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Dave Smith Instruments Tempest Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 13th January 2011
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Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Dave Smith Instruments. Tempest Analog Drum Machine.

January 13, 2011—
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."

Tempest is expected to be available by June 2011 with a projected MAP of $1,999.00.

Summary of Features
  • Each of the 6 analog voices has 2 analog oscillators plus 2 digital oscillators (with a large bank of included samples), Dave's classic analog low-pass filter with audio-rate modulation, an additional high-pass filter, analog VCA with feedback, 5 envelopes, 2 LFOs, an extraordinary variety of analog modulation routings, and stunning sonic quality, warmth and punch. Although optimized for drum sounds, it excels at tuned sounds as well, and even doubles as a 6-voice analog synth. In addition to the 6 direct voice outputs, there are stereo mix outputs and phones outputs, plus 2 inputs for foot switches or expression pedals, MIDI in/out and USB.
  • The performance-oriented operating system, 90 panel controls, and bright 256 x 64 OLED display work together to provide a tightly integrated, non-stop workflow: record a drumbeat in real-time, switch to another drumbeat and use the lit pads to record it using step programming, switch to another drumbeat and record tuned keyboard parts, use the 2 touch controllers to to record real-time note or beat-wide parameter animations, use the generous sound controls to edit any of the drum sounds, tweak the analog effects or drum mix, arrange beats in real time and record the live arrangement into a song, enter/exit Song mode and much more, all without ever stopping play.
  • 16 pressure- and velocity-sensitive lit pads are arranged in a 2x8 configuration, providing intuitive access to all your fingers and providing the ideal compromise between the popular 4x4 pad arrangement (popular for real time programming ) and 1x16 arrangement (popular for step programming) because Tempest does both. The pads can be used to play 32 drum sounds (2 banks), mute/unmute the 32 sounds on playback, play and arrange 16 beats in real time, play one sound at 16 tunings (in a variety of scales) or 16 velocities, or as 16 time steps for step programming. The ROLL button permits creating drum rolls or repeated groove patterns by varying pad pressure as the beat records, and doubles as a momemtary "stutter" effect when the pads are assigned to play beats. Use the Sustain button on tuned parts like a keyboard's Sustain pedal, or to choke drum sounds or drumbeats when the pad is released.
  • Two pressure- and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers permit real-time recording of note or beat-wide sound parameter changes into the drumbeat as you play. For example, record simultaneous filter frequency, tuning, envelope decay and pan changes for each note, or control similar parameters affecting the entire beat.
  • A variety of unique effects are provided while maintaining a pure analog signal path: 1) Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix, 2) beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer, and 3) a beat-synced "stutter" effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat on demand.
  • The degree of swing timing can be adjusted in real time during playback. Roger used his entire bag of tricks to make the swing sound very human and natural.
  • Compact and portable: 15.4" L x 9" W x 2.5" H
Price and specifications subject to change.

Information about Tempest is also available on
Old 13th January 2011
Gear addict
KingUgly's Avatar
Old 13th January 2011
Lives for gear
Shaggy2039's Avatar
Omfg this thing is a beast!!!!!
Old 13th January 2011
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TRW's Avatar
And they are still making LinnDrum II!!!!

This does look good. Analogue for fat. Guess the Linn will cover the MPC crowd.

Old 13th January 2011
Gear addict
T.R.'s Avatar

Will they trade this for kidneys? If yes, I'm in!
Old 13th January 2011
Gear Maniac
alleyeseeing's Avatar

So can you sample directly into it?
Old 13th January 2011
Lives for gear
depulse's Avatar
Very nice, but I feel it is a bit too expensive. I had hoped for 1295....
Old 13th January 2011
Gear nut

Originally Posted by alleyeseeing View Post
so can you sample directly into it?
its analog! Oh.. with two wave slots... so the answer is... we don't know yet - I suspect not.
Old 13th January 2011
The samples in the video sound absolutely fantastic.

It's interesting that for delay and stuttering effects they do it as a MIDI effect (that retriggers the analog synthesis) so as not to have to use digital effects.

[edit: LOLZ at st-uttering...]
Old 13th January 2011
Lives for gear
CJ1973's Avatar

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

For the brains that it is.... it's worth every dime. Also a fair price and not cheap keeps it above the amateur wannabes as well. Can't wait to get a hold of one!
Old 14th January 2011
Gear Nut
SushiConQueso's Avatar

I'm totally with CJ, this gets a woot woot just for the sheer fact it's Dave and Roger. I mean of course, I should hope it really does kick ass, but just to see these two guys come back together in 2011 and put something out and take their time with it, it's nice to know some guys really put in the time to make something they're truly happy with. I look forward to checking this out tomorrow at the show indeed!
Old 14th January 2011
Lives for gear

So it looks like a combination of pots and endless encoders?
Old 14th January 2011
Gear Head
unklekarma's Avatar

I want one!!
It looks damn nice and it sounds awesome (even though it's youtube sound).
Old 14th January 2011
Lives for gear
looks amazing. wow I wish I had 2 grand. Sounds unreal. Cant wait to here some uncompressed demos.
Old 14th January 2011
Gear maniac
sinsay's Avatar

Thumbs up Nice!

