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Dave Smith Instruments today introduced Tempest, a new analog drum machine, at the 2011 NAMM Show. Tempest is a collaboration between Smith and longtime friend and fellow instrument designer Roger Linn. Though they've consulted with each other on past projects, Tempest marks the first time a product will carry both the Dave Smith Instruments and Roger Linn Design logos. "If you're going to make a drum machine, who better to have in your corner than Roger Linn?" said Smith, referring to Linn's legacy as inventor of the digital drum machine.
Though Smith is also responsible for some fine drum machines—most notably Sequential's DrumTraks and Studio 440—Tempest is his first to utilize analog synthesis to generate the sounds. "We've designed a very flexible new synth voice for Tempest," said Smith. Linn added, "The design of Tempest reflects a rethinking of what a drum machine needs to be in the current era. It's not so much a drum machine as a new musical performance instrument for the creation, manipulation, and arrangement of beat-oriented music, with an intuitive and efficient use of human gestures."
Tempest's 16 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads are arranged in an 8 x 2 array to facilitate both real-time and step entry of beats. Two pressure- and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers provide a unique new method of performance and control.
"We're very excited about Tempest," said Smith. "It's an instrument with a lot of personality and it's great fun to play. It has been a long time since there has been anything new in the drum machine world."
Summary of Features
Whether you want to tweak sounds in the studio, or perform live with 16 velocity-sensitive pads and 90 realtime controls, this is the drum machine for you. The back-lit drum pads are arranged in a convenient 8 x 2 matrix, so you can use them for live sound triggering or for step programming. In fact, the Tempest is so powerful, that every beat can have an entirely different set of parameters and completely different sounds.
Each of the Tempest's six analog voices has two analog oscillators plus two digital oscillators. It also comes with a massive bank of included samples, so you start off with plenty of sounds to manipulate and play with. Speaking of manipulations, the Tempest includes a VCA with feedback, five envelopes, two LFOs, and incredibly flexible modulation routings. You also get complete access to analog effects and processors, including compression and tube-style saturation/distortion. A large graphic display surrounded by dynamic function controls are makes routing and sound editing easy.
What's more, the Tempest also has excellent hands-on controls, including dedicated knobs for every common synthesis parameter, and two position-sensitive slide controllers, which are great for modulating effects parameters. If you've been dreaming of drum machine that gives you the best of analog and digital synthesis, you absolutely need to pick up a Dave Smith Instruments Tempest!