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Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

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H72572 000000000
Product Price $1,999.00
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The Tempest by Dave Smith Instruments combines authentic analog and digital synthesis with an intuitive interface, 16 velocity/pressure-sensitive pad...Click To Read More About This Product

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The first true analog drum machine for 2011 and beyond!

The Tempest by Dave Smith Instruments combines authentic analog and digital synthesis with an intuitive interface, 16 velocity/pressure-sensitive pads, and a powerful sequencer. It's an instrument clearly meant to extend the capabilities and expand the imaginative reach of beat-oriented musicians everywhere. Now it comes with a new operating system for as well as entirely new internal sounds, beats, and projects. The new version, OS 1.4, ships with newly purchased instruments and is also available for download from the company's website for users wishing to upgrade instruments with older versions of the OS.

Each of the 6 analog voices has 2 analog oscillators plus 2 digital oscillators (with a large bank of included samples), Dave's classic analog low-pass filter with audio-rate modulation, an additional high-pass filter, analog VCA with feedback, 5 envelopes, 2 LFOs, an extraordinary variety of analog modulation routings, and stunning sonic quality, warmth and punch. Although optimized for drum sounds, it excels at tuned sounds as well, and even doubles as a 6-voice analog synth. In addition to the 6 direct voice outputs, there are stereo mix outputs and phones outputs, plus 2 inputs for foot switches or expression pedals, MIDI in/out and USB.

The performance-oriented operating system, 90 panel controls, and bright 256 x 64 OLED display work together to provide a tightly integrated, non-stop workflow: record a drumbeat in real-time, switch to another drumbeat and use the lit pads to record it using step programming, switch to another drumbeat and record tuned keyboard parts, use the 2 touch controllers to to record real-time note or beat-wide parameter animations, use the generous sound controls to edit any of the drum sounds, tweak the analog effects or drum mix, arrange beats in real time and record the live arrangement into a song, enter/exit Song mode and much more, all without ever stopping play.

16 pressure- and velocity-sensitive lit pads are arranged in a 2x8 configuration, providing intuitive access to all your fingers and providing the ideal compromise between the popular 4x4 pad arrangement (popular for real time programming ) and 1x16 arrangement (popular for step programming) because Tempest does both. The pads can be used to play 32 drum sounds (2 banks), mute/unmute the 32 sounds on playback, play and arrange 16 beats in real time, play one sound at 16 tunings (in a variety of scales) or 16 velocities, or as 16 time steps for step programming. The ROLL button permits creating drum rolls or repeated groove patterns by varying pad pressure as the beat records, and doubles as a momemtary "stutter" effect when the pads are assigned to play beats. Use the Sustain button on tuned parts like a keyboard's Sustain pedal, or to choke drum sounds or drumbeats when the pad is released.

Two 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. For example, record simultaneous filter frequency, tuning, envelope decay and pan changes for each note, or control similar parameters affecting the entire beat.

A variety of unique effects are provided while maintaining a pure analog signal path: 1) Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix, 2) beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer, and 3) a beat-synced "stutter" effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat on demand.

The degree of swing timing can be adjusted in real time during playback. Roger used his entire bag of tricks to make the swing sound very human and natural.

Co-developed by Dave Smith and noted instrument designer Roger Linn, Tempest has been embraced by musicians from a wide range of genres for both live performance and studio recording. "The new OS adds several powerful new features to an already powerful instrument," said Smith. "And we've enlisted the talents of some heavy-hitting sound and beat designers to come up with a extensive amount of new content that's not only fresh and inspiring, but also versatile." The new content takes advantage of the new OS features and was over a year in the making.

Increased sequence length (up to 128 sixteenth notes, or 8 measures of 4/4)Arpeggiation
New modal scales
Free-running LFOs
Compressor envelope controls
Quantize disable
928 new factory sounds, 64 new beats, and 16 new projects

The fat sounds of the past meet the digital future.

15.4"L x 9"W x 2.5"H
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Dave Smith InstrumentsTempest

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Reviewed by 4 customers

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(12 of 13 customers found this review helpful)


Powerful, Easy to Use, Worth Every Penny

By Johnny Bones

from Torrance, CA

About Me Experienced


  • Easy To Use
  • Functional
  • Fun to Jam With
  • Good Quality
  • HUGE bass sounds
  • Made in USA


    Best Uses

      Comments about Dave Smith Instruments Tempest:

