Berlin synth & drum machine engineer legend Manfred Fricke (MFB) has passed away

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The Berlin Synthesizer & drum machine engineer legend Manfred Fricke of MFB has passed away, rest in peace 

It’s time to say goodbye to another Synthesizer legend. Manfred Fricke, the chief developer of the Berlin-based company MFB, passed away in mid-June. He recognized the interest in affordable analog instruments early on, and until recently was responsible for many synthesizers and drum machine releases.

From classic drum machines to innovative analog synthesizers like the Dominion 1, Manfred Fricke was an absolute expert in analog synthesis. Analog circuits were his passion. With his devices, he also shaped the sound of electronic music.

MFB Manfred Fricke

„On June, 17th around 11am Manfred Fricke from Berlin alias MFB sadly passed away after having had a hard time with cancer for a while already. He left his wife Gloria and his son Jean-Marcel behind, we are all very sad having lost this partner, friend and father.“


Manfred Fricke

MFB started the company in 1976. The first instruments followed, which are known to us to this day. Always a bit rougher, dirtier, and with a lot of character. The MFB-501, MFB-2021 MIDI-CV converter, MFB-522, MFB-301, Tanzbär, or the best-known MFB-SYNTH. Herr Schneiders says: “The Tanzbär, in particular, is considered by many to be their favorite drum machine of the last few years, especially in terms of its amazing sound.”

In addition to his numerous developments, Manfred Fricke was also an impetus for the entire Berlin Synthesizer scene. He inspired young developers who followed his path.

The colleagues from the German website have written down the complete history of the MFB company and conducted an interview with Manfred Fricke in 2019 that is a must-read.

Manfred Fricke


Andreas Schneider of Schneidersladen/Superbooth looks back on Manfred Fricke’s work on his Stromkult blog.

Manfred Fricke was one of Berlins pioneers of analog synth and drum machine makers. He has been the weapon of choice for many (not only) starting musicians. Let’s be honest, who didn’t have one of his creations early in his or hers journey into electronic musical instruments – or at least thought about getting one – and why shouldn’t you? Manfred Frickes machines always brought something unique to the table, they were mostly analog, affordable, in small plastic housings and just did the job. Manfred always focused on keeping his products affordable for his clients and the instruments quite often made their way to professional use later on, and the musicians often kept their first units as something almost holy, because it were these machines that paved the way into analog electronic music making.


But it would be too short-sighted to associate MFB only with budget entry-level products. Especially the drum machines Tanzbär and Tanzbär II, or the great Dominion 1 show that Manfred Fricke also built machines that met higher demands. The Tanzbär, in particular, is considered by many to be their favorite drum machine of the last few years, especially in terms of its amazing sound.

We hope that MFB will continue to exist and that it will continue to make it easier for many generations of musicians to enter the world of electronic sound production.

We wish Manfred Frickes son Jean-Marcel continued success for the future of MFB and extend our condolences to him and his family. And lets hope that Manfred will finally meet up with all the other good guys on the other side.

Rest In Peace.

RIP Manfred Fricke. You were an important part of our Synthesizer universe. It’s a great loss. My condolences and I wish Jean-Marcel his son, Gloria his wife, and the rest of the family all the best for the future.

More information here: MFB 

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