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All user reviews for the Dave Smith Instruments Tetra

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Average Score:4.4( 4.4/5 based on 6 reviews )
 4 reviews67 %
 2 reviews33 %
Value For Money : Excellent
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  • 08/23/10Dave Smith Instruments Tetra Review

    Dave Smith Instruments Tetra Review - A Tiny Devil for the Road!

    The Tetra hosts four Mopho voices in an extremely compact housing, meaning you get an analog polyphonic, programmable and a very affordable synth. A closer look...

Users reviews

sw80's review"4 voice polyphonic synth "

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra
The Dave Smiths Instruments tetra is a small portable desktop synth, it has 128 programs and comes with software for Mac and PC. It has 2 oscillators and a 100 percent analog signal path on this 4 voice analog synth. This unit is not rack able but its so small and portable that you would not want to rack it, you can pretty much take it anywhere with you. I think it only weighs about a 1 pound and is small enough to fit into any gig bag.


The manual is easy to navigate through and to understand, it comes with a wall power supply too. There are no digital ins or digital outs on this unit it is completely analog. There are also no effects, which it would have been nice to have some on board effects so you wouldn’t have to route it through your DAW to get to them.


It comes with 500 plus presets , some of which are pretty good, and some that are pretty simple and basic. It does have an arpeggiator and a simple MIDI step sequencer. The 4 voice polyphonic synth on the Tetra makes it an amazing value for this unit to cost under 900 dollars. Generally an analog synth with 4 voice polyphonic synth will cost you over a grand easily.


The workflow of the Tetra is pretty cool, it’s a simple layout and easy to work with and to understand. It wont take long for you to understand this unit because all of the knobs are labeled so you can see what you are doing right on the board. The software with PC or Mac’s is pretty cool, but it does not seem to be very stable. I have had it crash on me several times and I kept thinking it was some sort of a driver issue but never really figured it out. My favorite part of the Tetras is that it has a combination mode that allows you to take up to 4 different programs and put them together to get the ultimate sound. It is worth the 850.00 dollars If you ask me.

yoTrakkz's review"Pretty expensive but worth it"

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra

The Tetra by Dave Smith, this thing is powerful Forget the fact that Dave Smith is responsible for Sequential Circuits Pro One & Pro 5, or the "Father of MIDI" or for the first computer based synthesizer, or the Korg Wavestation.The synths he has been cranking out the past decade have been damned near unbelievable.


The signal path is 100% Analog. What that means is there is no digital conversion of the audio signal path. The oscillators are DCO which stands for Digitally Controlled Oscillators. Even though they are digitally controlled, they are still analog just like the standard VCO's (Voltage Controlled Oscillators).


The difference is DCO's are digitally fired by electronic pulses that drive the oscillator and generate tone, where as VCO's are fired by capacitors, which, over time will not hold a charge as well as it did when it was new and cause the oscillators to drift out of tune and require regular maintenance to keep in tune. This actually gives the Tetra a leg up compared to some other analog synths.


Overall, It's biggest downfall is the interface, but, this is of course what keeps the cost down. On analog synths, the keys can make up a large part of the cost of the synth. But, if you get the SoundTower Editor, it is easy to access all of the features on the computer, which this thing has a ton of! But, if you absolutely need hands on control, just get a DSI Mopho Keyboard Synth and polychain it with the Tetra. Not only do you now have a 5 voice Polyphonic synth, but the Mopho becomes the control surface for the Tetra! The editor has a few bugs, but nothing that you can't work around, and I'm sure this stuff will get ironed out as the product matures. Otherwise, I'm in love. The only thing I'd want more is a keyboard version!

Anonymous 's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" TOP"

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra
All is said below about the features.
I use it on raw logic while waiting for my compressor and my charisma lexicon fx box.


Grip super simple, everything was super thoughtful congratulations dave smith!


I wanted an opinion mainly left to talk about her, because after hesitating for a long time on the choice of a poly synth I must say that I made the right choice ...
I wanted to make a synth techno (Drumcode / older.8 ...) and this is a killer for this style!
The lead can be both aggressive as well mild, fx are terrible, you can make tablecloths completely twisted and the bass is not bad at all especially thanks to its Arpeg that is doing very well, indeed I ' also have a moog for bass but I prefer some sound in the lower (more accurate but less powerful).


I use it for two days and it is very inspiring, it's simple let me start with my track!
For those who love his broad, strong and not afraid of a little grind their machines I advice you as to the price hard to beat ... I also dropped little by little all my plug gradually and as I invested in analog, then it's a matter of taste I guess, but there's no picture me I prefer 100 times a little synth as tetra vst that all I could have (diva, massive, absynth, impOSCar, Rob Papen ...)
Next purchase a small SH 101 and after I stop!

