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yoTrakkz 10/11/2011

Dave Smith Instruments Tetra : yoTrakkz's user review

« Pretty expensive but worth it »

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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!