Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Tempest, Drum Machine from Dave Smith Instruments.

All user reviews for the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

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Average Score:3.8( 3.8/5 based on 11 reviews )
 4 reviews36 %
 2 reviews18 %
 1 user review9 %
 1 user review9 %
 1 user review9 %
Audience: Anyone Value For Money : Poor
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djqbert's review"Sucks There's No Sampling"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
How they gonna make a really dope drum machine, which it is, but have no sampling capability? Really wack for that one... There's some really cool features for what drums are already on there, but I want to throw my own sounds in there to use those features, and I can't, so I gave it away. Maybe they'll make a newer version? Someone even told me they will make an update so that we can use our own sounds in the future... I really hope so, because this thing is great for what it is... but I just want more! I also noticed the beats to be just a little thin sounding... but I guess you can just EQ them after the fact.

Tom97531's review"Disappointing"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
You can read the full specs at the manufacturer's official website.


Using it demands some time to get familiar with it, it's a complex and powerful synth, as well as a sequencer.
Editing sounds is rather pleasant, you rarely have to push 4 buttons at the same time to do things.
However, the sequencer is really limited. I have more often screamed in rage than in joy because I have managed to pull an impossible trick with Maschine... There are no undos on the Tempest, so there you are 20 minutes tweaking a pattern, make a bad turn and you can kiss your pattern bye-bye...


This is its only strength. On the model I had, one of the voices always produced sound (a triangle, I think) even if all the oscillators were muted. No calibration ever helped resolve the problem.
As usual, I was not dazzled by the factory preset.
It has a polyphonic mode, in theory, because in practice the story looks completely different.... The internal sequencer doesn't record several notes at the same time. Envelopes reset to 0 every time you trigger a note. Try to make a nice pad with that...


I know I won't be making any new friends for this, but I think this unit is awful.
And I don't say that just because it obviously doesn't fit in my workflow, I don't judge it for that.

But I'll give you a warning: If you are used to the versatility of software programs (like I am to Maschine), you'll have a hard time, it's like going 20 years back in terms of usability. Maybe that's what you want, but I have found myself more often handicapped than stimulated by its limitations.

When I say that this unit is awful it's because it's full of bugs. It's been three years since it came out and there is still no stable OS version. So you find yourself having to choose a version that offers the best compromise in terms of possibilities and bugs. Indeed, not all functionalities mentioned are available on the synth, maybe with the next update (the free-running LFO, for instance)...
But worst of all is that when I tried to use it with my DAW, using the Tempest as a slave with MIDI clock, it wouldn't even sync to time. Sometimes I'd get variations of up to 10bpm. A drum machine that can't play in time... For $2000, that's stretching it way too far.
In my view, it's a product that isn't finished and I don't know how anybody would dare bring out a thing like this... They probably thought that, since all the problems are software-related, it's not that bad and they can always make up for them with updates... The problem is that the updates never come. Although I've heard rumors that development has resumed work... The same old never-ending story.

I can already hear fans of the Tempest telling me I didn't use it enough, I don't know how to use it right, it's a unit that has a steep learning curve, blablablabla.... I don't have anything against learning a new product or new concepts. But learning not to do certain things because the product might blow up in your hands... It's like using Windows 95. It's not learning, it's a waste of time.

JimboSpins's review"Online Community"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
The Dave Smith Instruments Tempest is an analog drum machine and synth. It cost almost 2 thousand dollars but is well worth the money considering all of the features you get with the Tempest. The Dave Smith Instruments Tempest has a bright LED display with real time recording. It does have adjustable swing timing, but the swing timing is not as good as the swing function of the AKAI models. The Tempest will connect with your computer via USB and it has MIDI in and MIDI out.


There are 6 analog voices on the Tempest, and each of them has 2 digital oscillators and 2 analog oscillators. The Tempest is fully loaded with a large bank of presets and preloaded samples. There are 16 pads that are pretty well built, but they are not as touch sensitive as I would have liked them to be. There are over 450 sounds on the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest. There are also, 8 TRS outputs and a headphone ¼ output; but the Dave Smiths Instruments Tempest does not have any inputs.


One of the pluses of using the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest is that there is an online community that you can tap into. You will be able to have all of your technical questions answered and exchange sounds with other users. Not too long after the Tempest came out, they came out with another driver update, So all of the drivers are currently very stable.


The quality of the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest is solid; it is well built and portable. I am happy that I have chosen to use the Tempest. The value for the price is decent, it does seem like it cost a little too much at times but you will find yourself using the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest very often once you purchase it. The manual will help you right away if you have any questions, and the communities of fellow users are available any time of the day!

zap32's review"Unique in it genre"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
The Tempest has a midi in and out, but right now only the midi in works, we'll see what the upcoming updates bring with themselves.

