Behringer Model D vs. Neutron

Behringer are showing no signs of slowing down their affordable synth output. The release of the Model D and Neutron analog synths whipped the community up into a frenzy. But which one’s better? We decided to compare these two dynamite releases to get some answers…

Sam Beattie

Sam Beattie

Behringer Model D vs Neutron - Andertons Music Co.

German manufacturer Behringer have been going for decades. Founder Uli Behringer started the company building synthesizers in 1989 – since then, they’ve diversified massively. In the late ‘90s through the ‘00s, they were better known for producing highly affordable PA systems, mixers and effects.

In recent years, however, the company has demonstrated a renewed interest in the synthesizer field. At the time of writing, their range includes 7 synthesizers (some of which are modelled on classics from other manufacturers) with at least 4 more on the way (including a Sequential Pro One clone and a TR-808-style drum machine). The Model D and the Neutron are arguably the most popular of the bunch so far, selling like hot cakes – with both being priced around the £300 mark, they’re pretty darn good value.

But it’s not just the affordable price tag that’s headline news; these units come packed with amazing features and they sound flippin’ great to boot. This perfect mixture of value, functionality and tone has attracted synth virgins & veterans alike – leading neatly to our conundrum. With both being in such high demand, many musicians have asked: which one do I go for?

Behringer Analog Synths

Here’s what we’ll be comparing:

  • Sound – the tonal quality of each one
  • Tech specs – the features that set them apart from each other
  • Design – how do they look and feel?
  • Connectivity – patching, syncing, recording, the works

But first, here’s the Model D & Neutron in a nutshell.

The Behringer Model D – summary

The monophonic Model D is, as the name suggests, a copy of the Moog Minimoog Model D. But while the Minimoog was a sizeable unit, housed in a wooden frame with a built-in keyboard, the Behringer version (sometimes referred to as the Boog) comes in the form of a compact desktop module approximately half the size. The controls are uncanny, laid out in an almost identical fashion with a few additions, and the sound is as gloriously rich as you’d expect a Model D clone to be. 3 oscillators, a classic filter sound and intuitive switching make the Model D a surprisingly simple yet punchy synth.

The Behringer Neutron – summary

While Behringer seem to excel at producing synth clones, the Neutron is an original design. Its bright red façade is instantly recognisable, helping it to stand out from the crowd. The paraphonic Neutron has been designed as an all-encompassing synth toolkit; on top of the usual features like VCO, LFO and envelope controls, you’ve got a whopping 56 patch connections as well as a built in overdrive and delay. This allows you to get everything from thumping kick drums to fluttering ambient sequences from the same unit – neat.

Model D Neutron
Polyphony Monophonic Paraphonic
Oscillators 3 x VCO 2 x 3340
Filter 1 x VCF 24dB, low-pass/high-pass 12 dB State Variable Filter, Highpass/Bandpass/Lowpass modes
Waveforms 6 5, blend control
LFO Triangle, square Sine, triangle, saw, square, ramp down
Patch connections 14 56
Inputs Audio, MIDI, MIDI thru, USB Audio, MIDI, MIDI thru, USB
Outputs Headphones, low output, high output Headphones, main output
Unique features White and pink noise generators, overdrive circuit, fat Moog-style sound Built-in BBD delay, overdrive circuit, sample and hold
Dimensions 90 x 374 x 136 mm 94 x 424 x 136 mm

Behringer Model D vs. Neutron – Sound Comparison

As mentioned earlier, the Model D is modelled after the classic Minimoog. This design is echoed in the sound as well as the features – classic fat, velvety tones that work brilliantly for basslines and slick lead parts. This is due to the fact that you’ve got 3 oscillators bouncing off each other, as well as that classic Moog-style filter sound.

The Neutron is a different beast entirely. Many users have compared its sound to that of classics such as the OBXa and Jupiter 6 – it must be doing something right! 5 waveforms can be blended, opening up a broader tonal palette. This makes the Neutron a truly diverse piece of kit in terms of its sound.

Behringer Model D vs. Neutron – Feature Comparison

If you check out the comparison table above, you get a pretty neat overview of the differences between the two, specs-wise. The Model D features 14 patch connections, allowing you to tweak your tone and hook it up to other synths. The filtering options are comprehensive, with loudness contour, filter emphasis and keyboard control parameters. This allows you to harness the notorious Moog-style filter to get the most out of your sound. The real stars of the show, however, are the oscillators. They’re simple VCO circuits, but there’s three of them, each with 6 waveforms and 6 octaves. One of these oscillators can be isolated from input control, great for adding drones and pedal notes to your jams.

Behringer Neutron vs Model D - Andertons Music Co.

The Neutron, on paper at least, is the dominant one in terms of features. A whopping 56 patch connections (32 in and 24 out) give you unprecedented control over the signal chain. This is on par with a full-blown modular synth setup. It also means that you can incorporate it into your existing setup or sync it with other synths in many different ways – creativity awaits. The built-in overdrive features drive, tone and level controls, further allowing you to sculpt your sound (on top of the filters, oscillators, pulse width modulation…you get the picture). The bucket brigade delay circuit is gloriously warm, noisy and hypnotic – dial it in subtle for cool polyrhythmic ideas or crank it for swirling abstract ambience. Then there’s sample and hold, slew rate, 2 attenuation controls that can be assigned to whatever you want – the list goes on.

Behringer Model D vs. Neutron – Design Comparison

The Model D’s interface is just as user-friendly as its eerily resemblant distant ancestor. The oscillators are neatly aligned with their respective volume controls, and the filter controls are incredibly easy to navigate. They’ve also dialled up the contrast on the classic Minimoog panel, giving you a jet black interface with red, blue and white controls. Looks a bit like Darth Vader, and we aren’t complaining. Finish it off with subtle wooden cheeks and this thing really does look the part.

Let’s not beat around the bush – the Neutron is bright red and that’s not for everyone. Combined with the increased number of controls and patching options, and it takes a little bit of getting used to. That having been said, the patch controls are neatly organised on the right side of the panel, rather than scattered across it. This makes for a slightly tidier workflow, especially if you’re into your patching. If you can get past the eye-popping red panel, you’ll see that the Neutron is just as well signposted as the Model D.

Behringer Synths on Andertons TV

Conclusion

In the grand scheme of things, both of these synths are absolute gamechangers. There’s a reason they’ve been hyped up so much. As mentioned earlier, the features of each one are headline-worthy as they are – but when you combine it with their circa-£300 price tags, they truly stand out from the crowd. This kind of value for money is seldom seen in the synth world, or the wider world of musical instruments for that matter.

If we had to highlight the strengths of each one, we’d say that the Model D’s out-the-box sound is warm & ultra-fat and the interface is easy to use, while the Neutron is bursting at the seams with killer features, making it far more versatile. But as with any of these articles, the outcome is largely subjective. Hopefully now that we’ve weighed up the individual pros and cons of the Model D & Neutron, you’re a step closer to figuring out what suits you. Either way, you need one in your life!

If you’ve been bitten by the synth bug, check out our full synthesizer range here. Alternatively, why not check out the rest of our Labs content while you’re here? You won’t regret it…

Sam Beattie
Sam Beattie
Sam is one of our content writers, as well as being our resident southpaw. When he's not busy being left-handed, he spends his time composing for music libraries and playing in a post-rock band. Sam plays a Mexican Telecaster and a Vigier Excalibur, and is never more than 5 feet away from his Electro-Harmonix POG.

Responses & Questions

Leave a Reply