ThisIsTheSky's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra
Analog synthesizer small table with four voices. Possibility to connect to a second Tetra, a Mopho or Prophet to increase his capacity polyphonic.


The possibilities of synthesis are complex, but the programming architecture is relatively simple for anyone with the knowledge required for analog synthesis. The synthesizer can be programmed directly from its eight knobs board (with submenus sometimes a little difficult to be sure), since a master MIDI control surface with (the solution I use most) or from the publisher software via a programming cable usb.Pour more complex, especially those including step sequences, the computer solution is strongly recommended.


The sound is the Mopho a clear analogue with fat and more polyphony. I used to sample the Mopho to make polyphonic, where the magic happens immediately when you turn the synthesizer. The sound is broad and far richer than most VST / AU, or to synthesize virtual analog synthesis. For me, several plug-ins become instantly obsolete with the synthesizer.


- Analog sound
- Stability
- Hardware
- The little room he uses studio space in my already saturated
- Polyphony
- The complexity of patches that can be programmed
- Unbeatable price!

- Four-voice polyphony (only!) is that you quickly get there

I hesitated a Prophet 08 but the small price of Tetra, the prospects that the synthesizer did not take too much space in my studio attracted me to him. I already have a Mopho and other analog monophonic (Moog Voyager, Novation Bass Station, Evolver). Real analog remain a pleasure, and at this price point and polyphony, frankly, yes I would do this choice. I'm going to probably buy me a second to double the polyphony. I have time ...

spiderjerusalem's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra
Polyphonic analog synth 4 votes, 5 outputs, MIDI, USB. Very small, with 2 Osc analos (COD), a generator of noise, feedback, and two Sub Osc, 3 envelopes, 4 LFOs, 4 Modulations with twenty and thirty departure arrived, Unison Detune, Pass Filters low ... possibility is very rich and modulation level.


Everything is simple enough, personally I do not use comp and I am doing really well in the sub-menus, I found that CIOs are much nicer to navigate than many other bikes have matrices and submenus.


So we enter the big subject: obviously you do not choose this synth for its interface, although its size and bulk are a singular advantage: it is as big as a Moogerfooger home that you know. In short, its level is very broad. Initially, it actually sounds a little soft and goes everywhere. Let's be clear: this indolence is due in part to the setting: the major part of the presets are set to release a profusion of attacks and has picked it up. So it's very relative. After some regulation of adsr, we see that it can be quite nervous. The sound is quite impressive. It does not sound trivial, it has real presence. Derived from the Prophet 8, half of polyphony, he added 2 subs that can magnify the sound, but that requires fine tuning if it is the destruction of the sign - I resumed analysis by KB Pro8 UK: "Warm, fat , ball-sy, earth-shaking sound "... add 2 subs and it's war! The white noise generator is quite creamy, pleasant and determined, he adds a very nice grain, reminiscent of the vintage. He also has a function that simulates the tonal variations, such as old analos unstable. Not negligible. If it sounds pretty sweet in appearance, as soon as you look at his feedback, we arrive at sound very thick, sturdy and not easy to manage. In short, the AC in life.

The filter is very interesting. Indeed, the filter ISD body, it sounds very strangely. Self oscillation is not unpleasant, AC whistles quite musical. 2-pole, its resonance is very subtle, at 24, it starts to severely attack. Here too, the presets are all a generally "amount" fairly high, which prevents brewing across the spectrum of this filter, but once settled, all that sounds huge.

So, all this combined gives a machine capable of much. For leads, with the subs, sync, and resonant filters, we arrive at good results. The webs, with huge release and consequent modulation capabilities are very nice. And for the bass, you get some excellent results. Level below, no worries, the filter can make sounds that beats the cortex. For very low fat, it needs, however, more work. We quickly had a sound very dirty, unmanageable, and on this point, it may be less effective than a Moog LP. But it is not ridiculous, not even at all. Concerrnant the famous filterbleed: yes, it exists. on the other hand it does not bother me at all. I have machines that have other defects, and this one is so nice compared to a buzz, for example. In addition, as demonstrated by some connoisseurs, the filterbleed exists in many other renowned manufacturers (modulaire. ..) and you can even hear one on a Model D on a demo comparing it to ... prophet8 (!!), as what, even in the "legend" there may be defects ...