In terms of effects, there is a distortion section and a compressor, which works only on the master output, and there's a delay.

In terms of sound you have two digital oscillators with a high-quality sample library that can be edited at will, you can do a lot of things with it. Plus, you have a full-fledged synth (two VCO-VCA-VCFs) and ADSR and a digital LFO (to be confirmed)

There is no editing software for PC.

The sequencer is darn good with up to 64 steps, a 16-beat mode (16 patterns), 16 sounds allow you to tap the rhythm, like on an MPC, 16-beat step sequencer, 16 mutes, 16 tunings and 16 levels, like on an MPC. There is also an adjustable roll mode, a reverse mode and, obviously, two completely adjustable fx sliders that allow you to do heaps of things live, but also to record fader movements, although only for one sound at a time.


The usability is not bad at all, given the possibilities of the unit, but you often need to browse the menus. Accessing the sample of the two digital oscillators is no very handy either, you always need to press a pad to hear the sample, it can be long and exasperating.

Editing sounds poses no problems, it's great actually, and there are lots of parameters directly accessible with the pots of the Tempest but, once again, have to go through the menus, which is normal, given the possibilities!


The sounds are perfect for my music style (Dubstep), you might even think it was made for that! Only the kicks lack some punch but it's doable if you put yourself to the task, because the samples are just a plus, since the main strength of this drum machine is the synthesis section, it's a true 6-voice polyphonic synth.

The expression is very good and the workflow is worthy of an MPC.

The effects are terrific, the distortion is really thrashy, the compressor is effective, but not like a dedicated compressor, the delay is very good, too, and the fx sliders are really wicked.

I love everything in terms of sound, I have no complaints, it's very good.


I've been using it for 6 months and I can say that I could hardly do without it. This analog drum machine is unique in its genre and capable of creating a song by itself.

I have a jomox Xbase (I miss its kick!), a MAM ADX-1 and different grooveboxes (MC-909,electribes), but the Tempest plays in another league.

I like best the sequencer and the fx section, and least the access to the samples.

For me, its value for money is all right, given its possibilities, you only need to look at the prices of polyphonic synths.

And yes, I would buy it again without hesitation, now that the updates solved all the problems I had in the beginning. Thank you to PYm for his work and for being so active and accessible in the DSI forum, as well as to the Tempest community that shares their projects, which can be directly imported via sysex. Frankly speaking, it's really good. You need to test it, hear it, because it's a big investment. It has its own character and it doesn't sound like any other drum machine ─ and that, for me, is a great plus.

Deathkillaz's review

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
The features are available at the manufacturer's website, so it makes no sense to list them here.


Even if it has a good number of controls on the front panel, you still need to browse the menus to access the countless functions of Tempest, but that's almost inevitable unless you would like to have a giant and very expensive instrument. I do regret, however, that it doesn't have dedicated pots for envelope sustain and release without the need to use the shift function.

Editing sounds is easy if you are comfortable with the basics of sound synthesis. On the other hand, you do need to familiarize yourself with the editing modes (beat, pad, time step, mute, etc), especially to know which functions are available in the mode selected. It requires some adaptation time at first... But afterwards it all depends on your sound-design competencies.

The manual is clear, but the Tempest has evolved so much since it came out due to the numerous OS updates, that many functions are not listed. Although I'm sure DSI will provide updated manuals online.


The factory sounds available on the Tempest are basically based on samples, which is disappointing for an analog drum machine.
So you need to get dirty and create your own sounds to get the best out of it. In terms of architecture, the Tempest presents itself as a 6-voice synthesizer, so if you know how to quickly program analog drum machine sounds on a synth, it shouldn't pose much of a problem. By the way, I think it does a fine job as a polyphonic synth, too!


I've been using the Tempest for 4 months. I had previously an Elektron Machinedrum SPS1 MKII. The Tempest offers much more possibilities, but is still a bit less "robust," for the time being, because its OS is still in a very active development phase...
Nevertheless, I like it a lot and every OS update provides a handful of good things, allowing you to go further with the Tempest every time.
I had very good feelings about it the first time I used it to improvise, playing with the different Live controls, and I won't get rid of it.
If I had to, I'd buy it again!
Mr FILF05/02/2012

Mr FILF's review"Perfect!"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
The best. It doesn't lie on paper nor to the ears.
No editor, but is it really necessary?
I would've preferred a wider palette of preset analog sounds.


If you have some analog background, the creation process goes fast. It took me two evenings to create my first sound.
I have only consulted the manual when I get stuck in a particular point.
Editing sounds is incredible, it's its main strength.


