A new teaser suggests that Behringer will present the TD-3-DF Synthesizer on Friday, a clone of the TB-303 Devil Fish by Robin Whittle
In February 2020 I reported in an article about the Behringer TD-3-DF, a clone of the Roland TB-303 with the Devil Fish modifications. It adds a lot of functionality to the 303 bassline synth including internal filter FM, filter self-resonance, muffler (post-VCA soft-clip distortion), push-button for manual accent, and more. The full list of modifications is available here.
A little more than a year after this teaser, the signs point to release. In a new YouTube video, Behringer teases a new instrument with the words Acid, Mean and Deep. As some wrote in the YouTube comments, Acid means TD-3, Mean for Devil, and Deep (in the ocean) Fish. Behringer will release it on July 9th, so this Friday.
I insisted on sealed tact switches and some other requirements about the feel and longevity of knobs, pots and switches. (The little RK09K ALPS pots we use in the Devil Fish are excellent in every respect. Not one has failed or even become noisy, as far as I know, since 1993. Behringer used the same kinds of pots, with knobs, in some of their 1990s mixers.)
I was keen to proceed, since Behringer could produce a good instrument, en-masse, and sell it globally, at a price far below what we can do from home – and so bring Devil Fishes into the hands of tens of thousands of musicians. However, Uli was unable to accept these commercial terms. It emerged that he expected me to help with the design, endorse their product, and effectively license his company to produce it, and any variations, without limit, without royalties and in perpetuity, for a one-off payment of USD$15k. I rejected his offer for a number of reasons – not least because USD$15k would be a small fraction of what we would have earned with the royalty arrangement.
My 2 Pennies
And as I wrote in 2020, there are no legal options that prevent you from cloning the Devil Fish circuit. This gives Behringer free rein to bring its clone to market.
On the part of the community, and especially for Robin Whittle, this is anything but nice. It a bit lame when you already have contact with the original developer, who is also interested in the clone and they still cannot find any agreement. And as a reaction of defiance (“because we can”), Behringer clone the Devil Fish though. That’s not nice, to be honest.
We’ll see what Behringer presents on Friday. I’m sure it’s the TD-3-DF and probably without collaboration with Robin Whittle.
More information here: Behringer
Or it’s just gonna be a TD-3 Mk2.
Honestly this is an opportunity missed for Robin Whittle and strikes me that he got too greedy.
While he did create the DevilFish mod circuit, he has more than made his money worth since 1993 by insisting people ship him their TB-303s so he can do the mods himself and charging a pretty nice sum to do do. While he may have invented the circuit, he doesn’t have any claim to copyright on it because he’s basically been holding what was already a proprietary circuit. His penchant for elitism and insistence upon him being the only person who can do these mods is not only elitist, but has basically burned him in the end.
Many of his mods have already been figured out for the TD-3 and openly and freely shared by people like the absolutely amazing Maffez in Austria, via his website http://www.maffez.com.
You would say that though, wouldn’t you..
Poor old Robin, after years of milking musicians for a few pots and switches he had the chance for ‘big time’ but overplayed his hand.
Back to sniffing the flux old chap, don’t be bitter,,,,,,,