“Please know that there is only one manufacturer of the authentic CEM3340.”

The widow of analog synth chip pioneer Doug Curtis has spoken out against the practice of cloning vintage music technology, saying that she is “deeply saddened by the attempt of others to trade on [Curtis’s] name.”

Mary Curtis didn’t say which company she was referring to by name, but budget gear manufacturer Behringer recently confirmed it was making replicas of the CEM3340 chip that featured in the original Oberheim OB-Xa synth.

While Behringer is legally allowed to make replicas of the CEM3340 because the patents have expired, Curtis Electromusic still exists, and still makes its own chips for analog synth gear.

“Many of you who are active on synth forums have recently contacted us regarding another company’s claim of producing VCO chips that are the equivalent to the CEM3340 that was used in many legendary synthesizers,” Curtis said in a statement on Facebook.

“To avoid any confusion, please know that there is only one manufacturer of the authentic CEM3340 designed by my late husband, Doug Curtis. Any claims, use of this product designation, and use of the name Curtis Electromusic by other companies are made without permission from OnChip Systems (our current company name) or the Curtis Family.

“As much as Doug would be humbled and so very happy about the legacy his products enjoy, we can assure you that as a person of the highest integrity he would be deeply saddened by the attempt of others to trade on his name and to make unsubstantiated claims of equivalency to his original inventions.”

Benringer’s parent company Music Group has been making chips through its Coolaudio subsidiary for 17 years, and as Uli Behringer has noted, its products have also been used by Dave Smith Instruments and Elektron to make their own gear.

“The general rule and the law clearly describe that technology is free for everyone to use, provided it is not protected,” Behringer said in defense of synth cloning earlier this month. “You may have a different personal view, but that’s how our society and every industry works – again why the law has been designed the way it is.”

Behringer has said that he wants to clone the Minimoog, ARP 2600 and OSCar, with a replica Oberheim OB-Xa also looking likely. However, it could be a while before they come to market – the company’s recent DeepMind 12 synth took over three years to develop. [via Synthtopia]

Read next: 8 classic synths that are crying out to be reissued



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