Sometimes it’s worth a reminder that electronic music isn’t all about how much you can do – and some good old hardware synth action is a good way to do it. Continue Reading
Over at NAMM we decided that we’d leave product demonstrations and the like to the million other sites that do them – especially seeing as we like to do our reviews in house where we can really get the best quality and a truly objective opinion (trade shows are loud!) – so instead I decided to interview a few of who we consider the key players in the electronic music manufacturing industry. Dave Smith is definitely one of those guys, so we had a chat with him about all things Tempest – the new drum machine from Dave Smith Instruments and Roger Linn Design. Take a look!
the lineage of this machine, the combined calibre of Roger Linn and Dave Smith, is not something to be sniffed at
It looks really intuitive, has an excellent screen, and of course sounds great. The $2000 price tag may put it out of the reach of many of you guys, but the lineage of this machine, the combined calibre of Roger Linn and Dave Smith, is not something to be sniffed at. We’re hoping to get a review unit in the Oh Drat studio so that we can give you the real heads up and make some great videos too, so watch this space…
Integrated solutions are becoming popular with a number of manufacturers – Arturia’s announcement of Spark, a software drum machine with a dedicated hardware controller, immediately forces comparisons with Native Instruments’ Maschine.
Spark is focused on analogue emulation, physical modelling, and replicating the step sequencing feel of classic machines
Spark looks to be somewhat more dedicated to drums, though, and rather than phrase based sample slicing it is focused on analogue emulation, physical modelling, and replicating the step sequencing feel of classic machines. A few neat features such as an X/Y control, dedicated step editor, and an aluminium chassis give the Spark a potential edge, and with 480 instruments, 30 kits, and 9 onboard effects, it definitely has promise.
I look forward to getting my hands on one to see whether the 1:1 tactile control can genuinely create the illusion of using a standalone drum machine, but with the boundless quality of a high powered computer behind the sounds. And, of course, whether it lives up to its USD599/499Eur price tag. Until then you can take a look at Arturia’s Spark homepage for more…
Now this is exciting. Long in the making, the collaboration between synthesis demigods Dave Smith and Roger Linn has had many forms over the years. Originally a project called BoomChik, it has evolved over a few years into this: The Tempest.
Aside from being dazzling good looking, Tempest boasts a feature set to make other drum machines and even synths green with envy
Aside from being dazzling good looking, Tempest boasts a feature set to make other drum machines and even synths green with envy. A combination of real analogue and the best of digital, every voice has two analogue and two digital oscillators (with a variety of samples), analogue lowpass filter and amplifier, highpass filter, five envelopes, two LFOs, and a massive amount of modulation possibilities. And that’s every one of six voices. The voices can be tuned and the machine can act as a six voice synthesiser, the stereo output has an analogue compressor and distortion circuit as well as a beat synced delay and ‘stutter’ which sounds similar in operation to loop roll.
The 8×2, pressure and velocity sensitive pad matrix is backlit, there are over 90 panel controls including two pressure and position sensitive ribbon strips, real time swing settings (bear in mind that we’re talking about the same guy behind the classic MPC swing), step sequencer, and a great looking high res OLED screen – the list of desirable features goes on and on.
Take a look at the following video, and head over to Dave Smith Instruments or Roger Linn Design for in depth information on Tempest. The suggested launch price is $1999, which for such a fully featured and desirable looking machine could be a bargain…