      I'm a guitar player first and foremost. So when I'm looking at investing [$] for a piece of gear that's not directly guitar related I usually spend a fair amount of time "thinking about it" before pulling the trigger. I spent some time watching videos on Youtube. As of this writing, there isn't much out there that impressed me. But there were a few videos that gave me a hint of what these machines are capable of. I also downloaded and read through the manual completely. The manual convinced me it was definitely a powerful machine worthy of it's price tag. Once I got it I was amazed how intuitive it is to operate. As others have said it's very well thought out. I spend hours playing with it and the more time I spend with it the more attached to it I become. It's really FUN to jam with. There's also the "cool factor" with all the lights that flash as it's playing. The sounds you can produce are superb. Deep thumping throbbing bass. And there seems to be no end to the tweaking you can do to generate a very wide variety of sounds. I don't see myself outgrowing this machine. At one time I was considering getting an Akai MPC. But after a very short time trudging through the dense manual I decided I have better things to do with my valuable time. MPC's are WAY too complicated for my taste. The Tempest is very deep but it's also approachable from day one. That's the way I like it when we're talking about a musical instrument. Having to constantly refer to a manual has a way of causing inspiration to evaporate if you know what I mean. Things like that tend to collect dust and eventually get sold off if they even survive the return period. Dave Smith and Roger Linn have created a monster of a drum machine that's destined to become a classic and probably collectible. I have no doubt these machines can hold up for 20 or 30 years or more. It's very solidly built and has some heft to it. At the same time it's a manageable size. I play with it sitting on my lap. Finally, I love the fact that these machines are made right here in the USA. That's becoming such a rare thing these days. I really do feel it was money well spent. Next on my list is a Prophet 08!

      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)


      The Tempest

      By Nate OnEarth

      from Alaska

      Comments about Dave Smith Instruments Tempest:

      I have been reading about this synth since its first hints in the music media. I can't say enough on the topic of appreciation for this instrument. It was projected to be something truly inspirational in this time period. It has surpassed all my expectations. Best investment I have made so far in my musical experience.
      This drum machine has everything you need and more to create interesting and original sounds, beats and songs. If you are serious about making original music, you need a tempest.
      Everything about this synthesizer is well thought out, well laid out and perfectly implimented for non-stop creative flow. Two of the world's most influencial minds behind what has become moder day music production have thrown together ever trick in the bag to creat a masterpiece of equipment. Every aspect of this machine is made to last. You get nothing short of what you pay for in quality.
      Considering the fact that this "drum machine" also doubles as a six voice polyphonic ANALOG synthesizer... in 2012. Why is this even a question?

      (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


      Really Cool

      By channelite

      from Las Vegas, NV

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Verified Buyer


      • Easy To Use
      • Functional
      • Good Quality
      • Improves Sound


      • Unpleasant Shipping

      Best Uses

      • Composing

      Comments about Dave Smith Instruments Tempest:

      Sounds awesome. It's going to take some time to learn this machine. It's really fun discovering what it can do and also not having to use a computer to make music.

      Side note to potential buyers, ask Muscian's Freind to double box the unit. They ship it in the manufactor's box. Mine box was half open when it arrived because it didn't have enough tape on it. UPS was not gentle with it. For the price of this machine, ask and if necessary, pay extra to have them double box it.

      (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)



      By mattjcrane

      from mclean, va

      About Me Professional Musician

      Comments about Dave Smith Instruments Tempest:

      I got this with my bandmate but he is the main one using it however i thought i would comment on it. First off the tempest is amazing. It is way more than just a drum machine and I'm not just saying that because dave smith and roger lynn say it I'm saying it because its true. It is not hard to use once you get the hang of it and you can step record mute tweak and all of that. It has a lot of balls to it. There is no other piece of gear like it on planet earth. It doesn't have sampling but that is okay it doesn't loose any points for that. There are great drum machines for that. This thing gives you the edge that is perfect for electronic music. It is a hard beast to tame but at the same time very powerful and inspiring and easy. Hard to explain. I think if you want a true instrument than i highly recommend this. It is worth every penny. If you want a typical drum machine don't get this because this is far from typical. This is an alien drum machine/synth from not one genius but two geniuses! It is so powerful you could make an entire track with just the tempest and no other gear and it would feel fulfilling. Its almost like an analog workstation. It begs to be played hands on and tweaked and improvised. I won't get into all the features but if you are an experimental electronic musician who wants one of the best instruments of all time i highly recommend this. There are great youtube videos out there on this but you know as well as i do nothing is like having one in front of your face. Even if it took a year or 5 years to master it would be worth it. Think how long people take to master guitars and violins so this instrument is no different. An excellent investment for your music. It will speak to your soul. And read other reviews on it and I'm sure many people will tell you how great this is. Good luck to your music whoever might be reading this and if you can't afford the tempest there is still plenty of great gear out there and you might want to consider the korg vocal series if you want a budget drum machine that is also tweak able. Infact i see no reason not to get both but than again i am a gear junky.

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