I was amazed to see a Deep Mind at my local Guitar Center yesterday. This is the same GC that didn't get a Kronos on the floor until two years after it came out. I was equally surprised to see a Moog Mother 32 (not hooked up), an Akai Timbre Wolf (which was just as bad as I expected), and Roland Boutiques. GC finally remembered they had a keyboard department
The DM is a lot more like a Juno than I was expecting. The first thing I realized is how many things required menu diving. It was only later at home when I read the manual that I deiscovered that some of the things I was looking for required multiple button pushes, just like a real Roland
At least Roland used to mark the shift functions but Behringer does not. What sort of things? How about switching to the live panel (press/hold PROG and press WRITE), choosing LFO waveforms (press/hold LFO EDIT and move rate slider), loading a default starter patch (press/hold PROG and press COMPARE).
Like a Juno it seemed like very patch had the low boost turned on, unlike a Juno you can use the HPF and the boost at the same time. I didn't run through every preset (there's 1024 I think) but the ones I did try were slathered with effects and all used unison! Sure with 12 voices, you can afford to use unison but like the boost it's sort of cheating. Turn off effects, boost and unison and the synth sounds a lot
What did I like? The filter sounded really good.
. Being able to switch between 2 and 4 pole is nice. I dialed in a bunch of old school noise plus self-oscillating filter sci-fi sounds and it was just like being back in 1971. Add some delay and you're in outer space
The bottom end was huge, some really substantial basses are possible. Master volume and portamento time knobs next to the wheels is great ergonomically. The LFOs run fast enough for some FM effects. The display shows the value of any slider you are currently moving and gives a graphic representation of the filter as you tweak it. The controls can send/recieve either 7-bit CCs or 14-bit NRPNs for extenal sequencing. There's a MIDI THRU and
the MIDI OUT has a soft thru function. The MIDI routing in general is good, you can control how the MIDI jacks and USB MIDI interact. USB is class compliant, no drivers
You can control the response of each stage of the three EGs between exponential, linear and logarithmic on a per patch basis. The power supply is built in, no wall wart.
What didn't I like?
The display was rather "low-fi" and hard to read. You can't select voices quickly, for gig use you would have to make sure the patches you use are close together so you can get at them quickly. I'd rather see the sort of letter/number keys used by Roland and Yamaha. The stereo output jacks do not have a mono option. The octave buttons do not have any indicators to tell what octave you are in
The CCs for the filter and amp EG do not use the standard MIDI assignments (71-75)...it would be so simple to do that so whether slaved to a master keyboard or used as a controller for other synths, the filter and EG controls would just work. There is no way to disable the effects easily...no on/off switch. no depth slider, etc.
Overall, I think Behringer did a pretty good job. I'm sure Juno fans will be DM haters, but I'd buy this in an instant before spending over a grand for a used Juno.