Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Tempest, Drum Machine from Dave Smith Instruments.

zap32 08/14/2012

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest : zap32's user review

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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.