Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Tempest, Drum Machine from Dave Smith Instruments.

ThisIsTheSky 12/31/2011

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest : ThisIsTheSky's user review

« A very sleek drum »

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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.