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Behringer Crave
£144
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A fantastic instrument
dr.c 20.10.2021
Crave is a fully functional, semi-modular analog synthesizer with a really nice sequencer, for the price of a single modular filter... It's not a secret it clones Moog's mother32, up to the point where Moog's manual helps programming the sequencer (Behringer's short manual feels a bit chaotic). You can see comparisons between the two on yt, but that's completely not the point; neither is the often repeated "great for the price" - the success of (four times more expensive) mother32 makes the case this witty design of a synthesizer is just great, and price has nothing to do with it.

It is highly patchable: you don't see filter's resonance with CV input too often, yet this tiny machine has it... The VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO and the sequencer all have ins and outs. There are few utility modules as well: mixer/attenuator, noise generator, a multiple, and a "hidden" second LFO in the sequencer. All this encourages experimenting with synthesis much as any "large" modular would. The only thing lacking is sample&hold module.
I've learned some fun tricks with it (like VCF feedback for some distortion). It's fun to connect external gear (yes it is compatible with eurorack, 1V/oct and positive trigs), additional LFOs or a random voltage source for irregular sequencer resets. Some people claim the cheapest entry to modulars is getting two or three Craves and I can see this working nicely. Plugging another synthesizer as a sub-oscillator via external input works like a charm too.

The sequencer is a bit tricky to use (that's why it's worth to check out mother32's manual) and is limited to 32 steps: for most applications that's not a serious limitation as the sequences are transposable with either built-in keys or external keyboard.
The envelope is not a complete ADSR as D and R are controlled with the same knob. You can turn sustain off to get AD envelope instead. Sadly the envelope doesn't have CV ins (that would be wicked).
The filter (transistor ladder if you like that kind of stuff) besides usual low-pass has also a hi-pass mode (neat on higher resonance), and self-oscillates on a wide range of frequencies.
The LFO gets into audio range as well, though getting it tuned with the oscillator is doable only for a short frequency range (say 1 octave).

On the build quality: it's nice. The jacks are not screwed to the front-panel but so far sit well. Knobs are fine: you can twist them with one finger if you're busy, but you can also move them quite precisely. The built-in keys feel good to me. They are enough for transposing sequences with a left hand while playing the other synth with right one. Entering sequences from them is also fine, I rarely connect external keyboard to it. I've heard people complaining about clickiness, but somehow my unit is not that loud...

To sum up: it's a fantastic education/tinkering toy and a really nice, useful instrument with wide (and wild!) palette of sounds. After 9 months of everyday use I'm more than happy, I would buy it again, I would pay double that price too, and I do recommend it to everyone who wants to put their hands on semi-modular analog but don't want to invest into a large modular rack or (b)ARP 2600.
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More fun the more I learn
Bjørnar 13.11.2019
I'm new to modulars/semi-modulars. When I received the Crave and started playing with it, my first thought was "Ok, this thing is a liiiitle bit more basic than I was expecting" - but that didn't last for long.

Soon I had Googled my way to patches for the very similar synth from another manufacturer that I won't name (you probably know which other synth has 32 connections) and it opened my mind and I realized the real potential of the Crave.

This thing can really make a lot of nice sounds, especially for something at this price level!

Pros:
- A LOT of routing options for a beginner's semi-modular
- The oscillator (and envelope) sounds very nice, powerful and punchy
- Build quality is top notch. It's built like a tank
- Very smooth potentiometers that feel like they will last for a long time. Very sturdy, with no play.
- Patch-compatible with the other very similar synth (you know which)
- The sequencer is more advanced than I first thought. I recommend to read the manual to learn it fully.
- Configuring the "Assign" output to "Sequencer random" and patching it through the "Multiple" I/O's (or stackable cables) to inputs like e.g. VCO mod, LFO rate and VCF mod gives hours of fun.
- The side panels seem to be wood or at least wooden laminate as far as I can tell (not plastic as a Youtube reviewer recently said)