Probably going to spend a couple o' bucks on this one. I had an original MPC-60 back in the day, then a MK II, then a 3000, but stopped after that because if it didn't say "Linn" on it I didn't want it!
This looks like it'll actually be fun to use, oh and Mr. Linn bangs out some hot beats too!!!
Old 14th January 2011
Gear interested

Oh man, I can't wait to play with this thing..
Old 15th January 2011
This sounds sick!! And is that a Lagunitas IPA sitting there in the video as Roger Linn is talking? That's awesome!
Old 16th January 2011
Lives for gear

Looks like the UI is going to be pretty inspiring. I never dug any of the Jomox boxes; I just found the interfaces way too clumsy.
Old 16th January 2011
Gear nut
BarbieDoll's Avatar

Old 16th January 2011
Gear Head
Love the IPA in the video! he's so gangsta
Old 17th January 2011
Gear Maniac
FunkFaker's Avatar

This box is going to be amazing. I still have my MPC60II. Looking forward to picking one of these up for live and the studio.
Old 17th January 2011
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Sensorychaos's Avatar

I'm in.
Old 19th January 2011
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wakestyle's Avatar
It's interesting that for delay and stuttering effects they do it as a MIDI effect (that retriggers the analog synthesis) so as not to have to use digital effects.
Is it just me or does this invalidate most all other modern analogue drum machines? Sounds like these geniuses still have a lot of work left to do for the OS but if sequencer comes off as being 'intuitive', easy to use and sequence with, and updatable sounds then I'm in. Most important extra feature IMO is the ability to sequence external synths (this will seal the deal for me).

@that price I would've liked to see better digital spec's (RAM), USB audio and fully midi assignable knobs and sliders but I'm over it already, this is all about analogue.

+1 winner

ps- is it possible to handle more than one midi port say via usb?
Old 21st January 2011
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by Pym View Post
[*]The degree of swing timing can be adjusted in real time during playback. Roger used his entire bag of tricks to make the swing sound very human and natural.[*]Compact and portable: 15.4" L x 9" W x 2.5" H[/LIST]
Hey Pym, what is it about the linn swing that gives it such a good feel? Is it just the way he spaces the notes... is there randomness or serialization built into the algorithm?
Old 23rd January 2011
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GYang's Avatar
Lot of fun with this box.
And both guys are amazing.
Might be real next winner.
Old 10th February 2011
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tapehiss's Avatar
This thing has been lingering in the back of my mind ever since I heard about it.

I'm thinking I might get one, but I'd still love to hear about some first-hand experience!
Old 10th February 2011
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Silver Sonya's Avatar

Not out until summer.

I want them to post some clear audio demos! I wanna hear the tone.

- c
Old 18th March 2011
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MJS7's Avatar

A unique and innovative looking American product designed by two legends in the electronic music industry. So far so good and I'm happy to support that. Kick arse analog in 2011 let's hope. The price is a bit steep for me personally but considering the talent making this, it's basically a work of art and the price reflects this. I think it's meant to be more of a real instrument with its own personality rather than a jack of all trades production tool. Hope it lives up to the hype. I'd happily sell some other gear to afford it. Anyway it looks awesome and I can't wait to hear more demos!

The videos don't really show the depths of the sound engine, so I'm curious about it. I've heard some great sounds from the DSI Mopho, including good kick drums and basses and subs, but how does the Tempest sound engine differ (other than offering sampled digital oscs), for example, are the envelops etc. specialized for percussion sounds? Could it get those massive Jomox style kicks and crispy 808 style snare and hats, or is it more of a DSI Mopho sound engine (which would get you in the ballpark for sure)?
Old 31st March 2011
Lives for gear
The tempest is looking like a a great product. How will it work with other hardware synths? If I can sequence everything on it, since the timing seems to be spot on, then track everything onto pro tools, I'm in line. Info anyone? Roger, Dave, support? Hello.....
Old 7th August 2011
Lives for gear
Silver Sonya's Avatar

Supposedly this is going to be released this month. I'm excited.

Anyone have any word on specifics?

- c
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