Behringer Neutron explored


The Behringer Neutron has been out for a couple of years, but we believe it deserves a bit of extra attention. Within the space of modular synthesizers the Neutron is probably the closest you can get to a full fledged Eurorack without paying way beyond your budget.

The Neutron encompasses the true spirit of modulars without having to invest in a plethora of gadgets, however it is still smart enough to be easily integrated into your existing modular set up should you be lucky enough to have this. Just to get you started it features vintage Moog-style knobs with a 56-point mini-jack patchbay to the right.  And to get you even more into the Behringer Neutron spirit of things we have included a track below where all sounds are run through the Neutron:

As you can hear the manipulation capabilities and the ability to create complex soundscapes is immense. The LFOs and Oscillators are perfect to drive immerse sonic experiences. The Neutron features two similar oscillators based around the V3340 VCO chip. This is a recreation of the famed CEM3340 found in a host of classic synths (see boxout). Both oscillators have a similar set of controls. The Range button switches between three different octaves. The Tune control provide +/- 1 octave of adjustment, but when all the Range buttons are lit, switches to a +/- 10 octave (with both low and high extremities inaudible to anything except a sub-bass loving mouse). This mode is perfect when using the Neutron as a standalone sound-effects generator. The oscillators can generate five different wave shapes, but there is more flexibility here than is first apparent. 

The Behringer has actually been a key component in many of TEGEL’s recent compositions. Like the following minimal techno track:

In addition to boasting two oscillators that replicate the glory of the 3340, the Neutron allows users to control the two OSCs independently. This is a model-defining feature that separates it from virtually all other analogue synthesizers available at this price point. It is the feature that opens the door to a world of new creative opportunities.

The ability to use a monodic architecture, in which one note is played at a time, to emulate the performance of a polyphonic system gives the Behringer model the feel of a far more expensive model. Once you are familiar with playing a second note or voice without triggering a new envelope, it is possible to push creativity to a whole new level. 

When supported by the quality of sound and the control provided by 36 nobs and 7 buttons, this is a truly versatile unit that can be used by everyone from novice to professional.

As the Neutron is a semi-modular design, there is a normalised routing for the various modulation sources. In this case the LFO is routed to control filter cutoff, and a Mod Depth control in this section determines its overall strength. At fast LFO (audio) rates this creates some further interesting tones. The patchable nature of the synth comes into its own when modulating the LFO rate and depth to control the strength and tonality of these newly created side-band frequencies. Envelope 2, a straightforward ADSR, is also routed to control filter cutoff (via the Envelope Depth control). For fast to medium sweeps this works well, though it would have been nice to have longer maximum attack, decay and release times. 

Summary:

Pros

  • Modernizes the classic CEM3340 systems
  • Great versatility for causal and professional music producers
  • Tone Mod enables you to add harmonically interesting sonics

Cons

  • No patch cables are included
  • Audible bleed from delays
  • No linear FM