Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
Produced: 2011 – present
It could never fail. The combination of Roger Linn (inventor of the Akai MPC and digital drum machine pioneer with the LM-1 and LinnDrum) and Dave Smith (legendary analogue synth designer, inventor of MIDI and creator of modern classics like the Mopho and Prophet 8) was always destined for great things. When their collaborative drum machine appeared we knew we were looking at something special.
The DSI Tempest combines the best parts of both its designers’ strengths. From Smith, we get an incredible sound engine unlike anything seen in a drum machine before. Rather than providing one synth voice specifically designed for kick drums, one for snares, one for claps and so on, the Tempest’s voices are all identical. That means they all have to be incredibly versatile, which they are thanks to a unique synth architecture designed from the ground up for the Tempest.
From Linn, we get a sequencer which displays all the hallmarks of his work, most notably a focus on musicality above all else.
Combine the two and we get an instrument which redefines the limits of a drum machine, from its ribbon controllers and inconceivably deep sound design options through to neat touches like its built-in distortion and compressor circuits.
The Tempest sets a new benchmark for what an analogue drum machine can achieve in the 21st century. It’s not cheap, but the price is fair when you consider the level of engineering and development which goes into creating a unit this capable.
Still not convinced of its merits? We’ll let it speak for itself. What better proof of the Tempest’s remarkable capabilities than the fact that it’s already a mainstay of so many house and techno acts’ live setups? In our opinion, there’s no greater endorsement than the visceral, primal impact of the two Tempests at the heart of Blawan and Pariah’s none-more-intense Karenn live project…