Back in 2019, Behringer announced that it had hired Hiroaki Nishijima, one of the designers of the original Korg MS-20, to lead a new synth development centre in Japan. Now the work at the centre is beginning to bear electronic fruit, with a new synth/groovebox instrument - the Hirotribe - confirmed to be on the way.
Named after Hiroaki, the Hirotribe is an evolution of the Korg Monotribe, the analogue groovebox that Nishijima also designed.
“I devised the panel design, specifications and the first schematic,” says Nishijima. “Various specifications were added or changed during the development process, and each time the project members had a hard time. However, looking at the 'Hirotribe' that was completed in this way, the hardships seem to be a nostalgic story.
“Thank you to all the project members, you did a very good job and I am very happy. Now that the product is completed, I would be honoured if you could all enjoy this 'Hirotribe' with my heart."
Billed as an analogue groove synthesizer, the Hirotribe also has a built-in drum machine and sequencer. There are two individual oscillators, with raw, triangle and square waveforms, plus a noise generator. You get an LFO with three wave shapes and a single knob envelope generator with three continuous parameters (Attack, Decay and Sustain).
The drum machine section of the Hirotribe provides kick, snare and closed/open hi-hat sounds, and there’s a 16-step motion sequencer with memory slots. The touch-sensitive keyboard has 27 keys, and there’s sync I/O for connection to other gear. MIDI over USB is included, too.
It’s the usual story in regard to availability - the Hirotribe will be released once Behringer has the relevant semiconductors required to build it. We do know that it’ll cost $99, though, and that more synths from Hiroaki Nishijima and his team are in the pipeline.