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sw80 10/11/2012

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra : sw80's user review

« 4 voice polyphonic synth  »

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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.