Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roger Linn and Dave Smith Team Up for the Tempest

As you're all probably well aware, today is the first day of the winter NAMM show. I'm not going to report every tidbit out there, as Matrixsynth is already doing an excellent job of that, but when I find something I think is particularly notable, I'll share it here.

With that out of the way, a month or so back, rumors started leaking that Dave Smith would be releasing a new product. People speculated it might be a keyboard version of the Tetra, or some sort of expanded Mopho. Then someone connected to DSI chimed in on Gearslutz indicating that those products would be "boring" - what they were releasing was something much more exciting. We now know that new product is the Tempest analog drum machine, a joint venture with Roger Linn.

Here are the specs:

Six analog voices, each with two analog oscillators and two digital oscillators provide deep, rich sound capabilities.
Dave’s lowpass filter, a new highpass filter, analog VCA (voltage-controlled amplifier) with feedback, five envelopes, two LFOs, various analog modulation routings.
In addition to percussion, you can tune sounds and play scales from the pads, or connect a MIDI keyboard and use it as a 6-voice analog keyboard synth.
There’s a small display – 256×64 OLED – but onboard controls are designed for real-time music making (a topic Roger covered with me in more detail, along with his philosophy for how to make drum machines instruments).
2×8 pads, each pressure- and velocity-sensing. Roll function, which doubles as “stutter” when a beat is assigned to a pad.
Two touch sliders, each with pressure sensitivity, for more real-time control.
Pure analog signal path, but without skimping on effects – stereo analog compressor and distortion, beat synced delay that actually uses note effects, and beat-synced stutter.
• Real-time swing controls.

This is great news for everyone who was upset to hear the previously-planned Boom-Chik drum machine ended up being abandoned. The downside? Price is rumored to be $2,000. While I don't doubt it's a great product, it remains to be seen if people in the age of cheap software will be willing to drop that kind of coin on a drum machine, analog or not. What do you think?


krell said...

Looks like an awesome drum machine, but the price is a bit steep. If it was <1.5k it'd be tempting but 2k puts it beyond the curious amateur I'm afraid...

Psychepoppet said...

I would like to find a modern piece of gear that is sub $2k that could replace my computer as a sequencer for a live setup and act as a drum machine. If this can do that then I'm in.