The sound is perfect. I have Maschine and I'm spoiled in terms of sample quantities. I loved Its analog touch right from the start, it makes me smile just to mention it.
Picking the Tempest, is picking a product that meets your expectations.
For samples, go for Octotrack or Maschine. When it comes to analog, there is already a clear winner...


I've been using the Tempest for a week.
Here's the third song I've done with it (I'm limited to 16T while I await the update):
That will give you a glimpse of what it can do.

Here's another sound made solely with the Tempest - after one month of happy use.

I love almost everything to this day, because it meets my expectations. Which means sound design and songwriting without any pseudo-David-Guetta pretensions.
The only snag are the updates, which I must admit don't come that often. But when that gets worked out, this unit will become a reference in its genre.

Its value for money for a 6-voice analog synth is more than correct, despite some people being confused and trying to compare it to analog modeling.

Given my experience with it, would I buy it again? I don't have enough experience with it yet. I will update my review in due time.
I'm nevertheless a happy user while I await two updates that make me salivate.

Laurent0300's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
I'll spare you the technical diche which everyone can easily accder the DSI website


The gonomie, is my opinion not tip top but if we just used to tamper with a synth we found it quickly.
It comes out good stuff
It could not be otherwise with the chemistry between Dave Smith and Roger Linn.
Otherwise, the very great disappointment would t!


For those who love bitouiller a bit and think outside the box, there's potential in this Drumbox


yeah ......... nice!

chloelilou's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Prototype unfinished !!!!"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
450 sounds, but not import other sounds.
Very frequent Bug and the effects disappear!


Not really simple to use!
No Publisher! edition only 1/4 Time!
Manual in English only (and it almost 2000 Euros)


The sounds are cold and shallow! The edition is funny but Bad ..
This is not really a groove machine, but enjoyed an early experimental box that I repeat bug very often!
The demo songs are really ridiculous!


The biggest problem right now is that many important software functions are still available! For example, it is not possible to chain patterns together ...
For a "high end" tool that kind of gap is truly unacceptable. No visibility on the date of release of bug fixes and additions of the essential functions either .... DSI opts for the small business excuse, but shamelessly crosses boundaries of political correctness by offering for sale of products which are still at the prototype stage .... In a year or two the Tempest will probably a good machine that we can buy without fear of ending up in a deadlock as is the case now ...
This is also why I preferred to choose a Spectralis 2 which also suffers from software failures but at least offers a complete rhythm section, powerful and reliable ....

ThisIsTheSky's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)"A very sleek drum"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
Drum machines / analog synthesizer (with additional digital wavetables), six votes.

- Midi in / out, midi over USB (coming soon)

- 8 + headphone audio outputs, two expression pedal inputs

- Low Pass Filter with internal resonance, high-pass amplifier feedback, distortion, analog, analog compressor, analog envelopes and LFO.

- 16 rubber pads, two ribbons tactile effects, high quality LCD screen, knobs.

- Real-time programming and not (step sequencer sensbible to velocity), sequencer on the fly

For more details and photos, visit the Dave Smith Instruments


Tempest is very fine, with nice attention to detail finish. His pads are very nice to play and feel the whole instrument is excellent, it was designed by Roger Linn, the man behind the drum machines like the Roland R5 or Akai MPC 60, and this feels. Almost everything is in its proper place and easily and intuitively editable. Tempest makes the most of its LCD screen rather small, but very high quality.

The pads are top quality. I much prefer the pads of the Akai MPC series and MPD. For comparison, they are almost identical to those of NI Maschine, duty rubber and bright when pressed, but the instrument gives an impression of superior strength compared to the Native Instruments midi controller.

Editing sounds is relatively intuitive upon first use, but becomes really easy with a little practice.


I see Tempest primarily as an instrument of "sound design". The first two versions of the embedded OS is relatively poor in the bank's pre-programmed. We are here far from the software solutions like Geist, BPM and Maschine or huge sound libraries come with pre-chewed the product. Here, it is not enough to press "play" to be satisfied. Some demos embedded TMEM its rather poor.

Tempest features four oscillators per voice (voice polyphony simmultanées six), two analog oscillators (triangle, sawtooth up to the full extent of the squares), and two wavetable oscillators offering several hundred digital samples, which all the white noise, pink, green, etc.., classic TR-808, TR-909, LinnDrum, Simmons, and digital sound samples of all kinds, and wavetable derivatives Prophet 5V. These four oscillator can be combined together or used alone.

The subtraction circuit includes two analog filters with a low-pass resonant (switchable 2 or 4 poles), envelopes, LFO modulations or return amblification (Amp Feedback), a floor of analog distortion and compression stage analog (the latter two floors only on the master output, however). In other words, the sonic possibilities are endless!!

Purely analog sounds are clearly superior to those produced by a software simulator. They can range from enjoyable to tom-tom sounds more disconcerting imaginable.

