Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest is a new analog/digital drum machine/synth hybrid that Dave Smith (known for Sequential Circuits) designed with Roger Linn (Linn Drum, MPC 60).
I like the layout and the features. The fact that you have direct access to many of the parameters via various knobs allows you to modulate the sounds and beat patterns on the fly. The included samples were supplies by Fxpansion and Goldbaby. It doesn't allow you to load your own samples but it was implied that feature will be in a later generation/update of the Tempest. If it can trigger and manipulate external sounds via Midi it would make a great controller.

"Tempest is a collaboration between Smith and longtime friend and fellow instrument designer Roger Linn. Though they've consulted with each other on past projects, Tempest marks the first time a product will carry both the Dave Smith Instruments and Roger Linn Design logos."
"The design of Tempest reflects a rethinking of what a drum machine needs to be in the current era. It's not so much a drum machine as a new musical performance instrument for the creation, manipulation, and arrangement of beat-oriented music, with an intuitive and efficient use of human gestures."

  • 16 pressure- and velocity-sensitive backlit drum trigger pads in an 8 x 2 matrix
  • 6 analog voices each with 2 analog oscillators and 2 digital oscillators loaded with a large bank of included samples
  • Modulation path includes Dave Smith's classic analog lowpass filter with audio-rate modulation, highpass filter, analog VCA with feedback, 5 envelopes, 2 LFOs, and an extraordinary variety of analog modulation routing options
  • Doubles as a 6-voice analog synth
  • 6 direct voice outputs plus stereo mix outputs, headphones outputs, 
  • 2 inputs for foot switches or expression pedals
  • MIDI in/out
  • USB
  • 90 panel controls
  • Bright 256 x 64 OLED display
  • Realtime and step recording
  • ROLL button permits creating drum rolls or repeated groove patterns by varying pad pressure as the beat records
  • ROLL button doubles as a momemtary "stutter" effect when the pads are assigned to play beats. Sustain button holds the note of tuned parts (like a keyboard's Sustain pedal) or to choke drum sounds or drumbeats when the pad is released
  • 2 pressure- and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers permit real-time recording of note or beat-wide sound parameter changes into the drumbeat as you play
  • A variety of unique effects: 
  • Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix
  • Beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer
  • A beat-synced "stutter" effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat on demand
  • Adjustable swing timing with realtime control
Dimensions: 15.4" L x 9" W x 2.5" H

Here's a video guide of the Tempest featuring Roger Linn.

$1999 at Sweetwater Sound.

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