Dave Smith Instruments – or DSI for brevity’s sake – produces some of the most sought-after analogue synthesis on the planet. With a keen sense of what players need coupled with an absolutely brilliant blend of classic tone construction and brand new sound-scape thinking, it’s hard not to be just a little bit in love with them.
The Tetra has particularly being getting attention, providing four voices of analogue synthesis that can be taken through both MIDI and USB connectivity, and allowing users access to presets from the much-lauded Prophet 08 and Mopho as well as more besides. For true analogue sound that’s easily accessible it’s hard to find better.
The Prophet 08 certainly has the most clout across the DSI range, a serious yet affordable polysynth with true analogue sound that makes good use of Curtis low pass filters to drive tones that all at once recall the past and sound a lot like the future too. That’s especially due to the digital possibilities afforded here, allowing you to edit and tweak everything in real-time thanks to a huge array of live performance controls that sit above the key bed (if indeed you plump for the keyboard option).
The Mopho – which has module and keyboard variants – is actually based on a single-voiced version of the Prophet, with the addition of sub-octave generators to really bring out the best of your bass, and external audio input options for processing and mangling whichever sounds you like straight through this brightly-coloured gem.
The Dave Smith Evolver is also mono, and packs four oscillators into one analogue shell, allowing for ridiculously huge tonality that’s edited by a miscellany of control knobs. Digital integration allows you to sync up LFO, step and delay, letting you put some compositional reigns on your sonic architecture.
Finally, the Tempest brings analogue drum machine workflow into play, allowing you to record, step, add tuned keys and edit your sounds all via a six-voice operating system that’s presided over by 90 panel controls. Once you’ve gotten used to the setup you’ll be firing away with touch controls and knobs that will see you create intricate beat work in minutes.