Behringer promised to recreate the Roland System 100 modular system, and they’ve done that – with a system they call the System 100. $49-99.

There’s no final pricing or other details yet; everything is in a single YouTube video.

There’s not a lot to say, because spec-for-spec, this is the same as a 1979 System 100m. It’s just been scaled down to make sense as Eurorack and (presumably) to keep the price down.

Here’s more on the original:

http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/sys100m.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_System-100M

There’s even an archive of a 1995 Sound on Sound review.

The original looked like this – basically, Behringer have just collapsed some of the empty space and down-sized some of the controls to scale so it fits in your rack. But they’ve also done almost exactly what Roland did recently when Eurorack-ing the same series, with some variations (see below).

The original 100M, from 1979, sold through the early 80s. Image via Perfect Circuit and vintagesynth.com.

Roland oscillators are … well, pretty vanilla now given other options. But there are useful utility modules, a particularly interesting phase shifter, and all the other features that made the Roland system popular in the first place.

On some level, it’s a shame no one is copying the charming look of the original System 100 – or its distinctive keyboard hub. (The Behringer clone here does a decent job of shrinking the more pedestrian 100m.) Even Roland aren’t attempting that. But of course that would mean a higher price tag, and it might not fit as readily into a Eurorack system.

But these should be expected to be solid sellers, even before knowing the price – because Behringer have done a complete set, and it looks like fit and finish and so on are dead-on. Also, Behringer have a leg up that even Roland didn’t have with their own modular additions – I suspect a lot of people will do exactly what you see in the video, and couple Behringer’s rack-mountable, patchable desktop synths with these modular add-ons. The Neutron and its ilk made an obvious entry level for selling people up to more modules.

Say what you will about Behringer, but if other makers didn’t offer that option, that’s on them.

Of course, what you don’t get here is new ideas – so as with all the remakes debuting in 2020, the best advice to any independent maker remains, make something that isn’t from the 1970s … for example. I’m not sure even the 1970s had as many announcements from the 1970s as this week.

Again, still no pricing or availability, but here at least are those stills so you don’t have to pause through (why, Behringer, did you do that, exactly?)

Side note – hey, remember when Roland did this? I gave a more detailed breakdown of each of the modules, which remains relevant now.

There is an argument to be made that Roland priced these too steeply, and could have positioned them in such a way as to compete with this new Behringer onslaught. Time will tell whether Roland does respond, or if they quietly exit the modular market altogether to focus on other things – the latter seeming already to be the strategy.