Cons:
- A 6.3mm TRS jack output would have been nice instead of the 3.5mm TS in the patch bay
- Input level of "Ext. audio" is -5V to +5V (that means the output from other line-level gear will be very low in volume
- Maybe I'm just doing something wrong, but I wish the sequencer would act more like a 303 when setting the gate length to max (the notes don't quite merge with the next note when gate length is 100% and glide is on, there's a tiny gap)
- Thomann's product page for the Crave says it has an ADSR envelope, but it's actually ADS
- On my unit the D# key on the sequencer "keyboard" is a bit more difficult than the rest. It has to be pushed exactly in center to trigger, unlike the rest of the keys which trigger both in center and sides. I assume this something that can be easily fixed by re-adjusting the placement of the plastic keys slightly. But I won't try as it's not too bothersome so far, and it might just fix itself after more use.
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Excellent intro to modular
steviemac2000 20.08.2021
Feature-rich, compact and sturdy, there's little not to like here. Plenty of patch options, a great sounding oscillator and filter, and a very functional sequencer. Knobs feel sturdy with a nice amount of resistance. A great budget introduction to the world of analog patching.
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h
fat sound and sturdy body at a low price
habahabah 30.08.2021
Fat sound with great sequencer and modular capabilities in a very sturdy body
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J
sounding good, just the paint went off very fast...
Johanz 13.05.2020
I have the Mother32 already and the Crave just sounds like a slighty upgraded mother with a different Pro-1 CEM oscillator, which is basically what it is. I think Behringer improved the workflow and I had some fun with it when I was touring India, but after two days of programming and playing with it live near the beach in Tamil Nadu the paint went off already so it went to a friend there, because I bought it for use during trips. And I have the Mother already, but it's build in my Eurorack setup, taking a lot of space. So I might buy a new Crave now because of it's size and the improved workflow. Would make me feel better though if they would pay Moog something too for taking so much of their design. ButI must say, after comparing many B's to originals, this one is probably their best job (maybe because the Mother is made with new modern parts too?). It sounds great.
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C
Pretty great, but not for me
Chri5-HT 21.02.2020
Got this for the purpose of giving (semi-)modular synthesis a go. It integrated quite easily into my setup well, but... I just didn't gel with it.

I found it's design is well-reasoned, and considering what you get for €150 yes it's a deal for sure.
However, at this price maybe aesthetics and ergonomics are less important. Good potentiometres, bad buttons . It felt less like a musical instrument and more tool-like, but does have a great sound and wicked patch points.

One other things, the early firmware issues were a big pain for me. Between that and the feel I decided to sell it. Probably all fixed by now, do see what people say on the forum though.

I'm sure if you put the time in it will pay its dividends.
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Jf
Amazing
Justin from Alabama 30.04.2021
An awesome and super fun little synth. It definitely takes time to get used to it if you are a beginner but once you do, it's potential is as far as you can think. I absolutely love this synth. The synthtool and Behringer software should be the first thing you download when buying this synth. It will show you the way. I recommend this product to anyone.

PS
I also own a Mother-32 and they are alomost interchangable at about a third of the price.
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J
Bass Pur / Flexibel wg. vielen Features / Lächerlich günstig /
Jonas8474 26.02.2021
Seit dem ich den Crave habe, kommt jede Bassline aus dem Beast.
Der Sound ist wirklich druckvoll. Der Ladder-Filter ist ein Traum.
Dank des semi-modularen Aufbaus ist man sehr flexibel bei der einbindung in verschiedene Setups.
Ich bin sicher, es gibt keinen Synth außer dem Neutron der auch nur ähnlich viel Sound pro Euro generiert. Habe den Crave jetzt eine ganze Weile und bin jeden Tag von neuem geflasht.

Der Sequenzer ist der einzige Schwachpunkt, für mich völlig unbrauchbar. Kein Liverecording, die Bedienung unglaublich nervig. Mag sein, dass Fans von 80er Jahre Step sequencern das anders sehen. Für mich absolut unbrauchbar.
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WT
Got one, want another!!
Wrigley Tinn 04.12.2019
Absolutely great entry level analogue synth.
Great feel easy to explore and find your way around but for double the fun get 2!!

PROS :-
For an analogue synth you can't get much simpler
Great build quality.
Good product support.
Easy & intuitive.
Does more than what you'd expect at this price point.
Building sequences can be done through the Behringer app quicker than through the built in sequencer.

CONS (if this is really one)
It makes you feel the need to add more modular gear !!

Overall, very impressed and happy I made the purchase.
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S
Great synth with small cons
Spellfox 23.05.2020
Bang for the buck
Pros
-Sound
-Build Quality
-Really cheap introduction to modular world
Cons
-Midi interface doesn't communicate with SysEx devices
-Poor manual
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Behringer Crave