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Behringer Announce BBG Synthesizer!
So many synths and only so much time. While we're all still impatiently awaiting the arrival of the DS-80 (a remake of the Yamaha CS-80), Behringer announce yet another faithful tribute to a classic synthesizer: the Behringer BBG. Read on to find out which legendary model the BBG takes after!
The Behringer BBG
First of all, the BBG is still in development, so everything said here is done so with reservations. Secondly, don't expect the BBG up for sale here within a week; it's probably going to take a little while still. With that said, let's talk about the BBG! It's a remake of the historic PPG Wave, which was part of the PPG Wave 2 family of synths produced by Palm Product GmbH during the 1980s. Shortly after, PPG went bust and Waldorf took over the technology. Since the original synth was remarkably pricey at the time, lots of industry legends used one, including but certainly not limited to: David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Jean Michel Jarre, Ultravox and the Pet Shop Boys. Fortunately, knowing Behringer, the BBG is most likely going to be a lot more affordable.
Analogue and Digital
To appreciate the void the PPG filled at the time, it's crucial to know how it works. Most analogue synths of the early '80s only offered up the choice of sawtooth, block-wave and noise, occasionally complemented by triangle and sine waveforms, but that was about it. While these provided plenty of sound-sculpting potential, especially when combined with sync and ring modulation, there were limits, and you couldn't simply summon the timbre of a saxophone. On top of that, the 1980s came with FM synthesis, which was actually a complete mystery for most producers - to put it mildly. The PPG features short-looping samples as oscillators, which could be finished with VCF and VCA so that even in the case of a digital and anything but hi-fi audio source, the synth would dress the whole thing in a couple of layers of pure, analogue warmth. It's the type of sound that paved the way for, and could be found in ROMplers produced by different makers throughout the 1990s: short, static timbres with striking tonal colours that needed to be cultivated and completed with filters, envelopes and LFOs. It's exactly this that you can expect of a PPG and BBG. To get a better idea, check out See You from Depeche Mode. The choir heard in the background is actually a PPG!
So, if you're looking to pick up a remake of an essential bit of pop music history, don't take the hammer to your piggy banks just yet - even if you’ve probably got enough stashed in there to cover a typical Behringer price tag. With the announcement of the future release of the BBG, Behringer once again prove to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, synth-builders of our time. Meanwhile, we'll be practising our patience.