Behringer 960 Sequencer


Introduction In August 2020 I bought a set of Behringer System 55 modules, as my first journey into Moog modular. My plan is to recreate the Klaus Schulze Moog IIIP synthesizer and Dual Sequencer setup that Klaus bought on 22nd December 1975, and used successfully for many years.

Rather than rack up a set of Behringer modules and ride away making music, I thought it would be useful to explain how the modules work, how to calibrate them, and how I have set them up and augmented them. I will also check their specifications, to see if they replicate the originals accurately and so I can understand them better.

Sequencer Complement B The three Moog sequencer modules date back to 1968 and were available separately or as a single set (Complement A) or a double set (Complement B). Its this later setup that Klaus Schulze bought with his IIIP, and which Chris Franke had with his IIIP system from Mick Jagger. The 960 is an essential part of the Berlin School Style sequencing which started with Tangerine Dreams Phaedra in 1974 and then went through the late 1970’s with Klaus recording X and then Live.

Lets take a look at the 960 module first, and see how well Behringer have replicated the circuits which go back to early 1960’s Motorla RTL digital logic . The Moog design uses RTL flip flop chips from 1967 to hold the step status, and surprisingly not TTL circuits.

960 Sequence Controller The Behringer replica is an exact copy in terms of front panel layout and controls, and it drops into the rack without needing any setup and makes an immediate impression, very creative to use!

The sequencer module consists of a voltage controlled clock oscillator, which drives three rows of eight steps each. Indicator LED’s show sequence and step position status. A potentiometer for each step permits up to eight different voltage settings to be selected for each row. The DC voltage output corresponds to the column of pots below the lighted stage. Voltage range switches for each row determine the DC voltage range of each pot with two volts {X1}, four volts {X2}, or eight volts{X4} maximum.

  • Two parallel outputs for each row.
  • Jacks for trigger inputs and outputs appear below each column.
  • Trigger inputs activate that stage independently of the clock oscillator trigger.
  • Trigger outputs are available for anyother V-trigger activated input.
  • Manual trigger buttons are included for each of the eight stages {found below the V-trigger jacks}.
  • Switches found immediately below each step position permit normal, skip or stop functions.
  • A ninth positionproviding skip {continuous progression through the eight steps}or stop {one progression to
    closure} functions is included at theend of the row.
  • Timing control for the eight steps is accomplished via the Third Row Control of Timing switch. This switchconnects the third row of the
    sequencer into the control input ofthe clock speed for each stage according to the settings on
    thethird row potentiometers. The Shift input admits an externalclock input to the sequencing circuit.
    This input may be used inaddition to or exclusive of the internal clock oscillator trigger. Manual shift
    from step to step is accomplished with the button next to the shift input jack, as well as individual
    manual trigger buttons for each step found under each step column.
    Manual buttons or external v-trigger sources initiate the clock oscillator start and stop functions. The
    clock oscillator is capable of producing frequencies from .1Hz to 1kHz. It has both octave {range} and
    vernier {fine adjust} controls. One control input jack is available, as well as one rectangular wave
    output {approximately 90/10% duty cycle}. The clock oscillator, like other Moog oscillators, is
    standardized to one volt per octave.

Setup The user manual is here 960 Quick Start Manual in case you need it. Turning over the module and looking at the rear PCB there are a lot of trimmers, and the user manual explains some of them and how to setup the 960. Lets take a look at these first;

SCALE ADJ adjusts the tracking of the VCO to 1 1V/octave standard and is adjusted just like any VCO

LOW END ADJ 

FREQ STOP ADJ and

FREQUENCY ADJUST.

There are additional trimmers that Behringer do not mention, but we can work back from the original Moog 960 to understand what they do.

DUTY CYCLE ADJUST This adjusts the duty cycle of the main clock, and should be set to 90%. This is a hard one for customers to setup as it needs an oscilliscope, however on my 960 the factory alignment was good to go.

ZERO INPUT  

ZERO ADJUST A, B, C These trimmers adjust the channel output voltages so that 0V is generated at the minimum pot position. This is easy to do with a volt meter measuring the channel output. On my 960 they were accutaely set and only need a minor adjustment by a few mV.

Summary  A very nice 8 step analog seqeuncer with all the original features, and at an amazing low price. Once warmed up it works well and is accurate. The 960 arrived well setup and aligned by the factory and only needed minor changes. I could never afford a Moog or Moog clone of the 960, never mind two! The 960 makes the System 55 an attractive proposition at £134 and a step change beyond the re-issued £97 Roland 182.

Copyright AMSynths 2019