If you don’t already know Dave Smith, get to know. The man invented MIDI, designed countless iconic synths for his company Sequential Circuits in the 70s and 80s, and co-developed the Tempest drum machine with Roger Linn – what more do you want? As if that wasn’t enough, he continues to produce a killer synths to this day.
The original Mopho was a desktop module released in 2009. Many saw it as a successor to the legendary Sequential Circuits Pro One thanks to its ballsy sound and versatility. (The Mopho’s circuit board actually features the legend ‘Pro One II’, hinting at DSI’s intentions during the design process.)
We’d still recommend the Mopho – it remains great value for money – but it has its weaknesses, and they all stem from the fact that programming and editing a two-oscillator synth with flexible modulation options, four LFOs and a built-in step sequencer turns out to be frustratingly fiddly with only eleven rotary knobs on the front panel.
The solution is obvious, and in 2010 DSI did what everyone wanted and followed the original module up with a bigger version, adding a full complement of front-panel controls and a 32-note keyboard. The result is a keyboard which realises the potential the Mopho module had all along. A truly expressive performance tool with velocity and aftertouch control. Poly Chain options to hook up to other DSI synths. Excellent build quality. And, most importantly of all, killer sound.
A modern classic. If you can stretch to the SE version, you’ll get the benefit of a 44-note keyboard.