I bought it at its output, after having long tried in a small shop of his fans, not far from where it was designed (Robot Speak). For its price ($ 800) is offering an excellent synth polyphony, without forgetting that it is chainable with other machines using the same engine (Prophet, Mopho tetra).

I have had an opportunity to play extensively test different machines or analog: Six Track Jupiter6, MicroPreset, BassStation, Evolver, Little Phatty ... We often talk about CIOs as machine input ranges: While prices are very attractive to CIOs (and again, everything is relative, I can not afford to Snobbs 800 $!!!!!), but Smith economies in production: no keyboards, no buttons in all directions ... It create machines affordable without sacrificing quality so far. Admittedly, the knobs are far from memorable, but for the price offer was still a beast! A major source of savings, and therefore critical on this engine is the lack of multi-mode filter. I think CIOs to play a card very interesting: they have only a single filter for, indeed, a multi-mode would increase the price considerably, but the proposed filter has its own grain. It's probably better to propose a single filter that sounds rather a multimode only offers emulations-simple advice.

Now, compare to other machines, the Tetra suffers, in my opinion a bit too many of his faults (economic cf. The knobs, etc. ...) and its location "entry level" precisely, and we forget to compare the actual machine. ON criticized for not sound like a moog: it is, first, a perspective, because the face has a Voyager, I do not say, but face an LP, he defends well. And do not forget that if it does not sound as fat they Moog, it's the only thing we can blame him in such a comparison. In contrast, for 500 € less than LP, there is a quantity of something that he will never do. (Also specify that some believe that the sound is more moog finding in the LP than in travel that is far from the model back D. ..)

Remember that the Tetra is a derivative of Prophet8 and it inherits the same engine noise: the same engine that has received numerous awards, highly esteemed by professionals. A test in KB (France) showed that it was not ridiculous in the face of popular vintage, especially opposite the Oberheim. In Sound On Sound (UK), Tetra is seen as a synth incredibly rich, and that its only current competitor is the Code4 SE ... which is 4 times its price.
Finally, some believe that nothing beats a andromeda, but all tests seriously agree that it sounds much less than analog Prophet. At that price, it makes the expensive "routing capabilities." As well take a micron and a Moogerfooger! (Irony not worth Chouin).

In short, the game of comparison, the Tetra is often singled out, knowing that we can see in these comparisons (I do not specifically mean ISD) has almost everything and its opposite! But realistically, this synth is a machine that has very large potential, which has a real grain, very strange, due to his very personal filter, but also capacity building, research of its large enough. Not as a hack evolver, and probably not as much as a androgen or a Metasonix (dream!), But the field of experimentation is already so vast ...
In short, at this price, even if it was more expensive, it's serious, that sounds really (see the press notice ...). And of course, it is analog, with the true grain seems to cover all possible sound spectrum, where a VA is much drier, less extensive, less hot, less crazy .... And nothing but the first preset-Wagneriana gives all-important sound of Tetra ... So when you put your hands in, it is a treat!

C13303's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra
A good concept, 4 tilt (including 2 subs), 4 channels playable separately or in harmony, for such a small boitieur is enormous. Its analog (oven-voice multitimbral analog Synthesizer), only 4 controls Front: cutoff, reso, attack and decay / release. For the rest, the sub menu with 4 wheels (choose 4 params to control in front).

Indeed, without the utility, it's still unthinkable to use the monster. The idea is the stuff of his sounds and patches (you can even sequencer inside!) And after a machine is highly mobile, top to live!


Problem: The utility is buggy, incomplete firmware and some features are still inaccessible! A shame. Obviously it will surely be corrected, but here is the synth is worth a certain price and you can not use it completely.
Very disappointed by this aspect!

This causes me desync, bugs (note remaining engaged). Height: publisher "pro" pay is not available but it says it works better (according to the list of pro features of this producer I have no printing).
Distrust, be ready to geek out for you.


The sounds are very good. At first I was disappointed but at heart he is very powerful, it can make beautiful sounds like shit.
Feedback is not my cup of tea but those who seek aggressive sounds are also served. The modular side patchable (via digital editor) opens possibilities crazy.


It's been two months, I have not tried others in the genre (Would there what? The modular micro?)

- The 4 votes! Separable or not!
- Small size
- Sounds pretty good
I bade:
- The publisher of m ***** incomplete charge, which limits the machine (I do not understand that Dave Smith reacts no more than that)
- Bugs and all that implies
Despite his galleys it's still a very good machine, in practice, once a little subdued. I would do without doubt the choice because I have not tested yet equivalent, but if I had to I would see the north side home, although I'm scared of its coldest.