The samples were embedded in 16-bit 44.1 kilos. But make no mistake these chiifres, they are all of excellent workmanship. The choice is not infinite as in a software sampler (and attention, we can not add their own samples !!!), but the restriction avoids the error, and the range is wide enough to allow the design sound just ready all possible. The drum samples are provided by FXpansion (Geist, Guru) and Goldbaby. I personally was surprised by the quality of return of samples shipped by Tempest. The analog circuitry makes digital samples better than any software for my taste (and hop a light tap filter and compression!)

This drum machine is not suitable for rendering realistic acoustic drum though. For this, the transition to specialized software (Toontrack, Addictive Drums, BFD2) is required. This instrument covers the history and current events of the drum, so focus more electro, pop, cold wave, hip hop, techno.

Experience Tempest can initially be quite disconcerting, in that its sounds are not banks in the state's current OS formatted as much as other software products. The list of embedded samples is not as comprehensive. It is not enough to press "play". Tempest is not ready to open the carton. You have to spend time for "designer" sound that we love, the range of possibilities is very large. Not being a software, Tempest does not benefit from the integration of plug-in delay, reverb and other effects of all kinds. on the other hand there are eight separate outputs to process his sound afterwards. Some sounds are analog rather disconcerting, in that they are so big and rich that they will require some control in order not to drown the whole rhythm. Tempest is an instrument that requires a degree of control and in this sense, not necessarily ideal for novice or lazy user.


I do not use it for a long time but I wanted to quickly publish a notice because the product is still new and I liked to read a few before you buy.

The best is still to go in the store to listen (something I have not done yet ;-))

I ocllectionné a lot of drum machine software and hardware in my life. This one is located in the firmament of the quie possible to st. It will probably show its age.

This product is very different from the popular Maschine from Native Instruments. Its sequencer is much better designed, and its purpose quite different in philosophy sound. Maschine offers software and other handling of samples galore, Tempest is a tool for analog sound design quality.

Tempest is also still under development. Free updates of the OS are coming. Perhaps it is wiser to be patient (I did not ;-))

I would return here in a few weeks if I feel that things are changing in my opinion.

Anonymous 's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" good machine .. forthcoming"

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
direct out / midi / pedal in / usb but no audio in.
saturation and compress only the general.
a lot of samples of plants are not many "preset" factory.
4 sequencer steps to 32T have made no measurements to quantify (for now)
no publisher (for now)


the first version of the OS was very limited (no PFL sound backup system so long) it's getting better with updates, but much remains to be done to make something really powerful. USB is not ACRIF, the undo not etc. .. promised many functions that are not there. we must look at this post to be an exhaustive list:
PYM is active on the forum it was he who developed the tempest for DSI. (Rather hefty the guy)
the sequencer is very effective in my opinion. can be programmed on the fly. in the last OS you can user to audition the sounds you want to load and it will be improved in order to be made during playback.
editing and sound management of the machine in general seems to me frankly efficient and well thought through on the screen. qq enough days and a good week to master the entire architecture (the MODPATH allocation of FX etc. ..)


I posted a lot of opinions conernant disappointing sound.
the machine has four generators. 2 analog and 2 digital oscilloscope. the two are used for digital noises and sample library. Excluding the samples are very very present constitution das tempest of sound. Personal m'ntéresse it does not. as an MPC or take samples for kontakt. Especially since we can not import your samples.

I thought that until the developer (pym) make some pure analog sound. He promises to release a preset bank KD SD 100% analog. the first I've heard are really good and can use the functions of the tempest without FX depitch specific sample or loss of transients.

I made some progress let envbisager also is a very good analog machine. for the live performance pad FX are very powerful and provide world completely barred and sometimes much better than the original beat. it's very creative.

the compressor and distortion have no control (except more or less) but work very well. architecture is really about brooms and 5 and the MODPATH can do many things in analog. the only thing to regret is not being able to choose to send the osc to the LP or HP. forcing the two filters are in series. it would have been interesting to have the samples in the HP to avoid loading down the spectrum between analog and samples.

So I changed my mind and I'll use more and more this machine by adding sound personal because those factory does not suit me.
But it is a "risk" for DSI released a box "analog" when all the basic presets are not: S is perhaps why PYM is quite active on the issue and proposed out "rapidly" a bank analog (the minimum is not it?)

Another cool thing is exactly what pym. a particularly good guy in his programing and that is more active on the forum and meet everyone at the same time actively developing for the tempest. he took and discusses every sense of the forumers which is very good.


I never liked you travel with a laptop to make ziq. Once back because an often should redo everything so the vsti and the mixed sound to the headset sounds rotten. but I will go well with the tempest because it is fun to program for both the sequencer for sound.