Purpose and Mission to empower Customers who don’t have deep pockets and provide them with the best possible equipment at fair prices. We do understand that we are a fierce competitor and at times controversial as we’re relentlessly push the envelope.

We would like to thank all our Customers who have supported us over the past 30 years. We are absolutely committed to continue to deliver the best possible products at the lowest possible cost."


  1. I suppose Behringer don't believe in international patent law treaties, or they just don't care about being sued, or are openly inviting suit for some reason, like, on a dare or something. Uli already knows everyone hates him and he doesn't care on his easychair made of cash and his single malt Scotch in a glass carved from a single diamond dripping with blood.

  2. Well, IMHO owning one will say something about you too.

    1. Will anyone really buy this even if it's cheaper? IP has to mean something...

    2. How many computer companies were there to choose from after IBM introduced the PC?

  3. Why is everyone acting surprised? Behringer have done this for decades now. If you don't like it, vote with your money and buy the Arturia branded one. If people didnt buy their stuff, they wouldn't still be in business.

  4. If you're going to risk getting sued, do it for something truly in hot demand that's no longer in production like a CS-80, OB-X, or Jupiter-8. I keep scratching my head as to why Behringer would even offer this.

  5. he went from the distasteful "cork sniffer" debacle to just putting his head further up his own ass - I feel sorry for all the good people at Midas, TC-Helicon, etc. that he acquired and is dragging down into the mud
    good to see Arturia and Axel speak up - Axel has a distinct design aesthetic and as a proud owner of some his stuff (even the Neuron VS) I bet Behringer would never be so bold as to steal the look of the Wave, MicroWave, Q, or XTk - wild works of art are harder to steal than circuits and are more obvious

  6. I remember 25 years ago when Behringer ripped off the Mackie 8-bus mixer, and then the Line 6 Pod. Now, it seems everything they make is a copy. There is no imagination or innovation in their products. They are like a photocopier low on toner.

  7. Lol, they 'partner' with Microsoft, Siemens, and Adobe. So they use Siemens Solid Edge for 3D and PCB design, Illustrator for artwork, and Excel for BOM's. WTF is this garbage. So doesn't every other company form one man in garage to the largest. They also just put out some crappy video showing their '3D design'. WTF every company does this for two decades now. And their 'design' sucks, they use simple STEP models in their 3D assembly and don't even bother to download or create their own detailed 3D step models for the components. They don't even add the soldermask and copper layers on their shitty renderings. The cheapest Altium CircuitMaker does what they have done... And they didn't even bother to use true rendering software such as Keyshot, #DS or Cinerma 4D etc.. to properly render the models.

  8. Bottomfeeder are a pox on our industry.

  9. I used to think that I would swallow my pride and buy a Jupiter 8 clone if they made it--Roland has had years to do so in the face of high demand and they haven't, so why not? As much as I lust after that sound, can't afford a vintage one, and am not impressed by the Jupiter X or System 8, I have changed my mind. Behringer is never getting any of my money.


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